Euro 2008 kicks off but where are all the Arsenal players?

Hello there. I’m back from the Gold Coast and I’m feeling good. Hope you’re doing as well on this fine Tuesday.

Since I last posted the European Championships have begun and the first three days of the tournament have been filled with some decent football and a couple of interesting results. I managed to catch the entirety of the Czech Republic’s 1-0 win over co-host Switzerland in the opening fixture and was quite impressed with the performances put in by both sides.

By all reports Portugal were impressive in beating 2-0 while the Croatians, who I’ve tipped to make the semi-finals, were a little underwhelming in taking care of the other co-hosts Austria, 1-0 through Luka Modric’s early penalty kick. On the other hand, Germany only strengthened their grip as my favourites to win Euro 2008 after comfortably disposing of Poland 2-0.

France, my other tip to make the final were held 0-0 by Romania in last night’s early game while the Netherlands put in the performance of the tournament to beat World Champions Italy 3-0 in the best game of the tournament so far. I thought Marco van Basten got his tactics absolutely right in adopting a 4-2-3-1 counter-attacking formation against Italy and was rewarded with a win that leaves Holland with one foot in the quarter-finals.

One thing I have been a little disappointed with so far in this tournament is a serious lack of Arsenal players getting game time. Indeed, only Philippe Senderos, William Gallas and the outgoing Jens Lehmann have started for their respective countries while Robin van Persie, Johan Djourou and Lukasz Fabianski received little or no game time. Even Arsenal target Samir Nasri failed to get much time for France despite their inability to trouble Romania.

This looks set to continue again today with Cesc Fabregas likely to start on the bench if reports are to be believed. Obviously I will be hoping Fabregas starts if only to see what impact the little Spaniard has for his country. I think he deserves to but it will depend on what sort of approach Spanish manager Luis Aragones wants to take against Guus Hiddink’s Russia.

Either way I’m expecting Spain to kick off their campaign with a win over a Russian side missing key striker Andrei Arshavin through suspension. In the group’s other game I can’t see anything but a win for ex-Arsenal midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg’s Sweden. And if the past three days are anything to go by then it should be quite a good night of football.

Away from the Euros

Aside from Euro 2008 there’s also quite a bit of Arsenal news that popped up over the weekend which I’ve very quickly summarised below:

  • Theo Walcott has been speaking about the progress he made last season and his ambitions for the next campaign. It’s clear the English winger is hell-bent on starting the season as first-choice on the right and with the quality of performances he was putting in towards the end of last season are compared with those of Emmanuel Eboue you have to say he’s a pretty good chance.
  • Alexandre Song has signed a new long-term contract. It’s very good news in my eyes, Alex has shown great progress this season and at only 20 years of age should be a valuable member of the squad for years to come.
  • Croatia manager Slaven Bilic has suggested that Eduardo da Silva may return to Arsenal in July to begin pre-season training with his club. I’d tend to lean on the conservative side when it comes to this situation but it’s certainly brilliant news nonetheless.
  • Alex Hleb has now been linked with a move to Bayern Munich by his agent Uli Ferber. As I’ve said before I don’t really care when he ends up so nothing more needs to be said about this one.
  • Arsenal’s physiotherapist Gary Lewin has left the club to become the full-time physio of the England National Team. After 21 years of service at Arsenal he deserves a new challenge so good luck to him.

And that, my friends, is that. Keep enjoying yourselves. Hup Holland!

What do you think?

Have your say on Euro 2008 or any Arsenal news by leaving a comment.



  1. Where is song going to play dm or cb? But the real news is ramseys apparently signed for us for 5 mill just hoping we didn’t get the swearing scottish one as he’s been on the telly a bit.Imagine him with adams as our new manager you fucking donkey fuck off haha.

  2. i’m in salzburg at the moment and there are thousands of swedes everywhere gearing up for the game. should be a good atmosphere.

    i think signing moutinho would be a good move, he was pretty impressive.

  3. First off Portugal was impressive and bossed their game against the Turks but have no illusions. They gave up two clear cut ridiculously free headers in the box. The Turks were simply did not capitalize on one and Tuncay was way to timid on the third. He was clearly afraid of colliding with Ricardo so he never got his head on it and it went into the keepers hands. Portugal will need to tighten that back line when they play against a more talented side.

    After reading Demetrio’s comments about the Netherlands-Italy in the last blog I think he does deserve a fair shake. The Refs for the first time in a while did seem to have it out for Italia. At least that’s what I was thinking through most the game. Toni got dropped a few times in the box with no call. You might say good riddance but the man does have a point. I think Italia will still make it through.

    I thought France was absolutely awful and with Ribery being locked down by Romania, Les Blues were lacking creativity. Without Zizou that side needs Henry in a big big way even if he’s not the player he used to be.

    I also thought RVP looked decent enough when he came on. I think he’s still working out that rust but I figure if he stays healthy he should be ready to roll for Arsenal.

  4. @ butterfingers – Not sure if he’d signed at the time I wrote the article but you’re quite right – according to the BBC Ramsay is now an Arsenal player. Not sure what you’re referring to with the comment “just hoping we didn’t get the swearing scottish one as he’s been on the telly a bit”.

  5. A great coach is one that knows when it is a tournament too far for the old guard before it is too late. Raymond Domenech and Roberto Donadoni do not have this quality and have consequently produced dismal performances in their opening games. Domenech’s selections are just baffling – Abidal and Sagnol offer nothing on Clichy and Sagna, and you could see how our boys could have benefitted that side yesterday in defence and as an attacking threat. Abidal doesn’t overlap and can’t cross, so why is he there? Makalele probably shouldn’t be there either – the dynamism of Jeremy Toulalan is more than enough in the DM position against Romania, and this allows the team to have a creative central midfielder alongside him.

    I was born in North London but all my family hail from Italy, and I was disgusted with our performance last night. I’ve never seen an Italian side so open at the back, and Cristian Panucci (who is like Donadoni’s best mate) was at fault for more than one goal. We had Fabio Grosso on the bench, the man who scored the crucial goal in the world cup semi-final against Germany AND the final penalty in the shoot-out against France, but he has to miss out to accomodate the 36 year old Panucci who has nothing to offer at this level anymore. Playing Ambrosini is also baffling to most Italians. He is a bit of a ‘nothing’ midfielder – he isn’t especially good at defending or attacking, creating or tackling – he is just there. With the young and hugely talented De Rossi and Alberto Aquilani (who really can make things happen) on the bench, you have to wonder about Donadoni. We haven”t lost by three goals for 38 years, and our simple lob it to Toni tactic was exposed for what it is.

    Sorry for venting my frustration guys. I have to say that Holland were exceptional and could have won by more.

  6. @ TDP – I was also baffled by Panucci’s selection. Zambrotta deserves his place for sure but either Grosso or Massimo Oddo should be on the other side.

    I wouldn’t lose too much hope about Italy though – they created some good chances it’s just that I think Holland’s approach surprised Donadoni. They were always going to be more defensive than usual, van Basten enjoys a more pragmatic approach, and once they were a goal up I thought Holland would win. The second goal was just magic and a perfect illustration of how Holland will play.

    Bit of a rant myself there…

  7. Italy rarely win games from behind, at 2-0 I knew it was over. We had some good chances as you say Spanish, we are just in a precarious situation now probably having to win our two remaining games. Hopefully last night’s game will serve as a wake-up call. The loss of Cannavaro is huge, he marshalls the defence and is very much a ‘number 1’ defender – something Arsenal fans are discussing a lot these days… The leadershio and decision-making at the back is extremely important and we didn’t have it last night. I think this new rule that essentially means RVN was onside for the first goal is also baffling. Italy would certainly not have been caught on the counter for the second goal and we may have seen something different, but all the same, I felt Holland could have scored 2 or 3 without the offside decision.

  8. im so glad Holland won, they are my second favourites to win Euro 2008 behind Spain. I hope the rumours are not true about Fabregas being on the bench because he deserves to be playing. I can’t believe the lack of Arsenal players playing. Van Persie almost scored with a super goal so im hoping he starts against France.

    Ramsey has apparently signed for Arsenal for 5 million choosing Arsenal over Everton and Manchester United making the capture mean a lot more and West Brom have asked Wenger to loan them Alexandre Song for the whole season.

  9. Definitely agree with you TDP about the Italians. The team selection was rediculous anyone who has followed Seria A knows that Ambrosini has little left in the tank. For all you Gunners remember how he played against us? That was pretty much him all year. Why DDR wasn’t on the pitch was baffling. With Cannavaro out and Nesta in retirement you could see Italy was missing something in the back. Grosso should have been out there. I could see Gattuso being selected however simply because he’s a warrior.

    I will defend Panucci a bit though being a person who follows Roma when the Gunners aren’t playing. Panucci was a rock for Roma down the stretch and really seemed to come up with goals in very key and important places. Kind of like the way Gallas did for Arsenal. To me that is why he was in the squad and selected. Did he have a good game? Not particularly.

    I will say though it’s not all about the youth. I personally felt that Italy could have used Del Piero. Sure he’s the old guard but screw it make an exception. He had a brilliant season for Juve and can still play this game at a high level. I know he came on late but I’d probably had him out there from the start.

    For France, Sangol probably shouldn’t have been in the squad since he lost his place in Germany but Abidal I thought played well enough against Romania. I think Clichy is better no doubt but Eric preformed decent enough. Makalele didn’t have a great game but in the end he is still one of the best pure holding midfielders in the game. France’s problem in my opinion was not in their side backs and holding midfield these guys aren’t supposed to score goals and make jaws drop. Everyone else is where I think France struggled. I think they either need some serious Henry magic or to make a drastic change like starting Nasri. Oh yes and Trezeguet should have been on that team as well.

    In all honesty though I’m not sure Nasri is ready plus him performing well will raise his price which isn’t good news for Arsenal.

    And finally yes SF I’m still saying the Italians make it through. Of course this shouldn’t mean too much since I was the one doubting the Dutch would make it out of the group.

    Whew. So now has everyone had a rant (or in my case two)?

  10. David Villa anyone? impressive.Van persie looked sharp apecially his Tin Tin hair style and Fabs set up one goal and scored one not bad hey.The good news today that it has been confirmed that Aaron Ramsy has signed for Arsenal he is a fantastic midfield player only 17.this youngster was on the sport news in England few the last few weeks at the beginning it was a bidding war between Manchester.utd, Liverpool and Everton for the youngster but Arsenal kept quite and showed their class and snatch him. It made Fergie furious and that made my day. I like Carlos Vela already, as he had a pop at spurs before kicking the ball.Fantastic gooner spirit.

  11. Fabregas assists, he scores and he didnt start. I hope he starts next game. Van Persie looked good yesterday and if he starts, i think he can have an impact on the game. The signing of Adam Ramsey looks positive, I must admit I don’t know too much about him but with the reviews about him that I have read on here, he looks promising. If you sign for Arsenal then to get in the fans good books then you have to hav a pop at spurs haha just like Vela, im waiting for Modric to have a pop at Arsenal lol.

  12. Yeah sp I was thinking of gordon ramsey the scottish chef as he nearly turned pro for motherwell but got a dodgy knee and had to quit. But now villa will be out of our price range and the nasri deal looks dead in the water. Lets hope we get the players arsne is after as barry looks like a pool player. micah still would be the buy of the season like sagna was last season.

  13. Butterfingers-I think Spurs need to sign Gordon Ramsy the chef and make sure they don’t eat cheap dodgy lasagna.You are right as for D. Villa we should forget it as the price is going to be hyked up sky high my only reservation with him his stature he doesn’t look physically strong for those bullies in the Premier league but if you are a deadly finisher then you don’t need to be physically big.He is very similar to Eduardo vey nippy and quick feet.

  14. Would Ramsey qualify in the proposed 6+5 rule? Personally I have not seen him play..any comments

  15. It went off last night, the swedes sure know how to party. I’m hoping either sweden or more likely spain will win it. The ibrahimovic\larsson partnership is unstopable on its day. But spain is looking the goods this year.

    i predict a spain holland final 2-1 to spain.

  16. I only found this site by chance as my main arsenal site was arsenal world and I saw the link for aus gooners watching games and I wish I found you lot sooner as I’ve never met such a bunch of down to earth gooners who can give a thoughtfull and enlightening insite to our wonderfull club. My hats off to you spanish fry for putting 1 of the best blogs on arsenal out there. Hopefully you can start up a forum because everyone at the sun forum are tossers. Anyway enough dribble spain for the euro’s is my bet anyhows.

  17. whoever is comparing David Villa to Eduardo doesnt have a clue…

    Villa is a different class to eduardo

  18. david villa has the potential to be a top 3 world best player…he just needs to go to a big club where he is recognised…

    at valencia he kills it and valencia are not the best attacking team and he doesnt get as recognised…the guy can shoot with 2 feet…he can assist goals…his quick…takes free kicks and penalties…he has all the traits to be world best…
    personally im a very big fan of him as im a fan of valencia- and tracked him for the past 3 seasons…if i was him i think real madrid would be his best move…he would absolutely kill it there with sniejder and guti providing him great ball and van nis. holding the ball up for him…

    if i was liverpool and if they want to win the premiership i would spend whatever i have to buy him…him and torres make a great partnership. prob the best in the world…imagine him and torres making mockery of the average defence in the premiership..they would def be title contenders….

    as im a huge manchester united fan id like to see him there but dont think fergie is after him in that we have tevez and rooney who are similar in a way…but not as good in my opinion…united need berbatov

    what does everyone think ?

  19. Ronaldo7

    What the hell are you doing on here?????? Shouldn’t you be with the rest of the red nose brigade??


    Top article again, Your blog along with Arsenalinsider is definitly one of the best ones in the blogosphere!

    Always insitefull and the people who comment say things worth reading and debating (except for ronaldo7!!!)

    Keep it up

  20. O yeah, and on the Villa story

    I would LOVE to see him play for Arsenal, him and eduardo up front together, or with Rvp or Ade, what a great strikeforce!! I say sell bendtner, we could get about 7 mil for him, and cough up the rest!! 1 way of ensuring fabregas’ long term future at the club us by signing this guy as they are good friends, and like playing together!

    Come on Wenger, PLEASE PLEASE get Villa, even sell Adebayor for £30 mil, then we can buy Villa and pay his high wages with whats left!!

  21. Great game by Villa and it was nice to see Cesc score. Especially since I had just ordered a number 10 shirt right before the game.

    Ronaldo7 sounds pretty spot on to me. I doubt Pool has the finances to splurge on another “Torres” type deal on Villa though. I think he’s also right about ManU being best served with Berbatov.

    At least we’ve made a signing though. I don’t know anything about Ramsey but hopefully he turns out to be quality. Quality that doesn’t like to eat ice cream.

  22. Good signing by Wenger to get Ramsey but Wenger needs to buy top class players like Villa, Frings, Nasri and then buy the average players Fritz, Santa Cruz, Kranjcar because Arsenal need good replacements for Hleb and Flamini and also need good subs, thats the reason why Arsenal failed to win the league.

  23. Senderos at switzerland had been Knock Out by Turkiye..
    Cesc had a farbulous start as reserve for spain score the 4th goal for spain..
    The Legend 14 T.Henry.. can he make it when facing Holland??

  24. Thanks C-Bass…
    atleast some ppl appreciate good insight into football unlike Frudicus (GB) who doesnt realise this blog is free for anyone to comment on and prob doesnt have a clue about anything in football.

    clearly analysing villa and his next move is a great thing to talk and debate about….

    i guess ull just pop on here and talk the same rubbish as usual…

  25. @ Frudicus (GB) – Ronaldo7 is a good mate of mine and as he says he has every right to say what he wants on the blog. He’s been a loyal reader of this blog for the past year and often comments. No need to attack him for his comments, he is just saying that he thinks Villa is a great player and as this blog has gone all Euro 2008 it’s fair enough.

    Love not war everyone! I love the community on this blog because very rarely do people attack each other for who they support or their comments. Let’s keep it that way.


  26. I know many dont believe the rumors that Adebayor is leaving, but Sky Sports Italia today now reported that they met with Ade’s agent and he has agreed terms with AC. I doubt we’re that lucky that he will leave, and we get 40 million for him, which we could use to bring in Villa, Diego, Veloso or players of high skill. I know you dont really believe that these rumors are true Spanish, but they are not dying out at all here in Italia, theres been more and more rumors since he’d denied it. And i dont know if Adebayor says hes not just because he knows Wenger wont let him leave, but i think he may actually wanna leave if Galliani can get Wenger to sell.

  27. @ Demetrio – Hmmm. I see your point but I just think a lot of the substance behind these rumours are solely to unsettle Adebayor and try and force a move. He’s said he doesn’t want to leave so what else can he say at this stage?

  28. i hate this transfer period….teams just like to unsettle players…eg. Madrid with ronaldo

    Madrid wanna sign everyone…Ron, Huuntelar, Benzema, Villa

  29. I see your point, and although im not a big fan of his, if he stays i will be happy, thats one less postion Wenger will have to fill. I just dont know how much truth is behind Ade’s statements that he will stay, i think its more of, he’ll wait to see if AC can try to tempt Wenger to sell him with 30-40 mil, and if thats the case i respect Ade for just sayin he wants to stay instead of saying he will not stay like Hleb did. The only thing i would worry about for Ade fans is that Sky Sports Italia doesnt usually report those little rumors that float around, they waited a long time to even report that Flamini was leaving to AC. Thats what caught my attention and makes me question how truthful Adebayor is when he says he will stay.

  30. Real Madrid can go to hell. Im just glad they have Ronaldo to concentrate on so there wont be too many rumors started about Cesc… for now.

  31. @ Demetrio – As far as Sky Sports is concerned they only showed the story of him saying he wouldn’t leave on the English version of the site, not the story saying AC Milan had bid for him.

    On another note, are you expecting Donadoni to ring in the changes for Italy for tomorrow’s game? I know it’s a bit of a drastic change but if I was him I’d be dropping Panucci for Grosso, Ambrosini for De Rossi, Cameronesi for del Piero and really shaking things up. Toni was brilliant up front but apart from some stuttering support from Di Natale he was left to do too much.

    Personally I’ll be hoping Romania grab another point as I want both Netherlands and France to get through to the quarters. Sorry!!

  32. Donadoni is the biggest bastardo i’ve ever seen. I was tryin my best not to question him, and wanted him to have a fair chance. But i have no idea what he was thinkin when he picked his squad. He had the whole AC Milan midfield in the game, the same guys, that did not do anything for club play, they wre completely outta form. Theres no way Grosso shoulda been on the bench, he had Zambrotta outta postion just so Panucci could play, and as soon as he brought in Grosso and put Zambrotta to the right things were back to normal, by then it was too late. De Rossi, i have no idea if Donadoni was drinkin when he planned this game or what, but leaving De Rossi and Aquilani was a huge mistake, i love Pirlo but like i said that whole Milano midfield is ouuta form and have been all season where as Roma made a push to win the Serie A and De Rossi and Aquilani are in form. Di Natale was pushed way too far over on the wing to be of any use, he needs to play just behind Toni to play off his ability to hold up the ball. del Peiro shoulda started, he’s been talkin about how happy he was to get called back so Donadoni shoulda known he was keen on playing. Cameronesi isnt really on bad form, but didnt look too happy to be out there or even really look like he cared. Im not worried, i know we will advance, look for something to happen to France in the Netherlands game, i still think they want it to come down to France Vs Italia on the last day of the group stage, winner moves on, loser goes home. I dont think Romania have a good chance if they play, we are not very happy over here and the AZZURRI might not be able to come home with another performance as bad as that, which personally wouldnt have happened if that first goal, which i heard an ENGLISH commentator say he talked to ref in the EPL and all said they didnt think that was a goal and wouldnt have allowed it. Panucci was forced into Buffon, the rule says he cant be off the field without the refs permission yea.. but how in the hell is he supposed to get permission to be off the field when he was dazed from taking Buffons body to the side of the head!!! Luca Toni was pulled down in the box… nothing was given, there was at least 2 other fouls close to the box that werent given, it was completely favored towards the Dutch that game. I dont think even Luca Toni was that brilliant, he missed at least 2 chances that he shoulda put away. I know that the team is still better then all the teams in the Euro’s no disrespect to any other countries, but its true, we’ve never had so much talent on this team, i think its more that they dont like and wont play for Donadoni, if Lippi was still in charge we would be talkin about how Italia looks like they are in the same form they had to win the World Cup. I didnt wanna follow most ppl and call for Donadoni’s head right off the back, but he needs to go!! They wont play for him, most players dont like him, its causing divison in the locker room, they just need to let him go. I feel bad for him cuz i dont think the players gave him a real chance, but thats todays players for you. WE WILL be back tho. I can tel you if we lose to Romania, its because they arent even trying, and the boys better start looking for adoptive nations becasue they arent coming back to Italia if they just piss around on the pitch again.

  33. Oh yeah Ambrosini is a fat pig and shouldnt have even made the team. He’s been good inthe past but i have no respect for players that are representing my home and go out on the pitch and dont even try to make it look like they give a damn, the same goes for Camoranesi. Usually its Marco Materazzi we are talkin about having done something stupid, he didnt have the best game, but when i saw his face he was completely in shock about what was going on, where as Ambrosini was think i wonder where the sell panini’s around here. Sorry so long but i’ve been waiting since we lost to vent on this teams effort they showed.

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