Tag Archives: FIFA

Where are they now? Charles-Cook, Meade, Squillaci, Santos & Roberts

Following on from out other two parts (Angha, Eastmond, Wynter, Monteiro, Ebecilio & Denilson & Arshavin, Watt, Neita, Rees, Shea & Mannone) we now look at how Charles-Cook, Meade, Squillaci, Santos & Roberts have got on since leaving Arsenal in the summer.

Reice Charles-Cook

What do Arsenal and Bury have in common? Reice Charles-Cook has been on the books, but not played for, both. I might be being a bit harsh on the youngster, who is just 19, but he has done nothing of note since leaving us.

Picture: <a href="https://twitter.com/KieranCPhotoAFC" class="twitter-follow-button" data-show-count="false" data-text-color="#444444" data-link-color="#21759b">Follow @KieranCPhotoAFC</a>

Picture: @KieranCPhotoAFC

Jernade Meade 

Many were unhappy that Jernade Meade was not given a chance at Arsenal, but nearly 20, and with Gibbs, Monreal & Vermaelen ahead of him, it would have been hard to justify giving him a new contract. He joined Premier League Swansea on a free transfer and is 3rd choice left back behind Ben Davies, who is 6 months his senior, and Neil Taylor. He has yet to make his 1st team debut, however has played 3 times for their under 21s. Proof, if needed, that Arsenal were correct to let him go.

Sebastian Squillaci

It would not of taken much to improve on his 1 league goal in 2 seasons for Arsenal and upon signing for French Ligue 1 Bastia, he has played in 8 of the clubs 9 games for Bastia, firmly becoming their 1st choice centre back. He has clearly re-found his level, at a mid table French club.

Andre Santos

After his loan spell at Gremio came to an end, he signed for Brazilian side Flamengo in July this year. Due to the nature of the Brazilian league, he has not yet played for his new side. Report of him hanging around the Arsenal Fish Bar at the top of Blackstock Road are untrue. He was last seen playing against me on FIFA, where he had a shocker of a game at left back.

Phillip Roberts

The 19 year old Irish striker born in Newham is now plying his trade in Scotland for Scottish Championship side Falkirk. Clearly another who did not get away. In 8 league games, he has scored 4 league goals, making him the 7th top scorer in the league. According to Falkirk’s website, you can sponsor his boots.

Tomorrow: Hajrovic, Gervinho, Chamakh, Bihmoutine & Henderson


Thanks to  for the picture
http://www.flickr.com/photos/goonerpower and https://www.facebook.com/KieranCPhoto


The Influence of Computer Games on Football Opinions

Today, FIFA 14 is released to the masses. Adults and children throughout the world will be taking day’s off work to get their first taste of the new version – which is basically the same as previous versions with just a few tweaks. Most of them, having just completed GTAV would have just spent £50 on the game and it is this that they will play until Football Manager is out in October.

Over the years, football games have become more influential in the lives of football fans. No longer do they just watch a game on a Saturday, play themselves on a Sunday, and train mid-week, they now spend every woken day playing the simulators. Writing down squads whilst they are supposed to be listening to the teacher. Researching wonder kids during work hours. And spending hours day dreaming on what they are going to do when they get home.

Whilst games such as FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer, Champions Manager and Football Manager are brilliant – I own a PS3 with just 1 game (or 2, now the new FIFA is out) they also cause my a lot of frustration. Often these games form the opinion of fans when talking about players.

Fans have begun to genuinely build an opinion on a player based on how they perform in a game. Take young players for example. Despite having never seen a young player perform, manager simulators such as Football Manager and Championship Manager will create an opinion for a fan.

Ganso, for example, was massively hyped up last summer. Barely anyone had seen him play. Not many people watch Brazilian football, and he only has 8 caps for Brazil. Very few could genuinely sit and say they thought he would be a good addition to the Arsenal side. Yet many did and many were getting excited over him. Odd.

But not odd when you then remember he has been a star on Football Manager for a few years. People built their opinion on him based on a computer game. They wanted us to spend £20 million+ on a player based on a computer game. It is ludicrous. And now? He is playing for Santos and a big money move to Europe looks unlikely. Football Manager certainly warps the opinion of players.

FIFA also does the same. Anyone who has played the game knows pace is king. If you do not have pace, you will struggle at the game. I believe this is one reason why Per Mertesacker is massively underrated. He is not a FIFA player due to his low pace rating. What FIFA has not got built in properly is how a player reads a game.

If you ever watch Per in real life, you will see he is one of the worlds best defenders. A brilliant reader of the game, he dominates forwards, no matter how quick they are. Pace means nothing if you can not dribble past a defender. And Mertesacker is extremely hard to get past. He will either intercept the pass, or stick out one of his big legs to win the ball. And he does it with ease.

Yes, if a player does get past him, he struggles, but every centre back in the world struggles when they are the wrong side of an attacker.

The problem here is people have built their opinion of Mertesacker based on his FIFA profile. They play with the likes of Kaboul or David Luiz, who are quicker and therefore more suited to the game. They then rate these two as better than Mertesacker, even though they are not.

They base this opinion on a game, not on what they see. Anyone who watch’s these 3 guys on a regular basis will recognise that Per Mertesacker is far superior to the other two.

People also rate Kyle Walker above Bacary Sagna. Again, because Walker is based on the game with brilliant pace. What the game does not show is his positioning is awful and he can not read the game.

The games also change how fan’s think a club is run. They make scouting seem easy. They make signing players seem easy. They make selling players seem easy. “Why can’t we just fax all clubs about Bendtner, offer them a free transfer with a 50% sell on clause” people ask. Well transfers are harder than that.

A game does not take into consideration personal relationships. Families. Wives. A game does not distinguish between playing in Spain, living on a hillside just outside Madrid, and living within the Arctic Circle in Russia. It makes the world of football seem easy. And it is not that easy.

When thinking about football. About players. About how the game works. People need to use their own eyes. Watch players play. Learn how football clubs and transfers work. Not base all their opinions on a game.

Judge players on what you see during games the highlights, or what you read about in reliable papers / magazines. Stop judging players on how good they are on computer games, or YouTube highlights (another frustration!)


3 more sleeps till Ozil

In 3 sleeps time, we will be able to experience one of the greatest moments in recent history (ie the last 5 years). The debut of Mesut Ozil. The first truly world class player that Arsenal have signed since Dennis Bergkamp. Maybe even before that. He is a truly great signing. His story and journey has been done to death. This is more about the excitement of his debut.

It feels like the countdown to Christmas day. Only that I have not been able to open a little door hiding a chocolate for the last 24 days. The excitement  is building. I imagine that this Friday, just like on Christmas Eve, I will not be able to sleep. Might have to have a few drinks to knock me out.

On Saturday morning, I will be getting on the train to Sunderland. At 9.44am from Kings Cross to be exact. Landing in Newcastle at a little before one. Cross the road to O’Neill’s for a few beers before making the way to the game. I am buzzing just writing this.

Not only will it be the debut of Mesut Ozil, it will also be the first proper away trip after a relatively short trip to Fulham what seems like an age ago (thanks FIFA). Last year Sunderland was rated by The Lads as ‘The Best Away Trip’. This year it could go either way, with the tight train jounrey on the way home (miss our 6pm train from Newcastle, and thanks to National Rail doing works on the line, we could end up taking a 4 train, 5 hour journey via Newcastle, Sheffield, Loughborough and finally getting to Kings Cross at around midnight!). What you do for love hey?

Anyway, back to Ozil. Originally the thoughts were he would not start. Arsene Wenger has a history of ensuring a new signings first start was at home. And with today being the first training session with his new team mates, it would have been likely that he would be on the bench against both Sunderland and Marseille, before making his first full start against Stoke City next Sunday.

However, after Theo Walcott limping off against Ukraine, Tomas Rosicky picking up a thigh injury and Podolski, Oxlade Chamberlain, Arteta and Diaby still injured, we are light in midfield (where have we heard that before?). Luckily reports of Aaron Ramsey being out look to be unfounded. This could lead to Ozil making his first start of the season, potential on the right wing:

Wilshere Flamini Ramsey
Ozil Giroud Cazorla

Just writing this has made me excited. We have Mesut Ozil. Mesut Fricking Ozil.

And on Saturday, no matter if he starts or comes off the bench, we will see his debut. And I can not wait.

3 more sleeps to go