Holy hell, people. This break between matches for our beloved club has gone on way too long for my liking. In the time between the Swansea win and now I've grown a beard to my sternum, wrote a 400-page thesis about dinosaur basketball and how cool it'd be if such a thing existed, and self-administered my own prison tattoo on my right forearm that says "Seriously, f*ck Interlulls" in Cyrillic. Anyway, we got Reading coming in this weekend and Lord knows what else my idle hands would have done had there been yet another weekend without an Arsenal. So how about we get caught up on some recent news surrounding the squad, shall we?
1. "A triumph in the NextGen Series would count as a trophy, yes?"
Arsenal's U19's hosted CSKA Moscow's U19 squad last night in the NextGen Series quarterfinals and, thanks to a Serge Gnabry goal off a one-two with Hector Bellerin in the 56th minute, advanced to the semifinals with a 1-0 victory. In all seriousness, this tournament is providing the perfect stage and competition our youngsters need in order to understand what the first-team goes through week-in and week-out, and they're showing the sort of mettle and cajones to be effective players for the club in the near-future. They turn around quickly from last night; this Friday night, they play Chelsea, in Lake Como, Italy, for the right to face off in the finals versus the winner of the other semifinal match, Aston Villa and Sporting Lisbon.
2. "Does this mean we should start printing Steven Jovetic jerseys?
If it's to be believed, Arsene Wenger has about eleventy billion dollars to spend this summer (which he'll spend about a dollar fifty of it because he trolls so hard, y'all), and the hottest rumor floating about our peripheral is Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic. Yesterday revealed to us some rather choice quotes from the Montenegrin about Arsenal:
"I've heard about Arsenal's interest," Jovetic was quoted as saying by The Sun, The World's Biggest Soul-Sucking Douchebags. "It's a big pleasure for me to be on the radar of such a big club. I am happy about that.
"I've always had an affinity with Arsenal. It's a major club with a big tradition, one of the biggest in Europe."
"Arsenal have plenty of players who don't score like van Persie, but are also very good.
"They are still very strong. I often watch Premier League games on TV. It's one of the best leagues in the world and looks tempting for me.
"Maybe one day I will play there but I have a contract with Fiorentina and battling for a Champions League place in Serie A is the only thing I'm thinking about now."
First off, the quotes originated from The Sun but since they are the lowest form of pond scum, the type of bottom feeders that make catfish shake their heads in disgust, I'll provide a link to another media source. Anyway, it's refreshing to see that someone holds "big pleasure" about Arsenal. Of course, again, remember the original source of the quotes and also factor in that England play Montenegro tonight in a World Cup qualifier and that players can't help themselves when it comes to drawing themselves into their own future transfer speculation (and a bigger payday) if presented an opportunity to do so. Take this for what it is, but definitely keep an eye out for future developments.
3. "Jack Wilshere's back on Twitter?"
Yup. The reasons for him abandoning the social media platform last year centered around the fact that many, uh, rival fans shall we say, flung accusations his way that the reason behind his lengthy spell away from the squad while recuperating from knee and ankle injuries last season was actually some sort of mandated, super-secret suspension due to testing positive for cocaine. Which would be enough for me to quit Twitter, and I'm sure many others. Before he left, he was an entertaining fellow to follow, constantly catching fellow teammates in everyday situations while showing himself to be a normal person who happens to be in the media spotlight 24/7. I, for one, am glad he's back. Hopefully this go-around on Twitter is a much better experience for him.
4. "This is a quick, little piece you all should read. This is not a question but more of a directive. Sorry."
From The Economist, a source generally not known as a football news hotbed, comes a little ditty about one man's travels to Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, and how fervent the locals are for Arsenal mainly in part because Arsene Wenger has been one of the leading proponents of players from the African continent, both at AS Monaco and Arsenal. It's a short read, about a couple minutes out of your day, but please take the time to give it a look.