Arsenal face Premier League litmus test

Arsenal have had a magnificent start to the season so far but they are yet to face a real test in the Premier League.

This weekend’s clash with Liverpool will be the first real opportunity for the side for the Emirates to show the rest of the league that their challenge is genuine.

The Gunners travel to Anfield having dropped just two points, which Jens Lehmann handed to Blackburn on a plate following his goalkeeping howler, and a win in Liverpool will force the public to take them seriously.

And next week they face another huge test as Manchester United visit London in impressive form.

It may be too early to start talking about the destination of the Premier League trophy but if Arsenal take six points from their next two games it will take a brave man to bet against the kids from the Emirates landing the title.

Jol axed by Spurs

This week Martin Jol finally got axed by Tottenham after a series of terrible results.

As a Gooner I suppose I should be happy but the whole affair leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

This is not an attack on Spurs but, considering they rarely win anything, they have outrageously high expectations.

Under the Dutchman the North London side have battled their way to two fifth place finishes in two seasons.

And, although they have outlaid more money this season, they never gave Jol enough time to realise the ambitions of the squad.

Gone are the days when clubs gave their managers years to achieve success for and, considering that Tottenham have rarely played such good football or had such a good run in Europe, the move to sack Jol may come back to haunt them.

It looks as if Juande Ramos will be the new man at the Lane and I’m sure everyone will wish him luck.

Because if he doesn’t bring the club immediate success his days may be numbered.

Flood, fire, Farepak and financial distress

If we ever needed further proof that western governments only care about their wealthy citizens this was it

Sections of Los Angeles are currently ablaze and, keen to help the good folk of the region, the US government has extended aid to the area almost immediately.

Compare that to the plight of the victims of the New Orleans floods. A delayed government reaction. Accusations of looting and rape. No immediate airborne response.

Could that be anything to do with the difference between rich, successful white people and poor, working class black people?

And for those who think the British government are any better, look at the treatment of the Northern Rock and Farepak cases.

Last year thousands of citiznes, who had to save throughout the year for a plentiful Christmas, were devastated by the collapse of Farepak.

The government did nothing. The victims will only receive a few pence out of every pound they saved and will not see any money until 2008.

And the Rock savers got their money guaranteed. The Bank of England put more than £10 billion to help keep the bank afloat.

Surely a few million could have saved Christmas for the Farepak unfortunates.

Lets face it people. It’s not what your country can do for you, it’s what you can do for your country.

Is freedom of speech suffering a slow death?

Who would have though that freedom of speech was no longer an unalienable right?

First there was the situation in Burma where, although the nation’s regime is oppressive, resistance was crushed so violently and so brazenly while the world looked on and did nothing.

Then there was the trouble Copenhagen where left-wing groups, punk rockers and anarchists protested the closure of the Youth House, a popular hang out where concerts and parties were often staged.

Protests in the Danish capital resulted in violence as police prevented protestors from reaching an abandoned building they hoped to make the new Youth House.

More than 400 people were arrested.

And today four members of an anti-war protest group were jailed for their efforts in London.

Hundreds of protestors made the march to Trafalgar Square after police, who had threatened to use a 100 year old law to prevent the demonstration, finally gave in to people power.

Surely, in a world where communication is key, we should not be barred from reaching out to our governments in the most effective way imaginable.

It is strange to think, that in a time where most countries have, or crave, some form of democracy, that the leaders we elect to represent us can repress us by not letting us having the most fundamental of all rights.

The right to stand up and speak our minds.

Lay off Rafa the rotator

Football fans are the most fickle in the world.

You would think that after Rafa Benitez brought the first serious piece of silverware to the club in almost two decades, the 2005 Champions League, that he would be secure in his position for years to come.

Think again.

A number of Liverpool ‘fans’ have been calling for the head of Benitez after a series of disappointing league and Champions League results.

The reason for their discontent – Rafa’s rotating.

Most fans of the game would agree that Benitez needs to select his best first eleven and stick with it.

Rotation in itself is a good policy – if you have the squad to it. Liverpool, unlike the Manchester United sides of the early 90’s, have a lot of players that just aren’t up to the task.

But that should not course a knee jerk reaction. Lets not forget how erratic Liverpool were under Gerard Houllier and Roy Evans before him.

Benitez is aiming to build a new dynasty at Anfield and these things don’t happen overnight.

So how about a little patience Koppites?

Premier League the most exciting?

There has been a long standing debate over which national league is the best in the world and the argument looks set to rumble on for some time.

But from the last week of games in the Premier League, it is safe to say that the English top flight is certainly the most exciting.

It may not be the most technically gifted league in the world, I think that accolade goes to La Liga, and it may not have the world’s greatest players, which again can be found in the Spanish top division.

But where else can you see three teams, in the space of just a few days, score four times and still not win.

Reading came out on the wrong side of a 7-4 hammering at the hands of the impressive Portsmouth and Aston Villa and Tottenham finished all square at the Lane in a thrilling 4-4 draw.

Admittedly the teams are not the most tactically astute and it may an over physical, frenetic form of the beautiful game but there is no other league on the planet that can match it for pure enjoyment.