Backpage Roundup:Juicy transfer rumours after that GAME on Saturday!

Saturday’s fantastic game and result at the Grove still has the entire Gooner Nation buzzing. I imagine Arsčne is quietly “flicking up the V’s” at his critics at the moment. Good luck to him. We did play very well, but were lucky to catch Yoonited on an off-day, especially with their finishing. Manuel Almunia pulled off one very good save in the first half and Christiano Ronaldo missed a copper-bottomed chance he would have buried on just about any other day. Good. Ronaldo is a fantastic player but a cheat. He goes down more than a porn star. He also strikes me as an arrogant tool as a human being.
There’s a very thin line between confidence and arrogance. The trick is to believe in yourself and your team-mates but not to bowl around thinking you’re eight feet tall with a ten inch “old chap” (the latter only if you’re a geezer of course!) I think we walked that line quite well yesterday. Now let’s see if we can put a run together. The Yoof against the Pie-Eaters at the Grove on Tuesday should be fun. I’ve come to love Carling Cup nights at the Grove. The tickets are affordable and lots of season ticket holders give themselves a night off which means a much younger and local crowd determined to enjoy their night out.
Saturday sees the visit of Aston Villa in the League. Another big game for us. More on that later in the week.
On the transfer rumour front a number of papers and websites have us signing young Brazilian striker Lenny from Palmeiras of   São Paulo in the January window. He’d have to be loaned out to a continental team as he neither qualifies for an EU/EEA passport nor has the necessary international appearances to get a UK Work Permit. Some sources have us agreeing to loan him to Salamanca in Spain a la Carlos Vela to get him qualified for a Work Permit.
Yesterday’s Sunday Mirror links us with forward Vincenzo Iaquinta of Juventus and midfielder Daniele De Rossi of AS Roma. De Rossi is a good tackler and passer and has a Howitzer shot. Although right footed, he has a decent left foot and can play on the left of central midfield. Both played for Italy in the 2006 World Cup Final, De Rossi returning to play as a substitute in the Final having been banned for four games and fined 10,000 Swiss Francs (about £4,500 at the time) for elbowing USA forward Brian McBride in the Italy v USA group game, a blow which left McBride needing three stitches. Cop that! De Rossi also had a great game for Roma against Chavski in the Stadio Olimpico last week. Like most tabloid rumours I imagine its complete testicles but he’d certainly do for me. Iaquinta I’m not so sure about personally, especially with Eduardo expected to return soon.
My greatest Arsenal  and World XI
Now then, back to my Greatest Arsenal and World XI’s. First the goalkeeper for Arsenal. John Lukic beat out Jens Lehmann for a spot in the final five on the basis of his steady consistency in his two spells at the club. Mad Jens had one outstanding season for us in 2005/6 which also saw him play well for Germany in their run to third place in the 2006 World Cup. He was also goalie in our Invincibles team which won the League in 2003/4. Overall however a) he was a complete nutter and b) he pressed the big red self-destruct button too often for my liking.
The choice for the starting spot came down to Pat Jennings and David Seaman. Both models of consistency, Pat Jennings just shades it for me. Many Gooners think of Pat as a Spurs player. 327 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal make him more than qualified for consideration for my Greatest Arsenal XI IMHO. I also love the fact that we signed him for £50,000 from Spurs on the basis that they couldn’t hold back Barry Daines anymore. Daines became known as “Teflon” (i.e. he couldn’t stick to anything) at the Lane. Spuds never managed to adequately replace Jennings as he enjoyed eight seasons with us. Arf! He was capped 119 times by Northern Ireland, playing in the 1982 World Cup in Spain during his time with us.
Jennings therefore starts in goal, with David Seaman on the bench and Bob Wilson as third choice in my squad of 25.
For the World XI I had a VERY difficult choice. I had the luck to see the wonderful Lev Yashin play for the USSR as a very young boy against Wales in 1965 in a World Cup qualifier at Ninian Park in October 1965, over two years before  my first Arsenal game. I was in Wales during winter half-term for a week and my younger uncle who was a football fan took me along to get me out of my grandparents’ hair for an evening. Even though I was only nine years old I remember Yashin’s performance very well. Wales won 2-1 and it would have been more if it hadn’t been for Yashin. I also remember his all-black playing strip.
He made 74 appearances for the USSR, winning the European Championship in 1960 and an Olympic gold medal in Melbourne in 1958, playing in three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1966) in addition to being a non-playing third choice goalie in 1970. His farewell match for Dynamo Moscow against a World XI in the Lenin Stadium in Moscow in 1971 featured Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer and Eusébio. He was also an outstanding ice hockey goaltender playing frequently for Dynamo Moscow in the Soviet Elite League. Older Gooners who were there (I’ve spoken to two who were) will also tell you about the fantastic game he had for the Rest of the World XI against England at Wembley in the FA Centenary Match in 1963. He remains the only goalie to be named European Football of the Year. The best goalkeeper award at each World Cup is now named after him.
I had the chance to see Ladislao Mazurkiewicz (who, as his name suggests, was the son of Polish immigrants) play for Uruguay against France in the 1966 World Cup in a match played at the old White City which was principally an athletics stadium. The game was played there because Wembley was booked for a greyhound meeting, believe it or not. How times change! My school games teacher arranged a group trip. Mazurkiewicz had an absolute blinder with Uruguay winning 2-1. I also saw Mazurkiewicz play for Granada in a pre-season four team tournament in his one season in Europe in 1974-5.
He had two absolute blinders against Deportivo La Coruña and his old Uruguayan club Peñarol of Montevideo. Granada was then in the Spanish second division but was invited along with Peñarol and Real Madrid  to participate in the tournament, then an annual event hosted by local club Deportivo in the Spanish seaside resort of La Coru ña, on the strength of Mazurkiewicz’s drawing power at the gate. He appeared in three World Cups (1966, 1970 and 1974) for Uruguay, won the Copa Libertadores twice and the World Club Cup once with Peñarol and the Brazilian National Championship with Atlético Mineiro of Belo Horizonte. He’s generally considered to be the greatest ever goalkeeper produced in South America.
Gordon Banks will always be remembered for that save against Brazil from a header by Pelé in a 1970 World Cup group match in the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara. An absolutely fantastic goalie. Peter Schmeichel I cordially detested as a Manc, for his attitude and that famous row with Ian Wright. He was however a superb goalie. Peter Shilton was also a fabulous keeper. I always remember him appearing for Leicester City at Highbury just after the story about him being caught in the back of a car with a woman who was not his wife.
He got so much stick from the North Bank that afternoon but he took it like a trooper. He made himself a bit of a target by appearing in what was then a highly unusual strip for a goalie of all-white. Football League rules then insisted that all goalies where green, red, blue or white jerseys with the same shorts and stockings as the outfield players. Yellow jerseys were reserved for the England national team. In practice most goalies almost always wore green except at Home Park against Plymouth Argyle (for obvious reasons), with the odd blue and red top occasionally seen. That afternoon was the only time I can remember seeing a goalie wear white under those regulations. As Leicester City wore white shorts and stockings he ended up in all-white. On reflection this made him all too conspicuous when a low profile might have been advisable. Not that the North Bank wouldn’t have given him plenty no matter what he was wearing!
After much reflection my pick for the starting line-up goes to Ladislao Mazurkiewicz with Lev Yashin on the bench and Gordon Banks at third pick for the squad of 25.
Next up, my nominations for right-back for Arsenal and the World XI.

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