Is Mkhitaryan Signing For Arsenal In A Swap Deal For Alexis?

Henrikh Mkhitaryan will sign a three-and-a-half year contract that makes him the highest paid player at Arsenal, according to reports. The Armenian is in London with his agent, Mino Raiola, to complete a medical with the Gunners ahead of an imminent straight swap deal that will see Alexis Sanchez join Manchester United. It had been claimed that Mkhitaryan would ask for the same massive salary Arsenal had offered to Sanchez to try to keep him to stay, which would have been around £300,000-a-week.

But according to The Mirror, Mkhitaryan has settled on a £200,000-a-week deal – which still represents a massive pay hike compared to what he was earning at United. It also means Mkhitaryan is now the biggest earner at Arsenal, though the Gunners have tabled a contract offer to Mesut Ozil – whose current deal expires in the summer – that would eclipse that offer. As well as earning a bumper deal at Arsenal, Raiola also secured a hefty pay-off on the last two-and-a-half years of Mkhitaryan’s United contract, even threatening to scupper the Sanchez deal if they did not pay up. The 28-year-old’s contract works out at around £10.4m a year before tax, which is significantly less than the deal Sanchez has received at Old Trafford.

The Chilean will take home £14m a year after tax, making him the highest paid player in the Premier League by some margin, though it could cause a few problems at United. Raiola also represents Paul Pogba, and it has been claimed that the notorious agent will demand United give the Frenchman – their club-record signing – wage parity with Sanchez.

Arsenal 4 Crystal Palace 1

Arsenal ended a run of three Premier League games without a win as a four-goal burst in the first half helped to see off Crystal Palace. Nacho Monreal opened the scoring with a header and then assisted both of the next two goals for Alex Iwobi and Laurent Koscielny inside 13 minutes. Alexandre Lacazette then rounded off a brilliant move to make it 4-0 after 22 minutes. Luka Milivojevic scored late on, but Palace slipped to 13th in the table. Arsenal remain sixth, two points behind Tottenham.

Monreal’s part in Arsenal’s victory lasted just 34 minutes, with the Spanish defender being substituted due to an injury. His inclusion in the starting line-up was one of four changes to the side that had lost 2-1 at Bournemouth last week, with Mesut Ozil, also recalled after injury, outstanding in partnership with Jack Wilshere. Palace were much improved in the second half, but ultimately paid the price for their poor defending in the early part of the match to end a run of five games unbeaten away from Selhurst Park. Yohan Cabaye was carried off on a stretcher just before full time, and may add to a lengthy Palace injury list that includes Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andros Townsend, Mamadou Sakho and Scott Dann.

Possible moves for Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan had also dominated the Arsenal news agenda of late, but this was a performance that was perfectly timed for manager Arsene Wenger. His side had won only twice in their last nine league outings, but having Ozil, Monreal, Koscielny and Mohamed Elneny back gave Arsenal a much steelier look and feel compared to the one that seen a lead overturned at Bournemouth last time out. Ozil touched the ball six times in the wonderful move that ended with Lacazette’s goal, the German international providing the assist with a deft touch into the striker’s path. Arsenal may not come up against a defence as leaky as Palace’s in the remainder of the season, but if they are to make a couple of attacking additions then this display bodes well for the post-Sanchez era.

Saturday Sleep Fever

Today I was lazy. I dunno what happened but I just abandoned all my plans and slept in. I was supposed to go out in the morning by 11:30 am or atleast by noon, go to the aadhaar office and get my phone number connected to my aadhar account. After that I was to go to an Airtel or Idea office and get a new prepaid connection & SIM for a purpose which I shall get into in a later post. And then I thought I would go for a late but delicious pizza lunch at Pizzaeria 360. It was not to be.

I left the office late yesterday and ended up reaching home by around 5:30 am which meant less sleep. I struggled to go to sleep by 6 am and woke up at around 10:30 am but I was still tired and so I slept for about 45 minutes more. Even coffee couldn’t make me wanna go out. I still debated and planned for a while but at 1pm I gave up when shaving seemed like a huge chore. I then ordered a pizza for a late lunch – late because it arrived so late – and went to watch some tv. Pizza and a Sprite later I took a long nap.

This evening was more coffee and a light snack plus watching some football. The mosquitoes are out in full force but it’s an ok evening. I’ll watch a movie in a little while. Tomorrow will be more of relaxing and watching a couple of movies. And more Youtube. I will go to the aadhar office on Monday morning. I hope.

Missing Boston Video Library

Boston Video Library is one of the biggest nostalgia places for me from my mid teens to my mid 20s. The business no longer exists and while that is a sign of the times, it still remains to this day a reminder of simpler and good times. They had two branches – the first and original one was in Mattancherry, very close to my grandmother’s house. This was the place we got introduced to them. My cousins and I would go there during the summer vacations and select a couple of movies ever 2 days and watch them together during the evenings.

The second one is more special for one of my cousins and me. This branch was in a small business enclave in Convent Junction, Ernakulam meaning I didn’t have to go as far to rent movies. This branch was run by the youngest son of the business family that owned Boston Video Library but their main business was import of coir. Now, why the name Boston if they are from India, you say? Well I asked them that once and they told me that the very first international order they got was from a company in Boston and hence they named their next venture, the video libraries, after that city.

My cousin and I would spend many hours at the Ernakulam branch as we were pally with the younger son, Paresh, who was just a few years older than us. I remember when I was ill once and restricted to my bed, I would call in advance for selecting a few movies and Paresh would get them ready for me. A driver who chauffeured my dad would pick them up for me. Same after my operation in 1997. I watched so many movies from these guys. It’s part of my childhood and my early 20s. I will always miss the stores.

The Prophecy

The Prophecy is a 1995 American fantasy horror-thriller film starring Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, and Viggo Mortensen. It was written and directed by Gregory Widen, and is the first motion picture of The Prophecy series including four sequels. The film tells the story of the Archangel Gabriel (Walken) and his search for an evil soul on Earth, and a police detective (Koteas) who unknowingly becomes caught in the middle of an angelic civil war.

Thomas Dagget, a Catholic seminary student, loses his faith when he sees disturbing visions of a war between angels. Years later, Thomas is a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. While investigating a homicide, he is visited by Simon, an angel, who warns him of upcoming events. A second fallen angel, Usiel, a lieutenant of the angel Gabriel, is killed in an altercation with Simon. Investigating the disturbance, Thomas finds in Simon’s apartment the obituary of a recently deceased Korean War veteran named Colonel Arnold Hawthorne and the theology thesis about angels which Thomas himself wrote in seminary. Meanwhile, in Chimney Rock, Arizona, Simon finds the dead veteran awaiting burial and sucks the evil soul out of the body.

A dying Simon then hides Hawthorne’s soul in a little Native American girl, Mary, who immediately falls ill and is taken care of by her teacher, Katherine. Gabriel arrives and takes the helps of Jerry, a suicide, in the moment of his death and keeps him in a state of limbo. Jerry is now forced to do the bidding of Gabriel and etrieves Usiel’s belongings from the police station while Gabriel destroys Usiel’s body in the morgue. After finding Usiel’s burnt body, all evidence of its oddity now lost, Thomas hurries to Chimney Rock. Gabriel finds Simon, who refuses to reveal the location of Hawthorne’s soul and has his heart ripped out. Thomas examines Simon’s remains and questions Katherine. In Hawthorne’s home, he finds evidence of war crimes. During the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, Hawthorne’s regiment had massacred a huge number of Chinese soldiers and had ritually sacrificed many others, staking their bodies out. They had also engaged in cannibalism.

Thomas visits a church to reflect and is shaken by a verbal confrontation with Gabriel. He is beginning to understand the nature of the jealous angels who hate humans because God loves them most. Katherine finds Gabriel questioning the kids at the school but she has no idea who he is. After he leaves, she rushes to Mary’s home and finds Thomas there. As Mary’s condition worsens, Katherine takes Thomas to an abandoned mine where she had seen Gabriel. Inside, they find angelic script and experience together a terrible vision of the angelic war. They rush back to Mary’s home, only to find Gabriel and Jerry there. Thomas kills Jerry, who thanks him for the release. Katherine stops Gabriel temporarily when her wild gunshot misses him and blows up Mary’s trailer home. The three protagonists flee to a Native American site where Mary can be exorcised.

Gabriel meanwhile recruits a new unwilling assistant, Rachael, just as she dies of a terminal illness as he needs her because he doesn’t know how to drive. That night, Lucifer confronts Katherine and tells her that “other angels” have taken up this war against mankind, and since then, no human souls have been able to enter Heaven. He knows of Gabriel’s plot to use Hawthorne’s soul to overthrow the obedient angels. He also knows that if Gabriel wins the war under his influence Heaven will ultimately devolve into another Hell, which Lucifer considers “one Hell too many”. The next day, Lucifer appears to Thomas and advises him to use Gabriel’s lack of faith against him. Gabriel arrives and attempts to disrupt the exorcism ritual. Thomas kills Rachel, and he and Katherine fight Gabriel.

Lucifer appears first encouraging the tribe to complete the exorcism. Then he confronts Gabriel telling him that his war is based upon arrogance, which is evil, making it Lucifer’s territory. Gabriel taunts Lucifer about his past when he fell from grace; Lucifer tells Gabriel he needs to go home and rips out his heart. Simultaneously Mary expels out Hawthorne’s soul, a rancid cloud of evil. The “enemy ghost” starts to attack the people but a bright light from Heaven immediately destroys it. With the threat to his evil kingdom eliminated, Lucifer tells Thomas and Katherine to “come home” with him. They staunchly refuse. “I have my soul…and my faith,” declares Thomas. Lucifer drags Gabriel to Hell. As morning comes, Thomas comments on the nature of faith and what it means to truly be human.

It’s not a bad movie, with a stellar cast, but the end product isn’t that good. I’d give it a 7 outta 10!

Theo Walcott Moves To Everton

Theo Walcott has joined Everton in a bid to revive his career after 12 years at Premier League rival Arsenal. Everton announced the signing of the 28-year-old winger on Wednesday. Financial details weren’t disclosed but he has reportedly moved for around 20 million pounds ($28 million). Walcott, who scored 108 goals in 396 appearances for Arsenal, hasn’t been a first-choice pick for the past year and made the last of his 47 appearances for England in November 2016. He has yet to start a Premier League game this season.

Walcott is the second high-profile signing by Everton in the January transfer window, after Turkey striker Cenk Tosun, as recently hired manager Sam Allardyce looks to improve his options in attack. Arsenal’s longest-serving player aims to relaunch his faltering career after 12 years at the Emirates. And he says he joined the Toffees to WIN TROPHIES – having lifted just two under Arsene Wenger.

Walcott Has Medical At Everton

Theo Walcott has passed a medical and agreed personal terms with Everton ahead of his proposed move from Arsenal. Walcott was seen entering Everton’s training ground, Finch Farm, on Tuesday afternoon, and has completed and passed a medical ahead of his transfer. Sky Sports News understands the fee for the winger is in the region of £20m with just the final details of the deal left to be finalised. It seems the England international, 28, has played his last game for the Gunners, whom he joined from Southampton 12 years ago. Everton’s offer is expected to fend off rivals for his signature, including Southampton.

Walcott is also enticed by the prospect of Toffees manager Sam Allardyce helping to reignite his career. He has scored 108 goals in 397 appearances for Arsenal but has fallen out of favour with manager Arsene Wenger. If a deal goes through, Arsenal plan to use the funds to reinvest, with concrete interest in Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bordeaux forward Malcolm. They are hoping to sign Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a deal which would involve Alexis Sanchez going the other way. However, it is unlikely Arsenal would recruit all three players, and a source close to Mkhitaryan has told the BBC no agreement is close.

Allardyce has said Walcott would be a “fantastic addition” who would offer “goalscoring threat”. Wenger said he has told Walcott he wants him to stay but added on Friday he has not guaranteed game time to the player, who has 18 months left on his contract. Meanwhile, the Gunners have offered a new deal to England midfielder Jack Wilshere. The offer is worth less than his current deal but is heavily incentivised. The 26-year-old is out of contract at the Emirates at the end of the season.

The Longest Wait

What is the hardest thing you had to wait for?

In 2011 I had trouble with money and hence I was mostly broke. One of the options I had was to go to my previous place of employment and claim my Provident Fund money. I knew that for the 4 years and 2 months that I had worked there, I could withdraw my entire PF money, which has my monthly contribution and is matched by the company, from the CTC of my salary.

So I went to the office, met some ex-colleagues and say hi and then went to the HR who files these claims for you. He told me that it would take a while to get the claim money to my bank account. My heart fell as I was broke at the time but still filled in the form and signed on the dotted line. I filed the claim with them and they sent it to Mumbai. I have never waited so much for something that I was desperate for. I counted the hours and the days until I heard a “ding” on my phone messages and picked it up to read that the money, which came upto almost Rs. 75,000 had been deposited in my bank account in two installments on the same day.

It was a huge relief and that lasted me for more than 3 months during which time I could relax. I had needed to pay off some pending bills and that was good. The wait was so worthy.

Prompt from 31 Days of January Writing Prompts at The SitsGirls

RIP Dolores O’Riordan

The Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan has died suddenly at the age of 46, her publicist has confirmed. The Irish musician, originally from Limerick, led the band to international success in the 90s with singles including Linger and Zombie.

A statement from her publicist said: “The lead singer with the Irish band The Cranberries was in London for a short recording session. A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said the police were called to a hotel in Park Lane at 09:05 GMT on Monday, where “a woman in her mid-40s” was pronounced dead at the scene. The death is, at this stage, unexplained.

Her current band mates in The Cranberries – Noel Hogan, Fergal Lawler, and Mike Hogan – paid tribute to the lead singer on social media. The message said: “She was an extraordinary talent and we feel very privileged to been part of her life from 1989.” Her publicist added: “Family members are devastated to hear the news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.” The Cranberries shot to international fame with their 1993 debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? and went on to sell over 40 million records worldwide. In 2017 The Cranberries announced a tour including dates in Europe, the UK, and the US.

However, in May – shortly into the European tour – the group had to cancel the remainder of the European dates as a result of O’Riordan’s health issues. The official Cranberries website cited “medical reasons associated with a back problem” preventing singer Dolores O’Riordan from performing. But just before Christmas O’Riordan had posted on Facebook saying she was “feeling good” and had done her “first bit of gigging in months”, leading fans to believe she would soon be performing again. O’Riordan split from her husband of 20 years, Don Burton in 2014. She and Burton, who is the former tour manager of Duran Duran, have three children together.

The singer was arrested over an alleged air rage incident in 2014 but was released without charge, after a stewardess was reportedly attacked on a flight from New York to Shannon, County Clare. O’Riordan was taken to hospital in Limerick after being questioned by police and later discharged. Two years later, O’Riordan was ordered to pay 6,000 euros (£5,300) to charity for headbutting a police officer after an alleged air rage incident. She was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2015, which she said explained why she was in a “manic” state on the plane. In an interview in 2013 she said that she had been abused as a child, which led to her developing an eating disorder, and eventually she suffered a breakdown. She described her family, especially her children, as her “salvation”.

O’Riordan, the youngest of seven children, had written her own songs since she was 12. She joined the band while still in her teens, after spotting an advert for a female singer for rock band The Cranberry Saw Us. Later changed to The Cranberries, the band’s most successful tracks include Linger (1993), Zombie (1994) – a protest song about bombings that took place in relation to the conflict in Northern Ireland – as well as No Need To Argue (1994) and To the Faithful Departed (1996). O’Riordan briefly pursued a solo career after the band split in 2003, before The Cranberries reunited in 2009.

Biggest Guilty Pleasure?

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Chocolate. Oh so sinful and delicious chocolate. I can’t stop loving it. It also is like a reward at the end of a long week at work. A little thank you for the struggles and the long hours and less sleep and the shitty stuff that happens on a daily basis. I need that something at the weekend.

It is a guilty pleasure and yes I know that. A nice big chocolate bar that I can put in the freezer for an hour or so and then watch a movie and slowly eat that bar. Hmmmm. But my favourite is now M&M chocolate peanuts which are the best snack ever. Buy a couple of those bags – which are not cheap – once or twice a month and at the end of a long week, pop in a movie, lie down in bed and enjoy those treats.

What to do! I enjoy them a lot and yes I can stop if I wanted to but I don’t have much else to look forward to.

Prompt from 31 Days of January Writing Prompts from The SitsGirls

Bournemouth 2 Arsenal 1

Arsenal’s miserable recent run continued as goals from Callum Wilson and Jordon Ibe saw Bournemouth come from behind to put a further dent in the Gunners’ pursuit of a top-four place. Arsene Wenger’s men are now without a win in five games in all competitions, and five points adrift of fourth place in the Premier League, after Bournemouth extended their unbeaten run to four games to move further away from the bottom three. Defender Hector Bellerin had given the visitors – playing without forward Alexis Sanchez – the lead when he latched on to a defence-splitting Alex Iwobi pass to squeeze the ball past Asmir Begovic. But Wilson took advantage of Petr Cech’s indecision as he got to Ryan Fraser’s low cross before the Arsenal keeper and poked it past him.

The 25-year-old then turned provider, bringing down Lewis Cook’s cross for Ibe to rifle home. Eddie Howe’s side savoured a first ever Premier League victory over Arsenal, at the seventh attempt, the victory moving them up to 13th place and four points away from danger. But for Wenger, who was completing his three-game touchline ban for verbally abusing an official, it was further disappointment as speculation mounts that Sanchez’s departure is imminent. A strong first-half Gunners performance, in which 20-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles rattled the crossbar, was undone in less than five calamitous second-half minutes.

AND STILL THAT FUCKING WANKER ARSEHOLE MOTHERFUCKING WANKER is in charge. Ivan Gazidis and Wenger suck Kronke the donkey’s balls on a nightly basis and keep their job! Fuck off!

The Shape Of Water

The Shape of Water is a 2017 American romantic dark fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. The film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Hewlett and Octavia Spencer. Set in Baltimore in 1962, the story follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who befriends a captured amphibian.

The movie is set somewhere in the early 1960s during the height of the Cold War. At a secret government laboratory in Baltimore scientists are conducting tests on a humanoid amphibian, caught in a South American river, that was worshiped as a god by the natives. Colonel Strickland is in charge of getting the creature from South America to the United States, in the hopes that testing it’s abilities will let them gain an advantage in the space race. Elisa Esposito is a custodian who works in the facility’s night shift and who lives alone in an apartment above a movie theatre.

Elisa was rendered mute as a child by an injury to her neck. Her only friends are Giles, a closeted gay artist and neighbour, as well as Zelda, an African-American co-worker who also serves as her interpreter at work.  Elisa is not afraid of the creature and begins visiting the creature in secret and the two form a close bond, feeding it boiled eggs which it seems to like. When Strickland’s superior General Frank Hoyt orders Strickland to dissect the creature in order to learn it’s secrets, Elisa convinces Giles to help her sneak the creature out of the lab. One scientist, Robert Hoffstetler, who is secretly a Soviet spy, pleads unsuccessfully to keep the creature alive for further study, and is also ordered by his Soviet spymasters to euthanize the creature sees Elisa and Giles and helps them.

Using chemicals given to her by Hoffstetler, Elisa keeps the creature in a filled bathtub in her apartment. She & Giles plan to release him into a nearby canal when it opens to the ocean in several days.  Strickland interrogates Elisa and Zelda, but he dismisses the notion that “the help” could be involved. Back at the apartment Giles discovers the creature eating one of Giles’ cats. Startled, the creature slashes Giles’ arm and bolts from the apartment. The creature gets as far as the cinema downstairs before Elisa finds him and returns him to her apartment. The creature touches Giles on his balding head and and his wounded arm, and the next morning Giles discovers that his hair has grown back and the wounds on his arm are healed. Meanwhile, Elisa joins the creature in the bathroom and they have sex.

Strickland becomes increasingly disturbed during his investigations, pressured by Gen. Hoyt, just as the creature’s health starts to deteriorate.  Strickland follows Hoffstetler and hears him speaking in Russian, kills the spymasters and then tortures Hoffstetler for information. Strickland then goes to Zelda’s house and threatens her and her husband, who gives away Elisa’s address.Strickland searches Elisa’s apartment and finds a calendar note revealing where she is taking the creature. At the canal, Elisa and Giles bid farewell to the creature, but Strickland arrives and shoots both the creature and Elisa. The creature heals himself and kills Strickland (who remarks just before he is killed that maybe the creature is a god). As police arrive on the scene with Zelda, the creature takes Elisa and jumps into the canal, where he heals her and transforms her neck scars into gills.

The movie ends with a narration from Giles reveals that Elisa and the creature escaped together and probably lived happy and long lives. It’s a beautiful and stunning movie to watch. The film does has some dull moments but overall I think it’s done very well. The creature looks fantastic and Doug Jones is a chameleon. Praise must be given to some stellar acting from Sally Hawkins & Richard Jenkins. 8 outta 10!

Ranking Batman Actors

  1. Ben Affleck
  2. Christian Bale
  3. Michael Keaton
  4. Val Kilmer
  5. George Clooney

It’s hard for me to say this but Affeck’s version appeals to me the most. I never used to like the block too much and even ignored a lot of his movies. But after watching him don on the dark suit, he is the one I like the most.

Poor George – he is my fav actor in this list but what the fuck was that movie he was in as Batman? It was terrible.

Ranking Batman Films

Now, this is my list and my ranking is based on how much I liked the film and enjoyed it. Your list may differ from mine. That’s ok – publish your own list or share the list below in the comments.

  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Batman vs Superman : Dawn of Justice
  3. Batman Forever
  4. Batman Begins
  5. Batman Returns
  6. Batman
  7. Batman : The Dark Knight Rises
  8. Batman & Robin

I am not including Justice League since it’s 5 main characters but BvsS has a lot of focus on Batman and hence, for me, it counts.