“It’s a 11 month holiday” was Trapattoni’s damning verdict after Anthony Stokes pulled out of Ireland’s squad for the Carling Nations Cup. Gio couldn’t understand Stokes’ reason for not playing and for him ‘fatigue’ didn’t count as a valid reason.
Much the same way, England and more specifically Stuart Pearce couldn’t understand that Wilshere playing his first full season as a top flight footballer in the Premiership could also be tired. There were the stats that revealed that he was on the verge of sustaining an injury. I’m glad we have these stats because they have been so useful in preventing injuries for us in the past…
Side stepping that last jibe, I can see where both sides are coming from. Living in the UK, I’m used to around 22 days of paid holiday. And as much as I appreciate the benefits of full time working now which also explains the long hiatus, absence of my musings on here, working is not a 11 month holiday – give or take-. I also know that even though I suck at playing football myself and I can’t do the amazing things that professional footballers do I do not consider playing a laborious, unenjoyable task. So if I was any good at it, I’d want to play and milk every opportunity I could. Or so is the thought held in certain quarters of the football echelon. Besides it’s just a game or two so how much harm could it do when they do have a few weeks off, basically putting their feet up so to speak.
However, what these old school thinkers fail to realize is that although professional footballers can put aside physical fatigue, mental fatigue is a much more complex. Jack for instance, has had enormous responsibility, a lot of it unwanted in his first season. That he excelled for last parts of it, is a blessing and we’re all glad for it. But towards the end of the season it was clear to see that his performances were a reflection of the toll his body took mentally and physically. The same could be said of Stokes, whose side was involved in a last day title battle with Rangers. Stokes also had to work for a manager who received constant threats to his safety, something which should have no place for football.
As much as I love International football (not too keen on the glorified friendlies today though, if ever) Wilshere not featuring this summer for the England under 21 represents a small success for us. Too often we have let our players go freely without making too much of a fuss about it. Too often have they come back from international duty, injured. Van Persie injured playing a ‘friendly’ against Italy? How often have we seen Giggs time after time pull out of numerous friendlies for Wales? Indeed if you look at Utd’s squad, Giggs, Scholes, Van der Sar, Berbatov, Park-ji-Sung – retired. That doesn’t include a few others who haven’t featured prominently at International level. These players benefit from being able to switch off football temporarily – physically and mentally.
I’m not asking for our players to reject playing for their national countries, but they have to think deeper about these things. I’m also asking for managers to think about the footballers in not so black and white terms. As for our club, like I said a small victory and one that we should build on, but perhaps given the season just gone it doesn’t appear too likely that will.
Like you I can’t wait for the season to begin. Is it because I miss not watching Arsenal every weekend? No, not so much that but because at least we won’t have to read/discuss transfer speculation as much.
So we don’t have a new goalkeeper. Almunia or Fabianski will start at Anfield. Oh but they’re shit. They can’t catch, they can’t throw, they can’t save, they fall over, spit at people and sometimes even threaten people with plastic knives. We won’t win anything with them. Oh Really? Not even a game?
We need a central defender because we’ve let 4 go and brought just one. Ah yes, that makes sense. So, I dunno how about Spahic? Yeah, but I’ve never heard of him and he’s only the Bosnian captain. And to be honest I’d much rather have a player who I’ve actually heard of that can be our 4th choice defender.
A close friend of mine said to me “I wished we signed Joe Cole. He would have been a nice understudy for Nasri and Walcott.” What the fuck? Since when did we start thinking like the Man City owners?
And in case you’re wondering, I was being sarcastic in my analysis of Spahic. Just because we’ve never heard of Spahic as much doesn’t mean he’d be shit.
I mean England had all these big name players and how did they do in the World Cup? Exactly.
A supposedly better goalkeeper, strong reserves in defence could help. But what will really help is if our midfield manages to keep working hard until the last minute. Against Celtic in the Emirates Cup, we lost our way in midfield and Celtic took the initiative scoring twice. Once our midfield regained the ability to keep possession we were able to shut out Celtic. Of course there are defensive lapses but who doesn’t? Chelsea conceded more goals off set pieces than us didn’t they last season? Utd’s defence was suspect at times too. Liverpool’s defence was not so bad but where did they get them?
Carrying on with the analysis of our squad on paper then yes our team or squad if you will isn’t as strong as some of our rivals. But weren’t we saying the same last year? The fact is, even without our most astute forward Robin missing a large chunk of the season, we were STILL in touch with Utd and Chelsea. It was only when our midfield fell apart i.e. Song, Denilson, Cesc missing games (Remember the collapse at Wigan?) that we really lost our way.
Even if our team isn’t strong on paper, why should we be so overly negative? Burnley had a shit team but they got their act together to beat Utd. Wigan were woeful for most parts of the season but had enough to beat Liverpool, Chelsea and us. So if these teams are capable of beating the top teams why can’t we?
Believe. And a bit of luck. In a recent interview by Edu, he revealed how the invincibles almost defeated the opposition before they even kicked the ball. We were that intimidating. Times have changed. The Premiership is going to be more competitive this season. We can’t intimidate opposition as much as before. But we can go with this ‘We know we might not be the best but we will give our best’. For me, that is enough.
Forget all this transfer talk, get behind the team. We have a tough one on Sunday. Discard the fact that Liverpool finished 7th last season. New management and all that. They are going to be fierce. And our team needs our support. We might start with Frimpong. What a debut that would be for him. Wilshere could feature. Cesc and RVP might not. Theo needs all the love after a forgetful summer largely spent in the end laughing at the team that was England. It means supporting whoever is in Goal.
Basically each one of them needs our support. Who knows, we might even get a positive result.
I’ll give you a clue. In the last 6 months he has signed two players with Champions League experience on free transfers.
Forget all that bullshit about Harry Redknapp loving bargain signings, Arsene has done it yet again. He could have signed Chamakh before that but coulda woulda shoulda. If you could, for example have an xbox for free, you’d wait 6 months as well wouldn’t you?
After months and months of speculation, Chamakh is now officially a Gooner. If he is just as successful, (if not more) as the last Bordeaux player to sign for us I’ll be happy. I kinda liked the last dude from their club. He loved scoring against Utd, particularly on their turf. The players who relish the big games, not get stuck in the expecations and ‘what if we lose’ mentality. And I’ve just checked the free vid where Arsene has called Chamakh a fighter. Maybe we could have the first couscous gate at Old Trafford. On a serious note, it is nice to see that Arsene has signed a player not just for his technical qualities. Then again it isn’t the first time he has done that.
I’m in awe of Chamakh and a skeptic at the same time. Getting Sol was relatively straightforward. He trained and trained well with us. No one else really wanted him. We needed a defender and he wanted to sign for us.
With Chamakh, there were probably a lot of other clubs interested. It helps that we got in the Champions League directly but for some players money is more important isn’t it? Sorry, Sorry they sign for “the project”. The Moroccan knew he would get anything near as what he could have earned had he opted to call the likes of Man City, Chelsea etc. But he chose us.
I’m a skeptic at the same time because he says he has been a Gooner fan since he was a child. Marouane’s what 26 now? I find it hard to believe he was going crazy when the Gooners did it in 89, 91, 93 etc. Basically when we won stuff in the George Graham era. But Arsene joined in 97 didn’t he? Chamakh would have been what, 13? It is possible that the child in him then brought himself to support the Gooners. I’ve been a Gooner since late 1999 and I’m only twenteenthree. Then again I was brought up in a country where domestic league football came a distant second to the World Cup. More on that another time.
With Marouane now at the club, you can’t help thinking one striker is going to leave. Then again knowing Arsene, he’ll probably use Chamakh, Bendtner, Eduardo and Vela to replace each other as the second striker who plays on either flank. That’s our rotational injury policy. It isn’t voluntary.
Anyway, I digress. Welcome Marouane Chamakh. Here’s hoping you shut up off the pitch and score a lot of goals on it. Then again, reading the tweets last night about how cute his accent is, you wouldn’t want him to shut up completely would you?
You know what I don’t get sometimes? How newspapers are confident enough to throw a figure to a wind up story. Arsene has £40 million to spend. He will buy buy buy. Here is the list *100 players linked to Arsenal, Arsenal Youth, Arsenal kids but none to Arsenal Ladies*.
I mean Arsenal could have offered Gallas just 80k but they could have also offered him 80k and a bag of Werthers Originals per week couldn’t they? On. a. one. year. deal.
Back in January I was slightly worried that Gallas’ name didn’t feature in the list of 15 players who renewed their contracts with Arsenal. Indeed it says a lot about our club that none of the 15 who signed on were defenders. Unless you count Song, JET and Lansbury (he can play at right back). Back in January, Arsene revealed he had preliminary talks with Gallas. At that time I was thinking “preliminary”? Sign him up boss. Vermaelen was loving his partnership with Gallas.
Billy G was the perfect player according to Arsene wasn’t he? He does his job and shuts up. Two months later and it all caught up. Gallas would be ruled out for the reason yet again. That is 2 seasons in a row where he didn’t play the last 6 weeks.
Last year without him, Utd outplayed us in the CL semi’s. This year we lost our way in the Premiership and the CL. It helps to put in perspective why contract talks still haven’t reached a definite conclusion yet. 80k a week is good value if
1) He spoke a little more. You know, being senior defender and all. Lack of communication contributed to our defensive lapses and it is no surprise that the one game where Clichy spoke we kept a clean sheet. Billy G could definitely do that.
2) a clause was inserted whereby he would forfeit about 50% wages if he missed a month or so, especially the last 6 weeks.
Come to think of it, maybe we should do this for all our players. Except Cesc. All men are equal, some more so than others and all that.
No Billy G deserves a new deal but IF we are to believe what the papers say, he has to show a bit more common sense. After all, he is the one who left Chelsea to join us. And he could have earned a lot more if he was still there. Perhaps he ought to remember why he joined Arsenal and then everything else will follow. If after that he thinks circumstances including the money isn’t right for him to stay then fair enough, he should go wherever he wants.
Trouble for us then is that who would be able to replace him and that too at Wenger value? Actually I would like to know names at these point. People who follow other domestic leagues feel free to speculate who Arsene could bring just generally. Not names from football manager or any other SIM games. Years ago Bramble was meant to be the next big thing. Enough said?
Anyway back to the Billy G issue. You can’t expect Sol to play the number of games Gallas did. It could be the Flamini situation all over again. I just hope some sort of compromise comes out and Billy G dances with us rather than moonwalk past Arsenal into a comfortable but not as challenging environment.
PS: In 2008-9 we conceded 37 goals. Too many that year. The season just gone we conceded 41 goals. Gallas or no Gallas the team must put more effort to prevent a further decline of the defence.