It’s been a pretty damn good week to be a Gooner, what with winning the North London Derby and bringing back 3 points from an undefeated Leicester. The first was a must win game after 2 chastening defeats vs Zagreb and Chelsea, we needed something to go our way and Flamini ensured of that in a big way. The second was a performance that showed our forward threat being back with a bang and Lord knows that we needed Alexis Sanchez to start firing again.
But that’s not what I wanted to speak mostly about today. I’ll come on to AFC footballing matters a little later but there have been 2 things in the media this week that caught my attention and I wanted to touch upon them.
We firstly had Alan Shearer castigating Florian Thuavin for a lack of tracking back in the Newcastle game. His words were, and we’ve heard them so often before where lazy punditry is concerned, “you might be able to get away with that in the French league but in the premier league, you have to track back”. As if to suggest that the Premier League is the pinnacle of world football, well I’ve got news for you Alan, it is actually a league that is falling behind the best in Europe. And fast. It’s actually not even close. Remember that the best in France (PSG) knocked out the best in England (Chelsea) last season at the last 16 stage last season if I remember rightly, and with a man to spare. The gulf between the leagues of Europe is a large and expanding one and I’ve touched on that previously, but that’s not what I want to point out here. It’s that someone should really have the pundits of today take a course of some kind as playing football doesn’t seem to be enough to of a qualification. People like Shearer think that they can simply make sugar coated-ly, institutionally racist remarks and get away with it. They aren’t good because they’re French is the mantra that people were forced to believe 20-30 years ago simply because there wasn’t a wealth of information available to people. Well it is now and added to that the “you must be real men’s men to play football” people are a dying breed, thankfully so I might add. It’s this sort of short sightedness that is so influential for the youth of today and more importantly our youth. It holds us back psychologically from a grass roots level up and imbibes a subconscious hatred or snobbery without any real justification. It’s plain awful and the sooner Gary Neville starts running a football university for idiotic ex players the better (not commentary just to add). David Ginola was quite right to correct ‘Big Al’ on his quite baseless comments.
Another point of complete exasperation that I came across were some choice words from Steven Gerrard about Brendan Rogers. Now let me make a truly objective statement before I begin my analysis; I truly thought of him as a genuinely brilliant footballer and one who was damn unlucky not to win the league with Liverpool. I almost willed them to win it over Man City purely because I thought a player of his stature deserved to win the trophy. I have now completely changed my outlook on the matter and I’ll tell you why. This week he made comments stating that Brendan Rogers was the reason they lost to Chelsea THAT day. He’s said that he filled them with over confidence and because of that the players had all gotten too far ahead of themselves and won the game in their heads before it had happened. That’s what apparently cost them the league. This said at a time when the manager is under the most immense pressure for his job. At a time when even if a new manager comes in, he’ll have to work with the same crop of players until January at which points any changes would be temporary at best. All I need to say is that Gerrard is a pillock of the highest variety. What an utter coward and disgrace to his football club. I’m completely sure that the reason he fell over was all Brendan Rogers’ fault. Nothing at all to do with himself. It’s not the first time I’ve seen him criticise people from afar when he knows that he in no way will be ever proved wrong. I really do feel sorry for the managers of today, Mourinho aside of course, because they are under the most immense pressure and it’s not as though they are trying to mess things up. They are fundamentally trying to do well and get results for the clubs we love. It’s just low, callous & cowardly swipe at a man clinging on. I’m now happy the classless, Mr. I can do no wrong, slipped. You slipped Stevie, not Brendan Rogers, you.
Onto some good stuff now. Arsenal. What a week to be a Gooner. Against Sp*rs it was pure will that got us through as in the second half they looked the better side. But we needed that type of gritty win against tough opposition to remind ourselves that we’re actually a half decent side. The real bang came from an exquisite attacking display vs Leicester. We defended well be Sp*rs and conceded a really unlucky goal, but against Leicester we let in 2 horrendous goals. The first coming from a 2 v 2 in the first 15 mins and it could have been worse as our back 4 looked vulnerable. Cech rescued us a couple of times and the woodwork also helped out, but our counter attacking football was too good for Leicester. We got 5 and could have quite easily had 8 or 9. They are a good side going forward so you can see how they might exploit us for their first goal but the second coming in the 89th minute was simply because we didn’t react to the second ball. That is why the Ox doesn’t start as many games as we think he should. It looks as though he knows where to be but his body just reacts a little slowly to his surroundings and to that point nothing seems preempted. It suggests he doesn’t read the game so well, which is fine as he’s still very young but I hope he catches on sooner rather than later because this season will become attritional for him rather than career defining. And I just have to mention Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil. Cazorla now apparently has the most assists in the Premier League since having signed for Arsenal and Ozil is on the chase. One sublime assist for Alexis’s second goal and the touch into Bellerin’s path for his first was world class. Also his strength and poise to help conduct a swift counter for Walcott’s goal was again brilliant. They are becoming indispensable for us which is making the managers first choice 11 easy but rotation a truly difficult task.
We’ve had a pretty good weekend all around to be fair, what with Gabriel’s ban now only 1 game and Costa having a 3 game ban to deal with. The Chelsea fans have got their #campaign signs out again but it looks like Costa is in the limelight for the wrong reasons alone this time around and the referees will be well aware of it. The weekend was capped off as City lost again, Chelsea continue to falter and only United seem to want to win games so we’ve now closed the gap to the top to only 3 points. However it was quite refreshing to see that Pellegrini said offside goals are part and parcel of the game, and that City didn’t create enough to warrant a win. Well said – Wenger and Mourinho could both learn a thing or two in losing with a bit more grace.
We now play Olympiacos at home before welcoming United to the Emirates. 2 games that are absolutely must win for both our Champions League and Premier League ambitions. It’s a good chance to reinstate our belief that we can actually compete for the top prize come May.
Have a great week folks.
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