Good morning football fans of all colour, creeds and persuasions.
Today I have nothing to talk about. I can’t remember what went on yesterday and I’m stuck on the Underground pondering why my Times newspaper app doesn’t auto download the sport section. I don’t care about the real world. I won’t let anything put football in perspective. Don’t you hate it when people say that?
‘Yah, yah, it’s things like 280 people dying on a plane that put football in perspective’
What a pointless statement. Do people say that outside football?
‘Dave, I know you’re upset that you f*cked up that spreadsheet, but a sheep farmer just went under the wheel of a tractor in Devon. Chin up son.’
Anyway, I had a read the tweets and blogs yesterday. I find it amazing how many people go out of their way to trivialise the angst of football fans. Like they can dictate the mood. If the state of the club on the pitch doesn’t deeply disturb you, fine. Don’t make out that the people who are bothered by it are overreacting. The same people pushing lines like that are the same people who were telling us 5 years ago the Wenger master plan would give us global dominance for forever and a day.
‘Chillax man, look at the way that Carling Cup side tore Sheffield United a new one. We’re building for a better future’
Well, now the future is here, it’s looking pretty average. What’s worse is the names being shunted around to make things better are pretty average. Maybe that’s the best we can hope for these days?
Now Huntelaar may have ripped us a new one, but so has Grant Holt two seasons running. I remember being quite excited about the young Dutchman when the stadium opened to a Bergkamp testimonial. He was banging them in for Ajax and boasted a compilation video of bicycle kick goals.
Basically, as far as I was concerned, this guy was the next Ian Wright and I’d pretty much discovered him myself. Then the game started. He scored, but he was quite lazy and very slow, now that was 6 years ago. Since then he’s bombed in Milan and Madrid. He’s scoring in Germany, but I still have my doubts around the strength of their league. I think he’d score for us, but really, is a 29 year old who never really set the scene alight a progressive move or another one of Wenger’s stop gap knee jerk signings?
Then there’s Zaha. I like the look of him. There’s talent there. Is he better than Gnabry or the Ox? It’s up for debate. Is he better than Theo? No way. So what’s the point? Bar being a massive Gooner, I’m not sure whether we need another potential punt on the books.
Other names we’re talking about are Frank Lampard. He has bundles of experience and he can still score goals, but is another player who has been ousted because he can’t pass fast enough the answer? Do we need another slow midfielder without a box to box edge stinking out our first 11. Could you stomach Frank Lampard in our first team? I’m not sure I could. It’d be like signing Ledley King.
We need to move for big players. If you have big money you can do big things. Pick on the teams who are out the Champions League. What do Montpellier have knocking around in their ranks? How about MBiwa or Belhanda? Are there any gems at Ajax, Benfica or Lille we can pick off? If European clubs are in as much sh*t as their countries are, these players should be easy pickings. Santi Cazorla came out and said the other day that Spanish players are all desperate to move here because of the security English clubs offer. He turned down Madrid because our offer was just too good. Same reason Almunia turned down Watford originally.
So there are plenty of things we could do this window and I’m sure we’ll make some moves. I just worry they won’t be quite as progressive as they should be.
In other news, Arteta has been speaking to The Mirror about the state of the team.
‘You look at the players’ faces, the disappointment, the hurt. They want to put it right. You’ve got players here demanding and wanting to do extra training. It’s in themselves to work harder to put it right.’
‘We have been watching videos over and over again of games, looking at what we’ve done wrong. That comes from everyone, absolutely everyone.’
This is good to hear. It does sound a touch like he’s feeding the fans what they want to hear… because actually, the last thing we need is players like Arteta partaking in extra training. He’s knackered, he’s 32 and he’s played in all of our games. If anyone is due a breakdown it’s him. Arsene should be resting certain players at the moment, more training is counter productive. I like the fact the players are watching the videos of what they’re doing wrong, as far as I know, that’s not mandatory. What we should be doing though is watching videos of what’s coming. That’s what will give us the edge we’re lacking. If you know who you’re about to face and you’re instructed how to play them, you give yourself that tactical edge when when the quality might not be there due to form. Barcelona might be one of the best teams in the world on the ball, but the work and effort that goes into ensuring they’re tactically the most astute goes unnoticed. If understanding the opposition is good enough for Barcelona, it should be good enough for us. If anything has become patently evident over the last 2-3 months it’s that we’re still not giving the opposition the respect they deserve and it’s costing us points.
The weekend sees West Brom come to town. Players are rested, we’ve had a chance to regroup, so I’m hoping we have a major reaction. We have a very easy run in December. My guess is we’ll finish the month somewhere around 3rd… if we react properly. If we can take maximum points over the next few weeks, that tees us up nicely for a big game against City. I think the player who could spark some form in the side is going to be Thomas Rosicky, he was one of our standout performers last year and he looked very sharp for the most part the other night. His quick pass and move style is exactly what we’ve missed at times. His movement off the ball is so important to the team, it sometimes acts as a catalyst. The bad news injury wise is Theo and Lukas are out the game. Well, I’m not so fussed about the German who has been a massive disappointment so far this season. It’s a chance for the Ox to shine though… and he is going to have to start doing that sharpish.
Anyway, more of a preview tomorrow, for today, tell me who you’d like to see come in this January?