Good morning friends of Le Grove! Today is a pretty good day in terms of the top four fight we’re engaged in.
Firstly, United and Chelsea drew which is means a replay. Tired legs an all. De Gea heroics saved United there. Maybe a little wobble? The best news, as predicted here last Monday was that despite Spurs putting in a seriously impressive shift in Milan, they weren’t able to replicate it away at Liverpool. They were cruising 2-1 but then let careless defending get the better of them and they ended up dropping three points after Stevie G converted a late penalty.
Was that all down to playing midweek? There’s no way of telling. What will be interesting is the ‘spiral of negativity’ that could be about to hit Spurs. They’ve been on a very good run, something like 13 games without a loss. How will they cope with defeat? How will there legs feel going into the next game? Again, I don’t know. I’m not any of the players. However, it’s clear that AVB has been using the same starting line up over and over again due to squad restrictions. Could Spurs, well known choke artists, find themselves with an up hill struggle heading into the final straight of the season? Again, all I can do is hope because I don’t know.
For Arsenal, none of it matters if we don’t capitalise on our relatively easy run. We have Swansea away (which won’t be easy, but we might be able to take advantage of post-Carling-Cup-‘I’m done’-itus), Reading at home, WBA away followed by Everton at home, followed by Fulham away. Now, for me, that’s 15 points in the bag. It has to be. No excuses. No ‘yeah, but they’ve got a terrific record against teams with high lines’. No nothing, bar 3 points.
Spurs next run of matches:
Liverpool next run of matches:
West Ham (h)
Chelsea next run of matches:
S Bucuresti (h)
West Ham (h)
When you look at our three main rivals for top four, well, it looks quite positive for a few upsets along the way. Liverpool have Everton and Newcastle after Chelsea, Spurs have a mean run by any standards, especially with that Inter Milan game on Wednesday. Liverpool are 2 points off us at the moment… they have an ok run. Chelsea have some big games as well.
Anything can happen. The key to all this is Arsenal stringing 5 good games together. We’re perfectly capable of doing so, it just depends on squad mentality. It depends on the back room team sparking some sort of revival. The biggest problem for a relatively new team has with situations like this is that there’s no ‘been there, done that’ about them. Still, you’d hope they’re buoyed by the weekends action.
What is Arsene thinking now with the Champions League? Does he go in with a second string team and concentrate his efforts on our one achievable goal, or does he go all out and try and turn around a result, even though the eventual outcome of that competition is a knock out? My guess is he’ll go all out in Munich this week. I’m not sure he should. I think a rested Jack, Cazorla and Theo would go a long way over the next few weeks.
Uli Hoeness has been trying to unsettle Wenger before the big game. He’s spoken of Bayern’s interest in our manager even pre-Arsenal.
“Even before he went to Japan (in 1995), Franz Beckenbauer and I went to Nice and discussed with him and everything was clear, but then at the end of the day he decided to go to Japan.
“We were very surprised. From Japan he went to Arsenal and over the years, whenever we were looking for a new coach, Wenger was always one we considered.’
I mean, that’s a pretty crazy decision for Arsene. Heading over to Japan rather than take over at Bayern, what was he thinking? It all worked out in the end obviously, it just seems like a bit of a strange place to choose.
Outside the above, there’s little to bite into this morning. Ryo Miyachi, Japans greatest school boy hit the hoardings and went off injured for Wigan. You really do fear for his future. He’s too small and he’s not making the impact we were hoping for.
An amusing story this morning centred around the return of Song. It’s believed he’s keen to return to Arsenal, but the manager he rejected the idea and turned his attention to the more mobile and interested Wanyama of Celtic. I wasn’t that impressed with him against Juve, but he seems to get glowing references elsewhere. He lacks discipline for me, but I guess having pace is a huge win over Song straight away.
My final bit of news comes from the business pages. United are currently locked in contract talks with Nike over a new deal, some believe it could go as high as £71m a season. Throw that in with the £65m they’ll get from Chevy and you can see the sort of financial might they’re going to have when FFP locks into European football. The interesting part about this deal is that speculators reckon United are now one of the few brands in sport that aren’t valued on success on the pitch. They’re just that big. What was really interesting is that according to sources, they’re not performing as well at the checkouts. Madrid and Barca are outdoing them there which could have an impact on the overall value.
Still, it puts shame to the £25m we’re looking to get. It does make me wonder where Nike see the value in these deals. It’s probably not simply shirts and merchandise. There must be a halo effect of being associated with United that goes beyond purely football. How you quantify that must be a challenge and a half. I wonder how long it will be before high street clothing brands try and break into the Premier League market? Uniqlo have a tie up with Djokovic in the world of tennis and they’re mostly famed for having 362,000 shades shades of t-shirt. H&M have recently brought out a gym kit range and they have a heavy tie in with David Beckham. ASOS are the worlds biggest online fashion retailer… what would the halo effect be of tying up with a football club for brands like those? It makes sense. Most football fans are City dwellers. Most of those brands have outlets in those shops. They all have supply chains more than capable of delivering the merchandise. I’m far more likely to buy from one of the fashion brands versus forking out £142 Nike running jacket… that’s just me thought. I’m not everyone.
Just some thoughts. You know, to go with your toast.
Right, keep it real. I’m about to go and make some magical sh*t happen in social media world.