I’m not a massive TV watcher outside of sport, but after taking the decision to stay in the flat of late, I’ve had the chance to take in some programmes. Sport mostly. I had the pleasure of watching Keane vs Vieira the other night.
What a cracking show. I appreciate I’m very late to the party on this, bar the obvious anti-Ferguson slant agenda from both ITV and Keane, it was a very classy hour. It was interesting to hear Patrick slamming United for landing major decisions at Old Trafford with Keane kind of agreeing. It was also nice hearing two power houses of the game dissecting one another’s game.
My overall impression of Paddy was ‘what a total gentleman’ this guy is. Great manners, softly spoken, humble and engaging. Why Arsenal haven’t crafted a role for him at the club is beyond me. His best moment at the club was being told he was the captain. I loved how he spoke of the deep love the English players had for the club when they arrived, and how that rubbed off. Anyway, a must watch for those who haven’t.
Carrying on the TV theme, Sky launched the Footballers Football Show (I assume it was launched) last night. It was a Scott Minto with a panel of three ‘experts’ chatting tactics, managers and positions. They had Chris Powell (not quite at the races), John Collins and tactics author Johnathan Wilson. Now, I’m an amateur when it comes to that side of the game, so to listen to Jonathan Wilson dissect tactics through the ages was fascinating.
He said that Herbert Chapman was the first to bring instructional tactics to the game. What a visionary. He also spoke about why 4-4-2 failed for Spurs… and took a sly dig at Sherwood who told his players to basically chase the ball. They explained the false nine, inverted wingers and even the false ten (a midfielder who acts like a striker in parts so teams like Bayern can play a long ball over a hard pressing Dortmund).
Now, this, for me, is what football programming should be all about. F^ck the celebrity footballer, screw the bland analysis… most football fans are fanatics. Give them real insight. Tell me about fitness, tell them about the ‘redzone’, explain a false 10, explain what players you need for what system, show them how you can make 4-4-2 work in the modern game and detail why it’s coming back (because defenders have forgotten how to deal with two strikers)… it was all there. The panel might sharpen up as the show develops. But as a start, bravo Sky, totally fascinating. Top quality programming for the modern fan that digests all the online content.
I also had time to take in the United game. So many LOLz again. They lost in another tepid performance against lowly Sunderland. Janujaz of whatever his name is was their only major threat again as they lost 2-1. It really does look dire. People are saying he needs time. Sure, but here’s the problem, whose to say he has the tools to deliver something exceptional if he does have the time? Where is the pedigree? You don’t have to have a big name to have that. Does he have the ideas? Does he have the personality? Does he have global pull for players?
I’m not sure. It’s a big risk and big test of faith.
This is how Man United goes down in the flat at the moment. I’m sure it’s familiar to you.
Onto Arsenal goodness, because there appears to be plenty of it rolling around.
Firstly, the Morata rumours are gathering pace. He’s the first choice on the radar. Apparently the press reported he wouldn’t be coming in. Now, after offering Madrid a whopping £2m sweetener, we might land him. Offering Madrid £2m is like offering Ozil £50 to sing at your birthday party. If Morata doesn’t have much chance of game time, Madrid would be wise to let him develop at Arsenal. Hey, maybe we can beat some Arsenal DNA into him. The reality of Morata is that he’s unlikely to make it at a Madrid who make it their business to have the biggest names in the game, even if it’s at the expense of the biggest names in the game. Suarez has ‘Madrid’ written all over him. If it’s not him, it’ll be Falcao. He’ll have to work really hard to make a name at Madrid. He’s better off joining Arsenal for 5 years, then claiming Madrid DNA and going back when he’s a fully blooded star.
Papers are scrabbling around for page views, so the obvious next target is Jackson Martinez whom we’ve lodged and enquiry. How does that work? Is it like asking a question on eBay?
‘LeGrover110: Errr, that Jackson Martinez, does it come with free delivery?’
He’s bagged 9 goals in 12 appearances this season as well as 3 goals in 3 for the same Columbia side Falcao plays for. Last season, he banged in 29 goals in 28 games for Porto. Now, I know it’s a weak league, but that is a stunning return. Are we being too snobby when it comes to this guy? Or are we rightly saying he could be a dud. Soldado looked great in La Liga, over here, he looks lost in a big way. Not helped by a poor Spurs system obviously. But Martinez is pretty much 6ft bang on, he weighs 70kg, which is relatively light compared to the 88kg monster that is Giroud… but that’ll give him the additional mobility the big Frenchman lacks.
From my initial scouting of Jackson, he’s quite a swash buckling centre forward. When I performed an in depth scouting report of Giroud a few years ago, I noted that he was the most English French centre forward I’d ever seen. Well, Martinez isn’t quite as rough, but he’s great with his head, he’s more than happy to bundle the ball in and he has that David Trezeguet like ability to shape his body however he needs to to convert. His goal portfolio is a great watch. What strikes you is quite how good he is in the air. Giroud was the same at Montpellier, hasn’t really transferred that over here… but that type of hunger to win in the air fits in with our style. If you too want to become a Jackson expert, then check out his compilation here. He’s 27 years old. If we strike now, we have 3 years of a top striker or a total dud. Desperate times… how bad does Arsene want the league? We’ll see…
Mark Randall. What about him eh. What? He’s back in England looking for a club. Yesiree… pretty fascinating interview from him here.
‘They’re so different, fighting for the hairdryer, shaving their legs in the dressing-room! Not exactly Chesterfield is it? In England, there are more cliques. You go to work, get showered and go home’
Shaving their legs in the changing room? Jeez. I was in the gym the other day and someone was clipping their toenails. People just don’t give a f*ck do they?
As I quietly reported to you last week, Chambo is back in full training this week, which is totally magic. He was our best player in preseason, so it was sad to lose him for so many months. What will be interesting is the position he plays. For me, already, it’s quite clear that Gnabry is more suited to a wide position over Chambo. Despite looking like Theo, Chambo certainly doesn’t boast his pace. So will he find himself fighting for midfield positions with Jack and the gang, or will Wenger push him out wide for the standard wing-apprenticeship every player seems to get? One thing is for sure… we’re really lacking natural wide players. I mean, we’ve always lacked them… but without Theo, we don’t really have anyone unnatural who is good out there. According to the Guardian,the scouting network have been instructed to check out wide players… so we’ll see what happens there. Theo could be out for longer than 6 months, so we’ll need someone…
Also, can everyone stop saying things like…
‘Oooohhh, wouldn’t be too keen on buying in January because of inflated transfer fees’
Jeez, if you’re peddling that crap, you’re probably the sort of person who fantasises about being able to move your family Christmas to January 2nd so you can save some cash.
Transfer Window Fallacies:
Clubs keep quiet about deals
The premise goes that we do deals in secret to keep price down. Reality is that selling clubs have no vested interest in keeping price down. There will always be a leak.
Sure, there might be an element of inflation in January. There’s an element of inflation on every transfer though. If it’s in January, it’s because it’s in January. If it’s in the summer, it’s because of the world cup. If it’s the summer after, it’ll be because there aren’t many top players about. There’s always an excuse. Simple fact is this… top footballers cost top money.
Transfers aren’t as simple as just money
Sure, there are other elements. The willingness to sell is one of them. The player wants to join the other. But the simple reality is that almost every player has their price (even Suarez last summer). Almost every player has a wage number they’ll move for. In business, staying another year matters little. You’ll generally still be valuable a year later. In sport, by forfeiting £120k a week over 5 years, you could lose out the year after because you f*ck your knee like Theo. Money talks. Security talks (ask Diaby). Once in a lifetime opp talks. Football is about right time, right place. Jackson Martinez knows this. He’s ripe for the picking, Arsenal are relatively desperate… he might not get another shot at a big club because come the summer, we’ll be all over Diego Costa like a rash…
There aren’t the players…
This is my favourite. That there aren’t any players. In the whole of Europe or the world. No one could improve Arsenal bar 5 strikers we can’t have. An absolute nonsense. Now, I’m not a professional scout, but if I was, I’m pretty sure across a 3 month period, I’d have some options. To say there are no players that could improve a one man strike force is lazy. If my scouts came back and told me that, I’d be furious, because they’re paid to find players of note. A.Madrid find players. Swansea find players. City find players. Chelsea do. Everton find players. If you have a want, the money, the network… there should be no excuse.
Now, I’m not saying Arsenal aren’t buying anyone this window, I’m sure we will. I’m just saying people peddle bulls*it statements round the web based on deflectionary comments made by Arsene… rather than the true realities of European football.
The biggest truth, that I’ve been peddling for years is this… Europe is bankrupt. We are cash rich. We can have most players. Let’s hope the club make that happen.
Right, rant over, have a bloody antastisch day!