… and a big fat Monday morning hello to you! How was your weekend? Mine was excellent. I found a secret canal bar in North London, with a buzzer to get in. Secret and special, because the bar bill for 6 was £63 for a whole afternoon of drinking.
Anyway, secret places aside, what a game of football we saw at Anfield yesterday. Liverpool came out of the traps like a sea of really fast footballers. They broke City’s record of not conceding inside 15 minutes. They then conceded another inside half hour. Liverpool were too hot to handle. Not just that, the emotion of the day looked to have given them an extra 5%. Second half was a bit different. Liverpool were spent, and City’s class allowed them back into the game until Kompany slides a clearance allowing Coutinho to smash home first time.
I also learnt some tings after the game about Hillsborough, and the Merseyside rivalry. I listened in as two fans both agreed that Hillsborough is about a high level cover up that is now in the process of being concluded. The reason it was so important was that Police cover ups affect every man and child. The fact it’s taken so long to get justice is beyond a disgrace. There was, interestingly, a feeling the whole thing has started to feel like a marketing commodity now and that it should be laid to rest. Both sets of fans hoped that Liverpool would hold a minutes silence to honour those that were lost in the Heysel Disaster next year for the 30th anniversary.
Anyway, a big game, a big win… Liverpool are still on for the title. Amazing work from Rodgers with that set of players. His challenge next year will be keeping his side competitive with a small squad. I’d imagine he’ll be given budget to build out. I bet there won’t be the same farting around you see at Arsenal. Even if they get the players, they’ll struggle, it’s a tough transition for players who haven’t done it. All that travelling, less time to prepare for games… it’ll be a shock to the system for Rodgers and his team.
Onto Arsenal. I’ve heard from various people that the Wenger deal is looking likely. He’ll be our manager for another two years, which personally, as things stand, will be a disaster unless he makes some substantial changes to his operation. Which, if they’re not pushed by Ivan, won’t happen. I don’t think Wenger has the guts to make logical changes to his set up because of the charged emotion associated with them. Also, the admittance that everything that made you great, is now old hat, is a big fat pill to swallow.
Arsene is still playing Tetris in a world of Oculus Rift.
So what can we do in the mean time? Well, how about the players take a bit of initiative? Those boys do next to nothing in the week. They’re in for 3 hours training a day. So why not take the bull by the horn and start taking action. They have a video analyst. They have a deep collective knowledge of the game. Why not start formulating some game plans themselves? Why not do your own match prep? What’s the worst that can happen…
‘Oh no, I knew too much about the opposition and I pulled a hamstring’
Bloody hell Abou!
I know this is a massive ask, you know, for players to use a bit of initiative, but is the idea that crazy? If I don’t know something at work, I don’t wait until my manager reinvents himself to find out the answer, I find what I’m looking for. I use ‘Google’… you used that? Anyway, just a thought. I know players don’t have to do too much thinking at Arsenal, but it’s a good way of killing some time and if it helps, why not?
TOP OF THE AGENDA: How to we combat teams that press our midfield high up the pitch?
Make it happen boys… because Arsene isn’t going to help you.
Couple of interesting comments from the players. Vermaelen described Lukas as ‘an astounding goalie’ , Santi spoke last week about Arsenal being in talks for Casillas and we also had Olivier Giroud talking about Hugo Lloris coming over to Arsenal. Starting to click yet? The players clearly don’t sound like they’re massive fans of our Polish number one, do they? I think we’re letting the best goalkeeper at our club go this summer. I also think we’re letting our best striker leave. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we’re letting Robin go. Bendtner is the best of a bad bunch, but it is interesting none the less. Lukas should be given a new deal and told he’s the number one. He’s a hard trainer, he’s mature and he is a far better shot stopper than our current incumbent. A top attitude all round that is very unlikely to get a Twitter account or have a mobile phone on the bench.
The FA Cup Final is going to be Arsenal vs Hull City. Should be interesting, they’re not a terrible side, but one we should certainly be taking out in a big match on a big day. Things will certainly look a lot healthier squad wise by then. After this week, we should have Koscielny back followed by Ozil and Jack Wilshere. Hey, Abou Diaby might even make a cheeky appearance just to show his face… that’s providing he’s not up a mountain or doing something similar. I mean, honestly, up a mountain. What’s going on there?
Our latest concern is tomorrow against West Ham United. I really think this is a banana skin waiting to trip us up. West Ham have had over a week off to think about how to play against us. I think they’ve had the most clean sheets in the league this season, and we’re struggling for players. Arteta does not cope well with multiple games in short time periods, Chamberlain was completely ruined by about 70minutes in the FA Cup. Rambo went off exhausted. Outside that, we really struggled for form elsewhere on the pitch. It’ll be a very tight game. Dropped points really aren’t an option at this point in the season.
That said, I don’t think we’ll finish outside the top 4. Everton weren’t particularly impressive against Sunderland. They’ll be getting the ‘we keep on winning how do we maintain it’ jitters at this point in the season. If they slip up against Palace, which is more than possible, I think they might find it difficult to recover form that’ll allow them them to take out City, United and Southampton. It’s an outrageous ask. If they win all those games, they’ll more than deserve 4th.
Arsenal will qualify with 4 wins and a draw. It’ll be touch and go with 3 wins and 2 draws, but I think it’s possible because once Everton loose that momentum, they could drop points all over the place. We’re also helped by the fact we’re playing a collective of teams that are pretty much safe. They can taste the beach.
Anyway, that’s all I have for this morning. Have a good Monday!