Can’t deny it, was a bit gutted to see QPR turnover Wigan yesterday. I’ve never supported a team in the Championship, but man, do I feel the probable pain that goes hand in hand with losing in the playoffs. Wigan played 67 games this year. An outrageous campaign. I really think the Championship needs an overhaul. Less teams, more quality, ultimately, more money…
Same with the Premier League. Let’s lose a couple of teams. Align with Europe. Aston Villa survived this season on 34 points. That’s a shambolic survival total. West Ham were once relegated on 42 (memory?). We need to concentrate the quality. The league was fun this year, but ultimately, it was won by the team who spunked £93m on the already best squad in the league.
Someone was snorting at Chelsea signing Costa last night. They highlighted Negredo as an example of a spectacular failure from Spain. Not sure I can buy that City’s 3rd choice striker, who bagged 26 goals, was a failure. And that’s just it, City then had Jovetic, Dzeko and Aguerro to choose from. I’m hardly inspired by Pelligrini. He came in, let great players play stylish football and he formed personal relationships with players.
Hardly rocket science.
Still, what is getting me slightly moist about the summer is the FFP fines. Now, regardless of whether they get overturned, point is, they’re serious fines. Clubs all over Europe looking to push boundaries will have to think twice. City can’t splash outrageous this summer. Chelsea will have to continue to balance the books. The only clubs who can really go wild are Arsenal and Man United (UK).
Now, Arsenal have shunned Diego Costa. Not sure why, but then again, what do I know. I’m not the guy who scouted Sanogo and Park. However, to all the Arsenal fans dirtying the Spanzillian, take in a few facts.
He’s scored 27 goals in 32 La Liga games for a team on course to win against ALL the odds. He’s scored 8 goals in 8 games in the Champions League for a team in the final. He scored 20 goals and bagged 8 assists last year from outwide because he had Falcao to contend with. He’s at world class levels, at worst he’s knocking on the door. People complain that he’s not Suarez / Aguerro level. Give him a chance, he’s 25 years old. 2 years younger than Suarez, a player who 2 years ago wasn’t a natural finisher. Costa has every chance of being a monster of a premier league player. 82kg, 6ft2, athletic, fast and outrageously aggressive.
This is not a Soldado, this is someone who has the attributes every manager dreams of. I don’t mind missing out on him, I just hope there’s a damn sexy plan to counter his loss. My fear is this, we’re not going big on a striker. Remy is far too cheap and appealing for Wenger. From the rumours I’ve been hearing so far, it looks like speed is on the agenda. I think he might go for calculated potential up top, with proven star quality outwide. Pedro and Alexis feel like very real opportunities. Draxler is also a very real choice. Konoplyanka isn’t, but hell, I’m gonna bang on about him regardless. Point is, there’s a lot of pace out there. If you supplement a very good finisher with pace and skill, you’re in a very good place.
We need to start making bold moves in the transfer market now though. Not waiting until it’s too late. Chelsea are pretty much done with Costa, United have moved for Luke Shaw… when will Wenger move? The tactic if waiting for everyone else to do their business first is what the manager usually does. Why not be proactive? We need to shake this fear of getting into a bidding war. Who cares as long as it doesn’t get outrageous. We can afford to go in for player that has more than one club in for them.
We’ll need a right back, a box to box defensively minded midfielder with outrageous tenacity, a striker and a wideman.
How about a little FA Cup memory from a reader?
1993 FA Cup Final Replay
It hammered down with rain all day. We found a pub in the West End early door, it was just down the road from Sportspages – and in true FA Cup fashion, we hit the booze. Hard!
The game felt like it went on for an eternity, we headed into extra time and the final corner, at this point, I wasn’t drunk, but I was feeling the after effects of over indulgence, I was too tired to get up out of my seat and witness the final set-piece at the far end of the ground, but I still managed to see the ball float over, Linighan rise and nod home, cue absolute in stadium carnage. An amazing moment that certainly had me off my seat!
Those replay programmes are going for a tidy sum on ebay. I’m guessing that most of those brought on the day had rotted away having spent far too long in soaked anorak pockets.
It was my first ‘live’ cup final and couldn’t have been more different than those sunny May afternoons watching the game on World of Sport in the early 70s, replaying the match in the back garden (whilst the winners were being interviewed chugging down bottles of milk).
Do you have an FA Cup memory?