For me- I’m sure you’ve noticed- this summer has been a good chance to forget about football for a few months and recharge the batteries ahead of what is sure to be yet another exciting installment of the “Greatest League in World” (every Sky Sports executive ever). And yes, I know the European Championship is currently taking place, but I haven’t watched very much of it. Not that I have made a conscious decision to avoid it, I just haven’t made a conscious decision to watch it. Spain’s match with Italy aside. And how up their own arses are the Spanish, not playing a centre forward? Okay, so Fabregas scored (nominally playing in that position) and you could argue that even when Fernando Torres joined the fray, Spain still didn’t have a centre forward. You could argue that, but still…
It hasn’t escaped my attention though, that Nicklas Bendtner who is still an Arsenal player at the time of writing has scored two goals for Denmark, whilst in the same group “the hottest striker in world football” (me, 2012) has only scored once. So this must mean that Bendtner is twice as good as Robin van Persie, surely? Only in super Nick’s head, I think. Seriously though, the Bendtner goals, one easy and one a very good header, were a reminder of the qualities that I once hoped the Dane would bring to bear on the Arsenal side. But they’re not really qualities you can show if you’re tasked with patrolling the right wing, firing in the kind of crosses you’d kill to be on the end of yourself. Doubly galling for Bendtner, in the absence of his presence inside the box, Arsenal rarely had anyone with his aerial ability to put them away. By the same token, Andrei Arshavin has apparently confused onlookers familiar with his Arsenal performances with some quality football for Russia. Why couldn’t Andrei do it for us? If I had to guess I’d say that he’s never been trusted with the responsibility of controlling the Arsenal game. That and his chronic lack of fitness. Ironically, I reckon both Bendtner and Arshavin suffered because of the presence of the man who is now being played as Spain’s nominal centre forward. Think about it. Without Fabregas running things in the Arsenal side, Arshavin may well have been given that number 10 role- Aaron Ramsey beginning the season there must have been a right slap in the face for the Russian. Or there would have likely been more chances for Nick Bendtner to join Robin van Persie at the point of our attack.
Anyway, water under the bridge now.
In terms of the Arsenal we might expect to see next season, we already know we can look forward to watching Lukas Podolski tearing it up for us next season. The BBC reported yesterday that a deal to sign 25 year old, 6″3 in his socks, Olivier Giroud from Montpellier is expected to be completed by the end of this week. I know that there’s probably some consternation that we haven’t brought in any defensive replacements, but I do think that if we improve our attack- and we all know that; a) there’s a lot room for improvement and; b) we are improving our attack- it can reduce the emphasis on our defence somewhat. If only there was a phrase for it… If I can be serious for a second, I do think that our first choice defenders (with a choice to be made between 3 quality centre backs) are all very good players. There’s no reason why, with the right coaching and organisation, we shouldn’t expect some degree of improvement from all of them this year. If only they can stay fit for more than 3 weeks at a time.
I couldn’t let this latest communique pass without some reference to events that went down in north London last night. Harry Redknapp, it seems, has paid the ultimate price for flying to close to the sun. If only there was… okay, you get it, I know, I know. He showed Spurs fans the stars by qualifying for the Champions League two years ago, but it seems that his failure to get back there this season- despite being nailed onto do it before the events of February 26th has done for him. Ok, that’s not the story being spun. But it seems to me that no board would sack a manager who had previously worked such miracles as dragging Spurs from the brink of relegation (and only having seven months to do it in), or taken Spurs on a massive, unprecedented, 4 game unbeaten run in North London derbies. Not even if he was a shameless self promoter who’d been batting his lashes at the FA for several weeks as well as presiding over Spurs biggest defeat in a North London derby for a few years, but that’s just my personal view. Also my personal view, having spent much of the day with Talksport on and little reference to Harry’s game being up, is that had Arsenal sacked Arsene Wenger last night, Talksport would be falling over themselves to talk about it. But then, we are the Arsenal and they are… well, they’re them, aren’t they?
For the record, whilst Harry’s service of 3 years and 8 months sees him Spurs longest serving manager since Terry Venables was sacked, Arsene (who has just seen off Spurs manager #13) stands unbowed as he heads towards completing his 16th year in the hot seat. Salut.
And apologies for the image accompanying this post…------------
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