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Arsenal fear the worst, RVP wants a move

Media Review

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal fear the worst screams the Daily Telegraph today, over the news that our “top scorer” is likely to be out for months and months.   Well, four weeks anyway.

I’ll come back to that in a moment, because no sooner had I focussed on that headline from today’s papers than I was given the Mirror, with the news that Mark Lawrenson (of whom it has been said)  is saying that Robin VP is unhappy and wants to leave Man U.

According to Mirror “sources” (ho ho) rumours are emerging from the Man U training ground that all is not at all well, and RVP will ask for a transfer in the coming week.

Of course it is the Mirror so let’s not get too excited, but it is worth (in the holiday season – at least in England) contemplating why RVP might be so inclined.

It could be because he is a self-centred git who never repays those who have nurtured his career, even when he went off the rails or put his country above his club that pays him, or just got injured all the time.  But it could be something else…

From what we understand Sir F told RVP that he (Sir F) would be at Man U for 3 years once RVP signed.  He wasn’t – it was one year.   RVP now finds himself forced to accept a monumental salary without playing, at the sort of club that he claimed he wanted to get away from – “also rans”.   Now I would never call either Man U or Arsenal that, but if that is RVP’s view, there is a problem – because while previously both clubs were run by inspirational long-term managers, Man U has a new man running the show who is unproven at the highest level, and they are having less of an exciting season (either in playing style or results) than Arsenal.   (Indeed the more football I watch this season I reckon it is Everton who got the better deal – but that’s for another day).

But on the other side, Sir F gave RVP an insane contract – and he (Sir F) must have known he (Sir F) was about to leave the club.   Four years at top salary for a player in his 30s and prone to injury.  Really?   RVP had two consecutive seasons without injury – now he’s back in the badlands.   Who would ever want to pay the salary he is getting now?

These are the sorts of rumours that have more impact on upsetting a club than anything else.  The club is always on the back foot in denying them, unless the player instantly comes out and says they are not true.   And even if they are not true our old chum turned Mr Nasty might feel he wants to exploit them a bit by saying nothing.  Many players do.

But then, no sooner had I digested that snippet with my muesli and porridge oats than I found that “Arsenal fear that they will be without top scorer Aaron Ramsey for at least the next four weeks.”

Well yes, probably four weeks.  But “fear”???

Cue the uncertainty.  “Ramsey was waiting on Friday night for the results of a scan”.   And “Should the scan reveal a tear, then Ramsey could be out for six to eight weeks”.

And “Losing Ramsey for any extended period of time is a blow to Arsenal”

And “Arsenal play six games over the next month”

And yes, all that is true, we’d all sooner have Ramsey than not.

But players get injured, that’s a fact.  And we have just had a game in which we had 67% of the possession, and just waited for the noisy locals to run out of steam before taking them apart.  And we are top of the league.

What these articles never do is give you much balance.   “Ramsey’s absence will put an even bigger burden on lone striker Olivier Giroud, who has not scored since Nov  23,” said the right wing Telegraph, a paper renowned for its exposes of naughty vicars and the best obituaries in the English press.

But let us consider.  We have got Theo and Podolski back, and both have looked terrific.  Theo has scored 4 in 3 and Pod has scored one in 0.4

Additionally we will get Jack and Koscielny (who the Guardian voted into the top 100 players in the world last week).  And you could even argue that Ramsey has slipped a little from the very best performances we have seen, in recent weeks.

That is not surprising given the speed of his rise to the top, and although we’d never want it to happen like this, he could probably do with a break.

Additionally we have Flamini, whose presence at the back allows Jack to play more forward.  And Rosicky is flourishing these days.   In fact even with this injury we still can’t fit everyone in the team.

And there is still Alex Oxlade Chamberlain to come.  He’s had a series of set backs but the latest story in the fanatically anti-EU Daily Mail is that the Ox is dancing (they showed shots from a video) and is getting ready for a return in the new year.

Of course good news has never really been part of the English press’ forte, so its all doom and gloom – which is amusing when it is about other clubs but annoying when it is about Arsenal.  But that’s just how it goes.

Still they can’t hide the league table.

P

W

D

L

F

A

G.D.

Pts

1 Arsenal

18

12

3

3

36

18

18

39

2 Man City

18

12

2

4

53

21

32

38

3 Chelsea

18

11

4

3

33

18

15

37

4 Liverpool

18

11

3

4

43

21

22

36

5 Everton

18

9

7

2

29

17

12

34

6 Newcastle

18

10

3

5

29

23

6

33

7 Man United

18

9

4

5

31

22

9

31

8 Tottenham

18

9

4

5

19

24

-5

31

If Man City beat Palace (and who would bet against it) then shock horror and doom we will be two points behind the leaders and the world will end and the pressure will be on and….

Well, you know the rest.

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42 comments to Arsenal fear the worst, RVP wants a move

  • Jax

    Agreed, and Man U supporters are now finding out the truth about RvP.

  • Lishman

    Another enjoyable article. I have always ‘enjoyed’ how the media overplay the whole “They have been knocked off top spot” angle when they play 2 hours later.

    Will be interesting to see how far Liverpool are from the top after finally getting some competitive fixtures and especially interesting to see if Saurez can score against a top 4 side having failed to make an impact at Arsenal or City.

    Although they are at home it would not totally surprise me to see City drop points against Palace, Mancinis squad certainly struggled last year when they were overwhelming favourites and having just beaten Arsenal and Liverpool, hoping for some overconfidence to sneak back in.

    All we need to do is win all our remaining games and we win the league. Its all rather simple really.

  • Matt Clarke

    I can understand why RvP is pissed-off. The little boy inside of him is missing AF already.

    Although the paper in your article, Tony, is obviously overplaying the situation I have two responses. One is my standard response is such situations: do not read the press. The second is how lovely it is that is is almost universally acknowledged that we WILL miss the skill, enthusiasm and craft of AR. That speaks more of how well he has done this season so far than of anything else.

    Another ‘shock’ for us is this article, by PGMOL bedfellows Prozone:
    http://www.prozonesports.com/news-article-premier-league-performance-model-the-season-so-far.html
    (3 matches old I know, but) therein they state,
    “Arsenal are the team exceeding expectations by the greatest margin after 15 games”

  • Granville

    Hi Tony I believe that this persiod before the next break can make or break our season. We have newcastle tommorow then 4 or 5 games against bottem half teams, if we can win these game before the next break we will have buffer of points to make a slight dip in form possible such as the recent dip which was facilitated by the lead we had. Arsenal has always performed better in the socind half of the season our passing game only then come into its own because most teams are tiring by now. Thus the future is bright. I can’t say the same for chelsea, I sense they going to slip even firther because Mourinhou is not as special as we thought he was just remember last season champions league semi final against dortmund.

  • STEVE

    IF WENGER DOESN’T GET HIS CHEQUE BOOK OUT,AND BUY A STRIKER,ARSENAL WILL WIN NOTHING,THE TWO WE HAVE,GIROUD AND BENTENER ARE ABSOLUTELY “CRAPP”,FOR THE COMBINED WAGES THEY GET WE COULD HAVE A FIRST CLASS STRIKER, “SO PULL YOUR FINGER OUT WENGER,AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT,BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE”.

  • Chris

    When RVP joined Man. Utd. I don’t believe Ferguson expected to leave so soon. But by last summer he knew his squad had massively over achieved and in fact needed major surgery. So he decided to pack it in. The RVP agreement would be the next guy’s problem.

  • Merlion96

    I do love Van Puta …. unsettling OT dressing room that is.
    Let’s hope Le Prof is not so daft as to buy back Alex Song, alleged a bad influence in the dressing room!

    I am not too worry as we should be getting 6 out 6 points for the next 2 games with Walcott and Poldoski taking the slack.
    Not forgetting Cazorla has yet to put on his scoring boots.

    Reminding me of those days when Henry got off the boil, Bergy started scoring, then Freddy took up the slack … continued by Pires ….and back to Henry.

    We always got goal-getters during the French Spine Era.
    perhaps we have turned the corner this season with plenty of goal getters getting fit at the right time for the 2nd half of the season.

    And that is the best New Year present wishes for Arsenal fans – Walcott, Poldolski and Cazorla start to score goals for fun in the next few months.

  • Steve this is a most interesting and well constructed argument. I particularly liked the way you used logic and comparison throughout – and I thought the use of capital letters was a fine touch for making the debating points more sound.

  • Pete

    So Tony – Can I assume that Steve will henceforth be taking his contributions elsewhere? I really no longer have the tolerance or bandwidth for this kind of “contribution”.

  • Stuart

    Steve,
    Thank god you are not the manager. It would do us no good having only 1 option up front.

  • tony, it’s the muesli and porridge oats steve must have been sniffing.

  • Jay

    Great article. Had me in stitches a few time

  • Stuart

    Chris,
    I got the impression Ferguson wanted to retire a season or 2 earlier but agreed to stay after some convincing. His squad was one of the poorest in his tenure so he got RVP as a one last chance but knowing RVP was enough to win the title with the benefits gained from refs. He actually left the club in worse shape than Moyes did Everton.

  • Double canister

    @ 11:48
    Do something about the caps lock, Steve, BEFORE ITS TOO LATE.

  • I not like RVP back in arsenal

  • bob

    agreed, steve, we do need another quality striker; but not to shit-can giroud. he just needs rest. but don’t expect debate on that issue. try resubmitting in lower case and with less vitriol and see if you get the debate from him that you might want to engage.

  • bob

    Stuart,
    I also think that RVP knew he’d start getting the calls (instead of cards and non-calls) once he joined Don Fergus. I surely enjoy the idea that the Don outsmarted Van Pursestrings in one sense; but, it gave them both what they wanted – a champeenship to the mercenary little boy within and the big XXth to Lord Football (who now, as an acclaimed best-selling author, has transcended sport itself).

  • bob

    “an even bigger burden on lone striker Olivier Giroud, who has not scored since Nov  23,” said the right wing Telegraph, a paper renowned for its exposes of naughty vicars and the best obituaries in the English press.”
    Mr. Attwood,
    The Telegraph is what it is, but the stubborn fact is that Giroud hasn’t scored and been ground down through work load to a very good feeder. If you are arguing that that’s enough to carry us through without another January striker, then why not make that case with the same argumentation and logic that you rightly demand of that capital guy STEVE.

  • rantetta

    Oh, did steve have summat interesting to say? I saw the capitals and the first 2 words and skipped the comment altogether.

  • rantetta

    Besides having Bendy & Sanogo (as big centre forwards), I’d like to point out that even if we buy the best striker in the world, we are still The Arsenal, and this means we’ll still have the shit kicked out of us, without punishment to the offenders, regardless of cost or reputation of said “big player”.

    Witness the regular kicking our record money signing endures. Witness the ghost fouls given against Arsenal.

    Nope, whichever players we have at this incredibly amazing club, they’ll have to understand the necessity to play ‘x’ percentage better than all the other teams, and they still might end up without the result they want.

    (Remember RvP for Ars v Norwich, where a Norwich ‘player’ bundled him into the back of the net – and no penalty was awarded. And wasn’t that the game where Sagna had his leg broken for the 2nd time in one season?
    This is what Arsenal are up against, and it’s not just the odd match against a Norwich).

    Lee Probert next….. Arsenal won’t buy him or his ilk, rightly so.

    That doesn’t mean Arsenal’s aims are impossible. Arsenal will have to continue taking the kicks and try to overcome the handicap. And maybe they will.

    COYG

  • Ben

    Steve, i think your caps lock key is broken. May i suggest buying a new keyboard or hold down shift for lower case lettering?

  • alex

    Steve
    Remember is still December and there is no players to sell or buy.

    I like Giroud. Yes he is not scoring but but still a handful everywhere in the pitch. Giroud and Ramsey i can say from the recent performance that are dead tired . We are unlucky with Sanogo as he supposedly to be his deputy.
    Another player that he never disappoints for me is young Gnabry. Would love to see more of him.

  • bob

    Rantetta,
    Agreed, kicks keep gettin’ easier to find (paul revere and the raiders, eh?); so that’s my argument for more quality ensurance to be able to overcome the fix. More is more (not less).
    Cheers.

  • AL

    Well, that’s what happens when you snatch someone’s woman off them, she will soon get attracted to a new fella, karmic style. I personally wish utd refuse to sell him, they finish outside the top four, so we see him on that other channel on Thursdays, in far away and cold places like Siberia, or thereabouts. Now that would be fun 🙂

  • Arvind

    It’s possible that the RVP story is true…it’s possible it’s just crap. It’s the media after all.

    @Bob: Since Tony refuses to discuss a new striker with you : ) let me chip in once more. Honestly, I don’t think we need one if Bendtner’s going to get the occasional game to rest Giroud. The only reason for me is that in our system, and I’ve been watching a few games on replay – the CF is not expected to score all the time.

    Sure, it’d be awesome if he did, but there’s more than enough goals from midfield and wide to take that slack up. As long as Giroud keeps working hard and linking play up, I don’t care if he scores another 5 goals in all competitions for the rest of the year.

    I think he’ll score more though – I do agree he’s probably jaded though. I predict (at my peril) that he should score in a game or two at most..and then he’ll go on another run and end up with around 20 for the season. That’s just me.

    Another striker? Sure…would be great, but really…with AW’s mindset and loyalty to players (that’s just a fact)… he’s not going to bench Giroud to play the other guy. He’ll only play him when Giroud’s injured or in the red zone. He’s always been that way ..even when Henry was here, or Ade or RVP or whoever. He likes having a squad, AW… but in reality if players weren’t injured – I don’t think he’s a big fan of too much rotation.

    So, if Striker X is only going to get say..5 games till season end…AW won’t buy – 100%. The only reason we will see a purchase is if Giroud’s not good enough in AW’s head and going to be sold next season or the one after that – which honestly..I don’t see happening.

    But hey..I’ve been wrong before : )

  • bob

    Thanks for the discussion, Arvind, and your great way of addressing things. As we are in multiple competitions and the games come fast and furious, and as Liverpool only face 1 game per week (as we did at the end of last season, and beginning of our good run), there is a great danger in relying on Bendtner who might be in a better mood now, but does not have Giroud’s link-up game. Giroud’s quality (assuming no more – and no host of – injuries, which you are assuming under these conditions) in link-up did not work against the top sides. And an argument can be made that he’s not a mobile/nuanced enough target to maximize Ozil’s service. I like Giroud’s game a lot; but I see the need to genuinely rotate, rather than a bit of Bendtner here and there, because he is no iron man as any can plainly see. What you advocate does not give him enough time to rest and re-charge from what he’s already been giving (which is a lot). I cannot see the objection to another striker as a sign of disloyalty. That virtue, which I uphold as you do, but outside football (which you don’t), under these circumstances with Giroud, is too far from the ruthlessness that it will take to withstand the reshite-abetted fouling that will be visited on him. When the inevitable injury does come (under your scenario), I predict that you will be wishing that more than Bendtner were there to do the job. This year I think that the business end will be brutal. Quality in reserve and rotation – that would be now Affordable quality – will help us get through. I think your analysis finds reasons not to ensure against a realistic assessment of what will be thrown at us in the business end. And, if we are still in multiple competitions, what we will need. (Many Thanks for the interchange on this “forbidden” topic.)

  • AL

    Interesting views bob and arvind, and I think you both make strong cases for your arguments. I agree Wenge. doesn’t just drop someone unless they’re terribly underperfoming, which Giroud can’t be said to be doing. While we are not exactly setup like Barcelona, we are not relying too much on an out and out striker, and it’s been working. But I wonder where suarez would’ve fitted in in all of this, which makes me think we may be in for a surprise in January. Would be nice if we got someone as cover, even though there aren’t that many strikers available. Happy still if noone arrives…

  • AL

    Wenge? Damn auto correct, choosing to put a fullstop in the wrong place…

  • AL

    On the other hand, Giroud might have been getting slightly overworked as he was operating alone upfront. But with Podolski returning it’s going to give defenders more than one thing to worry about. They had a good understanding before Podolski got injured, and it looks like they picked up from where they left off with their combining at wham on boxing day. It’s a shame coz if Podolski hadn’t been injured all these months it’d have given Wenger sufficient time to decide whether we would need extra cover in January or not. Let’s hope he uses both in the next few games, starting tomorrow at Newcastle.

  • Wengerson

    Bob

    I do understand your concerns regarding our strike force however, I think we should not mix the issues. Which is it?: Giroud not good enough? Or are you worried that he’ll pick up an injury? Is Bendtner not good enough for rotational purposes?

    Also, you state that Giroud was not effective against “top” sides: How effective is Suarez against these “top” sides? Please name 3 strikers in the EPL better than Giroud.

    Again, our style of play is such that goals are spread throughout the team, and one of the main reasons for this is Giroud’s (downplayed) link-up play.

  • bob

    Wengerson,
    Giroud was not effective vs ManCity, Chelsea and non-top West Ham. He’s exhausted and he’s not clinical enough. Though very good in the link-up part as I’d stated above. I won’t play statistics with you; it’s being clinical when the game is on the line. I’ve no faith in Giroud at that time at the goal mouth. We’ll surely see if Theo/Poldi having returned will make the difference that you seem set on. I’m not and can only argue that quality ensurance need not be a zero sum game. It’s affordable and when it comes to crunch time, we’ll have to see who’s right. I’d rather be prepared than penny-pinching. Do you think that any of the other top 4 sides are going to be standing pat, or looking to get the edge that puts them over? I think we should embrace being a contender and not see insufficiency as an insult, but as a challenge. Another quality piece or two for rotation and injury – which you have no reason to doubt will hit us given the brutalities of the EPL – is the doctor’s prescription. Happy New Year, mate.

  • Mick

    Bob, how would you feel about making a play for someone in the twilight of their playing days, namely Berbatov? He would be a brilliant signing in my opinion and may be happy to partake in a rotational situation, and wouldn’t his undoubted quality and vision fit in perfectly with our playing style.
    I am inclined to think however that Arsene sees the requisite number of goals being adequately supplied by the current available collective ie Podolski, Theo, Santi etc rather than dipping his reluctant toe into the January transfer waters.
    We will know soon enough though what his intentions are.

  • OMGArsenal

    Thanks Steve…..please tell us how much Giroud and Bendtner ARE actually earning and what % of the total player wages they represent. Giroud is having a dry spell but is contributing to others scoring, as is Ozil. Why didn’t you group Ozil in there with the chequebook vampires?
    Will Bendtner EVER realize his vaunted potential or will Sanogo ever get to PLAY are the more important questions….there are very few real strikers available in January and all the marginally good ones are Cup tied, something AW always likes to avoid.
    Those calling for a new striker in January had better come up with better arguments than; Giroud is looking tired, Bendtner is deadwood personified and Ramsey is injured.
    Expect to see Walcott starting every match, perhaps as a striker but certainly on the wing, Gnabry brought in more and more, Podolski starting on the left , Wilshere and Rosicky being used in the AMF roles they love and the OX backing them up.
    I also see Kos sitting on the bench for a spell and the tandem of Flamini/Arteta switching in every game, until Ramsey returns.

  • If I had a penny for every time fans (of any team) ask for their teams to sign a striker, I’d be a millionaire now. It is always a noun, a verb and “buy a striker”.

    I cast my mind back to pre-season when many Arsenal fans were vociferously calling for a striker to be signed and I recall the sorrow that pervaded Goonersphere after the Higuain deal fell through. I think Giroud must have great fortitude and high sense of self worth because I have never seen any player so maligned by their own fans as calls were made for strikers, any striker, to be bought in place of our no.12. I’m sure that we can all remember; it was only 4 months ago.

    Giroud had a wonderful pre-season and carried on into the new season. He not only does great link up play and scores his fair share of goals but he gives great support to the defence, especially during set pieces. I think Olly is a great team player; the sort of guy you want in your corner at a challenging time.

    I have always known that the mobs will be out with pitchforks for their witch-hunt as soon as his form drops. They never had any faith in the guy anyway and while he was scoring, there was more hand wringing about what would happen when he gets injured than praise for his performances.

    Despite his myriad of misses recently, I still feel very good about Giroud. I think AW sees him in the same light. Ultimately, if Arsene thinks a striker is necessary, he will do what he has to do, so we (the fans) might as well spend our time on more useful ventures like, you know, supporting the players that we have in the team right now.

  • OMGArsenal,

    Yeah man. Ozil can do no wrong.

    Recall when he was credited with every good thing that Arsenal did so that the spend brigade could feel vindicated. I can’t hear from them now how that the £42.5 million player is not single-handedly winning us matches as they have touted him to do.

    BTW, I have no problem with Ozil. It’s not his fault that some need to always be able to say I told you so and would stretch reality to fit in with their world view. It’s funny that Giroud, the cheap, not-good-enough player is getting all the stick for perceived drop in form while the expensive world class player gets a pass for same.

  • Arvind

    That really Bootoomee sums it all up. I hope Ozil produces magic performances of course but it’s not that he’s set the world on fire either after he’s joined. He’s done well, but that’s it. I hope he improves of course and fires us to the title maybe.

    Another similar myth is that Theo’s set pieces are terrible. In reality they’re pretty good and usually in a good area. But no… but if an exact similar ball comes in from say Ozil or Santi..it’ll be a world class ball and how ‘big money pays off’. Whatever.

    Either way though..I hope Ozil settles in, Santi takes off, Giroud gets a goal, Theo and Poldi score…and if AW feels we need a new striker..so be it. If not, I’m still reasonably confident.

    Bob…I do think Bendtner is a decent player..world beater no .. but a decent fill in.. and I think he’ll give us a good 6 months if he’s asked to stay.

  • elkieno

    Check this out, I had to laugh!!!
    Australia beat England in ashes (finally) and so for media stunt piers Morgan took on Brett lee in the nets and the following happened! Hahaha go in Brett maybe he a Gooner…
    From smh.com.au
    “I only hope that Brett takes a few minutes to reflect on his stupidity – this was a brain explosion of the highest order – it was a deliberate attempt to hit, injure, hurt and maim his opponent that I viewed as a form of grievous bodily harm or a human assault that could have proved fatal. Morgan, aged 48, was hit four times on the body and if he was hit on the head or across the heart the result could have been devastating.
    Lee bowled only one ball at the wickets, and the other five were directed at the batman’s middle to upper body and head.”
    COYG!!!

  • Nelson Wong

    They fail to point out that Arsenal is getting the Cazorla, Poldolski and Walcott combo back again. Remember how effective they were last year?

    Interestingly it comes at the same time as the climb of Cazorla’s performance.

    And after the OX comes back, the team will be almost 100% strength save for Ramsey.

    OK, he got the most goals and he was very good for the first half but you can see that he wasn’t as effective as the beginning. May be other teams now start to pay special attention at him. May be he needs a rest. We are not sure but taking him off for a while might do good for both the team and the player, given it isn’t a bad injury.

    The mid field have plenty of depth since the beginning and then the wing strikers are back so there is no need to send mid fielders there.

    One can actually argue the team is far better than the beginning of the season. They can easily handle two different competitions because they can almost field two top quality team.

  • elkieno

    Haha Brett lee smashing cricket balls at piers Morgan, love it!!!
    COYG lets do these Geordies!!!

  • rantetta

    bob

    Thanks for your posts on this subject. I had to Google Paul Revere and The Raiders – Kicks:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP8G4clUJBY

    Good call.

  • bob

    “They can easily handle two different competitions because they can almost field two top quality team.”
    Nelson Wong,
    Happily, right now we’re in (last count, and sorry if I’m off by one) 3 competitions, not 2. And notice that Liverpool has only 1 to focus on (like AFC in the last part of last season when we began our undefeated run). The other$ will spend for quality additions. In your (this) statement you would seem to equate our depth in quality rotation reserve with Chelski and City’s (and for that matter with Manure’s once Rooney and RVP are in the same line-up again). I’d like to agree, but feel it’s wishful thinking. If Giroud or BFG get injured (both of them to date having played almost every game), it seems an act of faith to declare that the other names on tap will just seamlessly snap into place with no loss in chemistry. Chemistry always takes time, and names are people – not names – who wear down from the wear and tear of actually playing (vs. spectating from a couch). When it’s affordable, is it prudent or rational to defend the status quo instead of ensuring for a far more expectable drop in quality and chemistry when injury strikes? As none of us know when that time will come, why gamble that it won’t come at a meaningful time? Why not spend to ensure places that are vulnerable to injury so that – not for the sake of spending, this stupid assumption – we can actually win one or more championships this very season. And we can. When it’s affordable, as it is now, it can be reckless not to spend for quality ensurance. We actually don’t need to rely on best-case scenarios (like what you’re assuming) when we can afford to reduce the likelihood of worst-case scenarios. Why settle for oh, we could have won it save for that freak injury or too many injuries at the business end of the season. Quality in reserve is not only a zillionaire collector’s obsession; there is a very conservative and sound aspect which is to ensure against a rainy day. Either way I will support our team to the hilt. But it does us no favors to dismiss (let alone mock) these concerns for the (near) future (this season’s potential triumph) as groundless. The excuses are built in to cushion the blow: a horrendous schedule (as AW just denounced), the relentless (and true) refshite (Atkinson, Dean, etc.) that will surely increase with our successes, etc. Let’s take all necessary measures to endure the full expectable; since there are serious and unprincipled obstacles in our way if we do not.

  • AL

    elkieno
    That must have been hilarious to watch! He surely must be a gunner, Brett Lee? Just wish he had aimed a few at the groin area 🙂