By Tony Attwood
Being away on holiday while the season runs along its merry course is always an interesting experience. A chance to do the usual recharging of the batteries in the sunshine, and in this case, the opportunity to watch Watford v Arsenal in a bar on the island of Crete, with the landlord who is an Olympiakos fan. No mention of corruption charges, just a friendly exchange of thoughts on football, and enjoying the match and local beer.
The Bayern game was played while I was flying back to England – turning my mobile on once through customs and it sprang to life with wonderful messages announcing the news.
Yesterday was therefore a day of recovering from not getting to bed until 4am (why does the entire M1 have to be dug up every night and traffic diverted down side streets that are still getting used to the coming of the traction engine?) followed by as much sleep as my body clock would allow, followed by watching the Bayern game on BT Sprout, who run one hour long edits of each Champs League game through the day.
Which meant I listened with much interest to Owen Hargreaves co-commentary (who is employed seemingly to enliven the chatter) while knowing what the result was.
Now being wise after the event is not very clever, but what did strike me was that the Hargreaves fella was doing little other than reflect on individual issues, not picking up on the overall play and tactics. As a result we got an endless rush of how poor Arsenal were and how Arsenal were going to be beaten hands down, and then a sudden reversal followed by silence in the last few minutes.
If only there was a commentator who could add a bit of overall perspective about the ebb and flow, about the change in tactics, rather than add a secondary moment by moment commentary about each move, which is what the primary commentator is all about.
But this idea seems to much too ask, and as a result Owen Hargreaves predictions of what will happen in retrospect make him sound like an absolute prat.
Coming back also means a chance to make sense of what some of the people who live behind the darkened curtains are up to.
HITC announces for example that “Shearer reacts on Twitter to Arsenal results, calls out Wenger.”
According to the mind-boggling jibberish the site purveys, Shearer “raised a crucial point regarding the first two games in the competition,” about who played in goal.
Actually, he just copied most of the anti-Arsenal commentators. Shearer is not the most original of men). And the point surely is that the issue of who plays in goal for Arsenal has been debated to death. Wenger’s commented on the slight injury worry, (ignored by the press as it didn’t fit their agenda) Ospina’s wonderful form previously, and the need to give the second keeper a chance, if you want to keep him fit and in form.
In fact Arsenal are still the team of 2015, and for a lot of 2015 the goalkeeper of the team of 2015 was Ospina.
But then shock horror: a goalkeeper makes a mistake. And which keeper hasn’t? From Bob Wilson to Jennings to Seaman, everyone has had bad games. Same with every player. In fact I can remember Shearer having a shocker. And Henry. And Bergkamp. Everyone makes a mistake, but according to the dimwitted Shearer it is still worth going back over old news again, and again, and again.
Indeed it was rather as if I had gone away, come back, and found the clocks had not moved on in my absence.
And reading the press again it seems that it is still downhill all the way with the notion Real Madrid have done a deal (yes it is a Done Deal) to sell Jese Rodriguez to Arsenal in January.
Now even on the back of an envelope I could work out while waiting for my luggage to arrive at the airport that Arsenal have scored 17 goals in the last six games in all competitions and 11 in the last 3 league games. We have two number 9s who alternate in prodding the ball home, plus a winger who scores for fun, Wellbeck back in the new year, Campbell waits in the wings, plus Iwobi, Akpom, Gnabry…and we want to buy another?
Elsewhere I apparently missed (what with being abroad and all) that Arsene announced his retirement during the week. However Wenger ANNOUNCES Retirement is only on one site. I Wonder how the others missed it.
Or maybe it wasn’t true?
I also missed the fact that Ospina is apparently leaving Arsenal for Besiktas in January. But then it seems so did everyone else, except perhaps golazogoal – another blogetta.
Of course the main thing to realise when away is that the world can move very quickly, and no one is in touch with all these movements, other than the blogettas. For example, did you know that “Arsene Wenger will astonish fans with this signing!”
The story, as ever, is not quite all the headline is cracked up to be. “Arsene Wenger will try to complete double deal. The main target is 10m rated Russia international star Aleksandr Kokorin. The Gunners have already offered a season long loan bid for striker, but Dynamo Moscow rejected!
“Arsene Wenger will try to complete the deal in January, when the Winter transfer window re-opens, and now will offer at around £10m for striker.
“Another World Class finisher on Arsenal transfer radar is Antoine Griezmann. According to media outlets from Spain and Britain the Gunners will battle Chelsea for Atletico Madrid stunning star.”
So now we know.
Oh yes and we also have the new Walcott too. “According to the latest British press, Arsenal have won the race over Chelsea and are closest to sign 15 year-old Swiss sensation Nishan Burkart.”
Meanwhile in the Telegraph
Man City rival Arsenal for Krychowiak
Polish international Krychowiak looks set to be in the middle of a £21million tug of war between the Premier League title rivals.
Benzema: Arsenal rumours are laughable
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema says he has never been close to agreeing a move to Arsene Wenger’s side (Where on earth did they get that story!)
‘Arsenal keep tabs on Valencia’s Gomes’
Gunners watched midfielder at weekend and were impressed by what they saw
and the Mail (which proclaims The Mail Online is not responsible for the content of external internet sites, and then provides links to some of the more dubious of such sites)
The good news for Arsenal supporters still thrilled by just how good Hector Bellerín was on Tuesday night is that he is unlikely to end up going the way of Cesc Fabregas before him – back to Barcelona.
Hmmmm. 0.01% of transfer rumours turn out to be true; I think that was Sir Hardly’s figure at the end of the summer. That is one in ten thousand. Still got 9,990 to go. Unless you count the Bellerin not going anywhere rumour as that one that is right.
It was a great holiday, the weather in the Midlands when I got back was crap, but still, its nice to be back and look forward to next weekend.
Arsenal on this day
The regular Arsenal on this day file showing all the main anniversaries each day has now returned to the home page. Here are two events of interest from 22 October.
- 22 October 1949: Arsène Wenger born. He became Arsenal’s first non-British manager, the longest serving manager, the manager who won the most major trophies, and the man who delivered the Unbeaten Season. For our birthday quiz see here.
- 22 October 1949: After a reserve team match in Cardiff the South Wales Football Echo and Express reported that Arsenal players had been seen smoking after the match. In November Arsenal announced it was taking legal action against the paper, which immediately withdrew its accusations and apologised.
- The Untold Arsenal Banner is now on permanent display inside the Emirates Stadium
- A Memorial to the founders of Arsenal’s Highbury dynasty.
- And we’re on Twitter @UntoldArsenal
The Untold Books
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal