By Tony Attwood
I recall during my student days when I was an active member of the students’ union, taking part in one of our regular political debates when one fellow student rose up and commented that what I had just said was in contradiction to something I had said at another meeting a couple of weeks before.
Speaking without engaging my brain I replied, “But I’ve never claimed to be consistent,” which was perhaps my first indication that I might stand a better chance of making money as a satirist rather than as a politician.
Of course in the end I did neither, and both politics and satire in the UK remained safe from my interference. But I was reminded of that moment so many years ago, when the game fell apart yesterday.
On my drive back to the Midlands from Blacksheep’s fine new home near Arnos Grove I contemplated what, if anything, I might write this morning, and the best I came up with was a rather poor version of what the Guardian’s Barney Ronay turned out to have written before I got to the keyboard…
Replays suggested minimal contact with Costa, who was nonetheless unable to hide his agony from public view, face contorted as he completed a harrowing triple roll that suggested at the very least a pair of broken limbs, possibly even that rare thing, death by ankle tap.
But I was also taken, as was the Guardian columnist, by Giroud’s reaction and the crowd’s reaction to the Giroudian reaction to the substitution. Giroud, you may recall, walked off very, very, very slowly, head bowed, like an expert actor in a melodrama, milking the scene for all it was worth, not wishing to forgo his moment of fame. Flamini then went over to him and said, “If you don’t move at full speed I am going to kick you up the arse so hard you won’t shit for a month,” or something along those lines. Giroud broke into a trot. (As it were).
And yet I was left pondering the crowd, and the widespread booing of the fact that it was Giroud who would go off. Not that I don’t like Giroud; I’ve been singing his praises and comparing his numbers with Henry’s for two years now. But I also recognise where his strengths lie, and I don’t think those strengths include moving at speed and covering a wing and centre forward position – something that would have been necessary if either Theo or Campbell had gone off.
However that was only the start of my musing as I played my usual game of trying to get the miles per gallon counter up to over 50 while zipping along the M1.
For surely, this couldn’t be the same Giroud, whose substitution was so roundly booed, as the Giroud who was the subject of headlines such as
Olivier Giroud’s struggles against Liverpool prove he is not good enough to be Arsenal’s first choice striker
www.standard.co.uk 24 August 2015.
footballtransfertavern 17 September 2015
The Sport Review 17 September 2015
Give me sport. April 2015
“Giroud was desperately poor..,” Daily Telegraph
5 Truths: Olivier Giroud is still not good enough to be Arsenal’s leading man
UK Sports, Feb 2015
A lot of these articles told us about “things we learned” as if somehow we all think with the same mind which some fruitcase scribbler can actually look inside and then discuss. (Don’t try doing it inside my mind matey, it is not always a pleasant place and you can pick up some thoughts in there you might wish you had avoided and which can seriously damage your dreams).
Most of these “articles” are in fact rants without any real analysis, despite the recourse to the old-time “three” or “five things” that apparently we learned (but apparently didn’t learn well enough that we don’t need to be told them again. And again. And…).
And now, we find, the manager can be booed for taking off the player who is not good enough to be Arsenal’s centre forward even when we have 11 men on the pitch.
Incidentally, many of these ranters are the same people who regularly write to Untold and tell us that “you can prove anything with statistics” or that “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics,” thinking perhaps that although we have published almost 200,000 comments from readers (and refused to publish about 150,000 more) that no one had ever previously thought of writing in with those two unproven statements – statements that go along with “it is what it is”, “at the end of the day”, “with all due respect”, “at this moment in time”, “I’m just saying…” etc etc etc.
To divert for a moment, from this diversion, if we can prove anything with statistics, what would you like to prove with this set of statistics?
Arsenal are third, and…
Come on, I’m told one can prove anything with statistics. Surely we can prove Arsenal are doomed and that Giroud is good / useless / ok / irreplaceable…
But to return to the game. The taking off of Giroud, who we all clearly knew just a while back, was a useless load of old rubbish and not fit to be on the pitch even with 10 stellar players by his side, shows how quickly it all changes. Or perhaps just how quickly we all forget.
Just as the statistics above can be used to suggest (not prove mark you, just suggest) that a slip by Leicester and Man City and a win by us could change things dramatically once again. (And that’s not statistics, that is pure speculation).
Maybe football has always been about the last game only, and has just recently become about the last 20 seconds only.
But then if that is the case, take this final sentence from Barney’s Guardian review: “The spirit shown by 10 men in defeat might just offer a hint of cheer through the weekend’s gloom,” might give us some room for hope.
Ah but you can prove anything with opinion.
And I’ll still be there next week.
- 25 January 2011: Arsenal beat Ipswich in League cup semi final to make it to the the final. See also here Arsenal went through 3-1 on aggregate with goals by Koscielny, Bendtner and Fabregas.
- 25 January 2015: Brighton 2 Arsenal 3. In the 4th round of the FA Cup. With the media anticipating an upset, goals from Ozil and Walcott in the first 25 minutes and a third from Rosicky meant the victory was never in doubt.
Insult of the day:
I think he bought his doublet in Italy; his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany and his behaviour everywhere. (The Merchant of Venice)