by Bulldog Drummond.
Shock, horror, disaster, Arsenal unprepared as usual. For the amazing news just discovered by the old Thunderer (as the Times used to be called) is that Arsenal could be without four of their main first team players for the starting day of the season!!!
The four in question are Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Özil, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny.
Now when you come to think of it, this story could be reported as a success story for Arsenal. For unlike, for example Tottenham, five of whose players “represented” England in their farcical assault on the mighty Vikings, only to slither away to a country with a population one half one percent of the size of England’s, Arsenal’s players were successful in playing for sides that got to the semi-final.
But no, with a clear vision of a story that suggests Arsenal are in crisis, we see that Arsenal will have four players who could all miss the game on 14th August because they will only return to training 13 days before the league campaign starts. Oh gnashing teeth, woe, woe and thrice woe.
Now I have always been one who would prefer that our players don’t play international football – I am completely with Walter on this one – but given that they have to do it, I want them to come back safe and well. And without being churlish, I want them to come back early.
Here’s the Arsenal line up that went to France…
Olivier Giroud (France), Laurent Koscielny (France), Hector Bellerin (Spain), Granit Xhaka (Switzerland), Petr Cech (Czech Republic), Tomas Rosicky (Czech Republic), Jack Wilshere (England), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Aaron Ramsey (Wales).
Tomas Rosicky (Czech Republic) and Wojciech Szczesny (Poland) were also in the official lists, although Tomas has now left Arsenal and Wojciech is more than likely going back to Italy for next season.
You can imagine if it were any other team they would be praised for having four players in the semi-finals, but no this is Arsenal, so it is a chance to contemplate how unprepared we are. But let’s take a look and see how the other sides got on in terms of semi-final players, and one or two other clubs who are sometimes contemplated as our rivals.
Chelsea had six players on show, but none in the semi-finals.
Crystal Palace like Arsenal had four semi-finalists: Wayne Hennessey (Wales), Jonny Williams (Wales), Joe Ledley (Wales), Yohan Cabaye (France).
Everton had seven players in the tournament, but none made it to the last four.
Liverpool? had 12 players on show with three of them in the semi-finals: Emre Can (Germany), Martin Skrtel (Slovakia), Danny Ward (Wales), and Joe Allen (Wales).
Manchester City had seven players in France with two in the semi-finals. Bacary Sagna and Eliaquim Mangala both of France.
Manchester Utd gave up 10 players including Anthony Martial (France), Morgan Schneiderlin (France), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), who made it to the last four
Southampton can boast of being the only team to have offered up players to the winners: Cedric Soares (Portugal), Jose Fonte (Portugal), being their two semi-finalists out of seven all told.
Swansea had two semi-finalists out of four players who went: Ashley Williams (Wales), Neil Taylor (Wales).
But what you will be asking, of the Tiny Totts and the now renamed England Hotspur team. Well out of their eleven players five were in the extraordinary valiant performance by… Iceland over England. But they also loaned out Hugo Lloris (France), Ben Davies (Wales). A total of two.
State Aid Utd (the club formally known as WHU) also gave away two out of four for the semis – Dimitri Payet (France), James Collins (Wales).
So yes, we were at the top in terms of semi-finalists and maybe there could be a little praise for this. And yes these four players are unlikely to start. But they could be on the beach (oh how long it seems since I have been here talking about line ups and the beach. I can’t wait to get back).
But let me try with some kind of line up for the game against Liverpool? leaving all of those four out.
Bellerin Mertesacker Gabriel Monreal
Campbell Walcott Alexis
On the beach: Ospina, Koscielny, Chambers, Wilshere, The Ox, Ramsey, Iwobi
Now there may well be some people who will scream abuse in the normal way that “we are relying on Walcott”, but that is based on the notion that the way a player performed in the last few games is how he will perform in the next – which of course is nonsense. If this were a fair way to see events no one would ever come back from a below-par run. Mr Wenger will know.
And of course there can be many other ways of doing this. Chambers for example was bought to be a centre back for us – and maybe he is now ready. Iwobi might now be considered ready to start as the prime centre forwards.
So total panic or a moment to celebrate that unlike other teams Arsenal had four semi-finalists? It’s fairly obvious what the bloggettas and the newspapers are lining up for the new season.
- Liverpool and Uefa contemplate suing anti-drugs agency
- We don’t need new players, we need new pundits. Only four new Arsenal transfers this week.
- Social media warning: do not use your brains!
From the anniversary files
- 15 July 2002: Arsène Wenger became a member of Legion d’Honneur. The Order was established by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 May 1802 and is the highest decoration in France.