By Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw
According to a comment in the New Scientist, “Nine of out ten people hold a delusional belief.”
Now holding delusional beliefs is what Untold Arsenal has been accusing journalists and their fellow travellers of doing through most of this summer. Assuming that just writing down the name of 110 players and saying that some other journalist has linked them to Arsenal is a) interesting or b) likely to bring credibility.
Or indeed believing that spending money in the transfer window is linked to success on the pitch, or that having the top scoring centre forward is likely to lead to winning the league. Or that there is nothing wrong with refereeing in the Premier League.
Or indeed that the problem with the English national team is that we have too many foreigners playing in the Premier League.
Or that Gnabry can play for Brazil and Arsenal on the same day.
Or that, as the Guardian says today, Harry Kane “who earlier in the week was talking about how it’s fine never to score in the first month of the season” will go to Milan in January for €50m for him.
But really we should perhaps not be so harsh, since these journalists and their friends with their delusions are really just part of the normal community. For if that comment about nine out of ten is true, (and by and large New Scientist is pretty much based in the world of facts, statistics, evidence and logical deduction), those journalists and the members of the anti-Arsenal-Arsenal brigade are just following the normal human condition. People have delusional beliefs.
I started thinking of this when I saw an article (again from the Guardian, whose writers seem to be travelling a rather odd path at the moment), which says of Arsenal fans
The club’s supporters have been crying out for a new central defender and striker
which is of course delusional in itself. Some have, but not all. However the paper adds “it is possible to detect an uplift in the mood,” although they don’t quite manage to say how they have done the detecting. Perhaps they have moodometer. If so, I bet it is worth a few bob. I’d love to have one and point it at different parts of the ground during a match.
Anyway, Mr Wenger’s comments, as normal, are worth considering.
“I would say it’s the most mature squad I’ve had for a long time, because they are men,” he said. “They are not 19 or 20 years old, they are 24, 27, 28, and the whole squad is quite mature. It’s the first time for a long time that I’ve had a team of what you can call men, ready to compete. After, we have to show that we are good enough to beat everybody else.
“I always believe we have a chance, even when we had young players. Certainly, I haven’t had a squad of players for a long time, who have enough experience to compete.”
Also of interest is the comment the manager made about the final two signings. ““We did it quite early compared to some other clubs because we finished our job on Saturday and the transfer deadline was on Wednesday. It was earlier than expected, because it was a quick turnaround on Saturday morning, which we didn’t expect to go so quickly.”
On Wilshere he said, “Is Jack’s Arsenal career in the balance? No, not at all. I hope, personally, that he stays here his whole career. We had a chat together and he himself was concerned that he would not get enough competition early enough, because he feels ready to play. I couldn’t guarantee that, so that’s why the decision. It looks logical to give him time to really come back to a competitive level. At some stage you need competition and I couldn’t guarantee him that. Let’s not forget that last year he didn’t play.”
Eddie Howe, said he wanted Jack as an attacking forward thinking player, and Mr Wenger agreed. “Personally, that’s where I prefer him. I think Jack Wilshere is a world-class player. He has a great footballing brain, and understands everything that is going on on the football pitch. He is most dangerous when you give him the ball in the final third.
“For me, it was always a shame when he played too deep and too close to the goal because I like him where he can create. The thinking behind was that he would get regular football and come back to what he is – a world-class football player.”
As for tomorrow, we have had confirmation that Aaron Ramsey is still out with a hamstring injury and won’t be ready for PSG but Alex Iwobi is back. Alexis Sánchez and David Ospina came back late from internationals not returning until Thursday night, so might not be selected which means we could see our third choice keeper Damian Martinez on the bench.
Lucas Perez will either start or be on the bench, which means that Alexis could be on the bench or not in the squad. Shkodran Mustafi had that reported knock in an interlull game so may or may not be there, as the case might be.