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October 2016
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Granit gets 3, and what would it have been like if we had signed Icardi?

By Tony Attwood

The news from the press on Granit X is that Arsene Wenger thought the tackle that led to him being sent off was a “deep yellow” which I suppose those who look at rainbows would call orange, and so the club will not appeal.  So Granit gets a three match ban, effectively reduced to two because one of the three is Reading, which I doubt he would have played in.

Although, now I come to think about it, there was a time when League Cup matches were excluded from bans, as I remember Bergkamp getting one of his reds and then playing 120 minutes of a league cup match during the middle of it – against State Aid Utd as I recall, although of course they were called something else then.

Anyway, it all means Elneny is more certain of a match and a sub appearance or two, which is no bad thing in my view.  Besides we were all warned about Granit’s ability to be sent off, which is probably why we have lots of midfielders.

Meanwhile this past weekend we have an indication of what life might have been like if the aaa and their chums in the media had had their way in the running of Arsenal.

You will recall the utter certainty with which it was announced that Arsenal were buying Mauro Icardi.  “Mauro Icardi to Arsenal” was the Sun’s headline on August 6 this year although it was always a little confusing as on the same day the Guardian ran the headline “Chelsea beat Arsenal to Mauro Icardi” and on 15 August the Standard had “Mauro Icardi’s agent due in London for Chelsea and Arsenal talks.”  I suspect he was seen at the airport.

Then when we didn’t sign him it wasn’t the rumours that were at fault but the Arsenal purchasing department and Mr Wenger, with the boss being too slow, too pedantic, too mean with the club’s money etc etc.  The stories were worthy of the Trump “the election is rigged” and “I never met any of those women in my life” machine.

Anyway, Inter have him, and they gave him a big pay rise, a new contract and put a £99m buyout clause in the deal.  (Actually that £99m deal was in Euros so that is now £146m in current money).   Lots of laughter directed at Arsenal – the club could have had him, but now they have lost their chance.

Except that it turns out that Icardi, the captain of Internazionale these days, is just about the worst player in the Inter team.   And that was before he missed a vital penalty on Sunday.

It is true that Icardi did very well at the start of the season, scoring six goals in seven games (although you must recall that the lower reaches of the Italian first division are somewhat less robust than those in the deeper echelons of the PL).

But then it all went wrong.  The Inter version of the aaa (known as Ultras) are slightly more organised than the aaa and occasionally even more coherent, and apparently they don’t like a few of the comments in Icardi’s autobiography.  So they now they boo him and have a banner at their end of the ground denouncing him.  With the regular grace and charm for which the Italian language is universally famous the lines are written “You use a child to justify yourself and fling mud at us. You’re not a man.  You’re not a Captain.  You are just a vile piece of shit.”

This relates to the situation in which after a defeat to Unione Sportiva Sassuolo Calcio when Icardi says he went to the fans to apologise for the defeat.  In his memoirs he wrote of the incident, “As I get closer, I receive insults and abuse of every kind. Attached to the netting is a kid who calls me: he wants my shirt.   Considering his age, he could be my son: I take off my shirt and shorts and throw them to him, as a gift. This kid is in seventh heaven and I am pleased to see him so happy.

“A head of the Ultras jumps on him to take away the shirt and throws it back at me. This is when I start insulting him: ‘Piece of shit, you are acting all arrogant with a little kid to show off to the rest of the curva? Do you think you’re hard?’”

In fact so bad is the situation that in true aaa style the Ultras let out their biggest cheer of the game when Icardi took a penalty against Cagliari Calcio and it missed the target by a mile (or 1.60934 km as they say in Italy).

And of course just like the tactics of the aaa, the approach has not actually helped the cause of the club these people claim to support.

Now the club’s hierarchy are talking about taking the captaincy away from him.  The club coach Frank De Boer, said. “Today I saw a team which didn’t want to win.”

(Mind you Icardi is used to this sort of stuff.  It is reported that when he was at Sampdoria he had an affair with the wife of Maxi Lopez and posted pictures of himself with Lopez’ children.  Then – again, I stress, it is reported – the Mafia offered their assistance to Lopez, saying that they would quite willingly break Icardi’s legs.  Apparently on that occasion Lopez turned down the offer.)

So while Arsenal without Icardi are doing reasonably well in the PL,  Inter with Icardi have just lost three in a row and sit 11th, ten points behind the leaders after eight games.


# Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1 Juventus 8 7 0 1 17 5 12 21
2 Roma 8 5 1 2 19 10 9 16
3 AC Milan 8 5 1 2 15 11 4 16
4 Napoli 8 4 2 2 15 9 6 14
5 Lazio 8 4 2 2 14 8 6 14
6 Chievo 8 4 1 3 10 9 1 13
7 Cagliari 8 4 1 3 13 14 -1 13
8 Genoa 7 3 3 1 8 5 3 12
9 Sassuolo 8 4 0 4 11 13 -2 12
10 Torino 7 3 2 2 13 8 5 11
11 Inter Milan 8 3 2 3 10 10 0 11
12 Bologna 8 3 2 3 9 12 -3 11
13 Atalanta 8 3 1 4 10 12 -2 10
14 Fiorentina 7 2 3 2 6 6 0 9
15 Sampdoria 8 2 2 4 8 11 -3 8
16 Pescara 8 1 4 3 8 11 -3 7
17 Udinese 8 2 1 5 7 14 -7 7
18 Palermo 7 1 3 3 4 8 -4 6
19 Empoli 8 1 2 5 2 11 -9 5
20 Crotone 8 0 1 7 6 18 -12 1





21 comments to Granit gets 3, and what would it have been like if we had signed Icardi?

  • Arthur

    I find it hard to understand how you are so supportive of the ruling class in your politics but so against the ruling class in your football views. Don’t you think that both are totally corrupt or are the politicians innocent?

  • So, basically, Arsenal ( or should I say Wenger) dodged a bullet? Good. We survive then, so we can win the league.

  • Usama Zaka

    Arsene Wenger always stresses on the individual character of a player when discussing transfers. I remember him mentioning such when we signed El Nenny. He said things like… we also look out for… how the player behaves and lives around new people, among the community, with his friends & family, with his teammates and coaches, how well of is he spoken about as an individual by the people around him, etc…

    And nearly every player we have is very down to earth, top quality, family guy and well respected.

    As for Icardi, I remember when he scored 4 against Juventus when he was at Sampdoria and was very young, I thought he looks a like bright prospect and Arsenal might keep an eye on him, until the news came out that he cheated on his best friends wife. He is not liked in Argentina and Italy, this guy is an absolute no-no

  • Leon

    I’m really looking forward to a progress update on all of the other 120 (I think) players that we didn’t purchase.

  • Leon that would be good to do but I think it is beyond the capabilities of Untold’s dedicated but tiny team to do the lot.

    But I do like the idea. Maybe I will do a few at random just to see.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Hmmun. Have some Gunners been negatively talking a bit much for my liking?

    The Ox was reported by the media to have said, he’ll weigh up his staying at Arsenal at the end of this season if he’s current state of not getting regular playing time in the team did not change for the better. But he didn’t say anything about his almost constant injury plague career at Arsenal since he has joined them in 2011 which has restricted the potential he was seen to have had at Southampton that made Arsenal to sign him.

    I advice the Ox to concentration more on his game recovery first after he has now comeback from the big injury he picked from Mascherano’s tackle last season at the Ems in a CL match that sidelined him for a long spell. I believe Le Prof is managing his injury crisis history well. So that he doesn’t pick up another injury again this season. And I am sure if all went well with him, Le Prof will give him a starting spot in our ELC match against Reading. Let the Ox wait for his PL starting chance again. And when it’s given to him, let him seize it and make good use of it.

    Walcott has also been reported in the media to have said Arsenal will hopefully win something this season as they continue to grind out results. But he didn’t say what that something he believes Arsenal will win. the League Cup, the title, the FA Cup or the Ucl? One of the above titles is something.

    I think a Gunner of Walcott caliber with senior years of experience at Arsenal should be ambitious and specific as to what he wants Arsenal to win this season when he talks and not be vague about it.

    As for me, I believe Arsenal will maintain their current state of winning run in all competitions from now to the end of Dec if all Gunners will forcus fully on their training regime and their on the field games seriously. And maintain unity and togetherness within their rank and file on and off the field play. And above all, they should continue at all times and games to be disciplined and play their games in discipline trend thoughout this season. Talking too much to the media unnecessarily can be diversionary and could make a Gunner or Gunners to lose his or their focus on his/their game.

    Arsenal will win the quadruple this season. This is my true ambitious for our beloved club and I believe it can happen.

  • nicky

    Slightly worried about Granit and his fouling. He’s been caught a few time already this term.
    Don’t want him to get a reputation among the PGMO like Vieira & Co did when they first joined. 😉

  • Chris

    As far as I am concerned, As the picture of the ‘moment’ shows, there were 4 blue shirts and 2 red ones.
    From all I have seen Xhaka play, I was impressed by his ‘spatial’ awareness, always knowing what is going on around him.
    I believe that there he just pulled the handbrake for the team. And took responsibility. As much as I hate fouls, this on I can understand.

    And all these moaners should go back a few months and a few years when they were whinning about our midfield and defence who lacked steel.

    Then, we’ve seen a few of these fouls against us not end up with such a harsh consequence.

  • Chris

    Oops forgot to post the picture.

    Here it is :

    I can just see the pass cross the field into the middle and from ther to the right winger, all in 5 seconds.

    Should he really have not ?!!

  • Josif


    For informations on Icardi one just had to read two my comments on him. I mentioned both Icardi’s good side (he had amazing conversion rate last season with three shots per goal comparing to Giroud’s five) and bad side (back-stabber who betrayed his friend Maxi Lopez).

    Now, as you might recall, certain Mr Robin van Persie had faced much worse allegations before he joined Arsenal. Emmanuel Adebayor had been problematic at Monaco and with much worse numbers to his name than Icardi has. Both played their best football at Arsenal and spent the most peaceful period of their careers at Arsenal. Their exit was a proof, however, that you can’t completely change someone’s personality for better. Mr Wenger’s attempts to sign Luis Suarez and Jamie Vardy suggest that he is still ready to bid for problematic players.

    What would have happened if we had signed Icardi? Nobody knows. He might have become a peaceful striker like Suarez has been at Barcelona. He might have caused a war in the locker-room.

  • Zuruvi

    A few of the players rumoured by the media as coming to Arsenal during the transfer window are doing well and many are not impressive at all.

    It’s obviously so because most of these rumours are utter nonsense and we rightly don’t believe them.

    Of the 3 players that Arsenal did buy it is too early to make a full judgement of their performance but I like what I am seeing. Arsene bought quite wisely.
    Mustafi is a brilliant defender. The partnership with The Kosch is brilliant.
    Xhaka is average. He is doing OK but I expected more.
    The new Striker is not yet proven and his quality is an unknown. He is the unanimous striker – I’ve even forgotten his name as I type this posting. Wenger seems to be persisting with Sanchez (who isn’t yet a clinical striker but is still a very good footballer).

    I’ve just remembered the guy’s name – Perez.

  • Zuruvi


    Good observation. We did try to sign Suarez when he was at his worst behaviour.

    So whilst Wenger looks at the “behaviour” of players, he is also pragmatic and doesn’t completely ignore brilliant players if the price is right (and affordable) just because they have had major behaviour problems before.

  • Usama Zaka


    The season before we signed Sanchez, he was having arguments and disputes with the Barca manager Tata Martino nearly every week. Showing dissent on pitch was a common sight. His behaviour from a fair football perspective was even worse, he used to dive to the ground at every possible challenge, and cry wolf to the ref. And I hated that Sanchez.

    When Arsenal signed him and still now, you look at relations with the team and manager and they are excellent. He fights for every ball and I have not seen him dive once in our shirt. I think the 2 major reasons we can deduce from this are the difference of mindsets of the manager and club.

    Arsene Wenger hates the diving and crying kind of football, and the only time our last player managed to do that and got away it with (Cazorla vs West Brom 2012), Wenger publicly apologized and didnt want to see it again.

    Whereas at Barca every player, every game and every season you will see crying, diving, faking injuries, surrounding the refs…

  • austinpaul

    I also have dis inner inkling like u. Tony,dat Ozil nd Alexis will stay; money is d main issue; who plays to win trophies?they d players of course; I don’t see dis as a major consideration its just a platform to get d club to persuade dem bcos they are d ones to nurture d ambition, spread it among their teammates nd make it become a mantra.both of dem shuld take responsibility for dis ambition dis season nd inffect other players wit d virus afterall wat is d dressing room for? They have to affect d mentality of their teamers making dem realise dat they all CAN do it together dis season; d players shuld motivate themselves wit persistent talk on nd off d pitch a winning mentality will subsist in d team. D coach gives instructions he does nt play on d pitch; its up to d players to play to instruction;I believe if d team continues to progress like its doing presently , supporting eachother, playing for eachother, carrying everybody along, no opposition will b difficult to dismantle; Burnley nd Swans have proved dat. As for d Ox, he shuld consentrate on improving his game nd avoid injuries whilst seizing every opportunity given him to many players who left Arsenal are doing well in their new clubs? If Ox leaves he certainly will be a flop wit his arrogant style of play. He shuld strive to improve himself wit evry chance he gets rather dan craving a starting berth! Shallom!!!

  • OlegYch

    what’s up with your hate for Icardi? is it the fact that ultras don’t like him? aaa hate half of arsenal squad, and while aaa are just stupid kids, ultras are often severely brain-damaged fascist adults
    is it his affair? need i remind you Giroud cheated on his wife?

  • Menace

    Following up on Walters tackle from behind by Xhaka, – in the Liverpool v United match I’ve just seen Bailly get a yellow for a double kick on the achilles of Sturridge. The commentators including one G Neville used the term left one on him. Now let us see some written complaints from Walter to the FA about refereeing consistency. Arsenal get a dross red while a geographically select team get a mellow yellow (quite right too).

  • Menace

    As regards diving: it was the fans at Arsenal that initially booed our players if they dived. The fans initiated the non cheating attitude in the team before the Invincibles. It has now become part of Arsenals playing culture. Sometimes it may create an issue where injury might be exacerbated by staying on your feet. However the Arsenal fans can be proud of their team & the sporting way in which they play the game.

  • Josif


    Thanks for your comment.

    I guess Alexis is a good example what happens when a manager with good personality and true values gets a player under his leap.

    It’s great that you mentioned this part of hysterical football that Barcelona and Real Madrid apply whenever they play. I always wanted to be a ref at one of their games – that would be the first El Clasico that would be suspended due to number of second yellow cards issued for dissent. Every single player that would surround me would see a yellow card in front of his crying face. And again, before seeing red.

    Tonight we could see very little of football, mostly because of Mourinho’s negative football. However, I don’t have problem with that. Everything that is within the Rules of football game is legitimate. Arsenal played the ugliest football at El Madrigal in the Champions League semifinal and I didn’t feel ashamed because we didn’t break the rules while doing so. It didn’t feel nice to see Henry with the ball and literally nobody in front of him in those burgundy shirts of ours but it was part of the strategy. Maybe if our whole season was consisted of that sort of performances I would start moaning from the aesthetic point of view. But, as I say, as long it stays withing the rules – fine.

    What I do have a problem with, however, is number of dissents Manchester United players were making tonight and got away with them. I can’t recall them doing so when Van Gaal was at United save for that Di Maria’s stupid red card against us. It’s fascinating how Mourinho makes his teams look like him in such a short period of time.

  • Usama Zaka


    As for refereeing the clasico, count me in too, as the 4th official, handing out suspensions to the managers and staff:p

  • para

    Usama Zaka October 17, 2016 at 9:04 am
    Spot on.

    I suspect some other teams managers may look for very different qualities in a player (besides the obvious footballing ones) than AW and Arsenal does.

    Menace October 17, 2016 at 9:03 pm
    Also spot on.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Menace -October 17, 2016 at 9:03 pm – I agree wholeheartedly with you comments.
    I would hate it if we resorted to cheating and bulling . While I truly hate losing , ‘winning’ games by resorting to fraudulent means would be a hollow victory indeed .

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