The general view among the more thoughtful fans of Arsenal (well, my mate Ian and the two guys I met down the pub) is that the Lord Wenger really has had a masterplan and has not deviated from it. And it is now being revealed in all its glory.
And in common with earlier Wengerian teams winning stuff is preceded by breaking records. Being the first team to score 10 in the two opening games of an EPL season is not as huge a record as “49”, but it signifies where we are.
Of course if that were all there was this would be a very short blog, but no, there is more.
There are two other little indicators that there is something wonderful happening at the club. First, the Lord Wenger, has said some utterly amazing things about Diaby, comparing him to Vieira for example. Given that this is not his normal style, it is certainly something to note with interest.
And then the reserves. We’ve all noted that the first team squad has drawn only in a limited way on the reserves this season – Merida and Wilshere most obviously. The implication of that is that there is a wealth of talent lurking below, maturing all the time, and being kept in the background as the next bunch of stars ready to burst through.
Hoyte-the-younger is still there, along with Francis Coquelin, Sanchez Watt, Nacer Barazite, and Gilles Sunu: they were all playing last night beating Fulham 3-0, and once again Barazite, Sun and Coquelin looked terrific. To my untutored eye they are ready to step up. I could go on naming them for ever: Jay Simpson and Rhys Murphy, JET (now on loan) – and we also saw a old boy: Kerrea Gilbert, who must by now have a full house of loan cards and be classified as an old boy rather than one of the under-5s.
Anyway, watching the kiddies and then hearing of the Liverpoolian shambles, it brought home the difference. Arsenal’s tough times have always been tempered by a knowledge (for anyone who didn’t have eyes wide shut) that
a) we had not spent all our money already and so could buy Arshavin
b) we didn’t have bank going beserk at us
c) we had a constant stream of youngsters coming up into the team
Liverpool don’t have these luxuries, and so their crisis is an infinitely deeper crisis than that imagined by the Doomsayers at Arsenal in the last two seasons.
Rafael Benítez’ simple response to a start worse than ours last year (when we won 2 and lost 1) was to say Gerrard, Mascherano and Torres had to sort themselves out. Yes, well, even my cat who sadly died two years ago could have seen that.
Assuming the Insolvents don’t sort it out this season it will be the 20th anniversary since Liverpool won the league. I think celebrations are called for to mark the occasion.
All of which drags me to the world of the Zebras. It seems that our old mates the bankers (my new t-shirts “Tough on banks, tough on the causes of banks” will be on sale soon) are causing problems for the north-east’s most insane team.
Newcastle Untidy have been told by Barclays that it must cut its overdraft now – and at the moment the men stuffing themselves with billion pound bonuses don’t look like budging on this.
Newcastle are said to owe Barclays £20 million on the overdraft but, and this is the big news, the facility comes to an end on Monday. Not next Monday week, not December 1st, but just a few days time. On Tuesday next (one week from today, just to be clear about it) the overdraft facility reduces to £10m. If the Zebras don’t cut back then the interest rate on the money owed goes up to a banker’s heaven of 20% or so. You can see them with their snouts in the trough already.
Newcastle face a Leedsian scenario of players on insane salaries who won’t willingly move for less money. Leeds tried (and failed) to get out of this mess by selling players and then continuing to pay part of their salary for years to come. This was a major factor in sending them into the Batesian nightmare and bankruptcy.
So what was the response of Newcastle to this fiasco? They seriously thought of offering the management job to David O’Leary, whom we all adored as a player, but had extreme doubts about his sanity thereafter. Makes you think.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
- Last season the table after 3 games was headline news. But probably not this season
- 117 players tipped as coming to Arsenal before the window closes
- Why Arsenal recruited a new defence first, then a new attack
- After two games we can start to make one or two judgements
- Winning the opening two league games is not that common for Arsenal