Last time Birmingham “Evil Empire” were at the Ems we watched their manager direct players to go down, lie down, roll around… anything and everything to break up play.
It is a testimony to the magnitude of the Wengerian revolution that we can now saunter past the “Team coach in the goal” clubs like Blackburn and Birmingham, and win the game with ease. It is as if all the tactics of the last five years of Anti-Football, the 10 in defence, the time wasting, the rotational fouling, the complete annihilation of everything that was good in football, count for nothing.
It is not that we win – and it is certainly not that these totally negative teams are now trying to play. It is that Wenger has deliberately sought out the players who can break this system.
And let us not forget that two years ago many blogs were proclaiming that most of this team was not up to it. Van Persie was too fragile, Bendtner would never be more than second rate, Fabregas would be off to Barca at the end of the season, Song should never be allowed to put the club shirt on again…
But the fact that Birmingham City were so totally and utterly outplayed in every part of the game does not excuse the bizarre and eccentric antics of the manager and some other guy who used the “technical area” as if they were two over age bullies who had got into a children’s playground. Indeed the one in a track suit spent much of his time out of the technical area with his feet touching the touch line waving, screaming, remonstrating. No wonder the poor Birmingham players looked so utterly confused and lost.
Indeed the ranting did no good. The score was
Arsenal 19 Birmingham Evil 3 (based on goal attempts)
or if you are a little more demanding
Arsenal 11 Birmingham Nasty 2 (based on shots on target)
Of course it would have been wonderful to beat the club record and score 4 goals yet again, but the disruption caused by the expected attack on Theo did set matters back a bit. Did Birmingham actually go out with the instruction “get Walcott at all cost”? Of course we can’t be sure but it rather looked that way.
So the injuries stack up – and that’s why we have the squad we have. We opened without Bendtner, Eduardo, Nasri, Sagna, Clichy, Arshavin, Denilson, Aluminum… which is a fair old team in itself, and we should see some of those playing against the side named after the street map of London, on Tuesday.
Birmingham Nasty won 16-8 on fouls and 2-1 on yellows, but they really should have had another 8 yellows and a red when the whole team surrounded the ref in protest (the FA and league said they were stopping this years ago, but the rule only seems to apply to Arsenal), and again when the players utterly refused to stand on the goal line for the free kick after the back pass.
As for Birmingham City, the club, there was no Karen Brady to mock, as she now represents England’s attempt to get the world cup in England. According to the press (and who knows, it might be true) her leaving present from Birmingham City FC was £780,000 in bonus money (“bonus money?????), plus health care (necessary when you have been associated with the Evil Empire for so many years), and oh yes, a free mobile phone package.
Her quote (again who knows if true or not since it was in the papers) on leaving the club was “I’ve loved living the football life but now I need a rest.” So, that just about wraps it up for England’s World Cup bid.
But away from the muck and nonsense that is the FA, the EPL and Birmingham, for me, the performances this season are an utter joy to watch. The goals are almost always terrific, the style is amazing. It’s looking as bright for us as it is looking gloomy for Liverpool Beachball.
The programme was full of the fact that we have scored the all-time record number of goals for the opening matches of the EPL – and that says something in itself. Last season we scored just about the same number of goals as the other top four teams… this year we are leaving them way behind.
And now, onto another little matter…
MAKING THE ARSENAL -the first novel about the Arsenal in 75 years – is published in just over a week. It is the story of Arsenal 100 years ago, and the foundation of the modern Arsenal. It costs £12.99 plus postage, and you can even get a copy signed by the author. (That’s me, actually). It’s got over 300 pages, and most of them have got words on.
- Read an extract
- Read the most unusual interview in the history of interviews in which the author interviews himself
- Place an order
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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