The first help from the “Friends”?

 Ordinary is Pointless

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By Walter Broeckx

This week was for some unknown reason put on the calender for playing some friendly international games. I think by now you know my view on those crap friendlies. Who on earth comes up with the idea of just days before the start of the season in most countries to play those games? And that after all teams have spend at the euro 2012 or have been playing friendly games against teams that went there. Then why these extra set of friendly games? Why don’t you fick yourself Fufa.

As usual we sent our players out there and on one day we get reports of 3 players being injured. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott have been withdrawn from the England squad. And Koscielny has a problem with his calf said the French team and is a doubt. A DOUBT???? If he has the slightest of injuries he is not a doubt! He is A CERTAINTY! A certainty to be sent back to his club and to have him treated! Why on earth do we have to allow a national team to take a risk with one of our players?

Forget about all those insane rumours about Barcelona being in for Song and about Van Persie moving north.  I’m more worried about those stupid friendly games that are still being inserted into the calender.  We won’t know until tomorrow what consequences it has had on the fitness of our players. Spain playing somewhere in Puerto  Rico of all places. Why not play a friendly on the moon? What will it mean for Cazorla and will he be able to play this weekend for Arsenal? Will he suffer from jet lag?

Who is that stupid moron in Fufa or Uefa who invents those dates for those friendly games? Send him to the Planet X please and don’t send a rocket to get him back.

But apart from all this there is another sinister thing hidden in those friendlies.  A thing that is not down to Fifa or Uefa. Something that is down to whoever makes up the calender for the PL.

Because let us take a look at the calender for this weekend.  And we will stick to the teams who have most international players away on duty somewhere around the world and to the teams that were in the top 6 last season.

And then we see that Arsenal are the team that will be playing the first of those teams. We will play at 3.00 this Saturday. This means that our players have had to hurry back home on thursday, have a short training on Friday and then start the season the next day.  And then remember that for qualifying games the new rules are that they are played on Tuesday to allow the players more rest and to give them more time to join their team. And according to we had 13 players away on international duty this week.

The same goes for Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur.  I don’t know how many players they are missing, but somehow I doubt it is 13. But that isn’t the point. Because one could say that they have a few hours more rest compared to Arsenal but I don’t think this will make any difference. So also Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur are somehow badly treated by the person behind the scenes who draws up the fixture list. Or is it a TV station that decides on this?

And then we can see that Chelsea and Manchester City both have one day extra rest compared to Arsenal.

Because of the acknowledgement by Fifa/Uefa to move the qualifiers to Friday/Tuesday it is clear that the teams that have to play on Saturday are disadvantaged to those teams who only have to play on Sunday.

And as if that wasn’t enough we also see that there is one team that got even more rest than all the others from the top 6. As Manchester United only has to play on Monday evening.  So their players get two more days of rest compared to the players from Arsenal. And one more day compared to the players or Chelsea and Manchester City.

Of course not all teams can play on a Sunday but why is it always Manchester United that gets the longest rest? We have seen and written about this when we have shown that this is also the case in the Christmas and New year period. Then also Arsenal usually is the only team to get just 48 hours between their games and Manchester United gets at least 3 days of rest.

How comes it is always us that gets the shortest rest and always Manchester United most rest between games?

And it is acknowledged by Uefa and Fifa by changing the data to other days that is has a negative impact on the players. So who is making up the decision on who plays friendlies and when?  Having always the same one benefiting and the same one suffering is strange. Unless the fixture list is made up somewhere in Manchester of course…

It sure would be nice to know who those Friends are.

PS: Well the good thing is that our sports channel has chosen the Arsenal game to be shown live this Saturday. COYG!


30 Replies to “The first help from the “Friends”?”

  1. Yes the fixture list has always been favourable to Manure. In this case however I’m happy because I can’t wait for the season to start and would have hated to have to wait till Monday eve for the first Arsenal game of the season.

  2. I hate friendlies too. If they really need to have those so close of season there should be rule that countries have to stay in own continent (then problem would mainly be with having many non Europeans in team).

    I hope Kos is fine and stays fine. I’m really looking for tomorrow and our 1st match. And winning trophies this season.

    Oh I hadn’t really paidattention for change of dates in international fixtures until I saw my ticket for Finland-France match it’s on Friday starting at 21.30. Can’t wait for that match either and even I’m Finnish if Oli scores I will be cheering (I really want Oli and Ks be there, Sagna might not be ready which is shame). My main motivation is to see Arsenal players play than support Finland (bad I know).

  3. Man Utd will once again receive help from the “computer” that complies the EPL fixture list and when that fails to help them “SKY” will step in and move their game to a more appropriate day/time in order to give Utd’s players maximum rest/recovery.

    And if or when both these fail to give Man Utd the edge, certain match-day officials will be summoned upon to redress that advantage on the field of play.

  4. What the hell happens when they pull the plug? By they, I mean those who are tilting the pitch.
    At some point, without external investment, United will fall so far behind Chelsea and City (and hopefully us too) that the level of tilting gets too much for ‘them’ to stomach.

  5. @Walter talk of friendlies,how many Manure players in the England team played? Welback,Rooney, or Young just wanted to know.
    As of Manure, i watched them when they played Aberdeen and mark my words in the Champions league where the Dowd’s will be absent they will have tough times.

  6. My fear was that we would(we did) be selling RVP for a good price and he goes and jinxed it by getting injured as he often does in friendlies .Luckly(?),he was withdrawn and he has left us in one peice !Just imagine if he had been injured – we would have been 24 million Pounds poorer !

  7. Brickfields,
    I still half expect RvP to fail/have failed his medical because it is a win-win for United. They announce they could buy RvP for big money, which works for marketing purposes but don’t have to fork out the reported £60 million to him and us. Next season they can get him on a free, saving them around £30 million.

  8. Walter,

    Regarding the help those folks up the M1 get: I don’t know if you and the ref reviewers have the capability of doing this, but it would be interesting to pick an MU player or two (Rooney and Vidic would be my picks) and save video footage of every yellow and red card that they aren’t awarded throughout the season. Then at the end, put it all together and post it to YouTube so the world can watch the 10 minutes of unpunished fouls.

    And maybe keep a log of rest time and schedule changes throughout the season too.

  9. All this suspicious help to Man Utd cuts both ways, in my view.
    It will mean they are playing “catch-up” and bearing in mind our far stronger squad than last season, they will be under pressure to match our result.
    I can see extra chewing gum and squeaky bums on the United bench on Monday evening.

  10. What I find frustrating about the friendlies is they get so hyped up and talked about as though it is life or death, then when England lose the world has ended and lets all sack the manager. It’s a friendly FFS, it’s for trying out new things that can’t be done in compettitive matches.

    There should be a ruling where the manager has to name a 25 man first team squad and for friendlies, only 5 of them can play. It would help the national team no end in finding a new un-expected team fit.

  11. “How comes it is always us that gets the shortest rest and always Manchester United most rest between games?”
    Yes, this is blatantly unfair, and not a mistake; and this has been well understood by AFC/AW, yet again, as it has been by AW, for season after season. Just as the refshite, as Walter/Dogface prove, blatantly favors Manure. Alas, two more Obvious reasons why not to sell your most prolific scorer to Manure, your selfsame worst enemy. Our 14 year loyal player, Ray Parlour, who is an oasis of pro-AFC sentiment in the Talkshite desert, is duly shocked at our trading with the enemy. Indeed, it’s one thing to sell RVP, it’s another thing to sell RVP to Manure who have had The Fix (the proverbial envelope) in at the schedule-makers. (Do they not have names?) No, this is a statement. There will be no holds barred for getting the anointed one, Don Fergus, back to the top – to ensure the Rednose XX. It’s back on. It never went away. Your article proves that no chance will be taken, no last minute loss of a Championship this time. It is His Birthright. And EPL football (like La Liga) will be a two-team horse race which, on dosh-slicked pitch, will breathlessly unfold toward the greater glory of Mancunia. Indeed, this combination will suck the oxygen out of the room as he ascends to the throne as Lord Football. Selling an ego-driven 37 goal scorer may be worth 22.5M to bean counters; but the price of that sale to this man is a dead loss for competitive football. Ensured by the schedule-maker and the PGMOL, the medicine that we fans duly watch on our collective telly is already a flatline.

  12. Anybody else spot that old ‘arry has joined the esteemed band of numpties on the MOTD sofa? I notice Lee Dixon has been transferred to the other side as well meaning the Auntie-anti-Arsenal slant just cranked up two notches.

    Also please watch this purely for the Garth Crooks part. I still have tears in my eyes. How is he still employed?

  13. I feel sure that the explanation isn’t so much a conspiracy as such, but that the authorities, like the Beeb, are utterly craven towards SAF. I remember him criticising the PL because MU alone among the CL teams faced an away match after a CL Wednesday. He ranted so hard that it never happened again. Look at his punishment of the Beeb because of the Panorama documentary critical of his son, and MOTD can hardly be blamed for that. The upshot is that he scares them (and remember we proles only hear half or less of what he says to them behind closed doors). That unfortunately is the price we gooners must pay for having an honourable gentleman at the helm, who gets ridiculous punishments simply for politely pointing out the bleeding obvious. I suggest we hire joey Barton as our PR man.

  14. Jack Wilshere’s the new No.10 – phttt!!!! The lad should of made the No.19 his own.

  15. Moving on, it seems like Man U will continue where they left off last year and will continue to play the margins, an extra day’s rest here and there, home advantages and later starts during the holidays and coldest period etc…before we even consider refereeing. This year I hope it becomes more patently more obvious so the whispers become an outcry. I am a bit of a dreamer in that respect.

  16. And in other Arsenal news, we now have our first Belgium captain which is not a bad choice at all, though let’s see how our defence does with Verm the mainstay.

  17. @ Walter
    Hey, Walter – you must be extra-proud of your compatriot!

    @ bob
    It hurts us all, but we can’t choose who we sell to – there was only one club the player wanted to go to. At least this way we get £22.5-24m instead of nothing next summer.

  18. Walter, the August and February one-off friendlies may be going away in the future: … unfortunately, we may have to wait until 2015 for it to happen I think.

    If I recall, friendlies are organized by each nation’s FA and is nothing more than a cash grab for them. I don’t understand why the National team managers cannot be more like Joachim Low – who did not recall Poldi or Per in order to allow them to start the season with us. For a useless friendly like the ones this week, why do other managers not do the same and leave BPL players home to prepare for the start of their season?

  19. Just imagine Vermaelen…. our captain… The man whom I spoke with on some occasions in person, the man I shook his hand. The man who has signed my Arsenal shirt in person for me…The man standing next to me on my picture… and now our captain.
    I met his parents also and his mother is a really nice mother, I know where they live in their home town near Antwerp and where Thomas goes to when he is in Belgium…So well it does feel that I know him a bit and now HE is our captain…
    Well yes it touches me I must say.

  20. On second thought: damned yes I feel very proud about it. I could never have expected that when he came to Arsenal at first.

  21. @Gooner Gal, I am glad to see the club moving quickly to give the #10 shirt to Jack – cannot think of a better player to have the honour of wearing this #.

    I also note Wenger’s comments re: Song. In addition to saying he has not decided whether to sell or not, he grouped Ox as a central midfield player vs. forward (

    Wonder whether this means IF we do bring in more players, they will be forwards. That group looks rather thin right now, I can imagine us starting with Walcott – Giroud – Poldi but that leaves us the trio of Gervinho – Chamakh – Arshavin as backup. Gervinho is fine but I am definitely not sure about the ability of Chamakh or Arshavin to make significant contributions. Maybe Wenger knows something we don’t …

  22. FunGunner,
    It’s now troubled water under the shaky bridge, but
    (a) you really don’t know – only assume – that he’d walk away next summer, after the degree of success he might have helped provide – especially when he’d then be a year older on the market; and
    (b) you don’t factor in the 35M that his goal-scoring would have helped ensure by kicking (1) us further into the CL this season and (2) helping to ensure us CL participation next season. Does that not count in your books as a reasonable way to pay for a reasonable expectation of success?
    (c) you don’t factor in that Mancini stood strong against wantaways like Tevez and Balotelli last season, and they came around enough to contribute mightily to their championship. Is the absolute rule that the player wants away so there’s nothing else that can be done?

  23. @ Wooby – I am sure many disagree with me, but Jack isn’t even a guaranteed starter in my book. He has to recover from a long term injury, adjust to a whole new midfield and find good enough form to displace someone in the current line up. He has the pressure of being England’s great hope and is on the verge of being overhyped. One good season a couple of years ago is’nt enough. So hence the Pfffttt!

  24. Goona Gal,
    Agree fully with your analysis of Jack W. People tend to have the idealized image of what was or could be and then project only the best. A person’s name is not the same as that person’s expectable performance. It’s a shame and a setback to have lost Jack – the whys being yet another mystery – but wishful thinking is not going to create the world-class midfielder as the saviour of AFC, let along all-England. As John Lennon once put it, ” ‘instant karma”s gonna get you.”

  25. @bob
    He wanted to leave. That much is certain. He wanted to leave so much that he burnt his bridges. Everything else is conjecture.

    Losing RvP does not turn us into a non-CL side. We got into the CL year after year when he spent months of each season on the sidelines through injury.

    Mancini exists in a different financial universe. It’s not an inexorable rule that wantaways get sold, it depends on the individual and other circumstances. If a player wants to leave *so badly* that he’s not prepared to give his all AND he only has one year to go, then what is the point of keeping him, except to punish him? Take the money and strengthen.

  26. p.s. in the salvage department, I’m hoping (not too hard, given the track record) that other other Thomas, Mr. Rosicky, whom we’ve heard next to nothing about, recovers from a substantial operation and then works his way back into last end-season form. That form looks needed, to my eyes. But the sound of complete silence on that front doesn’t look like “a new signing” that his return will no doubt be called, if and when he returns.

  27. FunGunner,
    Only time will tell what’s Certain here. I’d say nothing is, right now, from the very contradictory reports that are rife in the press. Choose your certainty. I choose uncertainty, for now.

    And as for its internal impact on the team: are you certain that no other former teammates have not just concluded: “hey, my contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on”? Are you able to foresee (or police) that our rising stars – let’s, just for ha-ha’s say The Ox – are/is truly prepared to give their “all” as you call it? If you can, your crystal ball will earn you a very handsome consulting fee with any club.

    There is no reliable character test at this level. Did not RVP look like the most committed and nearly self-less captain last season? The consummate team player? You can’t tell anything from the surface. So I’m not as quick to assume that a player who is not committed to give his “all” can be detected, period. I do assume that they, in the end, they act ruthlessly in their perceived best interests; and that their agents – not fans, not a nurturing manager – are the most powerful shapers of that perception, as we have just witnessed. That said, I think there’d have been a lot to gain in AFC drawing the line now, rather than give in to the predictable drip-drip exodus that, alas, can be expected by those who appear, right now, to be giving their “all”.

  28. @ Bob, I do think Jack is a good player though. Jack the ‘brand’ is starting to get ahead of itself and it’s not inconceiveable that if he isn’t starting regularly, stuff could get ugly. Especially in the media.

  29. Goona Gal,
    Yes, there’s been clear serious talent that I can only pray is still there post-injury. AW will be certainly be media-bashed for starting him too much and/or for starting him too little. This situation – of Jack the Brand [really well put!] – seems too convenient a target for the Arsenal Beatdown crew to ever bypass.

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