By Billy the Dog McGraw
“Arsenal’s draw with Everton on Wednesday was probably the best game of the week – real end-to-end stuff with both sides attacking – and I don’t think the Gunners have too many problems, save for some moaning from their fans.”
Thus spake Mark Lawrenson.
I don’t if I have ever quoted him before. But he’s an interesting fellow, in some ways, being one of those who played in the first ever team of non-British players to play an FA Cup final (its a bit of a trick question, since Lawrenson sounds English but played for Ireland).
It is interesting that he puts Arsenal down for a 2-0 win since, at least according to Dennis Bergkamp whom I met as usual this morning on his turnip allotment in Enfield. Dennis told me that in this game we have the top two keepers in terms of saves to shot ratio. Gerhard Tremmel is top with 85% and Wojciech Szczesnyyynshcns Wojciech has 81%.
Swansea have Michu playing up front probably, and they have Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Pablo Hernandez all of whom played against the highly-tipped to win the league WBA. I use the phrase “highly tipped” in its journalistic meaning.
So we have the usual run of injuries. Bacary Sagna has hurt his foot, Theo has hurt his ankle (although if he plays it will be match 100) and Lukas Podolski has a cold or something. Laurent Koscielny has a thigh strain and will be out for 3 weeks or the rest of the season depending on how it goes.
Dennis’ main point is that we have won three of the last nine at home, which is perhaps why going to the Arsenal is losing its edge, falling off the ledge, heading in a downward spiral, or just about to shoot upwards like a coiled rabbit on heat.
But I always enjoy chatting to Dennis. It’s the match that is getting me down. But at least the “no trophies since 1832” call has been changed to “worst start to a season since Wenger joined the club in 1417 when we lost the first seven before going on to win the War of the Elm Trees.
In the 11 previous games we have won six, Swansea four, of which one was on our ground in Feb 1982. Swansea are unbeaten in their last five and normally score first, so that gives us all an extra half hour to try and get food or drink out of the utterly untrained staff in the bars around the ground before taking up a seat.
The second half is normally important for us given that we normally score more goals than any other team on the pitch at the time, and let in none in the last quarter of an hour. But we have won the last five games that Mark Clattenburg has been ref.
Sagna A big f’ing German Vermaelen Giggs
Walcott Giroud Podolski
On the beach some of these, but just look at the name at the end of the list: Mannone, Gnabry, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Djourou, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Miquel, Yennaris, Rosicky
Or, put another way
Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen Gibbs
Walcott Podolski Giroud
Well you never quite know do you.
But one thing I do know is that this bit of information is of huge significance
Ivan Gazidis has been appointed as the representative on UEFA’s primary policy-making body – the UEFA professional strategy council – by the European Club Association That means the man who listened to me when I said, “we need a statue of Chapman outside the ground” will also take up a seat on the ECA executive board.
The ECA represents Europe’s top 207 teams, including 10 English teams. If ever there was a statement that Financial Fair Play is really on the agenda big time with proper penalties for the transgressors is the fact that Mr G is on the UEFA professional strategy council.
Change is afoot.
Or in the case of Adebayor, afeet.
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