By Billy The Dog McGraw
Dennis Bergkamp and I were able once again to catch up at his allotment just off the North Circular Road it is was in the potting shed that we chewed the fat about Manchester United plans to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski.
Our issue was not that he would move, but rather that Man U would then have RVP and Lewandowski and that chubby fella who used to play for Everton.
What then for RVP? Dennis expressed the view that the carrots would be good this year, but as I dragged him back to matters closer to him, he said that RVP could never have expected what Sir Alex F Word would have had in mind when he signed him on a £10,000,000 a year contract: namely a transfer after one year – namely one season and then a sub to the next hottest property in Europe.
RVP of course won’t get such a salary as he is on now anywhere else, especially as he’ll be 30 by the start of next season, so he will face a stark choice: a pay cut and playing on a shorter contract elsewhere, or finding his chances in the first team limited, and effectively becoming the forgotten man of football.
What a turnip! as Dennis is wont to say at these moments.
With such an immortal phrase ringing in our cider and chips we wondered about today’s forward line.
That proving to be a bit of a puzzle we meandered over to Old Ma’s across the NCR for a traditional bacon sandwich.
“Manchester,” I told Dennisas we dodged the traffic moving at its tradition 3mph, “is a diminutive principality ruled by King Effrod XI. It is modelled somewhat on the Holy Roman Empire, in that all peoples are so supposed to bow down and give penance to the Almighty Sir F. Of course most people don’t although much of Cornwall and Kent has been taken over by the Empire, and there are adherents too in the outer wilds of Norfolk.
“Does life exist in Manchester?” I asked Dennis.
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“Opinion is divided,” quoth Dennis and we left it at that. “Many of their players are purchased from the fifth moon of Saturday, so won’t can’t tell too much about what is going on.
“Their ground, Very Old Trafford, was built in 1910, on the site of a chemical waste dump, which says something.”
We agreed it did.
Moving on to Arsenal we noted that we have three forwards we could use: Podolski, Walcott and Gervinho. We could even play two forwards together , like Walcott and Podolski, although as we know and as Dennis’ time on the pitch showed us Mr Wenger doesn’t go for two up front although it would confound everyone if he did today.
However Dennis assured me that within the club Mr Wenger is saying that the pattern of recent weeks will be kept. Which means it probably won’t. “He does that sometimes,” Dennis said, and I nodded profoundly.
Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker will play in central defence – on that point we both were certain.
“Arsenal have won nine of the last 12,” sayeth the maestro, and you can’t argue with that either. Well, actually you can because the AAA will argue with anything. We could do another unbeaten season and they would moan that we hadn’t won enough cups.
But enough of such people. Here’s one line up that I drew on our napkins:
Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Here’s another one
Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
Walcott, Podiolski, Cazorla;
On the beach we have: Mannone, Jenkinson, Monrea or Gibbs, Vermaelen, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky or Ramsey.
The ref is Phil Dowd who is a fairly average ref for both sides – meaning that results under Dowd in the Premier League have been similar to the results for the two teams in the PL generally.
|AFC with Dowd||
So here’s our form: WDWWWW
And Man U: WDWLWW
“Makes you think,” I said to Dennis.
“This is it,” he replied.
And you know, I think he was right.
Arsenal v Man U:
The most detailed study of Premier League Refs ever:The referees 2013.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches