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July 2021

The ref’s unfit and biased, Özil is everywhere, and now: the match preview

Dominic Sanchez-Cabello

I’m not sure any of you heard, but apparently, Di Canio has resorted to head-butting his players in the hope that they adjust to the English league that little bit swifter. Yeah. Surprised me as well.

A Sunderland spokesperson had this to say on the matter…

“Whilst we admit that we weren’t always convinced of the merits in head-butting our own players, Paolo has put forward a very persuasive case for head-butting as a positive way of inspiring enthusiasm and vacant concentration in players. And, Paolo did so (quite remarkably) through the medium of expressive dance…”

Extraordinary stuff.

Now it doesn’t really matter whether that is true or not – some say it is, some say it isn’t… what matters, is Sunderland with Di Canio is just about the only place where such a thing could happen.

Sunderland, that respectable club whose team once consisted of reliable northerners, has become the experiment of an Italian oddball. And it’s bloody fascinating.

Sunderland’s transfer policy shows this nicely. From what I can see it has been a tremendous effort to replace their whole squad: 15 in, 15 out. A fearless move and not just from the manager, but the board as well. How Di Canio convinced them to abandon methods that had worked since 07, sell a whole team and purchase a new, untested one is beyond me. Can’t complain though, at the very least it’ll make them a more interesting team.

The team news is positive enough, the international friendlies have been relatively kind, with most of our players returning unscathed. Mertesacker is inll but Vermaelen has returned to training, though I expect he won’t be rushed back. Rosicky is out with a hamstring injury and Sanogo has strained his back. Ozil missed training on Friday through illness but is travelling with the team and is expected to feature.

I make the team as follows:

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         Jenkinson                    Sagna                  Koz             Gibbs




                             Wilshere                        Ramsey


      Walcott                             Giroud                         Cazorla


We should win today regardless of our usual problems at the Stadium of Light. Their team is even less developed than Tottenham’s was and our midfield interplay should cause them problems. Well, provided, we’re not jaded from the internationals.

Before I finish, a few words on Wilshere and the foolishness surrounding his performance in Ukraine.

Yes he was poor, but there are plenty of reasons why he was. For a start the tactics Woy employed were never going to favour a technical midfielder. Especially when that midfielder was playing off Milner and Lambert.

Also, he was played 10 yards too far forward. Lampard and Gerrard for all their merits were unable to follow his movement and when they did, seemed reluctant to make a risky pass, when a simple one was there. As such the defenders monopolised possession and what a bunch of clowns they are. Walker, Cahill and Jagielka haven’t a brain cell between them. So they dithered with it, passed unambitiously and when Ukraine invariably cut off the easy options all they were left to do was lump it up to Lambert.

Scholes was a player quite similar to Wilshere: small, combative, technical. His club career was long, prosperous and contrasted greatly with his international one. 66 caps and he had had enough. And who could blame him? A truly gifted player blunted by the mediocrity around him and exiled to the wing to accommodate lesser players. For Scholes’ true worth to be recognised, it took Zidane, Xavi, Ronaldo, Pele and plenty more of the games greats to tell everyone. And only after an early international retirement did he suddenly get the respect he deserved.

It would be stupid for English football to do the same with Wilshere.

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6 comments to The ref’s unfit and biased, Özil is everywhere, and now: the match preview

  • Lannister

    Interesting comparison with Scholes. We can only hope the comparison holds true at the end of his career. If he keeps being overplayed by club and country we can be sure it won’t.

  • Wilshere is not being overplayed at all. He plays the same as any other top player. He was back from his injury nearly a year ago.

    Stop with this nonsense about overplaying.

    Wilshere was poor in a very poor overall display by the England team, but he is young. He has played 8 times I think and in 7 of them looked very good indeed. One poor game and all of a sudden the stupid reactions start.

    He needs to play every game and he will develop. Resting will just create a stop / start trend that will ruin his career.

    As for comparing to Scholes, Wilshere is nothing like him at all. He is different in every way as a player. Scholes excelled at passing and goalscoring. Wilshere excels at beating players, committing them and creating havoc and space for others that play off him well. he is more like Gascoigne than Scholes.

    One thing that Jack needs to do is stop over reacting to fouls. It seems that he is on the floor rolling around and looking injured every time he is tackled. If he is not acting then in all truth he is never going to make it the PL and may be better trying a different league. If he is acting, he needs to stop it – now.

  • Vivek

    Everyone who doesn’t play for Arsenal is dumb, is it? While its fine to criticize, don’t go on to say Wilshire was fine but those around him were so poor that he too was poor……..sometimes please do accept realities…..

    One of the reasons why I rarely visit your site. I am no one important and you’ve got your bunch of followers but I always felt Untold was too biased to consider worth reading regularly. Blaming referees when we lose, defending Wenger when things are so obviously wrong and when he spends this big an amount, just lapping along as if it was nothing unusual……..

  • para

    He (Jack) does get knocked down too easily so he needs to toughen up and stand firm. He does not look frail, so should be able to keep on his feet. I have noticed that the refs are giving fouls against him when he wins the ball by sliding in and taking it now, so maybe he needs to watch that aspect of his game in future.
    So the ref has helped Manu to their 1st victory, did not expect any thing else today.
    Come on lads.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Our formation today was:

    Ramsey Ramsey Rambo Aron
    Ramsey Aron Ozil
    Rambo Giroud Ramsey

    Nice win! Arsenal on top for at least 30 minutes!!! Thanks to the buys. COYG.

  • Jayram, I’m comparing them in as much as they are players Britain doesn’t often produce and therefore are used wrongly / misunderstood / incompatible with the less technical players.

    I understand they play very differently.