By Bulldog Drummond
Success and achievement are boring – at least if you are a journalist. If you have to write about success then personalise it, and make the person you write about be eccentric, self-centred, opinionated and if possible abusive.
But most of all follow failure – especially if it involves someone who is French (too emotional by half) or German (dubiously authoritarian, far too organised for their own – and Britain’s – good).
So Arsène Wenger stands before us accused of a ludicrous faith in youth (so forget everyone from the Boy Bastin to Cesc Fabregas via Tony Adams) and a complete lack of foresight. Calum Chambers at centre back? Typical French disorganisation from a man who glories in the unnecessary use of an accent in his first name.
And thus we move on to suggestions that Calum Chambers won’t be able to handle the pressure because he has never had to play in Turkey before.
And if Mr Wenger didn’t play Chambers because he is “too young for such pressure” he’d be accused of bottling it – like all the French do.
And again what is wrong with Arsenal’s Germans? Chelsea can play their German so why not Arsenal? (Actually Mr Wenger answered that a couple of days ago, saying you have the choice – bring them back later and have them all season, or bring them back early and lose them in November. But that’s a bit academic. A bit theoretical. A bit… French.)
The truth is Arsène Wenger does risks, big time. Remember the way he came out and said that Arsenal would go all season unbeaten? (20 September 2002 in case you are interested – we lost one month later and everyone laughed).
Or remember the moment he signed as Arsenal’s manager, and on 1 October 1996 the press gathered at the steps of Highbury demanding that he talk about the wild, outrageous, libellous accusations made about his time in Japan. Against all advice from within the club Mr Wenger went out, faced the hacks down and shut them up.
Or playing Chris Wreh in the Cup Final? Wasn’t that a gamble?
Arsène Wenger takes risks – and knows how to handle the fall out. He also shows faith in young players, like Hector Bellerin who will be covering the right-back position. But “oooooh”, shout the demented loonies of the press corps sounding rather like people who have been in the House of Commons at Question Time and taken the result as a lesson in etiquette and manners, Bellerin, Chambers… how many European games have they played?
And so they forget that everyone has to start sometime. Otherwise no one would have played a game.
So it all comes out. Forget that Giroud over his first two seasons did as well as Henry. Forget that the press laughed at Henry’s incompetence and doubted Bergkamp’s ability when they first tipped up for Arsenal. Forget every failure of the press to predict anything or come to that report anything. Arsène complete with accent is foreign, and worse he is French foreign, and worse its French foreign from near the German border. Say no more.
Even the disruption to the flight plan was Mr Wenger’s fault. As the Telegraph says, “In truth landing in the correct continent is generally advisable.” Stupid Wenger. Probably put the wrong team on the wrong plane going to the wrong match on the wrong planet in the wrong galaxy…[I think we get the picture – Tony]
Beşiktaş (with two accents so that makes them doubly foreign and thus even more suspicious than Arsène) used to play in the BJK Inonu Stadyumu in the Beşiktaş region of Istanbul, but that is being rebuilt at the moment. When it is finished it will have the very Turkish name of the Vodafone Arena.
So instead the game is being held in İkitelli, which is something like 90 minutes by bus from the centre of the city. The stadium is the Atatürk Olympic Stadium and is named after the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, but not named for having been an Olympic venue. This is because it was constructed in readiness of Turkey to win the hosting of the 2008 Oly games, but they didn’t. Still I have sure it was $140,000,000 well spent. Galatasary played here in 2003/4 much to the annoyance of other clubs in the SuperLeague. Sivasspor has played here was well, and Istanbul BB play at the ground permanently.
Beşiktaş are managed by Slaven Bilic once of WHU. They have Oguzhan Ozyakup in their squad, once of Arsenal, plus Demba Ba of whom it has been said, and 15 million fans in Turkey. It is the first time we’ve played them. Ever.
They finished third in the Turkish SuperLeague last season, 12 points behind Fenerbache.
And so to the game.
Basically if you like a good knock-down-and-drag-out yarn with excitement and violence every other second, then playing against Johnny Foreigner should be right up your street. [Steady on Bulldog – Tony]
In this match there should be a home team willing to attack, attack, attack, and thus Sánchez and Cazorla will get more space, and Ramsey every chance to run. And we know that Giroud will play (Sanogo didn’t get on the plane – probably Wenger’s fault for sending him to the wrong airport).
Koscielny (who has no accent but wants his own song) is fit so Mertesacker stays in London, probably to keep Sanogo company. Mathieu Flamini, who has recovered from illness should start or be a sub – I think the former. Kieran Gibbs has a hamstring problem, and is out for three weeks, Abou Diaby has travelled and really deserves to get some match time soon.
But sorry Abou I don’t think you are down to start the game, for the team thus might well be something approximating to….
Debuchy, Chambers, Koscielny Monreal;
Sanchez, Ramsey, Cazolra
Some of these could be on the bench: Diaby, Rosicky, Bellerin, Miquel, Wilshere, Martinez, Campbell, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin
I predict the battle of Agincourt re-enacted with the result being 2-0 to the Arsenal.
[Agincourt???? – what, as in we take prisoners and then cut their heads off?Tony]
[Whatever it takes to win as long as it is part of the British way of doing things – Bulldog]
- Why don’t the refs call “obvious” penalties?
- Where can we improve?
- $h!t That Arsenal Fans Say: Chronicles of the Fickle
- The missing camerawork
- How the press treats other clubs: Manchester United