By Bulldog Drummond.
I was taking a stroll to my club yesterday when a fella-me-lad comes up and says hey ain’t you that Bulldog Drummond what writes review for the Times Literary Supplement and I said well young urchin yes that’s right. And he hit me. I picked myself up and asked him why and he said, “You insulted Ted Hughes and I ain’t having that.”
And it made me thought – this poetry stuff is violent work. And what a relief to get back to the much calmer world of football. Flares and ferrets and Harry Enfield saying “Kalm Down”. Hub caps and a propensity for making yourself ill by laying on a sun bed all day and night. Yep. Everton in August.
It’s a shame none of the national media employ anyone who can think past last week, but fortunately the Arsenal History Soc obliged us with a review of Everton in August.
And of course our minds go back to 15 August 2009. What bliss! What joy! I think everyone there still remembers every second like it was just five years ago. Which it was.
What we demonstrated that day was what I might be tempted to call a murderous combination of fierce competitive individualism and rampant team spirit. And that was just in the warm up.
Indeed as I may have said before, if you like a good knock-down-and-drag-out yarn with excitement and violence on nearly every blade of grass, Everton away in August is the place to be.
But of course our beloved media (most of whom will by now be drunk) cannot think back more than a short while, so all the emphasis in the press today is on the 6 April match this year in which Everton beat us 3-0. What they forget to say is that that was their only win in the last 15 league and cup games against Arsenal. A series for us which included not only the 1-6 away win, but also a rather fun 7-0 to us, as well. (although that might not have been within the last 15, it is hard to keep up these days.) Oh, and last March’s little 4-1 defeat of them in the FA Cup, which I seem to remember we won with grace ease and style.
Of course the AAA (several members of which I taught quite a lesson outside the Duck and Thwackham last night when they questioned my parentage) tell us that our four defeats against other members of the top five last season meant we let in 20 goals. My point is that yep, we piled up all the goals in those games. In the rest of the season we only let in 21. Which is why, despite losing our three most important players (Theo, Ozil and Ramsey) we still came in fourth.
So my dear chums, and fellow fruitcakes, we’ve won six league games in a row since that Everton defeat. One more would make it seven (I like to spell out these things just in case any of the AAA have strayed into my territory by mistake).
Here’s another thing, we had the joint best away record in the league last season. Something you don’t read when the AAA dominate the discussion with their moaning about big defeats. A little balance in the debate might help, but what am I saying!?!? AAA and balance?
And speaking of such things, it was good to see Arsene Wenger mention the problem of on-line abuse of managers – not just him, but across the league. ““We had that debate at the managers’ meeting recently, where some people felt victimised by the social networks, but we cannot stop that. We have to live with that and maybe reinforce our solidarity and be stronger inside the clubs. And maybe there is time as a manager to have stronger beliefs than ever, because we are more questioned than ever, and that’s maybe the new challenge we face. Everything we do is questioned and sometimes people are right, we make mistakes.”
So that’s an interesting thought – the outcome of the AAA’s attacks on Mr Wenger is that it makes him, and his fellow managers, stronger.
But anyway, the tripe continues. The press are full of the news that Arsenal has the smallest and lightest squad in the Premier League, with an average height of just 5ft 9in and the players average weight of 11 stone. I loved Mr Wenger’s reply to that: “When we buy a player we do not look how heavy he is but how good he is, Maybe it is because we use more technical players in the middle of the park, especially Mikel Arteta.
“Many teams think that they can bully Arsenal. We get that question many times. But if you look at the results from the last three or four years away from home, we are the team with the best away results.”
Indeed just as Untold pointed out the other day – the greatest of seasons of the club was built on the fact that Arsenal went unbeaten away from home, the season before.
So today we have Per Mertesacker, Mesut Özil and Lukas Podolski all ready to rock n roll. This means anyone who found the trip out to Turkey, including the diversion of the flight, the lunatic refereeing (I’d love to get that man in my regiment) and insane levels of tackling, rather tiresome, can have a rest.
And just remember that WE ARE A CLUB IN DIRE CRISIS. It is important to remember that. WE ONLY HAVE ONE CENTRE BACK (Kos) and yet we’ve won the Community Thing, won the first league match and stood up to intimidation in Turkey. Amazing!
I am just dying to watch Sanchez and Özil in the same side – although I guess it might not be today – at least not until the last half hour. But I’ve put it in my team selection in hope. I’d also love to see Calum Chambers play as a defensive midfielder – but I feel this is too soon for that.
Anyway that’s most of the gibber jabber from the scribbling classes. Here’s one possible version of the team, but as I said, Özil might not come on for a while.
Debuchy Mert Kos Monreal
Flamini Jack the lad
Having a nice relaxing time in the best seats and getting paid for it could be some these chappies: Martínez, Chambers, Diaby, Miquel, Bellerín, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski, Cazorla, Campbell, Rosicky
Out and about, and certainly not playing are Arteta, Gibbs, Walcott, Gnabry, Ospina and Miyaichi. Last I heard about Sanogo was that his hamstring might not be so bad and he could make the bench.
But those jolly fellas from up north have problems too. Arouna Kone has a knee problem while Bryan Oviedo is also still out. More to the point Ross Barkley will be out for quite a while.
Incidentally here is a nice comment from Debuchy during the week: “This is another dimension. If you compare the training grounds for example, nothing at Lille or Newcastle can match the one at Arsenal. It is another world. Everything here is made to optimise your preparation and you as a player so you can be in the best condition to play and win football games.”
So off we go, one more time…
- Why we don’t sign every player some think we need
- Why newspapers follow TV in not reporting time wasting
- Everton v Arsenal 23 August 2014 – The Match Officials
- Forget home advantage, the world of football is changing.
- Arsenal has let in one more goal than at this stage last season, and that’s a disaster
- Arsenal continue to make more progress than the rest of the big seven
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t