By Tony Attwood
The news from the press on Granit X is that Arsene Wenger thought the tackle that led to him being sent off was a “deep yellow” which I suppose those who look at rainbows would call orange, and so the club will not appeal. So Granit gets a three match ban, effectively reduced to two because one of the three is Reading, which I doubt he would have played in.
Although, now I come to think about it, there was a time when League Cup matches were excluded from bans, as I remember Bergkamp getting one of his reds and then playing 120 minutes of a league cup match during the middle of it – against State Aid Utd as I recall, although of course they were called something else then.
Anyway, it all means Elneny is more certain of a match and a sub appearance or two, which is no bad thing in my view. Besides we were all warned about Granit’s ability to be sent off, which is probably why we have lots of midfielders.
Meanwhile this past weekend we have an indication of what life might have been like if the aaa and their chums in the media had had their way in the running of Arsenal.
You will recall the utter certainty with which it was announced that Arsenal were buying Mauro Icardi. “Mauro Icardi to Arsenal” was the Sun’s headline on August 6 this year although it was always a little confusing as on the same day the Guardian ran the headline “Chelsea beat Arsenal to Mauro Icardi” and on 15 August the Standard had “Mauro Icardi’s agent due in London for Chelsea and Arsenal talks.” I suspect he was seen at the airport.
Then when we didn’t sign him it wasn’t the rumours that were at fault but the Arsenal purchasing department and Mr Wenger, with the boss being too slow, too pedantic, too mean with the club’s money etc etc. The stories were worthy of the Trump “the election is rigged” and “I never met any of those women in my life” machine.
Anyway, Inter have him, and they gave him a big pay rise, a new contract and put a £99m buyout clause in the deal. (Actually that £99m deal was in Euros so that is now £146m in current money). Lots of laughter directed at Arsenal – the club could have had him, but now they have lost their chance.
Except that it turns out that Icardi, the captain of Internazionale these days, is just about the worst player in the Inter team. And that was before he missed a vital penalty on Sunday.
It is true that Icardi did very well at the start of the season, scoring six goals in seven games (although you must recall that the lower reaches of the Italian first division are somewhat less robust than those in the deeper echelons of the PL).
But then it all went wrong. The Inter version of the aaa (known as Ultras) are slightly more organised than the aaa and occasionally even more coherent, and apparently they don’t like a few of the comments in Icardi’s autobiography. So they now they boo him and have a banner at their end of the ground denouncing him. With the regular grace and charm for which the Italian language is universally famous the lines are written “You use a child to justify yourself and fling mud at us. You’re not a man. You’re not a Captain. You are just a vile piece of shit.”
This relates to the situation in which after a defeat to Unione Sportiva Sassuolo Calcio when Icardi says he went to the fans to apologise for the defeat. In his memoirs he wrote of the incident, “As I get closer, I receive insults and abuse of every kind. Attached to the netting is a kid who calls me: he wants my shirt. Considering his age, he could be my son: I take off my shirt and shorts and throw them to him, as a gift. This kid is in seventh heaven and I am pleased to see him so happy.
“A head of the Ultras jumps on him to take away the shirt and throws it back at me. This is when I start insulting him: ‘Piece of shit, you are acting all arrogant with a little kid to show off to the rest of the curva? Do you think you’re hard?’”
In fact so bad is the situation that in true aaa style the Ultras let out their biggest cheer of the game when Icardi took a penalty against Cagliari Calcio and it missed the target by a mile (or 1.60934 km as they say in Italy).
And of course just like the tactics of the aaa, the approach has not actually helped the cause of the club these people claim to support.
Now the club’s hierarchy are talking about taking the captaincy away from him. The club coach Frank De Boer, said. “Today I saw a team which didn’t want to win.”
(Mind you Icardi is used to this sort of stuff. It is reported that when he was at Sampdoria he had an affair with the wife of Maxi Lopez and posted pictures of himself with Lopez’ children. Then – again, I stress, it is reported – the Mafia offered their assistance to Lopez, saying that they would quite willingly break Icardi’s legs. Apparently on that occasion Lopez turned down the offer.)
So while Arsenal without Icardi are doing reasonably well in the PL, Inter with Icardi have just lost three in a row and sit 11th, ten points behind the leaders after eight games.
It is also interesting that no one seems to have posted up the crowd for the Inter game – even Goal.com which usually is quite good over such things doesn’t have it this week. I wonder why.
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