In the San Siro the game was not just a wonderful display of Absolute Football, it was a game of skill and excitement from two teams who know a thing or two about the game.
Contrast that with our two games against Birmingham City, where the awful cynical “To beat Arsenal you have to kick Arsenal” approach propogated by journalists across the UK, reached its height.
In the first game against Birmingham I commented on the sight of 3 members of the Birmingham bench telling a player who was perfectly ok to lie down in order to waste time. It was the antithesis of football. In Milan we saw football at its most wonderful.
But now back to the league – and Wigan. If Wigan take the view that Birmingham and Villa got it right – defend and defend, wait for a slip, kick, put in niggling tackles, and worst of all go in for rotational timewasting – it will be a difficult game.
The big question is, does Van Persie play? He’s got to play somewhere sometime – and maybe he can share the show with Theo – one of them gets 60 minutes and one 30.
And where is Rosicky – he has been shown in the papers to be one week away from recovery each week for the past month but with Eboue suspended we are limited for choice. We could use Diaby again in mid-field – in both the Milan game and against Villa (a team whose fans have now reached the lowest level it is possible to reach – see recent posts) he looked very bright in patches, with extraordinary skill – but then he drifted out of it. Maybe he just needs more time on the pitch – although I suspect he would prefer to play in the centre rather than the wing.
Kolo is also supposedly ready to return – Senderos is hugely improved but still able to make the odd slip. The one thing about Senderos however is that no matter what happens he never sulks, never shies away, never drifts out of it. He is always shouting, calling, encouraging.
So – Van Persie back, at last for part of it. Maybe Rosicky, maybe Kolo. Quite a team is emerging.
Just think what we’ll be like next year when we get Vela as well.
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table
- Everton v Arsenal: how this referee treats the home and away team
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour