At the Manchester Arab game I had a guy sitting behind me who was fed up. Very fed up. Not with me, not with my ladyfriend, but with the Arsenal.
From the first moment of the game he said, “too short” – not in a voice that the players could hear, but in a voice that we could hear.
A few seconds later he said again, “Short!”, and then added in “Second ball, Arsenal, second ball” (whatever that meant).
Later there was a third: “too slow Arsenal”. And “where’s the movement?”
After that we were back to “too short!” and so it went on.
As the headline shows this was great fun. Arsenal went on the attack, and to their credit City had a meander around in our part of the pitch as well.
The fact that it was such fun was not just down to Wenger’s formation – Theo on one wing, Arshavin on the other, Ade down the middle, and Cesc anywhere he fancied in the Arab’s half, but rather it was also down to the extreme ineptitude of the Hughes manifestation.
Hughes you will remember spent the winter offering 100 million dollars or more to anything that moved, and failed to get them. Which has left him seriously short of decent players. Playing Robininininininino or whoever straight after he stepped of the plane from Brazil was daft. Carlos Vela had a shorter journey and he didn’t even get on the bench. With his billions to throw around (and actually if some is going free I will willingly have it) he could have bought some sqauaddies, to keep him going.
You will recall that when the Lord Wenger was appointed and was effectively managing the club from the other side of the world, he issued instructions on who to buy. One was Vieira, another was Reme Garde. The latter was hardly a stunning winner, but he was a jolly decent player able to hold a game together – and we needed some of those after the debacle of the previous year.
The Ooze (named after a sluggish river that meanders through Bedfordshire towads the Wash, and which demands apologies of anyone who comes near it) has done none of this, and so was horribly short of players.
Maybe that was what the nutter behind me meant with his “Short!” stuff.
He was the sort of guy who was undoubtedly complaining all the way through the dark days of being 5th, and the tragedy is he just can’t see fun when it is there.
You recall all that stuff about how without Flamini, Cesc now has to play so deep he’s behind the back four (well not quite, but you will recall the comments). Now, with Denilson in full pomp, and Song really beginning to shine, Cesc is liberated.
And this was the masterplan all the time. The liberation of Cesc because we have a young master in Denilson at the centre of the game. A player who touches the ball more than any other in the EPL.
That is what it has been all about this season – the creation of that simple combination – Denilson in the middle breaking up attacks (which he does so utterly brilliantly that the Independent and every other paper that attacked him as a total failure should be on their knees begging forgiveness) and Song as the defensive player, leaving Cesc utterly liberated to run the game.
As I say, this was fun. I don’t know where they get the dickheads from, but next match, can he not sit behind me?
(The headline is the number of shots each team had.)
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
Re the change in format – sorry if it annoys – we are just playing around with it, because it would be nice to have a banner facility that allows advertiisng on it.
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