This media story is so odd that I have spent half the morning thinking about it, wondering if I am having one of those blank spots, one of those moments where you are sure that grass is pink, and have to be taken outside by the grandchildren to have it proven to you that by and large it is green.
It started at about 7.40pm on Radio 5 on Thursday. I was driving on country roads (the M40 being packed solid) and on came this fella saying that Arsenal now had real problems because they had lost three of the back four.
I have to admit I nearly did an Ashley Cole (as when he lost control of his head when learning that Arsenal had offered him a miserly £2.6 million a year salary.) Blimey I thought: Gallas out, then Clichy out, and now either Kolo or Sagna is out.
So I slowed down a trifle and listened hard. Who was the other man? But there was no other man. The back four (which I in my simplistic manner) have always thought to include a left back, and then for balance a right back, and then two central defenders in the mould of Gallas and Toure, seemed now to include, a left back, a central defender, one more (unspecified) and a goalkeeper.
Yup, the three of the back four injured: Clichy, Gallas, and Almunia.
Oh well I thought, stupid idiot BBC commentator (who was only on because he was doing Manchester Arab in Germany), so I left it and thought no more of it, enjoying instead the beauties of Stowe in the Wold and like minded locations.
But this morning, behold and lo! I open my Guardian and there, on page 6 of the footballing section it says (and I quote verbatim), “Wenger also lost his goalkeeper, Manuel Almunia, and a third member of his back four, Gael Clichy, to injury on Tuesday.” (top of column 2).
So what is it? Does the back four now mean left back central defender, right back and keeper? Or is Sagna or Toure injured and no one told me (I check the AFC site and there is no mention).
Or is this another attempt to play Knock the Arsenal. By announcing three of the back four (with the conventional meaning thereof) as being crocked, Arsenal feel that they have no chance, and thus excuse the central focus on the north west that the BBC and Guardian have?
For one medium to say “three of the back four” could be a stupid bit is misreporting, but for two different media to use exactly the same phrase, can be nothing other than
a) a conspiracy
b) me being a turnip and utterly failing to understand the basic conventions and meanings of the phraseology of the game.
So please, put me out of my misery. Back four means the last four outfield players playing in a line defending. Right? And two of our normal first choices are injured, right?
(c) Ivor Got-Confused. 2009.
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