By Tony Attwood
Car Thief Week – that regularly returning week in which there are two international matches scheduled for lots of countries, and in which the country managers behave like car thieves who nick your car, run it into the ground and then return it with a demand that you pay for the repairs and have it ready for the next Car Thief Week – seems to have passed off rather well for Arsenal. And that’s not something we can say very often.
Those old, roguish, Car Thieves did try hard to behave in their normal way however, for no one can ever beat them completely, in that Sead Kolasinac was taken off while playing Bosnia in the exciting 0-0 draw with Senegal. It seems he was kicked in the knee 20 minutes from the end, which was perhaps a little unkind.
But elsewhere, Wilshere, Ramsey and Lacazette (Laca craftily avoiding the week totally by already being injured) are all on the mend, and one or two of them may even be available for the Thuggery of the Pottery (the bi-annual kicking competition organised by Stoke and their jeering fans). All three (players not Stoke fans) could be available for the Milan match although of course the silly Uefa rule which means Aubameyang can’t play in the Europa is still there – although apparently won’t be next season.
Lacazette in particular might be held back until Thursday, because the last thing he needs is a Thug deliberately kicking him on the knee in the first minute. I suspect the best he can expect for Sunday is a place on the beach, although the Daily Mail argues (if that is the right word, and in retrospect I am not sure it is), that “Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette set to make comeback against Stoke having been out since last month with knee injury which required surgery”. (Sorry about the missing verb in the early part of that sentence, but that’s how they write in the Mail).
Continuing, in a series of very excitable bullet points, the newspaper tells us
- Alexandre Lacazette hasn’t played since February 10 because of knee injury
- Lacazette is back in full training and could play against Stoke on Sunday
- The Frenchman will hope to play major part for Arsenal in Europa League
I particularly liked the “will hope” line in the final bullet. For some years Untold has taken a deep interest in the mind reading activities of football reporters, commentators and fans – the latter often telling Untold writers what they “obviously think”, and invariably getting it wrong. But here we have a newspaper telling us what a player will be thinking in the future.
That is taking telepathy to a new level in my view and one that the government should be looking into. In fact I am not sure I have ever come across a novel in which there is a “future telepath”. But just think, if we had “future telepaths” in the government they would be able to know what those naughty negotiators in the EU will be thinking in a year’s time, and so draw up plans for the future of the UK accordingly. All will be saved after all!
But leaving such meanderings aside this leads me to ponder the potential best possible line up for the midfield and attack. How’s about…
Aubameyang Lacazette Mkhitaryan
That has a most promising look to it. It does leave out Xhaka, whose performances have never been anything like as poor as some people have suggested and who anyway has been improving considerably of late. (And indeed I even saw some of the bloggettas change their tune this past week and suggest the criticism – which they have been orchestrating – has been “unfair”!!)
And of course to round things off it obviously implies a flat back four behind (simply because we only have four outfield places left with a lineup like that).
As for the backups for midfield we have Elneny, Maitland-Niles (both of whom remain classified by the club as midfielders), and in attack Iwobi and Welbeck. And that looks quite a decent midfield and attacking squad to me.
But of course just because Car Thief Week has ended quite well for Arsenal (only one man down, and his injury might not be too serious) that does not mean we can relax. Upcoming is Car Thief Month which this year is being held in Russia.
It does seem England has struck a deal to export some of its most boorish louts to that country, and I am sure they will be dealt with in a kind and compassionate manner with perhaps a period of extended hospitality in Outer Siberia after Car Thief Month itself is concluded. Let’s hope so, for all our sakes. If the travelling fans are held for long enough, by the time they are released England’s borders with the rest of the universe will be closed to everyone excluding French fishermen (who will keep cheating and travelling by sea), as we celebrate a successful departure from, well, pretty much everything and everywhere.
As Bob Dylan once said, “They’re painting the passports brown.” (There are multiple explanations of what that line from “Desolation Row” actually means, but none of them is brimming with optimism).
From Untold Arsenal
- Marvin Plattenhardt: Don’t tell anyone but we think he’s Arsenal’s new left back.
- Why Arsenal moaners are, and remain so depressed, while the rest of us are happy.
From the Arsenal History Society
- Arsenal’s finances: another loss but going the right way
- WSL 2022-23 Arsenal v Everton – Match Preview
- Which Arsenal transfer tale is being repeated the most often?
- How much have Arsenal’s rivals spent on transfers in recent years?
- Why is it becoming so difficult to find a sponsor for new football stadium?