By Sir Hardly Anyone
The honeymoon is over. In the world of copycat headlines and 40 posts a day all written by computer, it had to come sooner or later and it came sooner. It came sooner. After two games in fact.
Arsenal news: Ray Parlour reveals who he wants to replace Unai Emery
It is from the hardly reliable Express (the newspaper which reported a couple of years ago that a child’s toy had been spotted on Mars – although what telescope they were using that allowed us the resolution to see a child’s toy on Mars was not revealed, but that I am sure you will agree, is just mere detail and my harping on about it is, well, just being picky.)
So that was the plan. Scupper every single player on the books, and then start talking about who will succeed Emery.
Back on planet Earth, Laurent Koscielny has returned to training and indeed returned to Arsenal ahead of schedule, which is good news as he is the one player no one has been criticising this season, primarily because no one expected him back. He was in fact at Arsenal on Sunday.
“He is working very hard,” Unai Emery is reported as saying, although as it was in a newspaper column, it may not actually be true. “First he was in France. He came back to us last Sunday. We are happy to have him here, because he is our captain and he is showing us his spirit to stay with us.”
So moving on to other matters in this evening’s news, Alan Smith, one time Arsenal goal scorer supreme, has a new book out and somehow he thinks that the wholesale knocking of the current Arsenal team, is the way to promote it. It was the tactic that he used when he abused his position in writing player interviews for Arsenal’s own magazine while endlessly knocking the self-same players in his Telegraph column. It annoyed some of us then, and it does the same now.
Today he is quoted as saying, “We had something in ’89 that Arsenal don’t have now – resilience, determination and a winning mentality.” I understand he has been touting his book with the various Arsenal supporters groups in a desperate attempt to be invited to give talks on how he won the league, while ignoring the issue of why Arsenal sacked him from his job in writing for Arsenal. I shall not be attending, but of course that is just me. I am sure many people will be there, and will buy the book.
Meanwhile the Telegraph headline writer obliged with a boost for the publication writing “Paul Merson once told his psychiatrist he wanted to be like Alan Smith: stable, happy, untroubled. Arsenal fans would love today’s team to be more like the Gunners Smith played for from 1987-1995.” Which is rather sweet if not true (given that no one has done the research).
By chance, I once had the chance to watch Smith work at Highbury in the press box. He was writing up his report on the game, and spent some of his time nattering with a friend close by. He did watch the match, a bit, but it seemed to me (and of course that is the essence of this – it is how it seemed to me) that he wasn’t that interested. Especially when with 15 minutes to go he stopped typing and nattered with his mate from there on.
I thought it a shame then, as I did subsequently when he tried to keep a job writing player interviews for Arsenal while slagging off the same players in the media. But then we all see the world in different ways.
Meanwhile Paul Merson has been going further this time saying (allegedly, since one can never quite trust some of these reporters), “Unai Emery will not unleash Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front together just yet.”
Referring to the Arsenal manager not by name but rather curiously by his nationality, the Talking Sprout proclaims, “The Spaniard, who is looking for his first Premier League point after defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea, confirmed on Thursday he would rather allow his team to settle before changing the formation.
Ah well. So it goes. Let’s end on a more positive note. “‘Better than Alexis’ – Loads of Arsenal fans are loving their in-form creative force.” Stunningly that is in the Transfer Tavern which normally spends all day and night telling us what an utter disaster everything is chez Arsenal. Ah well, let’s take that as an omen.
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