The Shifting Sands On Which Hopes Are Built

Later post today, a morning where the crapometer hit maximum splatter. Yeah, the sigh I exhaled was as heavy as that sentence sounds.

It’s just as well that this week has been about hopes for the future. Hope from the win over Blackburn, Robin van Persie hopes Theo Walcott will be a twenty goal a season striker and Arsenal hope that employing Bubbles the Chimp and his unique insights into oxygen tents, will speed Jack Wilshere‘s recovery along. Who, I wonder, will tell Ivan that in the rush to hire the hirsute “advisor” that exogen was misread.

There is something fetid around the national team, the lingering stench of the Terry affair, miring the manager and his employers in it’s acrimony whilst his heir apparent still waits for the Foreman of the Jury calling its verdict, knowing his hopes for national salvation have been quashed by this case even if found innocent. His friends in the media may still spin that he is nation’s saviour but ultimately, the whiff of wrongdoing will be too much for the Football Association. Rightly so; basing it on purely footballing terms, I see no reason for the Messianic qualities attached to his career. It is distinctly ordinary; if he is the cream of the native crop, once more his paymaster’s eyes will be cast to foreign fields.

Closer to home perhaps or is there a groundswell building in his native land that will make it impossible for Arsène to turn down the FFF? You have to admire the cunning of Remi Garde, getting Arsène into a new role leaves a vacancy at Arsenal; perhaps he can prove that off the pitch abilities are directly linked to less distinguished careers on it?

It is a largely academic exercise since my own feeling is that unless he genuinely feels that he cannot motivate better performances from current staff – as well as buying improvements – Arsène will not be ending his managerial tenure at the club.

As for Wilshere, he may find his load shared. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s eyecatching performances have been met with praise from his colleagues and a level-headedness on his part, in equal measure. According to Theo Walcott 

He’s very direct and he likes to get at players, which is what any Arsenal fan likes to see. He has plenty of confidence and is young – he’s a player who nobody in the Premier League has faced before so he’s totally new to the game. He’s learning every day in training and you can see now that he is getting games, which is very important. I think with the way he is playing at the moment he will keep that position.

The anticipation and expectation on young Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shoulders is akin to that when a younger Theo Walcott arrived. Speaking of his ambitions to be a central striker, whilst being natural, has served to increase that; such aspirations require a consistent finishing ability if they are to be realised. If the player believes that the aim to be realistic, why should the supporter not follow suit?

When his captain opines that the player is capable of 20 goals per season, expectations do not seem out of place. With that, failure to achieve those targets is something which feeds criticism.

For my part, I find the finishing aspect of his game infuriating; he is capable of better and more consistency than he delivers. I’m sure he is annoyed with himself as well. Yet there is a wider contribution he makes and this is often glossed over by impolite detraction. His assists ratio for Robin van Persie shows a good understanding between the two; it’s not just with the Dutchman, others benefit also.

The improvement in the delivery of his final ball has taken time but is more often than not, better than he is given credit for. In fact he gets little credit for it most of the time. Perhaps if he talks more about it than being a central striker, the change in perception of his role in the side will come at the same rate as his continued improvement?

Elsewhere, taxi for Carlos Vela, or his Mr20% who is coming to Highbury House, perhaps holding the door open for Daniel Sturridge‘s agent as he leaves having negotiated a deal to move to Arsenal. Barcelona have suddenly discovered that there is DNA at La Maisa which belongs to Arsenal. There must be a lot of it if they are going to sell players to buy The Greatest Player There Has Ever Been. Things might turn Nastasic when they realise that there is still another four months until the transfer window opens again. A long wait as the tumbleweed crosses the Main Street of TransferWindow, a one-horse town.

Today over on Arsenal On This Day, a clash at the San Siro with next week’s EuroBigBucks League opponents.

’til Tomorrow.

279 thoughts on “The Shifting Sands On Which Hopes Are Built

  1. Great goal Gervinho. That was class finishing.

    Paul, Campbell looks even more impressive in that extended clip of him playing against Spain. The boy abused Sergio Ramos.

    Pass, I didn’t want to say it, but Campbell does look a bit like RVP in some instances. Just imagine what he’ll do when Wenger indoctrinates him.

    Sturridge doesn’t cut in from the right with as much ability as some lefties do and he’s not good enough to lead the line by himself. He’s a good player, but he just doesn’t impress me.

  2. @mattgoonerknight but if NB52 thought he was to good to sit on the bench, then i think its hard to find a good enough striker that will be happy to do so. After all NB52 aint all that good…
    No new striker can ever be guaranteed playtime except the odd game and when RvP is injured basically…

    But again, hope you are right and that we in the summer can buy a challenger that is almost as good as RvP, willing to sit on the bench and take his chanve when RvP is either out or need his rest…

  3. @Gainsbourg69 thats great news, yong and will be willing to learn and sit on bench for a season or two 🙂

  4. Yes Dex you’re right, silly me the jury were bribed to let Redknapp off, by The FA, who then forced the existing manager, Capello, into a position where he felt compelled to resign thereby achieving their stated aim of getting rid of the manager with the highest win rate in England’s football history (Capello) so that they can install a manager with no international management experience and who is unavailable until just a few weeks prior to the second largest competition in international football.

    It all makes sense to me now! 😉

  5. With Capello’s resignation England can end its experiment with foreign managers. Now if only you could find the next Bobby Robson you’d be in business.

  6. Dexter I’m afraid that this country is fast losing it’s reputation for fair play. That a jury could be talked into acquitting someone of tax evasion on the basis that he is not very bright, is a disgrace. I thought ignorance of the law was not a defence? No one likes paying tax, but why should an already rich man be allowed to get away with something that most of us have no choice but to pay because it is taken at source from our earnings? And then to install him as England manager (which we know is going to happen) just adds insult to injury? And let’s not even mention the subsidy from the tax payer so that spurs can build a new stadium on the pretext of regeneration!

  7. I wouldn’t worry too much about Joel Campbell’s temper. We had another bad boy who came here with a bad reputation and Wenger sorted him out. In fact, he has become one of the best strikers in the world.

  8. Shiiiiiiiiiit Jonny, there was me thinking you had a sense of humour. My bad. Wont happen again. Even with the smiley face, you still took it seriously??? 🙄 :mrgreen:

    Anyhoo, I reckon the FA should go full pelt to get martin ONeill, he isnt doing anything at the moment.

  9. Oh FFS! How am I meant to convey sarcasm other than with a winking face Dex?!

    I was laughing (orobably too much) whilst in wrote it. Sheeet!

  10. Sunderland look very tired to me – second to too many 50:50s, unusually for them; I’m sure the Stoke game took a lot out of ’em.

    Agree Passenal; one rule for slippery eels …

  11. Sunderland have a few injuries (not including Bendy) but it’s pretty much their first team I’d say.

    Of greater significance is Middlesborough’s poor recent form …

  12. Poodle

    Good point but you’re forgetting B52 is an egotistical moron who suffers from delusions of grandeur i.e. he’s a bit of a twat ; ).

    Arsenal are far too good for Bendtner, then and now.

    There’s plenty of good teams who have 2nd choice strikers of real quality. However, I think the key and arguably our biggest obstacle will be the respective player’s success criterion.

    For example, Berbatov is Man United’s 3rd choice, but he’s on good wages and wins things as part of their squad – the same for Citeh’s strikers, so they’re happy enough despite not being top, or in some cases even second dog. Whether they are respected and doing their long term career any favours is another question.

    With us, we’re not paying mega bucks and can’t guarantee trophies but we can offer a solid wage (in football terms, of course) and the chance to play in Europe (hopefully CL) and at least compete for trophies, playing in beautiful stadium in front 60,000 every week or so. There are quality forwards who’d like a piece of this, even if it meant not being the main man.

  13. Harry can’t manage England in Europe! He doesn’t even know what Europe is, no idea at all.

    Imagine the press conference –

    “Spain? Nope. Never heard of it. No. No, idea at all. What am I doing here? Who am I? Tika whata? Fuck off. I never accepted any thing on tic. Fucking disgraceful allegations”.

  14. No such thing as a bad victory but that was a hugely ‘inefficient’ win for the Black Cats.

    V good Jonny – the only thing the trial lacked was the immortal: “You’ll neva take me alive, coppa!”

  15. Decent night for us. Sunderland will feel the effects of 120 minutes of mid week action and the uncertainty surrounding the england job should at least cast a shadow over the spuds run in.

  16. Yeah when he takes over and England fuck up yet again, he can say, well, what did you expect, I am as thick as that rolled up bundle of used £50 notes in me sky rocket!

  17. I am so happy to be let off as I am an innocent man, always was, innit ?! I would like to thank all me mates who got day release from prison for the trial and me lawyer for his great work. My son, who was in court as well deserves a mention, cos he’s a great lad, no bullshit. I am now going to consider the england job which will be great innit ?! But the really hard task will be writing my resignation letter as I told the court that I was a bit of dimwit and couldn’t read or write. Ha ha ha … they all believed me. Well me old sons, it’s a difficult one, as I ain’t got a cheque book handy and can’t bankrupt the FA.. as much as will try.. ha ha ha ha.. The wheelin and dealin will be hard to let go of, innit ?!, as I’m looking forward to a dodgy number being done for Addeyoffside. Mebbe get Bale and Modric an english passport from one of me mates in the east end.

  18. mattgoonerknight,

    “For example, Berbatov is Man United’s 3rd choice, but he’s on good wages and wins things as part of their squad – the same for Citeh’s strikers, so they’re happy enough despite not being top, or in some cases even second dog. Whether they are respected and doing their long term career any favours is another question.”

    No way bro. If Coquelan can say that he wants to play, what about these seasoned players who are star’s in their own right. They are not happy in the least, they want to play.

  19. That and a clean jury Andrew ;-).

    Props to Middlesbrough with their crazy collection of bright-eyed, local 15y’olds. Looked like a decent bunch of lads – need feeding up though.

    I’d consider starting Theo on the bench see if we can truly terrorise tired legs in the second half.

  20. MGK

    YOu are wasting your time trying to convince a few on here about the need for top striker dude! 🙂

    Give it up mate! I have!!!


    Case closed!! After Arry’s taken his cut….

  21. Yes, much as I’d happily start with Theo and the Ox any day of the week, the thought of them coming on after 60 minutes this Saturday is just too tempting for words …

  22. PaulN

    (I lied) Its about the rotation bro. Something we have not been able to do. There are 60+ games a season, plenty for everyone. Sure Coquelin says he wants to play, he is young, so he should, its all part of his development. The squad now needs to be stronger due to the 25 man rules dude. With a few yutes eager to come in now and again.

    WE have Coquelin who can come in to compete with Song now and we know he can do a job, if asked. However, with strikers, you need top notch players, as well as a raw yute too. Just me opinion spar. 🙂

  23. I would be happy enough, as long as we can keep it tight, quieten the crowd and all that cliche ridden chat, then bring em on. Although I would be tempted to start with Oxo, given his confidence, form and youthful exuberance.

  24. That is reasonable Dex. I have no issue with a top striker coming on board and I agree that we could do with better squad rotation, and not just up front. With that, you don’t rotate players like RVP too often, that would be madness. As has been mentioned, Messi and Ronaldo play, there is no one rotating fwith them on a regular basis.

    Ah so it go mi bredrin.

  25. Paul N

    So finally Berbatov want’s out…how long has this taken? Has he just been nailed to the bench all this time, not notice Fergie starting little shit in front of him or his he just really slow.
    PSG in the summer by any chance?

    O.K. you’ve got me on the 3rd choice thing, I’ve overplayed the hyperbole card in that regard. But as I said earlier, I feel players are more concerned with who is playing in front of them and their ranking within the club rather than the number of games they play.

    Again, as I mentioned earlier, Le Coq was moaning as he wasn’t getting a sniff until injuries and loans opened up things for him, now he’s in and around the first team, he know’s he can play at this level and that the boss trusts him – hence the signing of a new contract in January!! Now he’s in the first team squad playing CL football and potentially challenging for trophies do you think he’ll want out? To go to who? If he does he can fuck off and join the other suffers of grandiose delusion.

    I suspect for Berbatov, it is being placed behind Hernandes that has really signalled to him that he’s better off somewhere else.That and the fact he is 31 and he would like a big cash move while he is still considered a marque signing.

    Have I mentioned PSG? Maybe Malaga? Anzhi? China?

    If all players “just wanted to play” the league and respective quality of the teams would be a lot more evenly spread as top players would ensure that they were at a club were they would be a nailed on starter or else, move on.

  26. Dex

    Sorry bro, just seen your message.

    Never give up – just say the same shit in different ways ; )

    I didn’t even mean to start today – I just commented that I’d ship out our exiting back up centre forward options for Sturridge any day of the week, and then….

    I like to discuss / debate/ disagree / argue about things, so this bone of contention should keep us chewing the fat until the summer transfer window has finished!

  27. It’s very sad for those of us who are English to have to admit it, but don’t the England team and Redknapp deserve each other?

  28. True FRank, not very sensitive of us is it.


    I do like Sturridge and have done since he was at City TBH. Think he could be a very good player, especially under AW’s tuteledge. Much much much prefer this rumour than the Kalou one anways!

  29. Jonny

    That’s fucking cool.

    It’s weird, I’m fine scrolling smaller and smaller but going the other way makes me anxious – my head can’t handle the magnitude of it all.

    With my mind now fixed on the incomprehensible, I bid you all good night

  30. @Jonny
    I wanted to kindly inform you that I have uni exams in two weeks. if I end up flunking them, there might be a big chance it will be down to you posting that link. And now please let me see just how small things can get!

  31. Okay, I just noticed that at the right end of the spectrum, they clearly forgot Bendtner’s ego. Clearly someone didn’t do his research!

  32. According to the latest theories the universe is smaller than 1st thought. All to do with gravitational lensing making distant objects appear in more than one place.

    With that I’m off to bed.

  33. The Brazilian club Corinthians are keeping their striker Adriano “detained” inside the team’s hotel in an effort to force him to lose weight.

    The club said Adriano, who has been fined several times for missing training, would be put on a strict diet inside the hotel at the team’s headquarters, eating only what doctors give him and training three times a day.

    The Corinthians fitness trainer Fabio Mahseredjian said the team chose to detain the former Internazionale striker because he has failed to improve his physical condition. He has played rarely since recovering from surgery on his achilles tendon last year and is in danger of not being included in the squad for the Copa Libertadores.

    Mahseredjian said: “In the hotel we have more control over him … He knows we’re trying to do the best for him. All of us are dedicated, but it depends on him. Weight loss comes only through diet: you cannot lose weight through physical activity alone.”

    Now here IS a top striker who would love to sit on the comfy Arsenal bench.

  34. MD – 6 Days was it not? I thought he had the Sunday off. Just think, if he had put in that extra days work he might not have made so many mistakes as he did rushing everything in 6 days 😉

  35. It is ok not to believe in creation but the little digs about God are not cool G.A. I have noticed you like doing that everytime religion comes up!!

  36. Dups – Heh, quite.

    Firstlady – Why is it such a big deal? Nobody would be bothered if I were having digs at any other ficticious character.

  37. was in the pub and watched valencia desperately try to give barca goals on the platter last night, but thats not the point.

    the point is that much as i hate them, their fans can offer us a lesson in support.

    obviously pinto has the same status as say almunia and to a lesser extent fabianski has in most of our hearts. i could feel their trepidation whenever the ball goes near pinto. and yet whenever he does well(or at least doesnt screw up), the fans shouted his name ‘pinto pinto!’

    that is something i think we can learn.

  38. I disagree with Matt.

    I hope you get to read this. When a player goes to a big club, they don’t go with the intent of riding the bench. They go to play and if it does not work out, thats life, they have to deal with it. Getting big money and a few trophies,eases the pain, I am sure. However, I do remember Hleb saying he felt like a hangers on at Barca.

    Though all players want to play, It will never even out because the prestige and money will always pull the best players (it is what it is), but still the first intent of the player is to play, if not, it will not go well for them.

    I never mentioned anything about being a nailed on starter.

  39. Paul-N | February 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I disagree with Matt.

    “I hope you get to read this….Though all players want to play, It will never even out because the prestige and money will always pull the best players (it is what it is), but still the first intent of the player is to play, if not, it will not go well for them.

    I never mentioned anything about being a nailed on starter”


    What convoluted point are you trying to make in order to disagree with me?

    The fact that the league will never even out because of the lure prestige and money is exactly the point I am making!!

    Of course players would like to be first choice at the greatest clubs in Europe but only 11 players are on the pitch for each team at a time; only seven are named on the bench and only 25 (let’s put aside the intricacies of the home-grown rule) are in a first team squad.

    Most players would prefer to win things, or at least compete at the highest level (Champions League etc) and play a contributing role in a successful team than being a first choice at a mid / bottom of the table team.

    The problems arise when the players in question are either usurped by new arrivals (whether promotion within the club or transfers in) or are starved of any action at all, thus effectively freezing a career.

    Park for example, as it stands, would not not feel he has contributed to anything (not his fault) so his desire to leave in order to get game time would be perfectly justified. My original post however (way back early yesterday), was regarding Daniel Sturridge and how he would be a great number two to RVP and that we could accommodate his ambitions to play and achieve while still remaining behind RVP in the pecking order.

    Sturridge in my mind has two choices at this stage of his development: stay where he is or move to club of a relatively similar standing and remain a first team player but not the main man up front or; go back further down the prestige / league ladder and and be top dog there.

    Maybe he’ll go back to Bolton in the summer so he can play every week and be the main man? Yeah, sounds unlikely doesn’t it.


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