Momentum, Park Life & More

Good news yesterday of Fabrice Muamba’s small steps to recovery; long may that process continue. Steve Bould, Arsène and Liam Brady all showed the depth of feeling for Muamba at the club. Kevin Davies rightly laments on the BBC website how it has taken this event to bring about some sort of unity in the game.

Against this backdrop, football returns for Arsenal with the trip to Everton firmly on the horizon. It begins a key four day spell that I touched on yesterday with all sorts of permutations that could see the final corrosion of Tottenham’s thirteen point lead or the wheels fall off Arsenal’s trolley entirely.

The concern for Arsène must be the loss of momentum that Arsenal had gained. The nine days since the victory over Newcastle is a long time in footballing terms; a mini-international break without the fretting over which players will pick up niggles and knocks, praying that the Dutch use van Persie sparingly in a meaningless match.

Training is good for working on fitness, technique and understanding but a sort of boredom must set in knowing that you have a week and a half between games. Confidence will not be an issue with the recent winning run in the Premier League as well as being able to retrieve victory from deficits. It does give time to work on ironing out the silly mistakes that have allowed opponents to take the lead in the first place but does such a gap mean that the drive, energy, excitement of playing is diminished? Do those previous results feel distant due to the time lag between fixtures? Like Soap, all will be clearer.

Elsewhere, the Park Mystery has grown over recent times. It was widely believed that he would be leaving Arsenal at the end of next season to fulfil his obligation for national service in South Korea. His lawyer has since determined that in 2009, he had received an “an unprecedented 10-year residence permit in recognition of his outstanding activities there“. Which makes this whole affair a little tangled and some of the criticism of the player unwarranted; if he wanted to avoid National Service, he could have finalised that two years ago.

Arsenal now have to pay a total fee of £6m (€6.5m); echoes of Francis Jeffers to my mind. For a club whose transfer funds are so cautiously spent, his inability to force his way into the first team is baffling. Even the most homesick of signings have performed; Jose Antonio Reyes managed some decent games for the club. Before him, chronic homesickness cause Vladimir Petrovic to leave the club within a season but he still turned in performances that made his signing all too understandable. That last word is something that is, at the moment, unlikely to be used when talking of Park’s transfer.

The Arsenal scouts have been busy trying to redeem themselves, killing two birds with one stone by watching Yann M’vila and Aymen Corner Abdennour during Toulouse’s single goal victory over Rennes. All that it probably shows is that The Sun employs writers with a better imagination than those at Daily Express HQ. As for the signing of Lukas Podolski, yesterday’s rumoured announcement never came which is of no surprise. Can you shake the niggling doubt that this is the footballing equivalent of The Hitler Diaries. Conspiracy theorists, do your worst!

Finally a reminder that this quarter’s required reading is on sale, the current issue of The Blizzard includes an editorial in which Jonathan Wilson deepens the feeling of the lost soul of the Premier League.

’til Tomorrow.

140 thoughts on “Momentum, Park Life & More

  1. Stuck in work myself so did not see the reserve game, did Diaby score? If so good for him and The Arsenal!!

    C’bob – Always enjoy hearing about your produce, particularly the apple cider(smacking my lips as I write this) look forward to having a pint or two of it with you someday 🙂

    Jonny – I see you will be posting your bank account and address next. Looking for donations are we? As C’bob would say “Get a job!” 🙂

  2. I agree with Jonny @ 4:54:

    No footballer is going to admit that he left for more money but how could it have been anything else. I wish he had stayed but how can you begrudge anyone trying to maximize their income especially when their earning potential ends in their early 30’s. The difference in the wages between the 2 clubs comes to a huge amount over the length of the contract. I certainly don’t want our players to leave but most of us would have done the same thing I suspect. For the most part the clubs treat their dealings with the players as business trying to get the best value for their money and to expect the players to treat their dealings with the clubs in any other way is not realistic.

  3. C’bob – Have to admit I prefer next seasons away jersey to this seasons. And no I am not just being ornery!! Personally I have always lived in cities but do love the countryside, just cannot ever see myself living there. On Friday myself and The Girlfriend are off on our annual roadtrip. This years destination is New Orleans, neither of us have ever been. Taking two weeks off in total. Will be hitting Baltimore, DC, Savannah, Richmond, Charlestown, Tallahassee, Atlanta, Biloxi to visit my cousin and finally meet her two kids 🙂 , Fort Myers and Hillsboro, North Carolina for some home made BBQ and moonshine by my old friend Robbie. Can’t wait to get away for a bit, recharge the batteries so to speak.

  4. On the Nasri thing, yes he left for the money but who cares what the reason was? He is gone end of. It is worth remembering though that Ian Wrightnever looked at his contract, he simply walked in and signed it and walked out. His faith in The Arsenal was absolute. Bit of a wanker now though but I still like the guy and would love if we could sign someone like him again.

  5. @Darius

    I agree with you, i want Manure to win the league so Clichy and Nasri can wallow and come out with a statement like “well we were closer then them”.

  6. Back to the grindstone for me, not all of us can live the life of Jonnyneale!! Lathers peeps 🙂

  7. Few are even remotely capable Irish – even if they think they want to.

    That jersey is an abomination.

    Hmmm, blue or yellow this season?

    Those should be the only decisions open for consideration colour-wise.

  8. I agree Jonny. Mind you, Irish talks a lot of sense in most ways.

    That sounds a great trip Irish, I could be quite jealous. Always fancied driving across the US. Consolslel’s sister lives in Boston, Has done for 30 years! Never been over. Silly really,

    Anytime for the cider Irish. Anytime.

  9. Hey Irish – what a great road trip. Did one with the wife and friends few years ago now from DC to Atlanta via VA and NC.

    Hey Irish – what a great road trip. Did one with the wife and friends few years ago now from DC to Atlanta via Va, detours in North and South Carolina.

    Had a mad time stopping at every Irish or English pub we found whatever time it was, crashing at friends diggs along the way, debating between driving on and a decent night cap at Howjos, tempting fate with red neck troopers on the interstate between the Carolinas and just having a blast.

    If you get a chance, check out the Mc Donalds drive through in Richmond – the one that’s most accessible to the main road. I kid you not, the glass was bullet proof. That’s when I knew America was crazy. How do you get to a stage where you carry out an armed robbery on a drive through? I mean, for them to install bullet resistant glass, a cashier must have been shot for a dodgy order or something.

    We also met this elderly couple just as we entered Columbia in SC and stopped to get some drinks and ice cream. The lovely couple had never left the Carolinas, let alone America. We started talking about the world, Europe, Africa and the fact that there’s life outside South Carolina…

    I didn’t think it was ever possible to meet folks that oblivious about the rest of the world, sitting with them and chatting was such an experience for all of us. Lovely couple though, but they needed to literally get out more often.

    When we get some money, we’re planning to do a West coast road trip with the same bunch of friends – though I don’t fancy anything near the mojave desert lest we run out of cold beer.

  10. Irish:

    Drive safely.


    No doubt he really wants to stay. Be great if it all works out for both sides. I hope the club does not try to low ball him and I hope Robin has a realistic goal for what he wants from the club.

  11. Well, in fact I am not sure if Robin is going to “sing” if we do well in the end, but I sure hope he’ll at least sign.

  12. “In truth … go on, say it … “we don’t know”. My wife has taught this to me; it’s rather liberating the “I don’t know”. Bill? Anybody?”

    Thank you ZimPaul for the only sensible comment of the day. I just do not get the obsession with JY Park. The manager gets paid to manage and make decisions about who plays and who doesn’t play. You have the best striker in the world in the form of his life and a team (thanks to a poor start) with little room for error. What would you do? Just give it a rest since you don’t know and may never know. And if I see another racist comment about him being bought to sell shirts in Asia, I will scream and you’ll hear me through the internet!

  13. Lionel Messi just scored.

    He has 232 (Two Hundred and Thirty Two) goals for Barcelona, level with César as the all-time top goalscorer at the club.

    Lionel Messi is 24 (Twenty Four).

    The conversation as to who the greatest of all time may be a pointless one but, if he stays fit and keeps going till early thirties or beyond, what the hell will his stats actually look like?

    I suppose what he actually needs to do is win a World Cup or two, then it would be beyond doubt but in the meantime lets just try to keep our jaws off the floor.

  14. Jonny, on that very question of who the greatest is in the world, Pele was once asked that question. Is it him, Maradona or MessI?

    To which Pele answered: “Those Argentines can’t even decide who’s better amongst themselves. Call me when one of them scores over 1000 goals”.

    When Maradona was next interviewed in one of his many colourful press conferences, Pele’s comments were put to him, to which Maradona replied: “They should put him back in the museum”.

    Priceless. 2 of the best 3 players that ever lived and they turn out to be comedians.

  15. Of course the one thing that Messi hasn’t done that Pele and Maradona did was that they single handedly won the world cup for their respective countries.

    For Messi to become absolutely football royalty like Pele and Maradona, I think he has to lift the world cup. The better for him if he drags Argentina by the scruff of the neck to become the next world champions right under the noses of the Brazilians in Rio 2 years from now.

  16. @Darius

    Pele’s 1000 goals are a myth for a start – one which he was all to happy to start and spread.

    Maradona did ‘carry’ his national team to victory in 86 but Pele’s three world cups are a very different tale.

    Pele was 17 in 58 and didn’t contribute all that much in 62 & 66 due to injury.

    In 1970 he was amazing but then that was arguably the best International team ever Rivelino, Gerson, Tostao and the incredible Jairzinho – most people think they would have won without him.

    All of which proves nothing – they are both as big legends in their heads as they were on the pitch.

    Messi’s most refreshing quality is that he is humble and that he annoys the fuck out Ronaldo.

    Personally I have strange affection for the lazy and talented Ronaldinho, Le Tissier.

    Amazing to think Cruyff has what is now one of the most basic football tricks credited to him – a moment in some ways akin to the Frosby Flop.

    Ronaldinho must have come up with at 4 or 5 of his own – the buck-toothed genius.

  17. Maradona is the best ever for me, at least. Messi is performing in the equivalent of the SPL. He is an awesome player, dont get me wrong, an absolute phenomenon, but Maradona had to play in an era of butchers that would make the likes of Shawcross cry all the way home to Mama.

    Talking of Phenomenons, the real Ronaldo was an amazing player in his pomp, pity he was fucked by injuries.

    BTW, I’ve just returned from South Korea. You can’t move for Park Arsenal shirts. Great move by the PR Dept to sign the Korean captain.

  18. Dex I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment – the though the SPL comparison is a ‘little’ harsh. Look at Athletic Bilbao t’other day – there is plenty of skill in that league.
    plus he has done it in Europe against some of the best. Even scored with a header in a final. That’s just taking the piss! 🙂
    But yes, it’s a deeply distorted league, and Messi sits in a team of truly brilliant players.
    BTW he just broke the record with an outrageous lob over the keeper.

    Speaking of lobs. Here’s a teaser for tomorrow –

  19. Jonny

    I was being a tad fecetious man, but I still think Maradona is the king. he doesnt get the props in the UK because of THAT goal. messi is awesome, but La Liga is a very different league compared to when i first started watching it about 10 years ago; alot more competitive and not the cake walk it is for the top 2. Teams will always be able to give good one off perfomances though, however, its evident how big a shock it is when either Real or barca lose or draw a game.

    I hope the other clubs get together and jetison the 2 greedy bastards! 🙂

  20. Dex just saw your comment on Park! I’m awaiting Passenal’s cyberspace scream.

    I’ve already turned my computer to mute.

  21. Dex as I said from the start “The conversation as to who the greatest of all time may be a pointless one”.

    I can now remove the word ‘may’ from that sentence.


    I think Maradona is the king too – if I’m pushed.

  22. On the subject of Messi, if he scores in any away leg for Barcelona in the quarter or semi-finals of the Champions League this season, he will break Thierry Henry’s record for scoring goals in away matches in one season which currently stands at 7. Henry shares the record with a couple of others but all of Henry’s goals in that season’s competition came away from home.

  23. Glad to see Fat head Alladyce’s Hammers dropped more points tonight. Really dont want them going up while he’s in charge. Hope Southampton and Reading do it. Reading have been amazing last few weeks, while Southampton have played some excellent football all season.

    Pompey thrashing Brum was also a great result considering all the shite they have got to deal with, thanks in no small part to dodgy past wannabe England manager and corrupt owners and chief exces (allegedly!)

    Oh and good old Leeds, managed by that lovely chap Warnock getting hammered 7-3 at home to Forest! Beautiful.

  24. YW – it’s the seemingly impossible idea that he can get better.

    Even if it’s only a little, it’s an increment that will seem interstellar.

    We look at Theo, Ramsey, The Ox and salivate but there is a temptation to think Messi’s talent arc must have peaked sooner and may or even must surely fade. What if the best is yet to come?

    There are some sports where the best ever is almost indisputable – Bradman – batsman, Warne – spin-bowler (yes over Murali), Sobers – All rounder, Taylor – darts, Jordan – NBA, Sanders – NFL running back…. This is usually based on achievements allied with talent and longevity.

    In football even in specialised positions the debate is usually less clear-cut (Schmeichel – keeper?) but one wonders if Messi might go on to change that through sheer numbers alone.

  25. Darius – The Girlfriend and I will be doing a West Coast roadtrip next year, starting at San Francisco and ending in Seattle. Once we hit Seattle we will then drive back cross country, even going into Canada every now and then, through Montana (we have a frind there who owns a ranch) where we will do some trail-riding and camping out, then head on back to New York. The funny thing is because of California’s weather cars hold there value better. A lot better in fact. The plan is to buy a decent enough car in California, do an awesome roadtrip and then sell it when we get back to New York. Simples 🙂

    C’bob – In as much as I never liked Boston, I have been there many times, I think you should treat yourself and Consolslel to a trip Stateside. In as much as I give Americans sthit for not travelling abroad, I think the same goes for anyone who has never visited the States. It is in fact several different countries all rolled into one and is a truly incredible, if somewhat bewildering, country to travel around.

    Darius – That couple you met who had never left the Carolina’s are not, sad to say, all that rare. So many Americans are so paranoid about “Foreingers” that they would rather die having never gone anywhere than take a chance. Last year I went to Disney World in Florida (truly awful creepy place) with The Girlfriend and her family. One of the theme parks there is called Apcot, basically it is an area that contains replicas of foreign countries such as:

    1) England – complete with tacky faux English pub and really bad fish and chips
    2) Japan – complete with sushi restaurant and horrible ‘Japanese’ merchandise
    3) Morocco – I’m sorry I just can’t bring myself to describe the Disney version of Morocco

    Anyways, believe it or not, for a lot of Americans this is their only exposure to a foreign culture. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

  26. Irish – give us a wave as you journey around the DC Beltway. We live about 200 yards inside the monster.
    Love to drive long distance in the US? Boring, especially on that nighmare of a road I-95. I hate it more than the A12 in Essex. And that takes some doing.
    And I don’t know why they bother to pretend to have driving tests here….

  27. I used to grow a lot of vegetables. Then realized I didn’t really like most of them. Well my wife says that potatoes and peas don’t count as vegetables.
    Not much point growing them in MD anyway. What the deer/squirrels/bugs don’t eat get shrivelled up by the sun.
    Never tried growing those new-fangled peppers and chillies though.

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