Three of the FA Cup semifinalists are known with Chelsea likely to complete the quartet this evening. It’s a familiar feeling for us; every club wants to draw Arsenal. On current form, we’re the weakest of the four.
The nightmare is drawing Tottenham. Well, it’s a nightmare if we lose. They were unbearable in 1991 after Wembley but thankfully Tone ended that two years later. Imagine what they’d be like if we lost to them in the final; if you can, your mind is more warped than mine.
There isn’t much going on at present. The ever-reliable Bild apparently has another interview with Mesut Özil, who claims that it is “wrong” to say that he will only sign a new deal if Arsène stays. He, like everyone else, just wants to know what is happening.
Özil released an autobiography in Germany recently, and at the moment, it is planned to release the English language version in the future. Perhaps the publisher is waiting for the contract negotiations to end; it will be a different book for a renewal to a departure. Certainly a new chapter if he goes.
Arsène himself questioned the impact of television punditry on the opinion of fans. Current standards continue to amaze me, dropping lower with each passing week.
Chris Sutton, having gone up in my estimation by making Robbie Savage look a complete and utter fool on BT’s poor man’s Soccer Saturday equivalent, proved to be obnoxious on Saturday. His was a voice which had to get up and milk the cows the following morning.
Arsène highlighted the Barcelona v PSG game last week,
For example, I watched the last 20 minutes of PSG v Barca again. It’s interesting when you see all the conclusions that come out of the game.
And the same people who spoke after the game said with 10 minutes to go that PSG was absolutely outstanding. Ten minutes later, they’re absolutely rubbish. People brainwash you with what they think is right.
I confess I switch off mentally from commentary. I must have done for that game; aside from the spell when PSG scored and were on top, they were castigated for being all over the shop. Still, there’s an online petition to have the game replayed. Without any hint of irony, a Real Madrid supporter believes Barcelona benefited from poor refereeing decisions.
You couldn’t make it up.
Hubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble
Wenger played the number of games card, as ever, but the interesting comments were about living in a bubble, and how players can’t ignore what was said. It applies to managers as well and it’s baffling to me that he wants to stay in a job where he so routinely feels underappreciated by supporters.
An interesting aspect of Saturday was his determination to focus on the first hour of the second leg, and take it out of context of the season. It was a decent effort, no question, but..you know the arguments.
“No matter what happens in the future you will always lose games. I can’t guarantee we will win all the games. We’re in the semi-final of the FA Cup. How many times have we been? You have to accept nothing is good enough, you have to live with that.”
Which underlines the pressure he feels. “Nothing is good enough” is a telling phrase and gives an insight into what he is thinking. Finishing with, “you have to live with that”, underlines how he compartmentalises the criticism he receives. I doubt many people would be prepared to stay in a job with the constant criticism yet he is impervious to the criticism.
It’s frightening that he thinks winning against non-league opposition shows that both himself and the squad are capable of moving up a level. 5 – 0 was the expected result, nothing more or less.
From the board’s point of view, the protests had a visual impact; Chips put his name to a statement which said nothing and added zero to the situation. Despite not losing the ticket prices, 10,000 or more empty seats probably brought a calculation from Ivan that at least £250,000 in matchday revenue had gone from the concessions, club shops and programme sales. It soon mounts up and focusses the sentiment toward the team as it stands.
Whether they do anything about it is another matter.
1995 is the current playlist for Times of our Lives, with Britpop is in all pomp and glory. It was about to go downhill rather quickly…