There was something like, I don’t know, karma at play last night in the Bernabeu. Dodgy red card, offside goals; sound familiar, Bayern? Your social media chaps were awfully quiet last night in the gloating stakes. Payback, as they say…
Tin foil hat sales went through the roof. It’s all conspiracy in favour of the Spanish clubs and against Arsenal, it goes without saying. Refereeing incompetence is so widespread that it’s almost impossible to identify corruption. Almost, I said.
With the bribe culture at FIFA, it’s unlikely that other parts of game are whiter than white. Where and whom is the question. There is a strong case for saying that referees are just bloody useless when it comes to decisions against you, and on the rare occasions they get it right, good referees.
Answers may come in the Camp Nou this evening.
Mind you, genuine tin hat sales went through the roof at Leicester where Diego Simeone and Antoine Griezmann saw their futures uncomfortably unveiled. Atletico might be the only club to knock Leicester out of European competitions, doing so last night for the third time in the Foxes history.
Pundits lauded Plucky Little Leicester for “doing the Premier League proud”, which only serves to underline how far the footballing stock of English football has fallen. Direct, with a 1980s feel; hardly the type of football which will lure the world’s best talent to these shores.
It’s not as if the Premier League can claim they operate a protectionist regime girl the benefit of the national squad. The only thing they are protecting is profits for the moment. Got to keep that trough full with all those snouts to feed.
And What Of Arsenal, Eh?
Well, there’s not much going on to be honest. The players had ‘Excuse Day’ off. The extra preparation time for Sunday’s match will no doubt trotted out as the reason we’ve been beaten.
Arsène pretty much ruled out using a back three again; ‘needs must’ seemed to be his attitude and no doubt that City were by far the better team in the first twenty minutes at the Emirates will be shaping his thoughts.
That and now that we’ve got our confidence back through a win, we’ll revert to the usual back four shambles.
Shkodran Mustafi is rumoured to be a doubt and we can only assume it’s a genuine injury; it’s a bit soon for the one which signals the end of his time at the club to strike.
Mesut Ozil, meanwhile, was enjoying a day sightseeing. The Heil, taking a break from its “We’re going to smash the oiks” electioneering, pondered if he was “saying goodbye to London”? Hardly, he’s got another half-a-dozen games to play for the club which is based in, you know, London.
Contract talks have begun with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere. It’s good of the club to go and see him in hospital after Harry Kane’s challenge left the midfielder with a hairline fracture on his ankle. It never rains, etc.
Where does that leave him as far as Arsenal are concerned? The suspicion has to be that a new deal is simply to stop him leaving on the cheap this summer. Having four years left increases his value somewhat more than just one.
Looking After Number One
Is it the right thing to do? We could let him go and take heart from watching him fulfil his potential elsewhere, raising more questions about Arsenal’s fitness and medical regime. Or, he could stay and do the same or waste away in the treatment room.
His spell at Bournemouth is not being treated as a universal success. The expectation was that he would be their best player, the star running the show. That expectation was wrong. The club wanted him fit and playing regularly while Jack wanted the same. If he’d stayed and fallen into the same injury cycle, would it be worse
There’s no straightforward answer. The club has to plan for the worst in that sense but also strengthen irrespective of Wilshere’s own fitness. Midfield is an area we need to invest heavily in this summer so it won’t be any surprise if one of the ‘names’ is sacrificed.
New signing Saed Kolasinac, who hasn’t yet put pen to paper because Milan are interested, has apparently been told that Wenger will be in charge next season while the Frenchman has apparently drawn up the list of targets to be signed.
A director of football isn’t one of them. A new CEO however….