One idea I missed in the IFAB ‘Fair Play’ document was the suggestion of cutting matches to 60 minutes. The logic is tenuous; “Many people are very frustrated that a typical 90-minute match has fewer than 60 minutes of effective (actual) playing time”. No change for Olivier Giroud, then.
As if cutting the match time to 60 minutes is going to make a blind bit of difference. It will lead to a raft of 1 – 0 wins, as Mourinho wins the Premier League for the rest of his lifetime thanks to his tactics of scoring early and time-wasting for 55 minutes.
The only way to make a 60-minute match work is if it is followed by a no holds barred rollerball match where the last man standing wins three bonus points for his team.
It’s Sunday so the purveyors of transfer tattle are in their element. Alexis is the lead story with claims the Chilean is demanding £21.85m a year. Bayern are ensuring this is positioned as the greedy player’s fault, not the club.
With Arsenal unable to meet those demands either, he is heading north to Manchester City, to be reunited with Pep Guardiola, the manager who signed him for Barcelona. As if Wenger or Gazidis is stupid enough to sell a player to another Premier League club:
“Arsenal regret to announce that Alexis Sanchez has left to join Manchester City. Arsène Wenger committed seppuku and Ivan Gazidis is caged, hanging from a lamp-post outside the Emirates, waiting for the birds to peck his eyes out. The hounds devoured the remainder of the board. Message Ends, Ernst Stavro Kroenke”
No doubt Alexis’ agent is playing the media, with Arsenal on the back foot. The one common theme throughout the summer is the absence of stories claiming Alexis will stay at the Emirates.
You’re Talking Out Of Your Aulas
Arsenal’s hopes of replacing him with Alexandre Lacazette were given a little bit boost when Jean-Michel Aulas admitted Lyon wanted to sign Chelsea’s Bertrand Traore. He confirmed they were in “advanced talks” which offers the hope that we might get a half-decent striker in this summer, probably shifting Welbeck to the left side.
So busy are the Transfer Window Action Team with Lacazette or the folly of chasing Mbappe, that they aren’t taking care of business closer to home. Liverpool’s interest in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain faded when it emerged that Arsenal were set to offer him a new contract a few weeks ago. It’s been revived as Team Ox let it be known no talks had taken place, nor were any planned.
The Times runs with the story that Ox’s patience is thin and he is ready to demand a transfer. Well played; his Mr20% is earning his corn with little prospect of the pressure on the club easing. With no tangible progress on any contract negotiations, the club is allowing itself to be portrayed as incompetent and inactive.
It begs the question as to what the PR department are doing. I’m struggling to remember a positive story about the club since the FA Cup final. Now, there is a strong case for actions speaking louder than words and I wholeheartedly agree with that philosophy but this is a club which is in turmoil.
One of the central ideas behind a director of football was to make the club more dynamic. Instead, we’re left with the same appearance of a lack of activity. The one summer that Wenger needed a massive win is not looking any different from the rest. Rabbits, hats – magic hats – are desperately needed if renewing contract is going to be anything other than hubris.