Just when you thought it was safe. Aaron Ramsey scores, another celebrity dies. Farewell, Commander Koenig; rest in peace.
It was a curse which niggled at Ramsey and one which he thought was itself laid to rest but no, alas not. 2017 is turning out to be as much of a pig of a year as 2016 in that sense.
Arsenal arrived in Shanghai ahead of Wednesday’s friendly against Bayern, before finishing off the tour with Chelsea on Saturday. Mixed feelings about Chelsea. Obviously fond ones of the 3 – 0 gubbing and the FA Cup final but recent years have left me battle scarred, more so than when we habitually lost at Stamford Bridge in the 70s and 80s.
Back then, it was infuriating; maddening because no matter how bad Chelsea’s team was – and they had some shocking teams in those days – they never lost to us. Indeed, the only win we had at Stamford Bridge in the period 1975 to 1993 that I can recall was the 1978 FA Cup semi-final over Orient.
As for Bayern, let’s just leave it that the odds of a 5 – 1 scoreline are 40/1. 150/1 for Arsenal to win by that margin, in case you believe in footballing karma. Me neither.
After the relatively hectic schedule of two games in 48 hours, this week is relatively sedate. It gives plenty of time for jolly japes like watching the players learn kung fu (chortle). Surely there will be footage one of the goalkeepers using chopsticks for the first time and making a complete hash of it, in a metaphor for the whole season (uneasy rofl) before visiting the Great Wall, which will have me spouting some witticism about how it’s built more solidly than Arsenal’s in Sydney last Saturday (ho and indeed, ho).
Tell Us Dave, Tell Us
The press conferences meanwhile, will be about who we’re going to sign and when is Alexis joining Manchester City. Amazingly, no-one asks Arsène about Thomas Lemar; are they scared of jinxing the transfer or do they get told beforehand not to ask, for fear of letting our interest become public knowledge.
Ornstein this morning tweeted that a deal for the French youngster seems some way off:
Arsenal growing less optimistic of signing Lemar. Still trying but other Monaco exits reduce chances. Intention remains to keep Sanchez #AFC
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) July 17, 2017
There’s a new toy in the shop window this morning. Or at least one which didn’t sell earlier in the summer so was taken out of the light and moved to a dingy shelf. Now the sun has returned, Moussa Dembele is back in the light once more with Arsenal reportedly looking to sign the Celtic wunderkinder supposedly our favourite Alexis replacement if we don’t land Lemar. Or Mbappe.
Or Riyad Mahrez, who has apparently got fed up with Arsenal not bidding for him and is set to join Roma in a rumoured £30-40m deal, which is far more reasonable than the £50m he was apparently worth when we were interested in him.
Footloose, Fast & Loose
Anyway, Alexis isn’t leaving because we’re playing hardball. Yes, fast and loose with next year’s transfer funding is the new black for Arsenal. Fast and loose with this year’s funding is Jose Mourinho’s mantra and the disproportionate reaction in the media to Romelu Lukaku’s ‘debut’ against LA Galaxy underlines the insatiable desire for football ‘news’.
Yes, we all laughed at the video clip of his miscontrol of the ball in training but just because a striker doesn’t score in a friendly is hardly indicative of the player being a waste of money. How long before he’s a £75m bargain and Lacazette a £53m flop?
Second game of the season, probably. No doubt a club chairman somewhere will deride him as a ‘Carlos Kickaball’? Usually the chairman of a club whose squad is filled with decidedly average players who couldn’t make into our reserves.
That’s it for today save to mention that there’s a new album of the week on Dad’s Jukebox.