Football likes the ill-fated. We laud winners but losers are ‘ill-fated’. They make ‘ill-fated title challenges’ or make ‘ill-fated transfers’; ‘ill-fated’. Danny Welbeck’s just ill and not in the good sense either.
His injury record is starting to look perilously like Jack Wilshere’s with the groin tear suffered on Sunday likely to keep him out for a month. Gallows humour about an April return has you laughing uncomfortably. Not as uncomfortable as Danny’s groin tear but shifting in your seat nonetheless.
With a fortnight break due to the international break at the start of October, Welbz is likely to return for the trip to Goodison Park. Or at least be back in training. That’s the next tricky fixture for us; I’d expect us to pull together a winning run from hereon; six straight wins without exception, the sort of form you hope to have playing online roulette NZ.
I’m allowed to be over-confident, it’s what supporters do well. If you look at the games between now and the end of October, Everton is the only one which stands out as tough. The rest? We ought to be winning if Wenger has aspirations of appearing in the Champions League during his final season at the club.
Whether it will be his last is another matter. This summer sees him in the same position as last, with speculation no doubt beginning as soon as we enter the final straight of this season. The talk by then will be of the post-Alexis, post-Özil future with Arsène no doubt bemoaning that both can leave on free transfers. Let’s hope that he really was hoarding those funds for next summer.
In the meantime, there’s the rest of the season to look forward to. Starting with the visit of Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup.
Let’s Have A Ball
An open disdain haunts the competition in modern football. In its heyday, everyone enjoyed the League Cup except for us. After the late 1960s with consecutive losing Wembley appearances, we only made the last four twice in the next couple of decades until 1986/7 when let’s face, everybody loved Charlie.
However, the Premier League and a procession of managers not being arsed with the competition robbed it of any sense of purpose. Yet it’s still there as the fourth priority in the season or the fourth placed trophy on the list, if you like. A trophy to be won and while Arsène may view that as a happy by-product of blooding youngsters, it keeps the winning habit ticking over.
It’s why when I read Mauricio Pochettino declaring it’s “nice to win it for the fans”, I have a little snigger. Not quite a guffaw because his words about prioritising the Premier League and Champions League are the same as Arsène used to throw around. Not any longer; he’s realised the value of a cup win when elite competitions are out of reach.
Pochettino is right when he declares that big clubs don’t prioritise the League Cup ahead of others. Big clubs don’t dismiss it either. Look at how many times Mourinho and Ferguson used it to keep the winning habit going, season after season. Liverpool did the same at their peak. It’s about winning every trophy you possibly can. Which given Tottenham haven’t been champions in my lifetime nor won the FA Cup this century, isn’t something they should dismiss.
In A Shady Place
The Argentine wants Tottenham to be a big club; Levy wants the same but only because he’s now got a 61,000 capacity stadium to sell out every week. That’s a tough gig when you haven’t even got a League Cup to hang your hat on. Football today is all about shiny new things, nothing else.
Now, I’m not declaring we take leave of our senses and field our strongest team tomorrow. However, should we be so dismissive given our reduced circumstances? Are we better off taking the view that this keeps the winning habit going, hoping it burgeons into something more?
We’ve seen the leopard change its’ spots very slowly over formation; is now the change of attitude toward the League Cup. Somehow, I don’t think so. Reality bites and I’m sure Arsène is already thinking about which players to rest in the pursuit of a top four finish.