The North London Derby is firmly in view with the last of our internationals played last night.
Laurent Koscielny – the major concern for the weekend according to the press – was on the bench so was his injury that bad? Giroud was absent but the concern with him is more for Cologne or if anything happens to Alexandre Lacazette, scorer of a brace for the French in the 2 – 2 draw with Germany.
Mesut Özil grabbed an assist, no doubt impressing the watching Atletico Madrid scouts. I assume they watched the game since the papers tell us Diego Simeone wants the German at the Wanda Metropolitano. That would be an interesting pairing and maybe we can persuade the Argentinean to throw in Saul. That’s Niguez but knowing our luck we’ll end up with Goodman.
England held Brazil to a goalless draw in what was another pleasant game to watch. ‘Pleasant’ is a damningly nice term; we had 30% possession but stifled a much better Brazilian team whose attitude was pure Harlem Globetrotters; they were here to entertain, and dammit, they were going to entertain. Almost worked.
Positives for England this week youngsters gaining experience and two clean sheets. Southgate got carried away and told those who dropped out of his squad there was no guarantee they would win their places back. I was going to make a joke about his nose getting bigger but his gene pool got there first.
Bringing in a back three provided a solid base to build on. Watching the game last night, it was apparent that the players took on board his defensive instruction in a disciplined display. Amazing what happens when the defence does what it’s told.
Was anyone at Arsenal taking note? I doubt it; too busy whinging about Mike Dean refereeing on Saturday.
It Was Bad The First Time
Regular readers know I’m no fan of Dean; the politest I’ve referred to him is as a “preening peacock” but usually, it’s just a resigned Mike ‘bloody’ Dean. He’s had some stinkers as an official in Arsenal matches but I am struggling to think of one game we’ve lost because of him. Chelsea, when Costa conned his assistant, is the closest I can come.
Generally, we lose when Dean is in charge because it is a big game and our record in those matches – with or without him – is crap. I’m all for calling out bad refereeing but never at the expense of using it as a distraction from our own failings. And we have plenty of them in the past decade.
The irony is that it’s made out he is a bane of our life yet he’s only officiated nine games in the past three seasons, with the record being P9 W3 D3 L3. So, he’s a bit of a talisman to be honest. We’re unbeaten in 66.67% of the games although I’m sure his detractors – mainly the uber-positive element of our support – will tell you we’ve only won 33.33% of games. As our cousins from across the pond say, go figure.
Anyway, we’ll worry about his performance if its an issue on Saturday. I’m more concerned with Arsenal and there are less than 80 hours to kick-off, or just three sleeps if you want to get excited.
So I’m getting in the mood…
20th November 1968
3rd May 1971
30th August 1980
Finally, over at Dad’s Jukebox, there’s a new post: Unsung Bands #3: The Armoury Show.