Eventually, I will get a piece down on paper. Yeah, smart-arse, I left out the “worth reading” bit.
Real Madrid cast a big shadow over the club at the moment, with this evening’s match between the ‘legends’ of each club. David O’Leary can at least say he’s managed Arsenal now; it may not be what he quite envisaged, but it’s damn sight nearer than any of us will get.
That would be a story for the public bar: “The day I told Bobby Pires he had to snap into the tackle and now Guti won’t have any more kids…”
Charity matches remain popular. You don’t play games at the Bernabeu and Emirates where 232 people, 4 Labradors, and a whippet are going to turn up. That thousands will is an interesting psychological exercise; are we consciously or otherwise reliving a glorious past or do we, despite protestations to the contrary, still cling to those players as some kind of umbilical cord to our youth?
I don’t know and I don’t care either. I, for one, shall be logging into the official site later on to watch the ageing players display more technique and ability now that I could in my prime. I know, I know; my prime is yet to come is what you’re thinking. If that’s the case, it’s taking its’ own sweet time in arriving.
And I’m well aware that the term ‘legend’ is loosely applied to some of these players but frankly when I look at the current squad, I can see one legend in the making and others who will just turn up because they’ve been asked. In the same as ‘world-class’ is bandied around too easily, so too is ‘Arsenal legend’.
If you wondering who the one is, it is probably Ramsey for two Cup-winning goals.
He Zigged and Zagged
There’s the Arsenal of now, of course. Yesterday, Nigeria came to Wembley and we got to see what the fuss was about regarding the kit. To be honest, had Puma designed that for Arsenal, it would be more agreeable than the trash we’re being served up with next season’s rags.
It was very much a game of two halves. Promising stuff from England in the first half and Nigeria showed what the fuss was about in the second half. The change in formation neutralised Southgate’s formation to some extent although had England’s passing been better the scoreline might have been more emphatic.
Would that he could finish like that for us on a regular basis. I don’t think he would be questioned if he could. Confidence is definitely a key issue with him and like all young players, he plateaued. With Arsenal, as the team struggled he lacked the experience to rise above the collective and like many, his form dipped.
Unai Emery seems to have the energy and overt enthusiasm that the younger players in the squad ought to respond to. I don’t doubt for one minute Arsène lived for football and loves the training aspect of management, but I can’t imagine him being infectiously energetic in how he transmitted his ideas. I don’t doubt the players liked training under him, and that he enjoyed training them.
However, Emery is a more demonstrative man and in an atmosphere where players know they must respond to find themselves in his thoughts for the season ahead.
Iwobi is just one of the players needing to respond. The others are those who aren’t as far down the first-team road, the ones labelled the future. Let’s not forget, that’s supposedly one of Emery’s abilities which sold the Recruitment Team on him.
You Need Hands…
And is also forced on him by the ‘restricted’ budget he’s working with.
That’s not stopping all the talk about Dembele, N’Zonzi, and Oblak whose combined fees are more than the amortised transfer budget we hold. I’d love us to sign those three, but I don’t think we’ll even sign the Sevilla player Emery knows so well.
We might, but the talk is fuelling a sense that something is happening at the club and that’s no bad thing. It’s no different than previous years; it’s June and we haven’t announced any deals. The difference is there are new hands at the tiller.
On which note, Real Madrid are, according to the latest scurrilous reports, set to appoint Arsène as their new coach. Nice to see them giving other teams a chance in the Champions League…