A quick trawl through the back pages sees the assertion that Lucas Torreira will undergo a medical now. It was Wednesday but the hacks realised belatedly that Uruguay face Saudi Arabia and gently shifted the focus of the articles.
I’d still be amazed if he is undergoing a medical; I cannot think of a deal which took place during the tournament nor a head coach who permitted it.
Elsewhere, Crystal Palace are back in for Jack. As I’ve said previously, the only mistake we made is not tying Wilshere down last summer to recoup a fee. If you’re not keen on a player, that’s a footballing decision but for a club which is self-sustaining, we needed to be the sharpest tools in the box in that sense.
What’s done is done, and the hope is that the new management structure will avoid these issues in the future.
Other than that, the transfer talk returned to Stephen N’Zonzi because Sevilla want Marcos Llorente; there is logic to these stories, you see.
Which means, cue fanfare, it’s World Cup time. England play later today with Danny Welbeck hoping to be the first Arsenal player to be part of a winning team in Russia. Elneny, Lichtsteiner, Xhaka, Özil, Monreal, Iwobi; not a win between them although Switzerland probably feel like they won.
Brazil, once again, failed to live up to the hype. If the 2014 squad leant too far toward 1974 in their ethos, this side seemed to be more 1982. Not that good, but as ever, Brazil deceived and there was no flattery about it. Neymar Jr. didn’t impress and once again proved there is more hype about him than substance.
Some rave about him, but the only time I can recall him instantly putting in a ‘big match performance’, is Barcelona’s 6 – 1 win over PSG.
England Expects…Not A Great Deal, Actually
Stephan Lichtsteiner underlined the experience he brings to Arsenal. A yellow card for unceremoniously dumping the over-rated one to the turf. That happened with 31 minutes played; the remaining hour or so saw him give a defensive lesson of anticipation, and tough play without incurring the referee’s wrath. That experience is something we need and a positive sign for Hector to learn from.
Granit Xhaka was quiet, which I think was only to be expected against a superior midfield. He put in his shift, which is more than can be said for Shaqiri, whom Lee Dixon rightly called ‘lazy’.
Germany meanwhile, were overwhelmed by their own inefficiency and Mexico’s lightning counter-attacks. It’s fair to say that the Germans couldn’t have hit a cow’s arsenal with a banjo, aside from one effort which hit the post. Ochoa looked like an upgrade on Ospina, as he dealt with everything Germany threw at him. But you know in the English game we’d be moaning about a lack of height of some deficiency and eyeing a replacement.
Mesut Özil did what Mesut Özil does best: flicked passes here and there, incisive through balls occasionally throw in for variety. It was a very Mesut Özil performance, which is good as he is, of course, Mesut Özil. We’ve seen him play better, we’ve seen him play worse.
England enter the fray tonight, with the weight of expectation on their shoulders. It’s a lighter weight than before although the knives will be out if they don’t beat Tunisia. Make no mistake, those knives will be as sharp as they ever were which will test the new-found chumminess between the squad and the hacks.
Other than that, it’s all quiet on the Arsenal front, so ’til Tomorrow.