A Show Of Strength & Wenger On Doping

dr

The eyes of the world are once more on the football family as the French arrive at Wembley. England expects every man, woman and child will do their duty and show brotherly love to the noisy neighbours. The union flag was rearranged to the Tricolour after Friday night’s tragic events in Paris and I hope that the humanity of the evening shines through.

Who knows what sort of match will transpire. The media speculate that the French players aren’t particularly interested in playing whilst Didier Deschamps acknowledged that it would be a difficult game, but the squad were proud to represent their country this evening. The truth is that it will mean different things to different people and I wouldn’t presume to know how they feel. Deschamps though, will surely have a better idea.

They are infrequent visitors to this part of north London, probably because they haven’t stopped laughing at Geoff Thomas’ appalling effort in 1992.

Our seats that night were almost directly below the camera judging by that clip. To think, George Graham was hell-bent on signing the Crystal Palace midfielder even though I haven’t met anyone who thought it was a good idea at the time.

It is almost irrelevant to see who does and doesn’t play. Hopefully the Arsenal pair of Giroud and Koscielny will get a shortened runout with Deschamps resting them ahead of a busy club calendar. We can live in hope but the expectation is that neither will be spared from a full ninety minutes. Returning to the club fit for the weekend’s trip to West Brom will be a positive from the evening.

Roy Hodgson meanwhile is expected to give Kieran Gibbs ninety minutes, keeping up his match sharpness just in case Arsenal need him. The England manager is looking to lower expectations of his squad, as if that were at all possible. “People need to stay patient. We’re not going to win every game: we’re playing these teams for a reason, to get experience“. That was fairly obvious on Friday in Alicante as England didn’t appear to be playing to win.

Away from the England match, Arsène has been speaking further about doping in football. It seems the most modern of football responses. The Football Association asks for an explanation of his previous comments and he answers via a subscription television channel. Will Greg Dyke appreciate the chosen medium for Wenger’s response? I do hope he sees the humour in it; I wouldn’t expect him to see anything else. Contempt? As the man who gave the world Roland bloody Rat, he’s beyond it.

Wenger made some salient points. How could the testing be expected to be effective if only one or two players are tested after a game. With that small a sample, what chance of catching the three or four transgressors who make a difference to the team performance. Dope for puns, as The Ruts would have it.

It didn’t take long for the moment to be seized where sloppy play by the XI (or X after Giroud’s dismissal) and poor team selection were quickly substituted for Arsenal being beaten by drug-crazed Dinamo players. A loaded question offered the opportunity and Wenger took it with some aplomb:

Do you feel Arsenal were more punished than Zagreb?

Yes of course.

Finding a suitable solution will be hard. Wenger suggested blood tests and examining more players. The reality, as he puts it, “can you have 740 football players at a World Cup and come out with zero alert on any doping? It’s a little bit surprising.”

There is a problem in other sports so it is naïve to believe there isn’t an issue in football. The same view held sway about corruption and that is coming back to bite the game hard on its’ arsenal. Reports this morning suggest that new allegations will surface during an Australian documentary on the Fifa crisis.

It is interesting that he is no longer an advocate of creatine. Building muscles is not compatible with the modern game. “Football is more about mobility, speed of movement, quality of coordination so I don’t think it’s of any use”, he said. It’s a change from his early years at the club and perhaps more of a reflection of how his preferred style of play has evolved over time than any dislike of supplements which aid the players physical development.

Time will tell if Wenger can triumph with style over substance.

’til Tomorrow.

55 thoughts on “A Show Of Strength & Wenger On Doping

  1. Papa Bear says:

    Howdy, new here.

    Interesting arsenal blog to read. Been a gooner for 25 years.

    It’s been a long interlull and can’t wait for the WBA match and going for top spot.

    Cheers.

  2. Papa Bear says:

    News from the pre match:
    The global nature of the game is really important. The match is going to have big global importance. It’s important to show terrorism can’t win. The eyes of the world will be on Wembley. It’s an incredibly sad time. It’s hard for everyone, we have to try and be as respectful as we can. Then there’s obviously a football match, It will be tough for the French players but it’s a chance for them to do their country proud.”

    Nice gesture. I am from overseas gooner wish you all england gooners to watch the game a safe and memorable good day. Peace.

  3. Brevity says:

    Morning YW, Papa Bear,

    I can only agree with the post at 8.35 – a safe evening to everyone at Wembley tonight.
    I hope we can show that our unity with our French friends is strong and very much heartfelt.

  4. Nicky says:

    Rest assured there will be no more terrorism for the time being.
    The misguided fanatics who carry out these cowardly attacks wait until our guard is dropped before acting, NOT when we are in a high state of preparation.
    The problem for world security is that it has to be successful in preventing EVERY act of terrorism, whereas the terrorists have to succeed only once.

  5. HenryB says:

    Well, that’s a fine howdy doody, Mr Yogi ‘shirking my duty’ Warrior.

    Disappear for a day without as much as a ‘by your leave’ and causing worry and stuff for two of your admiring acolytes, and then stroll back with a lazy nonchalance with a very interesting Post in tow, as if that is good enough. No explanation, no apology, no nothing!

    That’s the trouble with youth today – no regard for the sensibilities of others. Harrumph!

    Anyway, glad you are back and writing as well as ever! 😀

  6. Phil says:

    Morning,
    Welcome back YW. Good piece.
    So if they random test only 1-2 players after a game, and it requires 2 positive tests for a team to lose points, the chances are extremely high, of points never being lost.
    I have become pretty immune to administrative incompetence in football.

  7. C says:

    Well that was quite a read and certainly gets you thinking.

    Funny you mention creatine, it was one fo the few supplements that were banned when I was in school and one of the “supplement types” (that’s what the high school Admins and what not grouped it as) that we were tested for and quite a few were popped for it; who would of thought that whats good for Arsene and Arsenal is punishable here in some States.

  8. C says:

    @Henry

    I agree, the youth of today! 😉

    O and not to jump ship, but a quality and interesting post is good enough for me; your on your own on that one!…………..But the rest I agree with

  9. C says:

    @Nicky

    Wasn’t there bombings in Syria and Lebanon either the day of or the day after the Paris attacks?

  10. Nicky says:

    @C,
    I’m afraid there are bombings and shellings in Syria and Lebanon every day. In the scheme of things they don’t seem to count. They are two sad countries.

  11. C says:

    @nicky

    Very true, the shame is that all to often they get swept aside as “everyday life”.

  12. C says:

    Here in the States, players are going down all the time for doping though. Baseball they hand out massive suspensions and fines, futbol when you consider you lose 1/4 of the season that’s pretty huge and basketball not as much but those few instances where it has happened the punishment has been swift and harsh.

    Points lost is huge for a team, but what are the punishments for the individual player?

  13. Brevity says:

    Phil,

    Yeah, it’s almost as if they don’t really want to catch anyone isn’t it.
    Still, there’s regular, thorough checks so it certainly looks like something is being done 🙂

  14. Karim says:

    The more I read this blog the respect I have for it,special mention for Nicky and c. Come on Arsenal

  15. Phil says:

    Karim,
    Lots of experience and youthful exuberance in those 2!

  16. Phil says:

    Brevity,
    It looks more like a PR exercise than actually achieving much.

  17. Phil says:

    I suppose I could give them the benefit of the doubt.
    I just don’t want to.

  18. HenryB says:

    I am really surprised that Mitchell Johnson has retired from International cricket.

    A terrific talent and yet from an England fan’s point of view he was for a time a great figure of fun, and yet he came thru it and took ample.

    One of my favourite players and I will miss watching him.

  19. C says:

    @Phil

    I take it I’m the experience 😉

  20. HenryB says:

    ample = ample revenge.

    But you all knew that. :-0

  21. Phil says:

    C,
    I thought WADA had clear penalties for doping. Minimum 2 years.
    However if a sporting body , eg NFL doesn’t sign up to comply, then maybe they can impose their own unsatisfactory penalty.
    Not 100% sure of my facts here, but why let that stop me.

  22. Nicky says:

    @C,
    Re doping ,i.e. for the enhancement of individual ability, I sometimes wonder whether the powers that be should allow these drugs to be used.
    If so, all sportsmen and women would decide what supplements would aid their performance and probably all would take them .
    I mean, I presume we’re not talking about the hard stuff here, like heroin and cocaine?
    Am I talking dangerous rubbish?

  23. Brevity says:

    Phil,

    Yes, that’s exactly what I meant, it’s just PR. Seen to be doing something in other words. Usual bury your heads in the sand and hope for the best approach.
    Not sure exactly where I stand on the issue though as I tend to think it’s not a battle that can actually be won and if the aim is a level playing field then that can’t be achieved as people will always find a way around any testing system.
    Is not checking feasible as an approach? Not sure but to me it’s either that or check everyone and accept people will find ways to beat the system.

  24. HenryB says:

    It’s not necessarily dangerous, Nicky, but rather self defeating – who could be assed to watch sport played by drugged up zombies?

    Anything like that, including football, and I would definitely be included out.

  25. C says:

    @Phil

    I’m not sure how the WADA affects the NFL, MLB and NBA, but they seem to give out their own penalties. For instance, in MLB the 1st offense is 80 games (roughly half the season), 2nd is 162 (the entire season including postseason) and the 3rd is a lifetime ban. Whlie in the NFL you get 4 matches for the first time and then after that I think its 6 matches and then any after that is left in the hands of the commissioner.

    I just did a bit of research and apparently MLB, NFL and NHL have had a long standing feud with WADA due to the difference in policies.

  26. C says:

    @Nicky

    I think you are talking dangerous because of the advancements in technology and drugs, it would tarnish the game but more importantly how and where would the line be drawn. If you look now the boundaries are already being pushed and if it was allowed, there would be no boundary that wouldn’t be pushed.

    Also you have to think about how it would affect the youth (from grade school – college/university). That’s a REALLY dangerous line to play with my friend.

  27. C says:

    @Nicky

    But then again, you have seen much more than I.

  28. Phil says:

    Agree Henry.
    Fast, combative, competitive cricketer.
    It appears the loss of Philip Hughes affected him, coupled with the knowledge he was losing some pace.( according to the Aussie press)
    And he finishes on his home ground.
    A good way to end a great career.

  29. Phil says:

    I am a rabid lover of sport.
    But I too, would have zero interest if drug taking for all was the new norm.
    How do you applaud courage, when someone is juiced up? How do you respect someone working their arse off when they aren’t doing it on their own?
    How can you admire falsely gained success?
    They may as well walk into the middle of the ground and toss a coin to decide the winner.

  30. Phil says:

    C,
    What a surprise.
    Perhaps it’s because the players union are quite strong in those leagues ?
    4 games for cheating is a joke.

  31. Phil says:

    Brevity,
    I would rather the sports who are wealthy spend more money on testing, testing more people more often.
    And big penalties for those caught. Meaning lifetime bans for the sportsperson, and lifetime disqualification for any Medicos involved. And financial penalties as well.
    Need to ensure the punishment exceeds the crime.

  32. C says:

    @Phil

    The 4 games is a joke but is relative to 1/4 their season when you consider they only play 16 games not including the playoffs.
    But yes, the player’s unions there are extremely strong and more than European futbol, its a players driven leagues as opposed to clubs being the star.

  33. consolsbob says:

    Two more years! Two more years! Two……..

  34. C says:

    @Bob

    Are you speaking about Arsene? If you are, just remember last 2 times we thought that, he signed a contract extending his stay.

  35. Nicky says:

    @Henry & Phil,
    Very surprised to hear the Mitchell Johnson news.
    He always reminded me a bit of Thompson (Lilley’s partner). Both looked “chuckers” to me although they obviously were not.
    Quite a few English batsmen will breathe a sigh of relief. 😉

  36. Phil says:

    I was trying to zip up a jacket today and ran into problems.
    After abusing the zip, I laughed when I realised I had ‘ done a Wenger’

  37. Phil says:

    Nicky,
    I think the only chucking Thommo would have done, would be after destroying an esky full of beer whilst fishing.

  38. consolsbob says:

    Talk of an offered next ensign of 2 years, C.

  39. C says:

    So the Germany match was cancelled because there was an ambulance rigged with a bunch of explosives found outside the stadium?

    What the fuck is going on?

  40. Wavey says:

    Evening

    Finally getting things sorted having moved house two weeks ago. Unfortunately I then lost my job a week after I moved.

    I haven’t kept up to speed on ACLF in the last couple of weeks, but will try to catch up in the next few days.

    What is the situation on injured players who were meant to be returning after the internationals? Can we expect Walcott and Ox to be available for the trip to West Brom at the weekend?

  41. C says:

    @wavey

    Glad you finally are settled, sorry aboyt your job though mate.

    Theo is on track for late november early december return fit. Ox not sure. Jack says Christmas but not rushing it. Ramsey haven’t heard anything.

  42. C says:

    O yea and Sanchez has picked up a calf knock but he personally said he’s fine but we all know that.

  43. Nicky says:

    @C,
    As someone who was of the generation that once believed marijuana was the only drug and American jazz musicians were the only users, maybe a blind eye to the free use of ANY substance to enhance performance in sport, is OTT.
    I shall now keep schtummmm. 😉

  44. C says:

    @Nicky

    I don’t mind weed, its used freely and is increasingly more legal, its the other drugs I I don’t agree with using.

  45. Wavey says:

    Thanks C and thanks for the update. So the return dates have all stretched a bit then. No surprise there really. All a little frustrating. At least it’s only West Brom at the weekend.

    Good performance from England on a very difficult night.

    The terrorists managed to make an impact tonight as well with the threat that they might do something.

  46. Wavey says:

    Cheers Cbob. Already got irons in the fire. You don’t last 30 years without knowing a few people.

  47. C says:

    @wavey

    No problem mate. Well Theo coming back sooner is good but Ox and Ramsey probably not, won’t know for sure until Arsene’s presser.

    Things are progressively getting worst with the terrorist, will be interesting potentially next summer.

  48. Brevity says:

    Phil,

    It’s one way to go with a lifetime ban.
    Not sure that’s fair (or legally doable in the EU) in football though or most team sports as players are cheating all the time.

  49. Foetry says:

    I think no matter how you slice it, the challenge is not where you draw a line when it comes to doping and it is how you get it done. It is a bit like espionage and counter_espionage really. Science is being used by people on both sides of the fence and you sense that not much support is being given to the ones obviously working to keep the game clean.
    On another note glad to see club football back again for a good few months. Hopefully by the next interlull we would be still right up there competing on 3 fronts (long shot for the CL I know) but hey we live in hope.

    As I type just heard on the news that the Legendary Jonas Lomu has died. I used to say 20 yrs ago that he was the Ronaldo of Rugby. Sad indeed!RIP Big man!

  50. Highbury says:

    Not to sound insensitive or anything, but the only way the French national team players can really start to come to terms with what happened in their country is for them to get out of Clairefontaine and go back to their respective clubs. The atmosphere will be different and only then can they, hopefully, start to process this tragedy that has just unfolded.

    Kudos to the ACLFers for not even commenting on the game last night, proving yet again that for all the difference of opinion we might have on the club we all deeply love, at times there are far more important issues in life. Real class.

  51. Papa Bear says:

    It’s worrying what happened lately with German vs Holland match cancelled due to the bomb threat. Wish all nations in unity and same intention by quickly address to eliminate this evil existence.

    Anyway related news but out of topic interested me from the daily mail and metro as I quote:
    “Arsenal legend Martin Keown blames Jack Wilshere’s injury problems on Arsenal’s pitches.”
    “Martin Keown believes that Jack Wilshere has struggled for injuries due to playing on Arsenal’s pitches.
    The former England and Gunners star played on the new style of surface and towards the end of his career could notice the problems.And he believes that Wilshere is suffering similar issues.
    One thing Wenger likes to do is simulate the matchday pitch on the training ground – when I was there they had Desso pitches in the training ground, as well as the stadium,’ Keown told the Daily Mail.
    These are grass and artificial grass hybrids and are quite hard surfaces, and by the end of my career I could feel every impact in my joints. Imagine training on that pitch every day. Wishere has been playing on it since he joined the club as a young child.”

    This is kinda a debatable issue IMO.
    What do you think, guys? Any different opinion?

  52. HenryB says:

    Yogi,

    Just thought I would pop on and give you an alarm check – Wake up – Get up – there is a Post to be written, and proof reading to be attended to, and a BOOM to be initiated.

    That reminds me – Damon has been neglecting his duties in that respect – where is ACLF without the starting gun of a morning? 🙂

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