Soul, Southampton & Salvation

Soulless concrete bowl. It’s a description that those of a certain age proffer when talking about modern football stadia. We, for I am of that age, remember the atmosphere which used to be generated. In the old days, it was like Joy Division’s song of the same name. Quiet and brooding, giving way to a terrace orchestra.

Football now wants the atmosphere to be like Russ Abbott’s song; jolly, laughing, light-hearted. Entertainment. It remains a surprise that no-one yet plays at the Crinkly Bottom stadium but it is coming, you sense.

That’s not to say I don’t like modern stadia, simply that new is not always better. The comfort provided comes with a trade-off which may yet evolve into a safe standing area. Eyes are on Celtic this year to see how that works but the Premier League clubs will come under immense pressure to introduce those areas if it works.

It’s a thought for another day. The reason I wandered briefly down that route was the billing and cooing in the back pages over the new stand at Anfield. What a cock-up. On its own, it looks architecturally fine and I’m sure is jolly nice inside. Comfortable too.

But my godfathers, have they made a complete pig’s ear of redesigning Anfield. Four stands, none which are the same height. There will be some scientific reason for it, I’m sure. The ‘optimum air circulation for the pitch’ argument is wheeled out when it’s needed to disguise the ‘lack of a cohesive plan’ truth.

Still, it’s Liverpool and another myth to add to the many which pervade English football.

And English football is back this weekend. The world’s gaze is to the north west and the Mancunian derby – which I initially typed as the ‘Manchurian derby’ and that somehow seems an appropriate label for it – whilst we look at north London. Which I’m relieved to do.

It’s the beginning of the season proper. The three games so far, a short burst of footballing activity seem almost pointless – and very nearly were after the opening two matches – but the real business begins. Four Premier League matches, two Champions League and a League Cup tie. Of them, two are difficult; the rest we have to be winning for a chance of a top four finish, cup success or progress in the Champions League to the usual Round of Sixteen exit.

Southampton, Hull City and Burnley are games we have to be winning if a top four finish is to be achieved. It’s not much of an aspiration for this season but I think it’s the best we can hope for. And I can’t see why we won’t win the games either. The latter two will be difficult to break down as they have shown in their games so far this season and both being at home will fancy their chances of a point or more.

But eyes are inevitably drawn to Paris next week and Chelsea in a fortnight’s time. They are the big games this month, they are the matches which will give us an indication of where we stand by comparison to peers and they might argue, betters.

Southampton tomorrow is the testing ground. Mustafi and Perez, the newbies, are expected to début, the former from kick-off, the latter as a substitute although I wonder if Arsène is tempted to rest Alexis following his travelling this week, using our latest Spanish addition as a wide forward on the left?

The squad is what it is now. Alex Iwobi is fit again, Aaron Ramsey apparently not so good at present; Arsène will update shortly on those but for once, we’re at a point where the XI looks strong, without square pegs filling in the round holes brought about by injury.

It’s now about hitting the ground running, individually and collectively, and gathering points quickly. We’re looking to Mustafi and Koscielny for defensive solutions. To build their partnership quickly. That’s not to discount Rob Holding’s contribution but £35m or whatever demands inclusion into the team, certainly in most minds and I’m no different in that sense.

But most of all, I’m happy that the interminable dullness of the international break is over. I like competitive international football but I’m fatigued by it. Euro 2016 ended just two months ago and already we’ve had another fortnight of World Cup qualifiers. It’s something the football calendar needs to reconsider; a break this early in the season isn’t ideal and when the competitions are shifted for Qatar in 2022, it’s the chance to re-organise everything to find a solution which keeps most the people happy, most of the time.

’til Tomorrow.

81 thoughts on “Soul, Southampton & Salvation

  1. Orson Kaert says:

    Six games in eighteen days will test the strength and resilience of our squad and will be a big indicator of what to expect for the rest of the season.

    Isn’t there another international break in October? I can’t wait!

  2. Orson Kaert says:

    Thanks for the post Yogi, I say bring back the Metropolitan Police Band. Watching them parade up and down the pitch playing marching tunes behind their Drum Major was sometimes the only highpoint of some pretty dismal visits to Highbury in the fifties.

  3. Papa Bear says:

    Morning Yogi Bear.

    Line up predictions for Soton:

    Cech

    Bell Mustafi Kos Nacho

    Santi Xhaka

    Theo Ozil Ox

    Sanchez

    *Perez might go at second half.

  4. C says:

    Good stuff Yogi!

    I have to admit, you almost lost me when you got to talking about Joy somebody and Russ somebody, but I kept reading. 😉

  5. C says:

    For the first time in quite some time we have at least depth, the quality remains to be seen but depth we have. The next stretch of matches will test that but Southampton is the immediate test.

    More than anything there seems to be a shift in the roster as a whole. Iwobi favored to Ox at the start of the season prior to his injury; say what you want but Ramsey is in a battle with Elneny for that other box-to-box role but also in a battle with Santi for who is Ozil’s backup. Giroud in a battle with presumably Perez and Sanchez(give me thr latter two over thr former). Theo isn’t safe either, though if he continues as he had for Liverpool and Watford he will be fine, but falter and could find himself enjoying the comfy subs bench.

    I would start Perez but I seem to be in the minority.

  6. Buckagh says:

    Morning all, and thank you YW for interesting posts during the yawn that is international football,
    A Liverpool fan and season ticket holder of 30 plus years tells me that him and his mates are now seated all around new stand, not together they complained about it, were told luck of the draw

  7. Wavey says:

    Yep, another international break at the start of October.

    It’s definitely good news to see some squad depth and not to be too concerned that any replacement is playing out of position, or has been given a baptism of fire. We all have our views about the quality of individual players, but it must now be about getting them to play as an effective unit. We’ve seen in the past that players who you would simply regard as solid can flourish if the organisation is top notch.

  8. Jonny says:

    Monkey spunk.

    I just saw the twatting result.

    Least it’s good. BUT.

  9. C says:

    Jonny,

    Take it your talking about the NFL game?!?!

    It was ugly and all teh talk about safety, well that lasted until the the opening whistle…early days.

  10. C says:

    Jonny,

    Yea well unfortunately your QB was average, your RB was really good (had him on my fantasy team, almost benched him but he came good for me) but your defense played good and the refs forgot to protect anybody.

    Well maybe The Arsenal will be more entertaining and offer a better result.

  11. Jonny says:

    Which RB – last season they shared yardage pretty well and all showed flashes?

  12. Jonny says:

    Lets face it a running game and a defence that has a title is always a good start. 😉

  13. Limestonegunner says:

    Our season finally begins. Very curious to see the lineup, how Perez might be used, and what the midfield will look like.

  14. Jonny says:

    Not Steel Curtain territory but, last season, the best I have seen since Ditka’s bears.

    Baltimore fans can throw toys. Truth.

  15. C says:

    Jonny,

    CJ Anderson.

    O yea, agree about the Ravens, they can go fuck themselves!

  16. C says:

    Limestonegunner,

    Can’t see the midfield changing. I think if anything it will be Elneny or Le Coq in for Santi to give him a rest.

  17. Jonny says:

    TBH, I can’t see Elneny replacing CJ Andersen.

  18. Two Owls says:

    The Whitecaps are an absolute fruit bowel this year. Anticipate a more entertaining season for Arsenal. Otherwise, I like the look of the new QB for the Broncos. Thinks quickly in the pocket and throws darts.

  19. Jonny says:

    eeeeew Superbowel.

    Cherry Rice and Joe Sultana

  20. C says:

    Jonny,

    Nope but I wouldn’t mind seeing Sanchez on the American football field, he’d be a nightmare.

  21. HenryB says:

    A very good football Post, Yogi.

    Actually, who or what is Joy Division?

    As regards the desire for standing areas, isn’t it only within the purview of some government minister or other to allow a change in regulations? I am pretty sure the Premier League authorities cannot introduce such a scheme unilaterally, can they?

  22. C says:

    Can somebody tell me who Joy Division and Russ Abbott are; I feel like its a generational thing and well I’m not from that generation.

  23. HenryB says:

    I heard something that I found surprising, only in so much as it appeared to fall into the ‘mind your own business’ category, when a reporter questioned Wenger about the future of our Jack.

    Without any of the occasional coyness surrounding such a question and answer session, AW said, in effect, that he hoped that when Jack returned from his escapades with Bournemouth that he hoped he would play for Arsenal for the ret of his career.

    I guess that underlining such a sentiment there was the unstated caveat that JW would have to have overcome his injury demons.

    Pleased me to hear it anyway. 😀

  24. andy1886 says:

    C,

    Joy Division were a late 70’s early 80’s band who went on to become New Order (another band that you probably have never heard of although they were commercially more successful). They were named after Nazi sex slaves used at concentration camps I believe.

    Russ Abbott was a British comedian, albeit a rather cheesey one. Funnily enough he also had a hit record, an appalling effort that you really would not want to hear, so if you want to listen to one of them I would go with the former not the latter….

  25. C says:

    andy1886,

    Yup never heard of any of them but thanks for the quick run down. Not sure either is my cup of tea but then again I wouldn’t know until I heard them.

    So a band and a cheesy comedian, yup wouldn’t have ever gotten hose references let alone how they related to today’s post.

  26. YW says:

    C

    I’ve uploaded videos to this morning’s post so you can see for yourself.

  27. Wailesy says:

    Nice one Yogi.

    ” love… Love will tear us apart again”
    Surely you lads have heard that number over the radio in the last 4 decades!
    Sorry to single you out Henry B but I’m shocked you haven’t heard of Joy Divison?

  28. Jonny says:

    Imagine not knowing Joy Division. I don’t know how you people live with yourselves.

  29. Jonny says:

    Mind you, that was Ian Curtis’s problem too.

    You’ve all heard this right?

  30. andy1886 says:

    Thanks YW, for reviving the horror of RA’s crime against music.

    I suspect the more rabid Wenger acolytes would prefer New Order’s “True Faith” though 😉

  31. Jonny says:

    So much to say about that game, C.

    Our O line is looking formidable. CJ’s short length acceleration is immense, he hits the scrimmage line travelling and has the perfect compact RB build plus a few moves. He is good to watch.

    He benefited from some great work in front of him.

    The decisions went against Carolina not least the atrocious lack of punishment on Stewart. Impossible to understand why that was not punished to the fullest extent.

    I’ll take it, as an aside I could watch Miller and Thomas all day.

    Is Newton OK?

  32. Raven says:

    In 2007 a decudrama was made about Joy Division. Its really worth a go if you havent seen it, since it gives a pretty good portrait of the whole society during that time. Close to the end of Punk and start to middle of the New Age (credit to D Bowie for that catagorization) music.

  33. Jonny says:

    YW -do you recall this? Relevant bit at c44s. Ouch.

    The rest of you – get The Day Today in your lives – subversive British comedy at it’s best. All episodes on YT.

  34. HenryB says:

    Wailesy:
    Nice one Yogi.

    ” love… Love will tear us apart again”
    Surely you lads have heard that number over the radio in the last 4 decades!
    Sorry to single you out Henry B but I’m shocked you haven’t heard of Joy Divison

    Don’t worry about naming me, as it has nothing to do with me, Wailsey, only C seems to have asked the question! 🙂

    But … no never heard the name, and never heard the music either – and as for ‘New Order’ I have only heard about the Nazi New Order which was their idea of a geo-political system from the 1930s and 40s — which ties in with what Andy said above I suppose.

  35. Jonny says:

    Out of interest how young are you Henrycat?

  36. andy1886 says:

    Raven,

    “Control” is also supposed to be a good film – one that I keep meaning to watch but have so far not managed to do so.

  37. Jonny says:

    FYI – Rob Gretton, the band’s manager for over twenty years, is credited for having found the name “New Order” in an article in The Guardian entitled “The People’s New Order of Kampuchea”. The band adopted this name, despite its previous use for former Stooge Ron Asheton’s band The New Order. The group states that the name New Order (as was also the case with “Joy Division”) does not draw a direct line to Nazism or Fascism.

  38. Raven says:

    On a good day Arsenal can beat any team in the PL, but they can equally also drop points to every team in the PL when they dont run on all cylinders. The mental fragility is what scars me the most about Arsenal these years.
    Hopefully Xhaka and Mustafi can put some much needed mental strenght into the team. Holding is probably to young and I dont know enough about Perez so I am counting on the other 2

  39. Raven says:

    andy1886,

    Its a very good movie. It mostly focusses on Ian Curtis and his somewhat chaotic life.

  40. Jonny says:

    It’s virtually impossible to love dance music and not give deference to Blue Monday.

    Game changer in the history of music.

  41. Limestonegunner says:

    Jonny, I was just about to paste a link to that video. Thought of checking first and saw your comment.

    C, that’s all you need to know to get a feel for Joy Division’s importance.

  42. Limestonegunner says:

    As far as midfield, C, we’ve had three different pairings so I think things might still be sorting themselves. But you are probably right that the Watford success of Caz and Xhaka argues for their continuation. I wonder though with PSG on Tue if there are considerations that affect the midfield composition tactically etc… Ramsey will be back by then and Iwobi available too on Saturday.

    PSG look a bit vulnerable post Zlatan. We should take it to them and top the group.

  43. Jonny says:

    Everyone should check my 2.38 – especially you, Limestar.

  44. Limestonegunner says:

    Who hasn’t danced somewhere sometime to Blue Monday? Raise your hands.

    Jonny, will do that. Looks interesting.

  45. Limestonegunner says:

    Really enjoyed that, Jonny. Brilliant stuff. Thanks!

  46. Jonny says:

    All episodes are on Youtube, I think.
    30 mins each.

  47. C says:

    Jonny,

    Newton is okay but thr Panthers coaches and players have been quite vocal about the head shots he took.

    I really like Anderson at RB behind your quality O line. I do wonder how your QB is going to be but if he is servicable then you all have quite a good season infront of you.

    The refs are poor and I think both ways they were borderline horrific but thats refs for you.

  48. C says:

    Limestonegunner,

    I wouldn’t mind the more defensive Elneny or Le Coq sitting beside Xhaka against PSG with Santi playing against Southampton. I tend to be of the mind Iwobi will be used more on flanks. Ramsey will be interesting because is where is he going to play, he won’t be favored over Santi and if we go defensive we have Elneny and Le Coq next to Xhaka. Interesting times in midfield for that one spot.

  49. C says:

    Arsene says he sees Perez centrally, I think we will see more Perez/Sanchez/and one of Theo, Iwobi or Ox on the RW than some think or want to see.

  50. Ras says:

    HenryB,

    Good post YW – Now we can get back to football.

    Henry I saw your reply to my previous question about your wonderful piece of prose the other week.

    You cannot be serious in not knowing who Joy Division are? A Famous Mancunian Band of the 80s. A Club ( The Hacienda) that has long since been flattened and new apartments built was the Mecca for a generation.

  51. nicky says:

    @Andy 1886,
    I was brought up on Goodman, Basie and the QHCF. I still listen to their traditional music. How many of the so-called pop stars who have followed these jazz legends are still listened to today? Different age groups seem to change with the years yet we jazz lovers remain constant with the oldies. 😉

  52. Jonny says:

    If only we could identify exactly what it is about jazz fans that makes them sound so elitist?

    Jazz is alive and well and excitingly it threads its tendrils through a myriad of other styles.

    It’s great stuff (some) but it never sits still – if you are only listening to jazz from your youth then you’re a charlatan.

    🙂

  53. nicky says:

    @ Jonny,
    I don’t think that’s fair. “Someone who claims expertise that he does not have”.
    That’s not me.
    What IS me though is a guy who has remained constant with the music he heard and enjoyed in his youth.
    It’s interesting that over the past 60 or 70 years or so, what I call the pop scene has continually changed. Bands and groups have come and gone along with the public’s fleeting enthusiasm.
    I mean, most youngsters do not listen to the Beatles now, yet jazz enthusiasts still revere the sounds of traditional jazz of the 30’s and 40’s. Why should that be? 😉

  54. Spy says:

    To me, Jazz is an offshoot of blues, but not to be devalued in any way, it’s outside of the actual song must be admired, it takes music to an unstructured level not seen in other Genres

  55. Jonny says:

    Sorry Nick just sounded a bit snobby and dangerously generalistic.
    First we must acknowledge that people like us are outliers – the ones who care about music very deeply.
    Most people I know grew up listening to 80’s music – remaining constant with that is something all of my ilk have done but it is slim pickings, to say the least.
    My feeling is that the many people I know who are music obsessives ALL retain the affection for where they started. I would admit that the sheer exponentially swelling weight of new music and it’s ease of access has resulted in music-heads listening less to albums of yesterday and yesteryear.
    In fact less to albums full-stop (which saddens me).
    For hoi polloi, I would say the reverse of what you say is true – most of my peers still listen to the music they did when they were teenagers/young twenties. They are glued to it and had they been 15 years older they would be glued to the Beatles instead of Radiohead.
    Check YW’s playlist for nostalgic stasis.
    I think most are more likely to work backwards than forwards too – many people I know revere the Beatles, Led Zep, Fleetwood Mac etc in spite of the fact they never really knew them properly.
    In short, music heads like you are, these days, remarkably similar in their reverence for the classics of their formative years.
    Furthermore, I contest that every genre has its few geniuses. Jazz has changed as dramatically as anything and I fancy must also be littered with many forgettable also-rans.
    Not a fraction as many as pop, but that does not diminish the exemplars of their field – Prince, Pulp, Beatles, Queen etc.
    I love the fact you have held steadfast but my contention is that, in that, you are not as rare an animal as you think.

  56. andy1886 says:

    nicky,

    I’m not really into jazz Nicky, although I’m learning to drum and I play a little of everything. That said if I do listen to it I prefer old school, some of the more modern stuff where the band seem to go off on some weird direction devoid of any structure or rhythm I find irritating and indulgent. But that’s just me.

    And Jonny and I really don’t get on with pianos…. 😉

  57. andy1886 says:

    Spy,

    And that’s what bugs me, I like structure in music. But there are many talented jazz musicians, just not really my thing.

  58. Jonny says:

    Andy and Jonny’s postmodern approach to the piano is controversial and carelessly challenging of both the orthodoxy and the idea of music itself.
    In homage to their football team, they play the piano lid as a single piece of percussive vandalism and then scarper. The piece is only performed once and only in a pub so drowned with chatter it can never even be heard.
    When questioned about the irony of this the artists maintained it was more to do with not getting caught. Are they unhinged or was that just the lid?
    A Turner prize surely awaits.

  59. Spy says:

    George Benson is probably the best jazz artist alive today, I know he ls a cross over,
    But jazz, he is the real deal

  60. andy1886 says:

    Jonny,

    It’s just a shame I forgot the Damien Hirst offal off cuts to complete the job Jonny. Sound and vision. A large doner and chilli sauce just wouldn’t have done it justice.

    Where do we go next? A tussle with a tuba perhaps?

  61. C says:

    Is the Arsenal fallen so far in some minds that the musical selection is more entertaining?

  62. andy1886 says:

    C,

    It’s looking that way 😉

    I agree totally with YW that football has been turned into just another form of throwaway entertainment rather than an essential part of life as it was two or three decades ago. Likewise music was a huge part of many people’s lives back then too. I remember when I could tell you both the league positions of the top two divisions, the first XI of all the top sides, plus the top 40 singles chart positions and album chart top twenty.

    I often think that that part of my brain would have been better employed concentrating on my school work, but at the time this was essential information for any kid.

  63. C says:

    andy1886,

    Well I’ll carry the torch, I don’t mind. I get the entertainment and take as much money from their supporters; but I do still think that futbol is apart of some lives. I do wonder though if part of the reason why might be the current state of Arsenal as a whole.

    Would you older lot get more excited if things were different: not such a division between the supporters, a change in management or even a change in style of management, etc.?

  64. andy1886 says:

    C,

    The thing is, for me, and a lot of others, football was the thing that was part of living. We went to school, went to work, and that was fine but then we left the responsibilities and the stuff we had to do to survive and went along to be part of something that we chose to belong to, something that was ours. Now football has become another form of business, we get all the corporate speak and marketing bullshit that we used to escape from on a Saturday afternoon. It feels like just another way to try and part us from as much of our cash as possible. It’s like the people we worked for weren’t happy with taking 50% of our lives, they had to move in and try and take another large portion of it.

    So yes I’d like a change in management, but mostly because we are being led by a corporate minion that seems to be more interested in helping Stan line his pockets than doing everything he can to win trophies. That may not be true, but that’s how it feels. But that wouldn’t be enough, it’d be a small step and ultimately I would like to see the billionaire buyers and corporations get bored with their playthings and look for new toys leaving us fans to go back to enjoying the game without all the economics and sky-style razzmatazz nonsense that cheapens it all.

  65. Wavey says:

    Spy,

    You might well be right. I think Marvellous by the Lighting Seeds has an extended intro as well, but I think it’s only on the album track as the single seems to cut it short.

  66. Wavey says:

    andy1886,

    Football was much more a part of kids’ lives as a pass time as well. We kicked a ball around when ever we got the opportunity. On arriving at school every day we would start up a game of football with a tennis ball and at weekends we were down the park.
    I sound like a Hovis advert.

  67. HenryB says:

    Orson,

    It seems sad, that, back in your day, nostalgia wasn’t what it used to be, but then it never was. 😀

  68. HenryB says:

    Andy,

    I understand your lament about how things have changed from having a chance to vent and let your hair down watching football at very little cost.

    However, altho you say you would want a change of [Arsenal?] management to change that, I think you know that like so many things in life change is inevitable and irreversible. But it is not Arsenal or Stan the Man who is the prime instigator.

    The whole world has gone mad – and football has gone from being a reflection of the community in which it was played with players being paid a pittance, now we have other Countries, for goodness sake, taking over management of football clubs with Qatar, and Abu Dhabi leading the way, then the oligarchs of Russia and the US jumping in feet first, and now that bastion of communism, China, buying up clubs and starting to buy football infrastructure via expensive players to make the Chinese leagues the biggest and best in the world.

    So it is not just one or two clubs that are responsible, it is much bigger than that, and it will carry on changing. that’s life.

    Too much at this time of day? I am going to support my local marble championship! 😀

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