The sun is shining, The Charlatans new lp, Different Days, is released today – reviewed at Dad’s Jukebox this morning – and the FA Cup final is tomorrow. What’s not to like about life?
David Luiz, for one. It’s a sign of ever-growing detachment from reality which haunts football. The poor lamb took a pay cut which means he now earns in a week a sum which takes the average wage-earner five years to make, instead of a decade.
Arsenal reportedly offered Alexis £270k per week with more talks planned. Jesus wept. I understand that there’s an element of haggling over terms. After this season’s collapse, he’s got genuine and well-founded concerns to address before signing a new deal.
Two hundred and seventy thousand pounds each week? My reaction to it? Think Steve McQueen and the news that everyone was leaving via the tunnels.
You can’t be blasé about it. The flippant comment, usually readily at hand, is missing this morning. I don’t know why either; I’ve always wanted the club to pay top dollar to the players who deserve it.
Not the Theo Walcott’s who perform well for a season and a half before his contract ends, before sinking into a mire of poor form and injuries. Not them but the ones who consistently make a difference.
I wonder how George Graham would manage today. It was his way or the highway; players took what they were told to take or else found themselves in the stiffs if they kicked off. No issue with the boss being highest paid, as long as there is accountability
The word at the time was that the board – Dein in particular – liked the trophy but not the football, among other things. Arsène remains untouchable, no matter the changes in managerial structure.
I Realised Then That The Wages Of Sin…
But for the next thirty-six or so hours, these are issues to push to one side. T FA Cup final is all that matters; nothing more, nothing less.
The major concern is Shkodran Mustafi’s fitness; Arsène probably knows if he is going to be available for selection or if a different plan is needed. It’s got to be the comfort blanket of a back three because none of the alternatives offer confidence that a flat back four will work.
Per Mertesacker’s pace hasn’t miraculously improved since being out and Chelsea gleefully exposed the weakness in the past. The only genuine alternative is Debuchy and that’s a serious concern. While full backs in the three isn’t unusual, two at once is a sign of how badly we’ve been hit. That red card, stupid at the time, is looking worse with every passing day.
The uncertainty is likely to mean Hector Bellerin will retain his place in the starting line-up. Ox is fit once again but that’s not a change I would make for the final. I might, in Arsène’s shoes be tempted to put him into central midfield although Ramsey is likely to retain his place.
At his press conference, Arsène spoke about finding the different solutions in view of the injury problems. I wonder if we’re going to see a repeat of the 2005 strategy when injuries wrecked those preparations? Dour, defensive display, looking to nick a goal or take it to penalties. Actually, not the latter; I wouldn’t trust most of our lot from the spot.
I’m not sure we have the squad to carry out that type of task. Bringing Coquelin into midfield is a must in that situation, with the knock-on effect of slowing down the counter-attack.
…Was Two Bucks An Hour And Working Weekends
The pressure is off Arsenal to a certain extent. While we – the supporters – heap our hopes on their shoulders, the media has rightly marked Chelsea down as favourites. Couldn’t be happier; let them deal with the pressure of expectation that the double brings with it.
World-class players thrive on that expectation; others crumble. Let’s hope Chelsea fall into the latter category. And before the game, that’s one thing no-one can take away: hope.