On England’s Dreaming, World Cup Bans, Chasing the Banega & The Ever-Curious Lucas Perez

Knock three times, crooned Tony Orlando and Dawn. Just don’t do it when David Ospina is around, he’ll fall down injured.

Colombia deservedly won and Dave kept a clean sheet. They are back in contention for the knockout phase with a make-or-break meeting with Senegal later this week. Whether Colombia looked good because Poland were so abject is the question.

Game of the day was England. Look, I know it was Panama but you can only beat the opposition in front of you. It was a throwback performance, to the days when we used to go to Izmir and beat Turkey 8 – 0 or when Supermac grabbed five against Cyprus. Or Luxembourg came to Wembley.

In general, the days when we handed out a good gubbing to teams and when we didn’t, there were three days of navel gazing until the Saturday games were upon us. This was one of those days, and very pleasant it was too. In a typically football way, the second half saw England score just once; foot off the gas, etc.

Refreshingly, both of Stones goals showed signs that there was actual training and planning going into the training sessions. It’s the sort of thing which keeps supporters happy; a brief glimpse into the life of a professional and grateful that there isn’t a louche attitude to training: “I do not think today that we will practice corners. The sky is not blue enough.”

Or, to put it another way, the way we thought training under Arsène happened.

Anyway, it added a bit of pep, zip and whatever else to England’s World Cup, to make things go with a zing. At least until Belgium beat us later this week but give us a brief moment to dream; it’s usually turned into a nightmare by now.

We’re Getting the Banned Back Together

The genuinely refreshing aspect of the performance came from the referee. After warnings, he punished the Wrestlemania attitude to defending which is the hallmark of these finals. Or the pockmark, if you like.

Not only once, but twice he penalised them. Once for a foul on Lingard which rubbed salted into Swedish wounds. In a way, this ought to be a watershed moment for the finals. If the holding continues, officiating next season would be more shambolic than usual. It needs to be nipped in the bud now because it was an issue last season anyway.

On the Arsenal front – and in a World Cup-related moment – Stephan of Liechtenstein is the latest Swiss player to be charged for his goal celebrations. If the mooted two-game ban is handed out, he and Xhaka will be back in good time for the pre-season training.

Will Arsenal obey the FIFA edict about giving the players a month off? No-one else did, but Arsène certainly did. He was probably miffed that others came back sooner and wondered how other clubs managed it. PEDs, he may have thought.

More ‘information’ leaked about the pursuit of Ever Banega. According to the Mirror, Unai Emery made “a personal call” to the player and “dropped a line”. It’s one hell of an inducement to sign for Arsenal. Risky, though; they have drug testing at the World Cup finals.

The curious claim is Lucas Perez will get a second/third/another chance under Unai Emery. If there was even a shred of truth in that, I would be amazed, particularly given the poor press he received as Deportivo slumped to another relegation.

His was a buy which was as baffling as Park Chu-young in many respects. Certainly, for a club with limited funds, we squandered a lot of them.

’til Tomorrow.

81 thoughts on “On England’s Dreaming, World Cup Bans, Chasing the Banega & The Ever-Curious Lucas Perez

  1. Didn’t Perez get the second highest assists in Spain last year despite what wasn’t a great season for him?

  2. No, second at Deportivo with six. 21st in La Liga overall.

    But he did get Deportivo fans going to his old house and redecorating walls outside. Until the new owners put up a message telling everyone he had moved.

  3. Apologies, I was too lazy to check what I thought I had seen. That said, I can’t remember him having a bad game for us, bearing in mind, my memory isn’t what it used to be.

  4. England…let’s wait for decent opposition…

    Visited West Ham’s ground on Saturday evening. That stadium is perfect… for watching a concert. Foo Fighters were outstanding. Easily better than any performance that West Ham will put on there!

  5. Decisions, decisions tonight, watching the peacock strutting his stuff or Costa.
    Costa taking out Pepe on his way to a goal, was delightful, so apt.

  6. I find it difficult to support England, having lift in Wales for 20 years, but more because I fucking hate Harry Kane and I can’t get over that. Even counciling hasn’t helped.

    But they have been better than I expected, especially going toward. Heck they have even been entertaining to watch at times.

    The Belgium match could be crucial. If we lose and end up second I think we could end up playing Columbia (who I think will top their group). Their pace and power upfront could really trouble England whereas Japan or Senigal look beatable.

  7. Poland have been dreadful and their back 4 have been shambolic. Why they aren’y playing Milik and Lewandowski together is beyond me.

    If Columbia and Senegal go through, I’m sorry but I wouldn’t fancy England against either.

  8. C,

    I think England would do better against Senegal than Colombia. But Senegal could certainly beat England. England have pace to match up better against Senegal than against the skill/trickery of Colombia.

  9. No, Waz, neither of them!

    Can you lot stop making up stats to try and make Lucas look better? 🙂

    He was a bad buy; we passed him over a month or so before we signed him.

  10. Limestonegunner,

    They might but I think Koulibaly is a brilliant CB who could deal with Kane and I’m not sure England’s midfield can deal with the pace, power, athleticism and skill of Senegal. I think England would have a better chance against Senegal but I wouldn’t fancy them against either side.

  11. So Zorc of Dortmund has all but confirmed that Sokaritis is set to sign pending the arrival of Diallo(would of rather had him and Soyuncu as opposed to Sokaritis but Sokaritis is still gokd business).

  12. C,

    I think Senegal’s pace and athleticism might be a bit of a challenge for Belgium as well.

  13. C,

    Yes, why aren’t we getting Diallo? I thought Sven was scouting him for a long time such that there weee rumours of his transfer in January to Arsenal.

  14. Limestonegunner,

    Yup and I think Kouyate hasn’t even really played for them and he is a good player in midfield whi coupled with Gueye would cover loads of ground defenaively. I also have ALWAYS liked Niang and think he a good player (still only 23) who might not be some lethal goal scorer but his pace, athleticism and willingness to run all day is a joy to watch.

  15. Limestonegunner,

    Diallo would have been my selection with either Pavard or Soyuncu. I do wonder why we aren’t in for him, maybe Mislintat doing Dortmund a solid plus the fact that reports of Soyuncu coming and there is an offer on the table from Arsenal is what I’m thinking.

  16. YW,

    When are people going to realise that the only stats that really matter are PTS, GF, & GA? Other than that I prefer the old method of watching players play and deciding on that basis if they are brilliant, crap, or somewhere in between.

  17. This Jack situation is quite interesting because before his release we heard stories of clubs possibly wanting him and now reports have surface that West Ham only eant him on a 1 year deal to see how he does, Everton possibly want him, Juve don’t want him. Its going to be fascinating wherw he ends up.

    The other thing is, what impact will Banega have on our midfield. Will it be Ramsey who leaves for Banega since he seems to be the only midfielder that hasn’t signed a new deal even though he was previously offered.

  18. Yogi. Great post.

    Good day at the World Cup yesterday. Great game from England. I think they can go deep in the tournament and may be even shock the world and win if the defense can stay focused. I am confident about the round of 16 game against Columbia Senegal or Japan. After that it’s just a matter of taking it one game at a time. We only have to win 4 games.

    I hope evenone at the team USA USA USA camp is suitably embarrassed and there is a lot of naval gazing for our inability to qualify ahead of Panama.

  19. I don’t know how the brackets are set up but an England vs Mexico final game would be a great way to end what has been a very interesting and entertaining World Cup

  20. First thing you notice about Torriera is that he is not afraid to mix it up. The other thing is that he wants ti be involved in everything both defensively and in the attack but doesn’t push forward.

    You can see why Sampdoria supporters say he and Veratti(previously of Sampdoria) are mirror images of each other.

  21. I am walking my dogs and so I am listening on the radio. It sounds like Uruguay has found some form and the Russians getting rossted

  22. I think it was in the chances created,perez was only behind messi which was saying a lot.i would rather him than for instance welbeck.if given his proper chance he is as good a back up to auba and lac we wuld ever get

  23. C,

    On one hand, yes. On the other hand, it would be a shame to lose Ronaldo just yet.

    You want the biggest players at the WC for as long as possible

  24. Hasn’t Perez covered the most ground in games that finished 2-1?

    No, Waz, neither of them!

    Can you lot stop making up stats to try and make Lucas look better?

    He was a bad buy; we passed him over a month or so before we signed him.

  25. Bill,

    Currently second highest rated player on pitch according to poll. Looks like a he’ll be a lot of work. Typical South American style high energy involved everywhere

  26. Damon,

    True but have to say, it would be brilliant to have Iran continue to play and the Iranian woman, finally able to watch thr WC, be able to cheer on Iran and we see change.

    I get having the best players at the WC on thr biggest stage but, they still have to earn it and they were lucky against Morocco.

  27. Bill,

    Just because his name has been mentioned doesn’t mean he isn’t at the heart of everything. Trust, he is literally at the heart of everything both attacking and defensively for Uruguay. Dictating from deep, challenging and covering ground in midfield and positionall he has been superb.

    People talk about the difference a change can make, I don’t think its a coicidence that when he has played, Uruguay look a much more fluid side and their quick transition looks much sharper.

  28. YW

    I think Perez was purchased to be cover during the first half of the season while Welbeck recovered from a knee injury and to be in the cup teams. He was never meant to play regular minutes. Turns out we did not need cover because no one was injured before Welbeck came back and it was a waste of money

  29. C,

    I’d rather that zee Germans hadn’t nicked a winner in the 95 minute and they went out.

    Ditto Brazil, tbh

  30. Cavani finally gets his goal.

    Uruguay players were desperate to get him a goal (Suarez even gave up a couple chances to try).

  31. C,

    I’d guessed that from your comments.

    You truly are a modern day football fan. Supporting your club team from thousands of miles away and a national team you and your family don’t come from.

    My old brain is truly boggled by it 🙂

  32. Damon,

    Please don’t throw me in that modern futbol fan group as unlike most of them, the history is equally as important to the present and future.

    It truly is down to my futboling roots, having the same coach for years and me looking at him as the ‘father figure’ in my life giving mines ran out. Everything I know from a futboling perspective is rooted in the history and passion he gave me for Arsenal and Brasil.

    Trust mate, it boggles the mind of most 😄, including those who are closest to me

  33. Torriera is small and light weight. I would fancy a bigger athletic player in our midfield in the mould of Viera. Senegal has many of those guys. If our scouts are serious this is the time to pick a bigger midfield presence. Eva Banega is old and exhuasted,i would take Ramsey any day over him.

  34. Don’t be too harsh on the ‘Modern Fans’. They might be a bit confusing for those of us from the Old School, but their enthusiasm is a breath of fresh air.

    I’ve watched some Arsenal games in the US (Dallas, SF & Boston) over the years and the love for the team is amazing. The game I saw in Boston a few years back had a bar full of Arsenal fans, lots of chanting and boozing going on. A great occasion.


    I’d guessed that from your comments.

    You truly are a modern day football fan.Supporting your club team from thousands of miles away and a national team you and your family don’t come from.

    My old brain is truly boggled by it

  35. Nicky has been quiet in his “gee up” motivational monologues about getting behind the manager, the board, the team and the kit man since the last manager cleft the building, hasn’t he? 😉

  36. Pete the Thirst,

    Didn’t think that was harsh at all. Just said it’s not something I easily get my head around. As my second comment said, not questioning passion here at all

  37. C:

    I am

    Your scouting reports over the years have tended to be a bit overly optimistic but I hope you are spot on with Torreira. There is a first time fior everything.

  38. Based on what we have seen so far, I don’t think England or Mexico has anything to fear from Spain, Brazil or Germany. Uraguay has one good game and Portugal has not been great since their first game. I think the winner of this World Cup is going to be a team no one would have predicted.

  39. Bill,

    Have they? Because a player show certain qualities (both strengths and weaknesses which I have discuss) doesn’t mean when they transfer to a new team they will fit into that team. For instance, Henry was bang average at best in Italy but was brilliant in bOth France and at Arsenal.

  40. Interview with Pele
    Do you think 1970 Brazil team would beat current Argentina team?

    Pele, Of course.

    By what margin?
    Um,’ 1- nil
    What only one goal?
    Yes, you know we are all over 75 now

  41. C:

    Have they?Because a player show certain qualities (both strengths and weaknesses which I have discuss) doesn’t mean when they transfer to a new team they will fit into that team. For instance, Henry was bang average at best in Italy but was brilliant in bOth France and at Arsenal.


    The whole point of scouting reports on an Arsenal blog is to try and predict how influential the player will be when he plays for our team.

    I certainly admire your passion and undying belief in the players you like but over the years your predictions have usually been overly influenced by that optimistic spirit. Hopefully Torreira will be different.

  42. @Damon,
    Unlike some, I don’t believe commenting when there is little to say.
    So far, the new manager has been welcomed, which is as it should be.
    While he is in situ, he is entitled to 100% support from all of us.
    Give him time to gel. Let the doom and gloom merchants ponder but keep quiet. 🙂

  43. So far Egypt has probably been the biggest disappointment of the tournament. In theory they should have had a relatively easy group to finish second. Mo Salah did his job in the 2 games he played but the rest of the team was not as good as we had heard. Poland is the other team that has really fallen well below expectations.

  44. Bill,

    Poland have been an awful embarrassment. I think if Salah had been fit for the first match, Egypt might have gained momentum. I have to say I hoped Elneny would be more important in their games.

  45. Limestone

    Poland has clearly underperformed but they may still at least take a point or even 3. I think Poland had a very balanced and a tougher group from 1-4. Before the tournament you would have predicted Egypt was a solid choice to finish second and advance to the knockout rounds. Instead they get beat soundly by Russia who was one of the lowest ranked teams in the field in a game they desperately needed a result and then theyed rolled over for Saudi Arabia.

  46. For what its worth the 2 teams in Egypts groups Saudi Arabia (67) and Russia (70) were the 2 lowest ranked teams in the field at the start of the tournament

  47. Limestonegunner:

    Poland have been an awful embarrassment.I think if Salah had been fit for the first match, Egypt might have gained momentum.I have to say I hoped Elneny would be more importantin their games.

    I suspect the Egypt manager held Salah out of the first game because he thought he could still go thru by winning against Russia and Saudi Arabia.

    I think Elneny is a good player to have at the back end of a squad because he can hold down a spot on the pitch and work hard and not make a lot of mistakes but I don’t think he is a player who can regularly influence games.

  48. YW,

    We have to forget what happened at Deportivo and accept that firstly they were struggling and remember what he did with us playing in a Wenger set up that didn’t suit him.
    Emery will have knowledge of his Spanish play for many seasons and will like all the players have a clean sheet and the chance to impress

  49. If you look at his career, it’s fairly obvious that he isn’t at our level, or rather the level we want to get to this season. I’m all for giving people a chance but honestly, I can’t see this guy suddenly displaying the ability we need.

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