When La Liga tries to call other clubs out on financial irregularities, you know it is time to pack the game up and start anew. Manchester City’s inexorable descent into the bowels of football history continued with elements of self-parody.
Pep’s earnest expression told the world City won trophies because of hard work, not money. Which is true, Guardiola and his staff work hard. They also benefit from having expensive raw materials to work with, bought by money and rule-breaking beyond belief.
Even if some of the assumptions require leaps of faith to follow.
But I’ve done my dystopian post already this week and to the relief of many won’t be adding to it. What’s the point? Is anything going to be gained from wondering why Spanish players and clubs get taken to court by the Revenue? Or why English clubs and players are seemingly more clued up, reaching agreements with the taxman before the case reaches court?
They are all at it.
Not Arsenal though, we cleaner than the proverbial driven snow. Which is why KSE is registered in Delaware. They have nothing to hide. No.
Hmmm. Maybe this is going to be a bit dystopian…
Thankfully there’s a match tomorrow to take my mind off such matters. Sporting Clube de Portugal arrive at the Emirates as we look to take the unbeaten run to 15 matches.
It’s an unbeaten run which will come under pressure once the international break is over, assuming it is still in place. Bournemouth away, followed by the Ukranian jaunt. That match finishes around 8 pm so I’d guess the team will be back in the wee small hours. With a 2.05 pm kick-off against Tottenham on the Sunday, it’s a far from an ideal scenario. At least we’re at home.
Vorskla is the tricky one to judge. We were comfortable winners at home, bar the Keystone Kops defending at the end. The question for Unai Emery to answer is whether he sacrifices the unbeaten run by saving his ‘stars’ for the Spurs game which you hope has more importance.
By that, I mean more at stake. We should be through to the next round of the Europa League after tomorrow’s match and with Qarabag still to visit the Emirates, in with a good chance of being seeded in the last thirty-two by winning the group.
But is that so important? Looking around the competition as it is now, there are no teams to be afraid of. Is playing at home in the second leg so much of an advantage?
The question may be moot anyway. Emery has shown himself to be no respecter of reputations. It’s quite a contrast with Neymar bleating to the media that last night’s referee should be banned for telling him off. Or something the Brazilian deemed inappropriate, like “You’re sh*t, AAAARRRRGH!”
One can only guess.
Back to Emery. A good Vorskla performance by the second string may lead to an open door in the next match. Not for certain players, but nowhere near as many as before. It’s fair to say that no matter how well the second string played before, there was no instant promotion. It’s less clear now; performances are demanded from the coach whose intensity the players must match.
Even so, the key element of the unbeaten run is confidence. Does a much-changed line-up losing affect the core players who didn’t play? I’d guess is some respects,
We All Stand
Ahead of tomorrow, the team news seems relatively positive. Unless you are Nacho Monreal (“being assessed”), Sokratis (“being assessed”), Mo Elneny (thigh-knack), Dino Mavropanos (groin-gaah), and Laurent Koscielny (ligament-twang).
Back in the morning – yes, I know that’s hard to believe – with a preview of the Sporting match.