On Power, Corruption and Lies, and Winning Runs

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.

Ecstacy

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, yes, but to the extent where form wobbles? That’s the next test for this squad; how do they react to defeat?

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.

’til Tomorrow.

26 thoughts on “On Power, Corruption and Lies, and Winning Runs

  1. We should be pragmatic. For me winning the Spurs game has way much more value than our second string winning an immaterial game against Vorskla. I am strongly in favour of the whole starting 11 being rested.

  2. YW,

    YW, it’s completely pointless risking the PL 4th place by taking the players to a 1500 miles tiring trip three days before the NLD. The momentum won’t be hurt if our youngsters lose a game, without any significance, in the middle of the Ukrainian steppes.

  3. YW
    How does this squad react to a defeat?…….I’ll tell you how matey boy(wasn’t that a bubble bath in the 70’s?)….they go on a 13 game unbeaten run….that’s what they do 😎

  4. Risk da ‘Boys ‘.It’s their big chance. Carry on the run for the firsts. Or it’s economy class on the train home! Hell of a journey.
    I wonder if their is a private/ military airbase nearer.
    We have walking wounded back by then, we’ll have a hugely talented 2nd string to send.

  5. There is part of me that thinks if none of the first XI (there is starting to be an obvious first eleven, isn’t there?) play in Ukraine, it becomes seperate. Should it be a defeat, it can be put to one side that way

    Got to beat the swamp dwellers when they visit north London for the only time this season 😛

  6. Hello all, thanks for the write up YW. So we probably fly the boys out there right? 1500 miles on a plane is like 3 or 4 hours, nothing that big if you ask me and i’m a tall muther sitting in coach class. Not on some fancy jet with leg room and cushy seats. Plus we have great momentum, if I was on this squad I would be hungry for the next game, another chance to win, dominate, extend the streak… My gosh I look forward to my weekly basketball game, if you told me i had to play 3 games a week I would be over the moon. Not many of us are like Ozil, Bergkamp. The special ones get to pick and choose when they travel and play i guess huh? They get to travel and play in a packed house with a bunch of crazies! Sounds like fun to me!!!

    Looking forward to another match tomorrow cheering for a win. Hopefully making up some excuse to ditch work and enjoy a cold beverage while enjoying the match.

  7. Damon – Interesting question on the first XI, I think we have know who our midfielders, wingbacks, and strikers are. The question is who starts out on left wing or right wing? What about CB, holding/mustafi (chuckle bro) has been good but should it be changed for Sokratis? Leno been solid too but he is looking a bit like Flappianski out there in the past few weeks. Apparently in Germany the GK never comes off the line to deal with crosses, sounds like a dream to me haha (and also a bit of a fib to try and protect leno, just admit it he is struggling with pacey crosses right now!!!)

  8. JG

    I seem to recall Wenger’s Arsenal we’re particularly fragile when they lost after a long unbeaten run. I’ll wait and see before confidently asserting we’ll go on another 13 game unbeaten run…

  9. Thrillbo,

    That’s 4 hrs to Kiev airport …..can’t be certain ,but I did look when fixtures first came out. It’s then another long road/rail trip to Vorskla. Another 4 hrs I recall. If we play on Monday night after that, okay, all on board the Aeroflot! But Sunday lunchtime. Bit of a joke on us there again. All for the love of ferkin Interlull.

  10. I’m with YW – momentum is very important. I’ve seen some very good teams playing twice a week for months and if they keep winning the number of games doesn’t seem to be an issue. On the other hand losing, even if it was a completely different team, seemed to be infectious under Wenger. Send a strong side and trust that we have players who can step up if they need to and fill any gaps.

  11. Damon,

    I think there is starting to be clear first XI players such as Lacazette, Leno, Ozil, Bellerin, Torriera, Xhaka, Aubameyang, Holding and Mustafi but I think what stops it from being seperate is that Emery doesn’t mind putting any of them on no matter the competiton but also doesn’t mind subbing any of the first XI should they have an off day.

    For instance, Aubameyang was subbed off but we also so Mhkitaryan feature. Whats interesting to me is just how quickly some of the first choice players stepped up and some dropped off. Most thought that players like Xhaka, Ozil and a couple others would struggle and players like Ramsey, Mhkitaryan and a couple others would flourish and its turned into quite the opposite.

  12. Good stuff Yogi and for me, its rotating but keeping everybody engaged. Its great to see Emery bring players like Aubameyang, Torriera and Ozil along whilr also seeing players like Smtih-Rowe in the PL.

    Keeping that level of competition keeps the team fully engaged. I also think some players like Welbeck and Iwobi understand that there are chances for them to get more first XI mins but also its just about winning. Its the culture and mental change of the manager that has become infectious througout the club.

  13. I expect Iwobi to start, especially after Mkitaryan’s performance last weekend. And I think Welbeck starts with Aubameyang coming on for him should the need arise. Ramsey’s a puzzle as he doesn’t seem to fit any natural spot. Like Welbeck, he should start in order to rest others plus he is capable of brilliance. But where?
    If AMN is fully recovered, he should see some action.
    The thing is, apart from starting, subbing, etc, according to who’s performing (or not) we don’t know what strategy Emery has for multiple matches on multiple fronts. Hence, the guessing game.

  14. Blue Yonder,

    Freddie’s boys are 2-0 up away at forest green at HT
    Willock brace.
    Plegz in the team, otherwise no one whose been in 1st team squad.
    I think ESR should get some more minutes….ahead of Ramsey?
    It’s an enjoyable guessing game at least. Just looking forward to seeing any of them playing well.

  15. ferkov

    There is an airport in Poltava but usually only for domestic flights. I’d guess we’ll be given clearance to use that for the players.

  16. Cech
    Lichtsteiner—Mustafi—Sokaritis*—-Sead
    Maitland-Niles—-Guendouzi
    Iwobi——Ramsey—-Mhkitaryan
    Welbeck

    Subs: Martinez, Holding(if Sokaritis is fit), Bellerin, Torriera, Mhkitaryan, Aubameyang, Ozil

  17. Scholes is such a boring,boring bell end…I can’t stand the twat…or Rio Ferdinand…or Owen fucking Hargreaves….

  18. Ramos with a shocker of a challenge tonight-he needs banning.
    As an ex boxer even I would say it was violent.

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