On Burying Hatchets, Cech vs Leno and Arsène Wenger, Inventor

Just before he buried the hatchet firmly between Theresa May’s shoulders, Iain Duncan Smith offered the view that “Politics is a nasty, sometimes brutal, ghastly business.”

Unai Emery is, no doubt, inclined to the view that football management is the same. Wherever he looks, the world and his wife is offering their opinion on whether Petr Cech or Bernd Leno plays in Baku.

It isn’t an easy decision. Ignoring specious claims over Cech’s divided loyalties – a reprehensible and attention-seeking view that does a thoroughly decent man a gross disservice – does Emery go with his best team or stick with Cech?

Received footballing wisdom demands Emery’s loyalty to the Czech. That conflicts with the other received footballing wisdom which demands you play your strongest team. Football wisdom is your flexible friend. Or ‘flexible fiend’ as spellcheck demanded.

Some suggest Emery May lose the dressing room for what would be perceived as an act of treachery. Only if we lose; footballers are a shallow bunch who think only of themselves, or so many ex-pros tell us.

A winners medal around their necks and I doubt one of them will remember this situation in August when they play in the Super Cup. Or find out the other teams in our Champions League group. Chelsea remain favourites with most bookmakers. Keep track of the latest betting offers and news with newbettingsites.uk.

David Seaman speaks from experience. His only game in the 2001/02 FA Cup was the 2 – 0 win over Chelsea in the final. “For me, you play your strongest team,” Seaman said. Chelsea in the final, eh? It’s an omen, I tells ya.

On Me Heading, My Son

He was joined in that view by faux Irishman Tony Cascarino. Writing in this morning’s Times, the fraudulent Eire international declared that choosing Cech was “almost a sackable offence”. The Murdoch empire; never knowingly short of hyperbole.

Personally, I would play Leno; best team and all that. I think I probably said similar before the FA Cup finals of 2014, 2015 and 2017. Actually, I probably didn’t but I’m sure somebody will trawl through the archives to let me know. My life’s too short to worry about such trivialities.

However, let’s remember one thing, perhaps the only thing which matters. Who plays in goal is only an issue if (a) they make a mistake which leads to defeat or (b) there is no (b). And let’s face it, if Mustafi plays, his history tells us he is the prime candidate for a match-defining cock-up.

Crystal Palace at home, if you think that is a harsh judgement.

A curious thing is that the same questions aren’t arising over Danny Welbeck’s expected inclusion in the squad. Given Mkhitaryan’s situation, he is a candidate for the starting line-up. Just sayin’.

Arsène is back in the news, ironically with a sports science device. The Playmaker sounds like a comic book series which ran alongside Billy’s Boots and Jon Stark, Football Mercenary For Hire a couple of decades ago.

But no, the Frenchman believes it is the most advanced of its type. Of course he does; he’s got money riding on it. Most football clubs breed future coaches and managers; Arsène bred entrepreneurs, inventors and mad scientists.

Things Just Got Weird

There is an interesting chat between himself and Amy Lawrence in which he proves he still hasn’t lost his sense of mischief with the media. “I’m not just here for an advert,” he said in the middle of a lengthy explanation about football, science and how his contraption works. Fair play to him for that.

Alex Iwobi continued the Wenger theme as he discussed the events of last summer. “I can’t lie,” the Nigeria international observed. “It was a bit weird because I grew into the system playing under Arsene Wenger and that is all I have known.”

However, he is now a fan of Unai Emery:

I have bought into [his ideas] and I’ve played in a lot of matches and he has shown a lot of faith in me. I thank him for that.

Especially at a young age, to be involved in as many games makes me proud, but I have still got a long way to go and I am sure he has a lot more years at the club as well. 

Iwobi must be prime candidate to start with Henrikh Mkhitaryan missing the trip to Baku. He believes the Spaniard deserves enormous credit for this season’s Europa League run.

To get us to a final, he has had the right tactics and the right players at the right time. We will do our best to win the final for him as well.

The wins in Naples and Valencia point to the ‘nous’ which can give us some confidence in winning next week. That said, the vulnerability Valencia found in our defending is something of a warning.

Those are thoughts, however, for another day.

‘til Tomorrow.

14 thoughts on “On Burying Hatchets, Cech vs Leno and Arsène Wenger, Inventor

  1. consolsbob says:

    Isn’t it all over yet?

    For God’s sake we have been playing cricket for two months already!

  2. C says:

    Thanks Yogi!

    Leno over Cech.

    As far as Mhkitaryan goes, he actually hasn’t been starting so Iwobi and/or Welbeck would fit his role of coming off the bench for Ozil(when we are up) or for a defender to switch up formation.

  3. Buckagh says:

    YW glad your back in top form, I certainly missed the posts and banter,

    One thing, Éire hasn’t been used since 1949 neither you or I were born, it’s usually a rural tory MP using it, not an enlightened soul like yourself

  4. YW says:


    Officially, that may be true but in football circles, it was still being used in the English press through to the mid-80s.

  5. Blue Yonder says:

    Continuing the thought of whether Emery might lose the the dressing room if he plays Leno rather than Cech – one could say that could happen if he doesn’t pick his strongest team and they lose.
    Wasn’t Wenger faced with that in a cup final (Szczesny rather than Fabianski)? He stayed with the “cup keeper” and they won. Not saying that makes the choice simple but winning makes it academic.

  6. Emeka says:

    Just win da ting already….. Boombadaboom!!!!!!

  7. consolsbob says:

    Indeed. YW. Garden has never been better.

    Unlike much in modern life.

  8. C says:

    Blue Yonder,

    I think given many decisions that Emery has made all season rather it was dropping Ozil, not playing Aubameyang and Lacazette together consistently, dropping Ramsey, not starting Torriera at the start of the season, etc…. I actually think the dressing room would respect Emery no matter the decision he makes.

  9. andy1886 says:

    Happy with either really, would be great to see Cech bow out with a trophy, Leno has plenty of time to get his hands on one too. Sadly I’m going to miss the game, I’ll be flying between Dallas and San Francisco when it takes place so fingers crossed for a win and maybe some highlights when I get there.

  10. Bill says:

    Great post yogi

    I think we should play the GK we believe gives us the best chance to win. However which GK is really better in a 1 game final is a toss up and I don’t think there is a simple answer. Based on the evidence from this season I don’t think it’s clear cut that Leno is better then Cech or if the reverse is true. Our defense certainly has not improved over the course of this season and Leno’s ability to play out from the back has not been all that impressive.

  11. Bill says:

    The bottom line is I don’t think there is a right or a wrong answer to the question of which GK to start. Either one could make a couple of match winning saves or either one could make a couple of mistakes that hurt us.

  12. nicky says:

    Quite right Bill. If we lose, some blame will inevitably fall on Emery for selecting the “wrong” goalie. I don’t think there is much between them and the Manager will know who to select on the day. That’s his job. 😎 Bill,

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