It’s not often the football and Twitter collides…ahem.
Or at least they don’t collide in the way Zenit St Petersburg expected. A slip of the finger and their DMs filled with requests to take Mustafi from us. At least he is the right colour for their fans. Probably the wrong religion.
If anyone wonders about the sheer ineptitude and inadequacy of UEFAs response to racism in football should note that despite the openly racist attitude of Zenit’s fans, the club is still welcomed into the Champions League.
The absence of any serious paper talk on Mustafi’s future points to several things. Firstly, his confidence is shot to pieces to the extent that there isn’t any speculation about him. Is that something in the dressing room or does it just elicit sad glances from friends and teammates?
Secondly, he isn’t going anywhere this window.
Which is the same for Mesut Ozil. His agent made it clear that his client wasn’t going anywhere this window. Not this season, just this window.
Remember when speculation was rife over Patrick Vieira? This is going to be as persistent but I do think it telling that there was no permanence in his statement.
At least, Fenerbahce admitted we can ignore any speculation linking them with a move for the midfielder; they are, officially, skint.
There are no two ways about it; 2019 is Ozil’s annus horiblis. How bad have things become that it overshadows his wedding? His poor club form and events this summer make for miserable reading. Now fit, he can concentrate on football, perhaps.
Putting in a stellar cameo from the bench on Saturday would be a good start. The North London Derby is upon and the papers are full of ‘club in crisis’ headlines. For once, it isn’t Arsenal.
Let the Sideshow Begin…
As Blue Magic and more famously, Barry Biggs, declared, let the sideshow begin. So Bob, for ’tis he, did.
He’s looking forward to this weekend’s game, believing it will be good for the squad to return to winning ways after the defeat Anfield. God, we love a bit of navel-gazing, don’t we? The dissection of every move, feint and dummy has been incredibly in-depth with nobody agreeing on anything much.
The only thing we can agree with is what Mo Salah said to Bob after the award of the penalty which effectively killed off the game. I don’t what was said but I’d assume it was something derisory – “what a muppet!” – for Dave’s shirt tug.
Anyway, Bob thinks we’ll get it right this weekend. “There is no better opportunity than [the North London Derby],” he said. I beg to differ; Watford at home is an easier fixture to get back to winning ways.
Anyway, he praised Spurs – “a fantastic team” – but admitted he didn’t see their defeat against Newcastle when he said he thinks we’re facing “a team who are going to fight with us until the end for the same goals, the same objectives.”
Mauricio Pochettino put it more eloquently the other day but he essentially called his own squad “bottlers”. Sorry, Bob, I’ll go with the Tottenham coach’s assessment of their squad.
Spurs were abysmal against Newcastle so let’s hope they are as bad again.
The latter, I think. Particularly amusing in this morning’s papers was a piece which questioned whether Daniel Levy was holding them back. This is the same Daniel Levy who was hailed as a footballing demi-god for his previous transfer dealings and the stadium build. The fickle winds of fate are blowing in the wrong direction for Danny Boy.
I Play Because I Love It
These days, football seems like a career choice for players. Faced with working in a bank or the Premier League, they chose the latter because it’s the right thing to do. Some seem worn down by the whole thing, almost resenting that they haven’t played the game for fun in years.
Sideshow Bob is different. I ended that sentence in the right place, leaving you hanging, wondering if it’s a good different, a bad different or a weird different.
He’s different because of his enthusiasm for the game. “It’s always special to play football. I play because I love it,” he said.
I do wonder, however, if he realises he signed for Arsenal because the Brazilian reckons that he has the “ambition to do big things in football. It’s going to be special for me, for sure.”
Let’s hope he makes it special for us at the weekend.