Arsenal is back in the news with a bang. Beating Coventry 6-1 is just the latest in a string of results that has Arsenal riding high in the media and among the fan base.
Santos banned from driving for 12 months? Meh, he can hire a driver. Alex Song finally admitting that he forced Arsene to sell him to Farcelona? Who cares about Song, we’ve got Jack playing in a reserves match on Monday. Theo Walcott’s playing football manager with his own career? Yeah well, if Theo loves Arsenal as much as he claims, he should just sign the contract. Arsenal’s year end reports show that the club have millions of pounds in the bank? Who cares? We bought Giroud, Podolski, and Cazorla!
In case you hadn’t noticed, the football results are all that matters. Winning cures all ills.
I suppose that there are people out there with dark circles under their eyes losing sleep over transfers that they think should have happened, contracts that they wished people had signed, years of football that they want back, and moaning that “yeah well, Coventry are at the bottom of League One, Southampton are the Coventry of the Premier League, and Montpellier are the Coventry of Ligue Un. Liverpool are the Coventry of the top four. And so for all intents and purposes, Arsenal have basically only played Coventry.” But for the moment, those people are sitting on a park bench covered in bin bags and any time anyone comes near them they start waving their black scarf around and yelling “THE END IS NIGH”.
For now, I’m happy with the results. Pleased as could be, in fact. Even news that John Terry only got a four match ban for calling Ferdinand a “black (spru)nt”, of which his ban is suspended pending his appeal hasn’t put a dent in my day. As the sun will rise tomorrow so too John Terry will play against Arsenal on Saturday. And you know what? I welcome him. Please, Mr. Terry, play Arsenal on Saturday. Bring your extra-long studs, you racist.
No, the bin baggers are quietly biding their time and saving up facts: three clean sheets followed by four consecutive dirty sheets, Arsenal finances show profit, bid on Eden Hazard but deal fell through, Wrighty saying that Theo should be a center forward, on and on. No matter how high a team is riding, the negative reports will continue, they just get ignored by the masses when we see a game like yesterday.
If I have a love-hate realtionship with the League Cup, last night’s game was almost all love. I don’t want to recap all the goals or give a match report and instead just highlight two things.
Giroud got himself and Arsenal off to a stellar start when Arshavin played a hospital ball into an area near Francis Coquelin. The French midfielder slide tackled the ball and poked it through for Giroud. The big forward took a lovely touch, composed himself, flicked his hips to get the keeper to ground, and cool as a Vela chipped the ball into the net. Such was his elation at getting his first Arsenal goal that you could almost see the tears welling up in his baby blues. He had a chance to double his Arsenal goals haul from the penalty spot later but the Coventry keeper denied him at full stretch. It was a powerful strike and a great save from the keeper.
It may have been a simple goal and only come against Coventry but lets not forget it took Thierry Henry two more games and a team like Southampton (the Coventry of their day) before he broke his duck. I’m not suggesting that Giroud is the next Thierry Henry, he’s not, but rather that Giroud now has the gorilla off his back and he can now just play to his best ability. He’s got amazing touch for a big man, he wins a lot of aerials, he holds the ball well, and has potential to be a great center forward, more like Kanu was to Henry and not Henry himself.
The other player I want to single out is Nico Yennaris. Yennaris had such an amazing game and it’s a shame that more people haven’t given him credit. It was his steal in midfield from which he pushed forward and played in Giroud which created Arshavin’s goal. Later he would again get a steal in midfield, press forward, and this time he played in Theo Walcott for the Englishman’s first goal. And Yennaris was the guy who played the one-two with Arshavin from which the Russian crossed and Miquel scored. He did all that and defended and passed and… and… and.. Two critical steals and an assist: what more does the young man have to do to get recognition?
Unfortunatley for Yennaris the Arsenal midfield is insanely crowded at the moment. He’s not starting over Arteta and he is behind Coquelin and Frimpong as backup to the Spaniard. The good news is that he’s only 19 and has about two more years to make the cut. Maybe a loan deal will happen, I’d love to see what he can do once he gets regular playing time.
I know I said two, but I could mention one last thing. I saw Theo’s two goals but from what Arsene has said, they don’t change anything: if he refuses to sign the contract in front of him he will not be Arsenal’s starting center forward. It doesn’t matter if he claims he wants to be an Arsenal legend. It doesn’t matter if he claims it’s not about money. And I don’t think it matters if he scores two good goals against Coventry in the League Cup. Wenger seems adamant that he’s not going to be held hostage by a player over guarantees in his contract* or any other reason at this point.
That said, seeing Theo score, twice, did give me pause. I will never forget his first goal for Arsenal: League Cup final against Chelsea. And here he is on the brink of an Arsenal exit and he reminds us all why he shouldn’t be sold.
Damnit… there I am standing on the park bench with the bin-baggers and black scarfers waxing nostalgiacly about Theo Walcott’s contract situation, something I literally have zero control over. No, I won’t. I will join the rest of you and stand in the sunshine of a 6-1 win.
*This is somewhat true, the sticking point is various guarantees Walcott wants.