It was a bright and sunny morning. The kind of morning that’s unusual for the start of a detective novel but this is no ordinary novel and I’m no ordinary character in it. But back to the morning, it’s bright, and sunny, and the birds are chirping. The kind of chirp that makes you feel all happy inside. Then she walked in and by “she” I mean my dog, Pepper.
She looked at me funny, “oh yeah,” I remembered, “time to walk the dog.” I grabbed her leash and took her for a walk around the block.
“This is the worst detective novel ever.” I said out loud as I picked up my dog’s scat in a little bag. It was warm and I never could get used to that. “Why does the author have me picking up Pepper’s scat? And why do you keep making me call it scat? Isn’t there a fourth wall somewhere?”
And that’s when I found Luis Suarez’ dignity. It was on a paper lying there in the gutter under the headline “The English Press Don’t Like Me.” Astonishing, really, the thought that he would blame the press. Put aside everything else, he bit a man. A grown man bit another person and not in a zombie film.
That whole match was surreal. It took place at the height of the Arsenal fans insistence that Luis Suarez would be a terrific Arsenal player. 7amkickoff was fending off people on twitter and their arguments that “he makes his own shot” by showing that everyone on Liverpool just passes him the ball, so he can turn the ball over, fail at a dribble, or if Liverpool were lucky he would shoot, which he’s not very efficient at and never has been. Then Suarez handled the ball, created a shot, bit Ivanovich, and scored the tying goal and suddenly no one, no one in their right mind, wants Suarez on any team that they love.
I even doubt the stories that Real Madrid want him. I know enough about how this all works to smell an agent behind these rumors. Suarez wants out and I’m sure Liverpool want to offload him (despite their insistence that he’s going no where) but would a big club like Real Madrid take a chance on a player who is, to be fair, crazier than a sh*t-house rat? Going from Liverpool to Real Madrid is something that happens to good players, it’s a step up in a man’s career.
But I do suspect that he is on the move, Liverpool are playing it cool but they want to get rid of him as fast as possible and at the best price they can. In many ways, I wonder if his sale won’t spark a bit of a carousel of player transfers. Falcao is reportedly almost a Monaco man which opens a spot for a player of Suarez’ ability at Atletico. Though, even Atletico is reportedly after Benteke and not Suarez, proving they have decent taste if true.
I watched Benteke score a brace against the USA in their international friendly Wednesday and I do have to admit that I went off a bit half-cocked on him. His numbers at the start of the season were pretty poor but it’s a lesson in why sample size matters: one hat trick changes a player’s conversion rate dramatically if the player only takes 100 or so shots in a season. The facts are that Benteke scored 19 goals this season and took just 104 shots, which when you compare to Giroud who took a similar number of shots but scored just 11 goals, you can see what people like about him.
What you don’t see unless you watch a lot of Aston Villa is that he leads the League in being caught offside, he’s tied for second with Fellaini in total turnovers (unforced errors) behind Suarez, and is tied for fourth in number of times he was dispossessed last season. In fact, Benteke saw twice as much of the ball as Giroud did, or nearly twice.
That’s the thing, you can like Benteke and no one should disabuse you of that, he is big and scores goals. But I don’t see him as anything significantly better than Giroud. That’s not to say I wouldn’t take him at Arsenal but at £20m there is a lot better value out there for a squad player who would need a lot of the ball to see significant return.
In fact, this was an early mystery for me this season at Arsenal “Where were all the shots going to come from?” Cazorla, Podolski, and Giroud all led their respective teams in shots last season (Cazorla was second) and like the Benteke’s and Suarez’ of the world were used to getting most of the ball. So how would they all jell at Arsenal, especially with Theo Walcott demanding a more central roll?
The short answer is that the departure of Robin van Persie left a 174 shot hole at Arsenal, plus Arteta, Arshavin, and Podolski all gave up shots which all went to the top three Arsenal goalscorers, Walcott, Cazorla and Giroud. On a side note, Podolski’s 11 goals on just 54 shots makes him Arsenal’s most efficient forward. On another side note, Arsenal had four players in double-figures for goals, the quadruple-double-trouble crew.
Hmmm… warm scat. I really wish he would stop making me pick that up.