Good morning. I made it on to the Talking Heads feature on the dot com this morning with a very brief preview of the Fulham match. I beg of you, please take a look.
After that, come back and read a very well thought out tactical preview of the match by our very own Arsenal Letters. AL really fills in all the cracks, talking about the importance of keeping the Fulham fullbacks contained among other insights into the match.
Match time tomorrow is 7am (local time) and the game is live on ESPN2 here in the States. I’ll do a numerical preview tonight and post it in the morning so that we can have a comment thread. Tomorrow, I will be doing a post-match piece for the same Talking Heads feature on Arsenal.com and my customary post-match By the Numbers piece for Arseblog News. Also, my tweets will be featured on Arsenal.com tomorrow. Not sure where yet, but somewhere!
On to the Arsenal News, let’s see,,,
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: Arsenal turn a relative unknown into a world class player, sell them on to Barcelona, they don’t make the grade, end up riding the pine for much of their first season, and then complain in the press about how much they miss Arsenal. No, not Cesc, or Hleb, or Henry, I’m talking about Alex Song! The latest in a line of players who were sold to Barcelona and have regrets about leaving Arsenal.
I know that some of you will get all huffy about me including Henry and Cesc in there — it’s a joke. It’s not true that Henry and Cesc “rode the pine” at Barcelona; Cesc had 38 starts in his first season at Barca and Henry 36. Not exactly the same as Alex Song’s 19 starts and Hleb’s 17.
But joking aside, I do wonder if Barcelona scout players like Hleb and Song before they buy them. I think they do. I think they know exactly what they are getting and that is a decent squad player. The disconnect isn’t on the Barcelona side, it’s on the player side. The Hlebs and Songs of the world get big at Arsenal and think that they are better than they actually are. That’s right at the moment that Arsene has enough of their antics and sells them. Then they go from a place where people are pumping their self-esteem 24/7 to a place where they are just another squad player and I guess that would hurt. A lot.
Oh well, shouldn’t have been such a prat. Really. Should have been more professional while at Arsenal or not weaseled your way out the front door. And that’s really the end of that story. Arsenal don’t have a buy-back clause in Song’s contract because we don’t want him back just like we didn’t want Hleb back. They burned that bridge.
In other “news” stop me if you’ve heard this one before… Arsenal player gets drunk and acts like a fool in public! No I don’t mean Bendtner or Wilshere I mean Andrei Arshavin! The pint-sized Russian apparently tried to get into a nightclub while highly intoxicated and failed. I don’t know. This seems like the perfect end to his Arsenal career: wasted and asking a bouncer “don’t you know who I am?”
I was only joking about Wilshere, but like Bendtner getting drunk and trying to get free pizza, there is something here in this video that may point to a larger problem with the player. A lot of people want to blame Arsene for Andrei’s downfall but I was never convinced that it was “being played out of position” that caused Arshavin to stop being good. I think there was something else, lack of application, professional jealousy, drink, culture clash, something. A real shame too.
And finally, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Northern manager moans like a drain about how his players are kicked all over the pitch and demands that the refs “protect” his players and then comes to London and plays like Stoke only to say after “that’s how we play up North.” No, I’m not talking about Pulis, Ferguson, or Allardyce, I’m talking about David Moyes!
Just a few weeks ago Moyes complained about Norwich’s Bradley Johnson kicking Marouane Fellaini only to come to Arsenal and have Darron Gibson do his best Bradley Johnson impression on Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott. But what’s worse is the gloating after about getting a 0-0 draw and bragging that that’s just how they play up North. Amazing. He really has a firm grasp on irony.
Anyway, that’s your lot for now. More to come tomorrow. See you then,