Seven years ago Arsenal lost to Burnley 2-0 at their home stadium of Turf Moor. It was December 2008 and the two teams were drawn together for the League Cup. At the time, Wenger always played the kids in the cup and so the lineup for Arsenal that day was Fabianski, Hoyte, Silvestre, Ramsey, Gibbs, Rodgers (Lansbury 46), Randall (Bischoff 72), Merida, Wilshere (Simpson 63), Bendtner, and the ever chippy Carlos Vela.
Wenger was criticized for using young players in those League Cup ties, people claimed that Arsenal were “disrespecting the cup” as if the League Cup was some ancient tradition in football. But Wenger was right to play the kids because it gave them experience, even in, especially in a loss; Wenger was building the character of his young players.
Most of the names on that team sheet are gone. Some for good riddance, others because they were simply not good enough, and still others because they deserved to play football full time at another club. I still get a chuckle when I think of Amaury Bischoff coming on in the 72nd minute, Wenger’s last throw of the dice.
But some of the players are still with Arsenal and will be available for Saturday’s match against Burnley. Ramsey and Gibbs in particular will almost certainly start, and if Wilshere was healthy he would probably start as well.
Since that match in 2008, Aaron Ramsey has gone on to recover from a terrible double-leg break and played a pivotal part in back to back FA Cup trophies for the Gunners. Ramsey will remember that night at Turf Moot, the sting of defeat at the hands of the smaller club, and he will be up for this game.
And marking him in midfield will be Joey Barton. That’s right, wearing the number 13, and playing in the central midfield role for Burnley is the Donald Trump of modern football, Joey Barton.
What makes Barton so Trump-like is the combination of an insanely irritating personality, a weird popularity sparked by a good sense of showmanship, and it’s all wrapped neatly in a megalomaniacal package. The one thing that Trump and Barton like best in this world is Trump and Barton.
Watch any Trump speech and what you’ll notice is a starting lack of any specifics to the hundreds of ideas he has already said that he will make reality as president. He claims he will build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. How? Well, you just have to understand, he’s a great negotiator. He will just force Mexico to do it.
Joey Barton has the same kind of attitude. This summer he was released by QPR and no one came calling. Well, he claims there were a few. But when he was picked up by Burnley on a free he gave his first interview and stated unequivocally that Burnley were smart, for hiring Joey Barton.
It reiterates how fickle this industry is and how lazy people are. There’s a lot of lazy people out there. If you did your due diligence and were smart and a forward-thinking organisation – certainly in the Championship – I was a no-brainer really if you wanted to get promotion.
You see people spending money on players in that position, I am thinking: ‘Wow’. But Burnley are obviously smarter than the average bear when it comes to that, you can see that in the recruitment over recent years.
See, it’s simple, really, everyone else is lazy and stupid for not picking Joey Barton. He’s a no-brainer and Burnley are smarter than the average bear, boo boo.
I don’t know how smart it is to take Joey Barton in your team. He does have the ability to rile some players up, he got Arsenal’s Diaby and Gervinho sent off after they retaliated against him for his assaults on them. And if you watch that Gervinho video above, you will see what Joey Barton is all about: hauling Gervinho up by his lapels for a dive and then when Gervinho touches Barton’s face, taking a dive himself. You can also see Berton kicking people in that video and getting stamped on by Alex Song, again in retaliation. He does have a knack for riling up the Arsenal players.
Barton and Trump are both bullies. And when their bullying fails they both have a tendency to explode into ugly scenes.
Trump is currently in a non-stop twitter war with Fox News over them using Megyn Kelly in the latest debate. He doesn’t like Kelly because she asked him a question he didn’t want to answer so he is boycotting the debate and sending out all kinds of crazy tweets about Fox News. I’ve never seen anything like it from a Presidential candidate. He is literally acting like a spoiled child.
And when his team needed him on the final day of the 2012 season Barton lost his rag in a similar fashion. QPR needed a result against Man City on the final day of the season, or for Stoke to beat Bolton. Not knowing the outcome of the Stoke-Bolton match and seemingly unable to bully the Man City players into submission, Barton lost his mind and elbowed Carlos Tevez. The moment he saw the red card he went even crazier, kicking Aguero from behind, trying to headbut Kompany, and going after Balotelli on the sidelines.
If Barton is looking forward to any match this season it’s this one. He loves to get under Arsenal’s skin and it works. Add to that history the fact that this is an FA Cup tie and that referees tend to let a lot more go in these matches and we could have a real ugly match on our hands.
And considering Joey Barton’s latest line from Burnley’s 4-1 win over Derby — 0 goals, 0 shots, 0 assists, 5 fouls, 0 cards — we can get a sense of exactly what Barton will be up to.