A quick Saturday round-up for you. Firstly, some quotes from some mad people who are genuinely looking forward to tomorrow’s game against Newcastle.
Arsene Wenger: Sometimes you think it would be nice to have a game with no pressure, but when you have one you think, ‘let’s get it back, it’s so boring’. What would be terrible would be to go to Newcastle and have nothing at stake for us. We have what we wanted so let’s just finish the job.
Jack Wilshere: I think excitement first of all. When we get into the game, we’ll see what happens. Maybe a bit of nerves will come into it.
Olivier Giroud has spoken about how Montpellier won the title in France on the final day of last season, and look, I get why the players and the manager have to make confident noises ahead of this game. They should feel upbeat, it’s in their hands, results have been good lately, and we’ve got the experience of having done this before. More than once.
Personally though, I don’t find anything enjoyable about it at all. If the result goes our way I’m sure I’ll be delighted and happy, but it’ll be relief more than anything else. Like finally getting off a train with no toilet and finding somewhere to have a wee after sitting cross-legged for an hour. It’s a lovely feeling but one precipitated by a period of increasing discomfort and pain.
I can’t get the final day of last season out of my head and that excruciating game against West Brom knowing that one goal would leave us in 4th. As bad as watching Mr Shinpads lift the Champions League for that pack of knobbers, knowing it would have deprived us of our spot in that tournament this season would have been unbearable.
Only a win will do for us tomorrow. Sunderland might try hard but they’ve little to play for and they’ll want to get away from their angry manager as quickly as possible. Spurs know they’ve got to win to have any chance of finishing top four and I fully expect them to do it. Although we beat Wigan quite comfortably on Tuesday night, you need only look at the sequence of our recent results to think it’s probably going to be a tight game tomorrow.
Before Wigan it’s been: 1-0, 1-1, 1-0, 0-0, 3-1, 2-1. The late, late rally against Norwich made that scoreline look more respectable than the game felt. But hey, I don’t want to come across as overly negative. I think we’ve got the form, experience and the quality to win tomorrow, but in all honesty I’m looking forward to it about as much as a trip to the dentist. And the dentist is drunk. And uses a Black and Decker drill. And instead of Novocaine he injects you with Painacaine, a new invention which makes you feel all the soreness multiplied by 75. And his hands are covered in warts and he’s not wearing gloves and at one point, as he’s leaning over you, he dribbles some of the spittle from the tobacco he’s chewing into your mouth.
In other news, away from the final day stuff, comes a story from France that we’ve agreed to sign 20 year old Auxerre striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer. I don’t know anything about him, really, other than he ticks a lot of the ‘haha typical Arsenal signing’ boxes in that he’s young, French and has had a lot of injury problems.
Auxerre want to keep Sanogo but he feels they didn’t treat him well during long lay-offs. Could prove masterstroke IF he stays fit #AFC
— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) May 17, 2013
So he’s apparently very talented but somewhat brittle. Therefore, getting him on a free doesn’t seem like an unreasonable gamble to take. I don’t fall into the group of people who know with absolute certainty that this is the only transfer we’ll make this summer, eschewing more experienced and better quality options simply because he’s young, French and injury prone, just how we like ‘em, har har!
I suspect this is about adding some depth to the striking position for next season. We’ve bemoaned it all season long, how we didn’t have anyone to fill in when Giroud was out, not even a promising youngster. Well, if he signs now we have that option. It doesn’t mean we won’t sign anyone else because as our defensive record show this season, it’s lack of goals that have hindered us, and I think that will be a major factor in what we do in the transfer market this summer.
It’s the age old ‘You can’t please some of the people any of the time’ thing when it comes to transfers. They complain when we don’t make them, they complain when we do. They are seeking Goldilocks’ porridge in every single deal but sometimes the porridge is a bit lumpy and sometimes the porridge is a bit cold. And hey, not all the porridge is good porridge but at least give it a try before you throw your toys out of the pram.
And on that horrendously mixed metaphorical note, I’m off to try and forget about tomorrow until it happens. Have a good Saturday.