Morning all, it’s a fairly quiet Sunday morning so let’s take a look around at what’s happening.
Lots of our players were in action last night, I think. Eduardo was on target for Croatia, scoring the only goal of the game as they beat Israel 1-0 to go top of England’s group. That’s his 800th goal in the last 2 internationals. William Gallas was an unused sub for France, Jens Lehmann was solid for Germany in Dublin last night, Cesc played almost the whole game as Spain beat Denmark 3-1 while Nicklas Bendtner came on in the 2nd half for the Danes, and shock of the night came for Alex Hleb as his Belarussian side got beaten 1-0 by Luxembourg. Meanwhile, in a friendly Philippe Senderos started for Switzerland as they beat Austria 3-1, I’m not sure if Djourou figured but he was on the bench. Hopefully everyone is injury free this morning.
Thierry Henry talks in depth (note there are 3 pages) to the Telegraph about how Cesc was right when he said Arsenal were freed up, in a sense, by Henry’s move this summer. He says:
Because of my seniority, the fact that I was captain and my habit of screaming for the ball, they would sometimes give it to me even when I was not in the best position. So in that sense it was good for the team that I moved on.
His fear that Arsenal will draw Barcelona in the Champions League is interesting, and as strange as it would be for him to play us playing for another club, it’ll be just as strange for us to see him do it. There’s this great tendency amongst football fans for revisionism when players left. Bad players are never quite as bad when you look back on them and good players aren’t as good and it’s always the right time for them to have moved on.
What’s apparent now when we think about Henry’s move is that his personal life was obviously in a shambles and to me that played a huge part in his desire to move and make a fresh start. It’s not for me or anyone else to make judgements about anyone else’s life, we’ve all had our own problems and hassles and footballers aren’t immune to that. It does make it easier to understand why he wanted to leave though and when you read an article like that, now that the initial shock of losing a top player has worn off, you remember why it is we loved him so much. He’s an intelligent guy, he loved playing for us, he gave us so many wonderful moments and that’s what should be remembered above and beyond anything else.
I’d still love us to play Barcelona though and I’d take enormous pleasure in seeing us win and Thierry not scoring, but that’s just football, innit?!
The People has three Arsenal stories this morning. One suggests that despite the fact we’re going to pay the Â£2.1m fine brought against Fran Merida (who I’m told had no idea such a court case against him was even a possibility) we’re going to let the young Spaniard go back home as he’s not ‘mobile or quick enough’. Then there are two highly speculative transfer stories linking us with River Plate’s Augusto Fernandez who is, apparently, the new Messi (which must be the new new Maradona) while Hatem Ben Arfa is also linked with a Â£10m move. All three of those stories have about as much substance as your average chick-lit novel.
David Dein is set to attend Arsenal’s AGM, which takes place this week. The man really does have a neck like a jockey’s bollocks. Obviously he’d be there as a representative of Fat & Orange and while there are bound to be sparks flying between him and the board it will be interesting to see if ‘regular’ shareholders who attend have anything to say to him for bringing a man like Usmanov into our club. He might have a past that people admire but his present deserves serious questioning.
Meanwhile, Craig Murray dissects a pathetic piece of Usmanov PR in the Times. I’m sure others will have noted with interest that Mark Franchetti can be gotten onside with a nice dinner and a glass of wine. Next week he’ll report on how the Burmese regime is simply ‘misunderstood’ and Robert Mugabe is ‘laugh a minute prankster’.
And that, my good old friends, is that. There’s only just time to have a good laugh at Ashley Cole who was stretchered off for England yesterday with what looked like, hopefully, a very painful injury. There’s no revisionism in terms of Ashley, is there? He is, was, and ever shall be, cunt without end.