Morning all, the start of a new week and we awake to the dawn chorus. The birds are singing and a pack of no-mark cunthounds from Birmingham are baying in the distance.
Roger Johnson is the woofer in chief, funnily enough invited onto Sky’s Goals on Sunday show yesterday. I guarantee you his presence on that show was not even thought about until Saturday evening. He has accused Marouane Chamakh of being ‘embarrassing‘ because of his alleged dive.
I’ll tell you what’s embarrassing – it’s a footballer trying to take the moral high ground when he’s got no business doing that. Not long after the penalty Chamakh challenged for a header near the touchline, just inside the Birmingham half. He found himself sandwiched between two of their players and Johnson came steaming in, won the header but made sure his elbow made contact with Chamakh’s head.
It was a difficult one for the referee to see but replays showed it clearly. Johnson thinks this kind of retribution is ok, that because he’s done nothing as heinous as ‘diving’, he’s in the right. Clearly, he lacks the intelligence and self-awareness not to go on TV and berate an opponent when he’s been involved in an incident which is, to my mind, far worse. A dive, alleged or not, has a small impact on a game. An elbow to the head, at that speed, can do serious damage to an opponent.
So, to sum it up, who the fuck is Roger Johnson? And when you do find out please tell him to go the front of the queue where he will be required to then go and fuck himself.
As for their manager on the Wilshere tackle, Alex McLeish says:
People are still going to interview Eduardo about “that tackle”. It’s scandalous. Will people be interviewing Jack Wilshere in a year about that tackle?
I don’t want to get into a war of words with Arsene. I respect him. But it was a bad tackle and he should be drawing a line under the Taylor one.
Well, firstly nobody will be interviewing Wilshere because Zigic’s leg wasn’t hanging off and broken in all kinds of pieces. And secondly, I don’t think Arsene has said a word about Taylor since the Eduardo incident. It’s Birmingham who have brought it up in the light of the Wilshere tackle seeking to justify it and excuse it.
I’m not making any excuses for Jack or defending his challenge, by the way, but while the troll-pundits do their worst let’s compare and contrast reactions. Wilshere has apologised, admitted he deserved a red card and says he’ll learn from it. A stark difference to those players who refuse to acknowledge that the way they play can cause harm to opponents and question the validity of the red cards they receive. Different from the players who accuse others of cheating when they cheat themselves. Hippos, I think they’re called.
It strikes me that Birmingham, booed off at home last week, are just using this to deflect from another defeat and, perhaps, to build up a bit of a siege mentality. The little club hard done by away from home at one of the traditional big clubs. Which is absolutely fine, they can do what they want. It doesn’t mean they’re not a pack of bleating Barbie collectors. And to think people accuse Arsene Wenger of whinging. He’s got nothing on this lot. What a bunch of Marys.
Maroaune Chamakh has hit back at Birmingham’s claims that he’s a diver, saying there was definite contact. The only thing I’d add to this is that regardless of whether there was contact or not referees are going to be keeping a very close eye on him in the near future. I genuinely think his quickness in and around the area means he’s very good at drawing fouls from keepers/defenders but I also think he has a tendency to make sure everyone knows there has been contact. Perhaps a touch of subtlety is required.
Still, it doesn’t take anything away from him as a player and he’s been a great addition to the squad. With RVP and Bendtner out injured it makes me wonder how we’d have coped without him. The idea of having to play Arshavin or Vela up front is retrospectively scary in the extreme. With Bendtner, at least, on his way back, the burden won’t be just his and hopefully he can continue to make the same kind of contribution as he has done up until now.
Tomorrow night is Champions League and Shaktar Donetsk. I think the last time we played them at home was in 2000 when two late Martin Keown goals saved the day against opponents we knew little about at that stage. Now the Ukrainians come to London with a team full of Brazilians, some household names, and, of course, our old friend Eduardo.
He talks to Jonathan Wilson in the Guardian about English football and how he’s settling into life at his new club. And without wishing the labour the point here’s another vast difference between the Wilshere and Taylor tackles – Eduardo, in an Arsenal shirt, never recovered, never regained that turn of pace and predatory instinct in and around the box. Zigic remains as average as ever. There will always a be a sense of what might have been. Plucked from Croatian football his signing, coming shortly after we’d sold Thierry Henry, was a surprise to everyone.
He looked like being another inspired Wenger project and was really beginning to find his feet in English football until Taylor’s tackle meant he had to do Exorcist head to look at them. He left this summer without having had a chance to say goodbye. It’s clear he holds the club, the manager, the fans and his old teammates in great affection, and while I hope he has a quiet game tomorrow night, I’m sure he’ll get a great reception on his return.
Arsene’s press conference takes place later today so we’ll get any updated team news and we can look at that on tomorrow’s blog.