So, the players will be back today, there’ll be proper training and five initiation ceremonies to go through. The tradition at Arsenal is that new boys have to sing a song which, to me, sounds like a truly awful thing to have to go through.
And I don’t mean for the new boy who has to do the singing. I mean for the people who have to stand there and watch. It’s that whole toe-curling, bloke-takes-out-guitar-at-party thing again. If there’s anything quite as horrible* as having to endure someone who is not a singer singing, with no music to at least partly drown them out, well, I don’t know what it is (*please note, I can think of many things more horrible, just exaggerating for effect). And what the hell are they going to sing?
Will Mertesacker give them a rendition of 99 Luftballons or is he a rappity Joe who might do something by Die Fantastischen Vier? Will the training ground be awash with the sound of Arteta’s Julio Iglesias inspired croonings? And will Andre Santos get Gilberto and his Ukulele to accompany him as he sings a song about the Copacabana with yellow feathers in his hair and a dress cut down to there?
If it were up to me, and I were the captain, I would change things. Perhaps a cage fight with a tramp on PCP or having to get into skimpy underpants and then cuddle someone who is covered from head to toe with warts. You need to toughen them up a bit, none of this X-Factor shite.
“Tonight, I’m going to sing something by Coldplay”, says the new boy.
“New boy out for 6 months with a badly punched face”, says Arsenal.com
Anyway, I’m sure they’ll have fun and I’m sure it’ll break the ice a bit. With a number of the lads having to learn English it should make for fun times on the training ground as they’re taught that ‘Fuck off, cockface’ is the correct England for ‘Good morning, boss’.
German defender Per Mertesacker is looking forward to the new challenge. He says:
It is exciting. It is a new phase in my life and I am really looking forward to it, but I also feel nervous.
It is like before the first day at school. Now I have a new challenge in a new country, a new style of play and a new language and I am ready for it.
Since his signing there have been doubts expressed by some about his ability to cope with English football, and let’s not forget Robbie Savage, a man paid actual money by the BBC, writing him off because of his poor spell at Real Madrid. Surely it’s is an insult to everyone who pays the licence fee, that this half-witted, helium voiced cretin is given more airtime than people with actual knowledge of football and real insight into the game. Quite why anyone thinks after a career of shit-kicking his way around the midlands he might have anything constructive to say is beyond me.
Anyway, I’ve strayed off point but I would beg your indulgence. He is a scourge worth highlighting. What he knows about football, beyond winding people up and then shrieking like a pre-pubescent banshee the moment someone disagrees with him or uses facts, logic, intelligence or reason to make him look like the absolute moron he is, you could fit on the top of a pin. Yes, the media has to find the balance between knowledge and entertainment, I get that, but the BBC hiring Robbie Savage to talk about football is like them appointing Timmy Mallet as chief economics correspondent.
Off topic again. Sorry. The point I was trying to make is that last week a man who would know about Arsenal, about English and German football, and about the qualities of Per Mertesacker, said the big German would be a good addition to the club. That man was Jens Lehmann and I’d trust Jens before I listened to anything Lily Savage or the YouTube commentator brigade had to say.
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey says the team are determined to put right the terrible wrong of Old Trafford when Swansea come to town on Saturday. He says:
We went to put things right after our last result. Hopefully we put in a really good performance and get back to winning ways.
We have had a good think about things and it will be a fresh start now. We have brought in some quality players, Arteta and Benayoun are two creative midfielders who are really comfortable on the ball and they will be great additions to the squad.
By all accounts Aaron was impressive in midweek for Wales against England so hopefully he’ll carry that on for us. I’ve heard some people suggest he’s looked poor this season but then given the way team has performed in general you could say that about pretty much everyone. It’ll be interesting to see how he does with someone like Arteta alongside him. A bit of experience and quality might just take some of the pressure off his shoulders and bring about better performances. I’m really hopeful that Ramsey is going to become one of our key players this season but, like any other young player, he needs a little patience and some understanding of the circumstances we’re in at the moment.
Speaking of which, the latest reserves/youth column on Arseblog News by Jeorge Bird is well worth a read. I have often wondered if the increased expectation on young players, created both from inside and outside the club, does more harm than good – but the fact is that very, very few of the academy players will ever make it to the Arsenal first team on a long-term basis. For every Jack Wilshere there are dozens and dozens of players who fall down the leagues or out of the professional game altogether. Worth thinking about.
Beyond that not a great deal to tell you about. For iPhone/iPad users, we’ve got a new app coming very soon, it’s in testing right now, while for those of you with Windows Phones there’s a brand new app for you (designed kindly by Thought7), which you can find on the mobile apps page.
Right, that’ll do it. Back tomorrow with a ‘cast and hopefully some real news about who’s fit and who’s not for the weekend. Till then.