the dust has settled somewhat following Sunday’s drama, and if anything illustrates how quiet things have gone from the club’s point of view, it’s that one of the main stories on the official website is the news that Luis Boa Morte is joining South African side Orlando Pirates of the Caribbean.
This is the same Luis Boa Morte who last played for the club in April 1999, coming on as a 65th minute sub in a 0-0 draw against Southampton at The Dell. The only thing notable about that game was the fact that Kaba Diawara started and Mark Hughes was all elbowy as he chugged around in a Southampton shirt. Here’s what the long-gone but much missed Red Geezer had to say about it at the time:
The peculiar Southampton manager, scouse ‘hardman,’ David Jones, said after the game, talking his own brand of complete bollocks, that ‘the boy Vieira knew that he had been in a game.’ This translates, broadly, that Vieira had been elbowed in the face by Mark Hughes and kicked black and blue by the Saints’ ratpack. Good old Hughsie also kicked Adams and nearly eviscerated Martin Keown before finally succumbing to his usual yellow card.
This broadly summed up the game; an hour and a half, that seemed a lot longer, of tedious football, punctuated by niggly Southampton violence. Some people might see Southampton’s performance as ‘spirited’ but it was no more than opening up all the cages at the zoo and letting all the animals run around. If I lived in Southampton and if this was the only ‘entertainment’ in the area, I’d think I’d rather sneeze into a hankie and watch the snot coagulate than watch this grisly bunch of gimps go through the motions.
But Boa Morte was involved:
Arsenal’s best chance came from a Boa Morte flick, helped on by Anelka, that Kanu lashed at inside the box, towards a completely empty goal. Even as we were up on our feet and cheering, Francis Benali, appeared from nowhere and cleared the ball off the line. Bugger.
Francis Benali, eh? There’s a blast from the past. It’s not often a footballer can maintain two simultaneous careers but he played lots of games for Southampton as well as dancing around like a madman for Frankie Goes to Hollywood and I guess we can only applaud that. Anyway, good luck to the Dead Snake, I’m sure he’ll have a fine time in South Africa and I look forward to tomorrow’s Arsenal.com missive giving us all the details of Paul Shaw’s move to the J-League.
Back to reality (yes, I’m sorry, we have to), Mikel Arteta is about the only Arsenal voice you can find this morning and as you’d expect from a senior professional he’s playing down any talk of dressing room crisis, saying:
All the players are supportive of Wenger, there are no divisions. When we’ve had bad results the fans get upset with the manager but that’s normal in football.Wenger has done so much for the club that he deserves the confidence of the fans.
I’m not sure that the reaction we saw on Sunday could be classed as ‘normal’, to be honest, but again we have seas to sail and the less stormy they are the better. You don’t have be Johnny Insightful to know that certain things are being said because they need to be said. They don’t really deserve much in the way of analysis, they need to be taken at face value and we need to move on with our season.
Meanwhile, after his display against United, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has caught the eye of England manager Fabio Capello, apparently. Which is understandable, why wouldn’t a clearly exciting young English talent be of great interest to the national team manager? I just hope that there’s at least a small measure of common sense taken when it comes to his progress.
We know we live in a world where one moment you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread that shoots lasers into the eyes of John Terry, and the next you’re nothing but a mouldy old loaf that has is being fed to Water Sheringhams, but the hype machine loves nothing more than to build people up. There’s not much we can do about it, in fairness, but I’d hope that Arsenal fans don’t contribute too much to it.
It’s quite normal for a player to come into a team and impress due to their youthful enthusiasm and boundless energy, but once the element of surprise wears off they can struggle a bit. Remember Theo. Scared the life out of everyone with his pace until after a while left backs realised that if you just push him out wide he’ll generally run the ball out for a throw before turning around and blaming someone else or giving those Action Man eyes to the linesman (remember the Action Man that had the thing on the back of his head that you could move the eyes? Yeah, those eyes). Ooh, scary Theo!
There is obviously huge potential in The Ox. People talk about Arsene Wenger not spending money but he has, essentially, paid a club record fee for a kid coming from League One. I don’t think it’s something he himself will worry about, he seems level-headed and well-grounded, but we can’t overlook the fact that despite his talent and his performance against United he is still pretty damn raw. We need to accept that he can make a contribution between now and the end of the season, it might be slight, it might be considerable, but let’s not put the weight of expectation on him either.
Right, that’ll be that. Just a quick update the book/Paypal situation. There isn’t one. I’m still waiting and having been talked out of finding Paypal’s offices and repeatedly firing a bazooka at it by Mrs Blogs, waiting is all I’ve got. Hopefully there’ll be good news sooner rather than later.