I slept it in a bit this morning. I was dreaming I was playing in the Champions League final for Arsenal against Bayern Munich but 85 minutes of the game was taken up by an extended version of the Champions League music while Michel Platini was carried around on a throne like a Roman emperor. By the time the game kicked off I was so furious I got sent off within 10 seconds.
It’s pretty quiet from an Arsenal point of view and I have to say it’s quite welcome. Winning games, and winning them in the style we did on Wednesday night, means less discourse. There’s only so many times you can say Podolski was fantastic or that Giroud’s goals were great or how cheeky Cazorla’s finish was. There are, as most of you will well know by now, endless ways in which players, manager, board, club, the colour red, the colour white, cannons, all the letters of the word ‘Arsenal’ and pretty much everything else to do with us can be criticised after a defeat.
It is Critical Infinity. Just when you think there’s no way somebody can come up with something new … well, they don’t, they just re-hash a catchphrase or a theory and it all kicks off again. None of which is to say there isn’t merit to criticism when we don’t play well, when squad weaknesses are exposed and results are poor, I just prefer it when we win. The same way I prefer a pie filled with steak and Guinness to one which contains the worm-infested poo of sickly hippo and gravy made from the dirt found under the talon-like fingernails of hobos.
For those interested in transfers and what have you, there’s nothing doing. There’s a bit about the guy Diame at West Ham but it is the classic story of how Arsenal have ‘missed out’ on a player that we probably had no interest in whatsoever. It’s curious that all these stories emerged about his release clause, almost as if an agent were feeding that information into the public domain just in case it might spark some interest. Although that would suggest that the whole transfer market is nothing but a cynical merry-go-round of people trying to make as much money as possible and, frankly, I’m not in the mood to besmirch our beautiful game like that.
Ahead of the game against Brighton tomorrow, a couple of the new boys have been talking about their roles in the team. Firstly, Lukas Podolski says he’s got no problem playing on the left:
I played on the left for Cologne sometimes and also for the national team. It is not something special. When I play as a No 10 or a striker, I am in the position to score more goals and I can shoot more. But with the style of game at Arsenal, I do well on the left side and I am happy to play there.
What’s interesting to me is that you can see how he could do it down the middle. He’s quick enough and he’s got a left foot like Thor’s hammer, but the quality of his delivery from the left hand side is fantastic. The ball all the way across to Walcott on Wednesday night could not have been more perfect, and with someone like Giroud in the middle, who looks as good a 6 yard box poacher as we’ve had for some time, then it makes a lot of sense to play him out there.
And speaking of Giroud, he’s happy with what he’s done so far but is looking for more:
It is good thing to reach this number, but I want to keep going and score more goals. I know my team-mates very well, so I feel really good in games. I have scored 11 goals and I have nine assists but I know I can do more.
I think he’s a decent player, one who seems to be finding his feet in English football now, and while people will always compare him with the Dutch Skunk (just because he’s the one who replaced him), I think that’s a bit unfair. It was obvious the jazz-handed, traitorous gleet-hound had something special underneath the layers of bandages and knee braces, and Giroud is a bit more conventional. But he was brought in with Podolski to replace those goals and they’ve done ok.
The bigger issue, of course, is that he’s the only central striker we have, and thus becomes a lightning rod for criticism when we don’t play well or drop points. It’s not his fault he’s the only option. Still, I think there’s more to come from him, and Podolski, and if by magic we actually bring in another forward then perhaps it’ll be good for all concerned.
Right then, onto this week’s Arsecast and I’m joined by @thegoonerholic to shoot the breeze about West Ham, Chelsea, Theo Walcott and a trip to the seaside.
You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here 24mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
Finally for for today, the winner of our Dennis Bergkamp print competition is Amelia Chan. Well done to you, I’ll be in touch to get all the details – and don’t forget to check out Dan’s store where you can buy your own or one of his other Arsenal related prints.
More here tomorrow with an FA Cup preview. Till then.