So Arsenal played the New York Red Bulls last night, but what with it being SOMEONE’S birthday, I had things to do and people to see so I didn’t see the game, which makes reporting on it a little difficult. I can’t even watch the highlights on the official site because it seems to be having some kind of issue. However, judging by the general reaction on Twitter and elsewhere online, it seems that we were total dog shit, the players are all dog shit, supporting Arsenal is dog shit, being an Arsenal supporter is dog shit, and in particular, Arsene Wenger is actually a walking, semi-talking, human manifestation of dog shit.
However, somewhere deep inside, there’s a little voice saying that this might be just a tad of an overreaction, typified by much of the utter nonsense you see on the internet, and particularly on Twitter where people seem to lose their shit and become hysterical at the merest of things. Not sure why I think that. It could be that it was a pre-season friendly, on the other side of the world, intended largely as a marketing and PR exercise, or it could be that the side was nothing like the team you’d expect to see in the Premier League or FA Cup with a number of players in odd positions (Monreal at centre back, Rosicky the main focus of the attack). It could be that every single player was substituted except Monreal and Gibbs, with seven of those substitutions coming at half time.
But the main problem was probably that Jack Wilshere was playing, and as we all know, despite the fact it was his first game of the season, he’s now officially a smoker which means we might as well just play with ten men. Or execute him. Yes, that seems like a reasonable and proportionate reaction to his frankly heinous crime. We all know it won’t be long before he’s demanding ‘smoking breaks’, much like we saw during the World Cup for drinks, except with less hydration and more nicotine, tar, and delicious formaldehyde. I’m surprised he wasn’t seen on the touch line having a smoke during the 45 minutes he deigned to play football, and I bet as soon as he got into the dressing room at half time he was puffing away.
(On the basis that he’s a role model and a professional athlete, of course Jack probably shouldn’t be smoking, but he’s hardly the first footballer to have been caught doing so, and won’t be the last. The media attention being given to this whole thing is over the top, and seems particularly targeted at him. Perhaps that’s just my Arsenal bias kicking in, but the story really doesn’t merit the coverage it’s getting).
In all seriousness, while it’s a bit of a shame for those fans in the US that travelled to see the team play and would’ve liked to see a win, the reality is that this was a pre-season friendly, with a team lacking arguably nine first team players. And it’s not like the Red Bulls are a bad side either. These aren’t excuses, they’re reasons, and as unfortunate as it is, you don’t win them all, and given the option, I’d rather lose a game in pre-season than during the actual season.
In other news, a source I’m rather more willing to trust has confirmed David Ospina’s transfer to Arsenal from Nice. Apparently the suggestion is that while Szczesny will start the season in goal, he and Ospina will compete for the number 1 spot, which is good to see. Competition is needed in all areas of the pitch, and quality backups are also very welcome. Now just the rest of those positions to fill.
For those that were wondering, the reason Rosicky was playing up front last night was that Sanogo has an issue with his thigh and they chose not to take him on the trip. A shame for the young man, since it’d have been good for him to have a good pre-season and get some playing time while Giroud recovers from his World Cup exploits, and you’d have thought even having him travel with the squad would be beneficial for him, but the manager chose to leave him behind.
In various transfer tittle tattle, Khedira has reportedly lowered his wage demands to a mere £135k a week to force through a move to the club. It remains to be seen whether the manager will make the German the highest paid player at the club, but during the World Cup I got more than a little bit excited at the prospect of Khedira in an Arsenal shirt, so I’m not going to go overboard yet. Apparently the manager has also set his sights on Roberto Firmino of Hoffenheim as a replacement for Santi Cazorla, who is apparently going to Atletico Madrid, despite having only yesterday stated he was quite happy at the club. And after yesterday’s news about Calum Chambers, Hull City manager Steve Bruce has confirmed he’s interested in taking Carl Jenkinson on loan. It’d make sense, particularly if Chambers is seen as a future centre back.
That’s your lot for today. I’m going to go and enjoy SOMEONE’S birthday, and start looking forward to a bright, shiny new week of work hell.