Thursday, January 20, 2022

Double helping of Spanish

The challenge today is to see if I can go through a whole blog without mentioning Thierry Henry.

Oh, balls. Well, mentioning him again. I know we football fans live very much in the moment, and the moment is kinda all his, but I reckon I’ve had my fill of articles about how great he is in training. We know. He’s great in training, great off the pitch for the kids, great at the supermarket, great at passing the sugar after lunch.

We are a team though, more than one man as that one man I’m not trying not to mention but by doing so am mentioning more than I would have liked is keen to get across himself, so for today no further mentions of him, his goal, his training habits or anything else. So let’s focus on some other players.

We might have lost a favourite Spaniard this summer but football is just like the mythical Hydra, cut off one Spaniard and two grow back it his place. Firstly, a youngster let go by Barcelona some years ago, Ignasi Miquel, the man with unpronounceable name. Which is odd because it’s pretty damn easy. It’s not like he’s called Az465bzb&&qz Mfffffffffnnnnrup’do’94qw3***. If he was I would understand people getting his name wrong.

Anyway, he was surplus to Barcelona’s youth requirements so he went to play for another team in the area, UE Cornella. I used to work in Cornella. I’d love to tell you stories of what fabulous japes I had there, but I can’t. It’s a pretty dull place and when you’re working in an open plan office, in a sort of call-centre environment, it’s not exactly a laugh a minute. Anyway, I digress. It was from there that he was spotted by Arsenal and brought to the club a couple years ago.

Primarily a centre-half, his left-footedness has seen him fill for Santos and Gibbs in recent times, and he’s happy to do so, saying:

In the last two or three years I have been playing at centre back so it’s quite hard for me to get back to left back. But to be fair I used to play there and you more or less try to remember what you can from when you were younger.

Once you get there training and playing a couple of games, it is just another position. I think it’s a position I’m going to learn much more in so I just have to try and keep focused anytime I play.

Regular readers will know I try not to raise expectations over young players. Lessons have been learned, let me tell you, but I like what I’ve seen so far from Mfffffffffnnnnrup’do’94qw3***. He looks calm, assured and nearly always does the simple thing when that’s the right thing to do. An example – at times we’ve had left backs guilty of overplaying, which has been costly. I know we like to keep possession and it’s a huge part of how we play, but when unsure he’ll always do the sensible thing and that’s get it as far away as possible.

It might be a bit industrial, it might not dovetail with Arsene’s aesthetics, and while I’ve seen the opposition score having robbed our left back as he tries to find a pass in a tight area around the box, I’ve yet to see them score with a throw from their own half. He’s got plenty to learn still, and his left-footedness may be a hindrance to him when it comes to playing centre-half (as long as Vermaelen is still around/fit), but it’s so far so good for the young Spaniard.

Our second Spaniard is Mikel Arteta, of coure. Someone posted this picture of him on yesterday’s arses – heh, time (and good dentistry) has been kind to him. He’s another ex-Barcelona boy and he says his time in Scottish football, playing for Rangers, helped him adapt better to English football. I think at the time he was there the Scottish game was in a better state than it is now. Well, the top 2 had better players, but it’d have been sink or swim there for him. Learn to live with the physicality or go somewhere else.

Which is the only way to do it. You still hear people talking about how the Neville sisters kicked Jose Antonio Reyes out of English football, and while they were certainly cynical and fouly that day, it was only one game. If a player allows that to affect his career so badly then it speaks more to the player than the kickers. Obviously there was more to the Reyes situation than that, a lot more, but clearly some players are better able to live with different styles of football and Arteta, thankfully, is one of them.

In other news, Tony Adams says Per Mertesacker ‘interests’ him. I know he’s talking about him as a player but I find that phrase a little more evocative. Almost as if Tony would like to take him back to a lab, take him apart then try and put him back together again only to find he’s got bits left over that he can’t find a place for. Maybe that’s just me.

Gervinho talks about Robin van Persie and his departure for the African Cup of Nations, while the very bottom of this Arshavin article on his website says he underwent ‘a surgery’ after the QPR game. Maybe it was lost in translation a bit, maybe he had an ingrown toenail taken care of, still curious though.

Update: Turns out it was for a ‘chipped tooth’ (thanks Rich). I suspect it happened when he got straight-armed in the face that day (remember the incident when the ref gave nothing instead of a red card? Yeah, that one).

Right, that’s yer lot. There’ll be another blog post a bit later on today with details of how you can buy the reprint of So Paddy Got Up, news throughout the day on Arseblog News, and I’m back here tomorrow with an Arsecast.

Update II – the sequel: Due to a small issue with Paypal which requires me to furnish them with about 14 billion documents, a sample of my DNA and one of my actual retinas, I have to delay the sale of the book. Hopefully it won’t take too long but it’s likely to be a day or two.

Sorry about this.

Till then.

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