Hello, and happy last day of the working week. Today finds me in fettle less than fine, but that’s a story for another day, or better yet, never. Let’s just say it was late when I got to bed last night, and I could do with more sleep. Yes, that’s it. Sleep is what I need most. And possibly a drip. Anyway, I hope you’re feeling better than I am.
Today is the first day of the European Championships, and there’s a few bits and pieces from Arsenal players and staff talking about their aspirations for the tournament, but that’s really all that’s in the news today.
We’ll start with Arsene Wenger who, in his role as pundit for the tournament, has suggested that the loser of the France-England game on Monday – assuming it’s not a draw and there is a loser – will struggle to get out of the group:
That is a game you cannot afford to lose. Why? Not because you cannot catch up but the pressure inside the country becomes tremendous.
That game could dictate the whole group. If it’s 0-0, the group is open but if someone loses they have a very good chance of going out because Ukraine will beat one of the two, you would say, and Sweden are a hard team to beat.
I agree with the sentiment – that it’ll be hard for the loser to recover – but not because of pressure. I just think it’s a tough group. Ukraine are co-hosts which will give them a boost, Sweden are a difficult team to beat, and have a very dangerous player in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and while this France team aren’t the same as a few years ago, they have some really great players. As I said the other day, I think England, particularly without Wayne Rooney, will struggle. But it’s tournament football, so who knows, and it’s not like their results have been awful recently.
Wojciech Szczesny (which I almost spelt right first time!) has said he feels at home in Poland, which is quite the coincidence, given the tournament is being co-hosted in the country he’s from:
We’ve had some good results recently and we’re in good form. The spirit in the team is great and we can’t wait to get started.
I want to go all the way. I’m only in it to win it. I don’t plan to lose any games, so therefore I want to win the championship. Why not?
Admirable stuff from the young Pole. While in reality winning the tournament is probably a little ambitious for the lowest ranked team in the competition, it’s good to hear him speaking that way, and hopefully he’ll have a good tournament and get some good experience.
Speaking about an interesting early game in the tournament, Tomas Rosicky has said that the feels Russia will provide a tough test for the Czechs in this evening’s game:
Russia have got dangerous midfielders and forwards. For tonight, we are very well prepared and we are looking forward to the game.
We are expecting a really tough match. Russia are very experienced but we believe in our strengths and feel we will be successful.
Fairly uncontroversial and generic comments, but there you go. While it seems dangerous to tempt fate, Tomas has also said he wants to play in the next European Championships in 2016:
Times certainly flies, but I’m not that old.
I think I’ll be able to make the next [European] Championship too.
He’ll be 35 by then, but maybe now he’s finally shaken off the injuries that for a long time seemed set to wreck his career, there is a chance he could play that long (what was I just saying about tempting fate? I just don’t listen, do I?).
Talking to the official club website, Laurent Koscielny has said how bad he feels for Bacary Sagna, who will miss the tournament after breaking his leg in our last home game of the season against those yellow bastards from Suffolk (yes, yes, I know, but it annoys them):
Bac is a very nice guy off the pitch and he has been very professional because it is the second time he has been injured like this. I think it is really hard for him because he trained hard to come back and help the team.
So for him not to be in the French squad is disappointing. But I know Bac, he will come back stronger and next season he will be very important for us.
You know what? I love that he’s talking about next season. For me, Koscielny has been one of our best signings in recent years. A bit of a rocky start, but now completely dependable and first pick centre back for me. Were it not for Robin van Persie having the sort of season that people make up songs about, Koscielny would’ve been my player of the season.
Finally for today, the new home kit is now available. Why is it that they can’t just do a red and white shirt? What the fuck are those things on the sleeves all about? I mean, I know why – sales – but really, come on. Blue is the colour of cunts.
And that’s your lot. I’m sorry I can’t offer you any tantalising transfer tittle tattle, but there simply isn’t any – or isn’t any I’m in any mood to rehash, revisit, or regurgitate. I wish you a good Friday, and hope you enjoy the games tonight.