Thursday, December 7, 2023

Theo shines for England + Saturday round-up

Morning to you, a very quick Saturday round-up for you.

The main Arsenal focus at Euro 2012 this morning is on Theodore P Walcott who came off the bench and made a real impact as England beat Sweden 3-2. It wasn’t exactly the highest quality game of football you’ll ever see but it was pretty entertaining stuff. Although England had gone ahead through a thumping Andy Carroll header, Olof Mellberg bearded in two goals to put the Swedes in front.

Hodgson then stuck on Theo and he brought England level with a weird kind of goal. He smacked a shot from about 25 yards which didn’t seem to move that much in the air but totally wrong-footed Andreas Isaksson. Either way, Theo was surprised:

I thought the shot took a deflection which is why my celebration was little bit odd. But I’ve seen it again and it didn’t.

I didn’t know I had that sort of Ronaldo dip in me. I should try it more often.

I think we’d have to see him do it a few times to suggest he’s got Ronaldo’s dip in him (almost a really horrible image that), but fair play. It was a cracking goal and he then set up Danny Welbeck for England’s winner. It was a decent run and cross but Welbeck’s improvised finish with his heel was as outstanding as his Cameo hairstyle. Theo then stuck one on a plate for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain late on, but Steven Gerrard blundered into the middle of it and missed a sitter which we all know The Ox would have finished with aplomb. Stoopid Gerrard.

It means England go in to their final game against Ukraine in good shape, a draw would take them through, and it’s good that Theo came on and had such an influence on proceedings. I spoke yesterday about another big tournament passing him by and although he hasn’t played much, he’s given Roy Hodgson something to think about ahead of the next game.

In the other game, which I didn’t see bar the first few minutes when the players were taken off due to the spectacular storm, France beat Ukraine 2-0 with goals from Menez and Cabaye, but there was little or no Arsenal interest in that game, so fuck it.

Today sees the Czezch Republic play Poland and from the Czech point of view there’s a real worry over Tomas Rosicky who has suffered something of a recurrence of the Achilles injury which he picked up at the end of the domestic season. He seems unlikely to play, saying:

Unfortunately I got a knock in the same place where I had issues towards the end of the club season at Arsenal. Naturally I cannot describe it in expert terms but it is the place where the Achilles tendon goes into the heel.

I have a lot of swelling and it hurts a lot. It hurts me even if I walk. Actually, I cannot stand on the foot properly.

So I would say there are two chances of Tomas playing tonight and slim has just left town. It’s a shame for him but maybe if they qualify he’ll have another chance. That means Arsenal interest lies with whether or not Poland recall Wojciech Szczesny to the side after his suspension. He was sent off in the tournament’s opening game against Greece and his replacement, Tyton (sounds like some kind of metallic superhero, no?), has done pretty well. The Polish manager hinted he’d bring Woj back but we’ll have to just wait and see with this one.

In the other game tonight, Greece play Russia and it’s another chance for Andrei Arshavin to put himself in the shop window. He sort of impressed in his last game before running out of steam and looking very much the portly pudding, but it should be an interesting night with all four teams still capable of qualifying for the knock-out stages.

Beyond that, when I tell you the most exciting piece of Arsenal related news is that Levante want to sign Pedro Botelho, an overly-hyped (former) youngster who has never played for the club and has spent every minute of every season since he signed out on loan, then you’ll understand there’s very little of any real interest happening this morning.

In which case, I’m going to leave it there and I shall talk to you again tomorrow.

 

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