Thursday, December 1, 2022

Thoughts on Szczesny as Poland and Russia go out

Ahh, there’s nothing more soothing than being woken by the yip-yapping of a puppy pre-7am on a Sunday morning.

To be fair, due the fact said puppy has necessitated early rising all week long, I was in bed and fast asleep before it got dark (slight, but very slight, exaggeration), but this dog is full of beans this morning. He’s currently attempting to ‘sneak’ into the house with a gigantic bone we got from the butchers yesterday. It’s about the size of his head and he’s just dug it up having buried it for fear those terrible cats might steal it from him. Suffice to say the cats couldn’t give less of a shit.

Right, football stuff and I have to admit I didn’t see any of Euro 2012 last night. The absence of Rosicky and Szczesny from the Poland v Czech Republic game meant I really wasn’t that interested in what went on there, and Arshavin wasn’t enough of a pull for me to care about the second game. As it played out, a Szczesny-less Poland were beaten 1-0 by the Czechs, and their tournament is over.

I guess this will give Wojciech some time for reflection and that may not be a bad thing at all. Being sent off and subsequently losing his place will hurt, no doubt about it. And while his self-confidence is fantastic and his goalkeeping character reflects that, perhaps it’s no harm for him to sit down with his father (with whom he assesses every performance) and take a look at how things have played out for him.

What we have to remember is that he is still very young, especially in goalkeeping terms, and his rise has been pretty meteoric. From talking about leaving us to being number 1 for club and country within 18 months, that’s quite a jump, and all the while he’s learning on the job. What I like though is that nobody should confuse his self-confidence with lack of awareness. He’s an intelligent guy and he’ll know that he’s made a bit of a balls of a big tournament in his home country when he could have seen his stock rise even higher.

I won’t say it’s back to the drawing board but football can sometimes remind you that one day you’re the hottest property around, the next you’re nothing but a common David Bentley. I think Szczesny has the potential to be a really top-rate goalkeeper and I love his attitude and that cocky side of him, but it has to be balanced with top class performances. I’m sure this tournament will do nothing else but refocus him and increase his desire to become a great keeper. It’s not exactly a wake-up call but while the hurt of Euro 2012 will stay with him, I don’t think it’ll do him any harm at all. Quite the opposite in fact.

Also on the way ‘home’ is Andrei Arshavin after Greece stunned Russia with a 1-0 win, meaning they go through the knock-out stages. Of course the issue with Arshavin is where exactly ‘home’ is. I genuinely can’t see any future for him at Arsenal. He had a wonderful chance to be an important player for us and such is his character he might have been a real hero, but the other side of him, the indolent, sluggish, portly one, was what came to the fore and for all concerned I think it’s best we move him on.

I don’t think there’ll be any real problem doing that. I’m sure there’d be other Premier League clubs who would take a punt on him and he’s spoken of his desire to remain in London, and such is reputation that there’d be no shortage of clubs on the continent who’d have him. It’s up to Ivan and Dick Law and Order to make it happen and we have to move on.

In tonight’s games it all looks very tasty indeed. Denmark take on Germany while Holland play Portugal. Such is the way the competition is set up that the Dutch could qualify despite losing their opening two games. They need Germany to win while beating Portugal by two goals. If nothing else it means that game in particular should be an opening, attacking one, and I’ll definitely have my eye on that later on.

In terms of Arsenal news this morning there’s little to tell you. Lukasz Fabianski has reiterated his desire to leave the club, saying:

I want to change team and to play regularly. This is just not available to me at Arsenal.

And I really don’t have any issue with that. I cannot understand goalkeepers content with life as a number 2 and if Fabianski wants to play week in, week out, then I think it’s incumbent on us to let him go. He had a chance with us, it didn’t work out, and that’s that. Of course it does mean Arsene will need to bring in somebody (relatively) experienced to back up/challenge Szczesny, so that’s another interesting vignette this summer throws up.

In terms of transfers – Nicklas Bendtner is being strongly linked with a move to Galatasaray by the Turkish press. A fee of around £4.5m has been mentioned which, if true, may reflect the fact the wages our players are on are such that concessions have to be made in terms of their transfer fees. Nick has another chance to shine at the Euros tonight, so who knows what another goal or two might bring about in terms of fee and clubs interested.

This morning’s Mirror carries some purported quotes from uber-target Yann M’Vila. He says:

I have heard Arsenal are interested in me. I like Arsenal and I like the Premier League. I don’t know what is happening with the clubs, but yes, I would be interested in the Premier League and Arsenal.

Which is all well and good but it’s whether or not Arsenal are interested in him that really matters. It’s clear that the stories which said this deal was ‘99% done’ were extremely wide of the mark, so we’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out.

The Mirror also has a story about how we’ve slapped a £30m price tag on Robin van Persie but we might also keep him for the final year of his contract and Theo Walcott could be on his way too and ZZZzzzzzz. Exactly.

Right, I have a Sunday lunch to prepare. It’s not till this evening but I reckon I’ll have everything done by half-nine. Have a good, yip-yap free Sunday. Till tomorrow.

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