Good morning from Dublin where my full address is: Arseblogger, 7 Rainsville, Floodington Crescent, Drizzletown by Deluge, Torrential Avenue, Cloudland.
Let’s start with the Euros this morning and although it’s never nice to see Cristiano Ronaldo happy, in one way I have to thank him for saving us from another 30 minutes of that game. The Czechs were a bit rubbish really, and it was Portugal who made all the chances. Eventually Ronaldo made the breakthrough, scoring the winner inside the last 10 minutes with a very smart header.
The most annoying part of it was having to see HD slow-motion replays of his neck. I don’t know quite what it is but I find his neck one of the most disgusting things on earth. If I ever went to the bottom of the sea in one of those submersibles I’d definitely expect to see a fish the exact shape and texture of his neck amongst the glowing squid and mega-prawns with antenna 50 feet long that glow in the dark and shoot bullets of poisonous coral and plankton spunk.
I don’t really want to put anyone off their breakfast so I’ll stop there, but you can’t argue they didn’t deserve to go through. Without Rosicky the Czechs had nobody to dictate play and seemed to want to grind out 120 minutes for a penalty shoot-out. The possibility of seeing Nani or Ronaldo miss a crucial spot kick is always good but not at the expense of another half an hour of that match.
Tonight it’s Germany v Greece and it could be a similar kind of game. One team attacking, one team sitting back hoping to keep it tight, and maybe nick a goal from a set-piece along the way, before keeping it even tighter. There is also a political edge to this game but it’s too early in the morning for politics and generally speaking politics is for utter bastards so let’s not go there. It’s hard to look beyond Germany though who I think have far too much attacking vim not to go through.
Now, back to the land of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger has all but confirmed the signing of Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud. He was asked to assess his performances at the Euros and was surprisingly forthcoming about his possible (now pretty probable) transfer:
Giroud didn’t play much, but he’s going to be an Arsenal player 90% next season.
I think he has exceptional potential and will integrate very well in our collective and our way of playing. He’s a real team player and knows how to combine with other players and I’m sure he will do well with us.
So, good news, even if I am going to remain a bit on the cautious side about a striker coming from France. Hey once bitten, and all that, but it looks as if we’ll be able to make our own minds up about him sooner rather than later. It will, naturally, lead to speculation about the future of Robin van Persie, but then a passing cloud in the shape in the Sheikh Mansour would do that, so I’m not going to get my knickers in a twist.
What I would say is that if it’s a sign to Robin that we want to improve and bring better players in, then adding Podolski and Ligue 1’s top scorer from last season is a pretty good start. Especially bearing in mind other players have to leave and we’re still being heavily linked with M’Vila and others. And if it’s a case that the club already know that Robin is leaving then we’ve moved early to find replacements, which is in stark contrast to last summer where we stuck our head in the sand over Cesc and Nasri and had to do some crazy last minute shopping to try and fill the gaps.
Losing your captain, and best player, for the second summer running would certainly be a worrying development, but if that is the case – and it’s still an if, let’s face it – at least we’ve gone about managing the situation in a controlled way and in a way which suits us. I have to admit I vary between glass half-full and glass dropped on the floor and I’ve just stood in a massive shard of the glass and my foot is gushing blood from the glass, when it comes to Robin’s future, but more and more it appears lessons have been well and truly learned from last summer.
The boss also spoke about Lukas Podolski, saying:
Podolski did a great job for the German team, he has superb team work. He plays in a cautious way sometimes, but he’s still scored a very important goal against Denmark for his 100th cap. I am very happy with what I’ve seen from him.
Which is nice because Podolski is looking forward to working with Arsene:
He has been a very successful coach both in Europe and around the world. He speaks several languages, and German in particular, which is very helpful. We have spoken to each other on the telephone a few times, which was very good and also made my decision even easier.
Hurrah, everyone loves everyone! Podolski will join up with the squad after Euro 2012 and after he gets an extended holiday, but should be involved in the second half of the pre-season preparations. We’ll see what the manager has planned for him then, but a front three of Podolski (left), van Persie/Giroud, with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott (perhaps) vying for the right hand side is quite tasty.
And speaking of Oxlade-Chamberlain, The Mirror report that he’s set to be offered a new deal which will treble his wages. I genuinely don’t care too much about what he’s being paid but when a youngster breaks through to his national side (and I think he’s played in a part in every England game so far), that’s a level of performance that probably should be rewarded.
Ok then, it’s Friday. At some point the prospect of beer after work will be closer than the full day that lies ahead, so have a good one until then.