Thursday, November 30, 2023

Good spirits and evil triumvirates

Good morning to you and welcome to Friday. It’s sunny and my back hurts. Not that these two things are in any way related but there you go.

The team has spent the week in Germany training, improving fitness, and looking like they’re enjoying themselves. If you didn’t see the quite amusing video of an Andre Santos v Alex Song penalty shoot-out (they took turns in goals too), which culminated in Santos reverse teabagging Song before using his arse as bongos, then it’s probably worth a look on the Arsenal Player.

Maybe that tells us more about Andre Santos and Alex Song than anything else, but it looks as if the training camp has fostered a good atmosphere, something Mikel Arteta has commented on in an interview with the official site. He says:

The [training camp] is good because we all spend time together and you get a relationship with your team-mates, which is very important when you go on to the field.

And says of the new boys Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski:

They are looking good in training and getting on really well with the other players. They’re confident and making jokes. They are very comfortable, this is an easy group. They are nice lads and we are all trying to help them.

Which is great to hear. As I always say, a team that drinks together … erm … drinks together. Uhm, that might apply more to Tuesday night Astro but there’s definitely something encouraging when you hear a senior player talk like that. We’ve had a few difficult characters around the place over the last few seasons, you all know the names, and while there’s always one (or two), it looks as if this group of players has bonded well and over the course of the season it is, despite being pretty much an intangible, very important. Professional pride is one thing but it’s just human nature that you’ll go that extra bit for teammates you like and respect. Let’s hope the atmosphere is one we can maintain throughout the upcoming campaign.

Arteta has also spoken specifically about his fellow Spaniard, saying of Santi Cazorla:

Technically he is very gifted, he can play wide in both positions and through the middle as well. He is tricky and has two good feet – in fact I could not say whether he is right or left-footed. He will bring us good experience and something different. He will be a good addition to the team.

The way that we play at Arsenal really suits his qualities and hopefully he will be very successful.

Tricky, two good feet, hard to say which is his strongest? Good lord, it’s the Spanish Hleb! I kid, I kid, Cazorla does not care for Italian ice-cream, but it’s a fine endorsement of a player we’re likely to see make his Arsenal debut on Sunday against FC Koln. It’ll be really interesting to see where Arsene is planning to use him. He can easily play left or right of the main striker but given the need for creativity having him more central, as the furthest forward of the midfield trio, seems the most likely.

Whatever way he does it though, the three new additions will bring a new dimension to the attacking side of our game. It seems clear that the signings made were to deliberately move us away from our reliance on Robin van Persie for goals. The ‘one man team’ accusations last season were a bit lazy but there was a certain amount of truth to them. As brilliant as van Persie was, and he really was, he seemed to be pretty much our only attacking outlet. If he didn’t produce we found it more difficult than we should have to score goals.

Adding the top scorer from France (who looks a much more rounded footballer than the last couple of signings we’ve made from the French league), a hugely experienced player like Podolski who can add some pace and power to things, and Cazorla with his creativity and goal-scoring ability means if one man doesn’t do it on the day there are others who can. And that’s not even taking into the account the fact that you want the existing players to be inspired and motivated by what the new boys bring to the team. Obviously that’s the ideal scenario, taking all the positives and not considering any negatives, but there’s a long, difficult season ahead. There’ll be plenty of time for all that in due course.

Elsewhere, after yesterday’s Alex Ferguson outburst about Robin van Persie, this morning it’s Wayne Rooney’s turn to make like a Barcelona player and talk about the impending transfer of an Arsenal player to his team. He says van Persie would be ‘great addition’ to the United squad and that he’s an ‘amazing’ player. Perhaps this is music to van Persie’s ears but then what causes aural delight to the Dutchman has long been a stain on his character. See below:

You know, when he was playing well, shinning in goals from 25 yards and generally being awesome, this was something I think we could overlook. But now, NOW that he’s done what he’s done this summer, stated what he stated, and behaved the way he’s behaved, I can no longer ignore it. To think that all along this piece of trivia, this fact, this unavoidable truth was staring us in the face and we chose to think he was a decent, honourable person. How wrong could we have been?

You know who else is a Phil Collins fan? John Terry. Loves him like he loves wearing shin pads with a suit. Pol Pot woke every morning to do an exercise routine to Sussudio. Robbie Savage lists Collins as ‘the greatest hero of modern crypto-fascist politics’. Ashley Cole launched a restaurant with a casual dress code so he could call it No Jacket Required. Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer play air-drums to In the air tonight before every episode of Match of the Day. That’s why Lee Dixon fucked off to ITV.

So, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Phil Collins, enjoy your foul, repellent threesome. It’s an abomination. Which is to say there’s nothing new about van Persie and there’s no sign of Theo Walcott (favourite recording artist: The Corrs, he loves those four girls) signing a new deal either. Maybe he’ll find time when he finishes his new book ‘Little Jimmy and the time he waited to see what his best mate was doing’.

Till tomorrow.

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