Morning all. Imagine if the only football there was was international football? Scary way to start your day, sorry about that.
There was a bit of panic last night when reports emerged from France training that Laurent Koscielny had picked up a knee injury in a collision with Frank Ribery (who probably tried to devour it, or have illegal sex with it, the rampant little goblin). At first it looked serious because he was being helped off the pitch before reports emerged later that it wasn’t that serious at all and he’s expected to take a full part in training today.
I know many people support the idea that if a player is injured while away with his national team that the relevant association should cover that player’s wages. It is a grand idea, especially for those who are out for a long time, but I’d also support the idea that the player who inflicts the image be punched in the stomach at least four times. Especially if it’s one of his own teammates. A bit of consideration, please.
Then I recall an incident a few summers ago when Abou Diaby broke Samir Nasri’s leg in a tackle and at the time we were all like ‘Oh, Diaby you big clumsy eejit, what have you done to a a player we quite like?’ and then in hindsight we ought to have built a statue of Diaby outside the stadium because he obviously knew exactly what Nasri was like and was trying to save us, and Arsene Wenger, the inevitable drama. Maybe it’s like when they talk about people who are blind and their other senses are more finely tuned because of that. All that time out injured has allowed Diaby to develop a 6th sense like that kid in that movie who had a 6th sense and he used that 6th sense to see dead people with his 6th sense. I think it was called ‘Leave me alone Bruce Willis’.
Anyway, the point is Koscielny is ok. Unless it reacted overnight and swelled up like a balloon and is all full of fluid and stuff. In which case we can start panicking again, but for now we’ll simply sit back and picture Diaby punching Nasri in the stomach. And by punching I meant shooting. And instead of stomach, I choose face. With a blunderbuss.
If you missed it yesterday AS ran a very fine interview with two Arsenal players, who, erm, interviewed themselves. I’m digging this concept. Remove the interviewer from the process altogether. Let’s face it, most of the time the questions are inane. “How does it feel to lose a game in such heartbreaking circumstances?”, ask Sky reporters all the time in the immediate aftermath of games.
“Well, Geoff, as you might imagine it’s fucking shit, you insensitive prick,” Freddie Ljungberg might answer but there aren’t too many Freddies around these days. However, the point is that Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla had a good chat, Guillem Ballague tended to his finely sculpted beard and wrote it all down, and it made for very entertaining reading.
Cazorla expresses surprise that Arteta has never made the Spanish national squad, and Mik admits to being ‘envious and angry’ that it’s never happened for him. He’s had the misfortune to play at a time when the Spanish squad is incredibly strong but if you look at the fact that Marco Senna played for them late in his career it’s not impossible. From a purely selfish point of view I like the fact that he stays with us and enjoys the physical benefit of the rest/not playing/not traveling, but if he were called up it’d be impossible to say he didn’t deserve it.
I also liked the way Cazorla spoke with such reverence about Arteta’s position in the dressing room:
When I arrived, I was a little surprised at the level of respect that you have in the dressing-room. But when I saw you with the group and on the pitch it’s obvious that almost all consider you the Captain. You are a leader. I’m no good at that, nobody would listen to me! But when you talk they listen.
Arsene often says the armband isn’t important when you have leaders on the pitch and it’s clear Arteta is one of those. He’s probably the most senior player in the squad and his professionalism should be an example, not just to young players, but to every player. He made a move to a ‘big’ club (no disrespect to Everton) relatively late in his career and he’s determined to make the most of it. Not only does he have the quality but he’s got the consistency that others have yet to find, and that he’s obviously taken Cazorla under his wing (like a tiny little bird) is great to see too. I think these two Spaniards hold the key to a successful season, like footballing Fagins they’ll send the others out to do the dirty.
In other news, well there isn’t very much. Today’s post on A Cultured Left Foot takes a look at the business of the business in a nice way. Never before have we had such unfettered access to the finances of the club and while in many ways it’s a good thing, in others it takes us down roads which lead nowhere. By that I mean the more information we have, the better, but such is the nature of people and football and life, that information begets misinformation and it doesn’t take much for that to become some version of the truth.
Yet that’s something we’ve got to live with, it’s not going to change any time soon. Therefore it’s incumbent on those who provide that information to do so as carefully as they can, and the onus is then on the reader to ensure they understand what’s being said, not to take their own meaning from it and run wild.
Bonus reading: a piece I wrote for ESPN about Kieran Gibbs and his improvement over the first couple of months of this season.
And finally for today congratulations to the Arsenal Ladies who completed a domestic double last night, beating Birmingham City 1-0 in the FA WSL Continental Cup Final at Barnet FC’s Underhill Stadium. Brilliant stuff.
Right, that’s that for today. Back tomorrow, there’s unlikely to be an Arsecast due to the Interlull. Please send your complaints to Michel Platini, 7, UEFA.