Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The magic of the cup and other nonsense

Morning all,

and what a weekend of FA Cup action it was. Chelsea nearly lost to Brentford, the Mugsmashers went out to Oldham and Sp*rs got beaten by dirty, filthy Leeds. It just shows you that the cup can still spring surprises, and for all the cynicism we have about modern football and the disillusionment there is about the game these days, it was great to see fans of these clubs (apart from Leeds fans) enjoy the performances and results of their team.

I thought Brentford were particularly unlucky not to hang on against Chelsea. Having gone ahead twice I was hoping they’d do it, but I don’t suppose any team can legislate for the fluke occurrence of a Fernando Torres goal. Still, they’ll get a nice payday at the Racist Captain Child Kicking Reserve Player Shooting Manager Hating Arena and good luck to them.

Our win over Brighton means we get a 5th round game at home against Blackburn. We last played them in the cup in the 2006-7 season and after a 0-0 draw, in which they played with 11 men behind the ball, I wrote at the time:

Arsenal looked tired and a bit toothless after 120 minutes in midweek while Blackburn looked like a bag of steaming shite.

It was after that game that Cesc made remarks about Mark Hughes being a twat and not playing like Barcelona or something, and it’s fair to say he was right. A replay took us to Ewood Park and we were beaten by a late Benni McCarthy goal:

A painful cup defeat last night made especially painful by the knowledge that it was a game we should have won. Not for the first time this season though our lack of goals cost. Of course we weren’t helped by Graham Poll who must be the biggest prick on earth.

And here, this morning, nearly 6 years later, with much water under the bridge and many other things to occupy our minds, it is worth remembering that Graham Poll, despite the fact he no longer troubles us or appears before us, is still, probably, the biggest prick on earth. He has a Daily Mail column, for goodness sake. Is there further evidence of a man’s prickery than that? I think not.

Anyway, we’ll hope for a more positive result in the cup, like when we played Blackburn in the semi-finals in the 2004-5 season, and a young Dutchling came off the bench to score two fantastic goals to put us through to the final. He also nearly had his head taken off by Andy Todd who, with the benefit of hindsight, clearly saw something none of us could back then.

Back to the future now and Doc Brown Arsene Wenger has been talking up the qualities of Olivier Giroud, saying:

When he gets into the fighting mode it is difficult to handle him. This guy is tall, strong and quicker than people think he is. He has good finishing as well.

He could have played in England 20 years ago, 10 years ago and today. He is all you need to play as a centre forward; a physical presence.

And here’s where Saturday’s performance against Brighton was interesting for me. Aside from the two goals he scored, it was the first game where he’s really thrown his weight around. It might be just because it was Brighton, but it was good to see. He is big and strong and really should be using that more in the Premier League.

When you look at how forwards like Drogba, Shearer and even old elbowy Davies at Bolton have operated down the years, they used their size and strength to their advantage. I’d like to see him bully defenders a bit more, he seems a bit too nice at times, but there was a moment early in the Brighton game when he had a little run-in with their centre-half who tried to shake his hand/pat him on the back, and Giroud completely and utterly blanked him like he was something he’d find on the bottom of his shoe.

I’m all for sportsmanship and what have you, but that kind of stuff can wait until after the game and hopefully it’s something he can continue. He’ll be facing more difficult opponents on Wednesday when Liverpool come calling. They’ve got one of the monsters from Will Smith’s I Am Legend and maybe Carragher at the back, so he’ll find a bit more niggle in there than he did in the cup on Saturday. He’s got to start doing it against these kinds of teams too, but his progress is promising.

Other than that it seems quiet enough as we head into the final days of the transfer window. I still think it’d be a surprise to see anyone come in, but I guess you never know. Que sera, sera, and all that, but I’m sure Arsene Wenger knows that every single result between now and the end of the season will be put in context of what we do, or don’t, before Thursday night.

Each time we drop points people will ask ‘What if?’ and ‘Why didn’t we?’ and that is something he’s going to have to contend with. I’m not going to hold my breath over signings, but I may just make a small sacrifice to KIWOMYA – GOD OF THE TRANSFER WINDOW, and see what happens.

Right, that’s yer lot. Have a good Monday.

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