Hot air and the British core

Good morning.

It’s pretty quiet. The Arsenal feed on NewsNow is full of stories about how Scott T Parker says that Gareth Bale’s goal against West Ham will have ‘deflated’ Arsenal.

Firstly, Scott Parker is very annoying in his own right. Secondly, shut up. Thirdly, he should jump out a window. And fourthly, perhaps if Scott T Parker had ever done anything worthwhile in his life, like invent the trampoline or a medicine that cures whooping cough, then he’s got a right to say things out loud and in public. But all he’s ever done is chunder around a midfield like a third-rate Biggles with his tally-ho haircut and freckles.

What makes him think anyone bar his mum is interested in anything he has to say? The downright arrogance of footballers these days. Talking. About things. How dare they?

If Bale scores against us on Sunday it could well be ‘deflating’, bearing in mind we’re not a balloon or a lilo or any other kind inflatable object, but I seem to remember him scoring against us the last time we played. It wasn’t particularly deflating as we went on to win 5-2. I also remember Bale diving for a penalty for the other time we beat them 5-2 and whoever the referee is on Sunday ought to remember that no player in history has ever been booked more for ‘simulation’ than Simian Joe.

While there’s no doubt Bale is a fine player, he’s also a big cheating bastard, something the press tend to overlook as they cream themselves into a frenzy about him. When they’re happy to go town on other players for a single incident, Bale just needs to make a kidney shape with his paws and they forget all about his diving and the fact he basically admits to diving because he wants to avoid serious injury. Nobody’s fooled. He cheats because that’s what cheats do, scoring a few decent goals against retarded defences like West Ham’s doesn’t take away from that.

Anyway, enough talk about him and his filthy ilk. There’s a bit of a story around Carl Jenkinson and the ‘British core’ we’ve got at the club now. It’s kinda confusing because he says stuff like:

I think it’s good to have an English core. We’re an English club and with English players and an English squad, the fans can relate to that.

Followed by:

Arsenal Football Club are going to sign players that are the best and I don’t think it will really matter where they’re from.

The boss has long said he doesn’t look at a player’s passport when he signs them, and while I think there are obvious benefits to having this core of ‘home grown’ players, I’m not 100% sure it was a deliberate strategy. It seems to me it’s more circumstance than anything else. Theo Walcott was signed in 2006, Ramsey in 2008, Wilshere and Gibbs have come through the academy, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jenkinson signed in 2011, so it’s taken time for this to come together.

I think he’s looked at his squad, and while it’s not exactly coincidence, he’s seen a group of young British players who have the potential to be part of the team for years to come. But it’s not that different to having Song, Denilson, Vela and Bendtner, for example. All in and around the same age, players he thought could grow together but who, for various reasons we won’t go into, weren’t able to do so with the kind of cohesion he’d have liked.

I think there’s certainly some advantage to having British players like this. For one thing, and I mean this in the best possible way, they tend to be unadventurous when it comes to their playing careers. It might be loyalty, or it might be down to the fact the money in the Premier League is too good, but few, if any, ever consider a move abroad. Compare that to a ‘foreign’ player who has left home at an early age and then has little compunction moving anywhere, domestically or further afield, if they see a better opportunity or if they just feel like it.

Having had his fingers burned more than once by players exactly like that maybe Arsene is banking on that lack of wanderlust to ensure his squad stays together. Of course there’s more to keeping your important core together, but it’s no harm when they’re more ‘local’ than others. Anyhow, we shall see how it all pans out for them, and some have a lot still to do to ensure they’re part of the team in the long-term.

Kieran Gibbs, despite being our best defender this season, has rather unluckily seen injury relegate him to second choice behind Nacho Monreal, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is suffering badly from second season syndrome. He’s not playing very much, he’s not doing a great deal when he does, and out of all them he really needs to get his head down and work his way back into the manager’s thoughts. It’s not to say he’s a bad player, far from it, but he’s yet to tie down a definite position and it’s hard to see how he gets into the team at the moment.

Still, that’ll be the measure of him. Does he have the fight and determination to make it at Arsenal? He’s got a brilliant chance of forging an excellent career here, but it’s all down to how much he wants it.

Right, not a lot else going on. Back tomorrow. Until then, stay on your feet.

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