Good morning, from what this morning remains a distinctly sunny East Lothian. It’s going to be a quicky today, I’m afraid, since I have an absolutely mad day ahead of me.
A sad morning for Wales, as they lost 2-0 to Portugal in last night’s semi final in the Euros, the unspeakable Cristiano Ronaldo getting the first with a bullet header, and then Nani pretty much killing it off three minutes later with the second. That’s the first game Portugal have won in normal time in the championship, I think. That being the case, I find it fairly shocking that they’ve reached the final. With my apologies to any Portuguese gooners quite naturally supporting their team, it doesn’t feel right that can or should be possible. And, you know, Ronaldo will be happy, as will Pepe, neither of which are things pleasant for me to see (literally). With them now in the final, they could very well finally fulfill the promise of their “golden generation”, and again, with apologies to any of their supporters reading this, I rather hope Mesut makes a bit of a mess of them (though probably not by scoring a penalty), or if France win the other semi, Kos boots Ronaldo into Pepe and they both end up in outer space, never to be heard of again.
As for Wales, well, they huffed and puffed, and Bale tried a few things, but it was obviously – obviously – Aaron Ramsey’s absence that did for them. Still, they’ve shown a lot of heart and no little skill in getting this far – a great achievement for a such a small nation who are perhaps traditionally more famous for their rugby team’s achievements than those in football. Their fans have been great too, and I did have a sneaking feeling that their name might be on the cup after they spanked Belgium and got drawn against what I think is a pretty average set of Portugeezers, but sadly for them it wasn’t to be.
I’ve talked about this in stints I’ve done on the blog before, I think, but I have to admit at this point, the only redeeming quality of international football for me is the fact that every two years there’s quite a lot of footy on the TV over the course of a summer, but I can’t say I’ve been particularly glued to it this time round. England provided some entertainment (of sorts), Iceland were awesome (particularly their brilliant, wonderful fans), I thought Croatia looked rather good in one of their games, and Italy were simply superb against Spain, a game I did watch with interest, but other than that, it’s all a been a bit meh. Arsenal are my team, and anything else is just an occasionally pleasant, but mostly unwelcome distraction.
In Arsenal news, some more on new boy Takuma Asano, who has been called up for Japan’s squad for the football tournament in the Rio Olympics (more international football – yay!). As reported on Arseblog News, Asano will play his final game for his current club, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, on 17th July before joining the Olympic squad.
Someone it appears will not be going to the Olympics is Alex Iwobi, who has apparently stopped answering his phone. Maybe it’s just out of battery – you know what these giant smartphones are like these days with their enormous screens using all that battery life – but the rumour is that he’s more concerned about keeping his place in Arsenal’s first team, something that perhaps might be in doubt were he to be away and miss pre-season with us. He was selected for the 35 man squad, but as far as the Nigerian coach is concerned, the Arsenal man is AWOL (or just has a flat battery) saying, in a rather backhanded way:
I tried to call his father, but he wasn’t picking my calls. He used to call me frequently when he wanted his son to play for the country, but now that we need his son for the Olympics football tournament, he is not picking my calls.
But there is no problem, Alex remains my boy, I love him like my own son, but I am just disappointed that he and his father couldn’t keep the promises they made to me.
In other news that might not really be news, we’ve apparently given Dutch keeper Guy Smit a two week trial in goal. We don’t seem particularly short on the ‘keeper front though, nor does it really seem like an area I’d be particularly inclined to be looking to bolster (were I Arsene Wenger, which I think we established yesterday that I’m probably not), so I’m not sure I’m going to be holding my breath or getting too worked up on that one.
Today’s transfer nonsense sees us linked with Romelu Lukaku, a player I do quite like, but rather too similar a player to Giroud for me to believe we’re ready to meet whatever astronomical price Everton would presumably want for him. We’re also linked with Lacazette again, and Álvaro Morata, which doesn’t seem terribly likely given most of Europe is after him and Real Madrid’s asking price will surely be well beyond anything we’re likely to pay. You never know though, I guess.
Finally for today, I’m afraid my stint at the controls needs to come to a rather abrupt end (which in no way reflects the fact that Guy Smit being given a two week trial counts as news). You might remember yesterday I mentioned that 2016 had seen some really, fairly terrible, moronic things happen, but also some rather wonderful ones too. One of those rather wonderful things was the birth of my son, seven weeks ago. I thought I’d be able to juggle (not literally!) writing the blog, work, and looking after my baby boy, but it’s taken me one whole day to realise it’s rather too much. I already get up at 5am, and try to get to bed by 9pm so I can get enough sleep to at least do some kind of imitation of my job, but the experience of yesterday and today has demonstrated quite clearly to me that’s not the case, so I’ll be handing over Andrew Allen of Arseblog News and he can report on all the amazing transfer activity and other news that’s sure to break as soon as I step away.
Apologies for the brevity of my stay – hopefully it won’t be too long before you hear from me again.
Until next time!