Morning all, and welcome to Interlull Friday. So far none of the following things have happened:
1 – Kroenke has not challenged Usmanov to a duel with old style muskets. Granted, this could be some very entertaining half-time fare, and it’s likely that in the future this is the way that the ownership of football clubs will be decided.
The event will stream live on Facebook on Christmas Day as both men enter the stadium in monster trucks, then have at each other as the crowd bays on just before our European Super League encounter with Dublin Rovers, a team owned by Bono after he was given a $13bn tax rebate from the Irish government who couldn’t think of anything else to do with the money they’d been owed by Apple. I mean, you certainly couldn’t use it to help the homeless crisis, hospital waiting lists or other fripperies like that.
2 – Lots of other things. I mean, it’s possible that they might still happen. In fact, I’m sure they will. Right throughout the day these things will happen – to each and every one of you – and you’ll be sitting there thinking ‘How did he know?’, but I’m not telling.
The players are away of course, doing their thing for their nations. Thanks to @RBTheAlum for pointing me in the direction of some very iffy goalkeeping not once, not twice but … no, just twice from David Ospina as Colombia got beaten 2-1 by Paraguay. They remain in fourth place in their qualifying group, facing a trip to Peru to ensure qualification.
I know he’s into the September of his career, but I really, sincerely hope that Petr Cech stays fit this season [*desperately lights votive candles*]. Ospina seems like a nice bloke and all, but I just don’t feel secure when he’s in goal. It’s kinda like when the goalkeeper for your Astro team can’t make the game and one of the outfield lads has to go in goal. You know there’s the potential for a clanger to be dropped at any moment. Perhaps several.
Still, it’s not as if we let one of the best performing goalkeepers in Europe last season, and a seasoned international, leave for a relatively tiny fee so he could go and replace an absolute legend at the biggest club in Italy or anything. That would annoy me if we’d done something like that.
Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez scored a late winner against Ecuador to give Chile a win. They now face Brazil in a game to ensure their participation in the World Cup in Russia next summer. It’s at this point we might usually express some concern about him playing another summer tournament and not getting any rest, but I suspect that’s going to be somebody else’s problem.
Once he stays as fit as possible for us for the rest of the season, or until January when we’ll shock the world by selling him for a massive fee and reinvesting the money into a number of top young players on the brink of becoming ‘world class’ but that nobody’s ever heard of right now so we get them really, really, super cheap, then that’s the best we can hope for.
England, without an Arsenal player in the line-up, qualified with a comprehensive 1-0 win over Slovenia. Gareth Southgate really has imprinted his personality on this team. I hear from very good sources that a new kit will be revealed before the World Cup, with a move away from the traditional white to something a bit more beige, while a tub-thumping song will be released to gee up the nation with Ed Sheeran doing generic 1980s hold music.
It was also a bad night for former Gunner Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who was taken off and booted a bottle of water. He’s lucky the game wasn’t at Old Trafford or he’d get sent to the stands for that kind of chicanery, but things have not gone well for him in general since he left Arsenal. There are some that say £40m never scored you a goal, but right now if I had to select a team to play for me I would choose a bundle of banknotes over the Ox.
Right, not much else happening this morning. There are more international games tonight so we’ll have an exciting round-up of what went on there in tomorrow’s blog.
For now, I’ll leave you with a brand new Arsecast in which I talk to Kieron O’Connor (@SwissRamble). Arsenal’s financial results were released last week, so we chat about making a healthy profit, cash in the bank, how we still lag behind the others in terms of commercial revenue, the challenges of improving that in a season when we’re in the Europa League, potential transfer funds and lots more. We also touch on the current situation involving Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov, and what the future might hold there.
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