Wednesday, June 19, 2024

A stress free football week, with some laughs …

I’ve watched quite a bit of football this week. After the nerve-jangling experiences of Arsenal fixtures, I think it’s about just viewing games in a zero stress environment. I had my preferences though, of course.

I was glad to see Real Madrid get a late goal against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, and it was good to see Borussia Dortmund beat PSG on Wednesday. Is there a more nothing club in football than PSG? The ownership, the track record of failure in the Champions League, the dominance of Ligue 1 that nobody pays any attention to because of the ownership. It’s a thing that exists for the sake of existing, like some kind of art installation that people look at and go ‘Oh’, and then never think about it again.

Hopefully Dortmund can do the job in the second leg, and I’d like to see them win the Champions League this season. Whether that’s at the expense of Real or Bayern, I don’t care. The latter would be funniest, naturally, but it’d just breathe a bit of life back into the tournament if they did it.

Then last night I watched Chelsea v Spurs. Man, that was a terrible game of football. Not one of those where you hear the commentators talk about the Premier League being the best in the world. And let’s be honest, they do that after games where the action might be interesting but the quality is poor – like Chelsea’s win over Man Utd a few weeks back. Late drama, yes. Abject defending from both sides throughout, also yes.

Back to last night, I never want to see Chelsea happy, but it was really very funny to see Spurs concede both goals from set-pieces. The first was a great header, but after what happened against us and their manager’s reaction to it at the weekend, it was hilarious. Can you imagine their training ground this week?

Assistant coach: Boss, we’re really quite bad at defending set-pieces.

Ange: Yes mate, if only there was something we could do.

Assistant coach: What about, you know, practising some defending from set-pieces?

Ange: Mate, if I thought practising something we’re really bad at would help us get better at it, mate, I’d be doing it all day, mate.

Assistant coach: You know, we could, like, coach them to be better prepared and organised when the opposition has set-pieces.

Ange: Yes, but there simply is no way of doing that, mate. What am I supposed to do? Do that? Mate.

The second goal is quite hilarious. I was wondering if Spurs should bring on James Maddison to help them, I dunno, do anything, but then I spotted him, doing the lying down behind the wall job. I don’t know what he was thinking of, probably how he likes to be the main man when his family have a Sunday roast, but Cole Palmer’s shot rattled the bar and he just lay there, dreaming of Yorkshire puddings. By the time he’d reacted, Nicolas Jackson – the worst of all the Jackson 5 – had headed Chelsea 2-0 in front.

I remember a time when there was a clamour for Arsenal to spend £60m on Maddison rather than £30m on Martin Odegaard. Hey, we all have our opinions, none of us get everything right, but one is a great footballer and the other is a guy who has about 4 good games a season whose forehead would, admittedly, make him a great candidate if they ever did a stage version of Mars Attacks.

Obviously it doesn’t augur well for Spurs’ Champions League qualification hopes, and may well make their game with Man City a dead rubber. But look, if you are pinning any of your hopes on that lot to make the difference for us in the title race, you need to stop it immediately. Just don’t let yourself go there, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. As sure as night follows day.

Anyway, it’ll be Fulham that do the job for us.

Later on Mikel Arteta will be meeting the press ahead of our game against Bournemouth. This could be a trickier game than people think, and I know this because I’m already dreaming about it. We did win it, but I don’t think the winning goal can be scored by putting a ring of sausages under the bonnet of a car being driven by Ryan Gosling. That’s not how football works in the real world.

We’ll bring you all the stories and team news updates from the presser over on Arseblog News. There is also a brand new Arsecast to listen to (if you haven’t already), on site or in all the usual podcast places.

Just finally for today, after pledging our April Patreon revenue to UNICEF, with other contributions we rounded it up and made a donation of €50,000 yesterday – money that will go to help some of the most vulnerable children in the world. Kids whose lives are, through no fault of their own, impacted in the most difficult ways.

Maybe it’s a bit of a throwaway line or a cliche, but we live in a world where far too many people have to endure things they simply shouldn’t. The basics we take for granted would seem like a luxury to millions. Increasingly, I feel it’s important that if you have the ability to help, you should. It’s easy to turn off the news, to turn a blind eye, but if there’s a way to make a material difference, it’s incumbent on you to do your bit.

The ability to harness the size of the Arseblog platform to do good is something I’m very proud of. The generosity and kindness of this community is unbelievable, as evidenced by the support for what we do, as well as involvement in efforts like the ArsenalVision fundraiser which raised over £315,000 for the Arsenal Foundation and the vital work they do at home, and ‘abroad’. Since 2022, this site has donated €135,000 to good causes, and we will continue to do so.

Whether you’re a Patreon member whose subscription for April was part of that donation, or just someone who reads and listens regularly, you are part of why we are able to do this, and I want to thank you so much for that. I know it’s a small drop in a very big ocean, and there are so many worthy causes out there, but this really will make some difference to kids who need it so badly.

Thanks again ❤️

Right, that’s it for this morning. We’ll have our Bournemouth preview podcast for you over on Patreon a little later on this afternoon, for now, have a good Friday.

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