World Cup Plummets To New Lows Whilst Exits Beckon At Arsenal
Sepp Blatter promised us a festival of football. It duly arrived this weekend with the bloated egos of players coming to the fore, everything that this money-driven era of the sport’s history. Nicolas Anelka reportedly abused his coach and was duly despatched onto his summer holidays a few days earlier than the rest of his team-mates.
Patrice Evra showed what a great captain he will be for his country by abusing a fitness coach, caught by a passing mobile phone camera judging by the footage sprayed onto the television screens by a gleeful media. It all led to a peasants revolt with the French team refusing to train yesterday. How proud of their players a nation must be.
Meanwhile, ‘EBJT‘ used to stand for ‘England’s Brave John Terry‘; substitute ‘Brave’ for ‘Bitter’ as the amoral ego of Terry brought forth reports of rebellion against Fabio Capello in the England camp. Except no-one seems to have followed him over the top and he was left looking rather stupid, a feeling that he is rather well acquainted with this year.
Some of his points were valid. Quite what benefit is derived from naming a team two hours before kick-off, Capello has never fully explained. I can see that keeping it from the media puts doubts into the opposition’s mind but to not tell the players appears on the surface, counter-productive.
Not playing Joe Cole stifles what little creativity there is and how he must regret taking Lennon and Wright-Phillips, two players who have shown that they are patently not capable of playing in big games. I will not even begin to discuss that failure to accommodate Gerrard and Lampard centrally.
The question that springs to mind is why successful club managers make such a pig’s ear of adapting to international football. The answer is probably not dissimilar to the same adaptation problems which beset players, which of course, adds to the manager’s problems.
The rest of World Cup would be rolling on the floor laughing if they were not beset by problems on the pitch. Heading into the final week of the group phase, several of the expected leading lights are finding that their glow is rather dimmer than tournament predictions made before South Africa kicked off against France.
Germany, Italy and Spain find themselves fighting to progress into the knockout round with none of them assured of progress and arguably the former in the most precarious position, knowing that they have to win but like the Italians, likely to do so in their final match because that is what they are good at. Qualifying and progressing in these tournaments. Spain must win tonight before going into their final match against Chile, a fixture they should on paper win also but there is no guarantee once they get onto the pitch.
Having taken the bouquets in the first week, officials in South Africa are taking the brickbats as the levels of inconsistency around the world have been highlighted. Some of the errors have been understandable, others incomprehensible whilst players have used the media to muddy the waters even further, particularly when the referees have got the decisions correct. Haven’t you, Mr Kewell.
The sending off of Kaka is provoking much consternation, the decision apparently given by the fourth official. There seems to be a difference of opinion as to their role, whether they should have access to TV replays to view incidents – which they have previously – and whether they should interfere on the pitch. Consistency in decision making is a big enough issue without inconsistency over the fourth official confusing matters further.
Brazil strolled past a defensive Ivory Coast, a defeat for the Africans which may take qualification out of their own hands should Portugal win at lunchtime. No doubt there will be accusations of colonnial connivances if Brazil and Portugal draw their last match, condemning the Ivorians to an early exit.
They have only themselves and their coach to blame. They should have beaten Portugal in their dour opening match whilst Sven’s inferiority complex against Brazil stifled their attacking flair until Kaka departed. Whilst Fabiano clearly handled before scoring, Brazil were good value for their win. That does not excuse the cheating though.
If there is any justice, Keita will face a suspension as well although that is unlikely. He over-reacted to his collision with Kaka which did not appear on first glance to contain any contact with his face. Yet the ‘star’ has waned this tournament, failing to produce the skill for which he has been lauded. This incident serves only to sum up his indifferent luck in South Africa.
So to Arsenal. The departures of Gallas and Silvestre are expected to be confirmed officially this week as their contracts have expired. The former seems set for Italy, the latter a holiday in the sun. Which is where Jay Simpson appears to be going as reports link him with a move to Cyprus. Or Peterborough. Or any ‘suitable’ offer.
His departure is not entirely surprising, loan spells still seem to be a prelude to a departure at the moment and as the squad has a queue building in the forward line, exit stage left for Simpson is certainly an option that the youngster now has to consider.
He will be the first of many that go over the coming seasons. A number of the midfielders are reaching an age where their careers will stagnate if they do not make the breakthrough. No doubt some anguish will be displayed as Arsenal does not promote from within all of the time but the tough choices about who will or will not make the grade, are those which the manager and coaching staff are paid for.
Elsewhere, despite protestations to the contrary, He is not yet signing for Them despite their lame duck President’s proclamation that Arsenal cannot continually resist their overtures. I bet Ivan and his team have hours of fun taking Laporta’s calls only to stand shouting, ‘La, la, la, I can’t hear you‘, into the handsfree mic whilst sticking their fingers in their ears. It was a game of transfer chicken and in the first instance, Barcelona blinked before Arsenal. The daily dose of Fabregas will no doubt return once the World Cup for Spain, is over.
Posted on June 21, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip, World Cup 2010 and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Rumours, World Cup 2010. Bookmark the permalink. 142 Comments.