England Expects As RvP Chills, Catalan Maths & Eduardo Out?
Club football in England has taken a back seat this morning as the nation gets set for BBQ’s and football, beers lined up in celebration or commiseration. Germany awaits in the tougher part of the World Cup draw; Robert Green’s error against the USA! USA! USA!, general ineptitude against Algeria and a failure to convert chances against Slovenia are all put into context.
Front pages use lions to ram home the message of expectation, even conniving a picture of three lions on a safari with a jeep full of German tourists. Not really that surprising that the newspapers were able to conjure up such an image for the lions probably recognised the hacks as more deadly predators than themselves.
On the pitch, England are expected to be unchanged from the team that beat Slovenia, buried under an avalanche of reminders of glory days past. The two teams are reasonably matched, the Germans more technically adept as always, the English overcoming their deficiencies with spirit. The winner will probably have the dubious pleasure of meeting Argentina in the quarter-finals with Spain in the last four. Tabloid military heaven.
Fabio Capello is wrestling with defensive choices but Matthew Upson is believed to be ahead of Ledley King and Jamie Carragher in the current pecking order. Experience would put the latter ahead of his two rivals but his slow turning speed and Upson’s aerial ability will probably see him preferred.
The match is much like that of Euro2000; neither side outstanding, neither fancied to win the tournament, the fuel is rivallry borne from 1966 onwards. It was one of the worst games in that competition but no Englishman cared when Alan Shearer buried the winning header.
This time, as then, evenly matched sides and Capello is taking no chances with the squad practising penalties. In recent tournaments, regular penalty takers have been the ones who have failed; hopefully Capello is not going to rely on John Terry if that situation arises.
In the first two Round of 16 games, Uruguay and Ghana both deservedly beat their opponents with Suarez scoring a cracking goal as defences went AWOL for three of the six goals scored. The USA! USA! USA! were exposed by frailties at the back which means we won’t have to listen to any more of Landon Donovan’s whining. Thank heaven for small mercies.
Congratulations to both winning sides and I suspect the Chilean support has just increased by about 30 million ahead of their clash with Brazil tomorrow.
Taking a more relaxed approach is Robin van Persie. The Dutch won their group with ease, perhaps more comfort than they expected, and have an emminently winnable match against Slovakia tomorrow. Of the European teams left in the competition, they are the ones who are in the best form. Their strengths are similar to that of the Spaniards but they appear to have more goalscorers in the side with the same defensive weaknesses. A tough encounter with Brazil awaits in the next round should both progress but if they get through that, it would be a major surprise if they did not reach the final.
This morning’s transfer gossip is incoming and outgoing in equal measure. Robert Green is apparently rivalling David James for a move to Fulham to replace Mark Schwarzer who is apparently ‘closing in’ on a move to Arsenal. The curse of Transfer Linked may yet see that prove to be a circle squared too far.
To be honest, I do not see that signing either Green or Schwarzer is going to improve the defence much over the current quartet of goalkeepers. Schwarzer fits into the theory of having a temporary custodian until Szczesny, or Fabianski, is ready. Should either join, there appears to be no place for Almunia as his retention would block the path for both of the Poles.
Eduardo is the one whom the press deem to be surplus to requirements at The Emirates. This morning it is believed – wiithout any substance to back up the report – that Wenger has told him that he will not be part of the first team this season. That is believed to mean he would prefer to move to a less physically arduous continental league.
Whilst he may not be part of the ‘starting XI’ if everyone is fit, Chamakh is probably ahead of him in the queue, recovery from the niggling injuries which have plagued him since his return from the broken leg, would see him in a position to challenge for a place when rotation is required.
More importantly, he would be in a position to recover his confidence in front of goal. At the club, he is possibly the most natural finisher but like all forwards, he thrives when playing in his preferred central position. With van Persie being the first choice, Eduardo’s chances of playing centrally are diminished but we have seen the horrific injury levels of recent seasons which would surely demand the Croat’s retention, in the short term at least.
Rumours of William Gallas pricing himself out of a move to Juventus are given some, ahem, credibility with the Catalan press reporting that the Old Lady is fluttering her eyelashes seductively at Marquez, the Mexican deemed surplus to requirements at Barcelona. In that city, the Catalan government is apparently launching a full-scale investigation into an apparent outbreak of sanity over the Cesc operation, as they like to call it.
With Toure and Ibrahimovic seemingly out of the club, it seems that €58m can be added to the €40m already bid, money left over to sign Van der Weil as back-up to Alves – I’m sure that the Dutchman will be thrilled to be thought of as a reserve player – and Mata to augment the forward line. Wenger has reportedly told confidantes that Arsenal will not sell, even at the right price.
Posted on June 27, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip, World Cup 2010 and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip, World Cup 2010. Bookmark the permalink. 194 Comments.