Final Cesc Thoughts & Which Goalkeeper Will Reina Supreme?
So Cesc finally spoke on the matter, or rather his agent / PR people did, containing suitable errors of grammar to make it look as if the Captain penned it himself. Irrespective of the words, it put to bed Barcelona’s interest for this summer, acknowledged by the Catalan club who have issued a statement of regret. Not at being such classless arseholes, merely that Arsenal would not even consider their revised offer on Thursday ‘which was not in excess of €40m’.
That Cesc remains is encapsulated in that arrogance; Ibrahimovic was nearly twice that value with a better player going in the opposite direction. Their sense of market value is tainted by their inability to spend and the desire to punish Arsenal for taking him in the first place. That it failed should be a salutory lesson to them. It will be interesting to see their dealings in this and future windows, whether humility has been learned or if this bloodied nose has no effect.
The words chosen for the statement were to be expected and covered his love of his homelands, them but committed himself to giving 100% to Arsenal in the coming season. The phraseology was deliberately open; encouraging Barcelona to come back next year without closing the door to remaining at Arsenal beyond 2011.
And there the matter rests. Some will demand he is removed as captain, a futile gesture of petulance, wanting some sort of revenge for perceived lack of loyalty. Quite simply it is not going to happen. The assumption made is that the Arsenal players will not follow a captain whom they know wants to leave. That is an insult to their professionalism and desire to win.
The rest of the squad began a week of travelling, nipping over to Poland for this afternoon’s friendly against Legia. Wenger has noted that the line-up he uses today will not be a clear indicator towards the starting XI at Anfield. I beg to differ since much will be read into the goalkeeper who starts this afternoon’s fixture. Fabianski and Szczesny have both travelled to Poland and it seems will play, presumably one in each half which smacks of a certain sentimentality on Wenger’s part.
It is this position, as much as central defence, which continues to tax minds. Bob Wilson reportedly told Talksport yesterday that no new players were expected to challenge Almunia & Co this summer. The Sun wasn’t listening to that and instead links Arsenal with a highly improbably bid of up to £25m for Pepe Reina. The best suggestion so far is for Cesc to ram an Arsenal top over his head, claim he has London in his DNA and then laugh it all off as a joke between chums. Go on, I dare you…
Whilst Fabianski has been OK in pre-season, Almunia is still in pole position for Anfield. My suspicion is that Wenger has used this spell following the Spaniard’s, ahem, injury to try to motivate him, in conjunction with the continued speculation over a move for Mark Schwarzer. The lack of competition may well have induced complacency into his game and as with others, there is possibly an element of playing with injuries for a time.
The mistakes will not go away. In recent seasons with a forward line struggling to cope with injuries, they became more costly than merely conceding goals, points were dropped also. Yet it was an affliction which affected all of the goalkeepers in the Premier League and whilst some goals are directly attributable to Almunia and Fabianski, not every goal conceded is. A lot of them were down to collective defensive errors by the team, failing to mark or track back, giving the ball away cheaply, etc. These organisational issues need to be addressed as much as buying new players although the two are not mutually exclusive either.
Whatever may be, it seems unlikely that any players will be joining before the start of the Premier League season with international week putting paid to any aspirations on that front. It is easy to jump to the conclusion that none will be joining before the end of August but as Wenger himself noted, he has form in buying early and very late indeed in transfer windows. Until 1st September, assumptions that nobody will sign is as much speculation as players linked with the club.
Back to Legia. For this match Arshavin apparently has a small niggle so personally, I see no reason for him to be included. Indeed, someone should be talking to the Russian Federation, pointing out Arsenal’s good record in sending players to international fixtures, and getting him exempted from their match next week. It won’t happen though.
The rest of side, I expect to be shuffled at the interval although his starting XI may give clues about the central defence. I suspect that Vermaelen and Koscielny will start which might be a clear sign of what is to come in a week’s time.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.
Posted on August 7, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 358 Comments.