Early United Thoughts & Other Stuff
A calm before the storm today, Arsène has his press conference today, facing his media critics for the first time since Sunday’s defeat at Bolton. No doubt there will huge speculation about the comings and new arrivals this summer, where its all gone wrong for Arsenal this term.
Attention will be on facing Manchester United this weekend, presumably a stronger side than might have been expected had Schalke not laid down to have their tummies tickled on Tuesday night. There was a stat somewhere yesterday that in 15 attempts, no team has progressed to the Champions League final with a two-goal deficit to overturn.
An indication of how the squad is feeling was given by Emmanuel Eboué,
We need to respect them but not be scared, play our football and we’ll see after the game
Personally it suggests to me that there is an element of United being inside their heads which is not really that surprising given that Arsenal have lost the last six meetings between the two sides.
Eboué’s choice of words suggests that inhibitions are surfacing, presumably due to the recent run of form. Arsenal’s decline is as marked as United’s consistency in the final games of this season. We shall see if Arsenal are the ‘wounded animal‘ that Patrice Evra fears they might be or the kitten chasing a ball of wool around the living room.
Elsewhere, Arsène is looking to wrap up his summer transfer deals very quickly. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for £10m and Carl Jenkinson for a tenth of that cost, according to The Telegraph anyway.
To put Jenkinson’s fee into perspective, it is around half the money Arsenal expect to make from The Emirates Cup. Paris St Germain, Boca Juniors and New York Red Bulls are the opponents. A return for Thierry Henry and two new continental opponents offer differing styles of football than we might normally expect to see. That New York, Buenos Aires and Paris are all major international destinations for Emirates Airlines is, I am sure, entirely coincidental.
Pat Rice is apparently leaving this summer, not renewing his contract due to injury. Now whether this is true or speculation – the injury part – I am not particularly bothered. If he decides to retire, that is Pat’s choice. What I find bemusing and frankly disrespectful, is some of the rubbish spouted about how the players failings are his fault.
Nobody offers any evidence of this other than to say that Ferguson changes his No. 2 regularly – a few not by choice is never acknowledged – to keep things fresh. Whether that is telling is unprovable since none of them hang around for more than 2 or 3 years.
It sums up everything that is wrong with football today that slurs are made against a man who has given most of his professional career without a shred of evidence and are accepted as the truth.