Arsenal Tour Finishes With Draw, Arsène Gets Meldrew And Footballing Clichy’s
Arsenal finished their mini-tour of Asia – it feels wrong to call what has passed a fully fledged tour – with a draw against Hangzhou Greentown. In contrast to the midweek romp, appalling conditions marred the match. The performance in the first half as disjointed as the second was cohesive.
With some players not having completed ninety minutes of match time during the past week, it is too soon to draw definitive conclusions about the squad. That has not stopped some from doing so and the reaction to the result and performance left me wondering if there was more riding on this result than a mere friendly.
It seems there is a lack of understanding that this is a warm-up tour and that players are not going to go at full throttle for fear of hamstring or other such injuries whilst no doubt there were orders to play within themselves.
The defence was almost non-existent in the first half, criticism made that they have not learned the lessons of last season. It is hardly surprising since they have played two halves of football since the final whistle at Craven Cottage, did people really expect those errors to be eradicated already? The only time these players can be judged is when a full first team plays against, no disrespect to the two teams from the past week, good opposition who will test the players.
A legacy of negative feelings remains following last season. Disturbingly it shows little sign of abating, the new season ought to bring fresh hope but the overriding sense at the moment appears to be uninspired. Not disinterest but a distinct lack of joy or belief.
Perhaps that will change but it is hardly a surprising situation. Before the summer, hints from Wenger and Gazidis were of new faces, fresh blood to improve the squad. With all due respect to Carl Jenkinson and Gervinho, a new defender and full back were not immediate targets. Had a new centre back arrived, I suspect the mood would be better. Still time before the season for faces to arrive but it is not going to be a comfortable time until that happens.
Irascibility seems to be a distinctly Arsenal mood at the moment. Mention of Manchester City is guaranteed to send Arsène incandescent with rage. The latest comments by Roberto Mancini merely served to add to Wenger’s distaste at the financial boost being received by City recently. For a manager who has pinned much hope on Arsenal’s fortunes improving through the introduction of Financial Fair Play regulations, Etihad’s sponsorship deal will have been a pin prick in his balloon.
Problematically, all mention of the deal is speculation since the minutiae has not been made public knowledge. Given that lawyers will have been crawling over regulations, it is not unbelievable that City will claim £150m is for redevelopment and therefore excluded from FFP. They still get £25m each year for sponsorship included, a sum that helps solve a number of their problems.
Mancini’s observations about Nasri elicited a tetchy response, Wenger believing transfer rules have been broken by the constant chatter about the French player’s future. To me they are no different from Barcelona’s about Cesc. Indeed, the Spaniards have been far worse in their conduct. I was puzzled to an extent by the club’s refusal to complain to Fifa about Barcelona’s behaviour, I drew two inferences.
Firstly, transfer negotiations are ongoing with a belief that the Catalans may actually come to the table with the ‘right’ money. Secondly, Cesc would be drawn into this as would Darren Dein. Given the latter represents or advises, two other squad members there is a concern that to draw punishment on him might upset others.
One of Dein’s clients, Gael Clichy showed he was living in denial,
It was so frustrating at Arsenal. At times last year, we played some fantastic football and looked as good as any team in the league. But there were also times when we had injuries to our best players and we couldn’t cope. If we lost Cesc (Fabregas) or (Robin) Van Persie then the team really suffered.
Clichy was a senior pro and one of those who should have shown leadership on the pitch whilst younger or more inexperienced members of the squad were underperforming. He showed no sign of having done so and in a typical footballer fashion, has bolted and blamed others without putting his hand up to admit his part in the failure. Still, what to expect of a player who criticised Emmanuel Adebayor for treading the same path a couple of years ago?
Posted on July 17, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 366 Comments.