Arsenal Fall & Is Arsène Really Sahin Something?
Excellent stuff from Danny Boyle last night in the Olympic Opening Ceremony, an impishness the choreography with the NHS fading out into the red. I hope it was narrated well in whichever country you were watching; if not, the bit with the nurses and beds, frightening children was not a biting social commentary about childcare but a reflection of children’s literature. I am not a fan of opening ceremonies but this was a notch or twenty above the usual Uefa and Fifa fare. He chose a decent musical soundtrack, even if The Kinks were The Troggs, The Beatles The Who and Queen absolutely baffled Mrs YW. Mind you, she knew who The Jam and The Specials were which is a vast improvement on when we first met. Those hours of brainwashing have not been entirely wasted.
Which is probably a technique Arsène wishes he could employ on the local press in the Far East. Having been irked by reporters asking only about Robin van Persie in Beijing, according to tweets this morning from Hong Kong, the first two questions from a local reporter were about the Dutchman and when the club would enjoy a cash injection to enable it to catch up with the parvenues. The usual deflected answers were put to one side as his irritation showed through at press conferences in Beijing, is the tension getting to him? I doubt it, more likely his annoyance was from having watched his hotch-potch side give a good account of themselves and lose somewhat harshly by two goals to Manchester City.
In terms of the overall performance, it was quite good. The passing was decent and good chances were created. It was encouraging to see shots coming in from outside the area and with no recognised first choice strikers on the tour, that is not surprising. It is something which should be encouraged in the Premier League; there will be plenty of worse performances by first choice goalkeepers compared to yesterday’s good outing from Pantilimon.
Luck certainly eluded Arsenal; I doubt that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could repeat the feat of hitting both posts and having the ball spin to safety in another 500 attempts. The difference between the two sides was clinical finishing. City afforded Arsenal as much space as Jenkinson did in the build-up for both goals but when the chances fell to those in red, shots were blocked, blazed and skewed wide of the net. Positives can be gained from that.
Yes, there will be concerns about positioning for the goals conceded. Jenkinson was culpable of affording too much space but the problems started higher up the pitch, his rawness showing as he tried to rectify them. Context tempers concerns; in the intensity of a Premier League battle, the tackles fly in and the midfield would have been more hotly contested as the moves progressed. I am sure that Steve Bould will be working with the young full back to ensure he learns from this experience.
The manager is not overly concerned, publicly at least,
Overall what is important for us is to see everybody play and give everybody competition. We lasted 90 minutes at quite a good level.
That is probably right. Despite media attempts to make the situation out to be despairing, I am not sure many are worried at this stage. We know there is work to be done, last season showed that. But it also showed there is a strong base to work with and that is sometimes forgotten. It is illogical to believe Steve Bould could have an immediate impact when the squad has not been together for more than three weeks, a lot less in some cases. There is a similar amount of time before the visit of Sunderland to The Emirates on the opening day and the work needed will take place on the training pitches at London Colney.
City were one match further into their preparation and that I think is where I am uncomfortable with this summer’s build-up. Previous summers have seen the club play half-a-dozen friendlies; at the time of writing there are just four, and only the visit to Cologne for Giroud and Podolski to be managed into the team. That seems a touch light although there is time I suppose for a match to be arranged in the fortnight break between Sunday’s friendly and the German trip.
Away from the pitch, the hype surrounding transfers showed no sign of quelling with Nuri Sahin apparently signed on a year’s loan according to reports from Spain. It was the footballing equivalent of a hurricane warning as that deal was then downgraded to a loan deal with a Premier League club, the Turkish international was reportedly a makeweight in the transfer of Modric to Madrid making that club seem more likely to be Tottenham. Santi Who?
Arsène denied that any transfers were close, which is his code for something is actually happening, and cleverly chose his words – even in anger – over van Persie; nobody had contacted him about the Dutchman since the original bids except this morphed into him denying the bids ever happened in the subs room as the headlines were hastily drawn up.
That’s it for today, the dying embers of this fleeting summer are in the air. Enjoy.