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Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Man's Not For Turning

Flares Back "In" Again!
There was a moment during the first-half at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, when Welbeck found himself with the ball at his feet out on the left flank and he looked up, before playing a cross into the box, only to see three little schnips in yellow shirts, Alexis, the Ox and Santi, competing with the Black Cats comparative defensive behemoths. It was symptomatic of the infuriating lopsidedness of our existing squad.

Heaven only knows (as I certainly don’t!) how the Gunners have ended up with two wins under our belts over the course of this past week, Yet hopefully, if we continue to benefit from having such an unbelievably fortuitous wind at our backs, we’ll gradually witness the incremental boost to our confidence, which might enable us to take to the field with a sufficiently augmented mental stature, in order to negate the significance of the patently obvious limitations of our physical size (only if Arsène desists from throwing the inestimably inadequate Monreal into the defensive deep end at centre-back, for us all to suffer the sight of the poor Spaniard drowning!)

5' 11" in his stockinged feet!
Whether they were mistakenly measuring Alex up for a bra for his markedly bulked up pectorals, or perhaps he’s always stood on tippy-toes. But I’m somewhat incredulous of the suggestion online that the Ox’s height is 5ft 11in. Maybe such blatant exaggeration is merely indicative of the sensitivity of this issue, with Alex having spent his entire career constantly trying to prove that he can hack it playing with the big boys?

Yet as the already limited physical stature of this Arsenal squad has continued to fall by the wayside, over the course of this injury-ravaged campaign thus far, with the likes of Giroud and Koscielny coming a cropper and as our intolerably tepid form has teetered on the brink of total unacceptability, such has been the focus on our elevatory shortcomings that I’ve taken to studying the comparative heights of both sides through my binoculars as they pass by one another during the handshake rituals, to try gauge the extent of our anatomical disadvantage before each game.

In fact I believe that our beleaguered Belgian opponents on Wednesday night achieved the unenviable feat of being the first team that we’ve encountered in a long, long time that appears to be smaller than us, in both size and stature. And with the resulting deflationary effect of our last gasp ‘smash and grab’ in Anderlecht, I imagine the home team must’ve all shrunk several more inches, as they trudged back into their dressing-room, disconsolately contemplating how on earth they’d managed to forfeit what would’ve been an historic triumph.

Despite my “never in doubt” post-match delight, our woeful display was sufficiently embarrassing that there’s some small part of me that can’t help but wonder whether perhaps we might’ve profited more from the sort of media scalding we deserved, if we hadn’t managed a timely last-minute exit from this humiliating Belgian frying-pan.

Thank Heavens AW Got One Thing Right This Summer
Perhaps our inhibited, lackluster performance was down to nervousness, on account of our makeshift defence. But with Alexis not nearly so blasé as his team-mates about appearing on football’s biggest stage, once again the Chilean alone demonstrated the intensity necessary to eventually make something happen. In my increasingly skeptical opinion, this was a lamentably complacent display of a squad that’s grown far too accustomed to merely going through the motions, to achieve progress from the group stages.

Our positively limp efforts on Wednesday night were made that much more disappointing, on account of the stark contrast with the Gunners’ powerhouse side of yesteryear, with me having imbibed a whole keg of “Invincible” nostalgia only a couple of night’s prior, while ligging with a bunch of Gooner celebs at a launch party for Amy Lawrence’s new tome.

Amidst all the reminiscing about a bygone era, when our “miracle worker” manager was revolutionizing the British game and permanently spoiling Arsenal addicts, with a heady fix of the sort of spectacle that’s left us yearning for the same high ever since, comedian Ian Stone conjured up a poignant analogy of Arsène in his dotage and the decline of Maggie Thatcher. Surrounded by nodding-dog “yes men”, like Maggie has Wenger become so detached from reality in his Ivory Tower that he can no longer see the stout wood for our undersized saplings?

Watching Alex Song boss the midfield for the high-flying Hammers against City, it’s hard not to wonder why, having failed with any of his intended targets, Wenger couldn’t have brought the versatile Cameroonian back on loan. But then as Arsène demonstrated with Fabregas “the man is not for turning”!

Meanwhile I adore the precedent set by Vito Mannone and his embarrassed colleagues, by offering to refund Black Cat fans from their own pockets for the humiliation they endured at Southampton. I’m optimistic that the Arsenal’s form will improve, if Wenger can get some of our prize possessions back out onto the pitch without breaking them again. And if not, should the Gunners choose to adopt the same practice of shamefaced refunds, at least I might be able to retire by the end of the season!

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Twitter: @thedogsbollock


trugun said...

If our lot had to pay for poor performances the buggers would be broke by Christmas