I Actually managed to sit through a whole 90 minutes of an England game last night, made all the more impressive by the fact that it was a dead rubber and only one Arsenal player was starting: Theo.
Thankfully it was worth tuning in, just so that Theo could show Harry Kane what clinical finishing looks like with a really well taken goal. He’s amassing quite a scoring record at the moment and providing his knees don’t disintegrate into dust over the coming months, it bodes well for us as Arsenal fans, because him scoring alongside Alexis dominating games and Mesut providing the silk behind them will give us a really good chance of having a go at the title.
The goal Theo scored was also classic Theo. A well placed passed from Barkley, playing the role of Mesut-extreme-lite in the England team, picked out Walcott’s perfectly timed run and he finished so nonchalantly you’d have thought he was just deciding which brand of cereal he had just picked out at the supermarket, not scoring a goal for his national team. On Twitter I questioned the other night why Walcott wouldn’t start up top and in an earlier blog post this week I wondered whether Theo would spell the end of Wayne up top, but providing Theo is given the licence to drift in field and effectively play as a central striker like he did at times last night, I suppose it does give Rooney the chance to score more penalties and take all the free kicks for England as his legacy over the next few years. He probably won’t do much more.
Elsewhere in the world there were plenty of internationals, but the only one that really mattered from an Arsenal perspective was Spain’s game against Luxembourg, in which Santi got two of the four goals scored in Spain. Baffling, I know, because Santi doesn’t do ‘scoring’ any more. Perhaps somewhat annoyingly, the first goal he scored looked similar to the miss against Olympiakos when all of the Olympiakos players seemed to have put up some sort of force field around their goal. Still, at least Santi scored, will gain confidence from that and providing he isn’t pole-axed in Ukraine on Monday night and hopefully come back in fine fettle for the match against Watford on Saturday evening.
There’s more action with Arsenal players this evening but, if I’m honest, I really can’t be arsed to look up who’s playing, such is my apathy. Instead, I’d rather talk about the hyperbole that seems to be enveloping itself around the red half of Liverpool at the moment. Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool yesterday to much fanfare and declarations that Liverpool were now moving forward on to big things. The problem we’ve got with big announcements at Liverpool, however, are that usually there’s an army of media ‘pundits’ who are ex-players looking for a sound bite. So that effectively rules out any kind of sensible analysis of the man because we’re all too busy hearing from ex-players telling us that within four years Liverpool will be Champions of England, Europe and have been given special dispensation to take part in the FIFA World Cup in 2022, because it is likely that they will win that as well. Assuming there is a FIFA by then, that is.
Perhaps I’m just a little worried. After all, Liverpool have a recent history of managers who if I’m completely honest, I’ve found delightfully underwhelming. This appointment looks like a good one and such is the fear of the unknown – not helped by the current international break – that I find myself hoping that even the Spuds can give Liverpool a seeing too, just because it will bring everyone down to earth a little bit. That’s a shocking admission I know, but whilst there is no real football being played, the fear is left to fester that Liverpool might actually, y’know, turn out to be good.
Hopefully it’s just like the transfer window though. During the transfer window lots of teams buy players and everyone thinks that it means those teams will be challenging for the league. Happened when the spuds spent the Bale money, happened when Liverpool spent the Suarez money and then this summer when they went out and spent the Sterling money on a player like Benteke, who is admittedly injured but has hardly ripped up Anfield. People get all over-excited when there’s no actual football being played because they can’t see it for their own eyes, so until we see that Klopp is just as fallable as every other manager in the league, he will be put up on this pedestal for at least the next week and revered by all and sundry. Not least the press. After his articulate press conference yesterday, Jose will be fuming that apparently there’s a new kid in town. Still, Arsene’s been there before and will probably just be pleased that someone else will get all of the attention at the moment, hopefully it will even distract people enough for us to keep picking up points and then by the time they’ve all stopped loving Jurgen, We’ll have the Premier League neatly tucked under our arms.
That’s my hope anyway.
See you tomorrow.