The World Cup is now we’ll and truly underway and despite the fact I’ve only really watched bits and pieces so far – because of a busy weekend for me in the real world – there’s already been plenty to talk about and that’s certainly a good thing.
On Friday night I watched the second half of the Portugal/Spain game and we had goals, as well as big players like Ronaldo stepping up. He’s one of the most narcissistic human beings to inhabit the earth but do you know what? He does Football real good you have to say. A lot of people don’t like him but you can’t argue that he doesn’t put his money where his mouth is.
I didn’t manage to watch the France game but I’ve heard of the controversy around their penalty but it looked to me like the right decision. So ultimately in that instance you can’t have too many complaints about it. It does confuse me though because I had a little sojourn down to the pub yesterday afternoon to watch the Argentina Iceland game and see the second half. It wasn’t a great match and was the same Iceland as we saw two years ago; their robust, air deep and defend and are difficult to break down, without really offering much going forward. What I didn’t understand though is why VAR wasn’t used for one of the challenges on one of the Argentina players in the second half. Messi has already missed his penalty by then but when i saw the replay it looked like he was brought down and given the ref earlier in the France game had let a bit of time elapse before going to look at the penalty decision, he could have had another look and then pointed to the spot.
I thought that the refs get a little whisper in the ear but obviously I’m this instance he either didn’t get it or chose to ignore it. So now I’m not sure what the deal is with VAR.
In the world of Arsenal it’s all about what’s going on with Jack, who keeps putting up messages about moving on and to me it seems like he’ll be on his way, with Crystal Palace supposedly his destination. I have to say it does kind of say a lot about his form and where he is at with his career that it’s Palace after him and not one of the bigger teams, either in England or the rest of Europe.
To me that is an example of a player who has returned to fitness but if we take our obvious love for Jack and the fact he’s a proper Gooner, and look objectively about whether or not he warrants a place in the squad ahead of the likes of Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Ramsey, etc, then the answer is clearly no. It will be a sad day when his association with Arsenal ends but I think we all need to accept that it is the right thing to do for everyone at the club.
One player who won’t be heading out the door though is Granit Xhaka, who signed his new deal and is clearly part of the short and long-term future of the club. I personally think it’s a great decision by all parties because despite what some people have said about him I think he’s a class footballer. He’s not the most mobile as we all know but his form in the latter part of the season shows that he can deliver when the chips are down. He’s improved the defensive side of his game and his passing range and distribution is fantastic.
I do wonder if him signing this new deal tells us anything about Ramsey. Xhaka is clearly in the managers plans and if we’re signing Torreira then it feels like he’ll be the workman alongside Xhaka, so how does that affect Ramsey’s place in the team? Is he going to be used in a three man midfield? Is he going to play further up the pitch? Or are we about to lose him?
The noises are that a deal is about to be done. I personally think that would be great news if it happens and if it does you have to say that Arsenal are doing all the right things in terms of contracts. Getting players signed up protects their value as well as says a lot of their future. We got Chambers signed up to a longer term deal earlier this year and although he might be out the door soon, that action has ensured that his market value has been retained.
Whisper it quietly, but to me it feels like we actually know what we’re doing, and are not messing around with contracts any more. That is certainly reassuring.
And with those final thoughts I’m off to eat some food and wait for the next round of games. Laters people.