I spend a lot of my time trying to convince The Management – and probably myself as well – that I don’t really care about England or international football. And I suppose for the most part that’s true; I don’t tend to watch the friendlies, I won’t make sure I’m near a TV when the qualifiers are on and even when England were up against Panama in the group stages, I was halfway up Mount Vesuvius in Naples.
I get a condition when I watch The Arsenal. The wife calls it my ‘Cold Hand Syndrome’ and my nerves kick in, my hands and feet get cold (whatever the weather), my heart rate and blood pressure rises.
That doesn’t normally happen for international football. But as the game against Colombia unfolded I found myself increasingly falling in to that Syndrome and by the end The Management was asking to feel my clammy-yet-cold palms.
Perhaps one can never truly bury ones own feels for their home nation, no matter how hard they try, but I was genuinely delighted to see Eric Dier – who’d been pretty poor last night when he came on as a sub – tuck away the winning penalty, although I didn’t like the constant ‘Arsenal vs Spurs’ references by the English commentary team.
Lil’ Dave probably won’t be an Arsenal player for that long anyway, I suspect, so that’s a relatively moot point as it is.
The game in itself wasn’t a great one though and I can’t imagine as a neutral one would be too enthralled by watching that 1-1 unfold. It did have an inordinate amount of sh*thousery going on by both teams though. From both you’d expect it though; the South Americans see it as part of their game and the England side has plenty of Tiny Totts in their team (also led by an Argentinian) so it’s a guarantee in that regard.
So along with Nacho and Mesut, No Neck Dave will return to training a little earlier than he hoped, although probably not for a couple of weeks, but the good thing is that these players will return early. My hope is that we have plenty of them ready and raring to go for City at home in about five weeks time and judging by the pictures of them training yesterday, there are plenty of them getting back to it and looking…well…odd.
I don’t really know what I expected, but an eight minute video on the official site showed the players doing weird hops and jumping, sit-up style things with their legs in the air, as well as other such exercises. It’s the first time I’ve watched something like that and what it showed me was the science behind Football these days. No more “raaan araaand a bit laaaads” like when I was a kid. Everything was measured, laptops were everywhere and every bit of conceivable data on a player was being recorded.
I’m sure the club has been doing this for years but what it goes to show you is just how much those ‘marginal gains’ are viewed as so important and if there’s a way a club can be more scientific about the way in which they condition their footballers, then they’ll do it, which is kind of nice to be able to see.
It also shows you the importance of the whole ‘team’. In the parts of the video I watched there was no Unai Emery. There was a team of people working on fitness and conditioning and it shows just how important all of these people are. It looked like the pit stop team of a formula one car.
But that’s what these players are like. Across all teams in the Premier League. They are the strongest, fastest, most expensive, parts of the team and they rely on those ‘pit stop’ individuals to keep them going and ticking over in a long season.
I guess this is my way of saying ‘kudos’ to those unsung hero’s.
I have to also admit to getting a little excited to see Mesut take the number 10 shirt. I have no idea why. Actually I think I kind of do, because I am a bit of a traditionalist and I like to see first team players play with their proper numbers. ‘Keepers should have one and 13, right backs should have two and 12, left backs have three, centre halves should have five and six, midfielders should have four, seven and eight, number 10s should bloody well have number 10. Strikers should have 9 and wide forwards 11. That’s just me and so that move from 11 to 10 for Mes feels good for me. I hope he feels a bit better now because he’s probably on the floor emotionally after some of the farcical treatment he’s had for Die Mannschaft. Some of the idiots that have been blaming him when he’s really only had one bad game – along with the rest of the German national team – against Mexico, shows that the German public aren’t as sophisticated in their footballing knowledge as we sometimes paint them to be.
Let’s welcome him back to Arsenal and get him in a position to have a good start to the season.
And that’s pretty much it from me today. Not a lot else going on and with all of the Round of 16 games decided yesterday with England’s penalty shoot-out, we find ourselves with two days of no football before the quarters start on Friday. Now it starts to get spicy so should be fun.
Catch you all tomorrow.
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