Is there anything more mind-numbingly boring than the Monday after an international break? I’m not so sure there is. We had some of the WSL to entertain people and I’ve kept track of some of it, as I’ve mentioned, but much like youth football, or picking a ‘local’ team to watch, or even an overseas team, it’s not really for me in terms of putting absolutely everything in to it and overthinking every last issue. I also follow New Orleans Saints, but it’s not like I stay up to watch them if the hours are too late for me, or if it is difficult to get access to them through UK channels.
So for me this has been another international break in which I’m desperate for the men’s Premier League to come back and as it stands, on this Monday morning, I’m finding the lack of football rather frustrating. Lord knows what it’ll be like during the World Cup. You see the thing about the World Cup normally is that it happens during the summer, which means that even though there aren’t many big transfer deals that take place – because most of the top players are at the tournament – there is still at least something else happening in terms of rumours, etc. So in between the football that takes place during a World Cup we get to think about that. But in the middle of the season, with the window closed, I just can’t bring myself to be bothered to think about stories like how we are monitoring the situation of Dušan Vlahović and, even if we were, I’d hope we would sail straight past him if he was waiting at port to dock the good ship Arsenal. You had your chance matey, you passed it up and messed us around, hopefully you hate your time at Juve.
But during the World Cup there’ll be nothing. The games in the Group stages will keep us all satisfied because there will be football on quite a lot, with the kick off times being more sociable than when it is in far East Asia or far West America, with the match times at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm in the UK. That means we’ll be able to be sated for most of that period. But as soon as it kicks in to the knockouts the matches start to think out and so from the beginning of December until 26th December when the Premier League restarts, it will feel like a barren wasteland from a football perspective. I just hope that Christmas is kicking in by then and I can fill my time with parties, socialising and with the football giving way to seeing lots and lots of friends and family.
The Management will probably find it quite easy in terms of booking in time to see people. Usually the first thing she does if somebody asks “are you free on…” is to check her phone calendar to see whether Arsenal are playing. If they are not then she’ll tell me and together we green light any kind of public engagement. If they are playing, then excuses need to be made, regardless of whether I’m actually going to be in the ground or not. After all, how much fun would I be if I’m on my phone watching it getting all worked up because Arsenal aren’t doing what I want them t o do and win the game by five clear goals? It’s no good for anybody so far better for me to stay at home or away from crowds of non-football fans going “yeah, but it’s only a game, right?”.
It’s only a game to those who don’t understand the game.
Anyhoo, the ultimate point I’m trying to make here is that this week we are having a taste of what it is going to be like in December and that is going to feel like a real drag to me. I’ll get behind England as my country of birth, sure, but seeing Harry Kane happy is not something I’m particularly looking forward to, so if/when they get knocked out and Southgate shows that he is, in fact, at the end of his England ‘journey’, I’ll take solace in my German and Dutch heritage as an alternative country to focus my efforts on. Thanks to Oma for emigrating to the UK and giving me that heritage that enables me to flip alliances easily enough.
I’d love to move on to Arsenal news now but as you’re probably guessing, there isn’t really any to speak of, save for the fact that KT has now been sent home from Scotland duty. I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing now, having spoken about it yesterday, specifically with regards to the rules around head injuries. A concussion requires six days without training or playing I believe, so if he’s been sent home then he’ll not be able to train back at London Colney. Does that mean Arteta goes with Zinchenko now if he’s fit? Or can Arsenal and Scotland talk to the relevant authorities and prove that it is fine, he’s had tests, all scans have come through and he can go back to training, maybe from tomorrow or Wednesday? That’s what I mean when I say I wonder whether him coming back is good news or not; the ‘good’ side is that he doesn’t risk injury against Ukraine in Scotland’s upcoming games. The ‘bad’ news is that he might not be allowed to train and therefore be a doubt for Saturday. If he’d have stayed with Scotland but not played as a precaution, he could train and just watch the two games, well rested and ready for the North London Derby. That would have been the ideal scenario because you know he is fine and has been training but is rested. But him coming home early suggests there is an element of doubt in his availability and that has to be a worry.
Hopefully we get news that he’s fine and maybe on Thursday there emerges some training pics with him in it. But until that happens, much like Thomas Partey, we’re kind of just playing the waiting game.
And so we shall. I’ll catch you all tomorrow. Have a good one.