Morning folks, how are we all doing then, eh?
This weekend I’ve watched most of that FID+FA documentary and my word, isn’t that organisation a real piece of work, eh? And as for that Qatar 2022 bid, blimey, it wasn’t exactly the most convincing of tales told by the people behind that bid, that’s for sure. Then, this weekend, we have the Infantino ramble which made my nonsensical mutterings look like Malcolm Gladwell. His weird rants about being crucified, about how the West should look at itself before Qatar, pretty much summed up what this competition is all about – deflection. Deflection and sportswashing. That’s what it is and that’s what we have.
But the football has at least started now and we had the first game between the hosts and Ecuador, which ended in a 2-0 win for the Ecuadorians; a not unsurprising result given that Qatar isn’t really seen as much of a footballing nation and they’re unlikely to get out of the group. It was amazing to hear that the stadium was half empty after half time. So everyone out there waited so long for this monumental game to finish, only for them to make sure they could get home to beat the traffic by the time the final whistle went off?? Strange.
I didn’t manage to watch the game yesterday, entirely of my own making, as I looked up the timing of 7pm and when I switched on the TV after dinner to take a look, saw that I’d been looking at something that was Qatar time, not UK time. So I was three hours late! I’ve double checked match times now though, so I know that we kick off today’s proceedings with England up against Iran at 1pm UK time. I’ll be taking some time out of my day to watch it in between work, so it’ll be interesting to see how many Arsenal players get a look in. All the talk at the moment is that Bukayo Saka is going to get the chance to start at left wing back. As you and I both know that is not exactly the best use of his talents, but then again this is Gareth “Look after my favourites” Southgate, who has shown in recent games that he has people he trusts – like Maguire – and he doesn’t pick on merit but rather on how somebody has performed for him. That’s not how you win a World Cup in my opinion and so I doubt England will go that far in the competition, but they should have enough to overcome Iran today, then it will be a case of getting one win from the remaining two against Wales and the US.
From an Arsenal perspective I think Saka is the only one we’ll really see in this England team and although that’s clearly the wrong call, the upside would be that both Ramsdale and White will not have to play many of the matches and therefore suffer from fatigue. If they can come back in one piece when England have been knocked out, that would be great.
Elsewhere in the Arsenal universe, well, there’s not a lot else happening other than some transfer rumours. I know Arsenal Women lost over the weekend to Man United, which is a shame, but i’ve not watched it and there are better places to find your Arsenal Women news like Arseblog, so I’ll leave it to the professionals to keep you updated on that stuff. The men’s stuff seems to continue to be around Tielemans for a free in the summer, but I did also see something in one of the press about PSG being interested in Saliba. This is inevitable you’d think as he’s been absolutely immense for us, but whilst that new deal isn’t signed to keep him committed to The Arsenal for beyond the 18+months mon his contract, we’re going to continue to see this sort of stuff in the press unfortunately. And if he plays a big role in this World Cup for France, then we could be seeing even more interest intensify for his signature. There will be plenty of opportunities to chat to agents and clubs as the players are away from the day-to-day of their domestic season and PSG is a massive team with deep pockets, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this rumour remained in the ether for a little while longer yet.
That’s it from me for today – I’ll be back tomorrow with some more thoughts. Have a good one.