So, we now know what the World Cup Final will be, with Argentina up against the French, who finally ended those Moroccan dreams with a 2-0 victory. I watched the first half, saw Morocco create a couple of good chances, but then had to head out, so didn’t manage to grab the second half and the second goal. I’ve seen it back now and although it would have been good to watch the second half, I don’t think that ultimately I missed much. The two teams who should have gone through in those semi finals went through, with the two underdogs finally having their efforts scuppered after some surprising victories along the way. Ultimately Croatia and Morocco will be gutted, but both will be delighted with how far they got and their players will return home as national heroes. Which I think is fair enough and good luck to each of those players.
As for the final itself, I’m probably going to route for France, as much as it pains me to say that. I’m not particularly fussed about their team, I don’t think they’ve been amazing to watch at times in this tournament, but they have known how to get the job done and on Sunday afternoon they’ll get their chance to go back-to-back winners for the first time in history.
Routing for the Argies is just not something I can do. As I say above, I have no love for France, but this isn’t an amazing Argentinian side, they’ve looked pretty average for large chunks of this tournament, but they have one of the greatest players of all time playing his last ever World Cup and that kind of romance in football is quite nice. But Messi finally getting his hands on the coveted trophy to complete his haul of basically winning just about everything he can in his dazzling career, is still not enough for me to route for them. Is there an option where just he can win it alone?
They’ve got Emi Martinez in goal who, if I’m honest, has come across as a bit of a pr*ck in this competition so far. It would be funny to see him sad. They’ve also got a few cynical and divey players amongst their ranks, chief amongst them is Lisandro Martinez, so seeing some of those players be all unhappy and stuff would be rather delightful. Then there is the players recently videoed singing about the Falklands war. If you’re going to – right – deplore the English fan cries about German Bombers, World Ware II, etc – and we all absolutely should because it is disgusting – the same disdain should be reserved for people who sing about that war where people lost their lives. On both sides. And these aren’t the fans doing it, this is the players, which makes it worse as they are amplifying that message to the world.
So yeah, let’s have the French win it, then let’s never speak of this infernal competition ever again. Let’s get back to focusing on proper football, which is the Premier League and The Arsenal.
So, what is happening in the world of The Arsenal? From the men’s side, well, not a lot, really. The club are doing a fair bit of coverage on the Arsenal Women up against Lyon in the Champions League at the Emirates stadium and I think if you’re going to look at Arsenal positives from this domestic football hiatus in men’s football, for many Arsenal fans this will have been a great opportunity to get your Arsenal fix in the ladies team. I’ve always admitted I’m not much of a women’s football watcher, but as I say to The Management, the standard in the last five years really has gone up a notch, to the point where if there is some Arsenal on, I’ll choose to watch it. I was coming back from Sunday dinner this weekend just gone and I flicked the Villa v Arsenal game on to my phone so I could watch it. It’s pleasing to see that there is more airtime for these players and during this men’s break in proceedings, the extra support the Women have been getting will also have done their game the power of good.
I don’t think I’ll be grabbing myself a season ticket and watching every game, mainly because I already spend enough time worrying about one Arsenal team, so I don’t want to double down on my stress levels, but I’m pleased that the ladies game is going in the right direction.
On the men’s side, I guess the prep for Juventus on Saturday has started and I suspect the players have already started heading back home by now. If not they’ll be arriving in the UK today, bit of training tomorrow, then it’s over to North London for Saturday afternoon’s kick off. I’m not going to comment on ridiculous rumours of a Gabriel and Vlahovic swap deal, but what I will say is that I hope he’s in the ground on Saturday, I hope we give them a seeing to, then I hope he gets a few minutes on the pitch thinking “wow, look at what I COULD have won” had he joined Mikel’s Tasty Reds. That’d be nice.
Ornstein is continuing his drip feed of Mudryk noises, this time leveraging his colleague Adam Crafton’s discussions with the CEO of Shaktar to talk about how they have been speaking to clubs about the player, but how it is ’50-50′ for whether he leaves in January. Just prepare yourself lads and lasses, because I reckon this transfer will be one that goes right to the end of January, if I’m honest.
That’s yer lot from me today. Time to get on with the daily grind. Catch you all tomorrow, where we might even have a Mikel Arteta press conference to look forward to.