Archive for September 3rd, 2010

Killing time in the interlull

5 comments September 3rd, 2010

Hello.  I know why you’re here.

You’re here because you don’t care that Steven Gerrard might play in the middle, or that David Beckham could make a come-back from his come-back.  You don’t care that Scotland have allowed over-40s to appear for their national team, or that Giovanni Trapttoni’s dicky tummy is all better.

In short, you’re here because the Interlull is upon us.  A fog of inanity has descended upon the football world, and you’ve gathered, drooling, around this bloggish fire, hoping for some warmth and relief from the club you remember loving.

Come in.  You are welcome.  We’re all just killing time in the interlull.  Mainly to stop us from killing ourselves.

On Wednesday Arsenal named their ’25-man squad’.  I say 25-man – we actually registered 76 available players, taking up the breaking news ticker on Sky Sports News for an entire hour’s cycle.  Arsene was clearly on a mission to point out the holes in the league’s system, as he then named seven ‘homegrown’ players, none of which are British.

Cheeky old Arsene landed himself in trouble with Tony Pulis last week after saying of his Stoke side:

“It is more rugby on the goalkeepers than football.  When you see the way Shawcross kicked Heurelho Gomes, how Robert Huth pushed Gomes in the goal, you cannot say that is football anymore.”

Pulis, incensed, threw his little hat to the floor and complained to the FA, the Premier League, and his mum.  The FA have since announced that they will take no disciplinary action, which isn’t that surprising when you consider that anything else would have contravened Arsene’s right to his opinion and free speech.  Pulis’ mum, however, is unlikely to show such mercy.  This one ain’t over, by any stretch.

Andrey Arshavin, who has won an award for the best Russian player in August, has been talking about his recent Arsenal form:

“The year and a half in England has significantly changed me. I became calmer, more professional and spend more time with my family.

As for football I can say that my style has also altered – it is more effective but less sparkling. I don’t remember when was the last time I score a really beautiful goal.

It’s frustrating. I tried to analyse this, but can find no answers. It is likely that my injuries last year had an affect, because on three occasions I was out for a month, but it is feeble to talk about injuries.”

I do find Arshavin a fascinating player.  He is so unorthodox, so enigmatic, that it’s almost impossible to compare him with any other member of our squad.  Except, perhaps, Eboue.

I think his analysis of his game is spot on.  More and more he reminds me of a latter-day Robert Pires: he can appear lazy or disinterested, but is still the man liable to pop up in the box with a crucial goal.  His output in the final third, in terms of goals and assists, is extremely efficient.  The Arshavin we bought, however, was a playmaker rather than a poacher.  Whether it’s possible for him to play that role from the left, in a team also featuring the likes of Cesc Fabregas, remains to be seen.

Thomas Vermaelen says he prefers clean sheets to goals.  I assume he means goals scored rather than conceded, otherwise he’s simply stating the obvious.  I think the Belgian is going to be key for us this season.  Last year we had Gallas, Campbell, and Silvestre – despite their flaws they had plenty of Premier League experience.  This season, Vermaelen’s potential partners (Squillaci, Koscielny and Djourou) are relative novices of the English game.  Any injury to TV5 and we’re left with relatively unknown quantities.

To hear me talk about Vermaelen, the goalkeeping situation, and our title chances listen to this week’s arsecast.  I join Arseblogger along with East Lower, Goodplaya, and Goonerholic for a chat around a metaphorical round-table.  Have a listen.

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