Welcome to Saturday Gooners. We’re all now on countdown and, if Sky Sports had their way, they’d probably have that shouty ‘Jim’ bloke standing outside one of the stadiums where the final Champions League qualification spot will be decided, bellowing his Scottish balls out to see if he could drum up some intensity 24 hours before kick off. They’d probably pay good money to clone him and have Jim mk1 and Original Jim doing live updates. In fact, I bet that is something that Rupert Murdoch is already working on in his evil lab on top of a big hill somewhere. In some country, Murdoch is using fresh kitten blood to make a new Sky Sports Jim. A terrifying and sobering thought if ever there was one.
We don’t need to be told how important tomorrow’s game is, and neither do the players, as Arsene clearly alluded to in his pre-game presser yesterday morning. He spoke of quite a few things, one of which being that he wouldn’t want to be involved in football if he didn’t have pressure. He called it ‘boring’ when you don’t have anything to play for and, whilst I agree that it all adds to the excitement, it also heightens the sadness if things don’t go your way. I also doubt very much that Arsene would take what we’re faced with right now over secured qualification three weeks ago. But there you go, we are where we are and we have our destiny in our own hands.
The players are saying all the right things, as you’d expect, with our man Jack Wilshire talking about excitement as much as nerves going in to the game. That’s music to my ears if I’m completely honest, because if there are too many nerves across the team, the worry is always that they will not express themselves creatively enough. I am up in Northumberland at the moment as I’ll be at the game tomorrow, and the last time I was here because of the football with The Management’s family, we beat Sunderland in February this year and Jack was particularly impressive until he came off with a knock. If he’s starting tomorrow my hope is that he can repeat his good North East form this season.
Can I make an admission here? I have to say I find it a little bit vexing that pages on the Arsenal website have been dedicated to a player and a manager that have had no real affiliation with Arsenal Football Club. I know David Beckham (or as one of the original Pro Evolution Soccer games on the PlayStation called him ‘Backhim’) trained with us for a few weeks, but why we have to read comments about how great he is on the official site I don’t really know. It was the same with Fergie. I don’t really care that much that they are retiring. They had minimal impact on Arsenal’s history (except to dent parts of it by winning trophies) so I don’t really know why online column inches have to be dedicated to them. Can we not save that for the media to roll out the mattress for a collective jizz-fest? Let them talk about how great his haircuts were and let us focus on The Arsenal. I’ve got no problem with him as a person, but he’s never been and Arsenal man so we should just move on barely batting an eyelid.
Anyway, back to Arsenal, and as I suggested yesterday, it wouldn’t be an end of season presser without some sort of tittle-tattle, so the assembled hacks decided to probe Arsene on Wayne Rooney and Yaya Sanogo. Of course Arsene was semi-dismissive of Rooney, saying that he didn’t even know if United wanted to sell him let alone whether or not they would want to buy the player. For all the fan chanting and general mockery of the player, it’s hard to argue that his presence in the Arsenal squad wouldn’t improve it. Of course, his wages would certainly make a pretty dent in the clubs stockpiled millions, so I’d be shocked if that particular transfer came to fruition. It just doesn’t ‘feel’ like an Arsene signing. Too high profile, too much baggage, too much of a long shot in my book.
However, one that does look to be on the verge of happening is the free transfer of the young man from Auxerre, who’s name sounds like a conversation Arsene had to the younger Toure’s agent just before we sent him packing after his trial at the club. Yaya Sanogo has scored nine times in 11 this season and by the sounds of it seems to be a decent prospect, but we’ve been down this route before, particularly with a player that already has a bit of a chequered injury record at his tender age. Arsene admitted the deal was quite far down the line and whilst the risk is less because he will be a free transfer, there will no doubt be one or two of the more vociferous anti-Wenger Gooners that will be sharpening their pitchforks at the prospect of another young player coming in at the expense of the mature and fully polished shiny new striker we all crave. Personally, I think that this move will be a decent one. It looks like a classic ‘buy him, send him out on loan, then if he doesn’t make the first team we’ll get a few mil for him’ type signing. Very similar to how I suspect we’ll see Joel Campbell progress and also how Carlos Vela’s career went at Arsenal. But we wait and see with that one. I don’t profess to know anything about French football and we all know YouTube is about as reliable as Harry Redknapp relegation escape plan so I don’t really take much notice of the video clips on there.
That’ll do for today. If you’re going tomorrow, give me a holler and perhaps we can share a pre-match supping of the amber nectar?