At eight minutes to 11 UK time yesterday I peeled myself from my sofa and switched the television off to go to bed. I’d endured over ninety minutes of some of the most turgid football (entertainment wise I mean) I could have imagined for a World Cup Semi Final and I wasn’t prepared to sit through another drab 30 minutes and penalties thereafter.
Boy, was I glad I did give up, because evidently the additional 30 minutes of extra time appear to be as uneventful as the previous 90. With players like Robben, Messi and Lavezzi on show, you’d think that a feast of football wizardry should be a given. But alas, that sometimes proves not to be the case when two teams appear more afraid of losing than winning.
That’s what I saw, anyway, as the free-flowing and exhibition football of the previous night failed to materialise, leaving all that watched a little deflated after the high that was Brazil vs Germany. If Ancient Greek religious beliefs of multiple Gods staring down from Olympus and influencing lives just to entertain them were true, you’d expect that yesterday’s bore draw was purely for the amusement of said gods, having gifted us such high value the night before.
I don’t know what it is about Messi in an Argentinian shirt, but he just doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the impact that you’d expect from arguably the best player on the planet, never ever really getting the opportunity to set off on those mazy dribbles of his that have become so commonplace in Catalonia. Some might argue that the Dutch marshalled him well enough to negate his impact, but better defences than that have tried the same in club football and have failed. Every time I have watched the diminutive Argentine for Barcelona, one of his biggest positive attributes is his ability to wriggle out of tight spaces with the ball at his feet. I’ve never really seen that from him in the sky blue and white shirt of his home nation.
Is it the pressure of a nation on his shoulders? I don’t think so. With Barcelona so keen to call itself it’s own state in Spain, Messi almost has the state of a nation on his shoulders at times in club football, so I don’t think we can put it down to that. And you can hardly argue the toss over the players he is playing with in either side; they are both world class groups. I don’t quite know what it is, one suspects that the Argentines have trouble too, actually.
But thankfully they went through, because nobody wants to see van Persie and Robben happy, do they? Except maybe their mum/dad. The Dutch nation have wonderful people who I feel for today, but if there’s any solace that can be taken for Dutch Gooners, at least when the pain of the exit has subsided you can look at van Persie and laugh at his failure of a season and less than impressive World Cup, netting just one goal in the whole competition. The little boy inside him has taken a couple of severe smacks to the legs.
In the land of all things Arsenal, we’ve got a kit launch this afternoon, for which the club plan on parading the new shirt that Puma have developed. It’s a heck of a lot of a fanfare that is being made for a football shirt with iron-on club crest, but this is Puma’s first incarnation of an Arsenal shirt and I can understand why they want to make a big song and dance about the launch, because it’s one of their flagship teams they’re involved with and there’s also the potential for great things in place at the club now.
Puma have stepped onto the Arsenal train just at the right time it seems, as the club have the resources to bring in superstars and if you believe the conspiracy theories, will be doing so at today’s launch. I’d be surprised if we see Sanchez and Debuchy parachute in wearing an Arsenal shirt and greeting the hordes of Arsenal fans with waves, hugs and kisses, but just the knowledge of their imminent arrival has enabled this launch to be more of an upbeat one amongst most Arsenal fans. As usual, Arsenal will want all of the pictures taken, images confirmed and ‘i’s dotted before announcing any players so I’d be surprised if anything happens today. There’s too much other stuff going on with the launch for the club to pull off a PR stunt in time for this afternoons unveiling. Just my uneducated opinion, mind, for which has been proved wrong plenty of times before.
There’s talk of Schneiderlin and Rémy too, but that all feels a little bit too paper-talky, so I think that will soon subside. Which to be honest, providing we wrap up the Chilean and the Frenchman, I’d be ok if it went quiet for a while. After all, we’ve still got over a month until the season starts, so there’s plenty of time for the other business to be done.
That’s that from me for today. You stay marvellous.