Hello there, are you all okay? I am recovering from a terrible thought. What if the international fixtures never ended? Week after week of Roy Hodgson’s earnest, honest, non-threatening dull pub football standard play, with Scotty Parker, Stevie Gerrard, Frankly Lampard and Rickie Lambert all gracing our screens and ploughing up a perfectly good pitch.
Not forgetting the sight of watching Arsenal Legends Lee Dixon and Ian Wright eye-rolling at Adrian Chiles’ ‘exasperated everyman’ shtick; with his constant hand-wringing in the studio over a non-event that he has proudly spotted – maybe an opposition winger was spied combing his hair when faced with the defensive nous of Kyle Walker – all whilst desperately hoping no-one catches on that the work-experience guy is still presenting ITV1’s flagship sports show.
And lest we forget, of course, Manchester United’s very own cheerleader; Clive ‘That Night In The Nou Camp’ Tydesley partnered with ‘Irish’ Andy Townsend (a man who says ‘we’ when England are playing more often than the frog-like Nigel Farage does when talking about our country, a country whose majority of inhabitants would gladly put him in the town stocks and defecate in his ubiquitous pint glass, when he emerges from underneath his lily pad on Question Time) in the commentary box, ejaculating platitudes over the heads of ‘The Saviours of English Football‘ – Tom Cleverley and Andros Townsend just like Ron Jeremy did in his 1970s prime. Has anyone noticed just how much Matty Holland and Andy Townsend sound like each other?! They must be from that same part of Ireland.
The horror…the horror. Thankfully, real football is coming back.
I’d like to talk about Arsenal’s missing, injured men. Lukas Podolski, Abou Diaby, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott. Who have the team missed the most? Have any actually been missed, what with the team sitting top of the league?
The sharp-shooting German has taken to London life and the dressing room like a duck on the Thames. Although I get the impression that Arsene Wenger isn’t fully convinced by his work-rate on the left flank, nor his ability as an outright number nine, I do strongly believe that the jovial German has been much missed so far this season. His two-goal-haul away against Fulham earlier this season were vital, beautiful strikes and he is never afraid to either shoot or hit the six yard box to finish off an attack. Podolski represents a Plan B for the team if Olivier Giroud isn’t clicking, and Gooners are yet to see how he links up with compatriot Mesut Ozil in the Arsenal attack. I think that this is the season Podolski must shine for Arsenal, or I suspect a player like Julian Draxler or Marco Reus will be signed for big money from Die Bundesliga, with Podolski being quietly shipped off the other way…
The perennially injured Frenchman has shown, when he is fit – a tragically rare window each season – that he can be a midfield powerhouse. And when Arsenal have clearly lacked a midfield powerhouse to take control of a game and bully the opposition, the more I have hoped that Diaby had never been on the receiving end of that horror challenge at Sunderland; truly a career ruined. Diaby is both powerful and skilful and could’ve been a great option to deploy in midfield, especially as Jack Wilshere has been over-used over the last few seasons. Such a shame…Arsenal have never had the opportunity to make the most of Diaby and I think he really could’ve been a player we all would’ve said that we were proud to have at Arsenal.
‘The Ox’ is a bit of a conundrum for me. I am still unsure where his best position is, nor where he will fit in when he eventually returns, presumably in the New Year. Serge Gnabry is now Theo Walcott’s deputy on the right flank, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla are the left flank options and Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil are the main attacking midfielders. Chamberlain could well have a fight on his hands and is the player arguably missed the least. However, his skill and willingness to shoot have been assets that would have been handy to have at Old Trafford against Manchester United, as well as at home to Borussia Dortmund.
Finally, Theo Walcott, a player whose stock rises amongst most Gooners when he isn’t playing and falls when he is. Personally, he is just about my favourite player and I think his incisive attacking – which more often than not distracts the opposition’s defenders so much that it creates a lot of space for others – has been much missed in tight games. Let us not forget that his goal-haul last season was very impressive and his overall play has improved so much. I think he will be itching to play against his old team at the weekend and I wouldn’t be surprised if he returned with a goal. Walcott is a viable attacking option and a player who has improved season after season for the club.
So, who have Arsenal missed the most from their injury list?
Thanks for reading,
(I think a 3-1 home win is on the cards against The Saints, but it will be a tight game!)