Back to business. Enough of these holiday tours - let’s get back to the norm and the good old Premier League. You know – that league which used to be the best in the world but has now , according to the meedja fallen behind France, Turkey, Germany and Spain.
Swansea have booked their place in Europe, our place remains in doubt. Will that mean that our Welsh friends will gift us the 3 points? I hope so. A couple of defensive mistakes caused by a boozy night out in Newport would be great (which assumes our heroes can capitalise on them!)
There has been talk of the confidence gained from the surprising win in Munich boosting our chances of 4th. What do you think? My fear is that the effort put into that win could be costly today; every Arsenal player ran himself into the ground on Wednesday and that must have an effect.
A major positive was the return of Fabianski. I have to be honest, I had written him of and expected him to leave quietly in summer. Instead we saw one of Fab’s best performances in an Arsenal shirt. He will surely keep his place today and perhaps, just perhaps, we have the competition for the Number One shirt within the club – who would have thought it?
A Star in the Making?
Jenkinson showed that Mr Wenger can still spot a a bargain – a million for him is a steal, we will see much of The Corporal in the future as he cements his place at Arsenal and also the England team.
Furthermore, Ramsey is becoming an important player. We didn’t miss JW as our Welsh Wizard plugged gaps all over the pitch. They are very different players and it will be interesting over the coming seasons to see how both can fit into the team. Add in the refreshing cameo from Oxlade Chamberlain - admittedly against a tiring defence – and we can see a young and highly talented New Arsenal developing.
As THMT would say “The Spirit of the Thirties is rising”
And what of Swansea? Who can not be delighted by their progress? No big names, no big signings, an untried (at PL) manager; they have had a wonderful trophy-winning season and could yet derail ours. At season’s start it would have been inconceivable that Swansea could take 6 points from us, and yet, they beat us at home and deserved to do so. No-one would be shocked by them winning today, such has been their improvement..
I would not be surprised to see Gervinho start, nor Ox given the energy spent midweek.
BFG was our MoM in Munich and perhaps could use a break but something untoward is happening with Vermaelen. There is a story brewing …….
Our English Explorer: Rocky has suggested Richard Burton – so let’s take a look at the fellow. Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) was born in Torquay. This is an extraordinary man, a truly extraordinary man. To begin with Burton could speak 29 languages! Yes, 29! He was an explorer, an author, a diplomat, a spy, a cartographer, a translator and an International fencer.
Let’s start here …… Burton disguised himself in order to go to Mecca to translate the Arabian Nights story, the account of his trip made him famous. He also translated the Karma Sutra and published it for the first time in England – and to think this was during the Victorian age of strict attitudes to all things sexual. Burton’s published interest in sex and sexuality led to his being prosecuted by the Society for the Suppression of Vice (lovely ….they would be busy at Stamford Bridge!)
Full Set ….. Knighthood
As an explorer Burton undertook a Royal Geographical funded mission to Somalia and later to find the source of the Nile with fellow explorer (and an old BR subject) John Speke. They reached and named Lake Victoria (now Tanganyika) but quarrelled badly about the route and split up. The rancour between them led to a very public spat in a London where they were both feted. Speke later died in a shooting accident whilst Burton joined the Foreign Office. He became Consul in West Africa, Brazil, Damascus and Trieste.
Burton was Knighted and died in Trieste at the age of 69. To those interested I recommend further investigation of a fascinating man.
Today we will play a team with a similar style to our own. Laudrup has continued Rodgers principals of attractive free-flowing passing football. Much has been made of the Dane becoming a target as Wenger’s successor – his contract extension does nothing to dampen the rumours.
Just after our game ends the England Rugby team will be down the road in Cardiff trying to win the Grand Slam, good luck to them.
We need the points more than they do, so let’s get busy and take them.
Written by Big Raddy