Those of you with a keen eye (or a lonely RSS reader) may have noticed I’ve been strangely absent of late, and you would be right – work has taken over spectacularly, and I have just enough time to get home, eat, sleep and get up to start again. All great fun (seriously), but the blog has taken a bit of a back seat.
Fortunately, I haven’t missed as much in the last ten days as I would on other occasions in the season. Elevation to third in the league has allowed us valuable breaks while Spurs fight for a Champions League spot, and the latter stages of the transfer window are hardly the most delightful times in the calendar.
But we’ve still been relatively busy, and I wanted to jot down my thoughts in concise form. So here goes:
The 6-0 drubbing of Blackpool
Football matches should always take precedence over the rumour mill, and after a lacklustre performance at Liverpool, particularly in the second half, it was fantastic to see such a terrific team effort against a side still on a high after their spectacular first day success. Granted, Blackpool’s defence was woeful, and the red card killed the game, but we were clinical, didn’t let up when 3-0 ahead, and if the pundits can salivate over Chelsea’s 6-0 wins over relegation cannon fodder, so can we of ours.
Four years after signing, his class is still apparent. His Arsenal career will never reach the heights intended when Wenger shelled out around £7m before the 2006 World Cup, but to have a player of his quality available when Cesc and Nasri are missing is a rare treat. Moreover, he understands his squad role perfectly, and will not complain if back on the bench this weekend.
I agree with Alan Hansen that Walcott often makes the wrong decision with his final ball. But to bring up that criticism after the lad’s just put in the best performance of his career is churlish in the extreme. And ignore the two bad crosses Hansen insisted on showing – any flying winger putting in ball after ball is going to get some wrong. Walcott has areas to improve in, but why he has received this level of critique by the age of 21 is beyond me. He is miles ahead of where many others were at this stage.
I really hope they stay up. I don’t think they will.
The ‘Big Four’
…is now a Big Five. Yes, Liverpool were hammered by Man City, but they will be stronger this year, mark my words. But while some pundits will rejoice at the added competition for Champions League spots, there will be a massive gap down to Spurs (likely to focus on Europe) and Everton.
I have to say, I’m somewhat surprised by the Frenchman’s imminent arrival, but delighted all the same. I thought Wenger would bring in a central defender (he hardly had a choice, did he?), but I figured it would be a 24-25 year old impressing in Europe. Squillaci has just turned 30, so is a slightly un-Wenger-like signing, but we’ve been crying out for a ready made defender used to challenging for and winning honours. He fits the bill, and should be the last of our outfield purchases.
The keeper situation
Much cloudier. With every passing day, I suspect more and more that Schwarzer will not be arriving. If Fulham force him to stay, he cannot afford to sulk – he career will simply tail off. We don’t hold the cards here, as we did with Cesc.
Speaking of whom, why are sites still running with stories that he’ll be off to Barcelona this week?
And that is about it. The blog will be more regular over the coming weeks, and as the football ramps up, you can expect more frequent updates.