My first attempt at writing this article started last Sunday just before midnight and went something like this – Didier Drogba tra la la la la la, Didier Drogba tra la la la la la. And on and on it went. I had another go yesterday (Monday) but the only the words that came into my mind were Wenger, Specsavers and can we play you every week. Not much use if you’re looking to write an eight hundred word article.
Having finally managed to compose myself and partially shaken off the euphoria I will now try to proceed to share my thoughts following last Sunday’s win at the Emirates.
Having mentioned Arsene Wenger, let’s get him out of the way first. No great sportsman/manager ever takes defeat graciously. It is ingrained in their DNA to loathe defeat and it is this hatred of defeat, of being a bad loser, that probably spurs them on to greatness. So Arsene’s ranting about the disallowed goal, that Drogba doesn’t do much during a game, that Arsenal were the better team on the day were the utterings of a once great manager who has fallen on hard times in recent years. On second thoughts it could be the onset of senility.
You know (and hope for his sake) that deep down he himself knows that what he is saying is complete and utter nonsense but he cannot bring himself to admit in front of the whole world that his team was played off the park by their rivals. Because that would seriously undermine his own stubborn philosophy that he has stuck to over the past 3 years.
There is no doubt that Wenger is an ultra-competitive person. He swanned into the Premiership 13 years ago and for the best part of his first 10 years matched his red nosed rival blow for blow in the trophy winning stakes. Much as it sticks in my throat to admit it, the unbeaten title win of 2004 will take some matching.
What he didn’t bargain for was the arrival of The Special One and since then Arsenal have only briefly, two years ago, challenged for the title. In the last five seasons they have never finished above Chelsea and only once above United.
He got it into his head that he could win the league with kids to prove to everyone, most of all himself, that he was a cut above the rest. But his attempt is failing miserably. Yes his kids do turn on the style sometimes but when it goes wrong, it goes horribly wrong, and this invariably happens when they meet a good, physically powerful team. And sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a good team, just powerful. If you cannot realize that Arshavin, Denilson and Fabregas, for all their fancy footwork and neat flicks, will never be able to compete against the likes of Lampard, Mikel and Essien, then you’re in the wrong job Arsene.
Being the sick person I am, last year I worked out that the Chelsea players in the side that beat Arsenal 4 – 1 were, on average a stone heavier and three inches taller than their Gooner counterparts. Since then they have replaced their two biggest players (Toure and Adebayor) with Vermalen and Eduardo. Your turn to do the maths now.
Now to a much more pleasant subject – Carlo Ancelotti. Being a part time follower of Italian football I cannot say I was enthralled when it became obvious that Carletto was going to take over at Chelsea. On Italian telly he came across as a rather dour and humourless person, and this in his native tongue. And over his last two seasons Milan were not setting any houses on fire.
But I have to say that three months into the season I am a fully paid up convert to the Carletto Creed. He even has a sense of humour. It’s come to the stage where my pining for Jose’ isn’t what it used to be. The first few games sent me scurrying to my doctor for anti depressants, seeing how our style of play looked so similar to Scolari’s. But apart from the fact that he has got his players to give him a hundred and ten per cent each game, there is a plan B and a plan C. And there is also the humility, although I would call it wherewithal, to realize that if something is not working he fixes it straight away. Lampard’s position in the formation is a case in point. It didn’t work out at the head of the diamond so Lamps was put in his proper position and others brought in to do the job just behind the front two.
Before saying goodbye I seek medical advice, if it is available out there. Over the past 3 years or so I have developed an incontinence problem. My doc couldn’t give me any reason or cure for it. I did my own research and realized that the problem occurs only when Jon Obi Mikel is anywhere near the ball, and gets worse the closer the ball gets to our penalty area. Anyone with a similar condition please get in touch. I will be starting a self help group soon with the aim of petitioning the manager not to play him in the big games at least.