At least when I get it wrong, I get it spectacularly wrong. Years and years ago before Tim Duncan came into the NBA (humor me) I was watching him play college ball and I said to my friend “that guy will be a flop.” Famous last words. And, of course, yesterday I claimed that England would lose. Seeing that I get it so wrong when I do get it wrong, I might as well just say that Arsenal will finish last in the league this season because they suck so much. Too bad it doesn’t actually work that way. I have to believe that they suck and based on some performances yesterday, it’s pretty clear that this Arsenal team doesn’t suck.
First and foremost, of course, is the fact that Arsenal forward Theo Walcott scored a hat trick away against a Croatia team that kicked England out of Euro 2008 last year at Wembley. An Arsenal player hasn’t scored a hat trick for England since Ian Wright bagged 4 against San Marino in 1993. I’ll admit it, I was pretty excited. I kept sneaking out of the retreat yesterday and checking the live text on the BBC and when I read that Theo got his 3rd I was pretty stoked. It’s been a few years since Arsenal even had a player on the English national team, much less score a goal, and I’d never seen a hat trick from an Arsenal player. Heady stuff.
The next step here is for Theo to take the lesson he learned from that game (BE A BIT MORE SELFISH) and apply it to his Arsenal game. Also, he needs to heed the advice of people like John Barnes
He’s a great player but let’s not get carried away. The last time we did this, when he got selected for the World Cup, his career halted for 18 months to two years – let’s allow him to develop
Good advice — let’s all not get carried away. It was a good game, a breakout game, a historic game, but it was just one game. What am I saying? It’s time to queue all the stories that “Arsenal will win the league, Theo will score 50 goals, Engerland will win the world cup!!!”
I don’t think it’s getting carried away, however, to say that Wenger will clearly have some selection problems. Rosicky is nearing full fitness and the boss has been pretty stubborn about his stance that “Eboue brings defensive balance” to the right side so those two are going to push Walcott for a starting spot on the right. Note that the shift here is subtle; Walcott is no longer pushing them for a starting spot, they have to be pushing him. I also think that as well as Walcott did on the right wing, he’s an out and out striker which Wenger has also said numerous times. Does this mean that Walcott will start to push Bendtner, Adebayor and van Persie for a starting spot up front? Time will tell, but I love the fact that this so-called “thin” squad now has 4 world class strikers to choose from.
Bendtner too scored in Denmark’s win over Portugal yesterday. Already, Bendtner has a few starts under his belt and the fact that he’s put in a few goals (Twente and Portugal) has to bolster his argument for more starts. It will be interesting to see how all this plays out this season. Will fans regret Arsene’s decision not to sell Adebayor?
In defense, France elected to play three of Arsenal’s back four against Serbia, handing Clichy, Sagna, and Gallas the start. I didn’t see this game, but it is worrying that the Arsenal three couldn’t keep a clean sheet and that, according to match reports, they have a serious problem with free kicks and headed balls. Let’s hope this backsliding on the part of Gallas doesn’t effect Arsenal’s league play.
Equally as worrying is that Djourou played as Switzerland lost to Luxemborg. If Arsenal had a week in training together, perhaps Wenger could sort some of this out, but we don’t, Arsenal play Blackburn on Saturday without so much as a practice session, ugh.
Finally, some fans in Croatia made monkey sounds when Heskey took the pitch as a second half substitution. I’m sorry, but this is 2008, if a country cannot control their racist fans, they have no place in World Cup football. I’d give countries one warning and then ban them from the current World Cup competition. It’s a hard line, I know, but this needs to stop.