She that is Queen of Tunis; she that dwells
Ten leagues beyond man’s life; she that from Naples
Can have no note, unless the sun were post—
The Man i’ th’ Moon’s too slow—till new-born chins
Be rough and razorable; she that from whom
We all were sea-swallow’d, though some cast again
(And by that destiny) to perform an act
Whereof what’s past is prologue; what to come,
In yours and my discharge. — Antonio, The Tempest, Act 2 Scene 1
Nationalism week is finally over. The body paint has been painted, the flags waived, the drums beaten, and the vuvuzelas annoyingly blown. Some teams, ranked teams like Croatia, won’t be going to the World Cup leaving Messers Eduardo, Vermaelen, and Ramsey to play Scrabble with Almunia and Denilson this Summer. Though, if Oliver Kay had his way, Ole Manny Pickledickle would travel to South Africa and be in a pretty good position to win a World Cup from the looks of that team.
Oliver Kay does make a rather compelling point about Almunia; that if you look at Germany, their 4 man strike team consists of just one German-born player, Mario Gomez and you could look at pretty much every squad and see a naturalized player. But, that Scotland is just now letting all of her citizens play for the national team, coupled with the statements of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, John Terry and pretty much all of the English players (except Theo Walcott) I think says a lot about the attitude of the United Kingdom toward foreigners. As I have said repeatedly, Almunia would need one hell of a spine to bear the tempest of scorn and play for England. As I have also stated repeatedly, if chosen he should accept.
Whilst away on their Nationalism duty on Wednesday both Ramsey and Arshavin scored goals, with only Rambo’s being noteworthy. Arshavin got a tap in and if you want to see that, go over to 101 Great Goals and check it out. I want to post the Wales v. Liechtenstein match here, though, because I absolutely love this video. It’s about 5 minutes long, shows all the highlights, has absolutely no commentary, and there’s a nice light sound track which doesn’t drown out the crowd noise. All football videos should be made like this. ALL OF THEM
But that’s all behind us, if you want to live in that past, the dot com serves up all the Nationalism Team action for all of Arsenal’s players last week. What we’ve got to look forward to is a month of Premier League, Champions League, and a whopper of a Carling Cup match before our next Nationalism break.
In the distant haze of my memory is this one match against a team called Birmingham. I wrote passionately about that match in January, when I was doing my round up of the most important moments of the year. I don’t think I can improve on what I said there so I won’t even try. My main points were that it was a moment that altered Arsenal history, that it should have been remembered for Theo’s performance but it never will be, and that the press’ constant sniveling about how hard it is for TAYLOR to recover from this mortal wound was about as disgusting as I have ever seen from them. The British press still, to this day, refuse to use the active tense when describing the incident, saying things like “Eduardo broke his leg” rather than the more accurate “Taylor broke Eduardo’s leg.” As if Eduardo tripped and fell on Taylor’s outstretched leg, thus placing the blame entirely on the Croatian.
This will be the first time that the two teams have met since that day and I have no doubt that the incident and subsequent disappointing 2-2 draw will be very much on the minds of every Arsenal player on Saturday. In fact, if I was a Birmingham player, coach, or supporter I’d be happy to have just a regular 2-0 loss rather than the absolute hiding that I suspect Arsenal will want to give. An absolute hiding: that’s how much emotion I expect this Arsenal team to have ahead of this match.
Funny thing, though, Taylor is pretty much completely out of contention for the match with an injury and poor form which has kept him out of every match this season. And Eduardo didn’t play on Wednesday, still suffering from a bit of a thigh strain. So, it’s entirely possible that neither of the two actors in that infamous incident will get on stage. That fact could drain some of the emotion from what I expect will be a heated match though how much remains to be seen. We’ll find out more about the lineups when the boss gives his Friday presser tommorrow.
In the end, I am hoping that Eduardo gets on in the last 20 minutes and scores a goal, there would be no better way to both honor the past and look to the future and thereby make what’s past truly a prologue.