Good morning folks. No news this morning about what the punishment will be for Arsenal’s “failure to queue” in the Manchester City match. I did take a moment to read the rule we’ve been charged with (20.1) and it seems to suggest that one of the players, fans, or club representatives did or said something threatening to Stuart Attwell or his officiating crew. Everyone’s assuming it was Gabriel and that’s a fair assumption but I’d like to know who and what, exactly, was said. My guess is that the report was vague on that detail and even if not we will probably never know because this will all be swept under the rug until the next time something happens in an Arsenal match refereed by Stuart Attwell.
In transfer news I’m not seeing anything reliable (BBC or Guardian) but lots of news on Twitter suggesting that Ainsley Maitland-Niles is going to Roma on loan, with Jose Mourinho even confirming the deal (hearsay, via twitter). Let’s assume for a minute that this is going to happen, it’s all a bit strange isn’t it? AMN wanted to leave us a few years ago and we had an offer from Wolves. The Guardian reported the fee was £20m but other places have put the offer from Wolves lower, £15m. Arsenal rejected the offer and convinced AMN to stay by uhh.. promising him more playing time. Which, to be fair, Arteta did give him at first – and in the coveted MF role. But since then AMN has been benched again, and even dropped from the first team entirely.
The latest reports (December 2021) say that he’s upset and feels like the club made promises to him that they didn’t keep. I feel bad for the guy because he just wants to play football. The life of a professional athlete is incredibly dull: you wake up at the same time every day, train train train, force-feed on bland food, play a match, recover, and do it all over again. Arsene Wenger called it a “monastic” life and the more I learn about the lives of professional athletes the worse they seem.
But the whole goal of all these asceticism is to be able to play the game that you love. Now imagine doing all of that and despite Sambi dropping out of favor, Xhaka’s injury, and Partey going off to AFCON, there’s a real chance you’re doing all of that for nothing? Man I would be angry too. And don’t @ me with how much money they make. They spend 24 hours a day in this regimented routine, and I don’t know how much money someone would have to pay me to do that. Especially if there’s no real reward at the end. Besides, it’s not like they really get to spend it. A guy like AMN needs to save every dime because his career is going to be over in just a few years and his prospects for future work aren’t great. Look at Eboue. Poor guy didn’t manage his money well and now he’s basically broke and has no marketable skills.
This should be the plot of a short story, like “The Bet” by Chekhov. Except instead of coming out at the end of 15 years of monastic life a super genius (because he — ah ha! — read the Bible), they come out this completely and utterly stilted human being who knows almost nothing but how to train and force-feed themselves steamed chicken breast and broccoli. Heyyy! But they have a million dollars!
Anyway, it feels almost cruel to then, on top of all of that, send him off to have to work with Jose Mourinho. But, you can see why he would do it: at least there’s a chance he could play. At Arsenal? I’m not sure he’ll get any playing time at Arsenal after January. Best of luck to him, he’s really going to need it.
Auba got COVID while preparing for his AFCON tournament. A lot of folks blaming him because he went out to a restaurant but that actually bothers me quite a bit. I knew that the club’s tarnishing him with “breaking COVID rules” would linger and it seems to have with people blaming him for getting COVID. Weirdly, no one is blaming Arteta, Pep, Klopp, or anyone else when they get COVID and who knows where they have been? But hey, Auba went out to dinner with his teammates and a few friends. Look, it’s not something I would personally do but this Omicron variant is virtually ubiquitous and there’s no telling where he got it.
We have gotten to the point with many things in human life where we love to assign individual blame for societal ills. Global warming? Well that’s just down to my individual choices to use single-use plastic, eat beef, or take vacations, isn’t it? It’s not at all about massive subsidies to oil companies or deregulation of fossil fuel industries. A player gets COVID? Oh, well that’s actually his own fault and not at all a symptom of a much larger cultural and social failure.
Assigning individual blame for the systems collapsing around us is a convenient scapegoat. And it’s part of the big lie that we’ve been sold over the last 50 years. It allows some of us to remain smug in our belief that we are “doing this right” and simultaneously disempowers us from effecting the real change that’s needed. Changes to our structures of power. As long as we are all blaming each other, and keeping tabs on what we are all doing, the actual people with their hands on the levers of power can keep doing what they are doing without interference. It’s divide and conquer on the individual level.
So, anyway, I hope that Auba gets better soon and that he and the club find a way to quickly get a divorce because I’m already tired of stories about Auba.
There are a lot of rumors swirling about who will come in to Arsenal this January and I’m not going to entertain any of them at the moment. Instead of picking up on an individual, I have put together a profile of the kind of striker/CF that Arsenal need to target this January (through to the summer). Here it is:
- Must be willing to press
- Must be big and strong so that he can bang with PL CBs
- Can drop deep like aux midfielder
- Can turn and take on defenders
- Must be quick and able to score on the counter
- Incredible touch, fucking midas touch m8
- Must be under the age of 26
- Can score headers
- Never misses big chances
- Has his own alarm clock
- Doesn’t miss COVID tests after getting 35 minutes of leave to go visit him mom
- Reuses single-use plastics, I mean like he’s washing out ziploc bags and shit man, he’s committed to saving the planet
- Dresses extremely conservatively, just black suits, white shirts, and red ties
- Never spends his money
- Sleeps exactly 8 hours a day
- In that Boba Fett chamber thing
- Spends the other 16 hours a day doing nothing but football
- NEVER goes out to a restaurant (obv.)
- Hates fashion
- Drives a 1986 Ford Fiesta* and ONLY a Fiesta (or similar old, cheap car, to show how he’s not big upping how much money he makes)
Shouldn’t be too hard for Arsenal to find this guy and I look forward to the club’s official announcement next week.
*I had one of these, they are actually not that bad a car!