The lazy silly transfer season is upon us. Arsenal fans have to find some other fruitful pursuit to spend their time, what with nothing but useless transfer talk filling the airtimes and twitter world.
However, this year is a bit different. In the grapevine it is heard that the medieval war ritual of Shrovetide Derbies has been transported amongst the Amazonian tribes. They have invited nations from around the world over to spend a holiday in the deep and dangerous jungles of Brazil, and engage in a competition in the ancient war game of football. What is on offer may be more war than a civilized game, and the environs may be a dangerous jungle. And they even dare to call it a World Cup! Nevertheless, there is a bit of a buzz in the air.
Do ladies and gentlemen of AA care? No, not quite. Nevertheless, there are a few issues.
First, a few of the good guys have travelled to Brazil. Well, slightly more than a few. Of the 736 players (23 players in each of 32 national teams) in the World Cup, the highest proportion (124 players, 17 percent) ply their trade in England (and Wales, whatever that may mean!). This is by far the largest origin for World Cup players, the next highest being Germany (77 players). As may be expected, Arsenal has provided quite a few of these players, 12 players to be exact, or about 10 percent. Which, at a first cut, is good news. We should and of course will be interested in following our own players.
Second, there are both upsides and downsides to our players playing in the World Cup. On the downside, potential injuries (fingers crossed, no such bad luck this time!), fatigue and disappointment. But, on the upside, more experience and confidence, but also more appreciation potentially worldwide of the fantastic game that our good guys play. Whichever way you look at it, we have no option but to follow our players in the World Cup.
Third, some other players will hopefully be signed by Arsenal for the next year, and we would are surely want to keep track of them. Here, however, there is a major problem. Given the secrecy with which Arsene and Arsenal handle their transfer business, and rightly so, there will no doubt be desperation to find some Arsenal transfer news. Necessity, as we all know, is the mother of invention! And there will be plenty of such invention of useless transfer rumours.
Every goal-scorer will surely be linked to Arsenal, with claims as to how much better they are compared to poor Ollie. Every goalkeeper making a decent save will be projected as the replacement for Fabianski. Worse still, every right back making a decent cross will be linked to our first choice right back position. Not caring so much about whether our main requirement is for an overlapping right back or one who can defend as well! Then there are CB and DM positions, and the mind really boggles.
Nevertheless, it will be nice to be informed about who potential good players in different positions are, whether they have been linked to Arsenal or not. In fact, one of the major advantages of the World Cup is indeed that we come to know about players from many different countries, and not only the ones that populate the EPL and major leagues in Europe. Further, absolutely no harm in trying to find a good player from elsewhere in the world. How about a Japanese player for a change?
Against this backdrop, chums, let us find out what we can expect from our 12 Gooners in the World Cup and even, dare I say it, identify a few other players and teams that we may like to watch and follow. The Gooners first. 3 each in France and Germany, 2 for England, and 1 each for Belgium, Costa Rica, Spain and Switzerland.
Giroud, Kos and Sagna are included in the French squad. And Arsene is going to be in attendance all through. Exciting! Sagna appears to be more of a back-up, and in any case, is bound for the Northern Oilers. So be it! He has given us a good service and has not been disrespectful. We wish him well. Koscielny appears to be a regular in the French central defence. We hope he will have a good tournament and no injuries, please. The exciting one here is Giroud. Ollie seems to be picking up at the right time, and should play an exciting role in a 4-4-2 combination with Benzema, or perhaps Remy, upfront. Very exciting, not least in combination with the other two. Why, oh why, do we not play with two upfront. Arsene, where is Arsene? Some signings please.
The 3 Gunners in the Germany team are BFG, Ozil and Poldi. Both Mertesacker and Ozil are settled members of the German team, and Podolski is a highly trusted veteran. In the run-up to the World Cup, BFG has been solid, Ozil has had mixed performances but Podolski seems to be picking up at the right time. Germany are one of the dark horses in the tournament. Who knows, maybe Germany will be the first European nation to win the World Cup in Latin America? Exciting times. Come on you Gooners!!!!
The England team has 2 Gooners, The Ox and Wilshere. Should really have been 4, also including Theo and Gibbs. Really really gutted for both. Theo’s injury came at a bad time. I blame the swamps down in N17. Given the poor backline, my conviction is reinforced that the omission of Gibbs was a mistake. Anyway, the good news for Arsenal is that Theo and Gibbs are kept injury free and fresh. The Ox could really have been one of the young stars in Brazil. Lallana is second best, not only in football, but even in the number of letters in his name.
Unfortunately, there is an injury, and worse still it seems The Ox is being rushed back too soon. I hope all will be fine. Jack is not expected to feature that much. In any case, there is such a lot of negativity surrounding the team, and Jack’s keenness to try too hard, I hope he does not play that much. As usual England has conceded defeat even before they started, not least in Greg Dyke’s statements about the quality in the squad and complaints about having the play in the “jungle”. Eh? Whichever way you look at it, it is better England swallow their pride and return home soon. Hopefully without too much damage to the players. I am sad to say this, but I sincerely feel this way.
The Spanish team is exciting as well. Santi is a senior pro in the team, but given the wealth of talent in the Spanish midfield he is expected to provide cameo roles. Come on Santi! We wish Spain well.
Verms is selected for a Belgium team that looks tasty as well. Unfortunately, as in Arsenal, he is not first choice in the national team as well. However, he is a senior member of the squad, something like a vice-captain to Kompany. Like the FA Cup, he may yet lift a trophy as well. No, that is taking it perhaps a bit too far! Anyway, good luck to Verms. Stay fit, please.
The really exciting one is Joel Campbell. He is a star in the Costa Rica team, and I for one will have to support him in the game against England. Still an exciting prospect, his strike against Manchester United for Olympiacos was simply superb. Come on, Joel. Make a case for Arsenal organising a work visa for you this time round.
Last but not the least, there is Djourou. Johann has spent the last season out on loan at Hamburg, and is selected for the Switzerland squad. He is not expected to get that much of play time. Nevertheless, well done and good luck!
And finally, there are the on’s who are prospective signings. What of Balotelli, Mandzukic, Aurier, Draxler, Remy who are doing the rounds in the gossip columns, and even the likes of Cesc and Costa who have dropped out. Exciting prospects? Let us find out what is on offer.
So here is the full line up.
Brazil: Entire team, really, especially Forward – Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg)
Croatia: Forward – Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich)
Spain: Goalkeepers – Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli); Midfielders – Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona); Forward – Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
Netherlands: Forward – Robin van Persie (Manchester United), just to wish 1,000 ill-fortunes upon his house, and to laugh at his misadventures.
Colombia: Goalkeeper – David Ospina (Nice); Forward – Jackson Martinez (Porto)
Ivory Coast: Defenders – Serge Aurier (Toulouse); Forward – Gervinho (Roma), just because we like the guy!
Uruguay: Forward – Luis Suarez (Liverpool), just because we love to hate the chap!
Costa Rica: Forward – Joel Campbell (Olympiakos, on loan from Arsenal). Come on, Joel!
England: The whole team, but especially Midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) and Jack Wilshere (Arsenal). COYG!
Italy: Forward – Mario Balotelli (AC Milan)
All defenders and forwards in Group E, particularly in France and Switzerland, not least because Arsene will also be watching them closely.
Switzerland: Defenders – Johan Djourou (Hamburg, on loan from Arsenal), Philippe Senderos (Valencia). Come on Djourou!
France: The whole team, really, but in particular, Defenders – Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, but Northern Oilers bound); Midfielders – Paul Pogba (Juventus), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton); Forwards – Karim
Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Loic Remy (Newastle, on loan from QPR). Come on French Gooners!!!!!
Argentina: everyone, they should be a pleasure to just watch and admire!
Germany: entire team, but especially, Defender – Per Mertesacker (Arsenal); Midfielders – Julian Draxler (Schalke), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal); Forward – Lukas Podolski (Arsenal). COYG!!!!
Portugal: just because it is an interesting team.
United States: Goalkeeper – Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
Belgium: should be an interesting team to watch, but especially Defender – Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal)
So, chums, what do you think? Excited enough. Bring on the World Cup! COYG!!!!!
Written by arnie