Who should we follow (or not?) in the World Cup?

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.

Leagues_wherearetheplayersfrom

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.

Gunners_in_WorldCup2014

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.

Giroud_Koscielny_Sagna

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!!!!

Mertesacker_Ozil_Podolski

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.

ox and jack

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.

Cazorla

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.

Verms_Belgium

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.

Campbell_Costa Rica

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!

Djourou_Switzerland

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

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131 Responses to Who should we follow (or not?) in the World Cup?

  1. passenal says:

    What a refreshing article – an Arsenal blogger that actually likes and supports our players! Like you I’ll be supporting our international Gunners too with fingers crossed against the injury demons.

  2. arnie says:

    Chums, this was written a few days before the WC started. As far as I am concerned two things have changed since then.

    First, the game last night showed that Holland is an exciting team, and GN5 reminded us that they have been to the finals 3 times without winning. Hence they are worth following even if they have BSR (and Robben) in their ranks and are coached by van Gaal.

    Second, Cesc has now joined the Chavs. I hear that his job is cleaning the benches in the Bridge with his ass. No interest in him any more.

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I’m sure you have written a fine post Arnie, you usually do, but I don’t have time to read it. In fact I don’t have time for much today apart from watching sport on TV.

    I’ve just watched a compelling game of Rugby between The All Blacks and England which ended 28 – 27.

    Next up is the England vs Sri Lanka test match. I shall also be dipping into the Criterion du Dauphine to see how Chis Froome is doing.

    Later an evening with my long suffering wife while we share a curry, before settling in with the beer and peanuts to watch England take on Italy.

    Have a fun day AAers.

    C’mon Enland, C’mon Chris, C’mon England.

  4. arnie says:

    I suppose AAers are catching up on sleep in preparation for the late night game. Quite excited myself about the England – Italy game. 😛

  5. Shard says:

    arnie

    I have already stated that I am watching this worldcup as a neutral, although I reserve my right to want some teams to lose because I don’t want certain persons to be happy. The Dutch for example.

    Always among my favourite teams although in the last world cup they gave up on their style. Their performance yesterday was very good, although Spain were terrible. Where was the swarming midfield choking the opposition in the second half? They did a little bit of that in the first half. Anyway, the Dutch. I could tolerate Van Persie being happy as well as long as I got to see some good football, but can you imagine the media love in over him and Louis Van Gaal. ‘ManU win the World Cup’ is not a headline anyone wants to see.

    Why is Lallana considered a youngster? The media talk him up as this bright young thing.He’s 26. The same age as Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi. Older than Ozil, Jack, Gotze etc.

    Today I’m looking forward to seeing Colombia’s Jackson Martinez and Juan Cuadrado (both have been lined to Arsenal at some point), Joel Campbell of Costa Rica take on Suarez and Cavani’s Uruguay, Jack and Ox for England, and Balotelli and Ciro Immobile (Dortmund’s new signing) for Italy, and lastly Serge Aurier for Ivory Coast. So lots to look forward to today. 🙂

  6. stevepalmer1 says:

    Afternoon all,
    Nice one Arnie, I know you said that this post was written before the world cup started, but it still must have took you a fair bit of time, and a good one as well.

    Hard to write a post for you Arnie, where Arsenal is not the main subject. But you brought them in pretty nicely mate.

    World cups are a political competition, now i know we don’t talk politics or religion or race, and quite a few others subjects as well, but the world cup is for most, a nationalistic thing for all of us, Doesn’t matter where you come from or from what country your from, you want your own country to win it.

    This is where the politics kick in, i have watched all the games so far, and all the games, there has been some controversial decisions from the officials. The host nation Brazil, got away with murder, but you always knew that they would get the result. Brazil should have had their super striker sent off, no ifs or buts it was a clear sending off no matter where you come from.

    Mexico had two clear cut goals disallowed, There were times i felt the writing was on the wall for them, but how many goals can you disallow before the world smells a rat.

    England playing tonight, and being an Englishman i have a big interest in this game, but i have reservations, Blatter and Platini or should i say all of FIFA have the raging hump with England as we have called them all corrupt, What can we expect ?

    To start off with we are playing in an unfinished Stadium, not only that but the pitch is like a car park, we are playing against a physical team and i doubt a card will be shown up to half time. I can imagine the appointed Official will have his orders and i doubt it bows well for my team.

    Blatter and his cronies would like nothing better than an Early England exit, take the thorn out and his pain will go away. England need to play their hearts out as we will certainly be up against it tonight. Politics will play a big part in tonight’s game whether we want to talk about it or not.

  7. LBG says:

    A mind blowing post Arnie for its depth of detail. Enjoying a blog break in between watching a continuous day of sport.
    Little real interest in WC, although will keep one eye on Arse players and potential players. Loving suggestion of more interest in Bony, and although appreciated him in his time with us, think Chav bid for Song would be comical.
    Actually enjoying most watching my all time favourite No 3 Test batsman – Sangakkara at the moment. One love.

  8. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Right the cycling’s over for today, Froome lost the yellow jersey to his big competitor Contador, so a few spare minutes to read Arnie’s post. A fine one indeed.

    I shall be watching Baloteli as he’s been linked to Arsenal, I’d really like to see him in a Gunner’s shirt. It looks as though Cazorla is on his way out, he wants to play for Athletico Madrid and Sagna has agreed a three year deal at the Northern Oilers. It’s a shame he’s gone but you can’t blame the guy for wanting a good top up to his pension fund.

    As to the rest of the Arsenal players involved in the World Cup, I hope none of them sustain any injuries.

  9. arnie says:

    thanks guys. 🙂 just started watching the Colombia – Greece game. Agree with Shard, watching out for Martinez and Cuadrado irrespective of who they play for next season. 😛

  10. kelsey says:

    Franz Beckenbauer has refused to answer questions regarding the awarding of the world cup to Russia and Qatar,he cites he could not answer them because they were in written English.Beckenbauer was the Ambassador for the federation of Russian gas producers?.Beckenbauer visited Qatar in June 2011 as part of a delegation representing a German shipping company,the trip was arranged by the banned Mohamed Bin Hamman the former FIFA member who was banned for life in 2012,the mind boggles what is an ex footballer FIFA commitee member doing being the Ambassador to the Russian gas federation.

    The plot thickens.

    Arnie, I have no real interest except to see how our players perform and more importantly do not get injured.

  11. arnie says:

    Kelsey, agreed. 🙂 Too much agreement. Kelsey OUT! 🙂 🙂

    Let our good guys do well, and most importantly, return without injury.

    On the corruption issues, less said the better. But I prefer the discussion to be about corruption rather than other things which have racist undertones.

    Problem is, all countries are involved in this corruption. England has no moral high ground. Hence I am not too hopeful that anything will happen. Worse still, the corruption is linked to politics and we do not want to go there.

    An almighty mess. The only person who I think can be blamed is Bladder, and his head should go.

  12. arnie says:

    Wenger, where’s Wenger? Are you watching Cuadrado? 😛

  13. arnie says:

    Allegedly (Source: Metro)

    Arsenal make transfer offer for Sao Paulo’s highly-rated Brazilian defender Rodrigo Caio.

    The Gunners reportedly watched the 20-year-old during the recent Toulon Tournament in France, where he starred for the Brazil Under-20 side.

    And now reports in South America say Arsenal have submitted a formal offer for the player, thought to be about £7million.

    Caio, a technical centre back who can play in midfield, was recently signed by infamous football agent Jorge Mendes, who has been working on trying to get him a move to Europe.

    Arsenal’s chief scout Steve Rowley has already held a meeting with Mendes which went well, and the club are now waiting on an answer from Sao Paulo.

    Arsene Wenger will hope to be able to secure a work permit for Caio, so he can join the first-team squad straight away.

  14. arnie says:

  15. arnie says:

    Allegedly. The Ox starting today. 🙂

  16. Eddie says:

    hi arnie ! good article. Is that right – we have more Germans than Spaniards in the team? How odd.

    Why do you have to support Joey Campbell? Are you Jamaican?

    I am British, so have to support my adoptive country, but if things go tits up, I am French at heart.

  17. Eddie says:

    arnie – costa rican, not jamaican. I read your post, watch Joel C playing v Urugway and still think he is Jamaican. Low IQ today

  18. 26may1989 says:

    Excellent post, arnie. Don’t know who that Sagna bloke is though…..

    First half of Costa Rica v Uruguay has been pretty good – Campbell does look a quality player, would love him finally to play for us and not go out on loan again. I wonder if Cavani might be on the market this summer – PSG surely need to try to balance the books after splurging £40m on Sideshow Bob – so am watching him closely too.

    My God, that second half of the Spain v Dutchies was something special. And the header-lob from (love to hate him) RvP was mega. What the hell happened to the Spanish defence and midfield?

    The England match will be interesting. Am glad to hear that Lallana may not be starting – I just don’t think he’s good enough. Imagine if we played as GB – there might only be two non-English players in but those two, Bale and Ramsey, could have made GB a real contender.

  19. Eddie says:

    and Joel Campbell scores for arnie and for 26m, and for Arsenal

  20. Eddie says:

    urugwayan goalie is rubbish, didn’t even attempt to save the second goal. Biter on. 26m – I always remember you saying that Suarez has that face one wants to take a cricket bat to – it still makes me giggle

  21. stevepalmer1 says:

    why do we need to spend out for a striker, when we already have Joel Campbell

  22. fatgingergooner says:

    Campbell showing his finishing skills. Might only need to buy 1 striker if he and Sanogo are coming through.

  23. Eddie says:

    mmmmmh – his goal was class, great finish, but I just checked his staats – last 2 seasons 60 appearances and only 10 goals. Not really great

  24. Big Raddy says:

    Late to the party….

    Great read arnie. I support any team with a Gooner or a player in the Danish league,

    So tonight I support Costa Rica, Campbell and Bolanos – who plays for my local side FC København

  25. Eddie says:

    Giroud’s last 2 season and 70 appearances resulted in 27 goals and we all think that he is a poor striker

  26. fatgingergooner says:

    What a pass by Campbell.

    He looks the real deal tonight.

  27. 26may1989 says:

    Sometimes we have to look past the stats – watching Campbell, it’s not just that he scored a good goal, he’s also had two fabulous long range attempts, has played often on his own, is playing against some very good defenders, has drawn numerous fouls and has laid the ball off very, very well. The kid has real quality.

    Oh my god, Campbell’s pass has just carved open Uruguay for their third!

  28. fatgingergooner says:

    Eddie,

    That includes a whole load of sub appearances and he played most of the time in wide positions. Plus he’s still only a young guy.

    He looks a lot more exciting than Sanogo. He’s still raw but no question he’s got real potential.

  29. fatgingergooner says:

    A PL loan would do him the world of good next season. If he carries on like this though we might have to keep him. We need pace in the squad.

  30. 26may1989 says:

    FGG, I want him in the red and white now!

  31. Eddie says:

    all right, all right, he does look awesome

    3 urugwayan players are already on yellow cards, they will be gentle with the English lads on Thursday, good

  32. Eddie says:

    blimey, this is a shocking result

  33. 26may1989 says:

    Eddie, I was well up for us signing the Bitey One but he is an odious scumbag a lot of the time.

  34. fatgingergooner says:

    Don’t see many 21 year old strikers dominating like that on the international stage. Still very raw but that was impressive.

    Good result for England?

  35. 26may1989 says:

    What a result, and fully deserved. Our man was such a star.

  36. 26may1989 says:

    FGG, it’s only a good result if we beat Costa Rica – who knows what’s going to happen in that match?!

    Actually, I do think England will win, there was more than a little naivety in Costa Rica’s play, but it’ll clearly not be an easy opponent for us or Italy.

  37. arnie says:

    thanks guys, so proud for Joel, we want him back, NOW. Arsene ….. where are you? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  38. Big Raddy says:

    Going to record the England game.

    Don’t tell me the result 😀

  39. stevepalmer1 says:

    It would be criminal if we don;t give him a go, after all we gave Sanogo a chance, and he may come good, Campbell has scored in the world cup against Uruguay and made another, and as far as i know, we have a visa for him

  40. 26may1989 says:

    Yup, Campbell got his UK visa last summer.

  41. Eddie says:

    arnie – you know where AW is, you said yourself that he is attending all the games and tomorrow they have Honduras

    I cannot believe how many of the Englishmen and women have no faith in their team!!! Come on Engerland, the foreigners love you 🙂

  42. stevepalmer1 says:

    I have faith in them Eddie, 🙂

  43. 26may1989 says:

    Actually, Eddie, I think England will do ok – quarter finals, I reckon. We lack depth, especially at the back, but the Liverpool core provides a good platform, and I think Sturridge and the Ox are going to have a good tournament.

  44. 26may1989 says:

    Eddie, you’re French aren’t you? I think they’ll do pretty well too.

  45. Rasp says:

    Hello everyone ……… I’m awake 🙂 who’s sticking around?

  46. Rasp says:

    That’s not him, that’s me peaches …….. Back in a min

  47. Shard says:

    Joel Campbell!!!

    It’s only one game, but he’s always had the raw skill set. I think the most pleasing aspect was his decision making. He didn’t try and take on too many players. His passing was generally good, a through ball assist, held up the ball well when needed, got targeted by the defense and carried on, took a couple of long shots, and made his goal look easy.

    It’s only one game……. But what a game.

    I am not completely sure he’s totally ready but I doubt he’ll want to go out on loan again. He’s spent 3 seasons out on loan in 3 different leagues, and also has his work permit now. If we try and loan him out again I think we’ll lose him. And he seems like a great talent. I think he has the skills we need and can develop further at Arsenal.

    Oh and Cavani…I have never ever seen him play well. I’m not saying he’s not a good player, and his youtube compilation looks great. Some brilliant goals there. But whenever I have seen him play I’ve always wondered what the fuss was about.

  48. 26may1989 says:

    By the way, the cameo from Jackson Martinez in Colombia v Greece today was pretty unimpressive. I haven’t seen much of him before but there was very little to make me think he’s a worthy recruit. Will be interesting to watch him later in the tournament.

  49. Eddie says:

    yes 26, I am French, but not always.

  50. 26may1989 says:

    “But not always”! Yup, vraiment vous etes francais!

  51. Hello Eddie, I’m sorry I keep miss you today, are you ok?

  52. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, I’ll be up and about for the whole game. Hope I don’t regret that.

  53. Eddie says:

    26m – sometimes I am a polish Evonne 🙂 A bit like Peaches calling herself Rasputin from time to time

  54. arnie says:

    come on England. 🙂 🙂 🙂 and Balotelli. 😛

  55. 26may1989 says:

    🙂

  56. 26 – that wasn’t Rasp, that was me …….. don’t ask, it’s complicated

  57. arnie says:

    🙂

  58. stevepalmer1 says:

    What i liked about Campbell, was his choice of footwear. Ankle boots i have been calling for them for an age and i think that is the way to go.

  59. 26may1989 says:

    Bloody hell, peaches, now you’re getting into the identity swapping nonsense as well?!

  60. I keep forgetting that he’s on my ipad app and I don’t seem to be able to change it so every so often I post as him.

    Thank goodness Thierry’s had his trousers repaired since last night 😉

  61. fatgingergooner says:

    I’m with Shard on Cavani. Don’t get it. Never seen him do anything worth £50m. Then again, I’ve never seen David Luiz do anything worth 50p! PSG have too much money.

    I’d have played Lallana tonight. He has the technical ability to keep the ball and that’s something we usually struggle with against better sides. It could be crucial in this humidity. We don’t want to be chasing all night.

  62. Eddie says:

    yeah Peaches, what was it with Thierry’s crotch last night?

  63. arnie says:

    Lallana? I would have played The Ox. Always. 😛

  64. 26may1989 says:

    FGG, you and Shard are probably right about Cavani, but on his day, he’s a monster.

    Have to disagree about Lallana, I think he’s been overrated. He’s good but still has a long way to go for me.

  65. 26may1989 says:

    Starting with Sterling and bringing on the Ox would be the one for me!

  66. arnie says:

    Lovely start from England. Fingers crossed. Come on England.

  67. 26may1989 says:

    Did anyone expect such an open start to the game??

  68. arnie says:

    No, I did not. And it is largely England. I am turning into a Roy fan! 😛

    Peaches. very good decision to post today. 🙂

  69. fatgingergooner says:

    Playing well so far. Should be 1-0 up.

  70. Eddie says:

    I expected a great game and I am not disappointed.
    Re Balotelli – I cannot see him fitting in with the way the Arsenal play. He is a poacher, sits outside the goal waiting for perfect balls, which he knows how to put in the net. I suppose we have enough skilled short midfielders to feed him perfect balls, but I am not sure I like the idea very much

  71. arnie says:

    Evonne. I hear what you say. But many people (not me) thought Ollie was not good enough for converting, and we would do well to have someone who can pounce on loose balls and score. 🙂

  72. 26may1989 says:

    Very good goal, fair play to Italy.

  73. arnie says:

    bum. 😦 but yes very good goal. what a dummy by Pirlo. 😦

  74. 26may1989 says:

    Fab equaliser!

  75. arnie says:

    wow. fantastic. come on England!!!!!

  76. fatgingergooner says:

    Great England goal.

    We are shit at celebrating though!

  77. 26may1989 says:

    Gary Lewin stretchered off!!!

  78. arnie says:

    Gary Lewin. hmmm. injured trying to celebrate. Agree with FGG. England is rubbish in celebrating. 😛

  79. Eddie says:

    did Lewin really break his ankle? sorry, but that is funny

    Excellent team goal

    Hart looks nervous, Welbeck having whale of a game

  80. arnie says:

    brilliant save by Jagielka. 🙂

  81. GunnerN5 says:

    Incredible, its midnight in England and I just got a call from my Uncle Charlie asking if I’m watching the game.

    By the way Uncle Charlie is 88 years old and a rabid Arsenal and England supporter.

  82. Eddie says:

    ha ha ha ha, I could not understand how can gorgeous Gary Neville do the commentary and celebrate the goal from the bench 🙂 Phil Neville is pretending to be his older brother

  83. 26may1989 says:

    Oh dear……

    Baines is the country’s best left back, right?

  84. arnie says:

    bum. 😦

  85. arnie says:

    no, that would be Gibbs. numpties. 😛

  86. arnie says:
  87. fatgingergooner says:

    I know we are losing but Barkley, Wilshere and Ox could win us this game. 10 minutes and get em on!

  88. 26may1989 says:

    Ox should come on for Sterling soon – 30 minutes of AOC would really work.

  89. 26may1989 says:

    Almost snap there, FGG!

  90. fatgingergooner says:

    Balotelli without the drama is a top drawer striker. Can see why Wenger would want him.

  91. arnie says:

    Roy, where is The Ox?

  92. arnie says:

    Jack on now. 🙂

  93. 26may1989 says:

    Our players are struggling with fitness, they’re struggling physically in a way that the Italians aren’t.

  94. fatgingergooner says:

    Looking tired now.

    We’ve created lots of chances but the defence has let us down. We really can’t rely on it and should be more attack minded.

  95. Eddie says:

    rooney is havinga shocker tonight. It was a great assist, but otherwise shite

    FGG – yes, the players look tired, but working hard, fair play to the lads, they deserve a point

  96. arnie says:

    desperate now. good, not good enough. 😦

  97. fatgingergooner says:

    I agree. Don’t deserve to lose. Once again though we just lack the know-how.

  98. arnie says:

    well, England were second best. have to defeat both Uruguay and Costa Rica now. 😦

  99. fatgingergooner says:

    Shut up Shearer! Always talking about how much effort they give.

    ‘Giving there all’ is the bare minimum that’s required. The Italians gave there all also, but they had the quality and know how to win the game. That’s where we fall down time and time again.

  100. stevepalmer1 says:

    Disappointed with the result, but our finishing touch has to improve, We must have had a dozen shots off target, just not good enough.

    Italians played within themselves, passed the ball well and took their chances well and deserved the win. Disappointed but still positive.

  101. stevepalmer1 says:

    nte all

  102. RockyLives says:

    Pleased to see Gerv the Swerve get the winner for Ivory Coast.

    A better player than some Arsenal fans were prepared to acknowledge. I feel if fans had supported him instead of getting on his back he might have been a good player for us.

  103. chas says:

    Excellent stuff, arnie.

    Shame about Engerland but plenty to cheer elsewhere.
    Cmon Arsenal.

  104. arnie says:

    motning Chas, motning all.

    Yes, shame about the England game. Gave a good fight, but only came second best.

  105. Gööner In Exile says:

    Arnie a great read well done sir.

    So I crashed about ten minutes after Balotelli’s goal…..but by then the writing was on the wall. Despite the commentators and pundits trying to big up England’s approach and momentum it was clear Italy were always in control and would cope better in the humidity….why? Because when Italy had the ball they played at a tempo that suited them, watching Pirlo he was constantly taking one touch and passing but I’d guess from the first to second touch was probably half a second more than Gerard. Gerard rushing his second touch (the pass ) as he has always done, in the PL it doesn’t matter because the opposition will then do the same, and we are used to seeing relatively high turnover of possession. International football does not provide that luxury they will happily keep the ball to allow their teammates to find shape and space before playing the forward and key pass.

    I am afraid the players Roy picked last night in midfield are all too typically PL conditioned that they don’t suit International football.

  106. arnie says:

    I guess England were second best in all departments of the game. Midfield is of course the key and there Pirlo outplayed all our MFs taken together. Defence was average and we knew this beforehand. Upfront we had pace but not the accuracy and timing required to get behind their back 4.

    Good news is that I think England will now feel they can defeat Uruguay. And Costa Rica. Much of this is in the mind!

  107. Gööner In Exile says:

    Something tells me Costa Rica will end our WC 😦

  108. arnie says:

    hmmm. possible, but that is Keldoom territory. we dont go there. 🙂

  109. arnie says:

    so, plenty on the wishlist. Campbell back, potentially Aurier, Balotelli, even Cuadrado … ah, tasty! 🙂

  110. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Where’s Gorgeous?

    As has been said, Italy were the better team and deserved the win. Much huff and puff from England but no grace under pressure.

    My first impressions of Sterling were that he is a much better player than I thought but in the second half he showed the difference between him and Theo. Theo is far more mature and can cross a ball – Sterling is probably trickier but less creative.

    Baines?? I never understood the hype and still don’t – Cole is still a far better LB.

    Where was Henderson? Did he play? In a game where possession is all why play a box to box carthorse and leave JW on the bench?

    Rooney was pants,

    Sturridge and Welbeck dangerous but unable to find space against a very good Italian defence.

    Glenn Johnson is not good enough, nor is Hart but they are probably the best available in their positions at the moment.

    Hodgson. Impressed with his tactics in the first half. Once the Italians scored their second it was game over as Italy parchegiatto l’autobus.

  111. arnie says:

    Raddy. behind the sofa. 😛

    dont want to discuss individuals, but agree generally with your prognosis. not lacking in pace but lack of creativity in the top third, not efficient with space and possession in midfield, generally poor in the back line.

    but positives to take. good attacking game, Uruguay are pants, can beat Costa Rica. 🙂

  112. Shard says:

    Morning all
    I din’t watch the Ivory Coast game but saw the highlights this morning. Was an entertaining day of football yesterday.Italy were always favourites to win. The only time England troubled them was when playing at 100miles an hour. Which was obviously not sustainable. Seemed to happen only at the start and after going behind. I think England would have done much better if they played Jack instead of Henderson. For Italy, Pirlo was good as usual running the show, but I thought Veratti was excellent.

    Someone said yesterday that if it were team GB with Ramsey and Bale they’d make the team a much greater force. I’d have to agree. Take out Henderson and Welbeck from that lineup and add those two and that England team suddenly becomes very very good.

    Fgg said

    “Balotelli without the drama is a top drawer striker. Can see why Wenger would want him.”

    I would add the word ‘potentially’ to that bit about being a top striker. There’s nothing wrong in taking a lot of shots but he seems to stay uninvolved in the game for long periods. He’s not the all-action player that Suarez is, and I don’t think he’s great at dribbling either. And his finishing isn’t superb. Basically, at this moment, he’s Podolski minus the finishing.

    However, he has the tools to drastically improve and I can see why Wenger would be interested too. But, can we rely on a Balotelli without the drama? He’s older now (though that doesn’t always mean more mature) and apparently getting married helps players calm down.

    All the same, when I imagine a scenario where Balotelli gets pulled down in the penalty box or is subjected to some special treatment from the opposition, obviously with his Arsenal shirt blinding the referee to the foul, I am not confident he won’t just lose his wool and do something stupid and get himself sent off.

    Is he worth a 20-25m gamble? Possibly. Depending on other options available.

  113. arnie says:

    Shard. generally in agreement except Balotelli. had almost exactly the same opinion as yours before yesterday. But against England I was impressed by his control of the ball. Literally anything pinged back to the centre circle, he showed great control, held it up, passed it slightly behind to onrushing players and then himself ran forward to find some space further upfront.

    Now, this strategy worked yesterday. One commentator was saying that this is what Balotelli does. But if he does not find players to pass to, he gets frustrated and loses his head. Then, that to me is the downside.

  114. Morning all

    We need a post for today if anyone wants to cobble together some thoughts, doesn’t have to be a dissertation just something to start the day’s chat 😉

  115. Shard says:

    arnie

    Based on reading around the blogs, that is what Balotelli occasionally does. He’ll have far more poor games than he’ll have good games. He might end up scoring a wonder goal now and then when he’s playing badly but he puts pressure on his teammates to make up for his lack of involvement.

    All of that would matter less, because it’s clear he’s got loads of talent, if I could trust that he’s the sort who would get his head down and simply look to improve. If Wenger’s looking to buy him I would think he would have done his research on the guy and figured that he’s the ‘angel in training, demon on the pitch’ that he said was the reason Suarez was an attractive option. But from the outside looking in, he seems neither of those, and sometimes the opposite.

  116. Eddie says:

    shearer really pissed me off last night – he was rude and kept on interrupting Thierry, he was arrogant and knew it all – about defending, goal keeping, team work , expert on all, and ignorant. I truly dislike him

    Balotelli is simply not an Arsenal type player. Sorry arnie, but he will never join us. And if he does I offer to eat the result predicted pele the piranha who thought that England were going to win

  117. arnie says:

    Peaches, draft in NUTS.

  118. arnie says:

    Evonne. Ha ha ha. 🙂 🙂 I have never said he is the best we could do. But can he do well enough for us. Yes. Is he the most suited. Erm, probably NO. 😛

  119. arnie says:

    This is the man (boy?) for us.

  120. fatgingergooner says:

    We lack an individual who can win us games when we aren’t playing well. Balotelli is capable of that. He was isolated last night but didn’t get frustrated or do something stupid. It was actually a very mature performance. In the end he won his team the game.

    He’s definitely a gamble, but I would prefer him to Manzukic.

  121. Shard says:

    I’d prefer him to Mandzukic too. But would I prefer him to, say, Bony? Not sure. Again, it depends on his attitude. He’s not likely to be as effective as Bony right now, but he can be so much better. That’s the only question with Balotelli really. His attitude.

  122. arnie says:

    Balotelli was very good yesterday. Not sure he is the best possible for us. But his talent is not a flash in the pan. Unfortunately, likewise his attitude issues as well.

    Will Wenger be able to tame him? Dont know. Risky therefore, but obvious talent. Like I said earlier, impressed with his control of the ball.

  123. arnie says:

    I dont like Bony that much. Besides I do not like inbreeding within the EPL. That will spell doom for the EPL and for us.

    Aurier was brilliant yesterday, erm, today. 😛

  124. Thanks arnie, just sorting the post.

  125. Shard says:

    Evonne

    I went and looked for the video of Shearer and Henry for last night, and I couldn’t help but laugh at Rio making excuses for Rooney missing that chance. He’s England’s top scorer, he should be playing in his best position. Thierry set him right by saying Rooney was in THE best position to score and he didn’t. Ferdinand’s face was hilarious.

  126. arnie says:

    Shard. 🙂

    Pleasure, Peaches. 😛

  127. Shard says:

    arnie

    It gets hard to differentiate between the days doesn’t it? 🙂

    Naah. I’ve never been a fan of Bony either. But he could be very effective in our system. He’s a better finisher than Giroud, quicker, and better at heading the ball. Probably not as good at the link up though.

    Still, we have Giroud, who I like, and Sanogo who can perform a similar role. We would do well to have someone a little different rather than just a slight upgrade.

  128. New post everyone …………………

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