This morning, whipped and battered, I take the unusual step of actually crafting a blog post. Note that I’d love to do this more often but life is a conspiratorial, greedy thing, and she simply doesn’t afford the hours.
Last night, Arsenal fans saw a polished Bayern Munich push aside Arsenal in the first leg of Champions League knockout play 3-1 at the Emirates. I’d add an “easily” but the stats do show the Gunners put up a tad of resistance, they held the ball well, and—yes—we can imagine the ‘what ifs’ had Giroud’s snap volley ties the game at 2-2. Arsenal were on the ascendency there and the miss seemed to deflate the men, foretell the inevitable result. And then a great Bayern move, begun and more or less finished by Lahm, sealed Arsenal’s fate.
The general consensus on Arsenal tomorrow—the final hours of the transfer window—is there is no consensus. Some believe the Boss is done with his transfer work, scrubbed the knuckles clean, tugged down the tie, and hunkered down for the campaign ahead. Others maintain that our French Professor has been working the wee hours, concocting a late minute master-stroke, some bit of inspired business that will hurl the Gunners firmly into the title discussion.
My sense is that it’s in between and probably closer to the latter. One player in for sure; perhaps two with one of those an indication of a little ambition.
Arsenal Football Club have done some good business this summer, have a profit to show for it, and, importantly, they’ve been moving wages off the books. There’s money there. Perhaps more than past seasons. They’ve also had time to scour the landscape. Yes, they’ve been busy selling, but every sell points to possible buys, the contact with so many clubs leading to interesting ‘you don’t say’ conversations.
Add in the fact that new sponsorship deals are to be negotiated soon, from which the club simply can’t be talking dollars from outside the Champions League confines or risk missing a deserved mouthwatering haul, and I think it’s safe we’ll lean toward agressive. Yes, Wenger might take a wait-and-see approach, rely on the comforty comfort of the January window, but I believe our man understands he’s breaking in a truly new team—there are but a few faces from more than two seasons ago—and he must get the kinks out in a hurry. Finally, thorw in the ambition of our rivals (notably Liverpool who seem to be going all in on Champions League or bust), and there’s no time to act like now.
Tomorrow will tell.
Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg announced his retirement from football today. Freddie was the consumate Gooner—a fan favorite who left it on the pitch, poached important goals, and made something out of nothing.
In my mind, he’ll always be “The Rooster.” And this goal will be the one I never, ever forget.
It has it all: cup final import; standard John Terry ineptitude; Freddie’s scrappy, go-get-it determination; the delightful arc of a ball you know is going in even before it rakes the net; and the raw emotion of a footballer who knows he’s just done something that will be talked of long, long after his time.
Thank you, Freddie.