Here’s some ancient video with the song in the title (above–about “domestic terrorism”) being sung by Sir Bob Geldof… For those too young to remember, the event was “Live Aid,” an attempt at famine relief for the people of Ethiopia.
30 years later and famine (and war and guns and the killing of innocents) seems likely just as big a problem. Something to think about, maybe, as the festive–and cold and wet–seasons are upon us.
Of course, in football, the festive season means something different and it is definitely here.
(Our) Santi Claus (is on the sidelines, but…) has already delivered a wondrous gift. Who would have guessed Arsenal and Manchester City would be sitting over a dozen points ahead of the defending champions heading to the Christmas season? Let’s check those prediction posts, if you like.
Speaking of predictions… Maybe the powers that be in televised English Football knew a little something when they put this one on Monday Night Football. Or maybe you don’t have to be that smart. Surely Arsenal-ManCity had to look better than Chelsea-Sunderland or Manchester United-Norwich. 😀
Southampton-Tottenham might have been OK, what with the manager of the one now being the manager of the other and all that singing about Saints and Spurs and coming in. Liverpool-Watford? Huh? Everton-Leicester probably wasn’t even discussed, but that’s the one I watched today.
I guess that’s why they play the matches–or wait until May to give away the trophies–except for the League Cup, which happens earlier.
Or so they say…
Leicester did the business up there on Merseyside so they will remain top of the table. Arsenal and City thus need a win to keep pace. As such, this is a big one.
Or is it?
Don’t tell anyone, but they’re all big, and, in fact, in my estimation at least, both managers would probably take a draw and move happily forward.
These ‘big’ matches, at least in the first half of the season, are as much about positioning and controlling the narratives. Whom do we favour on that account? Wenger or Guardiola?
Oh, wait, Manuel Pellegrini is still manager at Man City and, unlike the guy who used to manage at Chelsea, he might be professional enough to actually not want to lose this one, even if he’s already (or once again…) a dead man walking.
Geezus, those guys have a lot of hair… Makes it all the more tragic, I think. (The top photo, of course, is from a film made somewhere between that Live Aid show and the present…)
Do we care about the stories at Manchester City? Do we care about the billions of pounds spent on decent players–managers too–all in the name of putting Abu Dhabi on the football map?
We must, otherwise it wouldn’t be on television… 😀
In my opinion it is nice to see some of the best footballers out of Argentina, West Africa and Spain even if they only play part-time for their club team. Amongst los ches, Kun Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi will likely feature (Pablo Zabeleta won’t, still injured). From Cote d’Ivoire, Yaya Toure will play and Wilfried Bony and the young Nigerian, Kelechi Iheanacho, might. David Silva (actually born in Las Canarias) will pull the strings for the City attack while Jesus Navas (un Sevillano) might be charged with bringing pace and width.
There’s also talent from Belgium–Kevin De Bruyne will surely play some role even if Vincent Kompany won’t due to injury. There are even some English players: Raheem Sterling in attack, Fabian Delph in midfield, and Joe Hart in goal.
Or, perhaps, we care about the steady stream of Arsenal players who’ve headed to the baby blue side of Manchester to get one of those ‘play half, earn double’ contracts? Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy probably won’t run the length of the pitch to taunt our fans if they score. (Being fullbacks they probably won’t score, but you never know.) Neither will Samir Nasri, injured again as he is… Does Emmanuel Adebayor still play football?
It’s possible we care about OUR players. Injuries are our story, but we’ve now avoided (more of) them while getting results over the past three matches. If we can do so again, the manager will likely be over the moon–regardless of the result. A result plus everybody (or every body…) intact and it might be called, “Over a Blue Moon.” If we could get a key player back, even better. Alexis Sanchez, returned from Chile and his enforced late-autumn break, is a late decision. We would expect him to be puppy-dog eager for a chance to test the hamstring he pulled at West Bromwich Albion. My hunch is that he only gets a bench seat–and only plays if we need goals. Otherwise, the team which won at Olympiakos and Aston Villa very likely goes again.
Subs: Ospina, Debuchy, Gabriel, Chambers, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis
The early priority, especially if City start Aguero, will be keeping City’s cohort of attacking talent from putting the ball in our net. This means positional discipline from everyone, particularly deep-lying midfielders, Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey, and, perhaps, a bit less bombing forward from our two Spanish fullbacks, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal. The front group will be thinking more about playing on the break and working off Olivier Giroud’s hold up work. Winning set pieces–for both teams–might be seen as the least risky way to try and get ahead.
If, as they game evolves, we can hold some possession and get the wall of Flamsey (Flambo? Ramsini?) and the fullbacks alternating covering for one another with their forward runs, we might be able to turn open play to our advantage. A goal would open things up, but both teams, I think, will be keener to avoid conceding, even if neither squad really appears built to play the waiting game.
That’s just my take on things and I’d love to hear any feedback. I’ll likely also try to put together another little live-blog at match-time. Please participate if you have the urge. It feels not a little lonely (and stupid…) when it’s just me.
As my friend Rosy (from the Compton Arms, up the alley and past the church, just south of the Highbury-Islington station) used to scream at the television, tightly gripping her glass of white wine…
Go On Then!!!