Get Jack on that Plane, Campbell no Iwobi, Welbeck Scores! England Observations

If you managed to watch the whole England v Costa Rica game without falling asleep, then well done you! We football junkies need to feed on every morsel thrown at us, but boy was last night’s ‘friendly’ tedious to the extreme. England have a system of play that consists of high energy and pressing high as well as quick passing with the aim to get through parked defences. Costa Rica sat back and further back and struggled throughout the game to get anywhere near the England box. They just could not deal with the energy of the English and the lack of available space to play the ball. It made for a very one-sided and boring game.

From an Arsenal perspective we can make a few observations:

  1. Welbeck scored! He came on late as a sub once again, but this time he found the net from close range with his head. He showed Dele Alli where he wanted the ball and, whether everybody’s favourite warm and cuddly Spud meant it or not, he delivered it perfectly and Danny pounced, needing the post to get it into a wide open space ahead of him. This will have done him a world of good and let’s hope he will get a few more during the WC. We all know that he gives his all, but he needs to improve his bread and butter stats.
  2. Campbell had a poor game. I am a fan of Joel and would not mind to see him back at Arsenal, but last night’s showing was anything but convincing. He was isolated a lot and once he got the ball he tried to get the game going, but, unlike Iwobi a few days ago, he did not manage to hold onto the ball long and make space for himself and others. He had a few half opportunities to create a chance for others or to have a go himself, but time after time he fluffed it. His willingness to put pressure on defenders and midfielders was unimpressive, but then again, so was the entire Costa Rica team’s. It just seems that the English soil is not suited for him, and let’s see whether he’ll do better during the much more meaningful WC games in Russia.
  3. England miss (a) Jack Wilshere. I like the fitness  levels and willingness to press high of the English team, but what it lacked was a creative conductor. It is all very frantic and not easy on the eye, and quite inefficient if you ask me. Without an Eriksen, De Bruine or Ozil, England lack a player who can see gaps in front of him or spot movement early and then pinpoint deliver a throughball or cross. In short the Tree Lions lack inventiveness, a creative scalpel. I know that Jack’s fitness levels are a continuous issue and it is now highly likely that he will not progress much further, but England still could desperately do with him. If not in Plan A, he would be good to have on the bench and come on in the second half to find the holes in the tiring parked-bus defences and make the difference.


By TotalArsenal

82 thoughts on “Get Jack on that Plane, Campbell no Iwobi, Welbeck Scores! England Observations

  • TA–
    Sorry, very busy yesterday (today too!).
    My point though per additional broadcasters? Is in this case it’s Amazon, a global entity. If Amazon sees reason to expand in 3 years– and they get more of the pie– or other gloabals see fit? It may have the effect of breaking down the artificial barriers that keep Sky’s monopoly in place. Food for thought!


  • I don’t know why you believe that, JW. If they buy all the packages they will have to pay a lot of money that will need to be earned back (and the rest).Surely this will reflected in the price we will all have to pay?

  • There now will be Sky, BT (they broke up Sky’s monopoly) and Amazon the tax dodgers. The FA profit from divide and cash in, and the viewers will pay for it. If one party wants all the packages, they will pay through the nose…. and so will we.

  • I didn’t see the game but after winning their last two friendlies and dominating Costa Rica, as you’ve implied, can’t see how Southgate eats humble pie and invite Jack so late on. For me, after watching Jack put in the effort and get the games the England gaffer required of him, it is a shame he isn’t going to be on the plane to Russia; well, it’s going to be to the advantage of some clubside (don’t see him donning our shirt, if he hasn’t signed up with weeks to expiration of his contract), for whom he’ll be fresh in pre-season.

    I like Welbeck’s energy and all round play and will like to see him stay on, but fear he will want a club at which he gets to play often enough. If the striking department is left as it is, he will be encouraged, but if we bring in a new and established striker type, he’s off. I also wish him luck at the World Cup. He usually scores for England (has a good record for them).

    Joel Campbell is coming off a very long period of inactivity/lay off, owing to a long term injury he recovered from weeks to the end of the last season. He is a key figure for his national side or he won’t even be in the 23, under the circumstance. I’ll just want to believe it is a fitness thing and perhaps, England are just that much better. You mentioned Iwobi in the post; hopefully, he shows good form at the World Cup. So far, Nigeria’s preparations haven’t been going swimmingly on the results front and until I see how they show up for the first game, I will not be surprised at a group stage exit for us in Russia.

  • Cheers Eris,

    I agree that Jack is likely to be somewhere else come August. I will miss him though.

    Good point about Campbell’s injury at the end of the season.

  • Oh, and I saw there was a “Fellaini to Arsenal” debate a few threads back and wish to share my very simple view: I doubt we are in for him, but if it is trueI we are, then I like the idea!

    The man has a nasty streak we currently lack; is hard to play against, tenacious, awkward and will chip in with a few goals while preventing a lot against us. He was always a DM until Everton saw merit in pushing him up the pitch for goals they needed. He can provide the cover at DM and allow our other midfielders to go forward to do their thing. Wenger did make a move for him before he went to OT. It is said Emery also enquirer for him while at PSG, so there’s something the managers see there.
    Unlikely rumour, though.

  • For me, it’s going to be quite amazing to see a World Cup without Holland and Italy participating, two counties that I always enjoy following in big tournaments, I usually watch them and ask, ‘why can’t England play like that?’
    As for England, if we get to the last eight then I think that there should definitely be an open top bus procession through the middle of somewhere in England, but not London, the traffic is bad enough as it is…

    Germany have a mid-season winter break towards the end of December until the middle of January, it lasts around 30 days.
    In France the break runs roughly corresponding to the Bundesliga and last around 23 days.
    Ditto Italy – 18 days.
    And ditto Spain – 16 days.
    The Netherlands is around the same.

    So with all the other bigs leagues having a break at the same time, you’d imagine that the English Football Association and English Premier League would get on board for a similar time frame.
    But no…
    The genius’s who run the English game have decided on February for the break?!

    Now this could be for some unbeknown meteorological reasons, a new ice age perhaps?
    Or, it could be down to good old fashioned TV and the monies therein.

    As for Amazon, well, first of all thanks for destroying the high street, secondly jog on….

  • Except TA? It won’t all be footed by the locals. I (and my billion Amazonian buddies) will be helping to pay for it too. Amazon is most savvy in pricing their digital products. You won’t pay anymore than I pay– and I won’t be paying a lot. I presently get approx 170+ PL matches per season in my Xfinity (Comcast) package (for maybe £7 per month).

    So– if Amazon takes the PL global cafeteria style? IMO you blokes will benefit most price-wise.
    You might have to prime-the-pump by subscribing to an overpriced third package now? But in doing so convincing Amazon to take the huge plunge sooner.

    That’s why I think that TA! 🙂


  • Hey Kev–
    I get why you see Amazon as a ‘destroyer of businesses’– we went through the same thing a generation earlier with Walmart killing small town businesses here stateside.

    Being that I’ve lived in cities of 1.5M to 5M all my life– it’s not as magnified when you have choices that are convenient. But as one who purchases probably 85-90% of all online goods (everything except perishables) through Amazon for both business and personal? It’s simply the newest wave. Catch it or pay more.

    With Amazon ‘Prime’ (here in the US; don’t know if that service is offered in UK)– there’s free 2-day shipping on any products with the Prime designation. I probably save $1500 on shipping every year (for approx £75 flat rate. Plus almost all movies and music on Amazon.) And I pay less than retail price in almost all cases (and do pay sales tax).


  • Hi JW

    Yeah, I get all that mate, what I can’t stand is the tax avoidance.
    I’m not against competition, what I can’t stand is rigged competition.
    But that’s down to governments to sort out and as 99% of them are as bent as a $9 note, I can’t see that happening anytime this century.

    Nevermind, one day we’ll all be eating Soylent Green. 😉

  • Kev, I reckon it is good to have it in Feb. End of Dec/January is just too cold and dark to deprive us of footie, and they get in wrong in Europe. Feb is more doable and we can watch the foreign games instead! 🙂

  • Sorry JW that sounds like a pipedream to me. FA will divide and conquer and we will have to pay for it in the UK. But if you are right, I will send you a box of quality Dutch beer (that is a tautology actually! 😀 ).

  • So Economics!!

    We have this issue throughout little old NZ. Studies here show that prices drop with competition and market players. Up to 4. So, even with 3 there is sometimes only very modest drops in prices. Especially true with only 1-2. Thus, the real questions are NOT:

    A. When will World govts agree on how to tax fairly, thus minimising all the revenue hiding? They’ve left the door open to do it and failed to shut it preferring to blame others than to agree to share..

    B. Why does this cost so much? Because the answer is simple, people are willing to pay it. In NZ we see the opposite, retailers and others going out of business because they can’t figure why people won’t pay 2-3x more than Amazon including GST. More competitors will bring this down

    The REAL questions are:

    C. Why isn’t government working to bring in more competitors? As NZ did to get our 3rd mobile phone service provider (prices dropped from world highs to just over average). It’s clear that the market is clunky, provides poor service, and over charges consumers. My thoughts are BBC and TV charges, but I’m not there …

    D. Who would that 4th provider be?

    Caveats and Clauses: this applies per market. So, the US has many broadband providers but any local market has only 1-2 often so ugh… Also American football is pretty freely available because there are many providers per major market. Rugby in NZ is hard and costly because there is Sky and, yeah, Sky… Only recently have broadband providers decided to try their hand in that area…

    Cheers — jgc

  • Sell Welbeck. Offload Campbell. Promote whomever to move out Iwobi. Maybe, Amen, Nelson, Nketiah.. Bring back Lucas Perez.
    Clean start.

  • Jnyc, it is best we don’t change the whole team and only add in a few additions so as not to break the team dynamics. Most managers will want to sell the whole team and bring in their preferred players but that will cause more harm than good.

    We have a good team of players and only need to add a couple of players to the team, and introduce better tactics.

    That’s all i ask for.

  • Hi all..
    Glad for Welbeck to score.. Hope he do Hita best this season..
    Just bring back Perez than our forward Will be more than dangerous..
    No need to sell, for we Will play with 3 Strikers..

    Will Sokratis be our third sigining..??

    TA.. No Holland No Fun.. hehehe..
    I think Brazil Will win this World Cup..

  • Prof,

    It would be different if the entire football casting product was on offer for a number of bidders. Say the FA would allow three or four broad casters to show all football games and companies can bid for it. So then we can choose from Sky, ITV, BT, Channel4, Amazon, etc etc, whoever wins those three or four slots to show ALL the games. But that is not how it has been set up. There are limited packages of bundles of games and in order to see all, or as many as possible, games…. we have to buy from a number of broad casters. It used to be one, it now is two, and it will be three and we are paying more and more for the ‘privilege’.

    It is like buying electricity but having to go with three different companies, one that provides for the light fittings, one for electrical heating and one for the kitchen appliances, etc; and we would be paying premium rates every time.

  • The Liverpool deal for Fekir seems to have hit the rocks. Untold Arsenal do an interesting spin on that and how it would have been reported if it had Arsenal instead of Liverpool.

    Meanwhile, the support team rebuild continues apace with two new faces on the academy coaching staff, the guy who developed the Reading academy and some Dutch geezer. 😉

  • TA–
    Per your more lengthy and considered response to jgc?
    You are absolutely correct. However, a perfect-world cafeteria-style selection of content– isn’t on offer– yet. The larger point is advancing toward making it happen. Adding broadcasters is the next step.

    ‘You Are Here’ >>>.
    ‘<<< To Get There'?
    Is a process. It's a hard thing– to know you are in the middle of a struggle– with a long way to go.
    This one– starts with expanding choice. The sooner you begin, the sooner you arrive.

    With so many selections of content providers online? We're getting closer to the true Holy Grail of selecting individual items of programming. Can do so now– but still overpay for PPV. For example, things like– movies, that have been in theaters for less than a year. That's a market which, as it expands further, will cause costs of rights to access to drop.

    If it weren't for my much-better-half's serial consumption of broadcast television programs? I could cut the cable-TV umbilical. Except. As you'd noted, the semi-monopoly on internet providers. I must have broadband to perform my work remotely-from-home at times (and Mrs jw1 works part-time at home too). So, yes– we still overpay for the product. But– as time goes by the available content expands, and as one might expect, much of it becomes available 'for free' within packages. We've actually added on to our lowest-tier cable content. In addition to Amazon (great return on spend IMO), we subscribe to Netflix (for the one-off Marvel Comics characters intertwined storylines) and FX+ for several shows we want to watch without commercials. So– for approx $23 a month we tailor our content– very specifically– to our tastes.

    This weekend, I'll be deciding whether to drop $20-$40 on FUBO-TV– to watch all of the WC matches I'd like– that won't be broadcast in my cable package early in the tourney.

    Probably 12-13 years ago I was having a similar discussion online with fellow NFL fans. From the 'other side of the fence'– and predicting the availability of content– not in the fashion as it stands today stateside– but 'true cafeteria-style selection'– still to come, in the next several years. Distilling down? Some of those engaged in that conversation– didn't believe it would happen ever. And could still be several years before that vision comes to fruition fully.

    Now? Though still in the thick of the process?
    It's light-years from 12-13 years ago.


  • I do wonder if it’s my fears I project on Jack but it seems to me he’s permanently damaged psychologically by all the injuries. That kind of mind set might have played on Southgate’s mind as well and possibly also affecting his demand in the market.

    I feel it so strongly that I don’t even want him trying to prove me wrong by getting into full blooded tackles. My fear (maybe not his fear) is that it would happen again. Do I end my torture by sadly closing his chapter? The dream that couldn’t be? Another Diaby?

  • Hi all..
    It’s seem Wilshere will go to Juventus..
    It is like we do a barter for him and our new Swiss man.. hehehe..

  • Njk, those I listed I don’t count as big changes, but as addition by subtraction. After buying lazarette and aubamayang, budget is seriously constrained, even another 15 or 20 mil would be a blessing. Also give the new manager more time to see v our new generation of youth, and decide for himself.

  • Beautiful! I can feel it! Savant; even better with vocals, of course.

  • Yes TA he (JW) is…

    UK is much less dynamic in many markets than US. IMO, they like and read comfortable with their incumbents tossed in with feelings like, the NHS would never work in pieces (probably wouldn’t, something NOT to copy from the US)… NZ sits oddly in between…

    JW, nice to hear about nfl. I’ve seen it but not been there for it.p says the Raiders fam of 48 years (from NJ no less)… Equally, NZ went all digital tv long ago and we now get it all via fibre (3-5 competitors) that is cheaper than my mobile (broadly) with 3 competitors. Get a pretty good cafeteria choice though not 100%, say 80ish..

    In the same vein, the other JW, Jack… IMO we’ve too many competitors there for him to thrive. Equally his offering sits between strengths in attacking, delivery, and defense. Our midfield market has specialised in (most of) these areas and he’s still more an all rounder perhaps (?). Sad to say, but maybe….

    I want the segue award for that too, TA 😀

    Cheers — jgc

  • I’d quite like to see Jack move to Italy and join Juventus, it would be interesting to see how he developed (or not) in a different environment, a more tactical environment, a more technical environment.
    I think the Italians still have the edge in biomechanics and sports medicine so I wonder what effects that could have on him.
    I doubt that Juve or Allegri would be interested in a sick note player, so maybe they can see issues were still missing and can get more out of him.
    I think it would do Jack the world of good and may benefit the national team?

    Going to West Ham or their ilk would just be the start of a slow, painful decline, he needs to get out of England and the EPL.

  • Raul paying dividends Kev?
    This kind of report shows still– the allure of developing a career at Arsenal.


  • Nice one, young man. He was involved in the goals a lot as well. The lad is going to come good.

  • This has sold me:

    Lucas Torriera is the guy I want to see in front of our back four.
    A ball-winner with bite.


  • Hey J-Dub… is this ^^^ what you end up with when real porn no longer works?… 😉

    The guy seems kinda wee…almost about as small as the other JW… Can’t we just think of Jack Wishful, er, Wilshere’s best moments?… Who cares if all those ‘ard tackles were actually following his own (overhit) touches…

    ALL weekend long I thought about trying to comment on your post TA…and now I only do it on a Monday morning when I actually have to get out and do some work… Hmmm… another comment on human nature, it seems… (Procrastination = one of our strongest forces…)

    As I mentioned (bottom of the last thread) I did see DW (barely) score that goal (I don’t think he meant to put it that close to the post…) but you’re right that otherwise it was a pretty much unwatchable friendly. Over the weekend, however, I remembered that it was Los Ticos (Costa Rica) who took not only England’s but Italy’s spot in the elims at the last World Cup (2014 Brazil) in a group better remembered for Luis Suarez taking a bite out of Giorgio Chiellini… Campbell, as I recall, did yoeman’s work trying to hold the ball up in the elim match vs Holland…which featured Keylor Navas making saves and kicking the ball up his way to try and keep the game at nil-nil…which they did, before losing on pens. Navas ended up at Real Madrid… Campbell (famously) got out (of Arsenal) while he could…

    So, regarding your conclusions (in the title of the post)…Maybe we should retain Campbell as a bit of a Giroud-esque plan B. Inch for inch, his hold-up and game delaying work up front is as good as anyone’s, IMO.

    Jack on the plane? I guess that’s what football blogging is all about. Wenger (supposedly) told Jack that he should find himself another club and now Southgate has told him that he is surplus to England’s needs even in an Ox-free environment. I think: hmmm, interesting, so that’s what the experts think… Others (or TA at least…) says those guys are wrong… I wish I had the moxie…

    I don’t, which is another reason I fear I need to quit this activity… On the other hand, I do like to do me some writing…and, no matter how corrupt and dumbed-down this World Cup will be, I bet I’m gonna try and watch some matches, so…

    …I might try and put up some live-blog posts (about the tournament) if that’s OK…Or otherwise look for some company whilst watching…

    Until then… Happy Monday!

  • HT–
    Methinks Torreira is more a bit like Arturo Vidal– than akin to Wilshere.
    He’s got good strength– and part bastard too. The thing I’d noted when he attempts to dispossess– he seems to arrive at the ball– then the defender’s body.

    If Torreira wasn’t a footballer– might make good as a kickboxer.


  • That all sounds good to me, J-Dub… And, the parts I was able to see of your vid looked good too… I’m just always amazed that people are still on the Wilshere-train…even after we got to see him (fail to alter our trajectory) in the 2nd half of last season… There’s a difference in “the passion” to go to ground after (your own) 50-50s and really knowing positioning and tackling. I also think, there’s a big difference between the continental leagues and the pace (and what is not whistled) in England MF battles…

    What does your BS meter read on Torreira to Arsenal?… Egypt-Uruguay (Elneny-Torreira) could be a game to watch…

    OK, out the door now…

  • HT–
    Don’t know if the BS meters are accurate at all before the WC concludes for individual targets. Thus far, the transfer activity we’ve concluded (Lichtsteiner)– are with players ‘not participating’. Smart strategy in that we could be crippled by signing a player pre-WC — and see him go down with a long-term injury. Possibly why Sokratis signature now is reportedly being delayed until July.

    Where the clubs with cash can sign-and-spend whenever– without that reluctance (See City, B. Mendy)– Arsenal are no longer in that category.


  • Didn’t watch the game. Will watch the world cup. England should have taken Wilshere, they’ll miss him. But they have an easy group and so should be able to gain momentum. England has also improved in player development as the previous few youth tournaments show. Maybe in a few years they could look to win the World Cup. Not now of course. There are better sides there.

    Sadly the Dutch are not amongst them, though I must admit I lost my fandom after the 2010 final, and also last time around because of Van Persie. Also sad that Italy aren’t there.

    I wonder which team will cause a shock this time.

  • jw1,

    Licht is going to the World Cup.

    Also, the signing of Sokratis would have nothing to do with the world cup. Greece aren’t there.

    Swing and a miss, strike 2 🙂

  • Evening all 🙂

    Seventeenho, still at it, I see. 🙂

    Wenger clearly was a believer in Jack and saw him needed at the WC. Southgate made a mistake in my view and if you did not see that (a) Jack was missed v Costa Rica then I just say…. we see it differently. One day he will grow his hair again and then even you may start seeing his qualities. Until then…. deep sigh. 🙂

  • In 2010, Holland had to go against its nature as Spain were superior in attacking terms. You do not want to lose a WC final, believe me. De Jong and Van Bommel were far too aggressive and the referee let them get away with it, but the only way to beat the Spaniards in that final was by winning the midfield battle. It almost worked.

  • Keep an eye on the Balkan teams, Serbia and Croatia. Really hoping an African team will do well, and I have a weak spot for Peru whose shirts I liked when I was a boy collecting football stickers (78).

  • Shard–
    OhSnap! (Steps out of the batter’s box and takes a few practice cuts…)
    Mea culpa.


  • …when I was a boy collecting football stickers (78).

    Looks to be my day for admitting mistakes TA.
    I was certain you were much older. 😉


  • Lol, jw1. Shard did set you straight there. Our latest signing is his country’s skipper to the World Cup. The report on Sokratis is that the announcement will only be done in July in deference to the Dortmund board, who want the transaction reported in their 2018/2019 annual report; apparently, they are happy with what they presently have, being a publicly quoted company.

  • TA, my favourites to win it will be Brazil. I agree the Balkan sides will cause a few upsets along the way; reason I am not too comfortable with Nigeria being in the same group as Croatia and having them as first opponents. Lose that and things turn against us.

    The African sides likely to go a bit further will be Morocco, Tunisia and maybe, Senegal, if they get through the group stage.

  • Thanks for the education Eris!
    Assuming, as I was composing my post, I’d gotten Sok/Licht’s and their country’s statuses twisted.
    To add– that it is nice to see us getting good business done early!


  • Hey Shard… I was gonna tell J-dub what’s what, but you beat me to it… Sorta like TA (and so many other Gooners…) feel the need to correct me about my anti-Wishfulshere views. I thought, for sure, when the Ox went down, that Jack had punched his ticket for Russia…so I’m certainly not right about too many things myself…

    I’m definitely agreed about the Dutch teams turning awfully defensive in the past two WCs, though it was Howard Webb (the English Ref) who ruined that final in 2010… A simulation yellow or three (to balance all the ones–but never 2nds–for those very hard fouls) would’ve cleaned it right up…

    TA, you must be thinking about a WC New Post… If I were to write one it would be awfully negative–and it might include some discussion of Russian racism, which, I fear, will tinge the atmosphere at games with non-white teams. The Brazilians, many of whom have done some time in what is now basically Russia (Shaktar Donetsk in Ukraine…), may be the best suited to withstand that stuff, but I still think it’s a disadvantage. The best story-line (for Int’l television ratings) is Messi to cap his career with a WC, so, being that I’m pretty sure there will be at least a bit of rigging the system–or at least some strong attempts at it–Argentina is my pick to win it all… I worry also about Egypt making it out of Russia’s group due to the combination (of fixing and racism)… 😦 (I’m surprised ‘Eris left them off his list of African nations that might do better at this WC, what with Salah–and Elneny–and that they often are pretty dominant at the AFCON…)

    Of course, I hope I’m wrong and I’d love to see some of the more, er, colorful teams get deeper into the tournament. Refreshing myself on the groups, that one with Belgium and Colombia looks interesting, while whoever said that England had an easy group wasn’t kidding. A couple of the big Euro teams (France and Germany plus those already mentioned) look to have easy groups too, while the South American favorites (Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay) will be more severely tested–not always a bad thing in the group stage. Spain-Portugal is always a classic…

    Anyhow, it’ll be something to do, that’s for sure…

  • Nothing much on the Arsenal news, and am not a world cup fan, so not commenting much here lately.

    Here the media is mostly covering about the Trump-Kim summit, but i am more concerned about the road closures more than anything else.

    Anyway, Portugal cannot play without Ronaldo, so it is best for the other teams in the same group to take him out.

  • Seriously, JK… Take him out?…

    Should Trump have Kim “taken out” while on your island?… Or visa versa?… Seems a slippery slope between advocating to injure a player…and having them murdered… Should Arsenal fans hiss (make gas noises) at Spurs (and their Jewish fans) when we play them?… Or maybe we should applaud (and laugh and taunt) in the 58th minute every time we play Man U (to mock the United players who died in the 1958 airplane crash in Munich)…

    By the way, Portugal WON the most recent Euro Championships with Ronaldo injured and unable to play… So, at the very f*cking least, employ your f*cking brain when you advocate mayhem…


    I know who I’d “take out” if this were my blog…

    😦 😦 😦

  • Nah.. 17ht. By saying “take him out” it meant to make him injured. I don’t really watch International football so i might have been wrong there. But Portugal just barely made it this time so we should see something different?

    Anyway, I wouldn’t want Singapore to be in the middle of conflict between Trump and Kim. Wouldn’t be nice in the end.

  • Of course you meant INJURE him… (The point about you needing to grow a brain–and then use it–seems doubly reinforced…) Not OK by me… Go support Stoke…

  • Wow njk.. That’s a bad take. I do not like Ronaldo, but seriously? Oh you don’t mean kill him, just injure him, sure that’s ok then. Man that’s effed up.

    17ht. On my travels through Europe, I faced some racism in Germany, and of course I have in the UK. Does this mean that neither of those countries should host tournaments? (By the way, it didn’t affect me because meh.. there are stupid people everywhere, and it wasn’t a dangerous situation)

    Even if Russians are more racist than others, which I doubt, I think it is a great thing to increase contact between ordinary people from there and all over the world. That’s the only way racism dies. When we start to see that the so called other is just a person like us. None of the moralising and beating with a legal stick will do anything to bring about social change.

    On fixing it is interesting. My guess is there won’t be fixing in favour of Russia. Just like I think whatever racists there are (and football seems to attract more of them) will be strongly dealt with by the authorities. Because the primary aim of the tournament for Russia is to reach out to the world. With all eyes on them, I don’t expect any fixing to take place for their benefit.

    Egypt might struggle because both Salah and Elneny are likely to have some fitness issues, and they are supposedly heavily reliant on Salah in attack. I have a feeling Russia will get through the group stages though they aren’t a very good side.

    Argentina have a tough group. Nigeria, Croatia. Both teams who could cause trouble. And then you have the giant killers at the Euros, Iceland. That might be the so called Group of Death.

    Ok early predictions:
    Group A: Uruguay and Russia
    Group B: Spain and Morocco
    Group C: France and Peru
    Group D: Nigeria and Argentina
    Group E: Brazil and Serbia
    Group F: Germany and Sweden
    Group G: Belgium and England
    Group H: Colombia and Poland

  • Maybe 84 was mixing up Trump and Ronaldo thoughts! 🙂

    It was inappropriate and flippant to suggest to injure the man with the beastly Adam’s apple, but let’s not jump on a fellow blogger (I am looking at you tiger of Tahoe).

    Shard, sorry to hear you have been subjected to racist abuse in Germany and the UK. You are right re stupid people being everywhere and it is important not to let that small minority spoil things.

  • TA

    I wouldn’t call it abuse. It wasn’t threatening. But the undercurrent of superiority and looking on someone else as a lesser being, with a hint of ‘what are you going to do about it’, or ‘why are you even here’. I totally get why people who are subjected to it everyday lose patience because they can’t even prove it as racism.

    As a tourist, it’s not that big a deal. Unless it gets dangerous, which can be a big deal. (The only time I felt it might get dangerous was actually in London) Frankly, I’d even forgotten about it. It was only because racism was mentioned in relation to Russia hosting the World Cup that I thought of examples of racism being present everywhere. In big ways and small.

    Poland was another place where I was looked at suspiciously. But actually this was less racist than in Germany. It wasn’t coming from a place of superiority, but fear of the unfamiliar. Which is what MOST ‘racism’ is. It’s not malicious. Which is why I think if there is more everyday ordinary interaction between people, that will go away.

  • Wise words, Shard.

    Inadvertent or covert (worse) racism, as per your description in your first paragraph, IS the big problem here in Europe (if not the entire Western world). That is why there is so much inequality for non-white people but luckily a lot of progress is being made. Long way to go, though. Totally agreed re the importance of everyday interaction. Tolerance is not enough; we need to work and play together and realise that we have so much in common and that most of us have good, humane values and intentions, whatever the colour of your skin or background or sexual orientation or gender.

  • Total, I really rated Van Bommell, he looked just the player we needed post Vieira, but despite the links, Wenger didn’t go for him, he was equally effective as a defensive midfielder and a centre back, so two players for the price of one and he also had a definite edge to his game, another quality we lacked and have done for years.

  • From what I’ve heard, most Russians have lower expectations in this World Cup than us English regarding our teams prospects. Apparently England ‘could’ have an easier route if they finish 2nd in their group, therefore England are certain to top the group, it’s what we do.
    Either that or finish 3rd.

  • TA, Shard,

    Yeah, maybe i thought that Ronaldo is Trump. But all ended well between Trump and Kim so we will not fear any rockets flying our way.

    Some asian cities do not like “outside” people too. But if you are asking for directions, mostly i get nice people pointing you to the right direction. Even westerners. So i guess i am the few lucky ones that met some really nice locals.

    It is about racial understanding, like here in Singapore during the muslim fasting month, i will try my best to hide while drinking water in front of a muslim who is fasting during the day. We all know the dos and don’ts, so it’s normal to see friends of different faith and colour being happy together here.

    Back to football (soccer). The torture window gets even torturous with the early signing and then the press was throwing all sort of names into the hat for the next signing, some plausible, some outright outrageous. And no former spuds please.

  • I remember the 1999 FACup semi-final, and Ryan Giggs charging towards the Arsenal goal, if I recall I shouted ‘take him out’…

  • Saw the news about Freddie coming back as U23 head coach. Always nice to see a former player back at the club.
    I hope that he can drill his skills and never say die attitide into the players.

  • Kev, Van B was indeed a bit like Vieira. Hard as nails but with also a good football brain and a good organiser and leader. I reckon Xhaka has a lot in common with Van Bommel in terms of personality and some qualities.

    Things could have been different for Arsenal if Diaby had been a success. That was a big disappointment for Wenger and his team development plans.

  • Kev, the Russians are a melancholic bunch – glass is always empty…

    In truth, they are big underperformers when it comes to international football and the current team looks pretty poor once again. My fiver is on France.

  • Shard, regarding Wilshere, either Jack or Ross Barkley would/could have been an asset coming off of the bench for England with their ability to do something unconventional, but I don’t think that Southgate could risk it and made the right call at the time. I’m not daft enough to think that England can win the bloody thing all I want is for my national team to give it a go, give it all they can, with some passion, and not to come home harbouring any regrets.

    Sorry to hear that you’ve been on the receiving end of some prejudice, as an Englishman I’ve experienced it in of all places Scotland, maybe not to the same level as yourself, but it’s up there, in the media as well. And yet I also spent a great evening, whilst on holiday up there, chatting football with a Glasgow Rangers fan, no hint of any animosity, just football, so there ya go….

  • Total, Abou has been a massive miss for us, he was a fantastic footballer, technically better than Vieira if a little less robust. It’s one of those great ‘what ifs’ mate.
    What if Eduardo hadn’t been sliced in half?
    What if Lehman hadn’t been sent off in 2006?
    What if Vieira had fouled Giggs in 1999?
    What if Kanu, Bergkamp or Henry has scored in Copenhagen in 2000?
    What if Seaman had been on his line in 1995?
    And on and on, you never get over it…. 🙂

  • Of course I am Asian, TA. I am a true blue Singaporean.
    All places will have a little racism here and there, and it gets worse when the government lets more people from other countries to live and work and eventually takes away the livelihood of the locals.

    Kev, that’s just an overzealous fan there mate.

  • 84, we had a really enjoyable chat, the links between Arsenal and Glasgow Rangers goes way back, Voetbal is like a religion up there, but I’m not getting onto religion. 😉

  • On a lighter note?
    Mkhi was being interviewed at a pre-WC presser and had these things to say in comparing physical traits and mental prowess on-pitch:

    “I will not talk about the difference between Xavi and Ronaldo, but say what they have in common,” R-Sport quoted Mkhitaryan as saying. “Football is not played by feet and body, but by head. How fast or slow you are is another question. First of all, it’s important how fast you think on the pitch. Xavi is one of the world’s slowest players; but in terms of thinking, I can’t compare anyone with him.

    “Ronaldo runs incredibly fast; that’s why many don’t notice how correct a position he takes [on the pitch]. A person can have a natural physical shape; but if his head is empty, it’s not worth engaging in football.”

    Henrikh the Wise.


  • So if you are Asian, 84, what did you mean with your last sentence in: “Some asian cities do not like “outside” people too. But if you are asking for directions, mostly i get nice people pointing you to the right direction. Even westerners. So i guess i am the few lucky ones that met some really nice locals.”???

  • All good questions, Kev. My recent question has been: What if Djourou, Diaby and Adebayor had all been nice, loyal, top-quality Gunners…. what I spine we would have had?!!

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