Thoughts on Pep Guardiola’s Imminent Departure and Stoke Preview
In a somewhat relatively dull start to the weekend, a piece of information rocked the football world like an earthquake with a high magnitude.
Despite enjoying a managerial career people could kill for, as well as managing a team that’s best regarded as the best football club in this generation, Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola has decided to call it quits at the end of the season, bringing an end to an glittering career that saw his team amass 13 from a possible 18 trophies making him the Catalans most successful manager.
His eulogy was very emotional to say the least, and the looks on the faces of the members of his team were priceless.
It sort of reminded me of the looks a little kid gets when the Ice Cream man comes around to say that the supplies are over. You certainly have the option of crying but shedding a tear or two wasn’t going to avert the decision.
As expected, the media vultures feasted on this news like vampires seeing a human after days of starvation without blood. The Guardian published a report revealing that the pressure of managing the club gradually ate away into his enjoyment.
However, other media Vultures believe that he resigned from Barcelona for a fresh challenge and he’s hugely tipped to make a move to the Premier League, with his potential destination being Arsenal. When the club was going through a rough patch of form that saw the Gunners lose to AC Milan as well as Sunderland in the FA Cup, the Daily Mail reported that he was ready to replace Arsene Wenger at the helm of affairs of the club.
Wenger was under intense pressure at that point in the season but he steadied the ship and sailed to a new direction on course to that treasure island called the Third Place. Arsenal’s supremo has stated that he’s surprised to see Guardiola leave his coveted position.
Wenger questioned the timing of the announcement as it came in the wake of the club’s Champions League exit in the hands of Chelsea. Barcelona did everything right and played their attractive football over the course of two legs but Chelsea proved that they were certainly no pushovers, no contest is pre-determined and no side is unbeatable.
Speaking of timing, we all know how FC Cologne has handled the Lukas Podolski saga, they’ve stalled in announcing his imminent departure because of the potential backlash it was going to cause among the fans but they had to wait till the Spring to make the announcement anyway.
Wenger also spoke about Barcelona’s philosophy and the stress levels of the job. The Catalan giants have had this “philosophy” they’ve employed in the yesteryear which involves honing more aliens from their La Masia Mutant Academy as well as delivering the best type of football which resonates around ball possession when on the ball and heavy pressing off the ball.
This season, Barcelona unleashed more aliens to the football world in the form of Isaac Cuenca and Tello to a squad that Arsenal has the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas.
Some Gooners want to see Arsene Wenger pushed up to the Board, leaving the manager’s position vacant and they also believe that Guardiola can be the man to stop Arsenal’s Black Widow spider to exit from the Emirates Stadium trophy cabinet after seven years of spinning webs in the cozy piece of furniture.
I’m not an Arsene Knows Best (AKB) but there’s no point jumping into the Guardiola bandwagon. Arsene Wenger has proved countless times what his vision, principles and continuity has done for the club but he’s currently going to a barren spell that has been heavily contributed by injuries, suspensions, poor officiating against team, bad luck and of course, his tactical errors from time to time.
If Guardiola can leave a trophy-laden club like Barcelona after just four years, do you think that Arsenal will be any different after he wins another six trophies in his first season in charge with the Gunners? He’ll probably say that he’s tired of England’s weather and taxing system, declaring that he wants to manage George Jetson FC, the latest club from Outer Space.
For those that don’t know, there’s a new planet in our Solar System, Planet Ramos.
Arsenal is sitting pretty in third place but a series of poor results can change the outlook of things in the run-in for Champions League qualification. The Gunners face a stern test away to Stoke, a ground that hasn’t given them much joy in recent times.
The Gunners’ form has considerably dropped, from the never ending series of victories to just two wins in the last five outings. The goals have also dried up for hitman Robin van Persie, that has managed one goal in his last seven games. With Manchester United’s Shrek breathing down on his neck, it’s high time RVP get a goal or two to help him and his team’s cause.
His goals will propel him to the Golden Boot while they’ll also play a part in his club’s bid for third place. It’s also worth noting that van Persie has scored 27 league goals while Stoke as a team has amassed 31. Four of the last five meetings been Arsenal and Stoke has surprisingly ended in a 3-1 scoreline.
Arsenal has also conceded just five headed goals in the league, which is the joint-fewest in the top flight. However, Arsene Wenger has stated that his team is better equipped for this match. Vermaelen has said that his Guns are ready for the battle of the Brittania.
To team news, the absentees (Walcott (hamstring), Arteta (ankle), Mertesacker (ankle), Wilshere (ankle) Frimpong (knee)) are still nursing their injuries but the Arteta jinx has to end pretty soon. Arsenal hasn’t won any game he didn’t play and victories are paramount to secure third place.
I expect Wojciech Szczesny to continue in goal with the regular back four of Quickie Gibbsy, the Verminator, Bosscielny and Bac the Man. Yossi Benayoun returns in midfield while Tomas Rosicky has recovered from a sickness; I’ll expect Alex Song, Little Mozart and probably Aaron Ramsey to get the heads up in midfield.
This ground won’t bring fond memories for the Welsh captain but I believe that he’ll put his head down and give his usual 110% even though his ability still remains questionable. In this corresponding fixture at the Emirates, he supplied a delicate chip over the defense to Le Forehead, which was dispatched perfectly by the Ivorian.
At that point in time, the fans adored Ramsey and sang his songs only to wish him injuries or even worse in the turn of the new year. Please, get off his back.
The attack will be without Theo Walcott, so I expect Le Forehead to be drafted back into the squad to play in the forward line with the Ox and van Persie.
Enjoy the game wherever you are.
I won’t watch the match though, I’m gonna be with i.am.OGB utunu and the Cousins of Ciroc.
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