Daily Archives: June 16, 2012
In the twinkle of an eye, the European Championships has gone beyond the second set of group stage fixtures and the world has witnessed the shift in balance as some nations find their qualification hopes hanging on a thin thread.
From an Arsenal perspective, Andrey Arshavin has been the star of Group A as his nation, Russia, remain in pole position despite a spirited display from Poland. The group’s leading scorer, Alan Dzagoev, has been a class act throughout the tournament and I have a hunch that CSKA Moscow will face a real battle to keep him this summer. It has been reported that Arsenal is preparing a £13m bid for the bloke.
The suspended Gunner present in Group A watched from the sidelines as the reserve penalty stopping hero, Tyton, played all 90 minutes in the draw against Russia. However, Wojciech Szczesny will be between the sticks when the Poles play a crunch match against Czech Republic in a winner takes all match tonight.
The host nation has been very impressive with their lovely style of play but they’ve had just two draws to show for it. Unfortunately, a draw against the Czechs tonight won’t be enough for Smuda’s men so they have to go for broke tonight.
However, the Czechs might be without their star midfielder and captain, Tomas Rosicky. The maestro has aggravated an Achilles tendon injury suffered in the tail end of the concluded season and he has stated that he can’t stand properly:
“Unfortunately I got a knock in the same place where I had issues towards the end of the club season at Arsenal, I’ve gotten hit in the same spot again. Someone kicked me there.
Given my role in the team and the movement I usually get a lot of knocks. You can’t avoid it unfortunately.
I have a lot of swelling and it hurts a lot. It hurts me even if I walk. Actually, I cannot stand on the foot properly.”
Poor ol’ Tomas has been crocked yet again. Why I’m I not surprised?
He still remains hopeful to start tonight’s game though.
Moving over to the Group of Death, the Netherlands will have it all to do when they lock horns with Portugal in their last Group B match and they’ll have to hope for Germany to do them a favor against Nicklas Bendtner’s Denmark.
Bert van Marwijk will have to tweak his squad a bit to further bolster his chances of reaching the finish line. He also has to make a decision on Arjen Robbish…Robben, that has had stinkers in both games he’s played in the tournament. Arseblogger gave a hilarious piece of his mind concerning Arjen Robben’s selfishness:
“Sure, he is capable of some exciting moments but I’ve had my fill of seeing him cut in on his left foot and curling shots way over the bar when he could pass the ball to players in better positions. If I were Robin van Persie I would wait for him to get out of the shower then I would, still in my full kit and boots, kick him repeatedly in the balls until blood came out of his eyes. Then I would invite the rest of the team to do likewise. It’s the only way he’ll learn.”
Group C has no Gunner on the spotlight but the matches provided a nice spectacle for neutrals like me to say the least. Andrea Pirlo rolled back the years with a splendid free kick but Mario Mandzukic’s volley cancelled out the Azzurri.
Like Poland, the Italians have been impressive but a bad result against Ireland coupled with a surprise result for Croatia against Spain can signal the end of the Euro adventure.
When I saw Wily Ol’ Woy Hodgson’s starting line-up against Sweden, I was surprised not to see Theo Walcott on the starting XI despite the fact that James Milner was a bit ineffectual against France. There was also the argument about the Manchester City star’s “work rate” in helping out his teammates in contrast to Walcott but I zeroed my mind down to watch some good football with the hope of seeing the pacey winger at some point in the game.
Andy Carroll’s dispatched a textbook header from a brilliant cross and everything seemed rosy for England at that point in time. Two Olof Mellberg efforts changed the complexion of the game but I was a bit perplexed seeing Zlatan Ibrahimovic launching words at Joe Hart as if the Manchester City goalie shagged his ex-girlfriend or something. John Terry wasn’t far off on the pitch.
Pleas to see Walcott come into the fray were granted as the Arsenal man graced the pitch with barely an hour gone. Walcott made his mark on the game with a well-struck shot that levelled the contest for England and he supplied the match-winning assist for a superb Danny Welbeck goal.
As expected, the media Vultures have waxed lyrical and run out of superlatives for Walcott and his efforts has been recognized by his peers as well as his manager. Arsenal legend, Freddie Ljungberg has stated that he has been impressed by Arsenal’s contingent in the Euros and he hopes to see more signings this summer.
Theo Walcott didn’t want to be left out of the party the media Vultures created for him and he had this to say:
“It’s always nice to come off the bench and show what you can do. I’ve obviously been disappointed that I haven’t played, but I’ve been training hard and it’s not about the starting line-up, it’s a whole squad thing.
“I was sharp warming up and you need to be sharp on the pitch because at this level it’s really, really tough. To make my first appearance in such a high-profile arena means so much because it’s been a long time waiting.”
It’s really nice to see things going well for Walcott on the international stage. It’s no more than he deserves
He’s definitely no longer that 16-year-old kid that boarded a plane to Germany in 2006 without getting any football action.
That young lad that missed a plane to South Africa because his manager preferred one-dimensional wingers to him.
It’s not a cheetah, it’s not Usain Bolt…It’s Walcott.
Arsenal’s speed merchant.
Lest I forget, Euro Gunner Watch gives him a rating of 8.5.
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