Daily Archives: October 11, 2012
The first phase of international fixtures will commence this weekend and football fans will brace themselves up for a dose of some boring football. Friendlies and qualifiers can never be as exciting as an international tournament – a sentiment that has been shared by Arsenal skipper, Thomas Vermaelen, as he hopes to play in the next World Cup with this golden generation of Belgian players.
With all the fixtures showcased this weekend, the clash between France and Spain remains my pick of the bunch. For starters, both nations have endured a rivalry that has lasted for an eternity and the French folks will also have revenge on the back of their minds, as the Spanish mutants knocked them out of the European Championships this summer.
France will certainly be without Arsenal’s Abou Diaby that’s still out injured but there’s more sad news from the French camp as it has been reported that Laurent Koscielny picked up a knee injury in training. If this happened last season, Arsenal fans would have hit the panic button so hard, it would spring out of its remote, but things have changed in that part of North London, as many Gooners would prefer to see Per Mertesacker partner the captain in the heart of the defense.
With Koscielny out of the equation for the time being, Johan Djourou will move up the pecking order as Arsenal’s back-up defender with the likes of Ignasi Miquel and Sebastien Squillaci waiting in the gallows. Lack of playing time for the big Swiss has made the media Vultures do what they do best, linking him to several clubs in the Milky Way, but his agent has stated that Djourou is staying put.
Vito Mannone on the other hand, has declared that he’ll like to be between the sticks for AC Milan in the future. The Italian’s run-out in the first team courtesy of injuries to the Polish goalkeeping duo has seen him come under the spotlight and a lot has happened in these few months for Mannone. He has had his fair share of clean sheets, howlers, super saves and uncertainties but on a grand scale of things, he has done well in Szczesny’s stead.
With AC Milan’s Christian Abbiati reaching his twilight years, Mannone won’t be a bad addition for them as the Rossoneri’s deputy goalie, Marco Amelia, hasn’t been too impressive with some high-profile mistakes last season. In my honest opinion, Mannone isn’t good enough to be Arsenal’s No. 1 for the long term so if AC Milan brings some hard cash, we’ll do what we are pretty good at – selling.
Unlike players like Djourou and Mannone that can fetch a quid or two for the club, Arsenal is ready to cut its losses with the Korean Shaolin soccer specialist, Park Chu-Young, as it is believed that the Arsenal hierarchy will allow him to leave on a free transfer despite that fact that he has two years left on his current deal.
I still remain puzzled with the acquisition of Park last season and it’s really shameful to know that Arsenal stole him right under LOSC Lille Metropole’s nose but failed to give him a chance to make his mark. I’d believed that the goal against Bolton sent a message to the manager about his abilities but when Wenger opted for the legend, Thierry Henry, while its African contingent were away on Nations Cup duty, it was clear that Park was surplus to requirements.
He didn’t put a foot wrong in the Olympic Games when he represented his nation and I can only wish the Korean the best in his future endeavours. At least, he still has many more years to play football in Europe before going to serve in the Korean military.
Moving back to Cazorla and his Spanish mutant folks, I must say that it would take some stuffing from any football nation to displace Spain off the summit of international football. After losing out to France in the 2006 FIFA World Cup thanks to His Football Holiness, Pope Zinedine Zidane’s brilliance, Luis Aragones assembled a perfect squad in the 2008 Euros, winning it as well.
When the mantle was handed over to Vicente del Bosque, no one expected Spain to be this awesome. Their tiki-taka football is a stuff made in dreams and many great football nations have bowed to Spain’s awesomeness. When it seemed as if the German Machines of the 2010 FIFA World Cup looked like the team to beat, it took a Carles Puyol header to take care of business but the game itself was a one-sided encounter as the Spanish mutants starved the Germans off the ball.
This summer’s Euros was really a shocker as the Spanish folks thrived with staring a team with any recognized striker, with Fernando Torres, feeding off the scraps from the bench after business had been done as usual. Santi Cazorla played a bit-part role in that tournament but he has stated that his move to Arsenal has bolstered his chances of being called up to the La Furia Rojas.
Cazorla also said that he feels more valued at Arsenal and he can’t fathom why Mikel Arteta hasn’t been called up to play for Spain. Maybe it’s Arteta’s hair…and if you doubt me, name one Spanish player that has a nicer gelled up hair like Senor Arteta. Better still, everyone in Spain probably beefs Arteta for his hot wife, Bernal Lorena that was Miss Spain at some point in her modelling career.
That’s just me kidding.
The real reason remains that Spain is blessed with so much footballing talent, that there’s no space for the likes of Arteta. Even Chelsea‘s creative lynchpin, Juan Mata, wasn’t called up for these fixtures despite his great start to the season.
Here’s to a great game of football between Spain and France.
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