We are out of the title race. Defeat against Stoke City is the nail in our coffin. Whilst we are only 4 points behind Chelsea, the fact we have to play Man City at home, and go to Everton, Chelsea and Spurs in our final 10 games is the reasoning behind us being out of the race. We will not get 12 from 12. Even 6 from 12 is fairly optimistic. My reckoning is we will get 4/5 points from those 4 games. and that will not be enough to make up the 4 point gap on Chelsea. It has been a good season. We have moved forward. We are still 2 players short (how long have we said that?) Hopefull we can build on this year over the summer, buying the players we need, and challenge again next year.
We have achieved more this year then many thought. Most pundits, and many fans, had us finishing 6th, behind Chelsea, City, United, Liverpool & Spurs. The fact that we currently sit 3rd shows we have achieved beyond their expatiations. Rather than a pundit or fans saying “I told you they wouldn’t win it” they should perhaps remember there own prediction, which will show they have been wrong this season. Not right.
Bring on the FA Cup.
Olivier Giroud needs to sort himself out. He is very quickly losing the backing of Arsenal fans. Many were already not a fan of his due to his on pitch performances. 33 goals in 82 games for an Arsenal side who create as many chances they do. Many already point to the fact that a better striker upfront would make more of a use of the hundreds of chances Mesut Ozil creates. He makes up for the lack of goals with his all round play and work rate. But patience is now running out.
With his recent personal problems, his career has taken a noise dive. Firstly he cheated on his wife before the Crystal Palace game and today reports having come out that he begged another stunner for a threesome. With him not in form, this is the last thing he needs to be doing. We saw the effect that scandal had on Marouane Chamakh during his Arsenal career. Giroud needs to be whiter than white, and he isn’t being.
For me, the straw that is breaking the camels back is his play acting. Yes, he was stamped on yesterday, but how often he went to ground during the game. Whining. Complaining. Flicking his arm in the air whilst rolling about. He needs to man up. This is a guy who is 6ft 4in. He is a big strong lad. Yet he acts like a pansy. And whilst rolling about on the floor, it is not only embarrassing for him, for us, but it also means that he can not get involved in play.
Giroud, time to man up, sort your life out, or leave.
Another poor performance by Jack Wilshere. Another performance which leaves you wondering whether he is good enough for Arsenal. Whether he can be improved on. And he has a major issue in his game. Like with Olivier Giroud, he is laying on the ground too often. Yes, he is fouled a lot, he is targeted by opposing players, but he needs to get up quicker when he is not injured.
I have lost count this season how many times he has gone down, stayed down, play has continued, and he has laid their for 20-30 seconds whilst play has continued. He is a central midfielder, he needs to be involved. Laying in the opponents half because you felt you were fouled, whilst you are not injured, is damaging to Arsenal, and he needs to refrain from this.
Jack: If you are not hurt, get up and get back involved in play. Man up.
This morning, Sol Campbell’s new book has been serialised in the Sunday Times. The headline story is him claiming “I believe if I was white, I would have been England captain for more than 10 years”. Should Sol Campbell have been captain? Perhaps. Was he overlooked due to being black? Unlikely. So why was he overlooked?
Alan Shearer was the first permanent captain Sol Campbell played under. He was made captain in 1996 for the World Cup qualifiers. At this point, Sol Campbell was not a regular. This was why he was overlooked.
The key decision was in 2000, when Peter Taylor made David Beckham captain, and the decision was upheld by Sven-Goran Eriksson. At this point, Sol Campbell was considered as one of the best centre backs in world football. He was an England regular. And he was an experienced captain. He had even become England’s second youngest manager (after Bobby Moore) in 1998. It is hard to argue against him being made captain in 2000, rather than David Beckham. But the arguments for Beckham over Campbell has nothing to do with race.
David Beckham was made captain to help improve the brand of the English football side and The FA. The FA used his celebrity throughout the world to gain sponsorship money, to improve the public face of the England team after the problems of Hoddle & Keagan. He was a celebrity appointment, appointed for off field reason’s rather than on field one. In 2000, should Sol Campbell have been made captain? Yes. But the reason he was not had nothing to do with skin colour.
His attack on Michael Owen seems churlish. He captained England 9 times. The first was a friendly at Anfield – Sol Campbell did not play. Of his 9 caps as captain, Sol Campbell played in 3 of them. So Sol Campbell could perhaps argue that he should have had 3 more caps as England caps, bringing his total to 6. However, during that period, Steven Gerrard was a regular. Would Sol Campbell have been a better pick over Gerrard? Probably not. So again, it has nothing to do with colour. Gerrard was not made captain, and he is white.
Racism in football is a touchy subject. For me, the comments from the likes of Campbell simply re-opens wounds. Similar to when Paul Ince complains there are not enough black managers (it is his record which finds him unemployed, not his skin colour). Sol Campbell has mugged himself off. Written a chapter in his book about institutional racism within The FA to sell copies. Flip it round the other way, should Sol Campbell have been made captain because he is black, as a form a positive discrimination? No. Sol Campbell, the colour of your skin was not the reason you were not made captain.