Giving a player the penalty on his final game. Making a player captain after reaching a games landmark (or years landmark in Theo Walcott’s case). I hate signing birthday cards for people at work who I do not know. And do not dare ask me to donate to a leaving present to someone who has quit to go to a better paid job. Sod em all.
And today we at Arsenal we come to a game where sentiment is high.
After this season, there will be no more Tomas Rosicky at Arsenal. There will be no more Mikel Arteta at Arsenal. There will be no more Mathiue Flamini at Arsenal. There contacts are expiring. They will not be renewed. They will not pass go. They will not collect £200.
There is lots of noise on Twitter. Wishing them all well. Video’s of their best bits, like Arsenal are suddenly a Saturday night talent show. And many, incredibly, calling some of them legends.
And now to the anti-sentimental bit.
None of them should play today
We are currently in 3rd place. Automatic qualification for next years Champions League not yet secured. We have a chance, if results go our way (c’mon Newcastle) to finish 2nd, above Spurs. We have plenty to play for. But what we need to do is our job.
And our job is beating Aston Villa. And to do that we need to put out our best team.
Forget about Rosicky, Arteta and Flamini. They are not.
Arteta has not played since the 30th of January. Flamini the 16th of March. Rosicky has played 19 minutes of football this season.
None of them were considered good enough to play previously, so why play them now when we still have much to play for, just because they are leaving?
I want to win, to beat Aston Villa. And our best chance of that is playing Elneny Ramsey and Ozil, not Arteta Flamini & Rosicky.
Alongside this, we should not be using this game to get Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla & Theo Walcott fit for the Euro’s. It is about Arsenal. Not individuals.
And do you think they really care about us?
Yes, Mikel Arteta did a great job for Arsenal when we were a club in crisis in 2011. And I felt terribly for the man when he captained us to the FA Cup in 2014, only for Thomas Vermaelen to snatch the cup off him at the last minute and lift it in front of the Wembley crowd. But his time has gone. His legs have gone. Thanks for the memories, but it is time to say goodbye.
As for Tomas Rosicky. This is a man who has spent nearly as much time on the treatment table as Abou Diaby. And I see people calling him a legend. A brilliant player, yes, and one who in 2006 when we signed him was, in my opinion, on par with Kaka. But injuries have ruined his career. In 10 Premier League seasons, he has averaged just 17 games a year. This will be the 2nd occasion in his Arsenal career where he has not played a single league game – unless sentiment get’s in the way. Rewarded handsomely to sit out injured. Thanks for the memories, but it is time to say goodbye.
Finally Mathieu Flamini. He loved Arsenal so much that he refused to sign a new contract in 2008, instead joining AC Milan on a free transfer. Cheers pal (thumbs up emoji thumbs up emoji). Why should we show him sentiment, give him a good send off, when he f**ked off at the first chance? Thanks for the memories, but it is time to say goodbye.
All 3 players have done a job for Arsenal at some point or another. They have played over 650 games between them. But today is not the day for sentiment. Today is the day to win a game of football.
Let them join in the walk around the pitch. Let fans clap them then. Let fans sing their names at that point. But to put it simply, for Arsenal to have the best chance of winning today, non of them should play.
Tomas, Mikel, Mathieu, Thanks for the memories, but it is time to say goodbye.