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Thursday, November 03, 2005

"You'll be hoping that this run of injuries will stop earlier than it started."

As TDH prophesied just days ago, Dyer is done before he'd barely begun. Doing his best impression of a 1980's Jaguar, the provider from Sunday's match managed just a few runs at top speed before heading back to the shop for repairs.

The word is that Dyer and his injury-plagued teammates are suffering not from a too-hard training pitch, as the club earlier suggested, but from a mystery illness. One has to wonder: could this, and not, ahem, a recurring nasal injury, have been the malady that troubled Jonathan Woodgate after he moved to Real? If so, could we please have the telephone number of his urologist, er, physio?


Pavel Nedved has been called back into the Czech national team 16 months after his supposed retirement. Precious Pavel said he'd come back for the World Cup playoff against Norway if the squad's injury crisis continued. By my count, they're missing Lurch and Lokvenc. Some crisis! But you can just hear the phone ringing at Pavel's villa in the Parco della Mandria: "Hallo, Pavel? It's Karel. Boy, do we have an injury crisis. That's right, Koller's out, and Lokvenc, and, erm, a bunch of other guys, and my dog, and ehhhh... by the way, did you get that case of slivovitz I sent over?"


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

my favourite thing about Pavel is his pure lack of taste. He's an uncomplicated guy, married to his childhood sweetheart, Ivana, with the standard 2 children of such a relationship... and in a move of pure class, they're named Pavel and Ivana.

But getting back to the question of the youth academies, I think that they tend to send out truly great prospects in bunches, but the best ones do produce a steady stream of international class players. Ajax have in the last few years produced Wesley Sneider (sic), Van der Vaart and Steven Pienaar. Barca have produced Iniesta, Fabregas and Xavi recently, all of whom are fantastic players. And lets not forger Boca Juniors and River, they of the yearly 'new Maradona' - Riquelme, Tevez, d'Allesandro, Aimar...

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Voyeurs are us said...

So its official. Rather than watching hourse of footage on the latest African protege to emerge from the world under 10s championship - Arsene Wenger actually prefers peering at families and small children through his long fallic shaped telescope. The innuendo is unmistakable, even if the press have held back from saying it outright. Most Arsenal fans remember the rumours of peadophilia that surfaced soon after Arsene took charge, based on nothing more than an internet hoax. To this day, he has to put up with spurs and manure fans chanting 'sit you down peadophile' every time he wonders out of the dugout. Mourenho is not stupid and has shown that he has a pretty ruthless attitude to unsettling his opponents (remember Anders Frisk?) so it does not seem unreasonable to suppose he picked his words to have this precise effect.

But this time he's picked a fight with the wrong man...

By the time Mourenho arrived in English football, the inherently xenephobic English press were already used to the idea of foreign coaches coming over to these shores and out-thinking, out-preparing, and out-manouvring their anachronistic English counterparts (the fact that sam allardyce is touted as a future england manager is a sad reflection of the state of managerial talent in the UK). But when Arsene came over in 1996, it was unheard of for a foreign coach to manage a top flight English team. His appearance was mocked (for being too intellectual), his methods were laughed at (for being too meticulous) and there was of course the afore-mentioned hoax about paedophillia (started on the internet) that forced him to come out onto the steps at Highbury in front of a gaggle of journalists and demand that they either make an accusation and bear the consequences or stop fuelling the rumours. They duly stopped. Can you imagine Mourenho having to put up with similar hostility today? Within his first 6 months? He'd have been on the plane back to Portugal quicker than you could say 'au revoir'.

Wenger has blazed a trail for the likes of Mourenho - basically revolutionising the English game from the outdated training methods of the past and single handedly breaking Manure's dominance of the domestic scene with a brand of football that is unsurpassed in recent English football history. The old assumptions of flooding the box with players and getting crosses into the middle have been challenged and broken by a style of passing that relies on incredible levels of imagination, timing and accuracy - finding the right pass to a player making the right run into the box at the right time. No other team plays the way Arsenal play - with no wingers and no out and out sriker. And yet and yet...

Arsenal are yet to conquor Europe, they have yet to win titles back to back, they lack midfield dominance and find it difficult to break down opponents who play for the draw. All true but in his time at Arsenal, Wenger has already built 2 championship winning sides, one around Petit/Vieira, Overmarks and Anelka, another around Vieira, Pires and Henry. And he's done it with a net spend of just under £20m. I am confident he will build a third, and that eventually, he will win the champions league. Wenger had the last laugh over Ferguson, he will have the last laugh over Mourenho - by wrestling back the title (if not this year than next) - and doing it for a tenth of the cost of his portugese counterpart. That is the Wenger way...

2:31 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

Well, you know, despite my criticisms of the weakest Man U squad I've ever seen, I have to say that I've got a feeling that Taggart will stave off the Fat Lady's song with a shock win at the weekend. His players know that they are playing for their futures.

Having said that, this season isn't a write off yet, but can Arsene really dig up a team to rival Chelsea? The problem isn't finding the players, because Barcelona and possibly Juve have comparable squads (maybe not as deep, but with as much quality, and enough good subs to withstand more than a handfull of injuries. Don't forget that Larsson can't buy a game for Barca, and Juve can't find space for Mutu, despite his excellent form). The problem is that even if Arsene finds another Fabregas down the back of the Barca sofa, Chelsea can respond by buying another Essien.

By the way, did anyone see Barca take Panathinaikos apart mid-week? I caught a replay and it was ridiculous. They didn't play that well, just whenever they upped the tempo a bit they passed so perfectly and so quickly I don't see how ANY team can live with it...

4:17 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

There is always a way. Just look at how Mexico stopped Brazil in the Confederations Cup. Teams like Barca, Brazil and Arsenal sometimes encounter opponents who are so successful at slowing down the tempo that the beautiful passers become completely unsettled. Greece did the same at the Euros, though to inferior teams. It's not pretty to watch, but it works.

And doesn't it feel strange to be watching this war of words in the Premier League with Sir relegated to the sidelines, moping? It just doesn't feel right, somehow.

6:43 PM  

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