Broken Bones, Thugs-N-Harmony

While Jack Wilshere received his marching orders without question on Saturday, in the north east of England thug met thug. All the proof needed to appreciate how hare-brained Bolton and Stoke players are came in the shape of Ivan Klasnic. It took him just 108 seconds to score and get sent off. Are these clubs sending scouts to Belmarsh on release day? It wouldn’t have surprised me if Paul Robinson and Jonathan Walters had done battle before within the confines of Her Majesty’s prison. It truly was knockout stuff.
In a split second on Match of the Day, Tony Pulis had changed from his chavy tracksuit top into his beloved moaning suit. Mick McCarthy was another one who couldn’t wait to speak with the press after his Wolves team finished their game against West Ham without collecting a yellow card. The smugness on his face. If anything, it made a clear point about how dirty Karl Henry is, that in his absence Wolves were so angelic. Then watching Blackpool entertain Manchester City on Sunday, somebody who is usually so dirty on the pitch went strangely quiet. Nigel De Jong rarely went to ground, hardly made a tackle. It exposed how ordinary his game is when he isn’t smashing players in the air or breaking legs. The real crime is that Jack Wilshere is the one now facing a three match ban, while De Jong gets to play.
Wilshere was at it again against Shakhtar Donetsk with Wenger calling him ahead of the times. The question asked among my circle of friends was whether Wilshere is ahead of Cesc Fabregas when he was the same age. It’s difficult to say, although Wilshere seems to play the game much faster than Fabregas did at 18 years-old. Wilshere’s one touch football is something out of the olden days when football was much slower and one touch passing was easy. The difference is that Wilshere is playing in a time when English football is at its quickest. But Wilshere still makes it look the same and because of his quickness and special mobility he is able to turn the modern game on Sky Sports into old black and white footage.
Wilshere finished on a high after the weekends controversy. His red card was warranted yet untimely given the fact McCarthy could turn around and agree with all the foregone conclusions that had Wenger down as a hypocrite. Marouane Chamakh was quizzed over a dive in the box which earned Arsenal a penalty though I failed to hear anything of the sort after Lee Cattermole took the most blatant and poorly executed dive against Blackburn on Monday night. Following all of this however has been a week of harmony for Arsenal. Things are back to winning ways amid Wayne Rooney’s outbursts, Alex Ferguson’s Wenger style cow analogy response, and all in lead up to a huge clash with Manchester City.
Watching Emmanuel Adebayor take poor touch after poor touch against Blackpool and find himself offside so often was a reminder of how reduced he was when Wenger decided to sell him. He doesn’t get many starts at City these days so I wondered if Mancini was giving him some minutes with the intention of playing him against his old employer. Watching Blackpool outplay City was refreshing and it proved to the likes of Pulis that just because you don’t have the means, doesn’t mean you can’t play good quality football. Wherever Blackpool finish this season, at least Holloway would have improved the football brain of his players who earn no more than £10,000 a week. Their skill levels have progressed dramatically after just a handful of games into the season. If only he’d say less about Alex Ferguson being bullied, a man who has built his whole reputation on the concept.
Arsenal’s football was at its best against Shakhtar and it has been throughout the Champions League. Churning out those kind of performances in the Premiership hasn’t be as easy. Of course it could be down to the opposition. Once again Arsenal have been given a fair group and it’s becoming formality to pick up nine points early on in the UCL and then rest assured. In the EPL Arsenal haven’t had it so easy and those smooth performances seem hampered by a lack of confidence. Wilshere’s goal on Tuesday night was great because the ball kept moving forward at one pace. Maybe in the domestic league certain Arsenal players are wary of taking a hit if they play so fast, but these are demons that need blocking out as City on Sunday is sure to be fiery. It won’t take much more encouragement to see De Jong back to his brutal best.
A win then against City would be a sign of Arsenal’s ambition. Rooney questioned Manchester United’s own ambition mid-week which is rich coming from somebody whose personal ambitions seem to be spending the fans money on prostitutes. All of this comes from the man at United who is currently struggling with the worst run of form and the laziest attitude for such a highly paid striker. The likelihood is that Colleen has handed in her own marriage transfer request and now Wayne stares down the barrel of a hefty what’s mine is yours pay-out, and if so, then it’s no wonder he is sniffing out further riches.
Arsenal don’t have any of these disruptions right now. We had some with Fabregas in the summer but that is a different story. He is back now and playing quality football. The squad is close at the moment and getting by with some irregular team selections. The loss to West Brom is one acceptation that was unacceptable and over time hopefully this can be put to bed as a one-off.  Theo Walcott was in action on Tuesday and others on the injury list are not far behind him. Fabregas will be fit for Sunday and the sooner we have a fully fit squad the sooner this Arsenal team can push on and take advantage of other teams who are going through rough spells.
This is not to say Fergie won’t come out swinging with an even more pumped up United. Chelsea looked ordinary against Aston Villa without Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard but they remain strong at the back. With clean sheets winning on an average performance is always a possibility. Adebayor can’t wait to see red faces in the away end on Sunday and since his easy hat-trick last night coupled with another classic embarrassment of a celebration, obviously feels the reins are off. So as much as there is some instability within rival clubs, Arsenal must remember the very poetic words of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: We gotta prepare for eternal warfare!!
THE ARSENAL