Not the result we wanted or needed at the Lane yesterday. And yet another injury, this time to Emmanuel Adebayor. If things go on the way they are we’re going to have to build a hospital wing at the training ground
The draw leaves us twelve points from top, effectively thirteen as our goal difference is so far behind Yoonited. The Mancs also have a game in hand. We’re seven points off third spot and automatic Champions League qualification next season. Worryingly, there are only thirteen games left now to make up the pace. We simply have to start winning regularly and soon. We’re arriving very quickly at the business end of the season. For as long as I’ve been watching Arsenal we’ve had a club tradition of going on a “Spring offensive” from March onwards, no matter how poor we’ve been before that. We need to start that offensive even earlier this year if we’re to get anything out of this season.
I don’t like joining in the boo-boy chorus but Emmanuel Eboué proved yet again what a bell-end he is. The referee could very easily have had him off before he finally got his marching orders. Completely brainless. Maybe he fancies a week off in the sun – who knows what’s going on the man’s head at times? Not a lot it would appear.
The plus points for me were a good performance from Alexandra Song and the return of Eduardo to the bench. We can only hope that this is swiftly followed by returns for Cesc Fàbregas and Theo Walcott, and Andrey Arshavin attaining match fitness as soon as possible. We could have nicked it right at the death but for a great save by Carlo Cudicini from Nicklas Bendtner. Then again so could Spurs but for a decent save from Manuel Almunia from Modric.
There’s an international round of games midweek, so the training ground will be severely depopulated. One player not away on his travels, at least to play, will be Carlos Vela. He’ll miss Mexico’s World Cup qualifier against the USA in Columbus as he’s suspended for two matches having been sent off in Mexico’s last match against Honduras. Eduardo is expected to feature in Croatia’s friendly in Bucharest against Romania.
As irritating as it is from a fan perspective, the re-arranged FA Cup 4th round replay being pushed back to the following Monday at least gives the players a couple of extra days recovery time. We need to push the League to one side and focus on this match now. The great Australian rugby league coach Jack Gibson always used to say “winning starts on Monday.” The day after a match is time to focus on the next game and start preparing for it. Difficult with so many players heading for the airport to join their national teams but that’s the price of having so many good players.
Off the field the Premier League has just announced the results of its tenders for the live domestic television rights for 2010-13 when the current deals run out. They’ve achieved a small increase over the last record deal which is welcome in the current climate. It’s shared between Sky and Setanta again, the BBC having already won the free to air domestic highlights package, so Match of the Day will continue. There’s still a long way to go to achieve the total of over £2.7 billion over three seasons of the current deal. The biggest chunk of the remainder is the international rights which fetched £625 million last time. A lot of people think this will go up. I wouldn’t be sanguine about that in the current economic climate but neither would I bet against it.
Other sources of club income, principally tickets and sponsorship/commercial are likely to come under pressure. The premium Club seats and boxes will be especially difficult to sell. The Rugby Football Union has seen a drop of over a quarter in corporate hospitality sales at Twickenham for its home Six Nations games this season and for the first time that anybody can remember there were tickets left over for general public sale for all three of England’s home games this season. We also have the Arsenal specific problem of selling the flats at the old ground. If we fail to qualify for the Champions League group stage next season that will put income under further strain. The new Premier League deal is welcome news but we’re going to have to tread a very tight path financially for the next three-four years at least. The plunge in the Sterling exchange rate against the Euro and US Dollar is doing us no favours either.
I’d rather do this than have the club fall into the hands of some uber-rich mucky muck. I don’t care where they come from. I do NOT want to be a rich man’s toy. I’m also sick to death of the culture of “I want it NOW” instant gratification that seems to plague every facet of life. Look where that’s gotten us. Let’s tread a careful path and we can come through the financial storm facing us all in good nick. If you think we’ve got problems just look at the rest of the League.
That’s all for now my fellow Gooners. Not the result we wanted yesterday but no point in moping about it. Time to look forward to the Cup now.
Keep the faith!
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