Wednesday 29 February 2012

International Friendlies - the return of stronger players!

Arsenal vs Manchester City - China cup - "Bird's Nest", Beiging

We have our regular dose of international friendlies again and as much as I would love the prospect of and England vs Holland match, I wish it would have been between seasons. Playing an international match, right in between two very important matches or more significantly ahead of such a crucial period in the season, is a bit worrying. You will keep reading about how important the next few months are, or about the March Madness, but it in fact is true. 13 of our first team players, even though the first team can be of 11-we have a stronger squad with 13 first teamers!, it's only obvious to worry about the state of the players returning from these matches.

I wish these all of them success in their respective matches but I hope they come through unhurt. Although, for the Holland vs England match, say if  Theo and RVP play, I am a bit confused where to put my support, he he RVP of course! There was some news that RVP might have some niggle and might be rested. Bert van Marwijk had yet to decide whether he'll playing him or not and he won't take any chances with him. The last thing we need is our skipper to return with an injury and it would be a big blow for the match against Liverpool. Even, TV and Rosicky were not fully fit having picked up minor injuries in last weekend's Rottenham massacre. Though it might be just superficial injuries, given our luck with  fitness of players, it would be a better idea to rest them. Although, I don't know how much their international managers would care about it.

Park will be playing against Kuwait and I hope he scores, he always does...against them at least. But I guess it would do him good, to get some playing time. Having scored against Norwich, for the Reserves, he must be itching to put his studs on the ball again. Not touching this issue again! Other than him, we have our other half of the 3 pronged strike force(!??), Chamakh due to face Burkina Faso. He had an injury too against Norwich, I don't know if his toe has gone back to normal. Like Park, I hope he scores too, if not for Morocco, at least for his sake. It's been a long time I have seen his Mohawk been unsettled because of headers. TV, against Greece is a doubtful starter.

Maybe Stuart Pearce needs a bit of time with the team and hoping to have a permanent job as England manager, but I really don't understand the sense of playing these friendlies. The managers are already watching these players in leagues, what reason could they have to play the internationals other than seeing if the freshly ordered kits suit their players? It is a big distraction from the situation at hand, which is their club's league run. Steven Gerrard just announced last week that he was willing to give up his international career for his beloved Liverpool. I am not suggesting that people give up on their international positions for sake of clubs, sure there is a duty towards your country, but the timing of these matches couldn't be more appropriate. If unfortunately a player gets injured and is kept off from club football for some time, it is the club who suffers and more so if the that club is Arsenal, where there are more players on the treatment table than in the squad.

There has been a lot of talk lately about RVP's contract, and though he has stated that he wouldn't be getting into any kind of deals until the end of the season, it gives the board some time to think over how exactly they can manage to keep him satisified. Is it money or is it the success of this season that would matter, it is partly in their hands to simplify things. Personally I feel he should be given be given anything that he desires, although he won't be demanding the stars for his personal collection. Ideally, he should be getting something that would keep him off the radars of other clubs. Though he doesn't look the kind of guy who would turn to ManC to pay all his debts and mortgages and all other materialistic things, it's only natural to be wanting to earn more. But there is more to club football than the money and Arsene has explained about the desires of top athletes,
I believe that any person in top sport must win 7-1 like we did [against Blackburn], go home and think 'what did I do wrong today?' That is also the same when you lose 3-0, I feel that the common denominator of people who are successful at the top level is that they have a fair, objective assessment of their performance. They can be more personal, detached, angry or happy but if they are at the top they analyse what they do well. Top-level sportsmen are even over-critical of themselves.
To put it in simpler terms, he means that any top footballer, unlike some who are happy to warm the benches at the Etihad stadium, cannot just be happy with money or even with whatever they have achieved. They will keep wanting more success and challenge themselves to stay on the top. Although, in football a lot depends on your team too and what exactly is their level of competitiveness. A team like Barcelona, where even the players on the bench can take on any team in the world, have to be on their toes and snatch at opportunities when they get it. Again, it is up to the board and Arsene to make sure that if everything goes well at the end of the season, there are players who are competitive enough and hungry for success, to surround RVP. With the figures put out in the financial results, I don't think it should be a problem.

We come to the matter of signing players and our media is always hardworking when it comes to rumours. There has been a cornucopia of rumours throughout the internet, this morning, about Lukasz Podolski having agreed terms with Arsenal to join them in the summer. Although, I would like the prospect of seeing him sign for Arsenal, the fact is that it is not happening till the transfer window opens and apparently for some people, this is a limbo. The window is still a far way away and there is lot to fight for this season and put our thoughts to a better use. I suggest we lay off such temptations and wait until summer to find out if it is real or just a mirage.

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