Lots of Arsenal players involved in last night's action. Thierry bagged a goal in a, no doubt, cathartic victory for the French over the Italians; RVP got two crackers against Al Hleb's Bielorussians; Fab set up a goal in Spain's, frankly, amazing defeat at the hands of Northern Ireland; while Jens probably had a quiet read whilst the Germans ruthlessly destroyed San Marino.
It seems that Johann Djourou has picked up an injury while playing for the Swiss, so Gallas's starting position at c-b is surely now assured for Saturday, with Hoyte probably continuing at l-b. RvP can't really be left out after his storming performance, but he could potentially lose his place to Baptista. However, I expect Baptista to start on the bench, and, if the chips are down, as we try and break our consecutive passes record, he'll come on. He certainly seems an 'impact player', who can instantly make an impression on the game due to his size. We haven't really had a sub like that for a while.
Indeed, I have to say that I'm really looking forward to the game on Saturday, and seeing Rosicky, Bappy, and Willy. If we hadn't bought anyone, and if Cash and Jose were still here, I'd be more than a little anxious, but the new signings seem to have brought a tide of optimism - despite Chel£'s efforts - to the club. We need to harness this feeling as a driving force behind our performance on the weekend.
I was forced to watch the England game at work and it was aw,aw,aw-ful. Stuart Downing is not international quality, and if it wern't for the damage done to his reputation by Sven, Theo - who scored again for the u-21s last night - would surely be pushing for at least sub appearances on the left wing. Indeed, the highlight of the match was Ashley attempting a goal-line clearance and missing the ball. hahaha.
Every time I watch England at the moment it just drives me to despair: the massive hubris and comically inflated egos that constantly surrounds the England camp is almost too painful to bear. A prime example of this is Peter Crouch. He's done well since entering the England set-up, but for all this talk of so many goals in so many games, he's only scored in two competitive matches against the footballing titans that are Trinidad and Tobago, and Macedonia. I expect him, and England to come apart at the seems again when we actually play a half-decent team, and everyone realises that England, whisper it quietly, aren't that good. England played reasonably last night- although Macedonia certainly deserved a point if they had scored - yet without any real suggestion that they have, or will, improve from the world cup. 1/4 finals exit at next Euro Championships anyone?
Finally a word in praise of Lililan Thuram, who gave away his ticket allocation - some 70 tickets - to homeless immigrangts for last nights match. This from a man who had also openly told Jean Marie La Pen, essentially, va te faire foutre. An example for other footballers to follow. Thuram pour President! Bit of a contrast to the 'wags' isn't it.