Thursday, March 30, 2006

Juve fall out continues; Sympathy for Vieira

I hoped you all enjoyed yesterday. There wasn't so much a wave as a flood of praise from all around Europe, regarding not only our defeat of Juve, but the manner in which we defeated them. This appeared in one Italian paper:

This, people, is how football is played in paradise. Movement, dribbling, interchanges of passes - delicious. It is football "Made in England" from an Arsenal which didn't feature a single Englishman.

Comment, Elvira Erbi

Damn Straight. We are a continental team playing in the Premiership. Success in Europe is way, way overdue. We combine the finesse of European football, with the pace and,increasingly, the aggression of English football. As Hleb puts it, its taken him about 6 months to get used to the speed of the premiership. Why we haven't capitalised on this more in Europe I don't know.

The above quote comes from a selection tagged on to the end of a James Lawton piece in the Independent. James hasn't always been our biggest fan, but even he seems quite taken with us now. I thinks he's right: that defeat against Bayern last season wasn't just another European defeat for Wenger, it was possibly the moment he opened himself to the suggestion that Paddy might have to go, and that a complete re-fit was in order.

A re-fit with a certain young Spaniard at its centre. The European press has exploded into a paroxysm of praise for Fab yesterday. I was slightly bemused to be honest - you could see last season he would be capable of a performance like that very soon. I think to most Gooners this is just a vindication of the belief we've held in him since he first burst into the team last season. What this will mean, unfortunately, and even with his long-term contract, that there will be a never ending amount of speculation regarding him and potential moves elsewhere, every summer for, probably, the rest of his Arsenal career. We'll just have to grin and bear it I suppose.

It was great to see Cesc come out with such mature comments yesterday, regarding how the game is only at half time, and there's still a lot to do. Absolutely right. Cesc is a prodigious young talent, who is well on his way to becoming the best central midfielder in the world. But, he needs to keep his feet on the ground, not get arrogant, and not let himself burn out. I'm extremely confident he will go on to become one of the greatest players in the club's history, but he's still oh so young, and he will need our support to ensure he matures into a player that fully realises his astonding potential.

Juve were hammered in the press at home. The fall out has extended to Camoranesi being, basically, told to pack his bags, and Nedved, entering into psychological mind games to try and create a sense of hubris in our team before next Wednesday. Not gonna happen Pav me old mate. I was also a little disappointed by Cappello's comments that we were 'lucky'. We were not lucky - we comprehensively out played you. It's a shame to see these words coming from such a great manager.

Finally, a word on Paddy. I think the fans reaction during the game to him was absolutely correct: clapping at the start, then the gloves coming off once the game began. However, there has been a fair deal of gloating on a number of Arsenal sites about Vieira being put in his place by this game, which I feel has been unfair.

To me, Vieira's transfer has to be understood in the terms of a divorce or the break up of a relationship. After openly flirting with suitors for the last few seasons, Paddy had finally decided to stay with us. I can only imagine his shock when the club, as it were, 'dumped' him. It's a shock I still don't think he has got over. As we saw on Tuesday, it was, in footballing terms a justified transfer. He's gone. He's still a good player, but not a great one, and, critically, not one you want a team to be built around. Due to the shock of us gettng rid of him, I think he talked about the transfer in a way to make it seem he had chosen to leave us. He did not. Once Arsene had declared 'neutrality' over the offer, he knew he had to go. In football, you want your boss to be 100% behind you, or you leave. All Paddy's talk about his choice to leave to join a club who could win the CL, was just that, talk, He wishes he was still at Arsenal, and his heart is firmly with us.

Given the great years of service he gave us, I would hope that this gloating is constrained. He was the core of a team that won three league titles and two doubles. He was one of the greatest players in the history of the club. His recent comments against us are the words of an upset man, struggling to know why we, in his view, betrayed him. So no gloating please, he deserves more from us. Even if he should never have flirted so openly with Madrid.

'Til Tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Goonerboy, I totally agree with your vieira sentiments. I actually felt quite sorry for the guy. His face at the end of the match when shaking Wenger's hand told the full truth. He was absolutely gutted.

No matter how much he flirted with Real and how many times he put us through the ringer, for the first 7 years of his time at Arsenal he gave everything on the pitch. It's the way I like to remember him & I wish him all the success in Italy ... although I obviously hope his team gets thumped again in the next leg of the QFs.

Up the gunners

Goonerboy said...

Yeah, I don't extend my sympathy to Juve beating us, ever. But yeah i hope he rips it up in Italy.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog, couldn't agree more. I can't easily forget what Patrick meant to us, so to see him so dispirited at the end of the match was hard. But I wish him all the best for the future, as long as he's not playing against us.

Anonymous said...

i personally never felt that paddy wanted to go to juventus. madrid yes, but italy i doubt it. unfortunately for him he was not given a choice in the end. i hope this is a sobering lesson for henry if he's thinking about leaving
great blog keep up the good work