Real life can be so inconsiderate sometimes.
Seriously. I had an article basically written and ready to go, only for events thousands and thousands of miles away to demand an almost total rewrite.
But enough about Alexis Sanchez’s calf muscle injury, what about Donald Trump eh? I woke at 4am with a vague sense of unease. Checking my phone and then turning on the news, my vague sense of unease swiftly became a real sense of disbelief. I didn’t, couldn’t, go back to sleep.
I’m wary of getting into politics here, at the end of the day it’s a personal choice. However, I think it’s a properly sorry state of affairs that Donald Trump can say and do the things he has done and still be handed the keys to the White House. And he hasn’t just snuck in through the back door either.
A sign of more hateful times, perhaps.
Anyway, to more important matters. Like Alexis Sanchez and his calf muscles.
You may have read Nia Griffiths piece yesterday. If you didn’t, she basically threw her toys out of the pram about Olivier Giroud throwing his toys out of his pram, despite saying that he wasn’t going to. I’m joking Nia, of course…
Nia is far from the only one who read into Giroud’s words a not so veiled threat to Arsène Wenger. Personally, I don’t see how you can have read it any other way. Giroud’s point is clear. Last weekend, he came on and, in two touches, rescued a game which threatened to drift away from Arsenal. He then backed it up with a goal in Arsenal’s comeback against Ludogorets.
Giroud scored three goals in a week, is he being unreasonable in expecting to start against Spurs on Sunday? No, of course not, but then… Alexis Sanchez. I totally understand that Giroud wants more game time, of course he does. But it would appear to the outsider that wanting more game time and competing for your place with the phenomenon that is Alexis Sanchez are mutually exclusive concepts.
Two weeks ago, we read Jack Wilshere’s exit interview. Isn’t it interesting to see the midfielder now saying he is prepared to leave Arsenal in search of regular first team football? Interesting, but also totally understandable and predictable. I sort of read Giroud’s words in this context. The guy wants to play, but he knows that, realistically, he won’t be starting instead of Alexis very often.
So often in life, as in art (think Janice magically making her brother Tony’s Richie Aprile problem disappear in season 2 of The Sopranos) just as a problem prevents itself, so does the solution.
I’m not thrilled about Alexis’ injury, obviously not. The guy is a properly world class footballer, and Giroud is not quite in that category. However, he is an excellent footballer in his own right and more than good enough to lead our line. The key thing for Olivier, as he enters from stage left, is to make the most of the opportunity presented to him. I want to see the Giroud that roared back from his broken leg two seasons ago, determined to reclaim his throne.
I don’t want to see the passive centre forward who stood around watching the Spurs centre backs killing time as though they were playing FIFA. I don’t want to see the demonstrations of petulance that can cloud Giroud’s game.
It amazes me still that, as a team, the example that Alexis sets in his pressing isn’t followed by everyone. Alexis is one of the top players in the world, but he’s not infallible. It seems obvious that he is forgiven his inefficiency on the ball as much for his work rate off it as for the moments of brilliance he is capable of. If Alexis is happy to leave it all out on the pitch, then so should everyone else be.
I’d never go so far as saying Giroud can make himself undroppable. However, it’s clear that Arsenal’s momentum, particularly at home, has stalled a little recently. Perhaps Giroud can provide the little shot of Expresso to get our blood pumping again.
It’s funny how things turn out, isn’t it? It was probably two, three weeks ago that I wrote about how much I was enjoying our football in the absence of Giroud and Aaron Ramsey. Giroud’s path back into the first team is now clear, at least for the time being. Meanwhile, Alex Iwobi has hit a little lull and the Ox put in a bizarre cameo at the weekend. Perhaps the time is right to restore Aaron Ramsey to the flanks; Giroud and Ramsey being two footballers who seem to ‘get’ each other.
Of course, knowing our luck, he’ll get injured on international duty and we’ll be watching Theo Walcott, uh, leading the line at Old Trafford next Saturday lunchtime.