Thank the deity of your choice that the sideshow is over.
International football, that utterly meaningless distraction, with its attendant pandering to nationalism, racism and general xenophobic flag waving, has at long last finished using our precious playing staff for its own tedious ends and they can now limp back to London and the treatment tables. We really can’t afford to lose anyone else in this worthless cause. I believe it has been little short of miraculous that we have managed to get to this stage of the season at the top of both of our leagues considering the butchers bill we’ve had to pay so far. It would take a man braver or more foolhardy than me to predict our continued success without a major improvement in our injury list, you just cannot ride your luck forever. This is the main reason I detest the international breaks.
It appears that our German wonder boy may just be a little bit sore and not actually on a gurney en route to the knackers yard, but even if he has survived we’ve still lost more than our fair share of players to these irritating fixtures over the years. I have heard the argument that it’s good for the individuals concerned to play and play well for their country. They feel a sense of pride and accomplishment and this is a benefit for their self esteem and ultimately for their performances when they return to play for the clubs who actually pay their wages. Really? Say my partner went off every few weeks giving blow jobs to one of my neighbours. I can see how this might well cheer him up considerably and she could conceivably achieve a sense of pride in her performance and maybe come home a happier and more accomplished lover. Whilst I would recognise how satisfying the arrangement would be for my neighbour and even for my wife, you wouldn’t really expect me to be dancing for joy each time she set out to visit him or standing by the bedside and cheering them on would you? Especially if she came back with a hamstring injury that put her out of action for six weeks.
This is however the awful situation in which we find ourselves and there is nothing we can do to change it. At this time I would, in the past, have found myself bemoaning the loss of momentum, especially if we were in a good run of form. On this occasion I sensed the side had peaked against Napoli and that we struggled a little to contain a very good West Brom team. Perhaps for once the cursed international break came at a good time. Aaron certainly broke his long goal drought at last, albeit for a different team, and as George and his pals pointed out in the most recent podcast when Mr Ramsay is not at his industrious best the whole team lacks a little spark. If only Tomas were five years younger, he being to my mind the other inspirational player in our squad; a fizzing, crackling firework of a footballer who galvanises us with his tireless running, balletic spinning and instant passing. On the bright side we might have Señor Cazorla back available to us for the weekend and I know many of us are eager to see just how he and Mesut will play together. It is a mouthwatering prospect, almost a little immodest to start them both. One footballing wizard per midfield is surely enough for any team isn’t it? I just hope they get a good run together because no matter how talented you are you still need a knowledge and understanding of the players around you to really make things happen on the pitch.
If the worst comes to the worst and both are unavailable it could be a disguised blessing for Jack. He would be the obvious choice to play behind Giroud in what is surely his best position. He certainly isn’t a left winger and while I completely understand him doing his time out there and lets face it we can all see the benefits to Aaron’s all round game from his own stint out wide, poor Kieron has been left horribly exposed at times. If Tomas is fit he can do a job on either flank and Serge has more than proved himself on the wing. It wouldn’t be ideal to have such inexperience on one side with both Corporal Jenks and Gnabry playing, but until Lucas, Bac and Theo return we may not have a choice.
These are interesting times. With phase one completed satisfactorily we now need people back for phase two. Still top by Christmas is a rather splendid prospect, but as us recovering boozehounds will tell you, it really is one game at a time. Anyway I only popped in to say hello, I’ll be back with my wildly inaccurate and mostly nonsensical Norwich pre match gibberish, so until then let’s just cross our fingers, rub our lucky heather and pray the missus comes back from next door in one piece.