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The World Cup Is Exposing Arsenal Myths.

If you love football there is nothing like a World Cup especially if you have a national stake in the whole affair. Undoubtedly it is the spectacle of the best national teams on the whole planet, in a sport played universally,  competing on the world’s stage that brings out such intense global attention. My observation is it brings out the best and worst of human beings. The same spontaneous eruption of national pride in the achievements of footballers flying the national flag is also used to engender xenophobia and pseudo-patriotism. The world cup is notorious for the cynical manipulation by despots, military strongmen and assorted tyrants who have manipulated the event as a cover for human rights abuses and injustices.  It wasn’t long ago when dictators ruling Argentina, Brazil, Haiti and Zaire (now the Congo) sustained their rule by exploiting the achievements of their national teams. In contrast, news headlines today are dominated by marches and demonstrations in Brazil protesting against their government and FIFA combining to  rip off the country as billions are misspent on world cup infrastructure with FIFA guaranteed billions in profits at the expense of social spending on education and health necessary to raise the living standards of the people.

But I digress. What has been  interesting to me is how being a gooner in 2014 causes one to see the world cup entirely different from a fan simply reacting to the fortunes of the national team they support.  Only half-way through the tournament, but it is evident after surveying twitter and blogs, that most of us are using the tournament to answer one of the great questions that continue to divide the club during the past season:

 To Giroud or not to be?

 Despite scoring 22 goals and making 10 assists for club in all competitions last season, Giroud continues to be disparaged in many quarters as not being good enough for Arsenal. Two games into the group stages with millions of gooners pouring over the performances of the so-called world class strikers on show, the issue is far from decided. But Giroud has certainly done enough to justify Wenger’s faith in him. By providing the spark for France’s battering of Switzerland with 1 goal and 1 assist, the Gallic hitman has left many of his critics reeling. In fact Balotelli, the great “black” hope of the transfer whores has been so overshadowed by Arsenal’s Joel Campbell in Costa Rica’s match vs Italy plus the loanee’s outstanding performance vs Uruguay, the terms of the debate has seemingly changed. Many are now wondering whether the club give more importance to bringing back the Costa Rican as a pacy, powerful wideman or take the risk of spending big on the Italian with his risky past and seeming penchant for disappearing when the going gets rough.  Meanwhile his current club is already doing as Real Madrid attempted with Higuain last year. Apparently Balotelli’s transfer fee has gone from £25m to about £35m according to Metro (Yes I know how reliable they are). If Campbell continues to perform and Milan gets greedier we already know how this will end.

Meanwhile my English gooner friends are licking their wounds as Roy Hodgson’s northwest experiment with the Liverpool core failed miserably on the fields of Brazil. With nary an Arsenal player making the 1st Eleven, it seems another English myth is worth challenging.

Today’s blog was given to us by one of the Foundling Fathers of Positively Arsenal, my good friend and ally Shotta Gooner   (@shotta_gooner )

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97 comments on “The World Cup Is Exposing Arsenal Myths.

  1. I certainly hope so and would have been surprised as well that we passed on Cesc if Santi really had made it clear he wanted a move.

    And I agree with you in commending ZP’s analysis of Balotelli. But I am also biased and have liked him despite his antics (maybe even a little because of them–you know, he’s not boring!) His attitude could be a problem. It is a risk, a gamble. But I’d rather a gamble on a top talent than fill the squad out with someone like Demba Ba, who would just be a back up.

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  2. Balotelli is a rare mercurial talent. Not many of that calibre come along very often, you could count then on one hand. George Best springs to mind…. genius but with a distructive personality and had nobody to really keep him under control. If AW does sign Mario it will be because he knows that he can control him but also give him the space to express himself without .

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  3. ….. without going into self-destruct mode.

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  4. There’s risks involved in any trasnfer I guess. Even Giroud has had his fair share of stick for his extra marital shenanigans. RvP too was seen as a trouble maker.

    Bergkamp even was seen as a prima donna etc.

    I am not saying there isnt a risk involved with Mario B, but he is doing something to quell the bad boy image; settling down. Plus he is more than just a decent striker, he has the x factor and is a game changer. It will be AW’s job to sort him out if need be. I think he could given his wealth of experience.

    Could be our Cantona!

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  5. Yes Dexter, he could also be our Tino Asprilla.
    I’m up and down like a fiddlers elbow on Mario.

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  6. Well, the good thing is if he doesn’t really pan out, we have Giroud who is quite good. That’s the point about having depth.

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  7. Don’t forget, we can always sell him to MU, City or Chelsea in a year or two and recover our money!

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  8. Sorry lads and lasses
    The chemistry is all wrong
    Mario Balotelli in an AFC shirt ?
    No, not now, not ever, never

    Feel free to cut and paste should Arsene decide differently

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  9. Or PSG. He and Ibra can be the dynamic ego duo.

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  10. Yes George. It would only work out if Balo did all the things he says he wants to do; work hard, stay out of trouble, keep his mouth shut ans settle down. If that is all BS and he doesnt feel the need to change or adapt then he would be a very risky purchase.

    And Tino Asprilla is a god to most geordies…

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  11. Yeah LSG, he has plenty of resale value!

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  12. True, but many of them worship leeks Dex

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  13. Dexter
    June 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    lol…you go on about xenophobia just cause i laugh at arry calling the italians average …and when my honest replies hit you in the face your only answer back is the typical get out of jail card “oh he is a xenophob racist blah blah” …

    you are confusing the comedy of the english football team and the perception that they can talk down the football of italy or say uruguay with real pride for your country which should not be mixed with football…..

    just the other day we had an article of how football is (wrongly) used to complement nationalistic tendencies you fool and youre telling meoff ? lol … yes ok lets leave you and your “people” lol… to judge and sack wenger and call our players pussies when they have their ankles hanging from the thread of their sock and god forbid we call them out on it…we are evil racist turrrsts …you have the iq of dubuya.

    arent you embarassed that yoru compatriots show such a lack of understanding in what even their own club manager and players are trying to do? i would….

    ciao …malaka… 🙂

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  14. Thats true Ani and chubby Brown too

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  15. Looks like Roy has simply picked a team tomorrow involving all the players who didnt get a look in before (bar AOC). Too little too late;

    Foster; Jones, Cahill, Smalling, Shaw; Milner, Lampard, Wilshere; Barkley, Lallana, Sturridge.

    I would have gone with lambert, see how he does. He would be more adept at holding the ball up than Sturridge, less mobile of course.

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  16. and next time you want to pass judgment or characterise people youve never met ..DONT… cause all you have is words on a screen and your own pityfull personal interpetation….or misinterpretation i should add….

    oh and hang on

    “The fact that you have attempted to lump me in with english nationalists? Or that I think england is brilliant at football?”

    you show me where the fuck i did that mate…… maybe youre too fucking sensitive

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  17. Is this Dexter the same as the old Dexter? He seems a right crank today.

    I wouldn’t point the finger of blame at the England ‘spirit’ in he squad. Or lack thereof.
    The blame rests fair and square on a hopeless flop like Hodgson being appointed manager, a national media and press corps who are back-stabbing snide lickspittles and a FA board who would make obnoxious 11 year old schoolboys look classy.

    Roy playing 4 forwards and 2 midfielders against Uruguay was self destructive madness. Especially when there were 2 Liverpool players in there who bottled the league. Italy beat England with one man strolling about in midfield. these are problems that haven’t been admitted into the national psych yet.

    Roy’s obsession to prove that he was not a bad manager of Scousers has cost Blighty dearly; If England can’t find managers with basic modern organisational skills and techniques, never mind coaching and tactics and you combine this with who are only good as extras in Henry V then the national team is in long term trouble. Sadly I can’t think of a manager who was right for the job since Brian Clough was never given his chance. (Well maybe Bobby Robson).

    At least Arsenal and Southampton have developed a different kind of English footballer. Shame that the powers who run the sport will never credit it. Sturridge and Sterling added to that could be the nucleus of a really good new team. The rest are dire.

    Im not English, even though I was born in Reading, Hell, who would want to admit to that? I think I have an unbiased opinion of the plight of the team.

    France and Germany have been the only two teams that have given me a wow factor, most other favourites have been 1 or 2 stars surrounded by bang average journeymen. Italy and Uruguay are at least better than Brazil and Argentina.

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  18. Shotta, about Giroud. Couldn’t agree more my friend.
    He never deserved the hate.

    I had to explain to someone that he’s actually beenbetter than Rooney reform the last 2 seasons.

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  19. Ah right DC
    Roy Hodgson, the media and the FA
    Well I shall knock up the gallows if you could weave the rope
    At least it should be a manageable number !

    To be fair I read pages and pages over the weekend on the theme of “how could he (Roy) have put Gerrard and Henderson in midfield to face the Uruguyans?!?” shock horror etc

    I have read plenty on “he (Roy) should have taken and played Ashley (ditto Carrick)”

    And every single word of it written after the Uruguay game was safely over.

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  20. “And every single word of it written after the Uruguay game was safely over”

    HAHAHAHA, its funny because it true.

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  21. You obviously didnt read my pamphlet after the Italy game then Ani!

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  22. And then there is the comment that Gerrard and Henderson should not having been chosen by him (Roy) on the basis that they ‘bottled’ it in the recent Premier League season

    presumably he (Roy) probably felt they were the best English midfielders available – based upon games played, points won and goals scored I can understand that. Does the table lie ?

    If Liverpool’s midfield ‘bottled’ it they did it a bit better than our lads, unpalatable though it may be.

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  23. I dont know anyone who did think he would pick gerard and Henderson together actually.

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  24. Not without an extra midfielder like at LFC anyways. If was picking players based on points won, then he would have gone with cashley and Terry too. As unpalatable as that scenario might be.

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  25. I shall review it Dex
    It was the eight solid pages of “you should have done X,Y and Z Roy” in the Sunday Times that tested my piss

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  26. Unless we are thinking of a different Cashley I thought Jose relegated him to the bench after he attended the AFC Xmas party Dex ? He was replaced by right back Azplicueta – Young Ash played only a handful of games after that in the season

    Picking a player of 32 with 100+ caps is not very forward thinking – even if he did well

    Compared to Lampard Cole was a fringe player in club football

    Not to mention one who has had no shortage of England WC and EC on his CV with no memorable performances

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  27. He played a fair bit towards the end of the season. But his lack of PL games would have meant he was fresher than most. I was just following your lead of most points, etc etc.

    Forward thinking? Who said it was a forward thinking call? Forward thinking would have been starting Shaw instead of baines! But I think everyone felt baines was the heir apparent BEFORE the games started. As it turned out, Cashley’s reputation has been enhanced by not playing!

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  28. Lampard has no memorable WC performances true. But I didnt mention him, you did!

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  29. Phew, I didn’t want to walk into the middle of that one……Hunter and Dex….calm down chaps too much testosterone wizzing about…..anyway Fred just scored….

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  30. You go away for a few days and look at what happens…..

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  31. Its murder Georgaki. I used to spend my life refereeing Dexter’s tantrums on ACLF. Ended up getting kicked out through no fault of my own. Got me into all sorts of shit he did.I was blameless.

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  32. Croatia Croatia Croatia

    I think you needed to put it “up ’em ” more

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  33. That was always your problem though PG, never admit when you are in the wrong. Seems to be a theme on here… And who ends up getting it in the neck? Innocent ol me…

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  34. Croatia are shite though Ani. Really average. Like really really.

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  35. I would not say Lampard had no memorable World Cup performances

    There was the goal in Blomfontien against the Germans

    Or not !

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  36. “wrong” ? Sergei, bring dictionarymibob.What means the word “wrong”

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  37. ANicoll

    I haven’t read last Sundays papers, so the opinion about playing 4-2-4 is entirely my own. If it had remained 1-1 we would have all hailed England’s performance as titanic.

    There is no pleasure to be derived from England’s predicament (I’m not Scottish FFS!).
    I thought Roy was out of his depth at Liverpool and he seems to have some sort of reason to prove himself to those players after that.

    Would someone else have been a better manager? – I don’t see too many candidates, Harry or Sam? Not terribly sophisticated. One the up-and-coming managers in the championship? Maybe, in 2 years time. I expect Roy’s contract made it expensive to sack him now.

    England have a re-building job to do for the Euro’s, should they do it with Jack as the key man in midfield? I just don’t trust Roy to do it right and that could ruin our Jack.

    Oh, and Steven Gerrard has been hiding on the pitch behind other midfield workers for years.

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  38. Not surprised you cannot find your dictionary given all the spelling mistakes in your headlines and shit George!

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  39. What do you mean Dex? It only took me 3 attempts to spell Yeald. Yeild or Yield .

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  40. Got to the post late. Well said Shotta. Giroud has looked excellent for France. His end of season fatigue has seemingly passed. No doubt he will have his say next season. And what about Joel Campbell. Wow. And he plays with a smile on his face. And he’s an Arsenal supporter. The AAA are frothing that he’s coming to play at the Emirates next season.

    Special mention to Ozil. He has looked sharp. Although by the end of that second game against Ghana the Germans would have been drained. But I really think a lot of Arsenal supporters miss the point of Ozil. I blame stupidity. One of the Arsenal supporting guys in the office says to me of the Germany vs Portugal game that Ozil was “shit”. I tried to be polite but not sure if I succeeded. But now I understand. Some people are too stupid to appreciate the quality of the players being assembled in this squad.

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  41. Mexican centre back Hector Moreno impressed the crap out of me. Would not mind selling on Verma to give him a shot. He’s like Varane but good.

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  42. Wow, I’ve been away for a while. George is playing peacemaker/referee? I must have wandered into a parallel universe!

    Good stuff, btw, Shotta.

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  43. Just reading through the comments. Interesting points by Zimpaul. And agree with Hunter regarding Italy, football superpower. Redknapp calling them and Uruguay average is quite ridiculous. Quite.

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  44. New post is up . Morning all !

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  45. The only reason ‘arry and his friends are mentioning the wisdom of Redknapp is because he and they think he could have done a better job.
    Ha. Ha. Ha. Who cares what these idiots say?
    An ‘average’ Italian team beat England in 2012, 2014…

    ‘“And every single word of it written after the Uruguay game was safely over”

    HAHAHAHA, its funny because it true.’

    To be fair I did write before the tournament started that it was fair to question Hodgson over the call to not take Gibbs. And that was fair enough!

    Hodgson stumbled onto a performing set up in 2013, three midfielders, got some good results and changed it all for whatever reason for the start of this tournament.

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  46. Excellent, Shotta

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