March 27, 2012
When it became clear fairly early on this season that Arsenal weren’t about to be picking up any trophies this year, expectations were inevitably lowered and I had to start scrabbling around for new goals – revised targets – to get me through the dreariness that is my life.
Obviously finishing in the top four, now top three, is one but I’ve also found myself paying more attention to our players on loan at other clubs to see if I can trick myself into feeling positive in that way. One big hope for the season was that Nicklas Bendtner would finally fulfill the promise that he, and possibly he alone, believes he has and score a ton of goals for Sunderland meaning that we can sell him for loads of money in the summer and bring in somebody even better. Unfortunately injury and Bendtner not being as good as he always thinks he is has prevented that and up to a couple of weeks ago he’d managed a measly three goals for the season.
But then came the mask! When he wears the mask that protects him from injury following his broken nose he likes to pretend that he’s a superhero. And when he thinks he’s a superhero the goals start coming. He’s scored three goals in his last five matches, doubling his tally for the season and giving me a small crumb of optimism that if he takes that form through the rest of the season we could still find someone to drop a wad of cash on him.
Trouble is he’s admitted that he can’t actually see when he’s wearing the mask:
I will be wearing it on Tuesday and then taking it off for Saturday. I can’t even see with it on. I give the ball away because I can’t see sometimes. It’s not good because sometimes if you see a run, your eye disappears in the mask so you are seeing out of the eye that you can’t see the run. It’s difficult.
So hang on, he’s coming into form because he’s been wearing the mask but he can’t actually see out of it? What does this mean? Either he’s an absolute Jedi level genius that can play brilliant football without even having to open his eyes, or he was so bad before that not being able to see what’s going on has actually improved him as a player.
I always castigated him at Arsenal for playing passes blind but it turns out he wasn’t playing them blind. Because when he does play them blind he’s actually much improved. Even more worryingly, his manager seemed to suggest that there’s no reason for him to be wearing the mask in the first place. When told about his vision issues, Martin O’Neill said:
Why does he wear it then?. It must be the logos and the Danish flags, or the number of women he’d liked to have been out with. We’ll take him to Cheltenham next year.
His own manager thinks that the only reason he’s wearing a mask that he can’t see out of is because he likes the flags and decorations he’s put on it. Amazing. If you fancy seeing the masked man in action Sunderland face Everton in the cup tonight. Let’s hope Bendtner bags a blind hat-trick .
The Telegraph this morning is claiming that Arsenal are interested in signing either Yann M’Vila from Rennes or Anderlecht captain Lucas Biglia during the summer in an effort to provide more effective cover for the holding midfielder role. I know that M’Vila is a player we tried to sign last summer but to no avail. He’s one of the hottest young French midfield prospects having already notched 18 full caps at just 21 years of age but that means that the likes of Inter Milan and Real Madrid are also keen and when that happens prices tend to get beyond our reach.
Still, we know the reputation Arsene Wenger has amongst young French players and if M’Vila’s interested in developing well rather than just earning as much cash as he can we may have a chance. If a move like this does happen I think it puts a question mark over the future of one of Frimpong or Coquelin. Both have shown exceptional promise when they’ve been used this season, Coquelin for me being the more likely to make it, so a signing of this magnitude would signal a real shift in policy for the club. In the past any such move would be dismissed with warnings of the dangers of ‘killing‘ younger prospects. My opinion would always be that if the player is good enough and hungry enough to play for Arsenal then they’ll come through anyway. Foster a competitive spirit for places. If any of the players is good but not quite good enough then thank them for their efforts and let them move onto pastures new. The players that do come through will be the best of the best.
I’ll be keeping an eye on this one. It could make for an interesting summer.
Not a lot else going on today. There are positive rumblings about Laurent Kosicelny’s fitness. He awoke with tendonitis in his knee on Saturday which meant his late withdrawal from the squad against Villa. According to the Daily Star it’s not too serious and he should be back for the weekend.
And with that good news I’m off to fight some crime. Except I’m scared of crime. So I think I’ll do it blind.
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