October 19, 2012
Team spirit. You can’t beat it. That indefinable quality that can turn a group of disparate individuals into an army capable of overcoming the steepest odds. You can have the finest eleven individuals in the world of football but if they don’t play for each other you don’t have anything.
At Arsenal in recent years you could argue that we’ve been a touch lacking in the team spirit department. But this year things seem to have changed. There’s a togetherness and an attitude about this set of players that we haven’t seen for a while. They want to play together and you get the sense that they like being around each other. There’s no doubt about it – that stuff makes a difference.
How encouraging then to hear Olivier Giroud’s recent comments about how he felt when breaking his horrendous (!) 303 minute Premier League goalscoring duck to net against West Ham at Upton Park a couple of weeks ago:
I was so happy, I ran to Lukas [Podolski] and said: ‘Come my friend, I want to kiss you.‘
Man, I hope he really phrased it like that. In his thick French accent. Like some kind of footballing Pepe le Pew. “Come my friend. I want to kiss you. I want to lay you down right here on the turf and make the sweetest of sweet love to you. Just you, me and 40,000 pink faced cockneys cheering on our every move.”
Apparently Lukas was somehow able to resist the charms of our smouldering striker with Giroud claiming:
I am too big. But it was a wonderful moment – I want to live more moments like this.
Regardless of how much his intimidating size puts teammates off his amorous advances (I’m not going there) it’s good to see him happy and feeling settled at the club. He certainly knows how to make you feel special:
Since I was very young, I dreamed of playing for Arsenal because a lot of French guys have succeeded there and it‘s a a big club. Every year they play in the Champions League, and that was important in my decision. But also, I believe in this team and this squad. And I think we have a great chance to win something this year.
You sweet talker, you.
With a little less pressure on his shoulders and his confidence up following that last minute equaliser for France this week I’m hoping to see the goals start to flow from now on and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him test his mettle against the Norwich backline with a start this Saturday.
The early team news is not too encouraging for the weekend. It seems as though pretty much everyone who was a doubt has been confirmed as out. Theo’s still struggling with his breathing thanks to the bruised lungs he picked up against San Marino. He should recover in a week or so but Norwich is too soon. Kieran Gibbs won’t be back after the knock he picked up at West Ham. He still hasn’t healed and while that doesn’t sound like anything serious it’s not that long ago when Gibbs struggled to put a run of more than three games together. I desperately hope we don’t have a return to those dark days.
Fabianski is confirmed to have suffered some kind of ankle ligament problem but he awaits news from a specialist while the Woj is still apparently ‘two weeks away’ which is becoming increasingly worrying. Is this one of those Arsenal injuries that starts out with a two week prognosis and ends as a full year out of the game? Or is there something else going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about? Either way Mannone will continue for the time being and we need to hope he doesn’t break any bones reaching for a TV remote or slip coming out of the shower.
Worrying too is the news that Rosicky and Diaby are both still ‘a few weeks away’. Rosicky was supposed to be back by now and Diaby was only supposed to be out for three weeks and that was three weeks ago. Obviously when it comes to relying on players for their fitness Rosicky and Diaby would fall quite a long way down the list but it’s disappointing all the same. At this point the club has to be asking serious questions about what sort of value we’re getting for both of them. When fit their quality is in no doubt but that’s just such a rarity.
Still, despite all the knocks this week we should be able to cobble together a pretty decent side for the weekend and with Sagna, Frimpong and Wilshere all close to comebacks we’re still in good shape.
A talented squad – playing together, working hard for each other…and possibly trying to get off with each other a little bit after scoring goals. Who could ask for more?
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