Clock End Boy: Arsenal show doubters and Samir Nasri what they are made of
Arsenal blogger reflects on a good night for Arsene Wenger and Samir Nasri’s exit
Brian Clough once said he believed in fairies at the bottom of the garden.
“I’m a dreamer,” he smiled, tear in his eye, sipping tea and ruffling his grandchild’s hair.
He won two European Cups and three titles. He was the greatest England manager there never was. Maybe he was right.
I do believe, in that idealistic way, Arsene Wenger is cut from similar cloth.
But I was really happy for the guy in Udine, more so than anyone else.
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Not because it was a vindication of what he is doing (it isn’t) but simply for the fact that with the vultures circling he needed a night of respite. He smiled for the first time in a long time, which was good to see.
Many people, concerned at his constant frown and growing worry lines, asked me this week if any Arsenal manager has died in the post. Well, shiny, happy people, dear old Herbert Chapman did, way back in 1934.
The Frenchman, I’m sure, has many, many years left in him, but thanks for all your concern.
Frustrating as he may be at times, he’s still a decent guy who clearly puts too much faith in the good of people.
Let’s not knock him for that.
Would you rather have Mourinho at the helm, a man who has no love for football? A man who, if possible, would make love to himself in a room full of pictures of himself with his droning, slurring, humourless Portuguese voice piped in through life-size Mourinho-shaped speakers.
My eyes are wide open; our problems remain deep and ingrained. But it was a night for positives. And there were many.
Second half showed what I have been saying all season; out of the fog of despair appears ‘McLintock’ the red-and-white horse of resilience and strength (copyright J Maidment, 2011).
The Polish keeper’s save was outstanding. As is he. Read Peter Schmeichel in 1991. He will get better and better. He may speak with an English accent, but he’s Polish through and through, which is a big shame as he would seriously be giving Joe Hart a run for his money later this season.
Other notable mentions to TV, BS and RVP. Frimpong had a solid first 45, his replacement Rosicky has a storming second 45. Good goal by Theo merely underlining that he continues to be played out of position on the wing where is bordering on useless. Stick him in the middle and his pace and finishing is scary.
Ian Wright likened him to a young Michael Owen and he’s not wrong. Out wide he’s more Michael Crawford.
In addition, a big shout to the boy Jenkinson, a League 1 defender last year who has barely put a foot wrong since being drafted in for Liverpool and Udinese. Unfazed, unbowed, positionally sound and, first and foremost, a clear-your-lines defender, I am amazed he hasn’t had more plaudits in the past week.
The departed, wandering mind of Gael Clichy could learn from Jenkinson’s steady, mistake-free, clear-now-ask-questions-later approach.
At the same time Clichy’s new colleague, Samir Nasri, fresh from staring in disbelief at the oil money pouring into his account, was all smiles at Eastlands, giving the Arsenal fans what for.
He claimed since moving to Emirates the fans have lost their passion. Incredible, as he didn’t even arrive here until two years after we left the old place.
For the misty eyed out there, Highbury was never a seething cauldron of bias and hate. Occasionally, very occasionally, the atmosphere would be noticeable cranked up for Spurs, Man Utd and Chelsea, mainly due to the large neanderthal elements in the travelling support poisoning the air.
But, on the main, it was an altogether more gentle ‘matchday experience’ and one I absolutely loved and miss more than I ever thought I would. Oh, for the North Bank peanuts seller...
And anyway, if the crowd really mattered, Newcastle wouldn’t be waiting 90 years for a title.
So Samir, while I’m sure as a young lad growing up in the Marseille suburbs, you dreamed of pulling on the light blue, gawping wide eyed at the world class talents of Garry Flitcroft and Steve Lomas on your television, regaled by your Algerian grandfather of tales of Paul Power and Steve Mackenzie, forgive me if I politely ask you to take the money and run. And keep your thoughts to yourself.
And with all that cash you’ve now got, it’s about time you got your teeth done, Samir Street-Porter...
Had to laugh on the train into Farringdon this morning. TV listings of one paper had the Spurs v Hearts game, saying ‘Subsequent programmes may change if this tie goes to extra time’.
Surely even Harry’s clowns couldn’t screw this one up...