I’ve never been one to second guess Arsene Wenger but a few of his decisions of late have been baffling. First off, against Spurs, he replaces three of his most influential players in Nasri, Walcott and Van Persie (all players who can keep possession of the ball by the way) and then sees his side give away a 2 goal advantage as the visitors score twice late on to earn a 4 – 4 draw.
Then, in the next league game away to Stoke, he starts with the same 3 players on the bench as he packs the Gunners side with tall players to combat the height advantage of the Premier League new boys. Now that just smacks of worrying too much about what the opposition is going to do to you rather than what you are going to do to the opposition. Walcott and Van Persie and Nasri may not be giants but they are the kind of players who would have tormented the Stoke hulks from the start. And if they haven’t got the ball, and are possibly 2 or 3 goals down, it’s unlikely that Rory Delap’s long throws would have become as ultimately influential for Stoke as they proved to be.
Have you ever witnessed a more impressive start for a new manager than that of Harry Redknapp’s first couple of weeks in charge at Spurs? One minute Tottenham are the butt of some of the best gags to be heard, the next they’ve taken 7 points from 9 including a point at their North London rivals and all 3 against a previously unbeaten Liverpool side. And perhaps the best thing about Harry’s success is that it’s down to Old Skool basics. Inspire the players, give them confidence and go let them play. Which could explain why Redknapp has never been a great fan of Sporting Director’s, Directors of Football and other interfering board level busy bodies. He simply doesn’t need them to be successful.
Uefa and Rome
A few weeks ago in this column I queried the wisdom of Uefa’s decision to award the Champions League final of 2009 to Rome. At the time I mentioned that some fans of AS Roma weren’t deserving of having such a big game on their doorstep. Now, after more crowd trouble last night during the Roma v Chelsea game, Uefa have threatened to move the final to another ground should there be more violent behaviour between now and their big European show piece. At least Uefa have fronted up to this loutish element but the original argument still stands – Rome should never have been selected as the venue for the final in the first place.
Girls are great aren’t they? As the fall out continues from Madonna’s divorce from Guy Ritchie this line was overheard in my local boozer: “I just love Madonna, she’s so in charge of her own life. I mean, she’s going through her split with Guy and she’s still found the time to get a job as the Argentina manager or something.” Another Bacardi Breezer for Einstein over here please bartender.
Ricky Gervais appeared on the Letterman show in the US this week and produced his own Top Ten List, a nightly staple of the show. Entitled ‘Stupid Things Americans say to Brits’ at number 5 was: “When are you coming to collect Posh and Becks?” The Office, Extras, Ghost Town and now Beckham. The man is a comedy genius.