Germany have clinically decimated, dismantled and despatched a hapless English side that was hyped up as potential champions by many clueless pundits.
I can’t tell you how happy I am. Words fail me. Over the years England, in my mind, have come to represent everything anti-Arsenal. I know this is not fair to thousands of true gooners from England and trust me I don’t count them when I write this. They are the exceptions that prove the rule.
The reason I feel this way is that almost the entire English set-up is completely contradictory to the Arsenal way. We all know how the pundits hate us, how the media (except a few balanced writers) is largely anti-Arsenal, how most managers promote a style that doesn’t leave us a leg to stand on, and how some so called Arsenal fans criticize their own team for failing to be English! And I’m not even getting into the refs or the FA and other authorities.
This goes on season after season. Arsenal do things the right way; manage finances, develop young players, play brilliant football, compete at the highest level, and act responsibly in all activities be it transfers, or community development, or any other.
There is only one stick to beat Arsenal with really – No Trophies. In order to use this stick one has to lose all sense of perspective (move to the stadium, financial constraints, artificially inflated transfer fees, insane wages, etc). Not only that, one would also need a supporting cast of specious arguments like – No English spine, Can’t handle the physical game, and so on.
Essentially, all the genuine, practical, and relevant details have to be ignored and vague, hollow, and baseless arguments (that might sound intelligent to some who don’t want to see what’s really going on) need to emphasized. Isn’t that the real problem with English football?
I like to think of myself as a student of the game because I genuinely believe that is the only way to develop one’s understanding. In contrast, I find there are too many experts in the English game. People who pretend to be know-it-alls, who change their tune based on the results and not on the details of what actually happened.
For instance, this is what Alan Hansen said after this game,
On the whole (David) James was England’s best player, for the keeper to be the best player in a performance like that is unusual. It was shambolic.
Seriously, what is he talking about!? James’ technique for the second goal was very poor (Watch some Almunia one-on-one saves to see how it’s done). And what was he doing for the third goal? Look at his arms, it was as if he was trying to protect his body instead of making himself big. He could have done much better for the first goal as well.
If such comments were one-off I wouldn’t say anything. But the truth is that most pundits and football writers in England talk exactly the same way. Worse still, most of the comments are affected by results. If Germany had not been clinical with their two counter attacks and the game had finished at 2-1, these pundits would be talking about how England were robbed by the linesman and how FIFA is impotent and archaic. The problems with the team would have been forgotten and they would have been hailed as heroes for fighting a corrupt system.
It may be that the media is the same everywhere but I don’t understand Italian, German, Spanish or any other language so I can’t comment on that. If you have a perspective on this please do share.
I don’t really care about English football but since it affects Arsenal continually and we are an integral part I end up thinking about it anyway.
The way I see it, England needs Arsene (or someone like him) to control every football related aspect.
It’s not that the English players are bad. Some of them are world class. But the grass roots level of coaching is certainly not very good in England. I haven’t been there but it’s really obvious from the way the mid-table and bottom half clubs play.
Watch the way Germany brought the ball out for their two counter attacks. See how composed each and every player was even though some of them are really young. Can you imagine this from players like Barry, Milner, et al?
I like to think of these players (Lennon, Barry, Milner, James, etc) as the Redknapp level footballers. They are good players. If you put them in a team of fighters they will keep battling and will get some results, might even nick a trophy if luck goes their way. But these players will never produce consistent, top quality football and will never beat the best teams (Check Redknapp’s record against United, Arsenal, Chelsea).
Just see how Barry was exposed when Ozil skipped past him before setting up the third goal. It reminds me of Denilson against Sidibe. How can anyone say Barry is any better than Denilson?
Of course, there is an immediate counter argument that if the Arsenal player isn’t much better than how can I say everything that I’ve said. The answer is that it’s a complex world and the financial constraints on Arsene have really forced his hand. If he makes the choice of spending a quarter of the money on Denilson than he would have to on someone like Barry, we have to except it’s a brilliant piece of business. This is where perspective is so important; we need to see all the variables that affect a decision. The inflated value of Barry clearly illustrates the actions of the hype machine.
Just like the players, all the football writers and commentators need some fundamental training. Many of them are gifted writers as far as language is concerned but few actually understand the nuances of the game. These people are important because they shape public opinion. They also have a big impact on the way players play. If Shawcross is a hero, what do you think youngsters will learn? How do you think managers will approach a game? Can you imagine a young English manager having the guts to develop a technical team? He would be massacred the moments a few results go awry.
Even the administrators need to learn from Arsene. What’s the point of the Carling Cup? Wouldn’t it be much more beneficial to everyone if it was a youth competition, or maybe along the lines of the Olympics with three senior players allowed? Isn’t that much more likely to improve the quality of the youth? This is just one example, I’m sure Arsene can give ten or more radical ideas that will improve the quality of youth football.
Wenger has taken Arsenal to a whole new level with the Stadium, training facilities, countless innovations, and amazing football resulting in financial progress and memorable results like the invincibles. I feel England need a visionary like him to redefine all aspects of football if they want to emulate the other giants of world football.
Question is, can they get out of the intricate, self-deceiving web of unjustified hype and misplaced glory?