Or commence, or start, or not be postponed. As I write this, the game is still on, but as we were all debating on Wednesday night, it will be one of those Saturdays where we just won’t know if the game will go ahead until the very last minute. The roads have been cleared and the trains are working, so I do expect the game to happen as scheduled – after the Bolton lastminute.com style of handling and the reimbursement of the tickets, it’s quite important that the club and authorities make the decision early than later.
Arsene had a bit of a field day in the press yesterday and covered quite a lot of topics. The most intriguing was the letter he wrote to Real Madrid and Barcelona asking them to leave our players alone. Arsene is a man of integrity, and his letter is a compliment to his style and respect for the game and the principles of the game. In fact I don’t think any other club nor any other manager would act in some a diplomatic way as Arsene – here is what he said:
“The speculation comes from Spain, not here. We have always had the same speech about that. What they speak about in Madrid or Barcelona, how can we influence that? We wrote them a letter. We do not say that Messi and Kaka will sign next week here. If one day we want to sell a player and they are interested they can call us. They don’t need to go through a newspaper. I wrote the letter a long time ago to say we are not ready to sell any of our players. I don’t remember when but they did not write back. In Spain you have to understand it is a bit different. The chairmen are elected by the fans so you have to make a campaign: if you elect me, I come with him, him and him. But they have never spoken to the guys, not to the clubs, most of them, and it’s just part of the speculation.”
And he is right – there is a massive difference in Spain compared to the UK in terms of attracting players – but the funny thing is, when do Real Madrid and Barcelona ever get formerly told off for this. I think Arsene has spoken about this as there has been more news in the papers about Guardiola’s desire to bring Cesc to the club and the request to force Cesc to move, it’s all a bit crazy. The other Spanish story has been the Higuain and Cesc swap. I don’t think Arsene can say it in any more ways… “it’s never gonna happen!”
Arsene has been talking ab0ut transfers and he has seemed to have dismissed everyone at the moment. He’s already said that Carlton Cole isn’t an option, and today’s he’s also revealed that Gignac is not an option and that Lyon had a £2om offer rejected for him last season, so not in Arsene’s budget. He has also said that he isn’t going to spend any money on Chamakh to bring him to the club this January whilst maintaining that although he is available this summer, he hasn’t spoken to his agent. In a way, I am beginning to think that Arsene has never really wanted Chamakh – the way he speaks about him and the way he is so blase about.
For those of you who haven’t read it, the match preview is here and hopefully it won’t be postponed. Arsene has taken a stance on this and decided that he feels that there is no real need for postponements. I think he is treading a fine line.
“Personally I know only the inside of the stadiums – I don’t know the surroundings well enough, but I must say it is the price we pay for living in a society where everybody wants 100 per cent security. Nobody accepts any risk any more and everybody is always guided by fear. If one of 60,000 people has an accident, you feel very guilty and nobody accepts anymore that the slightest insecurity could exist in our society and that is why the games are postponed when there is no real need for it.”
Do you agree? Personally I’m not sure – the key thing for fans is to get to the games safe and the way that Arsene has said this isn’t in the interests of the fans in a way. Personally, I think it was fine to travel to the game on Wednesday and additionally, I think I can easily get down to the game today – but of course, I am based in London, so it is easier. The problem Arsene and Arsenal face is that the postponement of these games means a fixture pile-up very soon – and that frustration is what has triggered Arsene to say this.
It looks like I’ve rambled on way too much in various different directions – time to turn to the comments and discuss whether this game is going happen or not!!