Ostersunds FK 0-3 Arsenal
Last night was probably the greatest performance by an English club side in Europe as Arsenal overcame all the odds to leave Sweden with a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the 2nd leg in a week’s time. It was an evening sprinkled with majesty, verve and to be quite frank, dreams.
Okay, I’m massively over-selling what was a routine victory against opponents with which victory shouldn’t be anything other than routine. But, hey – sometimes it’s fun to make things appear far greater than they actually are. Just ask Tottenham.
The game itself was about as comfortable and simple a performance as I can remember. I’d say we haven’t had that easy a ride since we played Lincoln is last year’s FA Cup campaign – at least, none that I can recall since then. As much as our hosts tried and were willing participants, the gulf in class and ability was evident.
It’s difficult to pick any one player out for praise as the team consisted of solid 6/7 out of 10 performances across the board. David Ospina did manage to save a late penalty and we acquired our first clean sheet in quite a while – it was the first time and Arsenal goal ‘keeper saved a penalty since 2014 (Fabianski against Bayern – I didn’t know that off-hand, I had to look it up). I’d assume Ospina will be twerking in Cech’s face the moment the two return to training.
The return fixture next Thursday will be nothing more than a formality – unless we witness Arsenal do something remarkably stupid. We’d have to lose by 4 clear goals to fail to qualify and even with our leaky, nerve-shredding defence, I’m pretty sure we are safe.
Other news has pretty much been all about Hector Bellerin, who made these remarks about Arsenal Fan TV:
Hector Bellerin talking about Arsenal Fan TV. pic.twitter.com/W6g2J8msQy
— Arsenal FC News (@ArsenalFC_fl) February 16, 2018
I have to say he’s right.
If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ll know I’m not exactly a fan of what is produced by that channel. It’s worth mentioning that I don’t know any of the guys personally. I’ve only met Robbie once very briefly at a JD Sports opening with Daniel Cowan and some freestyle footballers. What they do and say is their business and I certainly wouldn’t think to have an opinion on their private lives, as that’s totally stupid.
However, I do see it as a format that lives off its manufactured controversy. I can understand – to an extent – the anger and frustration after a defeat, that’s perfectly normal. But, it is content geared to sell through being inflammatory, at times offensive and other times downright idiotic. Often the same click-bait, frenzy-inducing headlines appear after a victory. As a business model to generate cashflow, it’s very well put together and all power to them for that. But it isn’t done for anything other than that.
If they’re going to express their opinions on the Arsenal manager and players – often doing so with opprobrium – then they can have no complaints when they receive a little back. In fact, they have gotten a very small taste of the sh*t the shovel and it’s pretty obvious certain members of the group can’t take it, given some of their petulant, p*ssbaby remarks – I won’t mention any names, but if you’re at all au-fait with the situation, you’ll know exactly who I mean.
Freedom to express an opinion doesn’t exempt professional sportsmen. If I say I thought Bellerin was shit and he replied by telling me he thinks this blog is a load of old codswallop, I can hardly have a case to complain he’s being disrespectful to fans.
In all the coverage those statements made, Bellerin’s full interview at Oxford did contain some very intelligent remarks regarding mental health issues – a subject that deserves frequent coverage and especially from prominent athletes. You can view the full interview here. It’s well worth people focusing more on those words than anything about Arsenal Fan TV.
That’s all for today, folks.
I may be absent the next couple of days as I’ll be in Edinburgh for my stag-party. I should, all being well, return on Monday with all the latest happenings and events. Until then, why not share your opinion in the comments. Do you think Bellerin was right to speak out, or should players just accept that criticism comes with the spotlight? Let me know.
As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.
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