Arsenal reality check: Even Peterborough have beaten Reading… Cazorla cannot touch Silva or Mata… And why Messi is a bottler
10:17 GMT, 20 December 2012
11:15 GMT, 20 December 2012
Arsenal won 5-2 at Reading. So what
The way Gooners are banging on about that result makes it sound like everything is OK at the Emirates. Breaking news – everything is not OK. Bradford knocked Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup. Arsenal are 15 points behind the Premier League leaders, and we’re not even halfway through the season.
More breaking news for Gooners – Theo Walcott is good, but he will never be at the same level the talismanic Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry achieved.
Good, but not stellar: Theo Walcott scores Arsenal's fifth goal under pressure from Adrian Mariappa at Reading on Monday
Follow Adrian Durham on Twitter – @talkSPORTDrive
And Santi Cazorla is good, but over
the course of a season he’s not quite David Silva, or Juan Mata. Both
Walcott and Cazorla are players I rate highly, but both prove that
Arsenal on the field have been starved of success and stripped of
quality year after year.
The fans are desperate for a hero –
when Santi played well, he was the new hero. Then Wilshere came back,
and Santi’s form dipped and Jack was the man. Now it’s Theo. But the
fans can’t really get behind Theo because they know the chances are
he’ll be leaving.
On Monday night at Reading Arsenal
won the first half when Reading got their tactics completely wrong.
Brian McDermott changed things at half time and the 2nd half finished
And at the end of it all it’s a great
night out when your team wins away but what does a 5-2 win at Reading
actually mean for a club like Arsenal Not a lot really. Arsenal used to
win big at Premier League cannon fodder on their way to the title or
the double. It was a means to an end. Now the odd decent win is all the
fans can look forward to.
A great club, with great fans who deserve better.
Arsene Wenger said that Monday’s win shows how strong Arsenal are.
The reality is that Arsenal beat Reading in the same calendar year Peterborough United beat Reading.
Season's greetings: Cazorla (left) is decent but he's no David Silva (centre) nor Juan Mata of Chelsea (right)
HAMMERS GOING FOR GOLD
In the summer West Ham co-owner David
Sullivan said the club were willing to 'blow the budget for several
years' by signing Andy Carroll for 17million and paying his 100,000 a
week wages. Carroll said no to a permanent move but a loan deal was
Fast forward to this week and West Ham
are among the clubs ready to agree to new cost controls in the Premier
The other co-owner of the Hammers David Gold (above) said on Tuesday: 'It’s important to bring in governors to ensure the Premier League never
has to experience what happened when Portsmouth went into
administration. If you control costs you probably control wages, but the
driving force is for sustainability which is what we’re pursuing.'
West Ham fans better hope the club is run by Mr Gold’s philosophy.
OLD SCHOOL NO, BROWN
IS SIMPLY DIRTY
I’m neither a Leeds fan nor a Chelsea fan but here is one special reason why I’m glad Leeds didn’t make it to the semi finals of the Capital One Cup – Michael Brown.
As far as I could see he spent the whole game kicking and fouling opponents and playing very little football.
He seems to have built a career on nasty challenges.
Among those who have felt the full force of Brown’s brutality are Jacob Butterfield, Ashley Cole, Sean Davis, Jem Karacan, Theo Robinson, Jermaine Jenas and perhaps the worst foul I’ve ever seen – on Ryan Giggs in August 2006.
He launched a stamp on Giggs’ knee with the ball not even in the same postcode.
Amazingly he only saw yellow for it, so he’s lucky to have only received eight red cards in his career.
He’s been described as 'old school,' but he’s just dirty.
Tackle from behind: Leeds' Michael Brown puts in a trademark challenge on Chelsea's David Luiz at Elland Road last night
Seeing red: Ryan Giggs of Manchester United reacts after being fouled by Fulham's Michael Brown in 2006
THE SECRET FOOTBALLER WHO JUST WANTS TO PLAY
Think all footballers are in it for the money Think again.
Quite by chance I happened to sit
opposite a professional footballer on a train recently. I didn’t
recognise him at first, and when I did realise who it was I couldn’t
introduce myself because he was listening to music. Then his phone rang
so I thought I’d take the chance at the end of the call to say hello.
This ceased to be an option once I
realised the nature of his conversation. He was telling his agent how
gutted he was that he wasn’t getting a game.
To fill you in, he wasn’t injured, and isn’t a bad player at all. His manager just isn’t selecting him.
At first I thought he was another
egotistical player who thought he had a divine right to be picked. But I
was wrong. He just wants to play football.
From what I picked up, money
was not an issue at all, he just wants to play football. The manager
who won’t pick him isn’t the manager who signed him, so the player is
now in a situation where he is getting paid but not playing.
outside it looks like he is taking money for nothing, but in his own
words: 'I just want to play.' A decent young English player being held
back by a club that should do the decent thing and let him go.
MAGNIFICENT MESSI HAS BOTTLED OUT OF BIG TEST
Never thought I’d say it but I’m
disappointed in Lionel Messi. The best player on the planet, arguably
the best player of all time, I’d happily pay a small fortune to watch
But why sign again at Barcelona
Messi has won everything at Barcelona,
there’s nothing left to do there. So why not come to the Premier League
so we can find out if he can do it out of his comfort zone
Avoiding England: Lionel Messi beats Gorka Iraizoz of Athletic Bilbao to put Barca 2-0 up at the Nou Camp
His new contract takes him beyond the age of 30 so we will never see Messi at his peak playing anywhere else but Barcelona.
Scoring and winning has become easy at
Barcelona for Messi. I wish he had accepted the challenge of signing for
an English side. Is he scared of Stoke
Lionel Messi – bottler.
Follow Adrian on Twitter – @talkSPORTDrive… Adrian hosts talkSPORT's Drivetime Show on weekdays between 4pm–7pm alongside former England cricketer Darren Gough