15 March 2014

Oh, Emmanuel, you silly, silly man, you.

And so it begins. I'm surprised, actually, that we've had to wait this long. Maybe the Scum needed a little time to recover after losing to Benfica. At home. In the Europa League. Maybe they had to draw straws, which takes considerable time and effort to arrange. First, you have to find straws. Then, there's the nicking of them. After all, when you've spent all of your money on a bunch of players, you have to find ways to save, and every little bit counts. So Manny slips into the McDonald's or whatever, ready to grab a fistful and make a break for it only to find that they have one of those contraptions where you have to press down that little lever that doubles as a tray, and he's manically pressing the lever and grabbing one straw at time, only it jams because of all of that manic lever-pressing, and he drops a straw (should he pick it up or is it faster to just grab the next one that comes out?) and now the barista or whoever is looking at him funny because, heck, they're just straws, so "calm down, mate" he says and Manny looks around and try to look nonchalant only it's too late because there are straws strewn across the floor and he's holding a fistful of straws for no apparent reason. On top of that, when he gets back to White Hart Lane, he draws the shortest one even though he swore that he made it look like the tallest one to dupe that dope Soldado. So now, it's up to Manny to say something stupid ahead of the NLD even after he's the one who risked his neck to nick a few straws in the first place.

And what did Manny have to say?
Arsenal are a good team when they have the ball. When they don't, they are not that good. When you put them under pressure, they can't handle it. They don't have a lot of physical presence. Apart from Flamini, I don't see anyone who puts themselves into a proper battle. Rosicky is not that type of player, Cazorla is not the type of player who defends. Arteta is trying to do it, but that's not his job. They don't have anybody who can say, 'if I have to kick, I will kick. If we have to fight, I will put myself at the front of it'. That's how we have to play. Push them and force them to make errors. In some games, some players, including me—I have to include myself—we have lacked that personality. We have lacked that desire and things have gone wrong
Hm. Maybe too much desire...
Aside from the blinkingly obvious (what team is good when they don't have the ball? Are there clubs that set this as a goal? "Alright, lads, if we're going to win this, we're really going to focus on not having the ball. In fact, don't touch it at all. I have a good feeling that keeping our possession under 10% will be key"), there's the down-right dumb—wherein he admits that he himself has lacked that personality and that desire.

So, which is it, Manny? Who lacks the presence and the determination going into Sunday? Is it Arsenal, who thrashed Everton last weekend and put a scare into the M√ľnchen monsters, or is it Tottenham, who shipped seven goals in two losses, one that all but slammed shut the door on your llast chance at silverware for the season? You're full of brave talk, Manny, but not much sense.

I'm generally not a big fan of looking to trash-talk to get fired up for a match. If you need locker-room material to wind you up, especially for a North London Derby, there's something wrong with you. However, Adebayor seems all too happy to fan the flames, not that I'd ever charge him with being intemperate. Goodness, no. As far as I know, Manny is a model of level-headedness. He would never come undone in an NLD. As one of the few to have played on both sides of the divide, I'm sure he possesses unique insight into the importance of staying calm and balanced, of avoiding the highs and lows of the emotional roller coaster.

Having said that, I do hope that Manny does his level-best to stay on the pitch. If nothing else, it would offer him a better vantage-point from which to witness the beat-down we'll deliver. A win may not be enough to get us back atop the Prem--that trophy may just be out of reach no matter what we do--but winning three NLDs in one season, while taking a step closer to St. Totteringham's Day at the same time, is a chance that doesn't come along often. 

To make a long story short, it was thoughtful of Manny to offer us some fightin' words, but I don't think we need 'em. As to firing up his current 'mates, well, it sounds a wee bit like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Thanks all the same, Manny, and I don't mean to be rude, but I dare say we'll be making for rude visitors forgettin' to wipe our feet, scorin' on yer goalie, and generally Marin' a mess of things. If we overstay our welcome a bit, what with the post-game celebrations and all, I'm sure you'll understand, wontcha? Thanks in advance.