Arsenal

A Nice Pair

It’s in our hands, says George Caveney

It’ll be an almost valid and well-exercised excuse if City fail to clinch fourth, but Shay Given’s clearly painful shoulder dislocation shouldn’t raise too much panic. What? Am I mad? We’ve only got a flapping inexperienced unknown in reserve, and we’re trying to get a Champions League place! We’ll see. I’m feeling optimistic and sunny-minded today, so I think this is one of those things that was meant to happen.

We just might see it galvanise our defence and stop them relying on Given’s magnet hands and lightning reactions. And if that’s not too much to ask, it might just free up the flair players to slam some goals in. It was only a matter of time before Given took one for the company, anyway. He’s been lunging, stretching, vaulting, grabbing and punching week in week out since he arrived. And shouting quite a lot, too.

Gunnar Nielsen – if we’d give the poor bastard a chance – might actually be an amazing stopper. But hey, I suppose now’s not the best time to find out. I do feel for the guy, though – fourth choice, no league experience, and suddenly the only exposure he’s getting is, ‘Quick! Find someone else! Anyone but Gunnar! Money no object!’ Out of the cat’s bumhole and into next-door’s flowerbed, as I believe the expression goes.

Oh alright then. I do see Scarf Ace’s sense of urgency in finding a replacement elsewhere, and I’d love to see Joe Hart come back. I was dismayed to see him go out on loan, but since Given arrived it’s not as if anyone else has had a look-in, and Hart’s got his big bright future to think about, so I didn’t foresee anything else happening. Not sure he wants to return under these circumstances, though. As soon as Shay’s recovered, chances are he’ll barge the others out the way again. And where would that put Hart? He’s getting great experience and column inches at Brum – and he’s a helluva keeper – as one might have noticed by the absolutely spiffing job he’s doing there. Bravo. Hurrah.

I don’t know much (anything) about Marton Fulop, so I won’t pass judgement. All I know is Steve Bruce has got an issue with our cash mountain, and won’t give him up easily unless it’s for silly pounds and ridiculous pence. Silly wonky-nosed Grumbleweed that he is.

Onto the Arsenal game, then. Lee Dixon, Arsenal legend and Man City fan described it as a terrible game, the only ‘highlights’ being Adeboyar’s flambouyant entrance as a schoolgirl on stilts and the ensuing crescendo of booing and colourful language from the home crowd. Won’t rip your own seats out, will you, Gunner faithful?

A draw was a fair shout, I think. Hardly well-earned by either team – more like a meaningless tick just for showing up. Villa and Liverpool refuse to put themselves out of the equation, quite rightly, so it really is going to the wire. The big question is: Have we got the nerve, now that remarkable glove-wearing potato creature has gone and hurt himself? I say we have, and for once it’ll be the others that fall apart.

Please God.

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