So on the weekend we pulled off a two-nil result over a side that is hurtling toward the relegation zone faster than a Theo Walcott cross heads for row Z, beating Sunderland with a little too much difficulty for my Arsenal-weakened heart. As for Theo – and I beg the pardon of every fellow Arsenal fan before saying this – despite allegedly possessing virtues that I think every English journalist probably fabricated immediately after the game on Saturday (assuming some of them actually watched the game, ahem, unlike this guy, apparently), Walcott is, in my estimation, currently NOT deserving of a spot on the England national team. Saying Theo is a world class footballer right now would be like saying a kamikaze is a great pilot: plenty of purpose and desire, but not exactly the complete package (can I say unable to land the plane? Too much? Sorry…). While watching Theo tear after a through ball may have been terrifying for George McCartney on Saturday, it soon became clear that it was equally terrifying for Theo when he got himself into a position where he had to actually deliver the final ball as his crossing was absolutely, positively woeful. I am honestly protesting the excessive plaudits he is currently receiving from the English media simply because I think it hinders his development and highlights his shortcomings all the more, and I do sincerely hope he returns to the form he displayed in games like the Champions League semifinal against Liverpool. I simply cannot understand how Theo’s pace alone has created such an incredible furor of expectation amongst the English media ahead of this summer’s World Cup. Wenger is absolutely correct in his assertion that he is under an inordinate amount of pressure from the English press. Let’s hope it either subsides sometime soon or Theo discovers how to soldier through it, because based on his performance on the weekend we may as well have Eboue (who, for my money was the man of the match) play the entire right flank like he did against Sunderland.
Man U’s slip-up of course means we sneak to within two points of second, but with Chelsea still to play some of their more difficult fixtures it’s important for us to barrel through the hump that is Stoke City and their collection of throw-in towels this weekend at the Britannia. A victory against a Stoke side that has been a physical and tricky opponent for Arsenal in the recent past could provide a springboard in our remaining games against non-top 4 opposition and at the same time heap pressure on Man U and Chelsea as they finish the season on a much more difficult schedule.
And what of Robin Van Persie’s (alleged) early return? Not that any representative of the Dutch national team is to be trusted when it comes to relaying information regarding injuries, but Bert van Marwijk reckons our China cup striker could return by early April, just in time to bang in some goals and seal up the title. I’m obviously getting way ahead of myself….right, so after a few slaps to the face I’m again squarely focused on this weekend’s trip to the Launchpad/Britannia Stadium. The absence of Fabianski will hopefully give our defense a tad more confidence, but I’m still of the opinion that it will take a good 2-3 goals to seal a win. At any rate, stay tuned after the game for the Arsenal Review USA Podcast, which will feature the likes of Arsenal America President David Kilpatrick, and I suppose the rest of the crew will bother to show up as well…
Until then, here’s to some Rory Delap hand blisters and an Arsenal win!