TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Arsenal’s present snatch draw from Arsenal’s future
What are Arsenal? And what is the Arsenal way? Discuss. It’s an essay question that could produce an answer longer than a dissertation given the time.
Calvert-Lewin helps Everton end Premier League losing streak
Monday night’s draw to Crystal Palace was a point more than they deserved, and was only salvaged thanks to Alexandre Lacazette’s last-gasp equaliser at the Emirates. It resulted in a knee-slide celebration from Lacazette, and an expletive-laden celebration from a handful of AFTV presenters in some studio or living room where the next-door neighbours are finalising their Rightmove listing as we speak.
Those scenes for a point at home to Crystal Palace, one which leaves them 12th in the Premier League, perhaps sums up where Arsenal are at - but also shows we're stuck in a loop as it had shades of Olivier Giroud imitating his own scorpion-kick goal with a celebration against Bournemouth when making it 3-3 late on. This is the level they're at now, and have been for some time.
- Lacazette scores last-gasp equaliser as Arsenal snatch Palace draw
- 'We threw it away' - Arteta disappointed with Arsenal draw against Palace
Anyway, you could look at it as a five-game unbeaten run in the league, which at times showed flickers of improvement and was headlined by the win over Spurs, but last night was yet more evidence of what they lack.
It perhaps hit harder because the man in the opposing dugout goes down as an Arsenal legend, a player they were never quite able to replace, although on Monday’s showing Patrick Vieira did his chances no harm of proving he could one day take the reins from Mikel Arteta.
One former captain for another, and arguably one who has a greater idea of how he wants his team to play. The Arsenal way remains unclear under Arteta, but Vieira has already imprinted his ethos on Palace. That may have resulted in three straight draws of late, but here are a Palace side who are tougher to beat, and even in Wilfried Zaha’s absence proved more than a handful for Arsenal.
If this was a first audition, Vieira passed it, and he would be right to use Arsenal as a marker for where he hopes Palace can finish this season.
England have been handed a two-match home stadium ban – one game suspended – following the embarrassing scenes at the Euro 2020 final, and the Football Association responded with a statement which began with the fact they are “disappointed” with the verdict.
The FA’s following three paragraphs at least acknowledged the “disgraceful scenes”, but the governing body can have little to complain about given the national team are only likely to play one UEFA match behind closed doors.
'Disappointed' doesn't really warrant a place in this statement whatsoever. The decision is the least disappointing part of it, but after a shameful day there can only be a hope that lessons are learned, even if the chances of hosting another major international tournament in the near future have vanished due to the incidents that played out in July.
Klopp vs Simeone - kind of
If you’re catching Atletico Madrid against Liverpool tonight then it’s likely coverage will try and ramp up this pretty-non-existent-but-let’s-run-with-it-because-Klopp-said-a-thing about the Spanish champions.
The differences between the two sides are evident, and while Klopp is clearly an admirer of Diego Simeone, that admiration doesn’t extend to tactics he would one day want to replicate.
"Diego Simeone is doing absolutely everything right," Klopp said. "He is the current Spanish champion. Very successful at [Atletico]. He has a bunch of world-class players, keeps them on their toes, they fight with all they have for their lives.
"That says a lot about the quality of Diego so I couldn't respect more what they do.
Do I like it? Not too much but that is normal because I prefer a different kind of football. That's me. Other coaches prefer different styles of football. Nobody has to like it, it just has to be successful and that is what Atletico is for sure.
More amusingly, in this world of press conferences where questions are often longer than the answers, Simeone’s one-word response about Klopp’s criticisms was highly enjoyable.
“Nothing,” he said with a smile, after a 17-second question sought a response about Klopp.
IN OTHER NEWS
The big block
An interesting development amid the Newcastle takeover has seen Premier League clubs vote to block sponsorship deals involving existing business relationships. The move is only temporary for now, the Guardian reports, but it is a blow for Newcastle’s new Saudi owners as the majority of top-tier clubs look to prevent them from striking big-money sponsorship deals and working their way around financial regulations. Manchester City abstained in the vote, but 18 voted in favour to well and truly make their feelings of Newcastle’s new riches clear. This one will rumble on.
IN THE CHANNELS
The doctor who has earned himself free drinks in the north east for the rest of his life was doing the rounds yesterday, talking through the ordeal of saving a fellow Newcastle fan who went into cardiac arrest at St James’ Park on Sunday.
A double throwback for you given how glorious both of these goals are. October 19, 2002 is the date for that “Remember the name… Wayne Rooney!” wonderstrike against Arsenal, and 11 years later, Jack Wilshere scored one of the Gunners’ finest goals of the Arsene Wenger era. Delightful.
Plenty of Champions League football to dig into this evening, so just look out for those pesky kick-off times. Manchester City are in action from 5.45pm UK time at Club Brugge, and Eurosport will have that plus updates from FIVE 8pm games:
- Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool
- Porto vs AC Milan
- PSG vs Leipzig
- Ajax vs Dortmund
- Shakhtar vs Real Madrid
What a treat.
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