So, that League Cup looks like something Arsene may never win. As well as that European Trophy. Drink aside, is he becoming the modern Brian Clough? Only time will tell.
Anyway, on with the show!
#1 Shkodran Mustafi
I mean, really? What did Sergio actually do? Blow on you from behind? Whisper something in your ear as he leaned in? You are supposed to be a big, strong 6ft plus defender carrying the torch once lit by Messrs Adams, Bould and Keown. Christ, even Gus Ceaser made a better effort at Wembley.
#2 Jack Wilshere
Yes, two Arsenal players in a row. Deal with it. Jack’s antics for the third goal, which prompted a mass exodus from Wembley, tells me why he must not go to Russia. Firstly, the touch of a clown on the edge of his own area when all he had to do was help the ball on the way to the halfway line (though, admittedly his touch was that heavy it nearly happened). Secondly, the standard English requirement of “chase down your mistake” followed by the “actually, I am knackered now – on you go” which led to the ball being slipped through to David Silva. Jack, it was pathetic.
#3 Arsene Wenger
Well, he did buy this lot, didn’t he? He is the manager who keeps buying better attacking players to tidy up the front lawn whilst wilfully neglecting the fact that the lock on the back door is broken. It’s all very well coming out and saying “we made mistakes”. Coach them to make better decisions. It’s all very well questioning their “mentality”. You signed them. It’s all very well pointing to your record over the last 20 years. It’s today that counts, what has gone is gone.
#4 Damien Delaney
There is a reason why DD has only played one game of Premier League football in four months. It’s because he is not very good, and that is even compared to all the other Palace defenders. Roy Hodgson’s men had battled gallantly to keep Tottenham at bay on Sunday, a mere ten minutes away from a valuable point. Delaney comes on, probably with the words “and whatever you do, don’t lose Harry Kane at a set-piece” ringing in his ears from Roy. Literally 90 seconds later, Kane heads home. From a set-piece. Unmarked.
#5 Jack Butland
One of the more interesting subplots for the England squad heading to Russia in the summer is that of the number one jersey. There is no way Joe Hart can be first pick considering (a) he can’t keep a clean sheet for love nor money and (b) can’t even get a game at West Ham United. So that would suggest the likes of Jordan Pickford, Tom Heaton, Fraser Forster, Nick Pope and, yes, Jack Butland have a realistic chance of being not just on the plane but in the team. Butland doesn’t make too many errors, admittedly, but his blooper at the King Power Stadium against Leicester City wouldn’t have looked out of place at Lords had it been Joe Root at first slip..
#6 Alan Pardew
Pards is becoming a regular feature in this column, but probably not for much longer as he has a one-week stay of execution. Why a week, considering his performance? I can only imagine that WBA do not have a replacement lined up yet. As Al said last week, “God teaches us to forgive” so hopefully the Albion fans will take that on board when Pardew gets the bullet and leaves the club all but relegated. This wouldn’t have happened on Tony’s watch.
#7 Sham Allarfarce
I’m sorry Sam, but if you are lining up Morgan Schneiderlin to come on for the last ten minutes to close out a 0-0 away to Watford, then you deserve everything that happens before you are able to get the sub on the field. And when what happens is the immense frame of Troy Deeney giving Ashley Williams the slip, pirouetting like Bambi on ice and firing home, all the better.