Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Frimpong returns, Why I won't mock Tottenham
Arsenal Reserves were in action again last night and beat Sunderland 4-2 at Underhill. Jens Lehmann got another more than useful game under his belt, making at least one superb save down low to his right. Jens is clearly taking his return to Arsenal seriously and Manuel Almunia's "rabbit in the headlights" performance again on Saturday must surely have Arsene Wenger seriously considering a return to the first-team for the veteran. Unlike last week, though, Jens wasn't the big story last night - the return of Emmanuel Frimpong from injury was a very welcome sight.
In pre-season Frimpong took his chance when promoted to the first-team squad. He was outstanding throughout the friendly campaign and was seemingly pencilled in for a possible Premier League debut at Anfield on the opening day of the season. It was cruel, therefore, for him to suffer a cruciate ligament injury in training in the week before the season began. I have no doubt that Frimpong had played his way in front of Denilson with his contribution in Austria, Poland and the Emirates Cup. Obviously Alex Song would always have been first-choice in the defensive midfield role, but Frimpong would have provided energetic cover for the big man. Obviously he is another very young player, but he is an all-action performer - not the most technically gifted player, but someone who is willing to put his foot in and make a tackle.
Frimpong played the last twenty-five minutes last night and is going to slowly build up his match fitness. With Denilson "injured" (I believe he's been taken out of the firing line by Arsene Wenger, and wisely so given the stick the Brazilian has been getting of late) and Diaby injury prone (or a waste of space, depending on your viewpoint) I can see the youngster getting a little bit of first-team action before the season is out - especially if we have nothing to play for in the final couple of matches.
I was working last night so I've only seen the highlights, and read the match reports, from Spurs' trip to Real Madrid. I can't deny that I had a chuckle when I heard their score, and I wasn't surprised to hear Adebayor had got a couple - he always had a great record against the mugs. I've seen one or two jokes floating around and they, too, have raised something of a smile. However, I am finding it a little disconcerting just how much some Arsenal fans seem to be revelling in Tottenham's abject failure last night (please let's not hear any crap about them being down to ten men - I didn't see much sympathy for Arsenal when we lost in Barcelona, and our man didn't even deserve to be sent-off that night). There's a certain sadness, in my opinion, in taking some kind of vicarious pride in seeing your local rivals get destroyed. Indeed, it's the sort of thing that we've been quick to criticise Tottenham fans for in the past. Over the past 25 years most of the Spurs' fans greatest pleasures have been from seeing Arsenal lose in a big game - to do the same back would be somewhat hypocritical. I would suggest it's a sign of small-club syndrome and a terrible jealousy on their part when they indulge in such things, so let us not sink to their levels, fellow Gooners. By all means enjoy their failure, but don't take too much pleasure from it - we should be more interested in seeing Arsenal win than Spurs lose.