Is he for real?
Regular readers will know that I am not a follower of England. To say I have a tepid interest in the side would be fairly accurate. However, when there is an Arsenal player involved I will always sit up and take notice of what is happening. With news this morning that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to be left out by Roy Hodgson tonight, while Theo Walcott again finds himself in the Samir Nasri role on the bench, I will be watching tonight with only a very passing worry over the result (until England have to bring on both of the Arsenal boys to try and recover their place in the tournament).
I said the other day how England need to get Andy Carroll in the side to support Danny Welbeck. It seems that Roy must have been listening as the big man seems certain to start, if the press are to be believed. That this appears to be at the expense of The Ox is more than a minor annoyance. I don't understand why, in a game England must win, James Milner appears likely to continue wide on the right. I am not averse to Ashley Young being moved out wide on the left, but for both Walcott and Chamberlain to miss out seems to be counter-productive.
Whatever happens for England they will have to play a slightly more expansive game tonight. A defeat against Sweden would mean they were in real trouble. A draw puts them in an Italia '90 type scenario of having to win their final game, only this time it will be against the host nation of Ukraine, not the minnows of Egypt. I foresee a scenario tonight where the two Arsenal boys simply have to be brought on in order to try and make something happen.
I watched both matches again yesterday. It was really no surprise to see Ireland getting beaten. The 4-0 scoreline did not flatter Spain, though isn't it nice to see Cesc Fabregas scoring goals, and wanting to play for his team? Unlike Arsenal for whom he refused to take part in pre-season in order to force through his move to Barcelona. As nice as it is to watch Spain passing the ball in to oblivion, I would love to see them getting beaten at some point in the next two weeks. I think Germany will beat them, if and when they meet later in the tournament.
The game last night wasn't the best part of the evening. The highlight for me was listening to Roy Keane after the game. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. In criticising the Irish players he said "they have no character or leadership." This is the man who, when Captain of Ireland in 2002, walked out on the squad a couple of days before the World Cup began. He seems to have no shame. It was an incredible diatribe from Keane, and must have been reminiscent of the way he criticised Mick McCarthy before deserting his country ahead of the biggest tournament in football. Somehow Adrian Chiles sat there and failed to challenge him on his comments. Keane even had a go at the supporters for singing and enjoying themselves in the face of such a chasing from Spain. At least the fans turned up for their team though, eh Roy? Keane is about to join the Cretin List, I think.
As we move towards the start of next season it is likely that the blog will undergo one or two cosmetic changes. There is always room for improvement and I am looking at one or two different layouts for the site. That won't happen until we get to August and the new season. What will be happening in the near future is that I will be writing elsewhere. I have agreed to produce an opinionated column every couple of weeks at www.arsenalzone.com This will not affect the output on It's MY Arsenal Opinion in any way, but I hope by spreading my nonsense in another place that I can get my blog to grow further, and bring in new readers. Arsenal Zone is more of a rolling Arsenal news site, so my opinion-based pieces are adding a different element to what is already there. I hope it's a project that will take off. When I post something on the other site I will link to it from here. Arsenal Zone is also to be added to the list of Arsenal sites down the right of this page. There might be something up there from me by the end of the day.
Back tomorrow with a review of the England game.