We’ve witnessed another team book a semifinal berth in the European Championships, joining Portugal in their bid to usurp Spain as the new champions of Europe. Joachim Loew tweaked his attack and it worked a treat.
Philipp Lahm marked his 90th cap with a swerving shot that went past the shaky Greek goalie for a goal. Greece scored a shock equalizer from that bloke that’s a carbon copy of the paintings of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
On a night were clones were getting a shot in the spotlight, Milan Baros’ surrogate, Sami Khedira, smashed in a beautiful technical finish to put the Germans back in the driver's seat.
The old hag and loyal German stalwart, Miroslav Klose, headed in Germany’s third goal on the night, which also took his tally to four goals behind the legendary Gerd Muller.
Klose almost scored his second goal of the night but his shot was parried by the Greek goalie. Marco Reus pounced on the rebound to finish aplomb.
Dimitris Salpingidis got a consolation goal from 12 yards out for the modern-day Spartans to make the scoreline more respectable.
Lukas Podolski watched from the dugout as his fellow German machines decimated their Greek counterparts and tore them to shreds. Podolski has already talked up his manager and has stated that he’s relishing the prospect of working under Le Boss:
“He has been a very successful coach both in Europe and around the world. He speaks several languages, and German in particular, which is very helpful. We have spoken to each other on the telephone a few times, which was very good and also made my decision even easier.”
Arsene Wenger also had a few nice words to say about his new protegee, commending him for reaching a century of appearances for his nation at 27. That’s really a remarkable achievement.
Still sticking with the Euros, Andrei Arshavin had caused a slight uprising in his nation after some comments didn’t show any bit of professionalism. Russian football figureheads like FIFA’s vice president, Vyacheslav Koloskov, and Zenit St. Petersburg’s president, Valery Golubev, went haywire in their responses to Arshavin’s quotes.
As expected, Russia’s captain cooked his words and ate them, as he issued a befitting apology to his nation:
“The result has disappointed us and of course all our fans. We understand that. As team captain, on behalf of all our players and myself personally, I would like to apologize for our performance and the result that we had.”
Arshavin has always been an eccentric character but his form for Russia in the European Championships was brilliant. Like ‘Yemi Jr., I would like Arshavin to remain at Arsenal, but it seems as if he’s better suited in his homeland with his fellow cold-blooded, Vodka drinking lot.
Moving on to other Arsenal news, Robin van Persie will join the rest of the Gunner Army in their pre-season tour in the Far East. Van Persie’s participation in the tour of Malaysia, China and Hong Kong was originally in doubt because his nation was tipped for great things in the Euros, but we all know how that egotistical lot fared.
Arsene Wenger also declared that the Olivier Giroud move is 90% complete, and the Ox is set to sign a bumper contract that would see his wages tripled. There is also some talk of Alisher Usmanov trying to increase his stake with the club.
The most interesting news of the day belonged to an ex-Gunner, Mathieu Flamini, my favorite Flanimal.
After leaving Arsenal for the greens in 2008, the Flanimal has seen that the grass is certainly not greener on the other side, as AC Milan has released the player after spending four seasons in San Siro.
Flamini joined Arsenal in 2004 and was eased into the first team by Arsene Wenger. In the 2005/06 season, Flamini showcased his versatility when he contributed to the team’s cause as a left back for a large chunk of the season due to long-term injuries to Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy.
The Flanimal got his breakthrough in the 2007/08 campaign when Gilberto was “fatigued” from the 2007 Copa America with Brazil. He forged an extremely telepathic understanding with Cesc Fabregas, and his dominant performances in midfield liberated Fabregas, which allowed him to score many goals and create many more assists.
If a soothsayer told me that Flamini’s last game for Arsenal would be in that painful UEFA Champions League quarterfinal 4-2 loss to Liverpool in March 2008, I would have given out a few fits of laughter.
Those nightmares of Flamini leaving became a reality but the end of a finish line became the start of a new one. The end of the Flamini era coincided with the start of the Alex Song Dynasty and we can only hope that the Cameroonian gem will be at Arsenal for years to come.
However, Flamini is now a free agent and many Gooners are having mixed emotions on his potential free transfer to Arsenal, just in case Wenger wants to do a Campbell or Lehmann on him.
Before sharing my thoughts on Flamini, I strongly recommend that every Gooner take a peek on @qed_14‘s article giving reasons why Arsenal should take Flamini back.
Would I love to have him back? Absolutely!
You know, I’ve been reading Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws Of Power recently; amazing book I tell you.
One thing I’ve learned is that when someone wronged you in the past and you forgive them, they will be more loyal than a friend because they have more to prove.
If he comes back, he knows he’ll have to do a lot to get the fans back on his side. Plus he’s a decent squad player, much better than the returning Denilson.
He does not need time to adapt to a new league, he’s done it here before. He also knows the team inside out, our strengths and failings. His experience could help.
Add this to the fact that he’s very versatile, he could cover for Bacary Sagna. I’d pick him over Carl Jenkinson and Francis Coquelin anytime. He can equally play at left back and he’ll come cheap.
I see no reason why we should not have him back.
These words were culled from that great article by @qed_14.
You don’t stab Arsenal in the back and expect to get a second chance, but Mathieu Flamini deserves a second chance in my opinion.
For starters, he’s 28 years old and he can offer the Gunners four to five more years of his rugged tenacity. He began his career at the club slowly but was integrated into the team, endearing himself with the fans in the 2007/08 campaign.
Let’s remember that Flamini was part of that magnificent quartet that almost secured the Premier League title for Arsenal in that campaign.
While he was the midfield enforcer, Tomas Rosicky and Aliaksandr Hleb provided wit, guile, creativity and flair from the flanks. Fabregas was at the tip of the midfield and he earned himself a place in the 2008 PFA Team of the Year.
Flamini’s work rate is second to none and he’s also a good tackler of the ball. Alex Song supplied 15 assists last season and was very impressive in Arsenal’s final match of the season against West Brom. He enjoyed a free role as Francis Coquelin sat deep.
Bringing in Flamini will liberate Song, allowing him to build on his attacking prowess.
Despite being Arsenal’s chief midfield enforcer, Song had more assists than Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky put together last season.
The box-to-box role is currently manned by the dependable Mikel Arteta (or Jack Wilshere, if fit), but having Flamini in the squad will allow Arsene Wenger to rotate his team efficiently, especially in games when two holding midfielders are needed.
Alex Song tends to drift away at times, and like Arteta, Flamini has the positional discipline to keep the balance of the midfield while Song is out of position.
He single-handedly marshalled the middle of the park in the 2007/08 campaign without the help of Fabregas, Rosicky and Hleb, who were always further advanced up the pitch doing their jobs.
His versatility cannot be questioned. Flamini is a natural defensive midfielder that has played as a left back for Arsenal, and he also had a stint as a right back in his AC Milan days. With Bacary Sagna still nursing his leg fracture and not expected to come back till Autumn, Flamini will be an ideal back up.
As my friend, @qed_14, rightly said, I’ll take the Flamster over Carl Jenkinson and Francis Coquelin any day, any time.
I’ve shared my thoughts on Mathieu Flamini.
Feel free to share yours as well.