I don’t know if you could have scripted a better scenario than the one we witnessed on Saturday. Twice going down a goal, twice pegging our hosts back, and then…madness. Absolute madness, courtesy of none other than Emi Martinez. By the time Simon Hooper finally booked him in the 84th minute for time-wasting, he had seemingly wasted a similar amount of time, and so it was all too fitting for us to find not one but two goals in stoppage time—both of them also attributable to Martineze’s own numbskullery. The lyrics to a certain 2 Live Crew song bubble up from the memory, but we’ll leave that alone for the moment.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I reached a point at which I wanted us to score a third not so much to beat Aston Villa or take all three points or get back to the top of the table but to humiliate Emi Martinez, and, boy, did Jorginho deliver with a cracking shot from distance in the stoppage-time Martinez created with all of his time-wasting. The fact that it hit the woodwork and then went in off of Martinez himself made it all the more delicious. What can I say? I’m a spiteful, petty man. For Martinelli to then net a fourth with Martinez having come forward to try to score from a late Villa corner added some sumptuous schadenfreude.
Well, one thing’s clear now that Argentina have won the World Cup. The debate that has raged well-nigh these many years is well and truly over. Messi has finally emerged victorious. About that there can be no doubt. I refer, however, instead, to who is truly responsible for Argentina’s triumph. It’s not Messi. It’s not even Martinez. Set your faces to stunned: it’s our beloved club. Yes, it’s true. Take a trip with me down memory all the way back to the hallowed days of yore, 2020, when a French or Argentinian striker injured a German keeper. I refer of course to that dark day when Neal Maupay (who is eligible to play for either the French or Argentinian national teams but has played for neither—go figure) leapt into Bernd Leno with no attempt at playing the ball and essentially ended Leno’s time at the club. Into the breach stepped Emi, who would go on to play well enough to make a case for being our starting keeper. He’d go on to win help us win the 2020 FA Cup. Who knew he’d turn out to be such a massive, massive thundercount of a person (I’m not sure if that’s a typo or misspelling back there)?
He’d earned the right to be a starting keeper somewhere, but, at his age (and, possibly with his attitude), it was never going to be here. Anyway, his performances for us and for Aston Villa are a big part of why he became Argentina’s #1 for this World Cup. He’s come a long way from the keeper in that infamous, shambolic 7-5 win over Reading. Heck, he’s come a long way from the keeper whom we loaned to Reading.
Apparently, he’s come a long way from the modest, hard-working bloke just happy to get a chance. I’m sure he’s still hard-working, but he’s long since droppped the “modest” tag. First, there were his comments after Argentina defeated the Netherlands, calling the referee “useless”. Fast-forward to this final and he’s shimmying after making a save, tossing the ball away before France’s pens, and…I had to check this…wielding the World Cup Golden Glove trophy like, well, like the bellend that he is. Here he is, an ostensibly grown man aged 30, having reached the pinnacle of his career, and he’s celebrating it like he’s Jay Cartwright bragging about shagging some slag (how’s that for some rhythm and rhyme? Eh? Eh? (As you read that, I was elbowing you in the ribs suggestively, by the way)). That’s right. I closed the second set of parentheses.
Anyway, Argentina owe us a debt of gratitude, and we apparently owe them an apology. On one hand, we helped Martinez become the player that he is. On the other, we apparently encouraged or at least tolerated the person he’s become. I’d like to congratulate him for his role in helping Argentina deliver the World Cup to Messi, who, despite his impressive resume, still comes across as a diligent, humble player and person…but I just can’t bring myself to stoop to Martinez’s level.
In the end, my joy at seeing Messi hold aloft this trophy far exceeds any scorn I feel fro Martinez for how he held his. I just hope that this unbelievable tw*t remembers where he came from and how much he owes us. We stuck by him for years when he clearly wasn’t good enough to a be a first-choice keeper for us. Szczęsny, Fabiański, Mannone, even a past-it Čech were superior to him. He then burst forward and did finally deliver some impressive performances and promptly demanded he be given the keys to the car. We made him who he is now. Something makes me suspect, hwoever, that this idiotic man-cnild is going to hog all the credit for himself.
Yes, it’s a point claimed, but, more importantly, Neal Maupay didn’t jeoardise anyone’s careers like he did towards the end of the 2019-20 campaign, going in for a pointless and reckless challenge on Leno, crashing into Leno, who had already claimed the ball. That gave rise to and eventual sale of Emi Martinez, may have ended Leno’s position as our #1 keeper, and almost certainly spelt the end of Matteo Guendouzi’s tenure as well. All of that because of the actions of the kind of smirking, malevolent, thirteen year old who’d step on the heels of your sneakers, swipe your Galaxy Minstrels, and act like he invented the calculator trick in which you type 55378008 and turn it round for some naughty word-play. As if to show that his juvenile delinquency has spread throughout the club, Brighton tweeted out an image of Maupay in a mock-crying pose because, well, playing the part of the antagonist from Diary of a Wimpy Kid is apparently something to aspire to. #Lifegoals, Neal. #Lifegoals indeed.
Enough about that pissant other than to say it’s a pity he didn’t have a go at Ramsdale, who’s built like a brick shithouse and would have sent Maupay to the shadow realm, never to return. There was bound to be an emotional letdown after thrashing Spurs last weekend, even moreso because the result suggested to us that we had rounded a corner and were set for smooth sailing. Unfortunately, Graham Potter knows what he’s doing (as evinced by the fact that we faced him and his squad this week as opposed to last week).
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) October 2, 2021
After being benched for a short stint in 2012-13, Szczęsny ended sitting out almost half of the 2014-15 season after getting caught smoking in the changing room after his own errors allowed Southampton to beat us 2-0. It’s one thing to smoke while out on the town amongst mates, but to do so in the changing room all but dares Arsène to make a move. Szczęsny ended up watching as Ospina did tolerably well as we climbed to as high as second, however, briefly. When he did come on in FA Cup matches, he failed to convince, and we now have Čech as our presumptive #1 goalkeeper.
The original impression was that Čech’s arrival would offer Szczęsny motivation, mentorship, and modeling, and it would be Ospina out the door on his way to Fenerbahçe. Perhaps Arsène didn’t want to provide van Persie any help. Instead of the Čech-Szczęsny partnership, though, I wonder if we’ve seen the last of the latter. Put simply, our recent history of loaning out players doesn’t work in Szczęsny’s favour. Setting aside youth-products, the last five years of loans suggests that Arsène uses them as a polite way to ease a player out or dispense with him entirely. In those last five years, only two senior players from twelve who have been loaned out have made a successful return to the club: Ramsey and Coquelin. Among the departed: Mannone, Vela, Frimpong, Arshavin, Chamakh, Santos, Djourou, Park, Bendtner, and Podolski. On the bubble are Campbell and Jenkinson.
Ostensibly, a loan offers a young player a better chance at regular playing time in order to develop before returning to his parent club. In many of the cases listed above, that was occasionally true, but in just as many, something different occurred, as the loaned-out player simply left Arsenal. Out-of-favour players who had logged significant minutes in the Prem—such as Santos, Arshavin, Chamakh, Bendtner, and Podolski—were deemed superfluous or not quite good enough.
Back to Szczęsny. While his loan is set for one year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we learn a year from now he’s been sold, whether to Roma or some other club. After all, Čech probably has as many as five years of top-quality performance in him. By the point that he’s showing signs of his age, another Arsenal keeper should be ready, having absorbed all of that motivation, mentorship, and modeling that might have been intended for Szczęsny. No, not Ospina. I’m referring to Emi Martínez. He’s 22 and has shown flashes of potential. While these are not quite apples-to-apples, they still offer food for thought:
- At Anderlecht in the first leg, Martínez conceded just one goal.
- At home against Anderlecht in the second, Szczęsny conceded three.
- At Dortmund in the first leg, Szczęsny conceded two goals.
- At home against Dortmund in the second, Martínez kept a clean sheet.
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