Arsenal's season has become a footballing Bullseye. "Have a look, Arsène, at what you could have won," with Sir Alex Ferguson as a gleeful Jim Bowen and Pep Guardiola, all shimmering movement, as his beautiful assistant. There was one shot of Wenger on the bench at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, his lips tightly drawn, his eyes ringed in red; here was a man in need of a weekend break.
Or perhaps he had made the mistake of watching In a League of Their Own as he tried to kill time in a Manchester hotel room on Friday night and stayed up into the wee small hours wondering how British television could have sunk to such depths. This is a programme that has set the bar low, somewhere beneath They Think It's All Over, and then swaggered under it.
I was at school with someone who once stunned sports day with his unique approach to the high jump. A long, lolloping run ended in a head-first dive underneath the bar where he disappeared into the pile of foam-filed sacks that laughably (and often painfully) passed as a mat. He was last seen being escorted back to the school buildings by a livid PE teacher.
There is unfortunately no one who can do that with James Corden; take him by the ear and march him straight back to the green room where he is made to write out 200 times "I must not fawn over footballers, they are only people like me and actually when you think of it some of them are not as successful as me, after all I have written and starred in an award-winning and, dare I say it, bloody brilliantly funny hit comedy series."
Corden's willingness to prostrate himself before any footballer is just one of the problems with IALOTO. It is a long list, longer than Wenger's to-do list, Fergie's black list and quite literally longer than Jamie Redknapp's literally list.
In the Nou Camp Redknapp observed that Arsenal had been "literally passed to death". That's just not practical. It would need a large number of people with strength, both physical and mental, and stamina to pick up Manuel Almunia deal with him then move on to Bacary Sagna and so on.
The Redknapps have become football's Kennedys, just with the Lane replacing Camelot, so Jamie's presence on IALOTO lends something to the programme, although I'm not entirely sure what. Andrew Flintoff is the other team captain. He appears to have realised the full horror of the situation and decided that saying next to nothing is the only way to get through it. Flintoff's television career has not got off to the best of starts – his sporting travelogue on ITV with Darren Gough manages to make Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness come over all Boswell and Johnson. Poor Freddie, he seems lost without an Australian to chuck things at. He did make a joke on Friday, involving a 16ft python and Corden's waist, so at least that made him stand out.
"Georgie Thompson [another of the regulars] thinks cats are rude because they don't hold the flap open for her," said Corden, ploughing on regardless. Me neither, Arsène, me neither.Reuse content