It's squeaky-bum time
It seems absurd to say, given his record, but no manager is under greater pressure this weekend than Arsene Wenger.
The second half of last season felt like a cautionary tale written by an advocate of pragmatic football, demonstrating the flaws of Wenger's own religious purism. Nowhere was this more evident than at Newcastle, where his team blew a four-goal lead to draw 4-4. This evening he returns to the finest encapsulation of his team's flaws. Mere atonement would be hard enough, but Wenger must do so without his two departing midfielders. In their place, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho, two near-parodic Wenger signings. The great test of Wengerism begins today, and overturning the horror of the 4-4 would be perfect start.
Stories You Might Have Missed
A Spanish lesson to Joey Barton
Joey Barton treasures his self-image as football's great moral crusader, a speaker of truths to the powerful, unwilling merely to float along on the current of cash and banal publicity which sustains most other footballers. He should take a lesson, then, from Sporting Gijon's Javi Poves. "The more you know about football the more you realise it is all about money, that it is rotten and this takes away your enthusiasm," he said after quitting as a professional. "What point is there in earning 800 or 1000 Euros if you know that you are obtaining it through the suffering of many people?" And, in perhaps Poves' best riposte to those players desperate for Twitter attention: "I want everyone to be equal and that we all unite and stop arguing over trivial matters."
Have you been paying attention?
1. Which London side bought the son of a former England international this week?
2. How many League Cup ties were postponed in the wake of the riots?
3. Why was Tiger Woods' first-round performance at the USPGA a new low point in his career?
4. Who scored a try on debut for England in their victory over Wales at Twickenham last weekend?
5. Which Celtic player scored twice for Northern Ireland in their European Championship qualifier against the Faroe Islands?
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