Arsenal vs. Manchester United: Searching for True Captains
There will be something missing when Arsenal and Manchester United lock horns this weekend.
it's not Radamel Falcao, out with injury, or Danny Blind's injury absence because of Dutch duty, or even Larurent Koscielny's ankle that inexcusably missed getting dipped in mythical protective metallics at birth...
What is missing is Soul. Passion. Leadership.
There are no true Captains for Manchseter United and Arsenal Football Club anymore.
Wayne Rooney, after pulling-out all the stops on his dramatic non-decision to transfer, with the ever cognizent motive of ensuring a megalomanic wage-packet, must have had significant impact in turning Roy Keane's beard Gandalf-grey, and similarly must have caused Sir Bobby Charlton's bifocals to fog over with thick frustration on more than a few occasions during negotiations.
Roney's attitutde did not well represent a United Skipper.
Conversely, selecting Mikel Arteta as Arsenal Captain was an even bigger blunder.
One can only imagine poor Tony Adams needing to dispatch a barrel or three considering the mere thought of the stringy Spainish player sporting the band; a deadline day signing a few years back, most recognizable for his attacking play through the center of the park; the former Evertonian was a serviceable player on Merseyside, but elevating him to Club Captain this past season was a momentous miscalculation by Arsene Wenger that has caused ripples upon ripples of disappoinment.
Arteta has nothing left in the tank - and even against the weaker teams where he only just gets by - there is no booming voice or authoritative play-by-example that leads teammates to the call of duty or demands consistency and pride in sporting the badge.
There are no characters or leader's of men in this derby.
I said it last year on football.com (https://www.football.com/en-gb/no-soul-for-old-rivals/) and I'll say it again this evening.
Arsenal and Manchester United are two squads searching for identity, and leadership, in the modern transfer-era where without honor, vision, and stability a vacuum exists that fills quickly with corporate mediocrity.
That's Today's Chevrolet.
Story Lines Abound in this Critical Match:
Danny Welbeck, if fit, will slice up a nice serving of humble pie for Louis Van Gaal. Chances are a Welbz' goal comes from the hard work of Alexis Sanchez but with United's shaky back four, and no Blind for cover, Welbeck gets on the score sheet.
Olivier Giroud may get 20 minutes to come on, hold the ball up for Alexis (something worth looking forward to seeing develop) and provide an assist or emphatic golazo!
Arsene Wenger must win this match at the Emirates.
His future and credibility are once again on the line - as are a massive six-points.
Thankfully, there should be no concerns about his zipper...