Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Everyone's playing with a free spirit"

I can't pull this video out to embed it and can only offer the link, but do take the time to watch this quickie. Theo Walcott has his say after the 3-nil win over Villarreal last night. At just about the halfway mark off the video the 20-year old let's rip with that brilliant comment, "everyone's just playing with a free spirit."

That's right Theo. Freedom. Don't let anyone stop you.

I've been saying for a couple of weeks now that Theo is primed to become a player that the opposition is just flat out afraid of. Almost in the way that Franck Ribery was poised on the launch pad for the World Cup in Germany in 2006 but came off as gun shy every time the ball fell to him in the box, Theo has gone through a progression in the last season and is just now ready to takeoff. He says, "There is a lot of confidence in the dressing room, everyone is buzzing. We feel every team are scared of us as soon as we step on the pitch. It's great to play when things are going like that."

Three teams, Theo, that will not be afraid to face you right now are coming up in very short order. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. The football gods can be cruel, they can be forgiving, they are quick to judge hubris and very often, as stands just the now, they will recognize that a team is ready to finally make that promised next step. This month, they have laid that path straight in front of an Arsenal team that is brimming with confidence, overrun with good form and seemingly finally ready to take that path with their heads held high.

If ever there was a business end to the season, this is it. A team that has tried in vain to get back into the first or second place in their own league for several years, blocked by three others with a vast collection of proven winners and mature men. A team that must now face two of those teams in two other competitions as they desperately try to stand tall and prove their worth - prove that they are no passing apparition. A team that has tried in vain to prove that it belonged, and wasn't just chasing. A team that last night featured only one first choice fullback. A team that last night featured a midfield aged 21, 21, 21 and 20. A team that last night featured a striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, who looks a completely different player than he did for the first several months of the season - when the team lost five of its first 14 games. A team that featured a marauding right back in Emmanuel Eboue, who looks a completely different player than he has for most of the entire year - when he was booed off of his own pitch after a performance so woeful that his teammates had to go to his home to console him after the fact. A team that featured a back-up goalkeeper in Lukasz Fabianski who played what may have been the most assured match of his career. (Siderbar for the naysayers: yes, I understand fully well Villarreal was without two of their more prominent players.)

In listening to player comments after last night it seems that everyone is eager to focus on each game as they come. Their heads on are straight and they are focussed. It just smacks of destiny, doesn't it? And it's just another reason we love football.

1 comment:

Michael said...