Monday, December 15, 2008

Of Transformations

Heurelho Gomes transformed from ‘Hapless Gomes’ to ‘Heroic Gomes’ at White Hart Lane on Saturday as he made a few breathtaking saves to keep Manchester United from scoring. It was a strangely steady performance from the Brazilian goalkeeper who parried all shots directed at him away from danger and even managed to catch most aerial crosses directed at him. Some goalkeepers, always seem to get the best out of themselves when they are playing against the top teams and Man United have had a few bogey goalkeepers of their own to contend with. Brad Friedel seems to reserve his best for the Reds, much like Jussi Jääskeläinen does against Arsenal. Jääskeläinen’s superb form against the Gunners has even prompted the press on numerous instances to speculate on a move to the North London club for the Finnish number one. I sometimes wonder on these occasions if certain goalkeepers are members of some sinister society which forces them to perform against the likes of Man United. If so, Huerelho Gomes who has been dismal for most of this season is certainly its chief campaigner.
Arsene Wenger’s achievements are quite extraordinary when you consider the transformation of Arsenal F.C. from the days of ‘Boring Boring Arsenal’ to the present day when the Gunners’ fans let go ironic cheers of ‘Boring Boring Arsenal’ once Arsenal have thumped a few past their miserable opponents. To contextualise my statements, I am currently reading Nick Hornby’s ‘Fever Pitch’, in which for the most part he discusses the dreary old days when watching Arsenal play was not too much better than attending a memorial service. Wenger’s revolution can probably be best appreciated only by the fans who have gone through the agony and frustration of watching the tedious Gunners of the past and hoping from the sidelines that the final score will read an almost emblematic ‘one nil to the Arsenal’. Of course, some of Wenger’s decisions over the last few years have been questionable to say the very least, but Arsenal fans need to be grateful to him and the team built by him for producing a brand of flowing attacking football which they could have hardly dreamt of, even during the glory days under George Graham.
Blackburn Rovers are a team that are in desperate need of a transformation if they are to have any chance of surviving this season. In spite of having lost David Bentley to Spurs before the start of the season, one wouldn’t have expected Rovers to struggle this badly. Paul Ince has had a shockingly poor start to his top flight managerial career and I don’t expect to see him at the helm beyond this week. The impression that managers are hired and sacked for fun in the BPL may be legitimate to an extent, but a manager who loses six games in a row surely cannot expect any favours from the board. Relegation battles invariably come down to the transformations that teams can make post Christmas. Pompey had Harry Redknapp’s wheeling and dealing to thank for their survival three seasons back. Blackburn will need a recovery of similar proportions if they are to have any chance of playing Manchester United or Liverpool in the league next season.


Rahul Saha said...

Coincidence: i'm reading hornby as well. We are both guilty of blasphemy me thinks.

A Couch-side View said...

I actually didn't like the book a great deal. How did you find it?

Rahul Saha said...

Still reading it. Seems ok. Will judge once done.