Two very different England performances were on show yesterday. In the cricket, England defeated New Zealand by going on the attack. The run chase was 299 and at tea, England were already four wickets down with 139 runs on the board meaning 206 we’re still required in the 47 overs left in the day’s play. New Zealand were considered favourites. What followed was quite remarkable, especially from Jonny Bairstow who opened his shoulders, smashing ball after ball to the boundary. England romped home with many overs to spare leaving New Zealand scratching their heads I’m sure. After a first innings total of 553, the test looks theirs to lose but England had other ideas.
You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about cricket on a football website but there’s a relevance. It’s about a winning mentality, players who for the last year or so had been struggling to draw a game let alone win, out of form individuals regaining their inner belief and performing well. Even after the top four had been removed, others stepped up to carry the team home. Eleven players who all played their part over the five days.
I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that after England changed their captain and management team, a change in attitude and approach followed. The ridiculous decision to leave Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad out of the side last year was soon overturned too and neither disappointed. They seldom do.
Later in the day, England’s football team were awful and deservedly thrashed 4-0 by Hungary. Gareth Southgate must be wondering when he’ll be sacked. I’ve never really understood the level of praise he’s received because I find watching his teams quite boring but perhaps that’s just me. All these English players, some of whom have switched clubs for vast amounts of money, are better than the football they are collectively playing. Good or bad comes from the top and in a World Cup year, any suggestion that football might be coming home this autumn would be foolhardy. If the last few matches are anything to go by, England will struggle to get past the group stage.
Back at Arsenal meanwhile, any hope Lucas Torreira might have had on staying at Fiorentina seems to have gone down the drain.
The Italian club wanted him, Arsenal told them how much he’d cost and they said no. Tough. Arsenal are not a charity and even though the player can leave for free next summer, they have every right to expect a fee for him. £12.5 million is the figure quoted by the Mirror which is a snip for a 26 year old central midfielder of his quality. The same paper suggest Fiorentina’s offer was half that amount. I think his comment on Instagram is poor as it’s clearly a dig at Arsenal. The club he agreed to join a few years ago. Footballers eh!
In other news yesterday, the player many of us have suggested would fit right into our midfield Yves Bissouma, is heading to Totts for just £25m. Like Torreira, he has just one year left on his contract but I do wonder why Brighton are letting him leave for that amount. I also wonder why Arsenal aren’t all over this like a bad rash. Perhaps it’s because Bissouma has been in the news for the wrong reasons.
Anyway, Arsenal are after Youri Tielemans it seems and whilst he’s not as defence minded as Bissouma, what he does well is to get the ball up the pitch quickly. He’s got an edge to him which I quite like, although not when he’s playing against us. The stats will suggest Totts are getting the better player as far as defensive duties go but Tielemans doesn’t shy away from a challenge either. Honestly, I hope Arsenal can get this deal over the line. I’m even warming to the idea of Gabriel Jesus in a red and white kit too.
Catch up in the comments.