Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hleb's A Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

I had my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich the other day, and it went better than I thought.

I've always had my doubts about peanut butter and jelly as a combination. Visually, it's an appalling mix, like pale mud mixed with congealed blood. But it tastes much better than it looks. The peanut butter cuts through the cloying sweetness of jam and leaves a pleasant creaminess in the mouth.

It just goes to show that some things work better in combination - such as Flamini, Fabregas and Hleb. We had a really good team a couple of years ago, and those three were at the heart of it. If we'd kept them all, we could well have won the Premier League last year. But it wasn't to be. Flamini and Hleb thought they were better than the Arsenal, and flitted off to Milan and Barcelona respectively. Flamini's sitting on the bench at Milan, alternating between appearances at full-back and subs at central midfield.

As for Hleb? Well, after a year of winning the treble from the substitute's bench, he had this to say:

"I regret my move from London, but unfortunately nothing can be done about it now. For me, Wenger was like a father. I consider him one of the best managers in the world. For such a boss one wants to die on the pitch. Arsene managed to create a smashing team with a wonderful atmosphere inside of it. I have no doubts that if Arsenal had the same budget as Barcelona, the Gunners would be among the three best clubs on the planet."

Hleb went from being an essential part of a tasty peanut-butter and jelly sandwich at Arsenal to just another side dish in a Barcelona tapas bar. Arsenal are a team where ordinary players combine to play tasty football. Barcelona are stuffed with bite-sized players who combine well, but who are also exquisite in their own right. And right now, Hleb knows what it feels like to be a jamon tapa in the middle of honey-glazed pork knuckle, fried squid and smoked fish and fruit pintxos.

Sure, a PB&J isn't as classy as a menu full of tapas, but it's tasty enough in it's own right. You can be quite satisfied with a PB&J sandwich. And surely, it's better to be an ordinary sandwich that's appreciated by the one that eats it, rather than a ham sandwich that's ignored on the table?

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