Next up in our oppo preview of the Arsenal games is Inbetweeners co-writer and producer Damon Beesley (@bwarker). We caught up with Damon this week for his views ahead of Wednesday night…
Q. In spite of the first leg Champions League performance against Monaco, Arsenal are four points off second place in the Premier League and in the FA Cup sixth round. Just how good a season could this end up being?
A. Stop it. We don’t encourage that kind of positive spin on events down Highbury way. At best we’ll scrape fourth place. I also have a recurring nightmare we’ll get to the FA Cup final but lose to Liverpool, with Gerrard scring a last minute winner. It’ll be a match winning performance of such magnitude that no one will ever be allowed to speak of the time loyal Stevie G was definitely leaving Liverpool to join Chelsea, or the time he beat up a DJ for refusing to play Don’t Stop Believin by Journey, or all the times he f***ed England’s chances up at major tournaments or the multiple c***ing dives he performs in virtually every match. (Ooh, got myself quite angry writing that.)
Q. What have this season’s new recruits like Alexis Sanchez added to the mix? How far is this Arsenal team off from being a title-winning side?
A. At times this season it’s looked humiliating being out on a pitch with Alexis Sanchez and not being Alexis Sanchez. He was putting so much effort into every performance that the other players eventually convinced him that he’d burn himself out and to ease up for the sake of the team. Clearly this was a ruse to drag him down to their mercurial levels of effort and he’s fallen for it. As a result he’s not scored since January.
I bloody love Debuchy too. I can see the genesis of a very good defense – stop laughing – with Debuchy, Koscielny, our new Brazilian Gabriel and Gibbs (or is it Oxlade-Chamberlin? Or Wes Brown?)
With my rose tinted specs on, I think we’re a Schneiderlin and a top keeper away from challenging. But, and this is a huge but, I’m not sure Wenger agrees. He’s had plenty of opportunities to put some power into the midfield and he’s never done it. Fully expect Wenger to put in an offer for Adel Taraabt and attempt to turn him into the new Makalele.
Q. Arsene Wenger – the professor divides opinion among Gooners. What’s your view? Stay or go?
A. Stay, obviously. The man’s a legend. What he’s achieved during the lean years of paying off the stadium debt will hopefully come to be seen as just as impressive as the early title winning seasons. Stability is not sexy enough for the immediacy of your modern day fan, myself included, but it’ll be interesting to see how Spurs, Liverpool or QPR adjust to the financial constraints of stadium building. (sorry, had to get in the obligatory sly dig at Spurs.)
So stay, for now. But if by some miracle a Guardiola, Klopp or Tim Sherwood expressed an interest you’d hope he’d have the decency to step aside.
Q. How do you think Wenger will set up under the lights at Loftus Road on Wednesday night? Who is the Gunners player to watch and why?
A. Come on, the whole country knows how Wenger will set up in every match. We’ll throw our army of the world’s tiniest attacking midfielders into the fray and hope to bewitch your defenders into letting them complete 57 passes before back-heeling it into the net.
Watch out for Ozil. Apparently he’s rubbish.
Q. Which current QPR player/s do you rate or admire, if any? What about QPR players of the past?
A. I have a soft spot for Rob Green. He’s liable to make the odd-clanger but anyone who’s had to deal with the amount of chances he’s probably faced over his career is bound to make some cock ups.
Q. What do you make of QPR’s decision to stick with Chris Ramsey for the rest of the season? How do you read recent events in Shepherds Bush?
A. I think having a knee operation is way more important than helping to lead the team you are highly-paid to manage out of a relegation battle. So nothing controversial to say about that really. Seriously, a knee op? Unless Harry was planning on playing himself on the wing that sounds quite dodgy.
I’m sure Chris Ramsey will do fine, they certainly look more organized already. And hey, if things don’t work out then maybe he’ll step down because he needs to have an ingrowing toe nail removed or something.
Q. QPR is seeking to create a new stadium at Old Oak Common, not without some difficulty. How do you like the atmosphere and the facilities at the Emirates? Do Arsenal fans ever pine for Highbury?
A. We pine for Highbury every waking moment, but I put that mainly down to the fact that the early days of the Wenger era were so bloody successful. If they could make the Emirates a bit more trophy-ey then I’m sure we’d come to love it in much the same way.
The atmosphere is like it was at Highbury to be fair. Great for big games and lackluster when we play teams we expect to beat, although these days that list is growing ever shorter. I know that’s a terribly entitled and spoilt attitude, but unfortunately it’s a fact for most home support these days.
Q. Which three teams do you tip for relegation this season?
A. Aston Villa, Leicester, Spurs
Q. Score and prediction for Wednesday night?
A. 0-1. Arsenal score early, marginally offside. QPR then lay siege to our goal for 89 minutes and though a combination of horrendous finishing and the fact that David Ospina has some kind of magical ability to attract a Nike Ordem football to his gloves, we scrape a win. At some point Joey Barton gets sent off. He’s probably suspended isn’t he? Doesn’t matter, he’ll find a way to get sent off somehow.