29 January 2023

Man City 1-0 Arsenal: Player Ratings Poll Results

Only 210 of us weighed in for this one, depressed, perhaps by the result or only by the match ending so late in the evening. So it goes. Tierney, Saka, Holding, and Vieira suffered the brunt of our disappointment, scoring below the standard six, but it was Lokonga who felt our wrath with a 3.83, the kind of score one earns for actively undermining the squad's efforts. Lokonga didn't concede an own goal or commit a foul leading to a pen, but he was derelict when City scored, leaving Aké open for the shot. Matt Turner claimed MOTM honours with 29.5% of the vote, narrowly ahead of Leandro Trossard at 27.1%. Ah, well. A heavily rotated side went into the Etihad and put our hosts on the back foot for long stretches. It's a pity we couldn't get the result but shuld still come away with some grim determination as well as grit for the next time we face off. 

28 January 2023

Partey's injured? Sign Caicedo at £75m—please!

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times. Or something. Going into the FA Cup fourth round tie with Manchester City, it looked like we were going to have our cake and eat it too. Despire a fair amount of rotation amid the hostile environs of the Etihad—wait—does jaded diffidence count as "hostile"? Were it not for the boiserous away fans, one might have thought we were back to COVID-lockdown era empty stadiums. Anyway, a mixed squad had Man City on the ropes for long stretches until Thomas Partey picked up a knock and had to come off. Instead of all that cake, we came away with the blurst of times: got knocked out and suffered a major injury to a vital player.

27 January 2023

Man CIty 1-0 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Well, shucks. Both sides named rotated but strong sides, and we spent most of the first half as the better team. Chances were remarkably few and far between for both sides, and it wouldn't stretch the situation to say that our host's only goal came somewhat against the run of play or at least out of nowhere. Grealish collected a shot off the post and found Nathan Aké, who managed to put his shot just out of Turner's reach. That was really it, to be honest. They seemed surprised to have scored and didn't work very hard to find another, perhaps unnerved by how well we had played to that point. Still, despite the result, we came away with one of those so-called moral victories, knowing that we can go toe-to-toe with this side. It's disappointing to crash out, but we'll take come confidence from this into our other two clashes. It was a brave effort. Keep that in mind as you get to the poll to rate the lads. Real-time results are here; a pretty l'il graphic should be available some time tomorrow.

Pep THREATENS Arteta: "we're going to fight". Direct quote.

Ahead of our FA Cup fourth-round clash, Pep Guardiola has levelled some rather incendiary words at his protégé/prodigy, saying "we're going to fight" and "I want to beat him" and "it's going to happen sooner or later". Those, my friends, are fightin' words. Those are also words taken out of context. In reality, Pep was practically gushing over Arteta's development, which, of course, reflects back on the him as if everything Arteta has accomplished thus far is a direct result of the 3.5 years Arteta spent at Man City rather than the product of a lifetime that has built to this moment. We'll get to the full context of Pep's words in a moment. In the meantime, I hope you don't mind my bait-and-switch.

26 January 2023

The Brawl To Win It All: Round I of III

Friday's FA Cup fourth round tie sees us travel to the almighty Etihad, that perilous pitch, the stadium where hope goes to die, that...well, you get the idea. We haven;'t won at the Etihad since 18 January 2015, but who's counting? Speaking of counting, wew haven't scored in our last three trips, and we've been outscored by a total of 9-0, including that 5-0 shellacking back in August 2021. I have a theory about that match; we'll return to that half-baked hypothesis in a bit. For one, we're quite a lot better at this footballing than we were on that day. Due the postponement of our September match, we haven't faced Man City in over a year. We didn't do half-bad, losing 1-2.