12 April 2018

CSKA Moscow 2:2 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

CSKA Moscow found goals either side of halftime breathed too much life into this second leg, and, for about 75 minutes, it looked like we'd see a repeat of AS Roma-Barcelona or, failing that, Real-Juve. Finally, Danny Welbeck settled some nerves as he scored to restore a more comfortable 3-5 aggregate, to which Aaron Ramsey added some security in stoppage-time. It wasn't pretty, and we can't quite claim to have learned any lessons from results in the Champions League, but we're through to the semifinal anyway. We'll find out who we'll face there soon enough—Salzburg, Atletico, or Marseille. Let's rate the lads!

10 April 2018

Saintses and Orcses and Hugheses, oh my!

First and foremost, we have to admit to a certain degree of schadenfreude. There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, we're presented almost weekly with a chance to wallow in it. On Saturday, to cite just one example, we had a veritable smörgåsbord of schadenfreudian options as we watched the Manchester derby. Should we hope for Alexis and Mourinho to suffer the ignominy of defeat at the Etihad as they watch City celebrate, or should we hope for Guardiola and all of his mercenaries to be humiliated twice in one week? In a word, yes. Such is the live of the footballing fan. The enjoyment is roughly 40% support for one's club, 60% spite and schadenfreude at the expense of various rivals.
Say what you will about this campaign, what with its ups and downs (okay, mostly the latter). We were humbled in the League Cup final, humiliated in the FA Cup's Third Round, and we never had a hint of a chance at winning the Prem. Yes, we're still alive in the Europa League and look likely to advance to the semi-final, but even there, we're not yet favorites. Still, we battered Stoke last weekend, driving one more nail into the coffin that is their campaign. On Sunday, we (eventually) did the same to Southampton. 'Twixt the two, you might struggle to find two minnows further apart in their footballing philosophies and at the same time so strangely successful against Arsenal. To see one or both sent down would almost be balm enough to the allergies and aggravations of an otherwise fruitless campaign. Throw in the second sacking of Mark Hughes, and, well, there's enough almost lipstick to put on this pig.

08 April 2018

Arsenal 3:2 Southampton—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

After a shaky start brought about in part by seven changes to the lineup, baffling miscommunication between Mustafi and Čech turned a routine dribbler into a goal for Shane Long. We had to know that Southampton, fighting against relegation, would cause more than the customary amount of trouble, but it still a surprise to see them take the lead. Danny Welbeck helped set things right by finding Aubameyang in the box and then scoring a banger of his own. From there, only magnificent saves from Alex McCarthy kept it close. Shane Long had a goal disallowed, but Charlie Austin scored from a set-piece almost immediately after subbing on. Welbeck shanked a sitter, but he nodded home from close range to redeem himself—and, it must be added, Arsenal itself. There was late drama as Wilshere and Stephens scuffled, leading to a straight red for Stephens. Moments later, Elneny was sent for a retaliatory shove on Soares. Eh. We won. Let's get to the poll.