05 November 2022

Gooners INCENSED at INCENDIARY Chelsea preview!

Ahead of a vital top-four clash. BT Sport released a clip in which former Gunner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stated, "Arsenal, nothing personal. I'm back, I'm blue, I'm ready. Let's go." This is apparently meant to rile up Gooners hither and yond as if we're nothing more than a hornet's nest ready to swirl into action at a moment's notice. Please. Anyone's who's followed this club for any length of time knows that we're well-versed in facing former Gunners who wish to be Gooners—and I'm not sure that Aubameyang even cracks the top ten. Before we go any further, I have to apologize on two levels. One, I apologize for the lurid, click-bait headline. Suffer me this: I'm trying to attract attention to my measly little blog. Two, I apologize for indulging this particular topic. Aubameyang may not even play a role here, and I hate to feed the pre-match feeding frenzy. Then again, I'm just a little fish, so I can't complain too much about the water in which I have to swim.

04 November 2022

Arsenal 1-0 FC Zürich—meh...but at least we're not Man U.

Well, that was more frustrating than it had to be. Still, you know that throwing on a bunch of back-benchers and development projects in order to rest some regulars is going to result in some disjointed displays, but it was still grittier than it had to be, and some of that can be fairly laid at the feet of referee Erik Lambrechts, who seemed at times to be auditioning for a position in the Prem or at least a demotion to the Europa League Conference, preferably whichever has worse refereeing standards. Despite his worst efforts, most of our squad managed to finish the match with their shirts intact even as FC Zürich did their level best to take those shirts off our backs.

02 November 2022

FC Zürich Preview—Time to win this group already.

Our visitors have proven to be a tough nut to crack for everyone except PSV, who battered them by a combined scoreline of 10-1. Saka, Zinchenko, and Elneny back in training. Their other three results have all been tough 2-1 scorelines—two losses and then a well-earned 2-1 win over Bodø/Glimt that ended the Norwegian club's chance at advancing past the group stage. Can they put a dent in our campaign to win the group? We'll need a win because a draw would allow PSV, who hold the tie-break over us, to win the group. I previously suggested we rotate for this one but now wonder if we should go with a stronger lineup to ensure we avoid Barca or Juve (should the Italians manage to finish third).

The Bizarre Sado-machism of the Europa League...

We're through the looking-glass, people. With a chance to win our Europa League group on Thursday against FC Zürich, we're getting a clearer sense of just what we've gotten ourselves into here. Over the last five years or so, we've learned a lot more about Europa League and what it all entails. The more that we learn, the more that we realise that it's all an exercise of sado-masochism, replete with its delights and its devilries. On on hand, we get a chance to batter lesser opponents. On the other, we look forward to the arrival to the knockout stage of various Champions League cast-offs, many of them quite content just to get kits with a special patch on the shoulder, some of them also-rans resentful to have slumped to this admittedly less-glorious competition. While it would be fun to continue to feast on the former, the latter group pose exquisite challenges that tiptoe the line between inflicting and incurring punishment beyond one's wildest dreams.

01 November 2022

Rivals' Roundup—rumours of Arsenal's demise are somewhat exaggerated...

How many of these clubs are actually title contenders?
Bit of a mixed bag, innit? On one hand, you have Liverpool losing (again) and Chelsea getting their arses handed to them by Brighton. On the other, you have Tottenham, Man City, and Man U narrowly escaping with all three points from clubs in the bottom half. The icing on the cake though would be Arsenal's own trampling of Nottingham Forest, restoring if only briefly our position top of the table, which had been wrested away, if only briefly, by Man City. At our end, we somehow remain relevant, answering for at least a couple of days the eternal question "are Arsenal title contenders?" by finishing the week atop the Prem, where, last I checked, contenders occasionally are. Let's get to it, then.

31 October 2022

That nagging sense that Gabriel Jesus is a fraud...

How dare he not score from that angle?
Seven matches without a goal. 526 minutes. A flat-track bully, having scored four of his five goals against bottom-half stragglers like Leicester, Aston Villa, and Brentford. None scored in a 5-0 thrashing of hapless Nottingham Forest. Go on Twitter, and you'll find plenty of fans calling Gabriel Jesus out for what he apparently he is: a fraud. A waste of money. Overrated. Wasn't he supposed to come in and, pre-Haaland, challenge for the Golden Boot? So much for that brave talk. With a little less than a third of the season gone, it's looking more and more likely that Jesus has bamboozled us, what with his glitzy trophy cabinet and trademark "phone call" celebration—one we've seen all too rarely. Well, spend enough time on Twitter, and that's the sense you'll get.

30 October 2022

Arsenal 5-0 Forest—Can't see the Forest for the Reiss

Okay, um, in order for that title to work. I'm going to have to ask you to mispronounce Reiss so that it rhymes with "trees." Otherwise, the brilliant play on words just doesn't quite come off right. Saka was fouled twice in one moment (without referee Simon Hooper bothering to award us a free kick) and had to come off minutes later, and doubts that we'd be able to defend or build on Martinelli's early goal set in. When it was Reiss Nelson who replaced Saka, those doubts deepened. However, the lad silenced those doubts by bagging a brace and assisting our fourth goal as we waltzed past our visitors and back to the top of the table. I guess my prematch post was unnecessarily bleak.