02 December 2022

Those Gunners be nicking a living at this World Cup...

...and that is an unqualified
Good Thing, at least in my book. In any normal, sane World Cup that happens in the summer instead of disrupting everything and that leads to the deaths of more than 6,000 "workers" in the host nation, we'd want the lads to all get their time on the pitch, making meaningful contributions and pushing their respective national teams towards glory. To a degree, I want that this year, but, given the timing of this Cup and our ambitions in the Prem, I don't think I'm wrong when I look at the minutes our boys have played compared to the minutes of our rivals' players. Our squad is still on the thin side. Fewer minutes equals fresher legs.

30 November 2022

Criticising Koscielny? Them's fightin' words...

Should I photoshop my face in here? Nah.
Welcome to the next installment of our semi-regular, forced by this weird World Cup series in which we seek to demolish various myths that plague our beloved club. In previous installments, we've looked at who was the bigger snake between Fabregas and Persie (spoiler alert: the Spanish word for "snake" is serpiente) or whether it was Giroud's fault that we failed to win the 2015-16 Prem title (it wasn't). That brings us, dear readers, to our next installment: Laurent Koscielny is just another snake in the grass who saw that the grass was greener on the other side and made us green with envy. Or something. It's hard to knit together more than two idioms, as I've just demonstrated. Anyway, if you're going to come after Laurent Koscielny, you're going to have to get through me first.

29 November 2022

The last time we drew Oxford, we won the FA Cup. Just sayin'...

Matchday programme from that 2003 match
In the midst of this misbegotten midseason World Cup, we were finally treated to some actual Arsenal-related news rather than Arsenal-adjacent news. As much as I love seeing that Thomas Partey's Ghana side bested Son Heung-Min's South Korea or that Tite might grudgingly have to admit that Gabriel Jesus is better than Richarlison (revisit this bit of satire if you want my take), the draw for the FA Cup Third Round brings us back to this wonderful club's prospects. We've drawn League One Oxford United, whom we've only faced a grand total of eight times, winning three, drawing four, and losing one. The one loss came in the 1985-86 First Division when we finished seventh and they finished 18th, just a point from relegation thanks in large part to that result. We may have taken our foot off the pedal with our own position secure while they had quite a lot fo play for. 

Now, I don't want to make too much of this, but the last time we drew the U's or the Yellows back in the 2002-03 FA Cup, also in the Third Round, we won. What's better, we went on to win the whole kit and kaboodle. Past is not prediction, of course, but we have reason for optimism.

28 November 2022

Confessions & Cravings of an Amateur blogger

Now, I know in advance that this will end up as a low-interest post because I'm not offering a splashy title about whom we're going to splash some cash on in January, but maybe that's because I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too. If you're here reading this and read beyond this point, you might actually visit this little blog o' mine more than occasionally, and you are therefore more inclined to give me the feedback I seek. If you're not here, all the better for me because I'm therefore somewhat less likely to get the kind of feedback I don't like. With that in mind, I'll offer a brief, brief history of why I'm here (while you reconsider why it is exactly that you're here) and then ask you to weigh in on a few issues. Let's get to it, shall we?

Have Arsenal prepared a SHOCK sale of Partey?

Sigh. Here we go. With little other club news to report, and even less Arsenal-related World Cup news to report, would-be journos are suggesting that Arsenal are ready to offer Thomas Partey and £20m to pry Ismaël Bennacer away from AC Milan and bring him back to Arsenal after his brief spell in the youth set-up didn't work out. It must be said that Bennacer has impressed with the rossoneri, boosting his valuation to something close to £40m. Still, the idea that we'd swap the midfielder who is arguably our most irreplaceable for a relatively unproven player is enough to suggest that the silly season has indeed begun in earnest, and several weeks early to boot. Then again, with little else to delve into (except maybe the pseudo-retirement of Messi to Miami), let's have a look at this little rumour, shall we?

27 November 2022

The "Ukrainian Neymar" can be had for half Shakhtar's €100m price? Hmm...

I thought I'd take a bit of a break from the clickbait-ish (clickbait-ey?) headlines and have a closer look at the rumours surrounding Mykhalo Mudryk, apparently dubbed the "Ukrainian Neymar". For myself, I have to admit to mixed feelings around such a sobriquet. On one hand, Neymar is, when he wants to be, one of the best in the world. On the other, he is a prima donna, a diving diva, a flashy fop who would rather lose looking good than win looking bad. If Mudryk has any of the latter Neymarian tendencies, I'd rather we walk away. The fact that his stock has risen so sharply suggests that he's mostly shown more of the former. That might be a proverbial kick of the tires.