Showing posts with label Community Shield. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Community Shield. Show all posts

03 August 2015

Be careful, Arsenal, what you wish for—you just might get it from Chelsea in the long run...

A 24th-minute strike was enough to see Arsenal win the Community Shield for a second consecutive season, and while the result wasn't as surprising as last season's 3-0 thrashing of Man City, it's still a momentous one for Arsenal. As we all know, Arsène hadn't beaten Chelsea under Mourinho in thirteen previous outings. A season ago, after that stirring win over City, we took four points from two matches against them, including a convincing 0-2 win at the Etihad. Could this win over Chelsea unlock a similar change in our fortunes? Last season, we managed just one point against them. The confidence we've earned going forward could be incalculable. Then again, while we've won the Community Shield, we have to wonder, have we slain a giant or awoken one?

02 August 2015

An Open Letter to Chelsea and José Mourinho

Dear José and various Chav$kis—
I gotta hand it to you. You've won this thing before a minute of football has even been played. No matter the actual outcome, you've got the inside angle on winning. If Chelsea win, of course, the story is simple: Arsène continues to be a specialist in failure. If Arsenal win, however much this complicates the plot, you can dismiss it in your snide, sneering self-serving way. It's only the Community Shield, after all. No one takes it seriously anymore—that is, if anyone ever did take it seriously in the first place. Yep. That's right. You and Chelsea are in the enviable no-risk position of going into a match whose outcome means nothing. Do whatever you want. Win, lose, it doesn't matter. And yet...

28 July 2015

Mourinho wets his pants just a bit ahead of the Community Shield...

José Mourinho is always a wily one, a Manichean Machiavelli who has mastered many of the world's darker arts. Success has come to him time and time and time again, proving if nothing else that ends justify means. However, ahead of the Community Shield, which will pit Chelsea against Arsenal, his attempt at mind games offers a peek into the psyche of man perhaps more worried than ever about losing to his rival, both in that upcoming match as well as in the Prem season that follows. That his comments reveal a hypocritical lack of self-awareness is another issue for another day (or, failing that, another paragraph).

11 August 2014

Just what, if anything, did Arsenal's defeat of Man City mean? Anything at all?

On its face, winning the Community Shield may not mean much. Even for a match that pits the Prem champion against the FA Cup winners, there's little to be taken away from it, even less in a World Cup year. However, for as many players as City were missing, there's still something to be said for how well we played—even a depleted City side is superior to all but a handful of other Prem sides, and to defeat them 3-0 signifies something. Just how much it signifies, of course, remains to be seen.

10 August 2014

Only one conclusion to be drawn: Arsenal are the favorites to win the Prem.

Well, that was a nice way to gear up for the Prem season, thumping Man City 3-0 to win the Community Shield. I must say, I'm personally relieved after the kerfuffle my post the other day, which rankled more than a few readers. The stick I might have taken had we lost...I don't want to think about it.

Of course, neither side was at full strength, and City looked a bit diffident for stretches, so we shouldn't read too far into the result on either side. Still, goals from Ramsey, Cazorla, and Giroud highlighted a strong showing that, had it happened six days hence, might have made us the odds-on favorites to win the Prem. That would exaggerate things a bit, though. Yes, we were without our Germans, but they were without quite a few of their best and brightest. I'll tell you what it does mean, though—we've won the last two matches with silverware at stake, and today's result guarantees we can't finish the season empty-handed. Yes, it's "just" the Community Shield, but we won it, not Man City. May it mark the beginning of a brilliant season! Highlights in the video below...

An apology to Man City (and Gooners as well?)

Every once in a while, I go for something a bit satirical, tongue-in-cheek, risque, and so on.Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. My previous post seems to be more the latter than the former. I meant to tweak noses, more playfully than pointedly, but I was too clumsy. Sure, I expected a few Citizens to get irritated, but I figured that Gooners would leap to my defense. That second part didn't happen, leaving me to accept that I failed in what I set out to do. Citizens, I'm sorry. Gooners, I'm sorry.  I hope you will both read on...

I admit to a certain envy. After all, City have skyrocketed to the pinnacle of the Prem, leaving Arsenal in the dust. I'll stand by my disapproval of City's spending, but I admit this: aside from Nasri, whom I dislike for his attitude more than for his departure, I like Man City's squad. I don't think there is a player in it whom I dislike. By contrast, Chelsea is chock-a-block with players (and a manager) whom I loathe. I should take greater care in remembering the distinction going forward.

It is true that Arsenal snaps up players from other clubs.It is a business,  and I don't imagine for a moment that we are pure and innocent, playing only those who come up through our youth system, but I do maintain that we differ from other big clubs in having a bit more balance in our squad. I am proud that we continue to find and develop our own players and have mixed feelings about our new aggressiveness in the transfer-window. Chances are that another trophy or two will sort that ambivalence in a hurry, though...

Speaking of trophies, I overlooked how long-suffering Citizens, those who have followed the club since well before its dizzying ascension, might dislike the recent arrival of a few glory-hunting fans, who have likely exacerbated the sense among others that Man City are nothing but some oligarch's toy. There is meaning and pride in supporting a club through thick and thin, and those who have experienced more of the thin than the thick deserve better than what I offered the other day. Even some of the band-wagoners do, too. You have to choose a club (or have a club choose you) at some point, after all. Those new fans who are loyal to the club even after the bloom is off the rose will know what it means and the others will have skulked away anyway, probably to whoever finishes above City this season (ahem) or next.

Without trying to aound sly, I wish I could claim to have supported Arsenal through the leanest of times, but I imagine that most clubs would trade most of their best years for our worst. In the thirty-odd years that I have supported Arsenal, we have had a few mid-table finishes, but it has been almost twenty years since we fell out of the top four. In other words, I haven't had to suffer, nor has my faith been tested. Who am I then to heap scorn on some other fan's dream? By "fan", of course, I refer to those who have the club in their hearts, not those who decide whom to support based on who's atop the table that week.

Long story short, I apologize again for coming across as bitter and as ill-informed as I did, even moreso on the eve of a friendly match and ahead of an exciting season for us both.  All the best, City, and may you finish above Man U, Chelsea, and Liverpool...but below Arsenal!

08 August 2014

Open letter to Man City in which this Gooner admits defeat.

First off, I admit that I'll probably be preaching to the choir for the most part. This is an Arsenal site, and as such, I assume that most of the visitors will be Gooners. So it goes. However, I do compose this in earnest, hoping to wave a white flag, maybe even extend an olive branch, to our opponents in the upcoming Community Shield. It is clear that we are no match for you, on the pitch or off, and we are lucky to simply appear on the same pitch with you. Yes, we may be another Prem club, but on Sunday, we shall be as awe-struck and starry-eyed as if we were a mere Championship club, overawed at the idea of appearing at Wembley, more interested in getting a few autographs from opposing players than in nicking a trophy from them. Honest.

07 August 2014

Does the Community Shield matter? Against Man City, yes. Yes, it does.

Sure, the Community Shield doesn't offer the same thrill or prestige of winning the Prem, FA Cup, or league cup, but there's something in it this year that makes the clahs a bit ediger than it might otherwise feel, at least to Gooners. The Shield itself may not signify much, but beating Man City, even in a glorified friendly, is not something to gloss over lightly. For Citeh, indeed, the nouveau riche who have gorged on a orgy of trophies in the last few years might pretend to sneer at the Community Shield, seeing it as just another bauble to be tossed atop the heap and forgotten. This is not to suggest that Gooners, by contrast, lust desperately after it; instead; besting the most-avaricious club in the Prem if not the world is probably the actual trophy we seek.