05 April 2022

Rivals' Round-up #31: Waxing philosophical...

Football is a fascinating microcosm of the human experience, distilling all at once of our rich experiences, our tragedies, travesties, and triumphs, filtering out the dross and distractions so as to allow us, each in our own unique ways, contemplate how each of us, despite that quintessential uniqueness, in the end does essentially trod the same firmament with much the same gait, perceiving hower dimly our fundamental sameness, our solidarity, our shared humanity, a paradox of almost perfectly balanced individuality and commonality with the kind of balletic grace that only the gods of old could fully appreciate. Wait. Sorry. I think Barney Ronay performed some kind of mind-meld on me for a moment there. I blame the interlull. Let's get our heads out of the clouds and get down to brass tacks. We're getting closer to the climax.

23 March 2022

Ding, dong, Mike Dean is—oh. Just retiring. Not...you know.

The Wicked Witch of Mirral is...retiring. It's true. Mike Dean, long the bane of Arsenal fans as well as those who believe in fundamental human decency and calling one's grandmum every Sunday, is calling it quits after 22 years of impunity, incompetence, and, let's face it, good old-fashioned bias. I wish I could say that the news is all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but the dark lord may very well end up with his Machiavellian machinations from behind the curtain as a "permanent" VAR official—with that adjective sure to chill the blood of any who (like yours truly) are convinced that he is an honorary member of the Nazgûl and will haunt the Arsenal for eternity. 

21 March 2022

Rivals' Roundup #30: nervous, then anxious, then wary, then apprehensive, then kind of sleepy...

We're starting to separate the wheat from the chaff here as we head into the run-in, and it looks we'll be able to shorten this round-up by at least one club. Wolves are done and dusted after a surprise loss at home to Leeds. As we all know full-well, it is literally impossible to defend a lead once you go down a man as Wolves did. It just never happens. Ever. Also about ready for a pink slip are West Ham after ther capitulation to Tottenham (more on that later). At a risk of sounding overly confident, it's beginning to look a little bit like we might consider seeing ourselves as having somewhat of an inside track on a fourth-place finish—but let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

18 March 2022

Weekend Wind-up #30: It's a wee bit short (that's what she said).

There's been a doin's a-transpirin'. What with midweek Prem fixtures about which we'll say little (other than to point out that the Prem's youngest squad very nearly toppled one of the world's best), Champions League and Europa League ties, this weekend's FA Cup clashes, and international friendlies coming up, there are, well, um, of lots of doin's...doins'...doins's...a-transpirin'? I don't know. I don't speak satirized versions of American southerners all that well. Suffice it to say that there's been a lot going on. As Ernest Hemingway once said, don't mistake motion for action. Let's get down to business.

17 March 2022

Liverpool lucky to leave the Emirates...alive!

The youngest squad in the Prem just went toe-to-toe with one of the world's best squads ever and had it on the ropes for the better part of 45 minutes. Not just on the ropes. That's too mild, too generous to our visitors. We were inches away from delivering sharp uppercuts, maybe even knockout punches, to a squad that has legitimate designs on an quadruple, all the more so thanks to Crystal Palace finding a draw against Man City at the weekend (throwing chum to the Scousian sharks). A more-experienced side might have finished off any of the four gilt-edged chances it created for itself in the first half; any one of those might have been enough to secure a vital three points when even one was probably more than any of us could have reasonably hoped for.