13 April 2022

These go to eleven—can Arsenal overtake Tottenham?

Where do we go from here? Nowhere. Exactly. After two disappointing losses in matches we really should have won, it's starting to feel like the season is slipping away. I tried to think of the appropriate metaphor, the best idiom, to crystallize the situation. Sinking ship? I do like the idea of fairweather fans and bandwagoners and plastics deserting like rats. Sand slipping through our fingers?  It has its merits. What I'd like to introduce though is a concept from American baseball—the magic number. The magic number is the combination of one team's wins and its rival's losses that will ensure that this first team wins the division or at least finishes above those rivals. In this situation, though, we have to look at points claimed and points drops. If we're to somehow overtake Tottenham, this is a number we surely have to look at.

12 April 2022

Rivals' Roundup #32: Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind...

This was a weekend to forget. Not only did Arsenal lose to an inferior opponent—again, but Tottenham won. Add to that the fact that yours truly, having torn his ACL, MCL, and meniscus seven years ago, was doing his best Sunday League impression of Vieira (seriously—box-to-box, breaking up attacks, bombing forward, scoring) until I felt something in that same knee go pop. It wasn't as bad as the original injury, which was apparently audible to everone on the pitch, but it was enough to tell me that I should call it quits. This is quite different from what Arsenal should do, of course. We may not be playing for all of the marbles, but there are still enough out there that we shouldn't lose ours.

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.