22 April 2022

Yeah, so what if Saka connived his way to that pen?

In the waning moments of a treacherous trip to Stamford Bridge to face the Champions League cup-holders, a trip fraught with difficulty, despair, and dejection for a youthful side shorn of some of its most-important players, for a side that had flost its last three matches, something funny happened. No, I'm not referring to the fact that Arsenal won. On any other day, that would be the headline. It's not often that Arsenal go to Chelsea and win (I'm being told that this is the second consecutive instance of Arsenal doing just that). No, the funny thing is that a Premier League ref—no less than Jon Moss—saw fit to award Arsenal a penalty. 

18 April 2022

Rivals' Roundup #33: Hot potato, hot potato...

Well, I'll say this. It's a damned good thing that Brighton host Man U and West Ham between now and the end of the season, given how they've anointed themselves kingmakers or at least European comptetion, um, qualifier-cancellors... Truth be told, I don't know the UCL/UEL equivalent of "kingmaker". Suffice it to say that Brighton went from villain to ally within the span of just one week, all while we ourselves contented ourselves with playing Yakety Sax while roller-skating across a marble floor strewn with, well, marbles. The long and short of is that it seems like no squad really wants a fourth-place finish, and who could blame them? On current form, no squad would advance past the group stage of whichever competition it qualifies for next season. Let's grit our teeth, then, and get through this. It'll be fun, like a root canal or a colonoscopy.

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.