10 February 2016

One *cataclysmic* weekend coming up in the Prem...

There are just 13 matchdays left, and the fox with an inside track has far-fewer distractions than the hounds chasing it. Leicester—henceforth known simply as "City"—hold a five-point lead over its more-pedigreed pursuers, each of whom has League Cup, FA Cup, and European commitments to distract and degrade their ambitions. It's one of the craziest Prem seasons in living memory, and the top four are separated by just six points. With each passing week, City lay waste to persistent doubts about their legitimacy. With each passing week, the gap between the top four and those chasing them widens. Madness. Let's get to it...

07 February 2016

Ramsey's Barcelona trial fills with hot air after bossing Bournemouth...

After a series of dispiriting performances saw Arsenal slip from first to fourth, knives were being sharpened and expectations deadened. Four straight setbacks had journos penning post-mortems on Arsenal's title-tilt, on Arsène's tenure, on the squad itself. Against this backdrop, it makes all too much sense for other clubs to come sniffing around, kicking the tires and finding a deal along the lines of van Persie to Man U or Fàbregas to Barcelona. Speaking of Barcelona and of central midfielders, Sunday saw a resurgence of another coveted but mercurial midfielder: Aaron Ramsey. His performance against Bournemouth did just enough to tantalize us about what's possible. Will Barcelona beckon? That will have to 'til the summer. Between then and now, there are trophies to be won.

Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings and MotM!

First-half goals from Mesut Özil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (his first in 16 months) powered
Arsenal to an early lead that they would never relinquish. Even if the 88 seconds between the two might have augured even more scoring, the result is good enough to close the gap on the increasingly impressive Foxes, who thrashed Man City at the Etihad. Bournemouth did have a few too many chances to call this a convincing result, but after four straight setbacks, a positive result is important enough not to look askance at. We've overtaken Man City, gone level with Tottenham, and closed the gap with Leicester to five. At the end of the day, that'll have to be good enough. We have a dramatic chance to close that gap next weekend. For now, though, get down to the poll to rate the lads!

06 February 2016

Open letter to Benik Afobe: do be gentle...

Dearest Benik (and I mean that sincerely, post-dated to before your move to Wolverhampton)—
I do apologise sincerely and earnestly for the rough treatment you received upon your departure. After all, you'd been with Arsenal since you were just six years old. Six. Six. There are some who are still wearing training pants that are altogether different from what we normally discuss at that age. You've done some growing up since you left, and you've announced your return to the Prem in fine fashion—your form stands in stark contrast against our own, what with you scoring three goals in four appearances while none of your erstwhile teammates has scored for three full matches and then some. In other words, to some extent, we hope that you remember your time at Arsenal fondly enough to tread lightly upon your return. We may very well depend on your good graces...