02 January 2015

After the Southampton debacle, where does Arsenal stand?

Ugh, I can barely bring myself to revisit Thursday’s results. We had a golden opportunity to overtake Southampton and we went in knowing that Man U had drawn away to Stoke, which would allow us to end the day just a point off of third place. Instead, well, we all know what happened, and we’re marooned in sixth behind Tottenham. After Sunday’s results had inspired so much optimism, Thursday’s bring us crashing down a bit. Still, all is not yet lost, even for as much as it might that way. On to the rundown, then...

Of all the stupid things Arsène did to lead to this failure...

What a debacle. We came into St. Mary's with an opportunity to finally overtake the Saints and close the gap on Man U, who had drawn away to Stoke. If felt like fourth place was in hand, and third was lurking in the bush. And then...and then, well, we dropped that steaming pile of fertilizer on the pitch. At times, we were outplayed so thoroughly that it felt like we were down a man. By the end of the day, we not only failed to overtake Southampton, but we'd dropped behind none other than Tottenham, and we now sit precariously in fifth place. The pitchfork-and-torch brigade is out for blood, and they're calling for Arsène's head. Let's take a look at how this all fell apart, then, shall we? Just what didArsène do to bring us to such dire straits?

01 January 2015

Can Arsenal overtake Southampton?

We at Arsenal may pride ourselves on our financial prudence and our ability to so consistently finish fourth despite losing so many players to our rivals, but we have to admit that, on some levels, we are to Southampton what Chelsea or Man City have been to us. Where might Southampton be if they still had Theo, the Ox, or Chambers? Ironically, they might not be sitting as high as they are at the moment. After all, we've poached these players and are still trailing the Saints (if only by the slimmest of margins). If anything, then, we might have to consider just how Southampton stay up despite, or even because of, losing players to other, bigger, clubs.

31 December 2014

A peek at Morgan Schneiderlin's Diary...

Dear Diary,

It has been a trial these last few months, bearing up under the strain of continuing to play for this club for who I have so long laboured without ever tasting the sweet fruits of my bitter labours. To date, all I have to hand down to my heirs is a Championship championship, an accursed alliteration that threatens to hang over me, lo, these many days like the Sword of Damocles. Shall I ever ascend to loftier heights? There was a time, barely a season ago, when it seemed as if I might arrive at a Promised Land of sorts, but it seems as if those days are but a will o' the wisp, whispering to me but never whisking me away. I speak, of course, of being wooed unto London...

29 December 2014

Rivals' Rundown: where does Arsenal stand in the Prem?

This is about a good a set of results as I think we’ve seen so far. In my opinion, it’s still a bit too hope for one rival over another, and the draws between Tottenham and Man U and between  Southampton and Chelsea are very nearly ideal for now. It may be a pipe-dream to think we can still reel Chelsea in, but seeing them share a point with the Saints means both clubs drop two. It would be a bit churlish to look at Man City’s draw with Burnley as anything other than manna from heaven. Of course, none of this would matter had we dropped points, but we’re alone this week in claiming all three, and at the home of a top-four rival to boot. Let’s have a look at how it all shakes out.

28 December 2014

Hammers 1-2 Gunners: A result that restores some semblance of order...

Phew. That's about as much as I can say about that. Five minutes in, it looked as if Alex Song had done us in with a well-struck volley that knifed through a thicket of players to beat Sczcesny. Once again, it seemed like we had conceded an early goal and would spend the remainder of the match seeking an equaliser. The goal was disallowed in a harsh but technically accurate decision as Sakho was ruled offside—he nutmegged himself. Again, technically, it's the correct decision, but it's more than bit harsh. From there, thank God, we found our footing and went into halftime up 0-2, courtesy of goals from Cazorla and Welbeck. The result may not be quite enough to sink the Hammers, but it does elevate us to fourth, with an eye to third as early as Thursday.

Podolski's Hammer of Mjölnir against some ordinary Hammers

Powerful, yes, but it does make for an awkward evening constitutional...
On Friday, Olivier Giroud was sent off. Along with him, it felt, went our chances against West Ham. Who would drop down to grapple with Carroll in the box when West Ham earns a set-piece? Giroud's absence seems to expose us to all sorts of ills. Still, where he has seen red, a certain Lukas Podolski should see a golden opportunity. In four apperances against West Ham, Poldi has found time to score four goals and notch five assists. In Giroud's absence, then, it seems all too fitting that the Hammer of Mjölnir should find a few opportunities to hammer home a shot or two.