16 January 2016

Open Letter to the outcake eatin' Potters...

Here we go again, eh? Before getting too far into it, let's bury at least one hatchet, eh? Shawcross's scything of Ramsey is seen 'round these parts as horrific accident brought on by bad timing, not sinister intent. It was horrific to watch, and you can see how shaken Shawcross was in its aftermath. One other factor Gooners overlook is the help Glenn Whelan offered to Ramsey as he lay there on the pitch. To say that the incident only poured more fuel on an already burning fire is an understatement. Keep in mind, though, that by this point, we'd already witness two other similarly stomach-turning leg-breakings, those of Abou Diaby and of Eduardo da Silva. "Once bitten, twice shy" and all. Thrice broken? Well, you can see where we might get upset.

One does not simply walk into Mordor: Arsenal will waltz in and lay waste to Stoke!

Mordor. Orcs. Brittania. Potters. Our effete, wine-sipping dilettantes will flit and flutter about while being bashed, battered, and bruised. At least, those are the stereotypes that come to mind whenever Stoke face Arsenal. These days, however, it's closer to the truth to admit that Stoke under Mark Hughes have been playing some incisive, creative football—not that they have turned over a new leaf. They can still bring the physicality that can do so much damage, be it literal or figurative, to our squad. Players like Bojan, Shaqiri and Afellay have brought a new dimension to a Stoke side still accused of playing something closer to Gaelic rules than to footy.

15 January 2016

From three points down to one point up, Arsenal are ascendant after Anfield...

Look, I know that we have to gnash teeth, rend garments and punch holes in dry wall with our bare fists (mind the studs, though...) after holding a one-goal lead at Anfield for most if not all of the second half. To then concede the equalising goal in the first minute of stoppage-time is especially aggravating. After all, we were just a few precious minutes of earning three points away from home, three gilt-edged points that might make quite a bit of difference in middle-May. However, we caved. We conceded. We capitulated when victory was within reach. Meh. In my eyes, we still earned a point—even if we were minutes away from snatching all three.

13 January 2016

Campbell's made Ox all but obsolete. Will he lay waste to Walcott next?

So we traded three points in hand thanks to a stoppage-time equaliser, leaving Anfield with just one point. Still, the signs, I'd say, are positive. Ask Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool, and Tottenham how they feel about dropping points at home. I know that we were moments away for seizing all three, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Speaking of which, it seems about time to recognize
one such player whom we very nearly discarded and have to be counting our blessings to have kept: Joel Campbell. In his first full season with Arsenal, he's started to make an impression, enough of one to consign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to a bit part. He's this season's Coquelin. He's a poor-man's Alexis. If Theo Walcott hasn't sat up and taken notice, he'll be sitting a lot more often in the future.

Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings/MotM!

The eager hosts twice jumped out to an early lead only for Arsenal to reel them back in each time,
goals coming from Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud before Giroud seized Arsenal's first lead with a well-struck, wicked turn of a shot to make it 2-3 in the 55th minute. Giroud's brace gave Arsenal a lead that they would cling to tenuously against Liverpool's tenacious but increasingly ineffective attack. It was back and forth and more than a bit madcap at times. Then, in the first minute of stoppage time, Joe Allen put a sharp volley through traffic just out of Petr Čech's reach to equalise. That's where it stood; Arsenal came heart-breakingly close to snatching all three at Anfield but will have to settle for a measly one, just good enough to stay top of the table even as Leicester won at White Hart Lane. More's the pity. Well, let's get down to the poll to give the lads what they deserve...

12 January 2016

Can Liverpool's "reinforcements" upset Arsenal's applecart?

Steven Caulker. The man...the myth..the legend. Such is his prowess that he's already completed a loan from Southampton, widely seen as Liverpool's youth academy, to Liverpool proper, after helping the Saints keep not one but two clean sheets in three appearances totaling 144 minutes. Truly, he is a stalwart foe, one to be reckoned with. One need only understand his name before fully understanding his prowess. "Steven", of course, derives from the Greek Στέφανος, which translates to "all-encompassing." Surely, one could think of no better than for a footballer than this, one whose career will soon encompass all levels of English football? "Caulker" can only refer to his ability to caulk to many leaks in Liverpool's injury-ridden defense.