Never mind what's going on with Arsenal; this has been a glorious week when it comes to our erstwhile enemies. Not only did Chelsea crash out of the Champions League courtesy of PSG (thanks in some small part to the sale to the same of David "don't call me Sideshow Bob" Luiz), they also crashed out of the FA Cup in ignominious fashion, watching all but helplessly as one-time loanee-cum transfer Romelu Lukaku rampaged to a brace to secure Everton's advancement to the semis. Toss in Diego Costa's first-ever red card in the Prem, and we have a schadenfreude-sundae that's fit to be served. Of course, all of this and a ticket to the FA Cup semifinal gets Arsenal to the FA Cup semifinal, so let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's indulge, if only for a little bit.
12 March 2016
11 March 2016
After a frustrating season of inconsistent football, Arsenal may have finally ound its footing by smashing Hull City in a fifth round replay. For the first time since September, we scored more than three goals against an opponent with both Giroud and Walcott, themselves suffering from poor form of late, bagging braces. The sting of seeing Mertesacker, Gabriel, and Ramsey leave through injury still lingers, though, and we'll have to regroup quickly before Sunday's clash.
10 March 2016
It was a tough one to assess—on one hand, Dortmund and its fans are easy to like. Their experience has paralleled ours of late, what with players lost to league rivals, not to mention Champions League group-stage brouhahas. Who could root against them? On the other hand, Tottenham. Ugh. Who could root for them? Then again, the further that they progress in the Europa League, the more they might suffer in the Prem—and, let's face it, we might need a bit of that this season. With these competing factors in mind, it might have been hard for a Gooner to make up his or her mind. Fortunately, Dortmund settled the issue early and emphatically, winning 3-0. To add icing to the cake, Puma, their sponsor and ours, tweeted out a bit of drollery to tweak those Tots.
08 March 2016
After Arsenal's confident 0-4 thrashing of Hull, the one that advanced the Gunners to the FA Cup's sixth round (at home against Watford on Sunday), the headlines will surely be all agog over Theo Walcott's performance. After all, two goals and an assist are nothing to shake a stick it. The superlatives will fly: "He's resurrected," they'll say; "Henry-esque on that first goal!" and "that's the Theo they've all been waiting for" and so on. In so doing, won't those headlines miss the larger point? After all, didn't Theo bag his brace against a Championship side that was down 0-2 and had all but thrown in the towel already (if it hadn't already done so even before the match began)?
Olivier Giroud pounced on an errant back pass in the 41st minute to blast Arsenal to an important 0-1 lead in this FA Cup fifth-round replay. He made it two in the 71st when Walcott threaded a nifty cross and Giroud volleyed it home. Not quite done—Walcott turned scorer just minutes later, running onto a brilliant ball into the box from Campbell and slotting home. He got his own brace in the 88th minute when his deflected shot snuck past Jakupovic. It was the kind of dominant, swash-buckling performance we've waited for for all season, and it shuffles our weekend. The West Brom match will be rescheduled to make way for our FA Cup sixth round clash with Watford, which will happen on Sunday at the Emirates. More on that later. For now, get down to the poll to give our lads what they deserve!
Dare I say it? A double dangles just out of our reach. A draw at White Hart Lane does just enough to entice us into believing that we could still win the Prem. However, by unhelpful contrast, a draw at home against Hull has threatened our ability to win a third consecutive FA Cup—a feat unachieved in more than a century. Blackburn Rovers did three in a row from 1884 to 1886. 1886 is a nice number, come to think of it. Vintage year, that one. Anyway, back to the present. If we lose, it's back to the Prem we go at home against West Brom on Saturday. If we win, though, we rejoin the FA Cup fray at home on Sunday against Watford, with the West Brom match to be rescheduled.
07 March 2016
No Kos. No Čech. A spluttering offense that just can’t get on track. Sounds like a toxic mix, eh? We’re not done. Throw in two of the softest yellow cards issued in recent weeks, reducing Arsenal to ten men against high-flying Tottenham, and we truly have a recipe for disaster. Oh—and we’re not quite done. An injury to Ospina inspired the bum-clenching prospect of Ryan Macey between the sticks with the still shaky Gabriel and the still wet-behind-his-ears Elneny, A pulsing North London Derby at White Hart Lane looked like it would be Arsenal’s Waterloo. Instead, however, those Spuds bottled it, and now the pressure is on them to prove that they deserve to be where they are—just three points above Arsenal with 27 points still available.