19 December 2015

Open Letter to Manchester City: why we don't hate you as much as we should...

Dear Citizens—
I'm supposed to hate you, what with the Clichy and Nasri affairs, the relegation of Sagna to your bench, the financial doping, and the Prem titles, and so on, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Aside from Nasri (who was more than a bit cuntish even during his time with us, what with the scarves and the mittens and so on), I can't quite name a player in your squad who brings the bile to back of my throat as, well, biliously, as those Chelsea's squad, to name just one. This ain't quite the same as feeling respect, mind you, just the absence of disrespect.

I'll admit a certain inconsistency, maybe even hypocrisy, here. With regards to Chelsea, I hate them with ever fibre of my being and can't name a player in that squad I'd care to add to ours (other than, of course, Čech. Maybe Azpilicueta). What's more, Chelsea are perhaps less guilty than Manchester City of the kind of FFP-flaunting than has been; Abramovich, doing his best to spend like a drunken sailor, has been out-Abramoviched by your own Sheikh Mansour, whose personal wealth dwarves that of the Russian oiligarch four times over, if not more.

By rights, I should hate your squad four times as much as I do Chelsea's. Let's face facts: ask any Gooner why Arsenal hasn't performed better over the last decade, and their knee-jerk response will be "oil money." Chelsea and Man City have, as the argument goes, either hoovered up the best talent in the world or jacked up transfer-fees to a point that only they, PSG, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern can afford to hire ruthless mercenaries while poor, put-upon Arsenal has to content itself with the scraps and leftovers. £51.8m for de Bruyne? Sterling for £43.7m? I know that they're fine players on the up-and up, but that's madness when we could get Özil, already established as one of the best, if not the very best, at his position for £35m just two year ago.

By those standards, I should take whatever hatred I feel towards Chelsea (or, let's face it, schadenfreude these days) and direct it squarely at Man City. You're the behemoth of the day, with vast financial resources and a squad deep enough to field a second-choice XI still capable of vying for Europa League qualification if not more. Why then can't I do it? Is it the man-crush on Sergio Agüero (no shame in that, right?)? Is it the absence of any truly cuntish players, save Nasri, in your squad? I don't like Joe Hart but can't quite bring myself to hate him. The closest I can come to hatred is how I feel towards Yaya Touré, and that's not even because he spurned us in 2003, and that's not because we missed our chance. It's more because of the absense of intensity he shows, as if he can't quite be bothered to play to his potential. I know full-well that, if he did rise to those levels, it would spell the end-of for any discussions of who would win the Prem.

Until he can be bothered to play to that level, an injury-plagued Man City might have to suffer his idiosyncrasies. During that time, we at Arsenal will have to try to take advantage of the indifferent form that Man City's formidable squad has displayed in the absence of a true rival for the Prem title. Let's face it: Leicester, while flying high, are flying too close to the sun. Can your squad, glutted as it's been on Prem glories of late, be bothered to bring its best when there are bigger fish to fry? A chance to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals dangles tantalisingly within reach after drawing Dynamo Kyiv. Let those chips fall where they may...

More to the point: as it currently stands, Monday's clash is one between two squads with the best claims on Prem glory. If we can find three points, we'll have the inside track on winning the Prem. Should we stumble and drop points, I'll be furious—but not as furious as I'd be if Chelsea or Man U were to win it. This falls just a bit short of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", but, in some logically inconsistent way, there's still something in it. Monday is but the battle. Still waiting in the wings is the war.