19 March 2016

Everton 0-2 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings/MotM Poll!

Danny Welbeck got Arsenal off to a much-needed strong start, scoring through a beautiful sequence just seven minutes in, and Alex Iwobi opened his Arsenal account just before halftime by running onto an audaciously lofted ball from Bellerín and slotting right under Robles. The second half opened with Everton showing a bit more intent and aggressiveness, signified by Lukaku sliding into Ospina, who needed assistance but stayed in despite wincing and limping for most of the rest of the match. For what it's worth, that also signified referee Mark Clattenburg's resistance to warning or booking anyone wearing Everton blue on the day. Imagine what might have happened had Gareth Barry had been available. Be that as it may, Arsenal found a vital three points to draw just a bit closer to Tottenham and Leicester (perhaps Palace and Bournemouth can each do us a solid...).  We're back to winning ways; get down to the poll to rate our lads!

UPDATE: something has hijacked the poll. Please check back later, after I've had a chance to investigate the cause.

18 March 2016

Arsenal set up to salvage a season against enervated Everton...

Can it be the international break already? Please? The last few weeks have been especially unkind to Arsenal, what with getting dumped out of the Champions League and FA Cup and winning just once in our last eight outings. It's hard to believe that just a month ago, there was distant talk of a treble, but that talk has slowed to a trickle as Arsenal face not only a season without significant silverware, but one in which we might finish below Tottenham for the first time since 1995. And so we go into Goodison Park clinging to slender hopes of resurrecting something from a season that feels like it's teetering on the edge of catastrophe.

16 March 2016

Why the #&%£@$ can't Arsenal play like that against anyone else?

3-1, the final scoreline. 5-1, the aggregate. On its face, we had our arses handed to us. However, looking past that, we did far better than expected, regardless of form going into each leg. Against one of the most-fearsome three-headed hydras the world has yet seen and may ever seen, we more than held our own for the lion's share of three hours of football. In fact, in this and in the previous encounter, all that separated us, really, was a handful of glitches at our end and just as many moments of brilliance at theirs,  Yes, on paper, there's a massive, yawning chasm in class between us and them. No real shame in that, to be honest. On the pitch, however, we showed that we can bridge that chasm. Why, then, can we not play to that level more often?

Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings/MotM Poll

An early goal from Neymar looked to kill off all of Arsenal's chances just 18 minutes in, but courageous attacks and a goal from Elneny revived some hope of a second-leg fight-back. Cartoon super-villain Luis Suárez found a second goal and, unfortunately, ter Stegen came up with numerous vital saves from there, perhaps none so vital as three in the space of seconds after a free-kick from Alexis in the 80th minute. Messi did what he seems to always do to make it 3-1 in the waning minutes. Despite bowing out, we'll have to wonder whether we can summon this level of play on a more-regular basis against less-intimidating opponents. It wasn't quite as inspirational as other second-legs we've seen, but it offered a glimmer of hope that, in the remaining nine Prem matches, we can put up more of a fight than we'd seen previously. At any rate, get down to the poll to give our lads what they deserve!

15 March 2016

Brace yourselves for a Barça-battering—of the best kind!

Look, I know that we're all battered and bruised and bereft of hope ahead of a fixture that looked likely to result in an historic hiding even at the best of times. To go into the Camp Nou having lost four in a row at home for the first time since 2002 hardly inspires anything remotely resembling hope. If you're anything at all like me, the last few days have been defined by a numbing feeling of disbelief alternating with white-hot flashes of indescribable rage. It's an existential crisis deep enough to belittle any abyss, enough to make one reconsider continuing to be a Gooner or, worse, to start agreeing with Piers Morgan. Despite all of that, however, I believe in something even if it's so ineffable that I can't quite put it into words. Whatever it is—call it naïveté, stupidity, or worse—I think we're going to shock a few folks on Wednesday.

13 March 2016

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand at the Emirates...Near them, on the pitch,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
'My name is Arsèmandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. 'Round the decay
of that colossal Wreck, boundlesss and bare
the lone and level sands stretch far away."

Thus standeth Arsène's reign, crumbling to dust, slipping through his fingers just as he was on the cusp of seizing a destiny he had envisioned for so many years...

Arsenal 1-2 Watford—Vote in the Player Ratings/MotM Poll!

Well, I can barely bring myself to type anything, but here's the best I can do under the circumstances. After dominating proceedings for the first fifteen minutes, we settled into a rather grim torpor until Watford opened us up on their first shot on target in the match, adding a second from a screamer that seemed to go staight through Ospina. Welbeck pulled one back after being subbed on but missed a sitter that migth have earned us a replay—not that we'd've deserved one. Our mythic quest for a third straight FA Cup lies in ruins, and we have to pin all of our hopes on an epic finish to our Prem campaign to at least finish second. Well, let's get down to the poll and slate, er, rate our lads...