12 May 2022

NLD Preview: A deep, deep block of lasagna...

So. It all comes down to this, possibly the most-important North London Derby in decades. If we lose, fourth place is still up for grabs. If we draw, we still have an inside track on it. Win—well, win, and it's all over. Fourth is ours. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Tottenham would never let us achieve anything of significance at their home ground. That would be truly humiliating. As I write, I'm feeling a bit peckish, with a hankering for some lasagna...but I should abstain. I have to watch my figure, and all those carbs could make me go pear-shaped. I should draw on past experience to guide me...

08 May 2022

Rivals' Roundup #36: Zeno's Paradox and the Pursuit of Fourth Place

You know this blog is good because it makes a pop-culture reference and
  
an allusion to Greek antiquity in one fell swoop.
Hm. Maybe I've hit on a new title for the Harry Potter series. I'll put a pin in that and come back to it later. Pretty good weekend, all things considered, as we inch ever closer to clinching fourth place. We're not quite there yet, no thanks to sodding Liverpool's wastefulness. Still, the list of contenders has shrunk to three...but I'm going to include four because, well, I'm a petty, petty man, and I will never pass up a chance to lord it over the likes of Man U. Having established myself as both a man of letters and a spiteful troll to boot, let's get to it.

07 May 2022

Dammit, Liverpool. C'mon.

I should've known. Like Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football, I should have known. Saturday was full of harbingers and omens and divinations. After Man City's shock loss to Real Madrid sent them reeling into a tailspin that should almost certainly carry over into the Prem, opening the door to Liverpool getting closer to an unprecedented quadruple, we saw Chelsea concede an equaliser in the extra minute of stoppage time added to the preceding six minutes of stoppage time and Man U get absolutely humiliated by Brighton. The stars, it seemed, were all aligning for us. All that was left was for Liverpool to do what everyone expected Liverpool to do. Alas and alack and all that folderol, here we are.

06 May 2022

Pick to Click against Leeds: it's gotta be Martinelli

Sorry, Luke, but you may be in for a tricky shift...
So we have to wait 'til Sunday to see just how much closer we might get to clinching a Champions League spot for the first time since the 2016-17 season. Hmph. Early signs are encouraging, though, what with Tottenham going to Anfield on Saturday and us hosting Leeds on Sunday. Tottenham may actually fare better against Liverpool than they have against the likes of Brentford or Brighton, but that's neither here nor there. After all, as the old saying goes, I don't have to climb into a rubbish bin to know what rubbish is. Instead, let's put our focus where it belongs: on us. We have it in our power to control our destiny. Key to doing that on Sunday may very well be our brilliant Brazilian, Gabriel Martinelli. 

03 May 2022

Rivals Roundup #35: Tantalus, Sisyphus, and barnacles...

I'll be honest here—I was really, really looking forward to writing about just two clubs this week. However, Chelsea had to go ahead and find a way to lose to Everton (who the hell loses to Everton, at Goodison Park no less? Pfft.), and Man U somehow found a way to defeat Brentford. As it stands, then, we still have to consider Chelsea, Arsenal (who stand in as Tantalus), Tottenham (who reprise their ever-lasting role as Sisyphus), and Man U (the obstinate barnacle).  I wish I could replace all of our rivals with that Chinese cartoon with the robots that turn into blingwads, but that's a project that will just have to wait. Without any further throat-clearing, then, let's get down to business.

02 May 2022

Who needs Erling Haaland when we have Eddie Nketiah?

"No, Dec. Please. We're wasting valuable time."
Okay, okay, so that might be a touch hyperbolic and more than a smidge hasty. After all, Haaland hasn't played a single minute in the Prem so there's just no knowing if he could do what he's done on a cold, night at the Britannia Stadium. Considering that Stoke are mid-table in the Championship right now, he may never get a chance to prove that old cliche wrong. I don't know why I brought it up other than that it feels good to type "Stoke are mid-table in the Championship".  Let's get back to why I brought you all here, though. Eddie Nketiah put on his best performance of his young career against West Ham on Sunday. While he didn't score any goals, we've grown accustomed to that sort of thing around here. He did put four shots on target, and that, my fellow Gooners, allowed the 22-year old to clear a very low bar.

29 April 2022

West Ham preview: possibly the best outcome we could have hoped for...

What appears to be our toughest remaining fixture may have just gotten ever so slightly less tough. West Ham went into their semi-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt eager and optimistic only to see the wheels come off inside the very first minute,  scoring from a swift counterattack that saw just about everyone in a Hammers kit seem like they were running in quicksand—and there would still be 89 minutes to play. The hosts did find an equaliser quickly, but a second Frankfurt goal early in the second half meant that the Hammers would have to expend maximum effort for the full 90 plus stoppage time. It's a good thing that Moyes managed his subsitutions well by—oh. I'm told he made only one substitution. Hm. This would suggest—and bear with me here, we're through the looking-glass—that key players logged heavy minutes and covered a lot of ground to chase that first European trophy since 1965. 

27 April 2022

Come on, you Hammers (well, on Thursday, at least...)

Emile celebrates his goal to make it 2-0 back in December.
We're all Hammers fans, at least until tuck-in time on Thursday, as we await our trip to London Stadium on Sunday. Of course, on Thursday, West Ham host Eintracht Frankfurt in what is amounting to a must-win for both sides. I hope it doesn't come across as cynical—or, failing that, excessively cynical—to suggest that all of us from the right side of London will be throwing the full weight and energy of our support behind our Prem League brethren from that side of London, if only because a Hammers victory on Thursday renders our Sunday clash all the less meaningful for them. All the better for us.

25 April 2022

Rivals' Roundup #34: Who needs an NLD anyway?

What a week it's been. Arsenal have apparently decided to troll Topspur by losing the matches we were expected to win and then winning the matches we were expected to lose.  It's a bit of the ol' Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope, and now they're the ones on the ropes. Either side of us, things are starting to crystallise, with Chelsea finally solidifying their grasp of third whilst Man U and West Ham finally fading away. It may be just a tad too early to write Man U off, but they gave it their best effort this weekend and came up well-short. With just five matches left to play among those still in play, then, the margins for error narrow all the more. Let's take a closer look at what that means.

22 April 2022

Yeah, so what if Saka connived his way to that pen?

In the waning moments of a treacherous trip to Stamford Bridge to face the Champions League cup-holders, a trip fraught with difficulty, despair, and dejection for a youthful side shorn of some of its most-important players, for a side that had flost its last three matches, something funny happened. No, I'm not referring to the fact that Arsenal won. On any other day, that would be the headline. It's not often that Arsenal go to Chelsea and win (I'm being told that this is the second consecutive instance of Arsenal doing just that). No, the funny thing is that a Premier League ref—no less than Jon Moss—saw fit to award Arsenal a penalty. 

18 April 2022

Rivals' Roundup #33: Hot potato, hot potato...

Well, I'll say this. It's a damned good thing that Brighton host Man U and West Ham between now and the end of the season, given how they've anointed themselves kingmakers or at least European comptetion, um, qualifier-cancellors... Truth be told, I don't know the UCL/UEL equivalent of "kingmaker". Suffice it to say that Brighton went from villain to ally within the span of just one week, all while we ourselves contented ourselves with playing Yakety Sax while roller-skating across a marble floor strewn with, well, marbles. The long and short of is that it seems like no squad really wants a fourth-place finish, and who could blame them? On current form, no squad would advance past the group stage of whichever competition it qualifies for next season. Let's grit our teeth, then, and get through this. It'll be fun, like a root canal or a colonoscopy.

13 April 2022

These go to eleven—can Arsenal overtake Tottenham?

Where do we go from here? Nowhere. Exactly. After two disappointing losses in matches we really should have won, it's starting to feel like the season is slipping away. I tried to think of the appropriate metaphor, the best idiom, to crystallize the situation. Sinking ship? I do like the idea of fairweather fans and bandwagoners and plastics deserting like rats. Sand slipping through our fingers?  It has its merits. What I'd like to introduce though is a concept from American baseball—the magic number. The magic number is the combination of one team's wins and its rival's losses that will ensure that this first team wins the division or at least finishes above those rivals. In this situation, though, we have to look at points claimed and points drops. If we're to somehow overtake Tottenham, this is a number we surely have to look at.

12 April 2022

Rivals' Roundup #32: Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind...

This was a weekend to forget. Not only did Arsenal lose to an inferior opponent—again, but Tottenham won. Add to that the fact that yours truly, having torn his ACL, MCL, and meniscus seven years ago, was doing his best Sunday League impression of Vieira (seriously—box-to-box, breaking up attacks, bombing forward, scoring) until I felt something in that same knee go pop. It wasn't as bad as the original injury, which was apparently audible to everone on the pitch, but it was enough to tell me that I should call it quits. This is quite different from what Arsenal should do, of course. We may not be playing for all of the marbles, but there are still enough out there that we shouldn't lose ours.

05 April 2022

Rivals' Round-up #31: Waxing philosophical...

Football is a fascinating microcosm of the human experience, distilling all at once of our rich experiences, our tragedies, travesties, and triumphs, filtering out the dross and distractions so as to allow us, each in our own unique ways, contemplate how each of us, despite that quintessential uniqueness, in the end does essentially trod the same firmament with much the same gait, perceiving hower dimly our fundamental sameness, our solidarity, our shared humanity, a paradox of almost perfectly balanced individuality and commonality with the kind of balletic grace that only the gods of old could fully appreciate. Wait. Sorry. I think Barney Ronay performed some kind of mind-meld on me for a moment there. I blame the interlull. Let's get our heads out of the clouds and get down to brass tacks. We're getting closer to the climax.

23 March 2022

Ding, dong, Mike Dean is—oh. Just retiring. Not...you know.

The Wicked Witch of Mirral is...retiring. It's true. Mike Dean, long the bane of Arsenal fans as well as those who believe in fundamental human decency and calling one's grandmum every Sunday, is calling it quits after 22 years of impunity, incompetence, and, let's face it, good old-fashioned bias. I wish I could say that the news is all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but the dark lord may very well end up with his Machiavellian machinations from behind the curtain as a "permanent" VAR official—with that adjective sure to chill the blood of any who (like yours truly) are convinced that he is an honorary member of the Nazgûl and will haunt the Arsenal for eternity. 

21 March 2022

Rivals' Roundup #30: nervous, then anxious, then wary, then apprehensive, then kind of sleepy...

We're starting to separate the wheat from the chaff here as we head into the run-in, and it looks we'll be able to shorten this round-up by at least one club. Wolves are done and dusted after a surprise loss at home to Leeds. As we all know full-well, it is literally impossible to defend a lead once you go down a man as Wolves did. It just never happens. Ever. Also about ready for a pink slip are West Ham after ther capitulation to Tottenham (more on that later). At a risk of sounding overly confident, it's beginning to look a little bit like we might consider seeing ourselves as having somewhat of an inside track on a fourth-place finish—but let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

18 March 2022

Weekend Wind-up #30: It's a wee bit short (that's what she said).

There's been a doin's a-transpirin'. What with midweek Prem fixtures about which we'll say little (other than to point out that the Prem's youngest squad very nearly toppled one of the world's best), Champions League and Europa League ties, this weekend's FA Cup clashes, and international friendlies coming up, there are, well, um, of lots of doin's...doins'...doins's...a-transpirin'? I don't know. I don't speak satirized versions of American southerners all that well. Suffice it to say that there's been a lot going on. As Ernest Hemingway once said, don't mistake motion for action. Let's get down to business.

17 March 2022

Liverpool lucky to leave the Emirates...alive!

The youngest squad in the Prem just went toe-to-toe with one of the world's best squads ever and had it on the ropes for the better part of 45 minutes. Not just on the ropes. That's too mild, too generous to our visitors. We were inches away from delivering sharp uppercuts, maybe even knockout punches, to a squad that has legitimate designs on an quadruple, all the more so thanks to Crystal Palace finding a draw against Man City at the weekend (throwing chum to the Scousian sharks). A more-experienced side might have finished off any of the four gilt-edged chances it created for itself in the first half; any one of those might have been enough to secure a vital three points when even one was probably more than any of us could have reasonably hoped for.

14 March 2022

Rivals' Roundup #29: It was the best of times; it was the blurst of times?

It was the best of times; it was the blurst of times? Stupid monkey. The weekend really only brought us one definitively positive result, our own win over Leicester. Everywhere else, our erstwhile allies let us down. That's what we get for counting on the likes of Newcastle, Aston Villa, Everton, or Tottenham, each of whom pretty much did what one would rationally expect them to do: fail. Victories to Chelsea, West Ham, Wolves, and Man U mean that your world-weary (and, let's face facts, lazy) correspondent has more typing to do than he cares to do. Still, I can hardly let a roomful of monkeys at typewriters put me in my place, so let's see what I can come up with.

13 March 2022

[Title based on obligatory pun on Partey scoring a goal] oh, and a Player Ratings Poll!

This feels...weird. Not that we defeated Leicester. That's basically de rigueur these days. No, what I'm referring to is how we won. Thomas Partey scored AND we were awarded a penalty for a handball in the box. It's almost as if...I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's almost as if things are kind of, sort of, almost thinking about considering the possibility of going in a direction that to some degree might resemble a facsimile of being ours? Whatever it is is strange enough that I don't know how to describe it or even put my finger on it. I mentioned to the wife that it felt like it was on the tip of my tongue, but she said it looks more like a canker sore. So it goes. 

11 March 2022

Weekend Wind-up #29: We're through the looking-glass here, people.

Here we are with the next of the new-ish feature, previewing our rivals' weekend fixtures. There's really only one cakewalk here along with one potential barn-burner and two very tricky ones. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which. Given the right run of results, Arsenal could very well strengthen its hold on fourth place; the wrong run could see us slip to us low as sixth. Stranger things could happen, but what I'm really doing is avoiding the kind of excessive optimism that only seems to blow up in my face anyway. Let's hope the lads keep their heads down, noses to the grindstone, step up in order to dig deep, give 100% and go the full nine yards and all the rest.

07 March 2022

Rivals' Roundup #28: Everything's comin' up Milhouse!

We're getting down to brass tacks now, a phrase which here means "there are only 10-12 matches left for each side to play" and not Cockney slang for "hard facts" or the Amercian practice of a general store marking off one-yard intervals to sell fabric.  With that in mind, we'll have to put one eye to each one's remaining fixtures. It was a tolerably good weekend for the lads in (the right shade of) red. Even if Chelsea did manage to defeat Burnley, just about every other result went our way. We're currently in fourth with three games in hand over our closest rivals for that spot, and Wolves lost yet again, meaning I can temporarily demote them from "Rival" status, sparing me endless minutes researching their situation. Let's get to it then.

02 March 2022

Weekend Wind-up #28: feeling a bit cheeky, so here we are...

So the missus is out for the evening, which means that your loyal correspondent could take more than a wee nip. With the evening free, I thought we'd have a go at our rivals in a bit of a preview of the weekend's action. It's not as if there's been any notable midweeks news to prompt this, after all. As for the title, "Weekly Wind-up", I'll admit that I kind of painted myself into a corner with the whole "Rivals' Roundup" angle, and regular readers, should they exist, will know much of a sucker I am for alliteration (and, I might add, in general. Ask the wallet inspector). Plus, we get to thrown in the idea of winding up our rivals, should any of their fans find their way here somehow. Well, that's more than enough throat-clearing. Let's get on with it.

28 February 2022

Rivals' Roundup #27: bit of a mixed bag there...

Ok, so the week brought us some nice news aside from the fact that Leeds had to sack Bielsa. Nice guy. Good coach. However, apparently, losing to the side that lost to Burnley is a bridge too far. Elsewhere, other clubs are running scared, hiding behind the "EFL Cup" or other imaginary reasons, leaving us with a weekend free from dramatic results over other clubs. As such, we'll have to wait until next weekend for a full set of results to regale ourselves. Fortunately, there are a few nifty nuggets to nibble on, so let's dive right in, shall we?

25 February 2022

You're so vain, you probably think this post is about you...

Hello, wandering Wolves fans. You probably think this, and our celebrations after defeating twice in a fortnight, are unseemly or unbefitting a club of our size and stature. After we won at Molineux, your Ruben Neves said, "We saw the way they celebrated the win and that shows the level we are," the Portuguese said. "I didn't see Arsenal celebrating like this in the past 10 years - it was like they won the league." Well, after against besting you last night courtesy of a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Lacazette (I don't care that it's officially an own-goal), complete with frenzied celebration, it's incumbent upon me, your humble correspondent, to clarify a few misconceptions—well, one, mainly: it's not about you, sweetheart. Our wild celebrations reflect perhaps as much as 3% joy over besting a spirited opponent. Perhaps. I think I speak for most Gooners when I say we kind of like you lot and wish you well...for the most part. Still, doing the double over you has little if anything to do with you yourselves. This isn't a North London derby, you're not Stoke, and there's no trophy at stake. So why the over-the-top reactions defeating you? Let's get to that.

21 February 2022

RIvals' Roundup #26: Apparently, it's all up to us. FFS.

After a few weeks in which it was starting to look like things were finally going Arsenal's way, this weekend happened. Apparently, if we're to finish fourth, we're going to have to—I almost choke on my own vomit as I type these words (well, not those words but the ones to follow)—earn it through our own hard work rather than through the failings of others. If you're as nauseated as I am, let's all reach the polite conclusion of assuming it's down to the situation I describe rather than the ham-handed manner in which I describe it. We have to reach back into hallowed antiquity to find some joy from this weekend. Well, not "joy" so much as schadenfreude. Let's get to it.

20 February 2022

Arsenal 2-1 Brentford: Player Rating & MOTM Survey Results

Almost 600 (okay, 561) voters weighed in on our victory over Brentford, anointing Martin Ødegaard our MOTM with 54.5% of the vote. Somehow, Jon Moss managed a 2.85 despite ignoring three or four possible penalties (depending on how much stock you put in conspiracies). VAR fared somewhat worse with a 2.05. It was all in all a pretty comfortable performance despite a few chances that the Bees wasted. It's a shame that we conceded late on; we could have leap-frogged West Ham, if only alphabetically. We do have three games in hand over them and Man U, but they are tough ones. We'll have to keep getting results at every chance we get if we're to rise to fourth. One result at a time, though. Enough throat-clearing, however. Here's the breakdown of the survey:


19 February 2022

Arsenal 2-1 Brentford: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka each scored sublime goals to fire Arsenal past Brentford, who rarely threatened but did cause a few cardiac moments before finally finding a consolation goal late on. Truth be told, though, the scoreline more than flatters the visitors as we could have and arguably should have had gone into halftime up a few. Lacazette had a goal rightly but tightly ruled out for offside, there were two handballs in the Brentford box (one from an outstretched arm), and Saka was dragged down in the box as well. Late on,  Pépé was tripped in the box as well without any call made. Still, we shouldn't be looking to the referee, least of all the likes of Moss, for help against a newly promoted side. In the end, we got the result. Let's get down to the poll to rate the lads!

14 February 2022

Rivals' Roundup #25: Damn, it's good to be a Gooner...

It's hard to imagine a weekend going much better than this past one did. Most of our rivals for a fourth place finish dropped points, some of them twice since we last checked in, and our new-ish identity as Game In Hand Athletic Football Club (GIHAFC for short, patent pending, all rights reserved) has us sitting pretty in sixth with two games in hand over Man U, three over West Ham, and, it must be added, one over Wolves. More on them shortly. They've wandered into the mix (see what I did there? Eh?) and shouldered Spurs aside for now. It's getting nervy in the fight for fourth, so let's get to it.

02 February 2022

Arsenal, Arteta, and the Wasted Window

What can I say? I like my alliteration and my Harry Potter-ish titles. Actually, I detest Harry Potter, but bear with me. Apparently, Arteta wasted this window faster than a lottery winner wastes their winnings. The only inescapable conclusion is that this season will go down the drain like molten toothpaste, Arteta is a fraud, a discount, budget-bin version of Fraudiola, and Arsenal will be not only relegated but liquidated, Such are the sound, level-headed, and not-at-all hyperbolic reactions of the sages and pundits on Twitter and elsewhere. Clearly, after all, the only path to success is to panic-buy anyone available because motion, as it's irrevocably been established time and time and time again, is the same as action. If only someone more-famous and less-wordy than I had said something similar...
 

25 January 2022

RIvals' Roundup, Matchday #24: Well, at least Spurs lost.

Hey, so first things first: I'm done with the cutesy "what matchday is it" nonsense. It's not going to level out any time soon, and, more to the point, it puts a lot of pressure on yours truly to do the maths, and you just can't count on me for that [obligatory and desultory "ha"]. It's been one of those months, hasn't it? The weekend felt like being given a spoonful of castor oil and being told to lay on the couch, what with our result and various others not really going our way. Still, Spurs lost, so I almost feel like coining a new portmanteau (look it up, unwashed heathens) along the lines of spursenfreude, but that might mean something unsavory in the original German, so I'll demur for the time being. On we go, then. 

21 January 2022

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: Player Ratings & MOTM Results

Well, we pulled no punches on the squad, much as the lads did pull theirs against Liverpool. Only Gabriel Martinelli seemed to make any kind of positive impression, garnering him MOTM honours. Between the disappointment of the loss itself and the relatively low opinion many have of the League Cup, we had only 378 votes for this poll. There's something about cup ties this season that brings out the worst in us. This may match our poor performance against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup (which ends up being worse by virtue of who we lost two). Let's hope we've gotten that kind of play out of our system, now that we're out of both cups and hope also that this is the kind of gut-punch that inspires a gut check and renewed determination in the Prem...

r/Gunners - [RESULTS] Post Match Ratings | Arsenal 0 - 2 Liverpool

20 January 2022

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

A disappointing second-leg loss to Liverpool leaves us without any realistic chance at silverware this season, as Liverpool advance to face Chelsea in the League Cup final. Dioga Jota scuffed fortunately past Ramsdale to open the scoring, and, from there, we couldn't really find a way back, fluffing several chances. Jota then added a more-deserved second goal to confirm the result. It's a disappointing outcome, especially after a particularly brave performance in the first leg. In a nifty if difficult bit of symmetry, we were once again reduced to ten men against a superior oppponent as Thomas Partey saw a second yellow for a silly challenge in the waning minutes. Ah, well. For as nice as it might have been to advance to the final, defeating Chelsea was hardly a foregone conclusion, and the League Cup hardly blesses a club with any fringe benefits. More's the pity. Well, let's lick our wounds and re-double our focus on the Prem. For now, get in to the poll and rate the lads!

19 January 2022

Rivals' Roundup, Matchday 23? A New Hope Awakens or is Dawning or...

Some clubs have played as few as 17 matches. Others, 23. Twixt the two are, well, predictably, clubs that have played—wait for it—18, 19, 20, 21, or 22 matches. And that, dear readers, is why your correspondent gets paid the big bucks. Hard-hitting, no holds barred investigative journalism. I highly doubt that you'll find this kind of fact-finding at El Metro, The Sun, or any number of birdcage-liner sites. At any rate, let's get down to the proverbial brass tacks. There's all sorts of goings-on to sort through.

13 January 2022

Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Gotta love the club at a time like this. Going into Anfield, the traveling fans were louder than the legendary Kop. Even after Xhaka did what Xhaka does—get a straight red for a foolish tackle, this time for kicking Jota in the chest just outside the area in the 24th minute—we looked resolute and determined, even better in spurts than our supposedly superior hosts. As one wage on Twitter put it, Xhaka's red was yet another false positive for Liverpool. I suspect that many of us including me assumed we'd lose this one, all the more so after losing Smith-Rowe, Tomiyasu, and Ødegaard. Going down to ten men just sealed the inevitable. However, we dug down and put on a fine performance and are very much alive for the second leg a week from today. Let's give the lads what they deserve!

Click here to open the poll. A results-graphic will be available tomorrow, but you can see running totals after you've voted.

10 January 2022

A painful, painful lesson in schadenfreude...

It was all going so swimmingly well. All too well, it turns out. For about ten minutes or so, both Liverpool and Tottenham trailed their diminutive League One visitors as we prepared to visit Championship side Nottingham Forest. The glee, the schadenfreude, the lip-smacking, and more were all there for the taking as we savored the idea of hated rivals crashing out ignominiously against lesser foes while we prepared to advance. Alas, it was not to be as first Shrewsbury wilted in short order, ultimately succumbing to a 4-1 thrashing, and then Morecambe crumbled, agonisingly close to full time in a 3-1 scoreline that flattered Tottenham to no end. Then, to make matters worse, we'll all be eating a healthy serving of humble pie as we went down in flames—again—to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round.  I don't know what's worse: that Tottenham advance or that we crash out. 

07 January 2022

You Don't Want to Miss @Catsenal1's Analysis of #AFCMCFC

In the aftermath of our stirring, infuriating, inspiring defeat to Man City at the weekend, I present to you some rather unique and insightful analysis from Catsenal, a Korean YouTuber. His tactical analysis is spot-on, and his presentation offers some delightfully 1990s style 8-bit video graphics. Yes, the voiceover is in Korean, but the subtitles are in excellent English, and the insights are illuminating. You really do owe it to yourself to watch this video and to follow him on Twitter here. Once you've done that, come back and watch how well he breaks down our performance against the Prem's evil overlords.

03 January 2022

Rivals' Roundup #19(?): Fixtures Flying Fast and Furious

Between our last roundup and today, something like 93 matches were played and a similar number were postponed in what was, of course, a completely consistent and transparent process that in no way favored any club over any other, which is nothing less than we've come to expect from the FA. One upshot is that one club—Burnley—has played only 17 matches, while two clubs—Man City and Chelsea—have played 21. Surely, this explains each club's position on the table. It stands to reason, after all, that playing more matches earns a club more points. Much as I would love a deeper analysis into each club's over the busy holiday season, we all know that's not why any of us are here today. Instead, let's get to why we're really here: juvenile sarcasm, Simpsons references, and highly biased assessment of clubs.

01 January 2022

Arsenal 1-2 Man City: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

In an impressive display, Stuart Atwell won the match for Man City, waving off a possible penalty when Ederson clipped Martin Ødegaard in the box, issuing a somewhat dodgy when when Bernardo Silva flopped after contact from Xhaka in the box, sent Gabriel off with two yellow cards inside of two minutes, and essentially earned himself MOTM honours in what was an otherwise scintillating match. Look, I expected to lose this match, but brilliant play saw us take the lead through a well-worked goal from Bukayo Saka, and we looked to be have the upper hand, maybe even flirting with controlling the outcome for long stretches. In the end, our performance says a lot more about us than the result, and I come away both incensed but also inspired. If we continue to play like this, we'll seize a Champions League spot, no question about it. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, let's give the lads what they deserver (I recommend perfect 10s all around, not that I want to sway you unduly).

Here's the poll. Have at it!