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Tuesday 11 November 2014

Sunday Bloody Sunday

 I'm fast growing to detest Sunday matches, due to having to bash out a missive immediately after the match to meet my deadline for the Irish Examiner. Either I should've known better than to take the mickey out of my Spurs pals prematurely, as they suffered another case of the Thurs/Sun Europa Cub blues at White Hart Lane in their miserable defeat at home to Stoke, or I should've been glad to have got my digs in at them early, before the Gunners went and spoiled our afternoon and left me having to suffer all the sarcastic barbs back in return. 

But what I do know is that if we should ever end up having to endure the Thurs/Sun vagaries of Europe's Mickey Mouse competition (which is looking all the more likely this season), I'm emigrating!

Meanwhile in my rush to meet my deadline, knowing there's a sub-editor in Cork waiting for my copy to be able to put their Sports Supplement to bed and put his feet up, if anyone read last Weds' blog then you'll have to forgive me for repeating the closing sentiments, in my efforts to bring the following missive to a swift conclusion.

Keep the faith

Sunday Bloody Sunday
Spot The Mascot?
As the sort of superstitious creature of habit, who farcically, feels my choice of underpants can continue to have some influence over the outcome of 22 men kicking a ball about on a football pitch, it’s very rare for me to alter my matchday rituals, in any shape or form, unless it’s in an effort to instigate a change of fortune.

Having grown accustomed to the array of cheap tat that turns up every Autumn, in the box that makes up our Arsenal membership pack, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that instead of the usual worthless trinket, we’d been gifted a cozy red & white Wee Willie Winkie hat, perfectly timed to coincide with the drastic drop in temperature.

However after my titfer made it’s debut in our hapless midweek collapse versus Anderlecht, such was my urge to vent my frustration, after throwing away a 3-goal lead that my snug winter headwear was fortunate to make it home in one piece.

Yet so perfect was my new hat for it’s football purpose that I couldn’t possibly consign it to the drawer that’s jam-packed with all my other seemingly jinxed Gooner gear, following what was only an honours-even outing; and in truth no less than we deserved, after having gutted the Belgians with our late smash and grab at their gaff.

Although sadly, I fear that Sunday’s foolhardy defeat to the Swans has doubtless sealed my new hat’s fate, with it almost certain to return to the box from whence it came, at least for a sufficient amount of time for the memory to fade of its role in this infuriating sortie to South Wales.

Having departed the blue skies of “the Smoke” for an awayday jolly on the sort of crisp autumnal morning that has one lusting after an afternoon on the terraces, I really should’ve seen the writing on the wall, when no sooner had we crossed the Severn Bridge than the heavens opened to rain on our red & white parade.

The fervent environs of the Liberty are never an easy 3 points, but after our fairly routine success on recent visits, I was feeling somewhat optimistic, until it dawned on me that Monreal would be confronting the muscular Wilfred Bony. It’s not Nacho’s fault that as a centre-back, our Spanish defender does a decent impersonation of a window dresser and that his patent unfamiliarity with the role infects our entire defence, with a panic-stricken lack of composure

With Koscielny’s return from injury in such doubt that the club refuse to even offer an estimated date, I now realize why I had such cause for concern, when his “Achilles niggle” first came to light back in August. Now if only Arsène had been equally disturbed by the highly likely prospect of losing one of only SIX defenders for such a long period, le Prof might’ve pulled his finger out and found some cover!

At the very least I assumed that with “parking the bus” not being an option for the Swans playing in front of their own fans, their open passing game has complimented our own football in the past and I thought we were guaranteed some entertaining fare. However such expectations couldn’t have been more misplaced, as we were forced to endure watching both sides timidly prod the ball around in their own half, during a dreadfully pedestrian first 45.

Singin' In The Rain
Ironically it seemed to be the torrential downpour immediately after the break that finally set this encounter aflame. And when it eventually came, our goal also proved quite refreshing, when the Ox remained on his feet despite being clipped as he burst through on the counter. Where if it had been Wilshere in his shoes he would’ve doubtless hit the deck and settled for another feeble set-piece. Moreover it was great to see Welbeck display the sang-froid to cut the ball back and put the goal on a plate for the ubiquitous Alexis.

Despite the Gunners struggle to find some form since the start of the campaign, for a few glorious minutes it felt as if we were somehow going to end up returning to London, lying 3rd in the table, only a point behind City and that perhaps by stringing a few stuttering results together, we might finally begin to garner some confidence.

Sadly it wasn’t long before Gooner Chicken Licken found himself suffering the agonizing sight of the sky falling in and yet again for all our players frailties, it’s very hard to see past an impotent Arsène as the principal scapegoat in this recurring disaster movie.

With the Swans finally getting up a head of steam in their rescue mission, as was the case against Anderlecht, I simply cannot fathom how it is possible that we have no one on the pitch, or the bench capable of implementing the basic spoiler principles necessary to see us over the finishing line Instead of which we witnessed the familiar sight of Wenger shutting the substitutes door after Swansea’s two-goal horse had bolted.

Unconfined Joy All Too Short-Lived
It’s really rubbing salt in our wounds to see a relentless Chelsea grinding out the sort of results that have got the media inspiring Mourinho, as the world begins to ponder the possibility of him repeating our unbeaten Holy Grail. While Alexis apart, the insipid air around the Arsenal appears symptomatic of the sort of complacency that exists throughout our beloved club, with everyone far too secure and comfortable in the knowledge that unlike almost everyone else in the game, they’re in absolutely no risk of the “tin tack” due to one bad result and can plod inconsistently on, seemingly ad infinitum.
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