Rampant Arsenal Reaping the Rewards of Transfer Market Good Fortune

A month ago, as the expectant chimes of a new year gave way to the humdrum tedium of daily existence once more, Arsenal found themselves in a most familiar condition. There’s an old journalistic truism that states “dog bites man is not news, man bites dog is” and such a template can be co-opted for the purposes of capturing the late-Wenger era: “Arsenal in crisis is not news…” etc. Continue reading “Rampant Arsenal Reaping the Rewards of Transfer Market Good Fortune”

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Theo Walcott and Everton Walk Hand-In-Hand Into Existential Malaise

It must have been a weird feeling for Theo Walcott on Saturday as he watched Oumar Niasse turn his headed cross into the roof of the net. Not because this was the first time in well over a decade that the winger hadn’t been setting up someone in an Arsenal shirt, but because it was the first time in almost two years since he’d set up anyone in a Premier League game. Continue reading “Theo Walcott and Everton Walk Hand-In-Hand Into Existential Malaise”

Chords Begin to Strain In the Ballad of Bakayoko

‘Ten-man Leicester hold on for point at Chelsea’ read many of the headlines after Saturday’s goalless draw between the Premier League’s two most recent champions. Yet, whereas the visitors did a worthy job of reacting to the predicament posed by Ben Chilwell’s dismissal midway through the second half, their hosts had progressively been wrestling with the same problem long before the young left back went flying uncontrollably into Victor Moses like a novice ice-skater suddenly stripped of his equilibrium. Continue reading “Chords Begin to Strain In the Ballad of Bakayoko”

Footballing Driftwood: Hughes The Victim of Stoke’s Growing Identity Crisis

A few months ago scientists in America revealed new findings equal parts fascinating and terrifying. Among people suffering cardiac arrests, experts announced, even after your body has given up the fight and your heart has pumped out its last desperate beat, there’s enough residual blood sloshing around your brain to briefly keep it functioning as though your entire existence hasn’t just been abruptly sucked into a cold, black eternal void. The upshot of this cheery piece of news is that those of us unlucky enough to suffer the torture of a sudden heart-attack face the added delight of hearing our own deaths being announced to our loved ones before body and mind are finally unified in shuffling off the mortal coil. Continue reading “Footballing Driftwood: Hughes The Victim of Stoke’s Growing Identity Crisis”

Premier League Round-Up: The Madness of December is Over, the Insanity of January is About to Begin

As the fixture lists thicken, so too does the plot. The Premier League has always prided itself on the brutality of its winter schedule, of the underlying feeling that, while any team can vault themselves into its upper echelons through no more than deep pockets, to scale its summit demands a resolve deeper still. Continue reading “Premier League Round-Up: The Madness of December is Over, the Insanity of January is About to Begin”

Premier League Midweek Roundup: Claude’s Revenge

In the summer, the powers that be at St Mary’s concluded that an eighth place finish, complemented by narrow defeat in the League Cup final, fell so far short of expectations that it wasn’t even worth giving the architect of such a calamity a chance to turn things around. Maybe his meek demeanour persuaded them he wasn’t quite cut out for the brash brawl that is the Premier League? Maybe after seeing the previous two managers they’d headhunted desert them in pursuit of fancier projects (with very mixed results), the board just wanted to be the ones who got to dictate the terms of disengagement for once? “It’s not you Mr Puel. It’s us”… “We just don’t think we’re in a place where we can give you what you deserve right now”… “You’ll always hold a special place in our hearts”. Whatever the case, revenge is a dish best served Claude. Continue reading “Premier League Midweek Roundup: Claude’s Revenge”

City Sew Up Title as Moyes Throws Battle for England Number 1 Shirt Wide Open

Much like Christmas, Manchester derbies have in recent years taken on especially festive feel, a sense of operatic extravaganza that begins to unfold long before the two sides take to the pitch and, as reports from the Old Trafford tunnel attest, doesn’t reach its conclusion until well after the final whistle is blown. Continue reading “City Sew Up Title as Moyes Throws Battle for England Number 1 Shirt Wide Open”