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”

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 Round Up: Liverpool and Arsenal Serve Up Early Christmas Cracker

Christmas is a time to put your feet up and take it easy and it was in this spirit that both defences on show at the Emirates prematurely entered on Friday night. With last season’s 3-4 bonanza still fresh in the memory, Arsenal and Liverpool served up an early Christmas cracker which only underlined both how enjoyable the two are to watch and yet why neither are even relatively close to being of a title winning pedigree. Continue reading “Premier League Round Up: Liverpool and Arsenal Serve Up Early Christmas Cracker”

Premier League Review: Arnautovic Basks In Hate-Fueled Glory

The act of celebrating a goal is a rich and varied art. Do you play it cool or erupt in emotion? If you have a pregnancy to announce do you go the thumb-in-mouth route or for the the ball-stuffed-under-your-shirt? Which font on your tailor-made undershirt will be easiest for the cameras to pick up? For the superstars, meanwhile, the celebration has become just another extension of the personal brand, every goal stamped with an unmistakable visual jingle to remind you once more who this particular goal was brought to you by. However, for all this complication, the importance of how you mark finding the back of the net is never more delicate than when you do so against one of your former sides. Continue reading “Premier League Review: Arnautovic Basks In Hate-Fueled Glory”