Ah, Paris. A wonderful city. Beautiful, romantic, poetic, lyrical. If I were to choose a place to live other than London then it would have to be Paris. As the poet Mr. Ginsberg said, “You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden.”
Imagine attending a foot-ball match in Paris, travelling on the very pleasant Metro, adorned as it is with such evocative station names as Porte Dauphine or Arts et Metiers or Glacière, and using your trip to prevent someone from using said Metro based upon the colour of their skin. Perhaps, if that ever did happen, those pork-necked ruffians clad in blue and tailored by Mr. Stone Island were less in agreement with Mr. Ginsberg and more of a mind with base-ball batter Mr. Babe Ruth, whose mind-expanding thoughts were “Paris ain’t much of a town.”
Happily, the match passed without any such incident, proving, if any further proof were needed, that Arsenal are not only the biggest club in London, but also the most refined, cultured and elegant. Before we attend to matters Parisienne, we must address matters Southamptienne, for it was agin the deckchair cloth wearing south coast bumpkins that we played this Saturday last.
Amidst rain like stair rods our two debutants, Messrs. Perry and Masterson, striker and centre-half respectively. Mr. Masterson had no time for even a very quick Woodbine as Southampton made the best of it in the early stages; a dainty free kick on the edge of the box from Mr. Tadic reached only the fingertips of Harry the Helmet, deflecting it onto the yardarm and then off his back and into the net. Mr. Cousins found Fenton’s head from a corner but unsurprisingly it went over.
It was from another corner that the equalising goal came; reaching the pate of Mr. Cockleton, who sent it unwittingly onto the head of Mr. Perry, and then toward Mr. Costerley. Widdershins to popular opinion, Costerley is supremely skilled, not just for a centre-half, but for any outfield player and has now plundered 21 goals in his career for Woolwich. This was perhaps his finest; a perfectly executed Penny Farthing to level the score.
In the second half Southampton sat deeper than the Mariana Trench, hoping to catch us on the break. Orwell, Perry and Bell were all thwarted, and the ludibrious Mr. Shane Long, the supreme irritant, was thankfully his usually awful self otherwise we would have found ourselves on the end of another home defeat.
When Saunders came on the game had a new vim and yet there was no break through. Goring-Hildred, who currently couldn’t find a clown at a circus, let alone a goal, and it looked very much like a draw until Mr. Fonte checked Goring-Hildred’s sleeve length like a blind tailor and the referee pointed to the spot. Mr. Cousins was a picture of composure, waiting patiently before thrusting the stiletto between Southampton’s ribs for the victory.
To Paris then, and to that awful, ersatz team of mercenaries and footpads, the Chelsea of France, Paris St. Germain. Or as I call them, Paris Saint Ghastly.
On matters of team selection; there are two types of Arsenal fans who reacted to the omission of glove butler Harry the Helmet in favour of his understudy, Dai ‘The Offspinner’ Ramsden. There are those who were worried about him being between the sticks, and there are those who lied about it. And yet, despite being affrighted by the prospect of his inconsistency he was not at fault for Ghastly’s first goal, and thereafter it was a performance in which to deliciate. There were other somewhat eccentric selections; Saunders, who is not a centre forward, at centre forward and Webbley for Fenton. All in all this did not inspire confidence against a side containing Thiago Silva, Serge Aurier and Maxwell.
This is the ground upon which Mr. Nayim of Zaragoza punted a Hail Mary over Mr. Seaman. DO you recall this aberration? Many of you will have buried it until this week, like a painful childhood memory. He pops it in from 40 yards, over our moustachioed hero, who then lays down in his goalmouth like a resting gigolo.
Ghastly’s first goal was of less significance but of similar comedy value. The butler had barely set down my first Martini of the evening before the skeletal Cavani found the end of an Aurier cross and noggin-bobbled it in after 44 seconds. It was nearly a brace shortly after when Angel Di Maria, who has a face drawn by an angry ten-year-old, backheeled one into the path of Mr. Rabiot, but that man Costerley (The Bossterly) was yet again in the right place at the right time.
Arsenal rallied, spurred on by the effervescent Saunders, Mr. Webbley might have bagged one and Mr Masterson might have done better with a noggin-bobbler. Luckily the hapless Mr. Cavani was hilariously bad, wasting chance after chance.
Our own Cavani, Briadier Oliver Goring-Hildred, was brought into the fray, and his main contribution was to allow his tendency to brabble get him sent off. He really needs to pull his bloody socks up. The lovely idiot.
Late on the quiet Mr. Orwell found Webbley, whose shot was parried, but only as far as Mr. Saunders, who whizzbanged into the net to level the rubber.
From the sublime (Paris) to the ridiculous (Hull). Three points would be as welcome as a welcome mat at Welcome House in Welcomeshire. All eyes will be on that glove butler selection.