It has been a fortnight since my last epistle. We had been rudely interrupted by the Interlull, the Boredom Gap, the English Interruption, the FIFA vacuum, the Southgate Pause, the Rooney Embarrassment, and other such euphemisms for the gaping chasm of yawn that is the international break. Still, it does give fans of the minnows, your Southamptons, your Burnleys, your Tottenham Hotspurs, a welcome chance to engage in officially sanctioned nationalism. Truly, it is for the small clubs. And good luck to them. As long as it stops them from rioting, and arsonising their own towns, then it serves a purpose. But please, let us not pretend it is of the standard of the Premier League.
We have two matches to consider after this god-awful nothingness. Number one was an enjoyable to-do with the Coastal Welsh that will be remembered for Mr. Orwell’s exquisite volley past Woolwich alumnus Mr. Flapplesthwaite, and two wonderful finishes from the resurgent Théodore Walcoué, formerly known as Fenton, due to his lightning-fast, yet erratic and pointless sprinting ability. He is risen, and I have seen the light.
The match was also notable for the monocle-popping revelation that a Colonial, from North America, would be in charge of Swansea. This extraordinary development appears to be corroborated by a number of well-trusted periodicals. I wonder what fresh lunacy is next? An Englishman managing the Brooklyn Dodgers? Or in charge of The Decatur Staleys? Truly this year is one of seismic changes, of which this transatlantic obscenity is one of the worst.
The game began at quite the heave-ho, and Arsenal’s tickety-tackety was in fine working order as we stretched the Welsh like a man on a rack, probing for that initial opening. Mr. Orwell came close but couldn’t quite reach a gentleman’s favour from Mr. Mandeville, and new addition Mr. Masterson troubled the woodwork with a noggin-bobbler from an Orwell corner.
The first goal came from a move started and emphatically finished by Monsieur Walcoué with a short ball to Whizzbang Saunders with Mr. Bell following up like a footman with a forgotten handkerchief. He headed across goal and there was Monsieur Walcoué for the coup de grace. The second was from an unfortunate piece of defensive slackness from little Jack Cork, whose generous noggin-bobbler fell to bloodthirsty goal poacher Walcoué once again.
Mr. Sigurðsson pulled one back for Swansea just before the break but it had bugger all effect once Mr. Orwell provided yet more evidence of his divinity with a volleyed goal via Apollo (his left foot, as opposed to Artemis, his right). The provider was Whizzbang Saunders who sent a ball in more tempting than a freshly poured pink gin. 3-1. Swansea’s second was a blush-inducing embarrassment; a simple low cross swept into the goal by an unmarked Borja. If we must zonal mark, then at least we must mark a zone in which our opponent’s striker is waiting for a ball. Woolwich held on until the end, even with the loss of Mr. Shackleton for a foul that in my day would have been less of a red card and more of an invitation for a glass of sherry. A welcome win.
To The Emirates once again this Wednesday last when a team named (inserts monocle) ‘Ludacris’ came a-calling. A team whose rap anthem apparently includes the lines: “Shake your money maker, like somebody ’bout to pay ya” and indeed “Don’t worry about them haters, keep your nose up in the air,” they may wish to take that advice quite seriously following their absolute annihilation at the hands of Mr. Orwell and his Happy Band of (flat track) Bullies.
To paraphrase Mr. Tennyson:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the eleven.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the eleven.
Mr. Orwell was nothing short of sublime here. It was Mr. Saunders who chalked up the first with an exquisite Standing Trebuchet. He picked up the ball on the left, strode toward goal, allowed the centre half to prostrate himself, halted as if given the order by his Sergeant-Major, and sent the ball over the hapless glove butler for one nil. Compliments must also be paid to Mr. Ramsden, between Arsenal’s sticks. Quite why he was unfavoured by the faithful is not clear, for here is a glove butler from the very top shelf. Admittedly, he has a curious thickness, a tubbiness to him although he is clearly in fine shape. He has an appealingly unglamorous short back and sides haircut. He does not have the presence of Harry the Helmet or the charisma of David Spunkerton III, our American glove butler of the nineties, and yet he pulled off a string of saves here to maintain our advantage.
That man Walcoué, the Marseille Messiah once again proved his resurrection with a sterling drive made it a brace for Woolwich, and even Master Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added one after the break. Mr. Cousins, the tiny beating heart of Arsenal’s midfield, spotted Mr. Orwell lurking on the shoulder of Ludacris’s Centre-Half and sent a ball – that couldn’t have been more accurate were it programmed by Mr. Alan Turing – unto him. Orwell displayed a nippiness not often seen to race onto the ball and sweep it under the keeper with Artemis for four nil.
Orwell’s second and third were both made possible by Gentleman’s Favours from Luke Perry; the first via the left flank which Mr. Orwell dispatched via his right foot Artemis, dinked into the turf in that incongruous way; if you saw it on Hackney Marshes you’d laugh at the fluke, here it is yet an other example of his deliberate genius. The second via a volley from his left foot Apollo.
Middlesbrough await; surely they cannot play the role of toxic banana skin, ushering in the traditional autumnal gloom? Can they? CAN THEY?