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As this Annus Horribilis draws to a close, we reflect upon those we have lost. Brixton’s chameleon Mr. Bowie, whose ‘Thin White Duke’ persona bears no resemblance to any Duke I know of, all of whom are either grossly obese or quite mad. Mr. Prince Rogers, of Minnesota, clad in purple and ruffs like an Elizabethan courtesan, and bestower of what is known in modern musical circles as ‘The Funk’. Mr. Michael. Mr. Lemsworth. Knee-high magician Mr. Daniels. The American actress Ms. Fisher. All of whom leave the world a poorer place. Yet Mr. Anthony Pulis is still with us. More of him later.

And what of The Arsenal in 2016? Ah, Arsenal. Like a beloved wife or husband for whom divorce is impossible, even when she leaves the lavatory seat up, or passes the port to the right, or eats asparagus with his or her knife and fork rather than with the fingers. Or wafts her bottom percussion out from under the quilt. We are conjoined forever, Arsenal and I, Arsenal and you. And as we stare at our beloved and reminisce of the ups and downs of that past twelve months, so must we stare Arsenal in the eye and reflect.

So far this season we have played 27 competitive fixtures. And the results have been tighter than a starfish’s gastric hemal ring; We have lost by two or more in only one game, and that was a League Cup match. I know what the naysayers will be saying when I posit that we have had a pretty bally decent start to the season. They will say ‘nay’, because that is what they do.

“Nay. We are nine points behind Chelsea. Nay.”

Chelsea, that gang of ghastly social climbing pigs, with a core demographic of pot-bellied racists, are spoiled. I don’t mean in general of course, although they are – how many of us can have an entire club created just for us with a couple of billion guineas of someone else’s money? No, I mean specifically at this moment.

The blue puke-stockings, and their smooth-tongued, dead-eyed manager Mr. Conte have won twelve games in a row since we schooled them at The Emirates. Chelsea are not nine points better than Arsenal and the gap, either below or above us, will be much smaller. Like a fat lad on cocaine attempting to win a marathon, the run won’t last. They play away at Tottenham Hotspur of Middlesex, Leicester Fosse of Leicestershire and Liverpool of Merseyside next month. We have seen what a club like Chelsea will do once results start to wane. They will turn on themselves, because they are a pack of duplicitous, self-centred, yeasty spur-galled dogs with exceptionally poor character.

The aforementioned Mugsmashers are also having a wonderful season so far. They have scored more goals this season than since the last time they were up to any snuff, the mid eighties. The Vulgarians are two ahead of us and still have to visit The Emirates. We lost two games in five days and whom are we still a point ahead of? Correct. Middlesex.

So all in all, hardly a disagreeable start. And then January. On the festival of the circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ we play Christ-al Palace in the SLD. Then we’re away at the Wilshere-Harbourers on the third. North End in the cup on the 7th, away at Swansea Town on the 14th before Burnley and Watford at home. So that is not the worst of Januaries.

A word then on Mr. Pulis, the man 2016 couldn’t kill. It came as no surprise that he would direct his latest host organism to defend in a block deeper than Loch Ness, fouling Arsenal just enough to frustrate us. Ultimately Mr. Orwell and The Brigadier were the difference. As is traditional for teams playing Arsenal, one player turns into a world-beating legend. This time it was their Glove Butler, Mr. Foster.

Yet he couldn’t keep out the finest second-string striker in Christendom, Oliver Goring-Hildred. His defender, as coached by still-alive hobbit Tony Pulis was more interested in grabbing him rather than playing the ball. And so: After 26 shots. 11 of which were on target, 8/10ths possession and DCCXXVIII passes (728 in modern parlance), it was one nil to the Arsenal, and we end the year with three points and a clean sheet. BRING ON
IANUARII!