Dear reader, it is all my fault. The dark mood which has descended upon the faithful. The general air of ennui. The familiar tang of depression. The defeat at home against Watford – I shall ask the butler to type that one more time so it seems less of punchline to a music hall joke than an actual thing that happened – the home defeat against Watford – was entirely and completely my fault.
I am fabulously rich. I live in a stately home, furnished in red and white silk, with yellow and blue details and black skirting boards. I have an exact recreation of the pitch at The Emirates in a far corner of the estate. I have a fleet of cars including a 1959 Porsche 356A sunroof coupe called Herbert, a 1959 Mercedes Benz 300S called Ian, a 1954 Aston Martin DB2-4 called Seaman, a 1930 Bentley ‘Blower’ 4 1/2-Litre called Bastin. How can I afford such luxuries? It’s quite simple. I bet on Arsenal to lose the games which are, on paper, the most winnable.
My method is called” Arsenal’s Famous Ant-Midas Touch Method, or If It Can Happen It Will Happen or Arsenalistically Impossible Becomes Impossible.
You too can become a multi-millionaire, simply by taking a much more realistic view of how Arsenal will perform during a crucial game. For example, a game against bloody Watford, truly the Home Bargains of the Premier League. We could have been going into tomorrow’s lunchtime massacre against Chelsea if not nipping at their heels then certainly within sidearm firing distance. I would say that we could have seen the whites of their eyes but of course Chelsea players don’t have whites; they have pound signs grafted on to their eyeballs when they sign up with the devil. It’s part of the deal.
What convinced me to wager a substantial sum of money was the victory against St. Mary’s Church of England Young Men’s Association earlier tin the week. What a sumptuous display that was. Elegant, forceful, dynamic, full of vim and spunk. A hat trick for Fenton and a brace for Welé. The last time Welé started a game for Arsenal was in April, so it was just spiffing to see the lad, Brazil’s finest, sink back into the calfskin*.
This wasn’t just a fine attacking display though. This was a double-barrelled display. In one of the classiest teamsheets ever to have graced these islands, Geoffrey Reine-Adelaide and Ainsley Maitland-Niles both heartily stated “We Run Tings, Tings Nuh Run We” to Southampton, and run tings they most indubitably did. Woolwich are now into the sexdecim** for the seventh straight year. So, I thought, we are about to remove our pistol from its holster, raise a boot, and fire. I called my bookmaker, Barry Shifty McHonest, and laid down two hundred thousand guineas on a Watford win at 13/1. I am now about to buy Stoke (the entire town, not just the football team) with my winnings.
My dismay at seeing us start the first half like a gang of sherry tippling 80-year-olds on their way to the Post Office was tempered by the knowledge that I was likely to be collecting over two million pounds in winnings. My heart sank when they scored but my bank balance soared and when Fatty Deeney poked home their hilarious second my internal conflict grew ever more profound. The worse we played the likelier I was to become much richer. I can recommend it. When Watford looked likely to extend their lead I was literally bellowing at the magic lantern for them to do their worst.
We face FC Chelsea at half past twelve tomorrow. I am tempted – at 16/5 – to back Arsenal. We tend to do the unexpected. It would be delightful, would it not? Twelve points ahead – forget it, we’re just playing for poos and chuckles. Nine points – not unassailable at this stage. Six points? It might just prompt Mr. Conte to emit a squib*** and sow a seed of doubt.
We hope for a squib.
*To make a successful return. From Motor Racing, as in “He’s back in the driving seat. Look at him sink back into the calfskin like he’s never been away.
** The last sixteen. It’s Latin. Do try and keep up.
*** A nervous fart. “I’ve just seen a rozzer walk past the window. I’m afraid I’ve just emitted a squib.”