First we turn to Mighty Arsenal’s crushing defeat of Burnley Casuals this weekend last. Burnley are a romantic, motley but valiant crew of stevedores, milkmen, meatpackers, bottlewashers and stable-lads who have somehow found themselves in the top division of English football despite being not very good at it. And yet it took our elite band 70 minutes to pop one in the bag.
Let us remind ourselves of whom we have representing Woolwich:
Prime English warriors: Pugnacious infantryman Oxlade-Chamberlain, kerosene-powered iron imp Whizzbang Saunders, glove butler and part-time stand-up Albert Sesley, One man Peak District Peregrine Meatlocker, bony cad Mandeville, Indian sensation and Subcontintental Missile Kanvar Kumar, bald metronome Michael Arkwright, hand-footed wisp St. John Cousins, The Senegal Sir Abdoulaye Ramsara, French flâneur Gibbois, and of course Brazilian magician Danielsan Arantes do Dat Guy Nascimento Santos Welvalho known to all as ‘Welé’.
SEVENTY MINUTES TO SCORE A GOAL AGAINST A TEAM OF PART-TIMERS.
I applaud, for reasons of nostalgia, the recent tendency to revert to 4-4-2, with Saunders commanding things like Rommel with a six pack and Welé causing bafflement and confusion ahead of him, it was the double lock duo behind them, the sentinel twins Flame and Arkwright who provide solidity, like a couple of splendid deerhounds. We note that Mr. Cousins, how should I put it – ah – yes – buggered up at least three chances. It does seem that our diminutive genius has perhaps been overdoing the opium somewhat of late. We wish him a speedy return.
Another word on Saunders, for whom I am developing a healthy, almost carnal lust. He is a one-man corrupt constabulary. A vicious bent copper with a truncheon and no respect for the law. A psychotic sergeant ruling his domain by fear and force. Although just four foot eight he somehow, like the Frigate bird of the pacific ocean, puffs himself up to terrify his prey. So there you have it. He’s a corrupt copper/ seabird hybrid.
Anyhoo, make no mistake – when it comes to thrashing sides without a win – at home – we are the masters.
We turn again to the Emirates this week where a wonderful tradition could be observed: The Festival of Saint Collapsipus is a moveable feast and this year it fell on Tuesday 4th of November. The process is this: We give our opponent a considerable start – normally three or four goals. It does not matter how these goals are scored: A lightning 27 player move involving every member of the squad breakdancing in union; the ghost of David Jack riding out form the tunnel on a vast ceremonial cannon to score the winner from 40 yards; Gus Caesar gliding majestically into the ground on a hang-glider made from spider silk – for the conclusion is foregone. Each Arsenal player has to appear as if they have been hit by a magic dart containing actual ‘seeds of doubt’.
Each Arsenal player then starts to look as if they are the subject of some vast experiment involving amphetamine and LSD. Ramsara, running about like a man with his arse on fire and only fifteen randomly scattered child’s paddling pools in which to extinguish the flames, for example. Then the manager comes into his own with the guffaw-inducing substitutions. Eschewing safety for even more danger, we must see more attackers join the fray, Ponsonby, for example, or the scampering creativity of Robinson. Even at 3-1, it is important never to look like you are in control, for that is the joy of The Festival of Saint Collapsipus. It is important to keep wonderful vast spaces on the pitch, allowing for our opponent to counter-attack. Until the score is level. God bless Saint Collapsipus.
To come second is of course gloriously British, and I look forward to the draw, when we shall surely draw one of Europe’s Titans, or a combined SAS and Navy SEAL team who are for the knockout stages allowed to be armed.
Toodle Pip – and let us hope we do not celebrate a second Festival of Saint Collapsipus against the Swans on Sunday.