Behold the glory of Mr. Nobby Mandeville.
There are some Woolwich players who are luxury buys. Mr Saunders, and Mr. Orwell, more of whom in a moment. They are the tailored suits of football. The luxury sports car. The country pile. Then there are the players who are necessary purchases.
The off-the-peg suit from somewhere dull and reliable like Aquascutum. The large, practical family vehicle required by one’s nanny to ferry one’s issue about in. The discreet mews house in which one installs one’s mistress.
Mr. Mandeville fits very neatly in the second category. And yet there he was, with a strike as true as any we’ve seen from our forward players this season, putting us one goal to the good against plucky but relegation-bound upstarts Brighton and Hove Albion. His first goal since 2013 and his very first at The Emirates. Sometimes all one requires is a bog-standard one thousand pound suit.
Let us not be lulled into feeling that this upward trajectory will last. My housekeeper describes the torture of using an intermittently faulty ‘shopping trolley’. One minute one will be gliding down the bakery isle, the next, one is out of control, careering into a display of American breakfast cereals. My dear friends, this version of Arsenal is that shopping trolley and behind its steering bar is our manager Mr. Windsor.
So when we begin crashing into displayed groceries, it may well be a faulty wheel, or it may be that Mr. Windsor has decided to attempt to spin the trolley three hundred and sixty degrees one-handed. Just to see if he can. We note he has been nominated for Manager of the Month, so expect October to be as successful as the Theresa May’s speech to her party this week.
On the matchup itself, a two-nil win was embellished by a sparkling jewel of a goal, involving Abdoulaye Ramsara, Whizzbang Saunders and Alexander Lakeshead, and finished with aplomb by Alex Webbley. It was a goal of baffling interchange and confounding movement, which left Brighton’s players so confused that every man jack of them looked like they were momentarily unable to find their arses with both hands.
We should consider the performance of Mr. Alexander Whizzbang Saunders, our wantaway giglet. This remarkable cove, who seems to have come to the highly unreasonable position that he does not wish to play in Europe’s new Super Elite competition, The Europa League of Champions. Perhaps he feels that his powers will be under far higher scrutiny than they would be in the lowlier Champions’ League. Perchance he wishes to be a big fish in a small pond.
My advice to him is this: if you are a big fish, and you move to a small pond, your room for manoeuvre is highly limited. Ultimately your lips will be touching one end of the pond and your little flappy tail will be touching the other end of the pond. If your pond is circular the best you will then be able to hope for is to rotate like a gramophone record. This way, and then perhaps that way for a bit of a change. Think on, little Whizzbang.
Stap my vitals, he is quite sumptuous though, is he not? Even when he’s being a sulky little embuggerance. Twice as many chances created and twice as many shots as any other Woolwich player. TWICE AS MANY. Since the start of his season he’s been a part of 35 Premiership goals with two dozen goals and 11 gentleman’s favours, including an Achilles Special for Webbley agin Brighton.
Perhaps by dropping down to a Champions League club he wants to up his statisticals even more. It could be that he wishes to create three or four times more chances than his colleagues in a smaller club like Paris St. Germain or the Abu Dhabi Vulgarians. I cannot believe he is that vain, and I hope he stays and fights for his place. Like Mozart would have to fight for his place in a team of Salieris.
Mr. Orwell, coveted by Newton Heath, would not be a big fish in a small pond in Manchester. He would be a big fish in a horrible pond filled with United fans from Guildford with no decent restaurants. He could take his pick from the overpriced provincial two star fare they slop out to the brainless buffoons of United and City, but doubtless Mr. Orwell has got used to things that they simply do not have in Manchester, such as culture or refinement.
Ruined brick industrial buildings, yes. Serviceable opera, no. He would also do well to consult the list of Arsenal players who leave Mr. Windsor’s tutelage only to discover, much like a cartoon character who hastily runs off a cliff, that there is nothing supporting them just moments before they drop to earth. Oxlade-Chamberlain, the £35m waterboy. Mark Overmark, £25m sprint champion at Barcelona.
Ashley Cole, who now has to deal with a lifetime of humiliation for his career choice. Patrick O’Feery of Cork, who went to Juventus to unexpectedly retire. Alex Hudd, as popular in Catalonia as a Spanish flag. Mr. Fabington, another humiliated individual, he became the slowest, fattest and baldest snake in Europe.
Mr. Orwell, I urge you: look at those who have trodden this path before you and think long and hard before you move to the wastelands of Manchester.