Arseblog note: Due to circumstances beyond my control, last week’s post Sp*rs review was not posted. Thus, this week is a double header, starting with the most current and then onto the glorious fisting of that lot.
An ancestor of mine, William the Conqueror, waged a series of campaigns known as ‘The Harrying of the North’ in the winter of 1069-1070 to subjugate northern England. He laid waste to the northern shires, starving them, and savagely looting, burning and slaughtering, in fact, he put the laughter in slaughter. When all was done, he installed a Norman aristocracy in the region.
More than fifty years later, Anglo-Norman chronicler Orderic Vitalis said:
“The King stopped at nothing to hunt his enemies. He cut down many people and destroyed homes and land. Nowhere else had he shown such cruelty. This made a real change.
To his shame, William made no effort to control his fury, punishing the innocent with the guilty. He ordered that crops and herds, tools and food be burned to ashes. More than 100,000 people perished of starvation. I have often praised William in this book, but I can say nothing good about this brutal slaughter. God will punish him.”
Does this sound familiar? Arsenal’s Harrying of the North in recent times has comprised of starving the louts of Burnley and slaughtering the unwashed blackguards of Huddersfield, who kindly came all the way down to civilisation for their punishment.
In the case of subjugating Burnley, the coup de grace came pleasingly late, in an injury time period that had been lengthened due to their timewasting. How satisfyingly delicious it is to suffer the gamesmanship of a team for ninety minutes only to despatch them in injury time that they have created themselves. It is really wonderful stuff, and it enervated Mr. Dyche so much that journalists reported an even more potent stench of brimstone around this bearded devil lookalike. Has anyone ever seen his feet? Do we know for a fact that he does not possess two cloven hoofs?
It was Saunders who slipped the stiletto between the ribs, the penalty decision beyond doubt when James Tarkowski shoved Mr Abdoulaye Ramsara as Steven Collingwood noggin- bobbled across the goal.
Burnley are annoyingly well-organised, highly conservative, like a kind of dull Stoke City of a few years ago, but cannonade after cannonade of hoofed attempts at noggin-bobbling goals were repelled by our stout yeomen Messrs Costerley and Masterson, the latter being especially steadfast. Burnley were duly repressed, ad every man jack of them were sent home seething to their slum accommodation. And quite right too.
Huddersfield then, who arrived in London more in hope than expectation. The best thing ever to have come out of this club was of course Herbert Chapman, and the little matter of his departure, and the Second World War, meant that since their heyday of three successive league titles in the mid twenties they bounced around the lower leagues like a flapper on coke. And now, here they are, back with the big boys, and some their number even breaking their one bath a year rule for the occasion.
To be fair to The Terriers, they weren’t going to be humiliated easily. We had to wait a whole three minutes for the opening goal. And yet the early promise failed to flower, and Huddersfield assayed a few worthy chances in the first half. We went in to oranges just the singular goal ahead of the heathens.
They must have had some kind of idea that they were till in the game, but they had not accounted for a bloodthirsty four-minute annihilation in the second half. Orwell played a how-do-you-do with Saunders before serving up a gentleman’s favour on a silver platter for the Brigadier. Saunders then made it three with the assistance of Mr. Orwell, who helped himself to some goal trifle just before Goring-Hildred turned Huddersfield into Shuddersfield with goal number V. Truly this was a vintage performance, tearing the northerners asunder with movement, passing and shooting. We must do what we can to hold on to this extraordinary player.
So it’s now a full score from the last seven games at home. The Ghost of Novembers Past has been banished for another year at least. A dozen home league wins on the bounce. Mr. Lakeshead has a burning thirst for goals at home; five now, level with Rooney, Sane, Salah, Lukaku and our Lord Jesus.
Peradventure we can break our hoodoo against that purveyor of mass public transportation vehicle style defence? Will the cad Mourinho break the habit of a lifetime and send his team out to win, rather than wait for Arsenal to make mistakes?
More than perhaps any other manager, I hope we smite him hard tomorrow evening. I hope we humiliate this enemy of football. I hope our players disport themselves in such a way that it enrages the Portuguese mountebank so much that he gets sent off. He is a despicable individual. Perhaps a spot in a bridewell as a teenager may have reformed him, but he is beyond redemption now.
Let us send him to school tomorrow.
Are you aware of the ‘Bragger’? I don’t mean a braggart like Mr. Mourinho. I mean the style of perambulation that one adopts having beaten one’s deadliest, uppitiest rivals comprehensively and completely. It is portmanteau word which amalgamates ‘bragging’ and ‘swagger’. I believe it to be a close cousin to the North American Colonials ‘pimp roll’, or ‘gangster glide’ a kind of statement of one’s self-belief popular with the controllers of New York City’s Deuce area of nefariousness or the trilbied Sicilians of Chicago. I think I speak for us all when I say that every single man and woman jack of us this week have been adopting the bragger walk.
Into every workplace in London, the United Kingdom and beyond we strode on Monday morning. Like Mr. Alex and his droogs in slow motion, through the revolving doors, mere mortals – those fans of lesser clubs – quaking in our wake, tugging their forelocks, prostrate in front of us, entranced by our majesty. For we were the victors in that bi- annual cup final, the North London Derby, and heavens to Murgatroyd were we going to enjoy it. Do not, in any circumstances accept Tottenham’s claim that their win over Borussia Dortmund in any way made up for their lesson on Saturday. That is like claiming that even though your house burned down you had a lovely night in a tent so everything is fine and dandy.
Has there been a sweeter, juicier victory over Middlesex than this? Following last season’s unfortunate postponement of dear Saint Totteringham’s arrival and talk among certain members of the fourth estate that some kind of power shift was in the offing, we had several points to prove, and prove them we did. This was one of those victories that only highlight just how inconsistent Woolwich have been this season, but nevertheless, when we play like this, it seems churlish to highlight that point.
Tottenham were inferior in every part of the game; strategy, spirit, individual skill, teamwork, bottle, and most importantly, getting on the right end of some marvellously dubious refereeing decisions. The first of which was a Buggers’ Double, featuring a free kick out of nothing followed by a marginally offside goal, a noggin-bobbler, from our Irish chap Seamus Masterson. To go a goal down like this is like someone setting your trousers are on fire, then finding a puddle in which to sit down that turns out to be rats’ urine. Really wonderful, comical stuff, and the kind of hapless, searing injustice that we have been on the receiving end one too many times in the past.
The icing on the comedy cake was Maurice Pocket, who whined: “I do not need to say anything. It was obvious for everyone here and watching at home. It is not easy to accept because we lost the game but we have to move on and keep going. The free kick for the first goal and the first goal was obvious offside, maybe the second was too. When you play against a team in the top six, the big details are up to you. Sometimes things go against you but that is football.”
I enjoyed this hilarious and unseemly moaning, truly a rare delight, so much, I sent for a comedy trombonist to accompany the many, many replays of the interview I have enjoyed since.
Mr. Saunders made it two nil, and Spurs, who have conceded a single goal in a dozen prior visits to the Emirates, looked awful. It says a great deal that their ‘stars’, Harry ‘North Bank Upper’ Kane and Derek Alley were hooked in the second half.
The three-pronged attack of Orwell, Lakeshead and Saunders looked like the most potent trifecta we have at our disposal, and one has to wonder why Mr. Windsor has not more regularly employed it. Too obvious, perchance? Too on-the-nose to employ our best three attacking players in the front three positions? Maybe. But there was a reassuring Windsorian tic on show late in the game when Mr. Cockleton, who looks like a charity auction winner whose dream was to play for the Arsenal in an exhibition match, came on for Mr. Lakeshead on 77 minutes.
One imagines that the idea is to err on the side of caution, but if that is the case, shouldn’t one bring on a midfielder with more composure? And by that I mean shouldn’t one bring on a midfielder with some composure? One feels when Old Cocks is on the field of play that we are one well intentioned but murderous tackle away from going down to ten chaps, or one misplaced pass away from squandering a lead.
We shan’t dwell on the away aberration against Cologne. They are uncouth and vulgar and not worth a second thought. Thoughts now turn to Burnley on Sunday. We hope that one does not need to call the comedy trombonist to accompany the highlights reel.