Ladies and Gentlemen, cast your minds back, if you will, to a time before Leroy Sane finished off a 19 pass move to put Manchester City three goals ahead of Arsenal at home. Back, in fact, to Wembley Stadium on Sunday, when the route to goal was a little more brutal. Claudio Bravo, the worst player in an excellent and expensive side, spots Seamus Masterson, perhaps our worst player in a terrible and expensive side, and spots that he doesn’t seem to have grasped where a centre half should be standing.
Mr. Bravo sends a goal kick directly down the centre of the pitch, Mr. Aguero says thank you very much, leaves our sentinel lying in a heap of despair and confusion and loops the ball over our glove butler and into the net. Five seconds, three touches. Yes, the key to unlocking Arsenal’s defence is to lump it down the middle, or to score from any set piece.
What does this tell us about the comparative state of the teams?
To state the obvious, Manchester City are a vile club, built on the wealth of an entire nation, skirting fair play rules like a grandmother skirting an ice patch on the way to the shops. They, like their close relatives Chelsea, are that most ersatz version of a football club. Success is being purchased rather than earned. They are vile and uncouth and a lot better than Arsenal. The only redeeming feature for Arsenal was the very slim compensation of watching Mr. Kyle Walker, owner of the fattest neck in Europe, winning a trophy, a feat he was unlikely to achieve playing for Middlesex.
Do you, like I, have fonder memories of Manchester City? When one could use them like a cashpoint for extracting monies in exchange for traitors, old rope and blaggards? Let us consider this. Between 2009 and 2011, the Abu Dhabi Vulgarians handed over in excess of £70million for the likes of the snake Samir Nasri, now serving a six month ban for doping and Emmanuel Adebayor, a very stupid snake indeed who won no trophies, left after three of the five years he had committed to and received a retrospective ban for kicking Robin van Persie in the face. We even managed to get some cash for dear old fat Kolo Toure, and Gael Clichy, awarded Most Annoying Face in Football 2012. Yet Manchester City don’t really even want our players any more. PLEASE, TAKE OUR PLAYERS. TAKE ALL OF THE PLAYERS. BID FOR ANY OF THEM.
Within the space of a few months in 2008, Arsenal purged three defensive midfielders from the ranks. Leslie Dairy, Gilbert O’Silver and
Matthew Flame were no more to wear the red and white. They have never really been replaced. And they certainly haven’t been replaced by number 29. Let us contemplate the case of Graham Shackleton, for it is he. One has to ask precisely what kompromat he has on Mr. Windsor to justify his continued selection? His arrival was exciting news; a tough tackling slightly unhinged midfielder with a cracking long shot and raking 50 yard pass. Muscular, imposing and aggressive. The reality is somewhat different. We seem to have signed a sporadically violent Championship player who can only pass sideways and offers no protection to the defence. What in heaven’s name has happened to cause the decline of Arsenal’s once great Empire?
There are a number of reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire, and we can draw a number of parallels. Our walls have been breached by the Visigoths in the form of Chelsea and Manchester City and their unlimited, unearned wealth. The financial crisis can be read as the lack of desire by the board to spend guineas in the right places. Political instability does not need further expansion. Yet the biggest factor in both the decline of Rome and the decline of Woolwich Arsenal is the weakening of the legions. Rome became unable to recruit enough from with Roman citizenry and emperors like Diocletian and Constantine began hiring mercenaries from abroad. These warriors, whilst effective, had little or no loyalty to the Empire.
So the solution is clear: Fewer Barbarians and more legionaries. And perhaps someone following Mr. Masterson around with an air raid siren to keep him alert.