We have almost reached the end of the season, dear chums. We have our Azerbaijani Adventure to come of course but for now, the Good Ship Arsenal has docked safely back into port. I say safely; I mean of course it just about limped home, crashed into the harbour walls, listing heavily with a hole on the hull, no lifeboats, with a nasty case of Legionnaire’s disease affecting the crew. And worst of all, five captains. Any seafarer will tell you that one captain is plenty.
The strangely boring title race has been won by the Abu Dhabi Asterisks, the dullest football team ever put together. A team of Steve Davises. Eleven Glenn Hoddles. A squad of Paul Scholeses. A gang of Michael Owens. Almost a dozen Gareth Barrys. Managed by a Spanish supercomputer. The Catalan Mekon. Davros in a V-neck. The most interesting thing about ‘Pep’ is the way he leaves a trail of trophies behind him, like a rat leaves faeces. Yes, that’s it. He shits trophies. Well done, ‘Pep’.
All it took was the entire wealth of a country to help you do it. Please have the slowest handclap there has ever been, at one beat per hour, going on for a millennium. A team so absolutely not bending the financial rules that they’re currently being threatened with a ban from Big Cup. They won’t be banned, of course, because they can afford the best lawyers. So there we have it. That is where we are in 2019. The Champions’ Lawyers League.
As for Arsenal, we finished a place better than last season. Or, to put it in starker terms, the table looks like this:
98 Manchester City
Manchester United, providing the end of season light entertainment, finished four points behind us.
So to cheer us all up, I am reviewing the chaps by comparing them to kitchen appliances. You shall have to forgive me for using their nicknames.
19. Bernd Leno/ Bernard the Gurnard
Not glamorous, but effective, and had some real moments of usefulness clearing up behind our extravagantly porous backline. We all need an effective mop.
15. Ainsley Maitland-Niles/ Ainsley Maitland-Niles
THE SPATULA YOU BUY WHEN YOU’VE BROKEN YOUR FAVOURITE ONE
It can’t be as good as the one you broke, can it? You loved that spatula. It saw you through hundreds, nay thousands of delicious meals. But it broke. You needed a new one. So you send the cook off to John Lewis and she comes back with a new one. It doesn’t look like the old spatula, but you know what? It spatulates almost as well.
5. Sokratis/ Soccer Tits
It’s good at cutting things. Meat, in particular. It needs to be handled correctly as in the wrong hands it can do an awful lot of damage. Feels good in your hand, doesn’t it? You feel… powerful. I wonder what else it can cut? No. NO. I mustn’t. JUST CARVE THE BEEF, MAN. PUT THE KNIFE DOWN NOW.
12. Stephan Lichsteiner/ Stephen Lightstone
SOME OF YOUR DAD’S OLD CAMPING CUTLERY
You have guests. A lot of guests. You don’t have enough cutlery. At the back of the drawer, battered and bent, you find a knife, a fork, a spoon, and a spork. They are pressed into service as a matter of last resort.
6. Laurent Koscielny/ Larry Costerley
YOUR FAVOURITE CORKSCREW
At the end of a long day, you reach for ‘Old Faithful’, a corkscrew that just felt so right that when it snapped last year you sent it off for repair.
31. Sead Kolasinac/ Steven Collingwood
You have some joints to prepare. You need a piece of equipment that does one thing very well. You need a meat cleaver. A solid, walloping meat cleaver. It cleaves meat, and that’s it.
20. Shkodran Mustafi/ Seamus Masterson
A GARLIC CRUSHER THAT DOESN’T WORK: R.R.P. £499.99
Honestly it’s a piece of shit. You don’t know why you bought it in the first place. You use a lot of garlic. So it made sense to get a really nice expensive one. Per use, that’s not too bad! It’ll last a lifetime. The reality is it doesn’t actually crush garlic. It hurts your hands to use. It squirts garlic juice up the wall and one of the bits snaps off and hits you in the testicles.
8. Aaron Ramsey/ Abdoulaye Ramsara
FINE PORCELAIN SET
You put it on eBay last week on a whim. Now it’s been sold for £0.01 and the buyer is coming to get it tomorrow. You now have nothing off which to eat and you’ve lost the money you paid for it in the first place.
9. Mesut Ozil/ Melvin Orwell
FINE CRYSTAL WINE GLASS
It’s SO expensive that you daren’t get it out of the locked cupboard. You only use it for drinking your best wines.
22. Denis Suarez/ Dennis Saunders
You were drunk and watching a shopping channel. You bought it on a whim. It is still in the box.
34. Granit Xhaka/ Graham Shackleton
FAITHFUL OLD SOUP SPOON
It gets the soup from one’s bowl to one’s mouth.
9. Alexandre Lacazette/ Alexander Lakeshead
THE BEST KNIFE IN THE DRAWER
To quote the chef Timothy Hayward: “Every day you pick it up and use it to create and transform. Eight inches of lethally sharp, ‘weapons-grade’ metal lying on your kitchen table, possessing the same potential for mayhem as a loaded handgun – and yet it is predominantly used to express your love for your family by making their tea.”
14. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang/ Patrick O’Bannon
THE BEST FORK IN THE DRAWER
There’s no damn fork better than this fork. It is exquisitely designed, it is elegant, it is solid, its tines are exactly the right length and it is in the right place at the right time.
17. Alex Iwobi/ Alex Webbley
THE ONLY BOWL YOU’VE GOT
It’s literally the only way you have of carrying things in the kitchen. You have nothing else capable of moving items of food, prepared or otherwise, from once place to another.