Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Early season ups, downs, and Mugsmashers …

It’s probably the last day of summer here. Today’s forecast is for sunshine and 25C (real feel 28).

After that, things will revert to the mean, days get shorter, mornings darker. And that’s how you know you’re in the meat and drink of the football season. Perhaps this is just me, but I find my most vivid memories of football seasons – beyond the ones where success comes at the very end – are in the early weeks. I think it’s the good weather.

I’d need to look this up, but it feels like we’ve played Liverpool more often than any other team in this period. The game at Anfield in 2010 when Laurent Koscielny got sent off on his debut, and the following year there was a game at home when it pissed rain, Emmanuel Frimpong got sent off, and Samir Nasri got a load of praise for, you know, doing his job after spending the whole summer presenting like a cat in heat to Man Utd and Man City. That was not long before the Mertateta trolley dash.

Ignasi Miquel played for us that day too. I just looked him up, he’s currently playing for Granada, four appearance so far this season in La Liga but they’re struggling in 16th. One win from four. He turns 31 towards the end of this month, but until then remains 30. That’s how it works.

We beat Liverpool 2-0 on a Monday night in August 2000 when Patrick Vieira was sent off by Graham Poll, the Mike Dean of those days. Thankfully nobody has given him a television job. It was Vieira’s second red card inside 72 hours, having been sent off on the opening day against Sunderland. We lost 1-0. That was the game where a newly arrived Robert Pires sat on the bench, looked on at the intensity of the Premier League and thought ‘Oh sweet holy merde, what have I let myself in for?!’

What’s mad, looking back, is that the red card then didn’t prevent him from playing in the next match whereas now it’s automatic, but also that we played Sunderland at 3pm on a Saturday and then Liverpool at home on the Monday evening. What the hell? Imagine if social media had been around for that? The outrage, the conspiracies, the accusations, it would have been off the charts. Which, when you think about it, tells you it should really be labelled antisocial media and illustrates why something like Twitter is dying a slow death because most normal people can’t abide relentless toxicity and will find something better to do with their time.

Twitter would also have had a field day with the rumours that went around after that second Vieira red card. There was talk he ‘cleaned out his locker’, furious with his treatment by referees, and that he was done with English football. He threw his shirt away as he went off too. That would have been enough for @SupaGooner45389460 to insist he had besmirched the honour of ‘are once grate club’ and call for his immediate departure.

After the game, Arsene Wenger said:

“I would not want to repeat what he said when he came down the tunnel. We are all human and after Saturday’s sending-off this was hard to take.”

Liverpool had two players sent off that night too. Gary McAllister and Didi Hamann. Eventually Vieira calmed down, but Graham Poll remained a massive prick. That’s how it works.

What about Liverpool at home in August 2016. A beautiful sunny day, that sense of optimism that can only come on on the opening day of a new season, which then becomes a head-scratching wake-up call because you started with a centre-half pairing of Rob Holding and Calum Chambers, and a midfield duo of Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny. With all due respect to those involved, not exactly premium. We lost 4-3. Still, at least Philippe Coutinho, who scored two goals that day, has seen his career go off the rails to the point where not even Aston Villa can be arsed with him.

Speaking of Calum Chambers though, every week I see him named on the Villa bench and he never gets on. It’s a bit sad really. He always seemed like a good guy, but injuries really didn’t help, and perhaps he came too soon for the era when centre-halves became full-backs as a matter of course.

Anyway, hopefully he can bang one in against Spurs or something this season. That’d be nice for him. Then he can open a chain of high-end barber shops, with its own range of beard oils. The future is bright for Handsome Cal.

Much like today. So I’m going to get coffee and sit outside in the garden. Have a good one folks.

Previous articleNicolas Pepe set for Trabzonspor
Next articleBuzzing

Related articles

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast