Thursday, February 29, 2024

Terrifying Premier League drama

Morning all.

It was quite the day in the Premier League yesterday. For a while it looked as if Liverpool were going to drop some points, but late goals saw them come back to beat Fulham 4-3. They’re clearly not great defensively, but so far this season they’ve been able to offset that with sheer firepower. Whether that’s a sustainable way to go through a league campaign we’ll have to wait and see, but it’s working for them so far.

Then there was Man City’s 3-3 draw with Spurs. Obviously City dropping any points at all is good for our title ambitions, and I’m very happy that they did. However, I never want to see that lot do anything that makes them happy, so you have this weird sensation of being pleased at the result but upset by it at the same time. I guess I can live with it, but I don’t care for it one bit.

At the end of the game, there was an incident when the referee appeared to wave play on, Erling Haaland played Jack Grealish through, and then the whistle went, provoking some fury from the City players – the Norwegian in particular. I get the frustration, and no doubt Howard Webb will have his apology template fired up in Microsoft Word this morning, but this image will haunt my nightmares.

I am running through a forest, desperately trying to escape something. I don’t know what, but it is large and terrifying. I can hear its mighty hooves behind me, getting closer. Hammering off the earth. Faster, and faster. I take a look behind me, and there is a mighty moose with Erling Haaland’s ‘REF!’ face, his eyes like furious lava, his antlers are glistening cutlasses ready to slice me into tiny pieces, his blonde mane flowing behind him like vicious eels. I know moose don’t have manes, but this is a nightmare, all sorts of shit can happen. What if a ferocious human Haaland, head to toe in his fighting gear like the Night King, sat astride moose Haaland, relentlessly pursuing me to murder me because he thinks I’m Simon Hooper? I need to wake up immediately, and start wearing a wig.

Now he’s in your dreams too. I’m sorry, that’s just how it has to be. Afterwards, Pep Guardiola was asked about it and said, “Next question. I will not do a Mikel Arteta comment.”

Which is a bit weird, but then Guardiola is a weird little guy, so I don’t know why anyone would be surprised. So, so weird. It wasn’t even delivered with any real kind of humour, which makes it even more odd given the relationship between them. Perhaps it’s even calculated, designed to try and put some focus on Arteta rather than the behaviour of his player which ought to come under as much scrutiny as our manager’s comments post-Newcastle.

I’m all for grown men being allowed to express themselves honestly, but if what Arteta said is worthy of an FA charge, I guess screaming into the face of the referee – even if you are frustrated in the heat of the moment – is something they’ll look at. And in the end, perhaps Man City should be more unhappy about conceding three goals to Spurs than anything else.

Still, the weekend’s action leaves us top of the table, two points clear of Liverpool, and three of City. There’s a round of games this week too, and we’re in action tomorrow night against Luton. City are away at Villa, which is an interesting one, because they have been very good at home, and we travel there on Saturday evening. Might it be a good time to go there after they face a very tough game against the Champions? With an extra day’s rest too, although that means playing on Tuesday is just a bit more challenging.

Plenty to keep us going throughout the week, that’s for sure. Attention will turn to Luton in tomorrow’s blog, and in the meantime there’s a new Arsecast Extra for you to listen to if you haven’t had a chance yet. All the links you need are below, for now, have a good one!

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