Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Writing’s on the wall …


The dust is settling after Sunday’s derby win, and hopefully our defeated opponents are feeling sad, but fueled by a sense of injustice as they prepare for their remaining fixtures. They have five games left compared to our three, and the one that everyone has an eye on is on May 14th when they host Man City.

That is a game I will absolutely not be watching. It’s partly superstition, which is nonsense of course, but also because if they win I don’t want to see them being happy. Which is unbelievably petty for a grown man, but there it is. I don’t make the rules, the voices in my head make the rules and they tell me what’s what.

The thing is, for that game to mean something to them, they have to come through a couple of relatively difficult fixtures first. They’re away to Chelsea on Thursday evening, a game where anything can happen. It’s the moveable object against the stoppable force. The Nicolas Jackson versus Richarlison showdown that nobody needs, least of all the two sets of fans, but for the so-called neutrals it could be entertainingly chaotic.

Then they’re away at Liverpool and while wheels have come off a bit for the Mugsmashers in the last couple of weeks, good teams – and they are still a good team – find ways to respond. After that, they have a home game against Burnley before they face Man City. Sp*rs need Aston Villa to drop points too, and perhaps they will be encouraged by the fact Unai Emery has a bit previous when it comes to faltering at the final step when his team is nearly qualified for the Champions League.

Villa play Brighton between two Europa Conference League games against Olympiacos (eeek!), then Liverpool, before Sheffield United Crystal Palace on the final day. It’s not cut and dried for them, but Brighton have been so bad lately after Fraudberto de Fraudzi got found out, and they’ll surely hammer the league’s bottom side you can’t look at this Villa side and not come to the conclusion that Emery did learn something about the Premier League during his time at Arsenal. They seem a more robust side, but then as a club I think they’re in a better place than we were during his tenure here and haven’t made the same kind of recruitment decision as we did back then. Which were, just to be clear, bad ones.

Apologies for the opposition focus this morning but that’s what it is when you come into the final stages of a title race. Permutations all over the shop. As long as it’s not in your own hands, you have to look at what could happen elsewhere.

Earlier I mentioned superstition, and as a rational, regular human bartender, I realise they are completely daft and have no influence on the real world whatsoever. However, as a kind of coping mechanism, I have mine. It’s not that I have a lucky shirt or a lucky pair of socks or anything as silly as that, because pieces of cloth or fabric do not have magical powers to decide the outcome of football matches, but here’s a small list of things I have been involved in this season.

Not shaving: Everyone thinks Arsenal going to Dubai was the catalyst for our improved form in 2024. The sunshine, the vitamin D, the training and preparation. Pfffff. It was because I didn’t shave after we lost to Liverpool in the FA Cup. That lasted until we lost to Porto, and I’m not saying I’m glad we were beaten but at that point I was starting to resemble some kind of grizzled yeti. There was also a moustache-ish period, but let’s not dwell on that.

Coffee cup: Matchday coffee for my wife must be made in the Poorly Drawn Arsenal mug which has Mikel Arteta making that face on it. You know, this one.

Scheduling of Arseblog content: I prepare and schedule the live blog post for each game at a specific time, until we lose. Then I add a minute and stick with that until things don’t go our way again. Add a minute etc.

Dog snacks: If I throw a biscuit for Archer and Lana, and they both catch them, this is a good sign. This sounds easy, but it’s more of a challenge than you think. Archer is 12 now, quite senior for a German Shepherd, and his eyesight is not what it was once was. He could use bifocals, I reckon.

There are a couple of others, but I’m gonna keep those to myself because even though I know this is all complete bollocks, I also need them. They are emotional life-rafts or something. Feel free to share your own in the Arses today, if you fancy.

I’m gonna leave it there for now, have a good Tuesday folks.

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