Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Andrei Arshavin is now officially a Gunner and the TLOCA is ecstatic. I've been using words like ecstatic, overjoyed, and turned-on for 48 hours now. I answered the why but didn't really believe Arsenal would get him. Now that he's signed it's important to outline why this Arsenal team is destined for silverware. If Arshavin weren't cup-tied, a term I now associate with the sharp testicular pain I felt whence soccernet reminded me, the argument would once again be, "Arsenal for the double." The FA and Champions League double of course.

There is still this leeeetle problem that sets off my nervous tick whenever I think about it. 5th place. Fifth place - the only end to this season more depressing than the thought of Cesc Fabregas drinking sangria and feasting on a 3-foot diameter bowl of paella with a shapely 5'5 brunette girl with dark brown eyes. Arshavin's arrival only compounds the 5th place issue. A healthy Arsenal squad with Arshavin and Cesc running the show could be the best tournament-format team currently assembled. The Arsenal squad may also be ripe for a midtable finish in the EPL but here comes my nervous twitch again.

The Russians were built for tournament formats. Ask Pavlyuchenko who eats hardy during the Carling and FA cup, ask the Nederlands who got worked something/twirked something. The Russians excelled in the Euros against new opponents and more specifically teams that sought to bring their own game. It's no coinicidence that Arsenal enjoys the same successes. Teams that try to attack get ripped apart by the Gooners and the EPL has learned this. Which is why they don't. It's almost as if Arsenal is given too much respect. How many times this year has a manager come out and said, "we didn't intend to defend, we had to." Oh really. A bumbling Adebayor forced you to defend huh? Right. But I digress.

The point is that in a tournament format, teams have to come out of their own half. Relying on a draw or worse, a wondergoal gets you by in the Premiership but not in the FA cup or Champions League. If it weren't for Kolo Torre flailing uncontrollably behind Ryan Babel, things would obviously be different. But he did flail, and Cesc got hurt and we didn't make any moves in the transfer win... oh wait, we did. And that's the difference. That's why finishing 5th is gonna hurt even more than I thought. Because next year is the year. Next year is Arsenal's best chance at European glory. It'll be Cesc's last year, Van Persie will be healthy, Walcott will be ready, Adebayor will have woken up, Vela will assume Walcott's role, Clichy will stop slumping, Bacary will be doing his thing. Next year is the year.

I think we can get by Roma this round and hopefully draw Porto or Atletico next but past that we're not going. And I hate rooting against Aston Villa and their inevitable 3 match losing streak* but the Arshavin move has changed everything.

Tottenham is next.

*which I predict to occur when they play Liverpool, United and Everton, or even perhaps earlier when they hit a hot Manchester City, a hotter Tottenham, and then Liverpool. That's a horrible, just terrible stretch for them: Chelsea, Stoke, ManCity, Tottenham, Liverpool, United, Everton. If they get 7 points out of those 7 games then I'll call it a success.