Premier League Diary: Week Two - Arsenal

In among all the hand-wringing, the wailing, the serious analyses and chin-stroking, it's easy to forget that what happened at Arsenal was very funny. Andi & Alex remind you...

Last Updated: 19/08/13 at 13:39 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Football People On TV: Garth Crooks

20 comments

Famous, not to say legendarily well-known, notorious and generally celebrated for posing interview questions that take the form of long sentences with...

Football365's Final Day Quiz - Questions

Post comment

As the Premier League season reaches its denouement, we bring you 20 questions regarding the final day...

All Articles

Neutrality is very important. For diarists like us, our neutrality and good looks are what set us apart from the moiling masses of fitba opinionistas, all of whom are crippled by their own partisan fitba opinions. Being neutral, being handsome, and being high-ranking Freemasons are the most important things in football diary-writing, and we tick those boxes so hard that our pen goes right through the paper and ticks all of the boxes, all of the way down. Does this make us superb lovers too? You can only speculate in the comments section.

But neutrality has its own set of problems. We, like everybody, have our own preferences and prejudices (though unlike everybody else ours are entirely correct). One of us, for example, has Phil Brown's face tattooed over his own, while the other has Jack Wilshere's face tattooed around his [bad word deleted - Editor In Charge Of Removing The Word Penis From F365 Articles]. And more generally, how does one maintain one's careful disinterest when Arsenal are so determined to have the entire world point and laugh at them?

Arsene Wenger has become a master of making and remaking essentially the same comedy, known as the Simon Pegg school of management. Against Aston Villa, after a competent and confident start, we were treated to another fine slice of farce de l'Arse: the same events, shuffled into a slightly different order, peopled by a familiar cast. It's a bit like watching a Woody Allen film, except always funny. High-ish and low culture references suitably crowbarred into the intro, we present the Arsenal Comedy Checklist...

Comedy goalkeeping? Check! In some ways, Wojciech Szczêsny's affection for the football is endearing. He loves it. He cherishes it. He wants it for his own. And he will come charging out towards it at a moment's notice, regardless of such trifling concerns as Gabby Agbonlahor, the limits of his own penalty area, and whether he'll end up looking like a berk.

Erratic defending? Check! While Laurent Koscielny's red card might not have been entirely justified, on which more below, Arsenal's defensive problems are bigger than just an unhappy knack for picking up bookings. Nor is it just as simple as 'lol, Kosc/Mert/Verm is rubbish'. To watch Arsenal is to watch a team that has heard of defending, that quite likes the idea of defending, but that hasn't managed to work out that this means they need to stand in the right sort of places most of the time. That goes for you midfielders especially. Yes, we know running forward with the ball is fun, but come on.

A lingering sense of injustice? Checkity-check! There are replays and screenshots circling this here internet that suggest that the second penalty might not have been quite as terrible a decision as it first seemed, but even so, there's an over-long advantage, a harsh second yellow, and a number of other outrages for Arsenal fans to get their teeth into. Does this matter? Or does this simply bring out the glorious flavours of the hilarity? We're going with the latter.

An almost palpable sense of deep and abiding frustration, of anger, of barely-suppressed disgust with the iniquity of the world, which manifests itself on the pitch with rushes of blood and, in the case of Jack Wilshere, a yellow card for being a bit of a dick, and which manifests itself in the crowd with strife, with factionalism, with booing, with counter-booing, with grumbling and impatience, with suspicion, with pieces of A4 paper imploring the manager to spend, spend, spend all this rumoured money on somebody, on anybody, on everybody, because it's starting to look like either a collection of very clever football people have forgotten how to do their jobs, or that somebody, somewhere, isn't being entirely honest with the fans? Yeah, that.

A gift for dominating the headlines to such an extent that causes everybody to completely forget their opponents, Aston Villa, who looked really quite good? Er. Um. Well, this is awkward.

Adding yet more injuries ahead of a Fenerbahce-sized Champions League qualification round, on top of a comically long pre-existing injury list that existed in the past, exists now, and will always, always, exist unless Arsene Wenger actually chooses to address it? Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says yes! Who will join him next week?

We don't mean to have a go at Arsenal in particular, fun though it is. But there are two reasons we bring all this up. First, well, nothing much else happened. Even Manchester United refused to play ball with the tricky-start narrative, meaning we have to keep that entry under wraps until they cock up at Anfield. Yes, Everton drew 2-2 with Norwich, but let's be honest with ourselves: nobody was watching. Not even the defenders - hence the four goals.

The second reason, though, is important. Almost all of the very, very serious things that happen on a football pitch are, with the obvious exception of things like grave injuries and racial abuse, very funny. When Rooney swore at a camera? Funny. When Suarez bit Ivanovic? Funny. The 8-2? The 6-1? The 5-2? Funny, funny, funny. Not for everyone, but hey, them's the breaks, and that's the price you pay. Yet none of the ultra-serious analyses of where Arsenal are going wrong, on and off the pitch, are going to take the time to remember this. So that's why we're here. It's important that even if you don't think our jokes are funny, you snivelling ingrate, you take the time to laugh at Arsenal's. After all, the alternative is pity, and nobody wants that.

Andi Thomas and Alexander Netherton

You can follow Andi on Twitter here, Alexander on Twitter here, and buy last season's Diary here.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

think Finnegans Wake would have been a better reference point than Ulysses. Far more rambling and incomprehensible.

debra2927
Football People On TV: Garth Crooks

I

f I recall correctly, Degsy predicted a 100/1 shot correctly the week after his 150/1 Blackpool 4 - 3 Bolton call. I stuck a fiver on it as an idle bet. Paid for a stag do in Munich. Heady days...

baldini
Backing Hull To Beat United 2-1...

R

odgers prefers Joe Allen to Lucas? If this is true then I'm setting aside a fortnight to finally learn the rules of American Football and I'll give up on real football.

godzilla
The Jammy Gossip

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Carlton Cole doesn't know if he will stay at West Ham next season

West Ham striker Carlton Cole revealed he still does not know where his future lies beyond this season.

Louis van Gaal believes David De Gea will stay at Manchester United

Louis van Gaal believes David De Gea will stay at Manchester United despite speculation linking him with Real Madrid.

Roy Hodgson wants Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard on England coaching staff

Roy Hodgson wants Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard on the England coaching team when they retire from playing.

Mail Box

Only One Real Manager Of The Year

Winning the Premier League with the best squad in the Premier League is only par; Ronald Koeman did a whole lot better. Plus, the last word on Raheem and...

Don't Slate Sterling For Ambition...

Raheem Sterling deserves credit for his desire to quit Liverpool, according to one mailboxer. Also: why football should not be compared to business and Degsy's latest spot of bother...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company