In the News: Clattenburg has jacked in his real job to take a tax free £1m a year in the middle of the desert. But it’s all about the next generation of referees and making a difference. Honest. Klopp has blamed the lack of a winter break for the Mickey Mousers’ collapse in the title race. I blame the fact that they are f*cking hilarious and couldn’t beat Swansea. Or Hull.
The Others: Who’d have thought you could have so much fun with European football when you’re not in it. (As HWWNBN keeps reminding us, even though he is largely the one responsible) Always nice to see Farca get a thrashing. L’Equipe gave Messi 2/10, for he had not a single touch in the PSG box. For the record, Klopp, he did have a winter break and it didn’t do him any favours. Marca actually refused to rate eight of the blue and red striped f*ckmuppets, which was about half as amusing as Sp*rs getting turned over by a mid-table Belgian side. God bless gallant little Belgium. And their fantastic chocolate. Always the icing on the cake too when Alli ends up flailing round when he doesn’t get his own way, like an ASBO teenager who’s had more than a whiff of White Lightning, and ends up in the book too. Have that you petulant, diving little sh*tc*nt. I also had a giggle at Howard Webb, “live from the match truck”. Which I swear is parked somewhere in a Slough industrial estate because the cheapskates at BT won’t fly him out to sit with the prima donnas.
But. If all those things marginally amused me, I actually shed tears of laughter watching L’Arse. There are very few days when I want to sit and watch the post match analysis of an Arsenal game in minute detail. Wednesday, however, was one of them. I know if we were better people we’d mind our own business and not gloat. But I’m definitely not a better person. In fact I’m three gins down and this is like when you drive past a smash up on the M25 and you think, morally, you’d be more likely to go to heaven if you didn’t gawp at the carnage, but you just can’t help rubbernecking at the fender bender. And so priceless moment #1. Whinger said that Arsenal had the advantage of playing the second leg at home. It’s not an advantage if you get willingly violated like Phil Thompson at an Anfield gangbang in the away leg beforehand. Priceless moment #2. Rio Ferdinand, despite having seen Arsenal play with about 20% possession in the first half, invoking all four of his brain cells, gormlessly waxes lyrical about how this time Arsenal look like they might have the measure of Bayern Munich. Before they concede a truckload of goals and go down with more conviction than the Titanic if she’d been weighed down with Steve Bruce‘s arse. It’s a good job Rio only has one facial expression, (Baffled and confused) because it was fully utilised after the game. Perhaps I’m about to be too harsh. They did lose Koscielny after all, who appears to be the only Arsenal player with a set of testicles/any fight in him. (I exempt Cech, obviously, because I don’t really class him as an Arsenal player and perhaps Oxlade-Chamberlain, though if only he had the talent or the footballing brain to go with his gonads) And Bayern had some neat tricks up their sleeves that Arsene couldn’t have prepared his hapless dickheads for. I mean who wouldn’t have been completely flummoxed (Awesome word) by the notion of Robben cutting in on his left foot. This is sarcasm. Because that was about as shocking as another wedding announcement from Katie Price. For the first time in my life I agreed with Roy the Reluctant, (Keane) who treats each punditry outing like he is about to have root canal. When Kieran Gibbs is wearing your captain’s armband away at Bayern in the knockout stages of the Champions League, you are most heinously f*cked.
I took Pep apart a few weeks ago, therefore it is only fair that Arsene gets it with both barrels this time. Because though things looked decidedly depressing for the Goons at this point, they were not out of the competition yet. It was 1-1. Cometh the hour, cometh the manager. Or not. Four minutes after their captain went off, they were behind. Even this need not have been the end of the world. You hold 2-1, you moron. Because then you only have to win 1-0 at home. Your fans don’t care if it’s not pretty, they just want not to be humiliated again. They just don’t want to have every Chelsea fan they know ripping them apart like jackals in the office on Thursday morning. For the love of God, Arsene, we hear them cry, just show some common f*cking sense. Marlene (sitcom alias) sent me a text at this point. “He’s just too f*cking proud to make an intelligent footballing decision.” Happily for all of us, this was exactly the case after the whole fixture started caving in around the Goons’ ears. Instead of damage limitation. Whinger brings on Walcott and Giroud at 4-1. This confirmed for me that he has actually lost his mind. This was the football managerial equivalent of that episode of South Park when Mel Gibson goes bonkers and runs around taking dumps on car bonnets in his Braveheart makeup shouting KABLAAAAAR!
@TalkOfTheBridge pointed out on Twatter: Ozil cost more than Hazard, Xhaka (lol, just L O L) cost more than Kante and Mustafi cost more than Luiz, but Arsenal apparently don’t have the spending power to compete which is why they are a mess. No, say I. They are a mess because Wenger should have bowed out after the FA Cup win in 2014. I’m not going to laud the good things he has done for their club, because it will make me sick in my mouth, but they exist. The fact is though that at 67 he has nothing new to offer Arsenal, and if they are going to progress as a club he needs to step down sooner rather than later. The world of the football manager has evolved. It is no longer the vestige of the old bloke shuffling up and down the touchline imparting decades of wisdom. Conte, Eddie Howe, Sean Dyche are prime examples of the dynamic, flexible, relentless approach now needed at the top level. It’s why Van Gaal looked like a turkey who’d stumbled into Bernard Matthews’s garden throughout his United tenure. Wenger’s already degraded his legacy somewhat and if he waits to be pushed it will take it apart. It was quite sad to see him incoherently waffling on in his post match interview. He looks like a sad puppy. If it’s not the manager that gets angry, fine, but then someone on his staff needs to be a monster if necessary. Everything about Arsenal from Wenger down is just listless. They are football beige and it all emanates from their manager. Don’t worry. My sympathy lasted for about a second. Then I poured myself a gin, because that football beating was worthy of a toast. £8.3m a year. That is what Wenger apparently earns. They can give me 1/10th of that to act like a delusion f*cktard and deliberately sabotage all attempts by Arsenal to win anything, then come out and talk gibberish afterwards. I will bite their hand off. And buy myself a unicorn. And proudly ride it into the Emirates car park every morning and park it in my awesome personalised space. This might actually be the best job in the world. I could have them down in the National League in five years. Success indeed by Wenger’s current standards.
Our Game: Was f*cking awful. Begovic, Zouma, Ake, JT, Fabregas and Chalobah retained the chance to start in the cup run after the last round, whilst Ruben and Michy dropped onto bench. The game started at breakneck speed, and after a bumptious start from the home side, we looked as if we were going to settle down into our rhythm. This did not happen. It was shoddy, lacklustre and frustrating. Any final ball into the box was as flaccid as an octogenarian with a dodgy ticker. Wolves’ fluffy little tails were up, we continued our Burnley trend of giving the ball away. I’ve had more enjoyable afternoons being dragged around the abyss that is IKEA in Croydon. Everything went down the middle. Everything went up in the air, despite our inability to win a header against the home defence. In the first 45 minutes we applied about as much effective pressure on Wolves as me trying to push a Sherman tank along when my little finger.
If the first half was like being dragged against my will around IKEA, then the beginning of the second half was like being dragged against my will around IKEA with period pains. Finally, after 55 minutes we appeared to work out that we were not winning anything in the air and that we should try a short corner. Finally, we appeared to realise that going down the middle had not worked once and started playing it out wide. Wolves had got really deep, but we were still too hapless to do much about it until the 65th minute when Willian sent it across the box and found a completely unmarked Pesto. (F*ck off autospell) With what was basically our first header of the game he scored. This was like the moment in IKEA when you finally get through that wretched sodding marketplace and realise that there is actually an exit. And hotdogs. Shoring up was required. Dave came on, as did Kante. I thought my ears deceived me on the 78th minute when the guy behind me shouted “get into it Cesc.” Today, Fabregas was about as magical as Harry Potter with his wand snapped in half. This guy would have had a better chance of getting a quarter pounder to moo again by giving it the kiss of life at Molyneux. Never fear, Costa was there to save the day, pouncing on a loose ball in the box in the 89th minute to seal the result. (Our Costa, not theirs, who pulled a face like someone had scored a money shot in his eye every time a decision went against him) This was like when you finally emerge back out of IKEA after four days in captivity. Thank. Christ.
So: This wasn’t winning ugly. That doesn’t cover it. This was winning Iain Dowie. We rode our luck today. A lot. Wolves will feel hard done by not least on account of ex-Chelsea man George Saville smacking the woodwork. It’s hard to pick out individuals as having been atrocious today. The “fringe” youngsters were not at all at fault. Ake was exceptional at times, Chalobah deserves to be dry-humped one by one by the whole of the away support for a brilliant tackle in the box with the result still in the balance that could have ended up with a penalty being awarded against us if he had fluffed his lines. I can’t recall Zouma putting a foot wrong. The composition of the back three changed a few times throughout the evening, and JT was the constant holding it together, (and getting about as arsey as we were about how slow everything was) but on the whole as a team we didn’t gel together at all well, and we very nearly came unstuck. Too many changes against too strong opposition. Huge sigh of relief, Sutton in the next round please. I’m donning my yellow beanie now ready for Monday night and opening my living room window so I can hear the glorious live sound of the Goons capitulating. Again.
Contribution from Alexander Churchill. Follow Alex on Twitter.