“Anything that can go wrong, will.”
Afternoon Gooners. Yes, Sod’s law. Thursday served me up a steaming dish of it, with a side order of utter bollocks and a dessert heaped with sprinklings of f**k you.
Long story short; one pick-up of old sofa arranged, to be followed by a drop-off of a new sofa. Wife and father in charge. Daughter poorly with a streaming cold. Me; at work. You can see what’s coming, can’t you? Yep, I will go home tonight to be greeted by four sofas’ ‘Stonehenged’ into our lounge and a severely unimpressed Mrs C. Oh, and a snotty, teething daughter who sounds like she has been smoking a daily pack of Marlboro’s for forty years. Ah yes, work. Work, is where I was when this sofa-calamity unfolded. Work where our resident smoking hot older female colleague – who all the lads have a crush on – confides to me that she is off…off to…Stonehenge country down West, the moment she hears back from her potential new-employers….so no more office cold-snaps and loose thin tops to be grateful for. Hey, I’m married, I’m utterly faithful, I’m utterly in love with Mrs C (sofa mayhem and all) but I’m not blind. Sod’s sodding law.
Arsenal, of course, will want to avoid Sod’s law. If you’ve not heard, Arsenal have quite the fixture list coming up; Liverpool away – a game in which the league’s most lethal strike force; Luis Suarez and Dean Sturridge, will face off against the league’s most stingy centre-back pairing; Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. A game which I think I’d take a draw from right now. It will be tight. They are usually tight games up there. The first goal could quite easily be the winner. Liverpool certainly aren’t invincible, but the way they took apart Everton, like a praying mantis with a stick insect, was clinically fearsome. Sod’s law will dictate that Arsenal’s pairing will suffer their first loss. Manchester United and their bedraggled manager David Moyes then pitch up at The Emirates, for a match many a Gooner will hope exorcises recent humiliations dealt out by the Red Devils . Arsenal will want to revenge that close 1-0 from last year. Sod’s law dictates that David Moyes will get a morale boosting away win under his belt and de-rail Arsenal’s title charge even further, with one-time Arsenal target Juan Mata again showing Gooners just what they missed out on. Liverpool will then get another pop at Arsenal in the FA Cup (arguably Arsenal’s best shot at silverware this season) and with Chelsea taking on Manchester City, the chance of a Wembley final is tantalizingly close for each of the victors of those two clashes. Sod’s law dictates Arsenal will crash out at home…after all, Suarez has a nasty habit of scoring at The Emirates to deflate Arsenal…and he was, of course, pursued in the summer, when Arsenal pursued him like a hopeless virgin after the first flash of a leg. The fixture list of doom climaxes with Bayern Munchen travelling over the North Sea to return to the scene of their crushing victory against Arsenal last season. New manager, new players, new style. Sod’s law dictates Arsenal will travel to Munich needing a miracle. Again.
But Sod’s law isn’t all powerful.
Arsenal could harness it. Why can’t Arsenal leave Anfield with at least a point? Of course they can. I think it will be 1-1.
Naturally, Arsenal will fancy their chances against Moyes’ staggering, punch-drunk behemoth. And why not? They are in a flux, a rut, they appear leader and rudderless. Arsenal owe Manchester United a thorough, unedifying beating. A serious, €25 a session Amsterdam side-street beating. It’s been coming since that 6-1 in 2001, let alone the 8-2 in 2011. 3-1 says I.
Arsenal can beat Liverpool in the FA Cup as comprehensively as they did in the league last year. Arsenal have conceded one goal in their last eleven at home for a simple reason – that the defence and goalie are bloody good and that the midfield is less suicidal and thus covers them more adequately. 2-1 for the home team.
And then the Germans. Pep’s Globe-trotters. Guardiola’s dream team. Yes, they are mightily impressive. Yes, they may well represent all that is good about football. But so do Arsenal this season. Arsenal’s core of players will have learnt from that whipping last year. They will take heart from that ever-so-close win in the Allianz Arena that followed it. Arsenal could win it 2-1.
And if they can get through those fixtures unbeaten, well, Sod can very well stick his law Up The Arsenal.
If this set of players cannot, with all their experience, see themselves over a finishing line that they have fired themselves so temptingly close to, then, well, so help them. Mesut Ozil, Mikel Arteta, Lukas Podolski, Thomas Vermaelen and Tomas Rosicky have all been members of league winning teams before Arsenal. Mathieu Flamini won the FA Cup with the club. Santi Cazorla has won two European Championships with Spain. There are winners in the team’s ranks. If the above fixtures cannot motivate this team to pull out all of the stops, regardless of squad size, then maybe nothing will.
Arsenal must try and shake-off their deer-caught-in-the-headlights approach to the big games. It may have worked against Manchester City if the team hadn’t forgotten how to defend. And it may have gleaned better results against Manchester United and Chelsea if the team hadn’t forgotten how to shoot. The performances against Napoli, Liverpool, Tottenham and Dortmund (away) this season should be a bright, Piccadilly Circus-sized sign that screams ‘Yes you can!’ if ever the players harbour any doubts about this team’s abilities to play good football and keep it tight at the back.
Arsenal are due to hand some Sod’s law right back at opponents. After the horrendous injuries to Eduardo, Abou Diaby and Aaron Ramsey, after the losses to Chelsea and Birmingham in the League Cup final, after that ‘what could have been match’ against Barcelona in the Champions League final, which had Henry’s ‘what could have been’ opportunity, after bloody Nayim in 1995 and Galatasaray in Copenhagen, 2000, Arsenal are bloody well due some Sod’s law going for them again.
Now, I’m off to stare at Sussex’s coldest front since last winter whilst I still can…
Have a great one gang.