Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Arsenal’s Defending Continues To Be The Best Television

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates with teammates Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates with teammates Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City.
Photo: (Getty Images)

With production shut down on everything in Hollywood these days, you might be worried that soon your entertainment options will run dry. Comedies you’ve come to count on to provide just enough giggles to get through this death march of a timeline might not be around. Don’t you worry, weary traveler, there’s always Arsenal.

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It’s actually, for the first time in a while, an exciting time for Arsenal supporters. New manager Mikel Arteta has been able lately to release the malaise caused by his predecessor Unai Emery’s aimless meanderings. They’ve created some exciting stuff, scored some wonderfully artful goals, and have shot some juice into the IV with the promise of young players like Bukayo Saka. Arsenal had ripped off five wins in a row, and suddenly your friend in the Thierry Henry shirt was no longer staring straight ahead, muttering incomprehensible things about the rain under his breath, and unresponsive to communication.

But this is Arsenal. And no one can blow their own toes off with an elephant gun like Arsenal. Not only are they doing it to themselves, but they go exceedingly overboard in self-sabotage.

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Today was a prime example of how Arsenal can be their own roadblock. With a chance to sit right on the shoulders of Sheffield United and Wolves for a Europa League place next year and still give themselves a chance at a Champions League spot, Arsenal were the better team against a Spurs team that’s constantly looking for a reason to chuck the towel. They had far more possession time in the first half, were creating the better chances, and took the lead though Alexandre Lacazette channeling Poseidon’s trident through his right foot.

It only took the Arsenal defenders two minutes to undo that work with this fish-slapping contest amongst themselves. Arsenal would cost themselves any point by falling asleep on a set-piece late in the game, allowing Toby Alderweireld to head home from a corner.

It’s been a continuing theme. Arsenal began Project Restart with David Luiz’s Moulin Stooge against Manchester City, which somehow earned him a one-year contract extension. They then tossed away another three points by blowing a lead at Brighton, once again defending a set-piece with some really assholery before Shkodran Mustafi was turned into egg whites by Neal Maupay.

They seemed to have it somewhat corralled during their winning streak, until they lost Jamie Vardy — only the league’s top scorer — as Mustafi once again ended up facing the wrong way and late.

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Combine that with today’s silliness, and Arsenal have thrown away anywhere from four to eight points. The latter total would see them have a real shot at a Champions League spot, especially if Manchester City’s ban is upheld. Now they’ll struggle to even gain a Europa League spot.

It’s clear that Arteta will have to overhaul the defense in the offseason, but how much money he’ll have to do that with, and whether or not Arsenal’s front office can un-fuck its transfer policy make that a real challenge. Luiz will be around another year, and he’s been known to become a cancer when not playing regularly, which is the big reason Chelsea dumped him on Arsenal in August, all the while trying to stifle their maniacal laughter to not give away the game. And playing him might lead to this list being updated.

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Being completely out of Europa is not going to make that recruitment of new players any easier, as well as Stan Kroenke’s tightening of purse strings.

But hey, we’re all getting a good laugh. Which we sorely need. Maybe Arsenal are serving a higher purpose?

Have you ever looked at a dollar bill, man?

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