Won’t somebody please think of the Arsenal? | Soccer
GOOD NEWS IS NO NEWS
Poor old Arsenal. There they were on Saturday afternoon, with their dramatic, last-minute, momentum-maintaining, potential-league-winning, stadium-into-hyperspace-dispatching goal that registered 9.3 on the Michaelthomasometer, expecting to be the talk of the town for the whole week and maybe the entire month … only for Bruno Fernandes to stage his spectacular dirty protest 24 hours later, refusing point blank to tackle, chase back, tidy his room, all that. Oh Bruno, Luke, Lisandro et al! Did Reiss Nelson calmly slot a spectacular, 96th-minute, possible-season-defining, rising, screaming, net-ripping, opposition-gut-punching, stop-the-world, top-class half-volley for nothing?
As if being unceremoniously swiped off the top of the national and international news agenda in short order wasn’t galling enough for the league leaders, they’re now not even one of the top five most interesting stories coming out of London. First up we have Monday night’s five-goal thriller out west between Brentford and Fulham. The Bees and the Cottagers both have a genuine shot at European football next season, which is pretty sensational when one considers the natural order as defined by Football Daily’s first-ever Panini sticker book. Under this unimpeachable rule of law, both belong in the old Third Division, since you ask, and yes we are getting old.
So that’s dealt with boring-boring-Arsenal stories one and two. Numbers three and four will be even more aggravating to the Gunners, as they both concern the Tottenham Hotspurs. Depending on where you get your information, they’re considering selling Harry Kane to Manchester United either for £100m or over Daniel Levy’s dead body, while they’ve also welcomed back Antonio Conte, who has come back over from Italy to dutifully see out his contract / sulk until the end of the season / cram his stuff into a bag and do one. Everyone will be eager to see how that is almost certainly going to pan out.
Then we head back out west for Arsenal-can’t-get-arrested story five. Chelsea had a fine time of it against Leeds at the weekend, with the Shed End at one point breaking into a joyful chorus of “we’ve scored a goal”. But a combustible mixture of anticipation, expectation and concern still hovers over Stamford Bridge, and unless Graham Potter’s men can do another goal on Tuesday against a Borussia Dortmund team who have won their last 10 matches, a job-compromising fug may descend around the environs of the dugout, accompanied by vultures. In which case, hapless Arsenal can wave goodbye to any hopes of topping the news agenda again any time soon. A three or four-goal defeat in Lisbon on Thursday may give them an outside chance, but we’re making no promises.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Digesting the fine details of this scheme will allow us to determine if it is, in fact, ‘comprehensive and fair’. Although this does present as a step towards Uefa accepting responsibility for the events, our legal case is still progressing” – Tony Winterburn, partner at Pogust Goodhead, who is running the legal case against Uefa for its handling of last year’s chaos in Paris, responds to the news that all Liverpool fans who bought tickets for the final from the club’s allocation are eligible for a refund.
While Mike Smith can rightly compare the last-minute drama at Chippenham Town in the National League South to the similar scenes at the Emirates (yesterday’s Football Daily letters), can I offer a further step on the way down the proof-ladder that the drama doesn’t reduce just because there are fewer there to witness it? Last week Glan Conwy Under-9s visited the fortress home of the mighty Clwb Peldroed Bethel in a friendly arranged to practise for next season’s change from five-a-side up to seven. In front of maybe 20 ‘fans’ (mums, dads and grandparents) and with the sloping pitch finally in their favour, the GC stormed back from 2-0 down with just a couple of minutes left to triumph 3-2 in a real smash-and-grab raid. No cameras to record, no pundits to discuss, but a fine victory nonetheless. Plus further evidence of my pet theory that the third goal always wins” – Simon Lewis.
Can you please spearhead a STOP BAD GAME APOLOGIES movement? There’s myriad reasons for genuine apologies from players, managers and clubs in modern football, but the risk-free ‘we’re sorry we played so bad’ version seems to be the only one that’s given freely” – Kristian.
ChatGPT is in the news at the moment. But has anybody else noticed the similarities between ChatGPT and the outpourings of all those former Liverpool and Manchester United player bots … sorry, pundits on Sky Sports? OpenAI, ChatGPT’s creator, say that its responses ‘may be inaccurate, untruthful, and otherwise misleading at times’. OpenAI’s CEO also admitted recently that the AI chatbot is ‘incredibly limited’ and that ‘it’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now’. Sounds familiar. Meanwhile, here’s a ChatGPT-generated poem about the Football Daily column:
I’m glad that I’m not a newspaper
Reports are always so depressing
Every day it’s something new
And it’s never good news
I couldn’t handle all the sadness
All the heartache and pain
I’m glad that I’m not a newspaper
I’d go insane
I love football, don’t get me wrong,
But I must admit that I don’t watch it for the game itself,
I watch it for the beautiful people that are on the screen.
I love to see the players run up and down the field,
and I love to see their muscles ripple as they move.
I love to see their faces when they score a goal,
and I love to see their expressions when they lose.
Football Daily is the only thing that’s keeping me sane.
Between the tackles and the passes (it) is the one thing that I love the most
But it can be so frustrating
When my team isn’t winning
I just can’t help but wonder
What went wrong?
What went wrong indeed” – Steve Malone.
Send your letters to email@example.com. Today’s winner of our letter o’ the day, receiving a copy of Nooruddean Choudry’s Inshallah United: a story of faith and football, is … Steve Malone. We’re giving away copies all week, so get typing.