…and our only defense is cameras whittled from blocks of wood. I’m not a supporter of hooliganism or violence in football, but you’ve got to give this John Dillinger-esque attempt at beaning Frank Lampard or Ashley Cole points for creativity. The truth is, who wouldn’t go to great lengths to pelt the King of Deflected Goals or get one back on Cash-hole himself? This is all immaterial, of course, as these players were present to play a game of football, a different kind, as it turns out, than Arsenal. As much as it pains me to say this about my free-flowing football club, watching Sunday’s game was like watching a young, graceful and energetic boxer square off against an older yet larger and altogether more experienced foe. Arsenal relentlessly aggressed against, let’s face it, defensively water-tight opponents, only to receive killer blows when they let down their guard and their opponent had soaked up the pressure. It also helps to be able to deliver some killer blows of your own, and Arsenal simply couldn’t. I sometimes wonder if our players are subjected to brutal, bamboo-stick beatings (this is what I pictured in my mind…sorry, very random) whenever they shoot outside the penalty box, because doing just that seemed like a cardinal sin to each and every one of our players on Sunday (credit Fabregas for pounding the ball into the fluffy-headed whiner John Terry several times…sadly, no points awarded for that). Really, our lack of killer instinct is not all down to RvP’s absence (although that doesn’t help), but rather because most of our players show a noticeable aversion to taking the kind of chances that are regularly turned into scrappy, fortuitous goals (usually by players like Frank Lampard) for teams like Man U, Chelsea, sometimes Gerrard/Torres FC and Emmanuel Adebayor when he’s motivated into actual exertion either by the prospect of scoring against his former club or immediately receiving huge wads of cash. At any rate, these are the chances we need to take and Arsene will no doubt be forced to look for a striker in January who is willing to “sully his hands” with this most undesirable job of scoring ordinary-looking goals. In a few hours the Arsenal Daycare will take to the field against Man City in what will hopefully be a more clinical exhibition of shooting/scoring/winning…you know, the kind of thing that, for example, Chelsea “supporters” are contractually entitled to on a weekly basis, lest they witness a less than satisfactory performance and immediately revoke their support for the club.

All the best wishes to the kids today then, and to the first team who will no doubt unleash the kind of fury only a thousand defeats (or two, three-goal deficit defeats) to Chelsea could generate on Saturday against Stoke. I’ll be sure to have the horse placenta on hand in case the worst should occur, but all the same Arsenal Review USA will rehash the events of the week this Sunday at 4:30pm EST.

– Joel

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