30 September 2013

Daily Links: The pinch-me edition

What a weekend, eh? It seems like just about everything that could've gone right for the Arsenal did, with victory in a hard-fought away win at Swansea meaning that Spurs' draw with Chelsea leaves the club two points clear at the top of the league.
Like a boss.
Creative Commons / Gordon Flood

Manchester United's post-Fergie hangover is looking more and more like the kind that makes you blearily scarf down the greasiest food in the house and call in sick to work, which I think we can all agree is highly enjoyable - witness the 2-1 loss at Old Trafford to West Brom, who are to struggling managers what Aaron Ramsey used to be to dictators and troubled celebrities. (Not that Moyes is getting sacked, of course.)

Manchester City went from imperious conquerors of their crosstown rivals to hamfisted coughers-up of a goal advantage against Aston Villa in the space of a week, providing further encouragement to detractors of all things soccer from Manchester.

Of course, Arsenal can't get too comfortable - being two points clear, while a lot of fun, is essentially meaningless at this point in the season, and midweek visitors Napoli are apparently a little bit scary even to Le Boss. (The Guardian)

27 September 2013

Match Preview: Swansea vs. Arsenal, Liberty Stadium, September 28, 2013

Liberty Stadium
Photo courtesy of Matt Daubney

One of the big surprises of last season was Swansea. After safely staying up in their first season in the Premier League, the Welsh side found themselves without a manager after Brendan Rodgers left the club to become a reality TV star. Not a lot was expected of the Swans in year two of their Premiership excursion. I don’t recall if they were talked about in the relegation conversation, but they certainly weren’t expected to repeat the performance of the year before.

The WAT: Silent Stan speaks up

The StanMan.
image courtesy: namjaideemak
Stan "Silent Stan" Kroenke recently spoke up in an effort to reinforce fan morale by speaking up.
"Look, a few of the guys and me -- Randman [Randy Lerner], [John] Henry, Wrath of [Shahid] Khan, Malcolm [Glazer] and Captain Pussyface [Ellis Short] -- we all thought it'd be a pretty funny goof to buy weird sports teams in another country, start a little fantasy league among ourselves. You know, something to keep us busy during the fall, but lower pressure than something like an NFL holding in case we have to skip a few weeks. ... Did we follow these clubs before buying? No, that was against the rules. It just kind of worked out that [Ellis Short] drew Sunderland. ... Well of course I wish I drew Manchester United ... look, it's moot. The point is that I now think it would be pretty cool to rub it in Glazer's face--err, win the league with Arsenal. I [love] Arsenal. I certainly understand that the fans are skeptical of my commitment, but trust me -- I'm rich. You don't get rich by losing. Doesn't matter what it is. Oh, and also my fucking kid would probably love it. He hates Glazer's kids."
Kroenke went on to discuss his relationship with manager Arsène Wenger, as well as the Frenchman's contract situation:
"Of course we speak with each other. Love the guy. Can't understand a fucking word he's saying, but it's all soccer, so he could be talking Greek and I'd still be just as lost. Yeah, he speaks five languages, big deal. They're all in French accents. I'm just saying, I speak one language, and guess how much money I have? I'll give you a hint: way more than Arsène. And he's rich. What do you think of that, Glazer? I'm gunning for you, motherfucker. Oh, hey -- 'gunning.' That's an Arsenal thing, right?"
When asked about record signing Mesut Ozil, Kroenke continued:
"When Arsène first got on the horn with me about the deal, I was all like, 'Ozil? What is that, some kind of pasta salad thing? Yeah, pick some up.' It was only after I got the receipt that I realized I had just bought a very expensive human being. But hey, fuck it. The StanMan [sic] isn't afraid to get his hands dirty in the transfer market. You hear me, Glazer? I'm gonna fuck your wife, pal. That's the endgame here. Total victory. If I have to win some stupid soccer cup to get there, then whatever."
Stan Kroenke concluded the interview:
"Eat my fucking shit, Glazer. And tell that wife a' yours to start hitting the gym. I don't want to see any jelly rolls come May 2014. Stan likes skinny girls."
In other news, Theo Walcott's recently botched surgery has left the well-compensated forward with legs for arms and arms for legs, due to a hospital clerical error. He will be out for a likely three weeks, according to the club.

26 September 2013

Thursday Throwdown: So what the hell should the midfield look like, anyway?

ANDREW: Well Jon, now that we've had a chance to see our German savior in action it seems a good time to discuss the state of the center of the pitch. If we entertain the wild fantasy that everyone will be in perfect health, what would our ideal midfield look like to you? I have turned this over in my head for a while now and always come back to the same lineup, so is it possible that we might actually agree, thus defeating the whole purpose of the Thursday Throwdown? I would put Arteta back in his role as holding midfielder, Ramsey as our box-to-box, Santi on the left (drifting into the center), Theo on the right, and Özil bossing the entire league at the CAM spot. Can it be that simple?"

JON: Those are the obvious picks, yes, but I don't know if they make for a terribly balanced midfield - particularly against tough opponents.

I think the problem here starts with Arteta - as good as he is as a "metronome," I've never been completely convinced that he provides much cover for the defense. He's a regulator, not an enforcer. With Arteta and Ramsey the central pairing, I worry that Arsenal will be a little light on graft and ball-winning ability against the most elite midfields in Europe, approximately all of whom are in the club's Champion's League group.

Arteta, irked.
wonker from London /CC License

ANDREW: I feel like Arteta does not quite get the credit that he deserves when he plays as the holding midfielder in Arsenal's system. He was 13th in tackles per game and 8th in interceptions per game in the Premier League last season (stats courtesy of www.whoscored.com), showing that he not only gets stuck in but also has solid positional awareness. He's not a huge, bull-you-over midfielder but he breaks up attacks, cuts out forward passes, and gets the ball moving quickly in the other direction.

That being said, I feel he is the best option available on this squad, not the best option Arsenal would have if they made a move to upgrade the position. Arteta has played very well for Arsenal during his time with the club, but he is 31 years old and playing a position that requires him to be physical and quick. There's no confusion over why the Gunners were linked with Lars Bender and Luis Gustavo during the summer transfer window (though there is some over why Wolfsburg were the ones to come away with Gustavo), but since those players aren't with the club, I believe Arteta is the man for the job. Do you think someone else in the squad fits the role better?

25 September 2013

Match Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal, The Hawthorns, September 25, 2013

Mikel Arteta 2
Photo courtesy of Ronnie Macdonald

Many of us question the value in having the top clubs competing in four competitions. With the Premier League and Champions League both more prestigious, it is the domestic cup competitions that seem often to take a back seat and in particular, the League Cup. To win the top league in a country makes sense. To win the top competition of the top European clubs makes sense. To win the FA Cup is prestigious as well, since the tournament dates back to the 1870’s and it features more than 700 clubs. It is no surprise that the League Cup, of the four competitions, is the one that most has to fight for legitimacy.

But can you blame clubs for treating the League Cup as a lesser competition? With the fixture congestion, clubs are forced to prioritize the competitions and the League Cup is often for regaining fitness and giving the reserve players a chance to gain experience. Arsene Wenger has even called it the “Mickey Mouse” cup. At times, doing well in the League Cup seems a chore to avoid embarrassment than a genuine attempt to win it. 

Daily Links: The Reserve Team Edition

Nicklas Bendtner
Will the Great Dane feature?
(Photo courtesy Ronnie Macdonald)
The Arsenal make their season debut in the Capital One Cup this afternoon, as they visit the Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion. There were no surprises yesterday as all Premier League sides easily handled their lower-league opposition. Chelsea eased to a 2-0 victory over Swindon, while Manchester City went some way to avenging their FA Cup final defeat with a 5-0 victory over Wigan. Sp*rs fans deluded themselves further with a 4-0 win over a poor Aston Villa team in a worthless competition, and Sunderland were victorious in their first match since Paulo di Canio's sacking.

Having started with two high-scoring games in last season's Cup, Arsenal will be looking to make amends for their disappointing exit at the hands of Bradford City. Traditionally, Arsene Wenger chooses to use the League Cup as a chance to rest his key players and give the reserves and youth players a run out; however West Brom away is nothing to be sniffed at, which is reflected by the match day squad, announced earlier today. (Arsenal.com)

24 September 2013

Daily Links: The Return of the Crap-ital One Cup Edition

15 - Capital One Cup Final
Who'll be playing at Wembley this season?
(Photo courtesy Bradford Timeline)
Everyone's favorite domestic cup returns to the spotlight today, as the top Premier League clubs make their season debuts in the League Cup; which, due to commercial rights, I'm sure I'm obliged to call the Capital One Cup. Standout ties today (Tuesday) include two fixtures of claret-and-blue teams versus those in red (Burnley v Nottingham Forest; West Ham v Cardiff); a repeat of last season's FA Cup final, as Wigan visit the Etihad looking to repeat their shock victory over Manchester City; and a Midlands derby-of-sorts as Leicester face Stoke.

Quite what this competition offers is beyond me. Obviously, a trophy in the cabinet and a spot in the Europa League await the winner. Not exactly the most appealing prize for a top-4 club, though it gives teams around the level of Swansea (last season's winners) and lower-league clubs a chance at European football. Admittedly, as an Arsenal fan, any trophy would be good now, if only because we would no longer have to hear about how many years it's been since we won something.

23 September 2013

Daily Links: The Audacity of Höpe Edition

Mesut got this.
(Photo courtesy Ronnie Macdonald)
We could be forgiven for being a little confused right now - Arsenal just beat Stoke City with three goals from set pieces, went top of the league thanks to Liverpool's first loss of the season, and it seems as though the powerhouses of the past few years are collectively emitting the clunks and groans that herald mechanical failure in important parts.

It's as though all the crappy luck is headed elsewhere, for once. I mean, this is usually the time of year when Arsenal's important players get crocked for huge portions of the season, goalkeepers suddenly develop an intense aversion to the ball, and the team suffers record defeats to bitter rivals.

Yet it's Manchester United that slumped to ignominious defeat against rivals City - they also lost to even fiercer rivals Liverpool, as well, lest you forget. Before the Manchester derby, City had been held to a draw by the same Stoke team that Arsenal dispatched on Sunday, having lost to Cardiff already. Jose Mourinho looks a lot more like the petty, spiteful autocrat that poisoned the dressing room at Real Madrid en route to mediocre* results than he does the petty, spiteful autocrat that shaped Roman Abramovich's billions into a footballing juggernaut at Chelsea. Tottenham's brigade of new signings has yet to truly gel.

20 September 2013

The WAT: Correspondent wowed by Champions League match after reading live text updates, watching Russian highlights

Arsenal secured a victory over Marseille, according to live text updates from The Guardian, this past Wednesday at
Better than actually watching?
(screen capture from theguardian.com)
Stade Velodrome.

This correspondent was lucky enough to be given unfettered access to theguardian.com's "Live scores/fixtures" section this week, its live text coverage of the 2-1 Arsenal victory a reminder that this is, truly, the beautiful game.

The press pool was also treated to almost four and a half minutes of low-definition highlights -- broadcast in the original Russian, or whatever -- creating an audio/visual delicacy of color, shape, sound and perception of movement before this reporter's very eyes.

Goals from Theo Walcott and risen phoenix Aaron Ramsey were enough to secure the Group F win at Marseille, adding to Arsenal's already impressive away record. The goal was Ramsey's sixth already this season, in only seven games, and sounded like it probably looked pretty fucking sick, according to the liveblogging service.

Match Preview: Arsenal vs. Stoke City, Emirates Stadium, September 22, 2013

One Aaron Ramsey
There's only one Aaron Ramsey ... And he's ours.
(Photo Courtesy of Wonker)

I think that we’ve all had a certain disdain for Stoke. Their style of football, their fans’ outlook on the game, basically everything about them has inspired hatred. As an American fan of the Arsenal, if you chose the Arsenal for style of play or club culture, you must have hatred for Stoke as the club whose values are the polar opposite of your club. There was all of that then that tackle happened.

On February 27th 2010, Ryan Shawcross flew in recklessly on a challenge, colliding with Aaron Ramsey’s leg, breaking Ramsey’s tibia and fibula. That challenge represented our worst fears about Stoke. After all, Arsenal has been a much better footballing side than Stoke for some time. It was the over the top physicality that worried us. It was the threat of someone getting hurt. We had seen Eduardo and Diaby crumble before. The way Stoke played, this was bound to happen. If you had had any doubt about Stoke before, your beliefs were firmly entrenched in your inner being following that tackle.

Daily Links: The We're Back Edition

Mikel Arteta's return may come this weekend.
(Photo courtesy Ronnie Macdonald)
Admittedly, it's been a tough couple week for us at One Club on Boylston. Rather than bore you with the details, we'll just pretend we've been here all along.

Arsenal takes on Stoke City at the Emirates on Sunday. We'll have a preview later today from Shep Mallya. For now, though, here are today's links.

Injuries have been an issue thus far, but we've received a bit of good news regarding some of them. Most recently, Mikel Arteta approached his return. It's not a certainty at this point. The Daily Mail isn't known for its commitment to accuracy. Still, getting the Spaniard back just means more options for Le Prof. (The Daily Mail)

There have been a number of bright spots for Arsenal after seven total matches this season. The most noteworthy has been Aaron Ramsey. He scored another goal in Wednesday's win over Marseille to reach six on the season. I still don't believe he's been this good. Arsene Wenger doesn't seem as surprised, though. (The Guardian)

13 September 2013

The WAT: Gunnersaurus revealed to have been Mesut Özil the whole time

In what was yet another watershed moment in Arsenal Football Club's 2013 late summer transfer saga, a team of plucky reserve players recently unmasked Arsenal's own anthropomorphic, kit-clad dinosaur, "Gunnersaurus", who turned out to be "new" signing Mesut Özil -- the whole time.

The team of young sleuths, ring-lead by Thomas Eisfeld and including members Daniel Boateng, Benik Afobe and of course their trusty Corgi, Ian (who can sort of talk), captured the mascot and revealed his identity Thursday at a public press conference:
"We are pleased to announce that, after following a lot of false leads, hitting the pavement day in, day out, and putting in a lot of good old-fashioned police work, we have finally confirmed the suspicions that many have harbored all along: that Gunnersaurus is, in fact, not a real dinosaur, but rather an impostor. And that impostor is none other than German superstar Mesut Özil. His reign of terror as Arsenal mascot is officially over," said Eisfeld, a barely visible tear struggling down his cheek.
Gunnersaurus/Mesut Özil seen here, playing with an Arsenal child-fan.
[image courtesy: http://upthearsenal.wordpress.com
Gunnersaurus, who at one point garnered infamy for the high-profile snubbing of 2009 Dad of the Year John Terry, and who is also Mesut Özil, made a follow-up statement:
"Yes, it was I, Mesut Özil, all along! It was I who convinced Bendtner his wages were too high at Arsenal to move on! I, who gave Giroud the sub-par haircut he's started the 2013 season with! I, who stole Rosicky's Slayer albums, under cover of night! And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you pesky U-21s!"
"Anyway," Özil continued, "I am honored and elated to begin my tenure with Arsenal as a player. I have the respect of the manager, which is very important to me, et cetera, et cetera [sic]."

 Following the remarks, the young crime-stoppers led their charge back inside their windowless "Mystery Van."

When reached afterwards for comment regarding Wenger's contract negotiations next year, Ian the Corgi articulated: "RENGER ROUT!", but later conceded that it's a complicated issue, we need to consider who would replace him, and frankly, it's just not the most important thing right now.

In related news, we all know that Arsenal's one and only mascot is Wenger's coat.

09 September 2013

Daily Links: The It's Almost Over Edition

Wenger still in?
(Photo courtesy Timothy Boyd)
International breaks are always a nuisance even when they're wholly necessary. I'll gladly sacrifice a couple weeks throughout the season for the glorious tournament that awaits next summer. The World Cup is always a good time.

Regardless, it's not easy to go 13 days without the Arsenal at this point in the year, but I'll take it. Aside from a few injuries that need some time to mend, a few days away from Colney and the Emirates after the hectic North London Derby and final few days of the transfer window probably did everyone some good.

Naturally, the lack of club games has led to its usual narrative driving from the media. An interesting piece suggests Arsene Wenger deserves a new contract. Obviously, this is a big talking point among Arsenal supporters, but the points made are worth discussing. (ESPN FC)

Still no exact timetable for Thomas Vermaelen's return, but it should come some time this month. Ideally, he'd be back for Sunderland on Saturday. That's unlikely. The defender is apparently eyeing the League Cup tie at West Brom as his first match of the season. (Daily Star)

06 September 2013

The WAT: Aaron Ramsey gets laid for first time

Dear loyal The WAT readers,
Ozil, right? Right. Injuries, though, right? Yeah. Look, you've read all about this stuff by now. What you haven't read is last week's The WAT. Which is, incidentally, this week's The WAT. Why, you ask? Well, in all honesty, we forgot to hit that orange bastard of a "Publish" button last week. Plus, it's another interlull and, if you haven't read this yet, it's new to you!

An Emirates spokesman announced last Thursday morning that Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey finally got laid Wednesday night.

"Arsenal is proud to announce that our very own #16 has finally had sex -- with a girl."

The news came shortly after a noteworthy performance against Fenerbahce, as the once fan-maligned player continued to show an improvement in form with a brace against the Turkish side.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said in a post-coital press conference: "Euuuuh ... we are very much proud of Aaron's progress both as a player and as a now sexually active young man. His performance against Fenerbahce showed great intelligence and his physical effort on the pitch, euuuh, I think will translate very well to love-making in the bedroom."
Heh heh, 'atta boy!
(image courtesy of walesonline.co.uk)

When reached for comment directly, regarding his performance against Fenerbahce, Ramsey said to reporters, "Yeah, all the boys put in a lot of effort and we got the desired result. Without their support, you know, this kind of thing doesn't happen." When asked if he planned on getting a full hat trick in the near future the Welshman replied, "Oh, you meant the--uhh, yeah. We'll see. Three in one sitting would be pure class. Pure class ..." at which point the young midfielder's eyes wandered into distant focus as he casually covered his lap with a hitherto unnoticed binder.

05 September 2013

Daily Links: The Looking Around Edition

We’re starting to see some of the fallout of the transfer window, though, unfortunately, none of it is on the pitch. I’m sure many Gooners are still buzzing from the Ozil transfer and why shouldn’t you be? We, as a fan base, have been crying for world class players to be brought in and finally the club has delivered. It’s been a long time coming.

Cesc Fabregas and Joachim Low chime in on their surprise regarding Ozil’s transfer. The transfer pretty much shuts the door on a potential Fabregas return to the Emirates and I’m going to go cry in the corner now. (Guardian)

I’m not a big fan of Deadspin’s sports coverage, but this column on the North London Derby is sure to put a smile on your face. (Deadspin)

Now that the window is over, it appears Arsene’s next bit of business is to offer Sagna, Mertesacker, and Rosicky new deals. Sagna looks to be earning that new contract both through his play and his utility by playing centerback. Mertesacker is the man and also a leader in the locker room. Rosicky just owns. (Telegraph)

04 September 2013

Wednesday Whine: Suddenly Arsenal fans are all cocky?

(Credit: Football365.com)

Arsenal signed Mesut Özil, and we all relaxed, as though exciting interpersonal exchanges had recently taken place, and we - figuratively, I must stress - were all lying there, smoking cigarettes and asking "Was it good for you?"

Sadly, we've gotten a bit ahead of ourselves. Let things happen too quickly, if you will. Allowed our imaginative passions to run amok. The Özil signing doesn't mean we're lounging in Fortune's bed, making pillow talk - Fortune hasn't invited us in for a nightcap, or even really talked to us. At best, we've caught Fortune's gaze resting on us for a bit too long at a friend's dinner party.

Put more plainly, the mega-deal that happened right at the end of the transfer window doesn't make the summer an unqualified success for Arsenal. But large sections of the fan base are behaving as if the club are a lock for a deeper run in the Champions League knockout stages, a shoo-in for the top four, and even potential league champions in what's shaping up to be an unpredictable campaign in the English top flight. It's in the bag now, right?

No; no, it's not. Not by a long shot. The marquee signing was for a player who plays in one of the few places on the pitch at which Arsenal have even a reasonable amount of depth, and the team failed to address glaring weakness in central defense and up front.

The striker situation is probably the most serious, as of this writing. Olivier Giroud is having a fine start to the season, without a doubt, but with Lukas Podolski absent through injury for the next three months, Giroud and Theo Walcott are the only players in the side that could be called striking options with a straight face. And while Walcott's finishing has improved out of all recognition from his earlier days at the club - it always used to seem like he more or less had to round the keeper to have much chance of scoring - he still doesn't convince as a pure striker.

He's developed into an excellent wing player, certainly, and his scoring record from last season speaks for itself. But while the infamous "footballing brain" strike against him is overblown, it can't be denied that his positional sense and decision-making in the final third is still frequently suspect. He's not actually a bad fallback - his pace and increasingly sharp eye for goal make him very dangerous in the right circumstances, particularly against weaker opposition - but as a main striker, against the toughest defenses, in the biggest games, he's still a fallback.

Arsene Wenger clearly recognizes the danger, with most of his summer attention focused on failed attempts to land Luis Suárez, Gonzalo Higuaín and Karim Benzema. But in the final tally, Arsenal have one excellent striker, a couple lesser options that usually play on the wing, one of whom is out for a large chunk of the season, some young guy named Yaya Sanogo who nobody knows anything about, and a drunk-driving zombie with a chimpanzee brain. A Giroud injury, in summary, would be a catastrophe.

The situation in central defense is much the same. The best option is a very good one indeed, with the top pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker fast becoming one of the better tandems in the league, but the obvious second choice is also unavailable through injury for a long, long time. It's worth noting that Thomas Vermaelen had endured a lengthy and serious drop in form even before his injury, so it's far from certain that he can simply slot back into the squad once he's healthy again.*

After that, the options become even more threadbare. Bacary Sagna has been startlingly impressive when pressed into duty as a center back, but, at the end of the day, he's a fullback, like all the other defenders currently on the first team. Freebie signing Mathieu Flamini could be pressed into service in an emergency, but who's he really going to fool?

All this isn't to say that Arsenal's summer was a disaster. Özil, obviously, is a fantastic signing, both in terms of what he can do on the pitch and the signal he sends to players and fans alike about the club's level of ambition. Flamini** isn't going to set the world on fire, but he brings a ton of experience and adds steel to the midfield. And Emiliano Viviano is arguably the perfect foil for Wojciech Szczesny in goal. The team is measurably stronger than it was before the window closed.

But the fact is that Arsenal remain dangerously weak in two of the most critical positions on the pitch. Even if Wenger is willing to do business in the winter transfer window, his team essentially have to play the entire first half of the season a single injury away from crisis.

If it happens - and I obviously will be knocking on every piece of wood I can find in the hopes that it doesn't - don't say the warning signs weren't there. 

*Personally, I give him the benefit of the doubt - it's entirely possible that his recent crappiness was the product of playing hurt, which could mean that a fully fit Vermaelen will look a lot more like his old, imperious self.

**You could make an argument that Arsenal's mystifying failure to re-sign him all those years ago contributed to Cesc Fabregas' eventual departure and the team's slide from regular title contenders to top-four hangers-on, although it would be almost entirely speculative. Jesus, I still get mad thinking about that.

03 September 2013

Daily Links: The Great Danish Ego Edition

Nicklas Bendtner is still an Arsenal player.
(Photo courtesy Ronnie Macdonald)
The failed attempt to pry Demba Ba away from Chelsea forced Arsene Wenger to kill a deal with Crystal Palace for Nicklas Bendtner. The egomaniacal Danish striker hasn't appeared in a match for Arsenal since Aug. 2011, spending time at Sunderland and Juventus in search of a new permanent home.

Despite his greatest efforts, he is still a member of the Arsenal first team, and it's pretty clear he's now apart of Arsene Wenger's plans. Bendtner released a statement on Tuesday, which seems to admit that he's been a childish prat and that he wants to be friends again.

With only Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo as true strikers, Bendtner is needed. Theo Walcott will probably see time up front, as will Lukas Podolski whenever he's healthy enough to do so.

Regardless, here's Bendtner's statement. (Arseblog)

Like Robbie Savage or not, I agree with most of this column. Olivier Giroud is going to get goals for Arsenal as long as he is healthy. He was great against Spurs, and he has been for most of the season. But Arsenal needs another striker. It's why the Boss didn't sell Bendtner after the Ba deal fell through. Frankly, I'm a bit worried even with that other big signing. (BBC Sport)

02 September 2013

Weekend in Review: This Season is Going to be Special

The race for this guy just got harder.
(Photo courtesy David Squire)
On Sunday, Arsenal beat Tottenham, 1-0.

Liverpool beat Manchester United, 1-0.

These are both among the marquee fixtures of world football. The results are about more than bravado for rival fan bases, frequently representing power shifts in the league or statements from a club.

Both results did exactly that on Sunday. Liverpool handed the defending champions their first lost of the season and earned a win over top competition. Arsenal continued its fantastic play after a season-opening defeat to Aston Villa and made it clear it's still the better of the two North London clubs.

But no one is talking about those wins right now. It was, of course, the end of the Transfer Window on Monday. Naturally, the talking points around the world are Gareth Bale and the other stars that opted to continue their careers in other leagues or with other clubs.

Bale's record transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid, Mesut Özil's move to Arsenal and the status of Marouane Fellaini dominated talk shows, social media, blogs and the hilarious English press. Europe's assortment of leagues require no additional storyline generation to captivate its audiences. Deadline day always yields a bit of it anyway. However, the most important take away from the week is that, after three weeks, it's pretty clear we're in for a pretty special Premier League season.

Daily Links: The What Now Edition

The newest Gunner.
(Photo courtesy Jan Solo)
By now, you’ve probably heard that Arsenal have made the big splash of the Summer, signing Mesut Özil for a club record fee. The key thing you need to know is that we can thank our North London neighbors for this. Once Real bought Gareth Bale for whatever outlandish fee he ended up costing, they needed to off load somebody to fund that transfer. Arsenal swooped in and got this World Class “outcast.” Thank you, Tottenham! (Arsenal.com)

Even though he’s hurt, it appears that Poldi is still a goodwill ambassador for the club. He posted a picture of him and Özil on Instagram, which, like anything Poldi, should put a smile on your face. (Instagram)

Arsenal also have brought Emiliano Viviano on loan from Palermo. The club has a £5 million buy option if they decide they want to retain Viviano beyond this season. If he plays well, it might just be an offer they cannot refuse. (Arsenal)

In other transfer news, the Demba Ba loan deal fell apart, when Arsenal balked at the loan fee of £3 million. I guess we can’t have everything.  (Fox Sports)