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.

So while Arsenal still has injury issues and a thin squad - frankly, I like the look of the team's prospects right now. With a productive winter window (hey, quit laughing), who knows what might happen?

Dennis Bergkamp continues to be just the greatest, as this interview he did with the Observer to flog his new book (which you can be damn sure I'll be reading) demonstrates amply. (The Guardian/Observer)

Speaking of the greatest guy ever, Wenger became the latest to liken Mesut Özil to God, saying that "I think Özill, at the start, had more a midfielder's mentality and Dennis, at the start, had more a striker's mentality. But he [Özil] can score, yes." (The Telegraph)

"There were no fascist bosses in the league/IN THE LEAGUE/There were no fascist bosses in the league..." I feel weird rooting for anybody to lose his or her job - if you think about it, it's kind of a fucked-up thing to root for - but I'm relatively OK with it happening to neo-Nazis. Fully deserved, as well. As one wit on Twitter put it, "at least they didn't let him fill the squad with 13 of his own signings and flog their best player." (Twitter) (Also, said wit has since walked it back a little, but it's still funny.)

One of the few flies in Arsenal's ointment, currently, is that Theo Walcott has apparently suffered some kind of problem with his abs, and that Arsene Wenger "hopes" it'll be a matter of days, instead of weeks, until the winger is healthy again. Me too, Arsene, me too - and not least because, if Walcott goes down, [stupid joke about Giroud carrying the team on his back has been cut -ed.] (BBC)

Jesus Willy, somebody actually SAVED A MARIO BALOTELLI PENALTY! Good work there by Pepe Reina, you have to say.

*Comparatively, we hasten to add.


  1. Good on you for not including Liverpool in the "powerhouses of the past few years."

  2. Seems fairly uncontroversial, despite their roaring start this year.