Perhaps no footballing moment breaks my heart in as many ways as the controversial goal that France scored over Ireland in the 2010 World Cup qualifier play-off, the goal in which Thierry Henry, as quintessential a Gunner as there may ever be, handled the ball twice before squaring a pass to William Gallas, who scored a crucial goal that allowed France to advance on aggregate over Ireland. My family are from Ireland, and I'll always root for the boys in green. Seeing them miss a chance at a World Cup appearance, seeing them miss that chance through Henry's hand of god, has to stand as one of the most gut-wrenching moments I've experienced as a football fan. To learn that the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) accepted a £3.6m settlement to stop legal action very nearly breaks my heart.
05 June 2015
03 June 2015
After winning the FA Cup for a second consecutive time and record-setting twelfth time overall, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was momentarily confused and in need of clarification. Apparently, he was unsure of the current status of a certain North London rival, seeing as how they had once again, for the 20th consecutive season. Against that history, it would be easy to see how one might lost track of key details, which tend to disappear in the annals of history. Having won three pieces of silverware in just over 12 months, Wilshere sought insight into the matter from the crowd assembled to celebrate the most recent piece won. For his uncertainty, the FA has levelled charges against him that could result in a three-match ban, starting with the Community Shield against Chelsea.
02 June 2015
I'll admit it, I'm not sure I'm ready. Not for the advent of the silly season itself, but for this particular story. My feelings are still...too raw. I haven't fully processed them yet. Do you know what I mean? It feels like just yesterday that we were making googly eyes at Gonzalo as he flirted with it, gazing at us sympathetically with those soft, brown eyes, understanding us as we'd never been understood before and might never be understood ever again. We waited at the airport with a bouquet of flowers, our most-slimming dress and those heels that gave our derriere just the right amount of lift, when—without so much as a by-your-leave—he whisked himself away to Italy. Jilted and teary-eyed, we now have to face up to our own broken hearts as resurrected rumours have us offering £40m for El Pipita.
01 June 2015
At a risk of sounding ingrateful while the confetti's still getting swept up, we had better capitalise on having won the FA Cup again and finishing third in the Prem. With the first achievement, we've made history; with the second, we have to feel like something slipped through our fingers. Then again, a third-place finish should (and had better) pave the way for the club to sign the players we need in order to challenge Chelsea for the Prem title. In past seasons, we've been told by Arsène that we needed to qualify for the Champions League before signing players of a certain calibre. Whether this has been a fig-leaf for other fiduciary concerns is an open question. We know that we have needs to address if we're to be taken seriously as contenders for the Prem title.
31 May 2015
While last season's FA Cup was a bum-clenching, nail-biting spectacle that took every ounce of belief, determination, and, yes, time that we could find, this one felt altogether different. For long, long stretches, it seemed that it was all Aston Villa could do to hold us at bay as we tested Shay Given time and time again only for him to turn in vital saves or get bailed out by last-ditch blocks from his defenders. Still, there was an electricity in the air, an anticipation—we were not going to struggle to find chances, nor would the keeper turn in a blinder. At some point, the flood walls would break. And break they did.
A brilliant, dominant performance delivered a record-setting 12th FA Cup to Arsenal in a match whose outcome was never really in doubt. Aston Villa were on the back-foot for the entire match, and only a few amazing saves from keeper Shay Given, plus a few key blocks from defenders, kept us from scoring. However, once we did, the floodgates opened and we flattened the Villans on our way to a 4-0 win, the only real questions left to ponder after halftime being whether we'd keep a clean sheet and how many goals we'd score. After the high drama of last year's final, we could relax and enjoy this one as ecstatic inevitability gave way to manic jubilation in short order. I'm sure we'll give our lads' ratings the sober, judicious consideration they deserve, rather than letting enthusiasm or celebratory beverages cloud our judgment...