Where else to start but the League Cup final, site of Arsenal’s latest big game failure? As flimsy Mezut Ozil and Co succumbed to yet another defeat against top opposition, children cried, adults booed and Gary Neville delivered the most furiously intense public shaming since Queen Cersei had oranges lobbed at her in the streets of Westeros.
Gary Neville Crop by Austin Osuide is licensed by CC 2.0
Gary Neville, furious at Arsenal for losing to his own team
“He’s walking!” Neville barked, of Aaron Ramsey. “That should be illegal. Impossible!” It seemed only a matter of time before Neville pulled out a bag of fruit and yelled “Shame! Shame! Shame!” at Wenger’s midfield. In the midst of all the criticism it was almost forgotten that Manchester City had won a trophy. Still, they have bigger and shinier pots to capture, and we all got to watch another superb episode of Arsenal Fan TV.
Arsenal vs Manchester City is showing live at Topgolf at 19.45pm on 01/03/2018
Although Leicester have won the league far more recently than Arsenal, expectations aren’t quite the same - and Foxes fans wouldn’t have been particularly unhappy with their 1-1 draw against Stoke City, who don’t seem to have won away against the top seven since Rory Delap hung up his throw-in towel.
Rory Delap 2009 by Wonker is licensed by CC 2.0
When Stoke used to beat Arsenal
With Leicester safe from relegation but out of touch from the Champions League places, this game was all about Stoke’s survival – and Xherdan Shaqiri opened the scoring in typically spectacular fashion, bending in beautifully from the edge of the box to give the Potters the lead. We hope to see such eye-catching goals from the Swizz wizard in the World Cup come summer, and that curling strike could be a sign of things to come. Unfortunately for Stoke, goalkeeper Jack Butland then deflected Marc Albrighton’s cross into his own net for Leicester’s equaliser. Perhaps we’re being negative, but a calamitous error by an England goalkeeper seems an even more realistic World Cup omen than a moment of magic by a proven international goalscorer.
Unlike Leicester, defending champions Chelsea (yes, technically they still are) are in the thick of the Top Four race, and travelled to Old Trafford with an eye on drawing level with Manchester United on points. Dull as the Mourinho edition of United are to watch, they’re reliable performers at the Theatre of Dreams/ Arena of the Boring Win – and so it was they eventually rolled out 2-1 victors.
Mourinho and Antonio Conte are both serial winners; scrapping each other for a Champions League place while Guardiola strolled to his first trophy of the season must have smarted. And after gaining the lead before throwing it away in the second half to United forward/official celebration choreographer Jesse Lingard, Conte must have been pulling his hair out all over again.
Man City vs Chelsea is showing live at Topgolf at 16.00 on 04/03/2018
Chelsea’s defeat saw them leapfrogged into fourth place by Tottenham Hotspur, who scored a late winner through an otherwise underperforming Harry Kane. Even when not at his best and faced with a ten-man defence, it seems that one way or another, Kane will still find his way to the back of the net.
Palace will consider themselves unfortunate in not completing their noble underdog quest of boring Spurs to death – although it says a lot about their approach that the only entertainment other than Kane’s winner was the sight of Serge Aurier completing a hat-trick of foul throws. If Huerelho Gomes was David James on acid, Aurier is Kyle Walker on a hangover.
Tottenham vs Rochdale is showing live at Topgolf at 19.45 on 28/02/2018