The EPL season kicks off this Saturday, where 19 other clubs fight for the honor to finish second in the league to the Arsenal come May 2013 (lulz...kinda). It's been a wonderfully busy summer full of signings, Statements and some other creative thing that starts with an "S" that I'm struggling like Hell to come up with at this time. This time last year, we were calling Sami a c*nt while trying to figure out who was going to proficiently pass the ball to our new Captain and Savior, one Robin van Persie. We skittered (not the "S" word I'm looking for) in our computer chairs at the prospect of Armand Traore actually being in the squad, with our nervousness confirmed as he was utter and complete dog shit in 8-2; it felt like whoever hadn't been transferred out of our club last summer was seemingly injured or loaned out. The club welcomed in a forehead along with the usual youngsters that continually fuel the terrace songs about Arsene, windowless white vans and free candy, but as usual we implored Arsene to spend some fucking money. Continued inaction in the market after the Cesc and Sami deals led to a vast section of our fanbase wondering, voraciously, if Le Professeur had truly lost the plot. Funny how things change in 12 months time.
So here we are now, more than likely handing the armband off to yet another player, but optimism's abound. Arsene spent some money. Both after the Manchester folly before last summer's transfer window closed, as well as this past summer. On actual veterans. As in, seasoned and decorated players with international caps from such national powers like Brazil, France, Germany and Spain. Wenger saw enough smiles, golly gee darnets and playful shoulder pushes from Traore during that fateful day at Old Trafford that essentially told everyone watching "I don't give half a fuck" that he fucked him right off to QPR as the embers were still cracking and popping from that burning piece o' shit of a match, and our squad is in relative decent health leading up to Sunderland this Saturday morning at the Emirates.
(knocks on every piece of wood within 10 feet)
Robin van Persie brushed off our early struggles and went on to score roughly 138 goals last season while competing with Jeremy Toulalan to see who can accumulate grey hair at a quicker rate. van Persie stated before the end of the frenetic season that a club of our stature needn't and shouldn't finish in a spot where Champions League qualification is but a dream, later fired our club into said Champions League and a 3rd place finish the league (quite the achievement considering our fantastic start to the campaign, not to mention this cemented our TOP CLUB CLUB status) and, finally after some post-Euro 2012 reflection, typed out 321 infamous words that flopped harder than a Manchester United IPO and showed the world that not only does he think we lack ambition, he also employs some of the dumbest representation this side of Edward Bernays.
So now what? Well, your guess is as good as mine. However, as much grief as Wenger has been on the receiving end over the past few seasons, and as the already-strong clubs around the league are still getting stronger, optimism seems to be abound for a change. For once, there's a really good chance that we don't field a starting XI on the first day of the season that ranks one of the youngest and inexperienced in the league. Fingers are still crossed, but it appears that we've now adequately replaced the level of service we lost when Cesc went home with the Cazorla transfer, and no one really seems to give a shit if the top goal scorer in the EPL last season leaves. Really, there's very little, in my mind, to be pessimistic about regarding our club. We're stocked with crazy depth at nearly every position and there appears to be more signings coming up before the window closes in 17 days.
In the end, all the talk about transfers, all the eventual signings, all the rumored locations of where RVP ends up and this so-called battle in the Boardroom, all of that is pushed aside come Saturday on the best pitch on Planet Earth. We're five days away until the Arsenal boys suit up and provide us an outlet to come together as one to cheer on the best club known to the human existence. Saturday is the first day for eleven of our players to kick some ass like a donkey jockey. It's like that, y'all. Up the motherfucking Arsenal.
Opposition Player Spotlight: Titus Bramble
Ever since Titus, Larry, and Curly were dumped on the doorstep of the Sisters of Mercy Orphanage, they have wreaked havoc in the place, leaving the nuns who run it utterly terrified. Out of desperation, when a prospective couple comes to adopt, the exasperated nuns bring out the trio as being the only three available, eventually adding a fourth when another boy, Teddy, enters the picture. The couple decides to pick Titus, but when he requests Larry and Curly join him, he is dropped back off at the orphanage, and they choose Teddy instead. 25 years later, the trio is still living there and attempting to help out taking care of the kids. When Monsignor Ratliffe arrives to give everyone an important message, he gets attacked by Titus, Larry, and Curly, who think that Monsignor Ratliffe was making out with the nuns. Monsignor Ratliffe is not going to adopt either of them either, as he is on official business. As they get wind that the orphanage will be shutting down unless they can come up with $830,000 in 30 days, the trio volunteers to go out and try to raise the money somehow.
Beer of the Week: Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Cherry Stout. Finally the oppressive heat has somewhat subsided here in Minnesota, and there were a couple evenings the past few nights where there was enough chill present in the air to get my beer tastebuds tickling for a hearty stout. So I dipped down into my dimly-lit, cave-like beer cellar (or, as my wife calls it, "that spot under the basement steps") and cracked open a 2012 version of this beauty. Still fresh, the cherry and other sweetness popped through the oak undertones, and as the beer slowly warmed in my snifter, the 10% ABV and the ensuing hotness began to mesh wonderfully and balanced out what was a sweeter-than-I-remembered stout. A decent start, I must say, to the upcoming stout, porter and double IPA season.
Match Prediction: As a casual reader of Canis Hoopus and ardent fan of the perpetually-doomed Minnesota Timberwolves, one of the funniest things I read on a consistent basis over the past few years was Tim Allen's Game Previews, especially during the 2010-2011 season as the Wolves fielded what was one of the sorriest collective of players in any sport that I've had the misfortune of following (here's an example of the fine work he put out in the face of such horseshit basketball the Wolves gave him and the rest of us fans). I won't attempt to do his predictions any justice since 1) Arsenal are decent and the Wolves aren't and 2) I'm not close to being that clever to come up with such awesomeness - few can, if that. He was a fantastic writer and his mix of sarcasm, insight and wit was second-to-none.
I couldn't summon up the words in any of the numerous outpourings of grief and sadness on Canis Hoopus that followed his passing on to express how his words towards the team, even in the face of national mockery, always seemed to make me believe that we were just moments away from having a contending squad again. It's times like that where one finds themselves wishing they could tell that person how much their writings made the tough times fun and bearable, and it definitely finds one telling anyone close to them in their personal life just how much they mean to them. His sudden passing had me going through all of those stages. Therefore, I know many congratulated the writers here after their post announcing the record-breaking views per month and I don't mean to beat the same drum again, but cheers to the writers and the rest of the community here that make this the one place on the intertubes that I go to more than anywhere else.
Arsenal 16, Sunderland 0