Arsenal put in a dreadful shift away to BATE Borisov today, losing 1-0 in what was the worst performance from the club since 8-2 at Old Trafford. Honestly, it may have been worse. Nobody played well. The tactics were non-existent. The Gunners hit pass after pass to BATE players or nobody in particular. Alexandre Lacazette received a straight red. It was beyond dire. ***
I don’t want to think about that putrid performance, so instead, I am going to tell you about the match as it played out in my head.
0’ - it could be the dawn of a new era at Arsenal as manager Unai Emery has started Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey together in the midfield. Ramsey, fresh off signing an unprecedented contract that literally says “he shall be a Gunner for life” cannot stop flashing his million dollar smile.
1’ - 1-0 to Arsenal! Alexandre Lacazette touches it past the keeper after Mesut Özil hit a ball that somehow managed to curve both to the left AND to the right to put him in.
4’ - 2-0 to Arsenal! Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang playing alongside Lacazette in a 4-4-2 puts on an electric burst of pace to get on the end of an Aaron Ramsey chip and easily finishes the chance.
15’ - It’s Ramsey and it’s 3-0 to Arsenal! It’s amazing what this side can do with only one defensive midfielder on the pitch.
23’ - Shkodran Mustafi makes his 5th perfectly-timed sliding challenge to win the ball without coming close to committing a foul.
27’ - 4-0 to Arsenal! Lacazette from Özil again. This time the pass curved right before curving left.
32’ - 5-0 to Arsenal. Laurent Koscielny header from a corner. He’s got springs for Achilles, that one.
32’ - 6-0 to Arsenal. Nacho Monreal somehow scores just 3 seconds later. It’s the fastest 2 goals in the history of football.
38’ - Lucas Torreira scores a bicycle kick, but the goal is disallowed for being too awesome.
41’ - Arsenal have been incredibly creative in attack this half. In fact, they haven’t taken the ball to the endline and cut it back once.
46’ - Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka have come on at halftime for the Gunners, replacing Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who did an awesome, impromptu dance together before laughing and walking off the pitch arm in arm.
55’ - Petr Cech denies a penalty kick. Awarded, I can only assume, out of sympathy to the home squad.
57’ - *checks earpiece* “I’m getting word that Tottenham’s new stadium won’t be ready until 2099.
60’ - 7-0 to Arsenal. Bukayo Sako’s first senior goal for the club! Özil’s pass does things that current physics cannot account for, and a new branch of science is created on the spot. Did anybody else notice that Özil sorta kinda maybe transformed into Dennis Bergkamp for a second there...
62’ - Sead Kolasinac just turned green and doubled in size. Nobody seems to notice a difference.
69’ - Nice.
70’ - Bawh god that’s...Jack Wilshere’s music!? Somehow he’s been back transferred to Arsenal, has had cybernetically enhanced ankles installed, and has come sprinting onto the pitch like the Six Million Dollar Man.
80’ - Lucas Torreira just broke a BATE player in half with a ferocious, but clean tackle. It’s okay though because in this alternate universe, medical science has advanced to the point where breaking in half is only a day-to-day thing. I mean, come on, we’ve got Cyborg-Wilshere here.
85’ - 9-0 to Arsenal. Cech scores from a punt, and the referee awarded Arsenal two goals.
88’ - For some reason Terje Hauge is here. He’s rescinding the Jens Lehmann red card and they’re awarding the 2006 Champions League title to Arsenal!
90’ - Thierry Henry is somehow now on the pitch for Arsenal, and he’s scored at the death because he is Thierry Henry.
Fulltime - 10-0 to Arsenal.
Postgame - the camera zooms in on Unai Emery...wait. What is this? He’s pulling off a mask...IT’S ARSENE WENGER!
***Hope springs eternal, however. All Arsenal need is to overturn a 1-0 deficit at the Emirates. Surely they won’t manage to screw that up, right?