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Thursday Cannon Fodder: back

Arsenal Training Session Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

It has been 17 days since Arsenal last played a football match. I’ve forgotten what most of the players look like and some of the rules of the game. I’m given to understand that 22 players kick a ball around for 90 minutes, the referee may or may not brandish a “red card” in the direction of somebody wearing an Arsenal shirt - often somebody named Granit Xhaka, and my team will have at least one other dodgy decision made against them. The Gunners will usually frustrate the heck out of me, mostly for not getting bodies forward, into the box, creating chances, and scoring.

And you know what, I miss it all.

Arsenal have played just five matches this calendar year and will add a paltry three to that total in the month of February. Some of that is due to COVID (the North London Derby). Some of that is due to February Premier League matches against Chelsea and Liverpool being rescheduled because of cup competitions (for the other guys, Arsenal are out of the cups). Whatever the reason, it feels like significantly less Arsenal football than we’re used to.

25 straight years of European football and deep cup runs (the Gunners did make the semifinals of the Carabao Cup, mind) have spoiled us Gooners. We’re used to Arsenal playing a whole mess of football, so much that we used to complain about fixture congestion from all the competitions. Never again. I’m going to cherish every match because January and February 2022 have been incredibly dull.

I’m very ready to watch Arsenal play Wolves today.