Soccer Pass Adjectives I Detest & Adore

Lots of big media outlets have written about the transatlantic pollination of the English language. Thanks to the pace, passion, and commercial power of the Premier League, the US and UK have gotten over that whole “tea party” stuff and the free flow of individuals and ideas has accelerated. In no particular order, I thank you, United Kingdom, for Monty Python, Fredorrarci, the Office, James Joyce, and tea (I am including former colonies).

However, in terms of adjectives for passes in soccer, I’m afraid both the US and UK have fallen into a rut. Things have grown stale. The banter is too banterfully lukewarm. Luckily, easy solutions abound. Continue reading “Soccer Pass Adjectives I Detest & Adore” »

The Season Also Starts

PART I

Bobby Kohn was a champion darts player. You wouldn’t know it, even if you asked him. The crowning achievement of his life was an Ivy League degree that collected dust in a box in his parent’s basement on Long Island. Since graduating from Brown, he’d couch-surfed and freelanced in Brooklyn and Manhattan. After several months, he landed some stable advertising gig, rented a brownstone he couldn’t afford with friends in Bed-Stuy, and his credit card debt tripled in the span of six months.

And he was a Spurs fan. Continue reading “The Season Also Starts” »

Top 11 Things Arsene Wenger Is an Expert At In Addition to Failure

After the recent 6-0 loss to Chelsea, Arsenal fans feel even more stung by Mou’s earlier claims that Wenger was a “specialist at failure.” Luckily, Gunners fun and excellent blogger Miriti Murungi, of the soon to be reborn Nutmeg Radio, has provided a listicle of non-failure areas where Wenger also specializes and excels.

They are numerous, so cheer up! Continue reading “Top 11 Things Arsene Wenger Is an Expert At In Addition to Failure” »

United vs. Arsenal: Pretenders, Contenders & Offenders

The Arsenal has played the Manchester United. The game hath ended. In a tense game with end-to-end action, United won 1-0 off a header from a corner kick. All sportswriters will boldly proclaim something about a title race and spin the same story: Arsenal has only succeeded because they have played lesser teams. Of course, consistently beating lesser teams is, like, the recipe for winning a league.

Arguments aside, I don’t care to talk about “title chances” in November. Rather, I prefer to look closely at just why Arsenal has started off so well and why United has come around. Let’s take a gander. Continue reading “United vs. Arsenal: Pretenders, Contenders & Offenders” »

Arsenal Player Jack Wilshere Steals Page from Bill Clinton Playbook

You follow the news. You know that somebody took a picture of Jack Wilshere holding a cigarette outside a nightclub. I won’t bore you with the trite “Athletes are role models/I like to watch cocky, irresponsible assholes” debate. We lampooned it before. Rather, another angle to the Wilshere story caught my eye.

In response to Wenger’s criticisms, Jack Wilshere’s representative claimed that he was holding the cigarette as part of a prank and did not in fact smoke. Presumably, his representative said this because Jack couldn’t say such bs with a straight-face during a presser. Aside from being a lie, this excuse tramples over the intellectual property of former US President Bill Clinton, who famously “put a joint to this lips but didn’t inhale.”

Yawn. Here are some much better excuses Wilshere’s rep could have cooked up. Continue reading “Arsenal Player Jack Wilshere Steals Page from Bill Clinton Playbook” »

Arsenal & Arsene: Laughing in our Faces, At Least for Now

For the last nine years, I’ve admired Arsenal from afar for both aesthetic and analytic reasons. Aesthetically, they were the Platonic ideal of beauty in football. The defenders and goalkeeper passed, the midfielders played sideways passes, and the forwards couldn’t be bothered to press off the ball. They didn’t win a trophy and that was the point: this was a team beyond results. Silverware would only soil the ideal. You can only stand so much success before you start to feel dirty.

Analytically, each season they raised the same argument to explain a lack of titles: basically, financial prudence today, future success tomorrow. Any close student of politics will know how unsuccessful this argument normally is: you are better off supplying a dose of instant gratification to the masses if you want to stay in power (at least for the short-term). That’s why Arsenal’s argument, their recurrent story of an ant amassing food while grasshoppers squandered the summer away, impressed me. Are people really buying this, I thought?

Even smart Arsenal fans started to get fed up (especially after they unexpectedly sold Song). You can only promise the future so many times. I anticipated two hysterical (if cynical) ends to the Arsene era: the club fails to qualify for the Champions League and their financial house of cards falls to pieces, or Arsene coyly waits for the last year of his contract before demanding a transfer to Barcelona.

In that vain, last season I made the obligatory “top of the (preseason) table” Arsenal joke. This season, though, an odd thing has occurred. We are now entering October and….Arsenal is top of the table. How has this happened? And what does it mean for Platonic ideals? Continue reading “Arsenal & Arsene: Laughing in our Faces, At Least for Now” »

My Belated EPL Season Preview that Focuses Solely on Luis Suarez

Yes, the EPL started a few weeks ago. However, you don’t really read “season previews” expecting a glimpse of the future. You read them for pure entertainment value. You are excited by the EPL, and just want a bunch of blocks of letters, sometimes forming words and even sentences, that mention EPL clubs and players. Admit it.

Thus, this belated season preview exclusively about Luis Suarez is just for you. Continue reading “My Belated EPL Season Preview that Focuses Solely on Luis Suarez” »

Globalization Myths & EPL Ticket Prices

Ahh, neoliberal economics. Words like “merit” and “competition” get tossed around like popcorn in a hot kettle. The “free” exchange of goods, labor, currency, and information will, like a rising tide, lift all boats eventually. If we just repeat that last line five times really fast, it will come true.

Why such a vague and opaque opening ramble? EPL ticket prices. Rather, the soaring, ever-increasing EPL ticket prices.

Allow me to explain. Continue reading “Globalization Myths & EPL Ticket Prices” »