The Lead

I’m sure there’s some hackneyed Halloween-appropriate metaphor one could use in relation to Arsenal’s astonishing 7-5 AET win over Reading at the Madejski stadium last night in the *sigh* Capital One Cup™. I’m not up to it. I saw Ghostbusters recently so maybe there’s something in there? Arsenal crossed the streams to asplode the Stay Puft marshmallow man that was Reading’s seemingly unassailable 4-0 lead?

Anyway, someone has to play party-pooper here. First, let’s get the romance out of the way. That is what football should be, and because the Milk Cup is the fourth most important calendar date for the majority of Premier League teams, there is more of a relaxed sense of ease. The nervous, poisonous tension of say of a money-bags contest like Chelsea v Man United in the Premier League is gone. In its place is poor defending on the wings, some ridiculously bad goal-keeping, some incredible spirit (sure), and the most fun game you will see all year, if not in the next half decade.

But, um, back to that poor defending on the wings. And Koscielny’s own-goal. And how Arsenal gave up the ghost at the crucial moment in extra time after storming back from four goals down. Look, none of these things mean anything in and of themselves, so we should be wary of reading too much into those weak tea leaves.

However, that principle cuts both ways. So while many Gooners may want to believe, as Arsene Wenger framed it, this win will be the “spark” that sends Arsenal into the Premier League and European stratosphere, well, I can only say “we’ll see.” I don’t have the data in front of me, but I’m willing to bet that massive comebacks don’t always translate into trophies. I’m thinking here off the top of my head of Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Newcastle, a game that many thought would put the Merseyside club in pole position to overtake Manchester United. And that of course did not happen. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. But the fact is part of what made the game great was Arsenal’s initial vulnerability. And so, if I’m Nate Silver, I don’t add much to my win probability percentage.

But hey, we don’t get these games every day. NHL lockout be damned amirite? That was a hell of a lot of fun, and football should be fun, as a rule, not as an exception.

Links

So the running metaphor among the Toronto FC intelligentsia with regard to Paul Mariner remaining at the helm is that he’s “on the clock.” So there! [The Sun, CSN]. And if you want to know about their media day, read this [Waking the Red].

Have you ever left a football match early and come to regret it? [The Guardian].

Grant Wahl breaks down what to expect during the MLS playoffs [SI].

The LA Galaxy are ON FIRE! [Fox Soccer].

The Mark Clattenburg affair is officially a crisis! [ESPN FC].

AC Milan ‘crawl out of the mire’ in draw with Palermo [Gazzetta dello Sport].

Comments (6)

  1. I don’t think any intelligent Gooners think last night’s result foreshadows much of anything for the remainder of the season. This competition means ruin for all involved. When we lost to Birmingham in the finals a few years back it killed the remainder of our season, but they got relegated.

    As long as you observe the action with the right mindset and don’t take the games too seriously, the Capital One Cup is the best footy tournament in the world. Maybe they should call it the Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Cup?

  2. the one thing I found infuriating from the TFC interviews (haven’t seen them all yet….) was Mariner calling out Hasli for staying with his wife in the hospital for 3 days after a difficult birth and missing Columbus. Are you fucking kidding me? We know Mariner is a classless prat but that is just disgusting. Family before footy always.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s Reading-Arsenal match. That is what football should be: fun! As for this match being the “spark” or “springboard” for the rest of the season, I don’t see it. I believe Wenger and Bould needs to start working on their defensive frailties on the wings. They also need to go into the transfer market in January to purchase a proven keeper and left back, we are slowly bleeding at the back.

    As for Saturday’s Man Utd v Arsenal match, I follow Devang’s sentiments exactly. I am going to be on the edge of my couch the entire 90 mins and hopefully not swearing profusely at the TV

    • hide your remote controls and anything else with enough heft to damage your TV. As Chelski fans can attest from last weekend, I”m sure there are a number of TV purchases this week……

  4. wouldve loved to c this match but even tho rogers charges u 17 a month for sportsnet world channel still wasnt on damn it as far as this weekend goes we cud lose 8-2 again as long as someone puts vanpersie out for a few months haha just teasing i will change my opinon of him slightly if he does the classy thing and when he scores aginst his former team a team that stood by him thru all his injury prone time at arsenal he does the classy thing and does not celebrate

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