The most venerated and senior bastion of the local press pack ground a particular axe for so long there must be nothing but the handle left. Now read on…
It related to the wholly devoted adoration people in this country have to soccer teams across the water. Which mostly means England or Glasgow Celtic. Though there are devotees to Barcelona nowadays and, whisper it, I even know one Rangers fan!
You know the type – “If We beat Liverpool on Sunday” or,”If Chelsea beat them, it’ll be a good result for Us”. Chances are we’ve all fallen into the trap at some point, but the well-traveled wordsmith’s observation that some of the “We” and “Us” brigade wouldn’t be able to name three players in the League Of Ireland probably hits the spot.
For very special reasons, that certainly isn’t an issue in this corner. Besides that, being honest, soccer and rugby – personal connections notwithstanding – are very much a means to an end, by way of getting through the time of year when GAA action is (unnecessarily) shut down and – in a former and much better life – farming was very much part of what life worth living.
That said, when the ground-based game is acting as a gap filler, it’s maybe inevitable that one would get emotionally invested therein. Especially when your team of choice – in this case Manchester United – are, or at least were, on a roll. Though it remains to be seen whether said roll can be restarted after Sunday’s deflating sucker punch against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Angst felt at Eddie Nketia’s late winner was compounded still further by the fact that her in doors happens to be a fan of The Gunners. Suffice to say the four legged family member felt the safest course of action was to disappear under the bed until blood pressure rates had sufficiently stabilised!
Seriously though, surely the footballing world at large must now take Arsenal’s prospects of winning the title with the utmost seriousness. Expecting them to slip up every week eventually makes you look foolish.
As it did with Arsene Wenger’s team in 2004 and Leicester City over a decade later. What makes the achievements of Arteta’s Arsenal all the more noteworthy is (a) the age profile of the team and (b) the fact their marquee summer signing, Gabriel Jesus, is a long term injury absentee.
It is not being fanciful to suggest that if Arsenal beat Manchester City in either or both of their forthcoming league clashes they will as good as have one hand on the Premier League trophy.
As for United, the tale of the tape will be how they react to Sunday’s setback. Starting with the Caraboa Cup semi final against Nottingham Forest, with the competition representing what looks like a very decent opportunity to end the club’s wait for a trophy.
With the greatest of respect to that competition, only capture of the Premier League – whenever it happens – will represent a full restoration of United’s status in the game.