Only my second ever Cartilage-Free post, and I pose a double question quandary that will surely shake the very foundations of your current understanding of foot-ball. If you would prefer to keep your stereotyped views of the London clubs intact, look away now. If not, best read it quickly before the mods take it down for being so GOD DAMNED CONTROVERSIAL.
IT'S OK, BREATHE. WE'LL GET THROUGH THIS TOGETHER. Let me explain.
Well, Chelsea have now signed every attacking midfielder that they could possibly have signed. On their books, they now have Benayoun, Marin, Hazard, Lampard, Malouda, Moses, Mata, Ramires and Oscar. They've even had to loan out a Belgian (only De Bruyne, but still) along with Gael "who?" Kakuta, and Joe-Cole-of-the-future, Josh McEachran. Recent scientific research found that to accommodate these players "in the hole", Chelsea would have to dig up their entire pitch to a depth of over 28 feet.
Just like the Arsenal of old, most of these lightweight playmakers are pretty poor, but just by virtue of signing a thousand of them, some are actually pretty excellent. Hazard, Oscar and Marin were all even heavily linked with Spurs before Robben cost us our rightful CL spot. But I've already been (briefly) bitter about that in my last post.
Anyway, this new Chelsenal side also had - until signing Ba - absolutely no reliable cutting edge in front of goal. You could argue that Chelsea have taken apart a couple of teams this season, but Arsenal always did that on occasion, some team forgets to play a holding midfielder and doesn't bother to turn up defensively. Torres (read: Reyes, Baptista, Giroud, Chamakh) couldn't score even if you scored a sensational goal for him and begged him not to disallow it by interfering with play from an offside position, 0 yards out.
Sure, Ba might well end that problem, but there's always hope. Besides, looking at the most recent Chelski game - against current European Champions Swansea City Football Club - it seems like the curse of the Arsenal striker may have struck. Marginally offside disallowed goal at the death, wrongly booked for diving - but crucially, in the end without goals. Ok, he only played for half a second, but nonetheless a positive sign the curse may have settled.
Besides which, that Swansea match brings up the second way in which Chelski have become Arsenal. They absolutely melted under the pressure in a big game. They passed and passed and passed, producing more unadventurous play-it-safe balls than a chlamydia awareness campaign - and just like that campaign's results: limited penetration despite obvious desire. A couple of stupid defensive lapses later, and they've probably fallen at realistically the final hurdle in the League Cup (Aston Villa or Bradford? Yeech.) Just as they fell to Corinthians in the Club World Cup Final. Sure, a relatively meaningless trophy, but nonetheless they lacked the mentality to see it through and just screwed it up. It was like a re-run of Arsenal vs Birmingham in the League Cup Final.
GASP, you say? Don't hate me, bro/bro-ette. Take a pause, dull those pointy pitchforks and take a swig of this muthafunking truthjuice. We've been identity-thiefed by our nearest and dearest. Did you get a sense of deja vu while this happened? If yes, you had good reason - remember this?
Arsenal are suddenly a team of pacy wingers without end product, promising but ultimately crappy strikers, decent English prospects who will never make it to the top (Jenkinson, Gibbs = O'Hara, Livermore) and whose undoubted star strikers are sold following a single excellent season at fabulous profit to Manchester United, rendering their North London club entirely toothless for the following campaign. Need I explain further?
Warning: deeply obvious comparisons may result in trans-European homoeroticism.
So, that's my view on Arsenal and Chelski's budding identity crises.
Meanwhile, Spurs have been tootling along quite happily, transformed from a midtable wannabe to a professional outfit capable of bringing in your Llorises, Dembeles and Holtbys. It's been a quiet transformation, but... dude, sometimes you have to take a moment to step back and soak it in.
It's like playing an instrument. You're always focused on the people better than you and not on how much less you seem like a tw*t than you did when you started out. You don't have to think that far back to recall that feeling of dread when we had an Arsenal, Chelsea or United fixture coming up. I mean, I still get through a good few pairs of pants watching those games, but I also have a sneaky dribbly stain of conviction that we should be picking up maximum points more often than not.
So, for the second consecutive of my posts, I guess I'm going to conclude by saying that Spurs are looking pretty solid right now, even before we sign THE Damiao. Plus, if Chelsea and Arsenal are indeed Arsenal-Classic and Spurs-Classic respectively in disguise, that puts them... 4th and 5th-with-food-poisoning respectively? I'll take that 3rd spot.
Also, I might start throwing in some tenuous internet links because I pretty much enjoy the internet. So, with a cap-doff to lasagnegate, check out this excellent instructional YouTube channel and relax. Hope you enjoyed this post and weren't too shocked by its outrageous controversy.
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