While I Was Out
BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ HEY BITCHES! It’s me, your friendly neighborhood vuvuzelist! You may have feared/hoped that I’d gotten lost in the hustle and bustle of all this merger and redesign shabazz, but in fact I’ve just been on vacation and now triumphantly return to take all credit/zero blame. Hurrah!
Sadly, football moves along. While I was lounging in the Southern Hemisphere where the season is summer and you can get sunburned as you lay out in the sand on the beaches of Chile’s Pacific coast and read Patricia Highsmith murder novels, “a literal shit ton” (Proust) of things happened. Guess what they were!
Numero Uno, Manchester United LOST…to BLACKBURN! Egads! And on Fergie’s birthday, too!
To make matters even worse, they lost to Newcastle next! 3-nil to Newcastle! When was the last time that happened, Alan Shearer’s era?
“Guys, I think we may have taken this prank a little too far.” – Patrice “Pranksman” Evra
But in true United style, they’ve recently pulled themselves together again, knocking the adjacent inhabitants of unreasonable volume (Manchester City) out of the FA Cup in a thrilling 3-2 match which saw Vincent Kompany sent off for a two-footed tackle.
The sky blue captain may have won the ball, but any time one goes in with both feet these days there’s a risk the referee won’t take kindly to it, particularly if you’re fucking huge and/or look like a cartoon conceived to sell breakfast to children.
City’s appeal to rescind the red failed, leaving Kompany out for a potentially crucial four games that might see them exit the Carling Cup (against Liverpool) as well as the already-lost Champions League and FA Cup, leaving them with only the Premier League to fight for. Oh, and the Europa League–remember when that competition meant something? Me neither, because I wasn’t born yet. Not cool, television. Ruining all our great sporting competitions with petty capitalism. Quit being so greedy, everyone! Jeez Louise.
Speaking of high-level international sporting competition ruined by money, guess who’s back in England after his Champions League win with Barcelona and cash grab stint in America?
Arsenal’s own favorite statue Thierry Henry! Living legend! He came back! On a two month loan from the New York Red Bulls during the MLS offseason, but still! Henry! He came on as a substitute and scored the winner against Leeds in their FA Cup tie.
The Frenchman’s won everything there is to win with Arsenal, except the Champions League, and I guess he never won the Europa League/UEFA Cup/what was it called back then? either, but as already established in the paragraphs previous, that competition doesn’t mean anything whereas “ARSENAL! CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! PREMIER LEAGUE! FA CUP! ANYTHING PLEASE HELP US WIN A TROPHY THIS YEAR FINALLY IT’S BEEN SO LONG MISSED U SO MUCH PLZ PLZ PLZ MAKE IT HAPPEN THIERRY BABY PLZ!” -Arsene Wenger
Speaking of Old Gods coming back for revenge, the trend is on. Riding the momentum of their derby win, United thrashed poor lowly Bolton 3-0, with the resurrected PAUL SCHOLES opening the scoresheet.
This was an emotional thing for me. Scholesy‘s my favorite player. When he retired I went through the Five Stages of Grief or whatever–shit got weird, is all I’m saying. And now that he’s back, it’s like, um, look, I still love you, but like… I just don’t know. SCHOLESY! BUT HE’S KINDA SHIT NOW! BUT HE SCORED! BUT ONLY AGAINST BOLTON! BUT SCHOLESY! SCHOLESY! SCHOLESYYYYYYY!!!!!!
Don’t mind that.
Hey though–why was it sssssssooooooo easy for United to dismantle Bolton? I know they’re bad but they haven’t been that bad lately. Oh yeah, of course, now I remember. Gary Cahill, one of England’s best/most overrated centerbacks and the rock at the heart of Bolton’s defense, fucked off to Chelsea.
Well, s’pose you can’t fault a man for that these days. Not everyone can be like Leighton Baines. Sweet, sweet Leighton.
Moving on, the Africa Cup of Nations starts soon. Various teams stand to lose key players for a few weeks. Manchester City lose the Super Toure Brothers. Arsenal lose Marouane Chamakhasaurus and Pepe “Gervinho” Le Pew. Newcastle lose Cheick Tiote and talisman Demba Ba. Chelsea lose their only in-form forward Didier Drogba, and also Salomon Kalou.
Them’s the haps in Ingerlund. But believe it or not, football exists outside of England too! Specifically, in Spain.
Real Madrid are more than a game’s worth of points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga and won their Copa del Rey match against the oil moneyed Malaga. Los merengues went 2-0 down in the first half. Mourinho was NOT IMPRESSED, and made this face:
At half time he made three subs–Khedira for Arbeloa, Ozil for Kaka, and Benzema for Callejon. Khedira, Higuain, and Benzema all scored in a ten minute space with Ozil driving every attack. It was as great a comeback as any I’ve seen. One to remember fondly. They won the second leg 1-0 and set a quarterfinal Clasico date with Barcelona. Mouths, commence your watering.
Being away from football on vacation gave a welcome dose of perspective. We were in Chile so there were Colo Colo, U de Chile, and Chilean national team jerseys everywhere you looked, not to mention the blaugrana Qatar Foundation jerseys with “Alexis” and the number 9 on them. My cousins and I spent the majority of the trip talking about football. One’s a Madridista, one supports the Old Lady, another’s a lifelong River Plate fan, and a fourth is from Napoli. We played foosball, we kicked a tiny volleyball around, and whenever we could manage to scrounge an internet connection it was football we searched for and read about. Many were the minutes in which we all sat huddled together in a room, each of us staring at the screen of our laptop or smartphone, silent as a crackhouse.
In conclusion, football. Pretty much everything else can fuck off for all I care.
Featured image by Doug Jones.