The Arsenal has finally found its way into the safe harbour of Port Win after making its way through several obstacles. First as it set sail from the happy ports of Swansea City, the weather seemed wonderful and we got lulled into a false sense of security. Ahead we thought was familiar land, land which we had previously conquered. However, it turns out that the Isle of Munich had now been swallowed by a swirling death trap which was out for revenge, the Munich Whirlpool. We were whacked left and right and stretched as far as possible. Our excursion to Germany ended in almighty humiliation.
We turned our sails and set forth to our most feel good spot- Emirates. Home, where we were to meet the smelly stinky weakling’s called Sp*rs. Easy prey we thought, best to nick some treasure off of them and add it to our haul. They usually give us 3 trunks of gold as soon as they are pitched against us, to avoid the humiliation you know. This time though, they had a deck hand- one Karry Hane or whatever his name was, who refused to do so and in our well fed condition near the top of the pile among the English ships, we agreed to let them off with just one trunk. Believing ourselves to be the greatest ship on the planet, made of top, top quality parts we thought we’d make do with that and pick up some more on the next port.
The Hawthorns were not a helpful people though, and they nicked 3 of our golden trunks instead. Adding insult to injury, our second in command, Mikel Arteta and the artillery man Francis Coquelin both got mugged rather nastily when they were out for a stroll there. Both have been unable to attend to regular duties ever since with Coquelin being advised 3 months away from all the high tempo stuff.
In midweek we welcomed some guests at home, a certain Croatian trader outfit. We called them aboard our ship for some coffee and then raided their hold for the precious three trunks of gold we needed to make into the European League of Champion Pirates.
In the hopes of a first triumph in a few games domestically we travelled to Norwich City, who are known to be stingy with their treasure even though they themselves get very little of it season after season. We sent a search party of 11 onto their ship and only 9 returned fully fit. Unbeknownst to us, their hold had some trickery up its dark sleeves and their booby traps got two of our best men, Twinkle-toe Cazorla and Lion Heart Sanchez.
In this conditiom we faced the men from Sunderland at our home port, in search of some sunshine ourselves and hoping to pull through with a threadbare deck at hand. And thence the saviour emerged onto the pitch in his true form- Aaron Ramsey, The Plunderer.
He was everywhere. If there was a cause starboard- he was starboard, if there was a cause in the hold he was in the hold. If he saw the opposition weak at any place on the entire pitch, he was there. Trouble brewing? I’d bet my life you’re gonna find Ramsey at the root of said trouble. Last night he was some sort of hybrid between Cazorla, Chamberlain, Ozil and the Hulk. The only thing missing from his game was the Coquelin part but let us excuse him for that. His statistics are frightening. This is precisely why the Arsenal ship carries him in its engine room when there is no actual engine. Ramsey will run your ship and have some spare power if you need a quick recharge for your electronic devices.
He went 113 out of 124 for passes completed which turns out a sublime 91% completion rate. What’s more, 39 of those successful passes were in the final third which makes it clear he wasn’t sitting deep, just a pointer to those who thought he would curb his instincts. Also 52 of the total passes he played were forward, which is an astounding amount. He created 4 chances from open play and one of those resulted in Giroud’s goal. All of the chances were from open play. He completed 2/4 take ons which is only behind Ozil who completed three while attempting the same amount. Now we come to a very interesting part: The Plunderer completed only 1 out of two tackles attempted, which is a low number and the reason why I said he didn’t have Coq in the hybrid. However, he completed 14 ball recoveries. Three of these ball recoveries were in the attacking third, or at least near it. That is in a position from where instant attacks can be launched. He most probably stopped a counter with a ball recovery on the right flank metres away from the halfway line in the opposition half. All the other ball recoveries were in our half and predominantly on the left. Like I said, he was the Plunderer.
Now a performance of such magnitude needs somebody calculating all the possibilities, all the probabilities. It needs an appreciation of space and pathways and instincts. The winds, tides and currents and stars need to be taken account of when charting the path for a ship. Among our ranks we have arguably the world’s greatest CAM. However, this title does not do him justice. His abilities go beyond the human and turn into otherworldly when looked at closer up. He is of course Mesut Ozil, the Stargazer. I will not waste time with stats because Ozil cannot be quantified. I daresay Ramsey was able to turn up at every attacking position imaginable because Ozil was charting the paths and calculating every possibility before it happened. Mesut Ozil turned in a titanic 12th assist for Joel Campbell to finish past an onrushing keeper from an angle. The ball was perfectly weighted, deliciously placed and above all it made Joel Campbell look like Karim Benzema. So I hope that makes everybody happy. Needless to say he produced a few brilliant moments in this game too, with THAT turn coming to mind immediately. If you didn’t catch it yet, just watch an entire Ozil vs Sunderland highlight reel. I promise you it is all worth it. You can catch one here.
In 1914-17 Ernest Shackleton set out to conquer the Antarctic with his team in what was later known as the Imperial Trans-Atlantic Expedition. The expedition was to cross Antarctica sea to sea via ship. Alas it ended in disaster when his ship, the Endurance, got trapped in pack ice and was slowly crushed before the emergency lifeboats could be taken out. The reason was that the ship’s hull couldn’t take the massive pressure of the ice packing in around it. The hull of a ship is its last defence against outer forces trying to break in. It must be able to withstand enormous pressure. The Arsenal has a great hull, its name is Petr Cech. Again and again he absorbed the pressure thrust at our defence. He saved us from our own defence, saving at least two clear own goal chances. He stopped two big chances and throughout the season he has stopped more than 80% of the big chances we’ve let through to him. I’d take that any day and so would you once you know that the opposition keeper has let in about more than 60% of the big chances his team have allowed on his goal.
Our adventure to the summit of the Premier League may have been blighted by injuries to various players. However, we still have the most important elements in the mix. We have the Stargazer Mesut Ozil charting invisible paths through opposition defences, the Plunderer Aaron Ramsey blazing through said paths and the Hull Petr Cech saving us from capsizing at every attack. When Shackleton’s ship was submerged into the waters, he lived for weeks with his crew on the ice before embarking on an ambitious yet necessary trip to Elephant Islands on a makeshift boat, the James Caird. The team that you saw at the Emirates was our own version of the James Caird. It still has these three superhumans in it, and most importantly Captain Wenger at the helm. November disasters are so passé for Arsene at this point that he doesn’t even think of them as disasters anymore. Let us strap in folks, and make your Christmas wishes. We just might have a pre-Christmas Miracle on our hands in Europe this week.
Olympiakos here we come. COYG.
Sohum Sen is a half Bengali-half Gujarati Gooner from Kolkata, India. He lives the highs and lows with Arsenal and has a soft spot for Wenger. The things he loves most in the world are as follows- his little sister, his girlfriend and the Arsenal. Always available for a good debate, he fancies himself as a bit of a philosopher and as a tactician. He happens to be studying for a degree in Electrical Engineering, while simultaneously dreaming of writing a blog. He hopes to be a ST holder one day.