Offering the hand of friendship and bonhomie to Islington’s finest.
It’s Saturday lunchtime so welcome back to Villa Park and a particularly warm welcome to those lovable, down to earth Arsenals. Some supporters are arrogant (Manchester United), some are entitled (Liverpool), some are deluded (Spurs) and some are arrogant, entitled and deluded (Arsenal).
As we never stop reminding you, partly because it uses up a few words but mainly because it’s true, there’s so much to admire, respect even, about Arsenal but all that gets overshadowed by those supporters. The protests when they go a couple of years without winning something, the fan channel that has tantrums as often as ITVX runs adverts, complaining that they always deserve better, the new fan attitude that gets pelters everywhere else but gets encouraged at Arsenal. Everything that is sanitised, corporate, expensive and driving tradition out of the game is down to Arsenal supporters. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was an Arsenal supporter who invented VAR. Then there’s Piers Morgan. And giving us the best keeper in the world doesn’t make up for any of this, not in the slightest.
Anyway, back to the football. Tyrone Mings is a doubt, so we’ll see him some time next season. Bertrand Traore “could” be involved, so we’ll see him in 2025. Diego Carlos is back in training, so that’s the last we’ll see of him. They’ve got a couple of injury worries. They’ll all be fit.
A few weeks ago they were storming the league, now they’re on the crest of a slump. They’re dazed, battered, demoralised and don’t know where their next win’s coming from. Unai Emery’s never lost to them. Saturday’s ref has never been in charge of a game they’ve won. But of course this is the Villa. Can their bad run continue? Can ours stop? Whatever happens, yet again the story will be all about Good Old Arsenal.