Here is a great question as you prepare to watch (or DVR) today’s Monday’s EPL special – a match between two clubs that haven’t been much of that this year. Special, that is.
Arsenal makes the short trip west of London to meet Reading (a short match preview is here), the club currently holding the dubious distinction as 20th among 20 clubs in the Barclay’s Premier League.
Arsenal, meanwhile, is 8th. There’s certainly no relegation danger afoot – but you might not know so by listening to some of the sky-is-falling sentiment reverberating around the stately and modern Emirates today. For the storied likes of Arsenal, 8th may as well be 20th.
The trophy drought – that’s a word we see with increasing frequency around Arsenal and embattled manager Arsene Wenger – reaches back to 2005. The volume of rancor grows annually.
And woven into those previous two sentences is the question to be pondered here. Because Wenger isn’t really “embattled” so much as he is “perennially embattled” these days. And that volume, at some point, simply cannot grow any louder.
Arsenal meets Reading at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Between then and now, consider Jacob Steinberg’s premise from this UK piece in The Guardian:
It’s difficult to know where to begin with Arsenal, a team so perpetually in crisis that there will surely come a point where the crisis is no longer a crisis, but merely the norm. There’s a philosophical poser for you, all right: a crisis can only last so long before everyone’s used to the mediocrity and they’re not angry, they’re just tired. Although they probably will be quite angry if they contrive to lose to Reading, a team so useless that they managed to Arsenal up a four-goal lead against Arsenal the other week …
That was a reference to an absurd 7-5 verdict back in October, when Arsenal beat back a four-goal deficit to prevail in a Capital One Cup contest.
Just for hoots, where are all 12 goals in that one:
Play until you hear the referee’s whistle. In theory, so simple. In practice, it only takes a single second of concentration lapse to become an internet sensation for all the wrong reasons.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USWNT coverage ]
Such is life for Karyn Forbes, member of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national soccer team. In the above video, you’ll observe Forbes, a 24-year-old midfielder, giving away perhaps the most bizarre penalty kick you’ll ever see. You’ll have to watch for yourself to believe it.
[ MORE: USWNT opens Olympic qualifying with 5-0 victory ]
Unfortunately for Forbes, though the whole of the ball might have crossed the whole of the end line, the referee did not blow her whistle… not until Forbes picked the ball up with her hands and carried it to her goalkeeper.
BERLIN (AP) The German Football League (DFL) has given the go-ahead for the possible testing of video replays in the Bundesliga over a two-year pilot phase.
[ FOLLOW: PST’s Bundesliga coverage ]
The DFL says it will be lodging an application with FIFA to take part if the pilot phase is approved by the International Football Association Board at its next annual general meeting on March 5.
The DFL says video replays could be used by a “team of impartial match officials for the purpose of avoiding any evidently incorrect decisions” and that the pilot phase would be preceded by “intensive preparations.”
[ MORE: 17-year-old American MF Pulisic gets Bundesliga debut for Dortmund ]
These would include the settlement of costs among FIFA, the IFAB, the DFL and German football federation, as well as training for the candidates.
West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.
“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”
Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.
Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.
[ MORE: Top 5 Premier League storylines — Sunday’s top-four battle royal
Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.