Arsenal v Everton Preview

Well that was a week wasn’t it?

Not even a week really, just 48 hours of it. Harder to remember a more seismic moment for the modern game as we, let’s just pretend we casually live in the White House, look overhead and see a gigantic alien spaceship, let’s pretend the alien ship is a cartel of 12 football clubs and one of them is our bitter rivals, and with open mouth wonder what the fuck is happening. While staring at said sky-covering-invader we ponder consequence, for example what if the ship could just zap us all out of existence with a giant laser beam on mere whim, immediately activating our fight or flight. Mercifully, the choice was to fight.

Now I’m not sure how an Independence Day metaphor helps describe the most hideous shithousing from 12 of the perceived biggest custodians of the game, but should they have landed – and been hostile human face eating aggressors – I would still fancy being able to build rapport with them easier than I would with Florentino Perez over a nice Oat Caramel Latte from Costa, two comfy chairs, reciprocal goodwill and an empty afternoon.

The Super League in all its glory lasted 48 hours from birth to the stake being driven through its heart by many hands, and not just Klopp’s as some in the media may eulogise. You’ll be fully aware of the sequence of events and at this time of writing we are very much into the pitchfork stage of this whole distasteful episode, with adrenaline soaked fans across the board demanding many retributory measures ranging from punitive, to banning everyone from Europe for 5 years. Only in the fullness of time will see those measures and if they’re deemed appropriate, but stopping short of relegating all to the Beazer Homes and slaying their first born it may not be enough many currently campaigning. Shock usually turns to anger and as quickly turns to blame. Good.

It was quite the deception though. To try and comprehend the detached arrogance of all those involved is staggering and serves as a perfect microcosm of how the modern game has limitless contempt for the average fan. That there were not just one but twelve different groups of club executives willing to proceed in destroying the wider game permanently for their greater glory without any fear of reprise, then expecting their staff, players and millions of fans to accept it, is no greater expression of toxic unrestrained power. Senor Perez claimed this has been plotted since 2018. Where were the stakeholders? Where was the legislation? Where were the checks and balances? Where was one, just one, conscientious objector putting their hand up and pointing out the obvious flaw that this very blatant power grab would cause an universal rejection by fans and players alike? Twelve sets of executive management containing, presumably, some of the finest talent in the market they serve. Well not serve, more: cheat, exploit, infect. Who the fuck do they think they are?

These odious cunts, and I loathe to use such language dear reader but here we are, have nothing short of contempt for a profession that will make not just them but also their offspring very wealthy and fortunate on the back of riches they earn from the sport, as they collectively acted as a cartel in the truest form of the word. The implications of which would have been long lasting and tragic to so so many. Whole clubs and communities would have been eroded just for them to win an annual dividend. Livelihoods lost across a multitude of towns, cities, countries, and all the damaging human consequences of that. A brutal massacre of the preferred pastime for millions, and for many of those committed: their tribe, their pride. Their well being. Their whole purpose and self worth. A gift of identity and belonging to be passed to those who survive them. And yet not one of those conspiring this put their fucking hand up to stop it. Should the poor lambs have felt under duress to comply then just a simple conscientious leak to the media would have sufficed.

No, didn’t happen. Put simply they should be fucking ruined, not just spat out in shame from the sport but from any profession of note. But lets just start with volleying them the fuck out of the game because, make no mistake, they will be back to try again, and if not them then their successors undeterred by no consequence. Then get the governance of all rapidly updated to make sure there’s stern and effective resolute checks & balances to prevent reoccurrence for generations to come.


As for the fan, well they’ve just seen the power of solidarity in motion. Since really the inception of the Premier League we’ve turned a blind eye to hyper commercialisation and corporate values in return for a sanitised, accessible, feel good product once or twice a week. Considering the human value of these institutions there needs to be a recalibration of how the game is ran and served. Governments will help but real change, lasting and beneficial change, can be driven by fan pressure. I know not enough about fan ownership models (such as in Germany) to profess it as a solution, but it may be a starting place to consider. Use the inflection point of this week to build a powerful spearhead of positive momentum, as we should now be in no uncertain terms of what we stand to lose if this path is not altered.

Evertonians knew the value of this long ago through ours hanging off Peter Johnson’s speeding window wipers but I now ain’t the time for oneupmanship. For a game so overly partisan and tribal there’s a unifying spirit when faced with ruin. I was heartened by the active revolt from those standing to benefit from the Super League, including our nearest and dearest across the park. Many would have been inclined to turn a blind eye in return for perceived status but it seems what unites us is more than that divides us when it comes down to the nitty gritty. Anything that gets Liverpool and Man United fans fighting a third party in tandem must be a really dreadful thing. It was a victory for fans all over but, as I hope I’ve articulated above, theres no time to bask yet to push further. In amongst all the chaos UEFA still managed to squeeze an extra 4 teams into its premier competition, tipping the scales in favour for the haves, rather than the aspirational. There’s very few good guys to turn to, just shades of not quite as bad as the other. A purge is long overdue.

Which leads us nicely onto this Friday evening’s game. Can you even remember last Friday’s game? Well it was against this week’s rivals, and Everton somehow conspired to concede almost two identically pitiful goals – involving the exact same two players – to the league’s finest striker, who nonchalantly dispatched both. Thus gifting a point to the final act of their Manager who’d lose his job just days later, with reasons of his departure disputed in certain quarters.

The best little Spaniard we knew will be pulling the strings for this Friday’s foes, with the pressure on himself after and indifferent first full campaign which sees them sit points behind Everton. That ominous threat to his role may seem a little unworthy after delivering an FA Cup just last summer but this is the hysteria prone and impatient game we live with now. For now. Arteta was a truly tremendous player and servant of Everton but he can get fucked for this or indeed any time he stands in front of Everton and weekend glory. However the debt of his ill timed departure from the blues was settled in a glorious 3-0 first season Martinez win against an Arsenal he captained, and a game where he got shithoused by a type of bristling Everton we hope to see again one day soon.

Buy Bluedoodler’s Everton themed cartoons here.

I’ve got little social commentary on Arsenal as per the usual previews other than I value a few avid Arsenal supporting mates which always tips a preview in their favour, yet I can’t help escape the feeling that if just one of the proposed English Super League clubs was really content to embrace it then it was Arsenal. I can’t pin point where it went south for their fanbase in my eyes because there is still an awful lot of goodwill from one night in May 1989 but whenever their latest representatives seem to pop up on a screen of mine, it is of some of the worst Thatcherites behaving in self absorbed ways. A different vibe to Highbury so maybe it was something to do with the dynamics of the new stadium and who it attracted. Their fan channel doesn’t serve them well but I tend to swerve that best I can, so it just seems their new heads are just banter ridden performing twats. Some species eat their own and I encourage Arsenal to adopt this for the sakes of succession.

They’ve got a few really important players out but the fine oral cavities of such gift horses are seldom glanced by Everton, so I’ll refrain from an air of opportunism as our season smokes out into a season of low key friendlies and gnashing of teeth.

Our man Ancelotti has a few key players returning for this game which should give him options both in personnel and system to exploit. Up front there’ll be leading goal scorer DCL whose dried up goals were invoking some murmurs until he was replaced by an out of form and frustrated Richarlison for the last few games. The benefits of a consistent goal scorer to edge tight and out of sort games will be reaffirmed to Evertonians after this dreadful past month or so.

James is sex. A sex so pure and reaffirming that you feel compelled to drop to your knees and commit to it in servitude for the rest of your days. Failing that then just alright sex but aided by open minds and a bottle of poppers. The Colombian is in the twilight of his career so the greatest shame would be not putting the players around him to exploit his talents for the good for royal blue glory. There’s your summer objective, Everton. There’ll be some players up around that end of the pitch alongside them in blue but they’re not that exciting that I’d reference them right now.

Anyone unfortunate to read these try-too-hard, samey godforsaken previews will surely note an air of grace and fairness, so it’s in this spirt to say well in Gylfi Sigurdsson. Not just for the goals but for persistence and effort against a background of condemnation raises hand gingerly He should be in the midfield at the moment, and it’s been a while since I could say that. Alongside him we can only hope Allan gets sharper and remains fit as his influence, especially in games like this, is considerable. Tom Davies is doing alright.

Big Yerrence Mindonger is back in defence which should relieve either Holgate or Keane for now. There’s no point in overstating misfortune as there is in over acclaiming triumph. Players being human will be subject to the mysterious advent of “form” which rises and falls throughout a career and throughout seasons themselves. Mason Holgate isn’t having a great season but I’m not into rushing to flog players on such, as there’s goodwill in the tank from his last season and playing out of position for most of this. Good football teams are based on an ever fluid meritocracy, we’ve got someone to take his place and it’s up to him to win it back. And if he cant long term then we say bye should someone want to pay the club’s valuation. But we’re nowhere near that point yet. Probably Digne and Coleman as full backs with Holgate in there somewhere. Pickford in goal with a haircut that gets increasingly obnoxious with every passing pint, while wearing a check three piece licking twenties and shouting “on the nose” to emotionless bookmakers at Chester race course.

I’ve wrote too much so I’ll end it briefly. Thanks for reading, you’ll not see me for a while now as I’m tried and been eyeing routes to Damascus. This seems a good as place any to bookmark it, now that emancipation from extra-terrestrials has arrived. I truly did love your company though.

Be nice to each other and right fucking into these blues.

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