In the absence of real news and my aneurysm-inducing hatred of hollow transfer speculation, I have taken it upon myself to try and think outside the proverbial box and come up with a series of “and now for something completely different” articles. Baring in mind my hectic life schedule and my crippling laziness, the series might not last long. In fact, I’d be impressed if it goes any further than this one piece. Hell, I'll be impressed if I don't get bored halfway through and actually get it finished!
Apparently, Blathering Sepp Blatter wants an alternative way to decide matches than the 'tragedy' of penalty kicks. I'd like to think it was inspired by the West London scum's unjust Champions League final win last week. This website's very own Harry “Hazzaboy21” Haroldson* made a comment on Twitter suggesting an unarmed fight to the death between players from opposing teams to determine a winner in matches when the score remains deadlocked after all the playing time hath elapsed. I assumed he was joking but who knows? Maybe I'm being presumptuous and he is actually a blood-thirsty maniac who derives pleasure from seeing grown men violently take each others' lives. It's the internet, I figure 4 out of every 5 people are like that. In any instance, it got me thinking. I found myself sat in a meeting at work contemplating which of the current side I'd pick to go into battle should such a scenario ever present itself.
Assuming 'Death Time' (sponsored by Budweiser) is actually regulated, I should imagine it would resemble existing shootouts where you select your 5 men and an unassailable 3 kill margin would seal victory. This would be my five...
1. Wojciech Szczesny – The Powerhouse
There was no way I was even going to attempt this piece without resorting to lazy, misguided, borderline offensive stereotyping based purely on preconceptions and misconceptions about certain nationalities. The Polish strike me as a very 'hard' nation. Communism seems to have bred a raft of physically tough men that would have your eye out for daring to cast a glance at their incredibly attractive women. Or their vodka. Our Pole in the goal is no different. Sure, he gives off this impression of jovial, laid back guy who pokes fun at Spurs for our amusement but deep down you know, if it came down to it, he wouldn't hesitate to give you the old Warsaw kiss. Plus he's chuffing huge too. At 6'5”, he'll have the reach advantage in pure hand-to-hand combat. I've seen him punch a corner away that nearly reached the halfway line. Imagine if that was someone's face.
2. Thomas Vermaelan – The Assassin
The stare says it all. With Tommy V, half the battle is already won simply by making eye contact. If you dare to hold his gaze for longer than you should, you actually see into the seventh circle of hell. The Belgian will bore a hole right through your skull just by looking at you and has the demeanour of a man that will cold-bloodedly snap your spine before massacring your loved ones and then heading off to buy breakfast at the diner like it aint no thing! It is only once he finishes his eggs benedict will he dispose of the bodies.
3. Emmanuel Frimpong – The Wildman
I don't think you'd get much in the way of strategy from Manny. However, if you want a man prepared to fight to the bitter end without any regard the welfare of either himself, his opponent or anyone within a 500 yard radius, then look no further. We saw signs of it in his cameo against Liverpool earlier this season. Jordan Henderson and Lucas Levia still wake up in cold sweats in the middle of the night. Manny has also spent part of the campaign under the tutelage of the great Sensei Karl Henry to truly master the ancient art of maiming by football boot. After their little spat in November, I heard on the grapevine that Samir Nasri is using all that extra money City are paying him to get cosmetic surgery so Frimpong doesn't recognise him on his next trip to the Emirates – That and the fact he has a face that looks like it's been repeatedly kicked by an angry mule.
4. Andrei Arshavin – The Psycho
Having already exhausted the Eastern Bloc generalisations on Szcezney, I guess it would just be lazy to repeat them for here. Much of the same applies however given that Russia is basically Poland on steroids. However, rather than being the 'muscle', little Arsh will have sheer lunacy on his side. The on-loan Russian certainly has a bit of Norman Bates about him. The harmless looking kind that would lure you into a false sense of security - allowing you to think you've won. This would turn out be regrettable mistake. The second you drop your guard, Andrei will pounce and before long he will be sat at his dining table eating your heart with a side of roast potatoes and wearing your skin as a pashmina.
5. Alex Song – The vigilante
Alex Song doesn't care about you. Alex Song cares even less about consequences. His 'tactical fouls' in every other game are all part of a grander scheme. Merely a warning. Like Frimpong, Song will leave his calling card. And by calling card I mean stud marks embedded in your calf, of course. But rather than wild or reckless, Song is more cerebral. Don't let the dopey look fool you. People thought Travis Bickle was just a Taxi Driver. In fact, tell me you don't see Song standing front of his mirror demanding to know who his reflection is talking to. Besides, nobody on earth would walk around would that hair if he wasn't prepared to 'iron out' the collective arse of everyone who would dare to take the p!ss.
We're no Stoke City (God forbid) but I reckon that's a pretty solid five to stand up and take lives in the name of The Arsenal.
On the filpside, there are then the five you wouldn't even want to allow to watch fights on television let alone trust to go into physical, bloody, battle for the Cannon.
1. Theo Walcott
Poor, sweet, innocent little Theo. I still imagine he cries and hides behind his mum when his siblings call him names.
2. Abou Diaby
A six foot plus black man would ordinarily be the first person you'd look to if you wanted someone on your side in a scrap. However, given the fact getting out of bed in the morning causes him serious injury, I imagine actual physical confrontation would actually make his bones disintegrate.
3. Yossi Benayoun
A soft breeze would prove to be his downfall. Think about poor Yossi in a fight. ….Ok, you can stop crying now.
4. Marouane Chamakh
More likely to spend time in the hairdresser than on the sparing pads in the gym. Might scratch your eyes if you get too close though.
5. Bacary Sagna
For some reason, as battle is about to commence, I can just hear him saying in a seductive French accent “I'm a lover, not a fighter” and for a moment we all forget ourselves and swoon.
*Possibly not his real name