Sorry I haven’t been writing much but this weekend I had two mother’s days to prepare for and spent all day Saturday baking and all day Sunday eating. I made a hummingbird bundt cake for my friend’s mom and an apricot couronne for my own mom. The cake turned out a little too dense, it was my first time making it and I need to practice something once first before I make a production model. The apricot couronne, however, was pretty amazing. It was like a giant apricot glazed bearclaw. I will be making this again.
The couronne I’ve had a lot of experience making. Not experience with that exact recipe but with the idea. Basically, it’s a filled brioche dough which is somethings I’ve made a lot of. The trick is that the way you cut the dough reveals these neat layers giving textural contrast between the soft dough and the sweet insides. By exposing the filling you allow some parts of the inside to crisp up in the oven. I also absolutely loved the glaze. That’s not something I would normally do to a brioche but it works perfectly here. Marie Antoinette’s famous last words were “let them eat brioche” and I’m pretty sure what she was thinking of was this dish.
As for the Arsenal, well Saturday was a fun game wasn’t it? I mean, first off, beating Stoke in the Potteries is special. Arsenal haven’t won there since Ryan Shawcross broke Aaron Ramsey’s leg. But the best part for me was that the Stoke supporters started singing “We want you to stay, Arsene Wenger, we want you to stay” in like the third minute. Arsenal’s in 5th, Stoke’s in 13th, and these idiots couldn’t even wait until they had the match wrapped up to start singing about how they’d love to see Arsene Wenger for another two years. And then seeing the Britannia and their “famous support” empty out 20 minutes before full time was the glazing on the cake.
The other best thing that happened was “Arnie” breaking his arm. Now I’m not normally one to rejoice in physical violence visited upon another human but this is the same guy who shoved Mathieu Debuchy while he was in the air sending him crashing into the advertising hoardings and dislocating his shoulder. Seeing him take a nasty tumble and break his own arm is the very definition of karma. If you’re going to run around shoving people over, every once in a while you’re going to try to shove over a guy who is bigger than you and you’re going to break your own arm. Have I mentioned how he broke his own arm? I just want to keep mentioning that because it reminds me of how people kept saying that Ramsey “broke his leg” back when Shawcross scythed him down like an ear of corn.
Anyway, “Arnie” broke his arm and I hope Debuchy sends him flowers and a note.
Despite the win, Arsenal still aren’t back in the Champions League places. With two matches left, the Gunners need Man City to lose one or both of their final two matches and for Arsenal to win both in order to slip back into 4th. City play West Brom and Watford and I’m just not sure I see those two teams giving a stiff challenge. I think much depends on whether City come to play or not.
One reason I’m bullish on City is that they have already created 92 big chances this season. That’s 21 more than second best Tottenham. Not only that but they are also second best in big chances allowed and conceded with 34 and 17 respectively. These are exactly the numbers I expect to see from a Guardiola side: they are dominating possession with the purpose of creating top quality shots for themselves and limiting the opposition’s shots.
Meanwhile, Liverpool and Arsenal have different defensive problems. Liverpool’s problem is that they allow too many big chances while Arsenal’s problem is a combination of allowing too many shots overall and too many big chances.
I wish I had more time to get in depth on this but I have to take the most exalted daughter to school soon. So, I’m going to have to leave it there for the moment. I will just say a couple things: big chances are converted at 50%, big chances are over 50% of a team’s goals, non-big chances are converted at about 5%, and about 12% of all shots are Big Chances. Big chances are the alpha and omega of football. When Wenger says “we didn’t create many chances” this is what he means.
You won’t be surprised to learn that Arsenal created/scored and allowed/conceded about the same number of big chances. That’s as damning a condemnation of Wenger’s “defensive” system as I can imagine. It’s also the main reason why if Arsenal were to somehow slip into 4th I’d have to say it was luck and deeply undeserved.
More on this topic in coming days.
Love your mothers!