Hi folks, no Arsenal this weekend as the brain trust in the FA and Premier League have put their massive intellect to the test and once again come up with the exact wrong answer and chosen to cancel the football out of what they are calling respect for the passing of Elizabeth Windsor, queen of the United Kingdom.
It is exactly the kind of short sighted decision making that is the hallmark of the football organizations in England. The heads of the various FAs and the PL got together for a zoom meeting and a glass of sherry and decided to cancel this weekend’s entire football calendar, a decision which will have ramifications for months to come, which will contribute further to the already incredible fixtures pileup, which will cause football fans to lose money and possibly not be able to see matches that they have been planning for months to get to, and which will also cause casual workers, contractors, and hourly employees to miss out on a paycheck just at the time that England is suffering an energy crisis and bills are at an all time high.
Perhaps the dumbest part of this decision is that they will absolutely need to postpone more games in the future because of this and this was the exact wrong time to postpone games. Why more games in the future? Well, there’s the funeral which will likely snarl all travel to the capital along with requiring all available police to be on duty just for that event. And then there’s the coronation of Charles Windsor – where the Lady of the Lake will throw Excalibur at him while Merlin chants the Charm of Making.
Sorry, I know you’re grieving but this kings and queens stuff is objectively funny to me, an American. See, we prefer our kings to crown themselves after pretending that an election was stolen and then getting their armed hooligans to storm the capitol and threaten to kill the vice president. I guess what I’m saying is that we believe in democracy!
In other football news…
Football itself isn’t canceled and there is a lot of it on this weekend. My first recommendation is Napoli v. Spezia which is on at 0600 my time and is available live on Paramount +. Napoli have an exciting attacking team and a young guy to watch named Kvaratskhelia. They call him “Kvaradona” in Naples because of his unpredictable playing style and because he’s pretty magic. The cat’s out of the bag on him already but if you want to see a guy who’s going to go for 100m this summer, check him out.
At noon on Saturday switch over to Marseille v. Lille. Marseille played Tottenham this week and gave them a hell of a run before they had a player sent off for DOGSO (I think). Alexis Sanchez plays for them along with Guendouzi and Kolasinac but the real star is Nuno Tavares. Igor Tudor has found a way to maximize his attacking and defensive output (and no it’s not just because the league is bad and the opponents are “lower level”) by moving him slightly higher up the pitch and letting him play a more attacking role. He’s still got the occasional frustrating turnover where he either dribbles into a triple team or just stands there with the ball uncertain what to do but we are watching the progression of a very good young player.
On Sunday, I’ll start with Atalanta v. Cremonese at.. 0330am my time (Pacific). I will be honest and say I’m going to skip the first half and start at my normal wake up time. But the match I’ll probably really watch is Toulouse v. Reims. Reims’ leading scorer is a kid named Balogun who has 5 goals and an assist in 4 starts for Reims. Reims and Toulouse are in 14th and 15th place respectively so this could be a good old fashioned mud bowl!
As for next week’s matches that’s sort of still up in the air. Arsenal are supposed to host Eindhoven on Thursday the 15th but who the hell knows what kind of weird forced mourning that the authorities are going to push on the Premier League teams. We also don’t 100% know when the Premier League will return (especially for Arsenal) because of the impending burial. Also expect further disruptions for the coronation of Charles which will undoubtedly require a shutdown.