Walcott, don't you know that it's insane
Don't you want to get out of Cape Cod?
Out of Cape Cod tonight?
Walcott, Vampire Weekend
It's the North London Derby tonight.
It's been a long time since our infamous 4-4 draw last season. That was a watershed game for us. Before that game, we were still a good side. Although we'd sold Flamini and Hleb and strangely, their replacements had been doing well enough that we could be considered a title contender. I think we were 2nd or 3rd at that point.
But after that 4-4 draw, the wheels came off. We had a lacklustre run of draws and defeats that we didn't really break until February, when Theo Walcott came back and we bought Arshavin. After that, the damage was done. We were stuck with the uncomfortable realisation that, despite Wenger's silky PR skills, the Arsenal weren't good enough to win the league.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. The team's changed formation. We've sold Toure and Adebayor, and picked up Vermaelen and Arshavin. Song's realised that he's a much better footballer when he runs instead of jogs. And the rest of us have realised that we're going to keep treading water until either this bunch of kids come good or.... I don't know.
In the meantime, other clubs are improving. Aston Villa gave us a scare last year with a very consistent season. Man City's going to be a serious threat, either this year or next. And even Tottenham are getting uppity and thinking of themselves as our equals.
The automatic reaction to this idea is derision. Peter Hill-Wood's statement at the AGM ("we don't consider them as rivals") brought laughter from the shareholders, and with good reason. Tottenham have been serial under-achievers for most of their history. I don't think they've beaten us in a league game since I've started following the Arsenal.
But if you start comparing the teams, man for man, you might be surprised. Who would you take from the following: King and Woodgate vs Gallas and Vermaelen? Gomes vs whichever Arsenal keeper has fucked up the least? Palacios vs Song? These are the areas which have been neglected for the past five years, and it shows. Going forward, we're as talented as the best in the world. Going back, and we're as good (or bad) as Tottenham.
It's a sobering thought.
Another sobering thought is Vampire Weekend. I don't like all this newfangled music that the kids play nowadays. It's strange and weird. I'd rather snuggle up in my flannels and listen to the grunge of my youth. But I like Vampire Weekend. I like their Upper West Side Soweto - whatever that mean. And I like how they write allegorical songs about Theo Walcott and Arsenal's inability to get out of "Cape Cod".
Personally, I like to consider their Cape Cod reference to be about Plymouth, and how the Pilgrims' gauche attempts at colonisation eventually founded a country as diverse and dynamic as the US. And I think Vampire Weekend are comparing America's humble beginnings with Arsenal's humble, fumbled attempts at Premier League dominance. The Pilgrims had problems planting corn. We had problems with a player with corn-rows (i.e. Adebayor). And like the Pilgrims, we've got to get out of Cape Cod - or I'm going to go fucking insane following this Club.
All in all, Walcott is a very good allegorical summary of Arsenal's current situation. And to think it came from a bunch of college kids from New York. What will those crazy Yankees think of next?