In a series shamelessly stolen from Deadspin great Drew Magary, Cartilage Free Captain will preview each opponent before we face them and explain to you exactly why they're complete crap and doomed for the drop.
If you're an Arsenal fan, that's too bad. Your team sucks and you're going to get relegated.
Your Club Sucks: The history of Woolwich Wanders is a long and storied tale of douchecockery. The Arsenal you know and mistakenly love is a far cry from the Arsenal that you would have hated in its pre-Wenger days.
Your club started out as nothing more than a lowly provincial side in the second division before wandering your way into North London like the nomadic interlopers that you are. But what seems like a quaint rags-to-riches tale is far more insidious than that.
Shortly after your ill-advised move, you laid the template for the Chelseas of the world, branded as the original "Bank of England" club. You got a rich owner, bribed your way into the First Division, poached a successful manager, and started buying up star talent. The "Arsenal way" you so pride yourselves on is built on a history of lies and money.
The rest of your history is all "boring boring Arsenal" and "1-nil to the Arsenal." From Chelsea to Stoke City, you've laid the groundwork for the sides you hate more than any others.
But you forget all of that in light of the Wenger era. The man who has so remade your club's image in his own it's a wonder "Arsenal" isn't actually named after "Arsene". And after an initial flurry of success, your grip on what little you have left is slipping. Every season you slide further and further back away from contention, and now even your hold on the top four is tenuous at best.
You've had a good run, but it's time to let go and drop back down where you came from before you bought your way into the top flight.
Your Owner Sucks: Your owner Stan Kroenke is on a quest to become the most mediocre team owner in history. The three teams he owns in America all range from "meh" to "lolwut?" and he seems dead set on adding Arsenal to his legacy of mediocrity.
Much like Arsenal, his success comes not through his own efforts. An average businessman, he only hit the jackpot when he married into the Walton family and inherited a $6 billion stake in Wal-Mart. Yet despite his ill-gotten gains, he's been determined to do absolutely nothing worthwhile with the money.
Meanwhile, Russia's richest man Alisher Usmanov is waiting in the wings with a 30% share of the club, dying for the chance to turn Arsenal into a global powerhouse. But Kroenke putters along, slowly sapping the club of any momentum to challenge at the top of the table. Every time Usmanov makes a play to take over, Kroenke is there, blocking his advances with a stalwart dedication to doing absolutely nothing to improve the club's fortunes.
One would almost think he was a Spurs fan.
Your Last Season Sucked: Fourth place still isn't a trophy. You put together a ten game stretch of completely unsustainable performances to end the season. Undeserved penalties and incomprehensibly missed chances from the opposition papered over the cracks of a year that makes lucky look unfortunate.
Your eight year trophy drought goes ever on and you're losing your increasingly tenuous grasp on the Champions League place that gives your club a cracked and peeling paint-job of respectability. But the veneer is cracking and the reality of your has-been side is showing through.
Your Coach Sucks: The probably-senile Arsene Wenger spirals tragically towards comic irrelevancy with every passing day.
Unlike the great Sir Alex, who rolled with the times and rebuilt title-winning side after title-winning side over a twenty year period, the current longest-serving manager is merely a relic of a time gone by. Since his last great Arsenal side, he's grown completely out of touch with the modern game. While his ethos is admirable, his steadfast adherence to a footballing climate that no longer exists has seen him become a walking punchline where once stood a great manager.
He's one a trick pony whose tricks got found out. He might do something about it, if only he'd seen it.
Your Players Suck: Every year you lose your best player to a better team. There's a reason that hasn't happened this year. Your team is a walking pile of suck.
Jack Wheelchair is not the footballing messiah you think he is. His permanent residence in the physio room should dispel any laughable claims of divinity, and his on-pitch ability reminds one more of a workmanlike carpenter than any deity. Despite what he'd have you believe, giant piles of cocaine is not the path to football godhood. Allegedly.
The rest of your midfield is comprised of water-carriers like Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta, while the attack is spearheaded by the flat-track bullying of Theo Walcott and a striker who spends more time perfecting his hair than he does on his shot.
Your New Signings Suck: I can't really say anything negative here. Yaya Sanogo looks like a fabulous prospect and he's going to be a great player for Man City in a few years.
Why you might escape the drop: Because finishing above Arsenal in the table isn't as sweet if they aren't in the table to begin with.
Not a member? Join Cartilage Free Captain and start commenting | Follow @CartilageFree on Twitter | Like Cartilage Free Captain on Facebook | Subscribe to our RSS feed