Howard, Everton out for legitimacy (cont.)
Team Limey: Hello, are you still looking for a world-class midfield?
Fuming Scot: Aye. I've only got one world-class midfielder -- the winker on the wing -- and after the final, when he was asked if he'd be here next year, he replied, "I don't know." Can ye imagine that? After I kept him in wet-look hair gel for six years.
Team Limey: But you've got the ever loyal Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
Fuming Scot: Great lads, I tell ye, but Joe DiMaggio was hitting home runs with Marilyn Monroe when they debuted.
Team Limey: Michael Carrick can hit balls all over the park.
Fuming Scot: Aye, but the boy could nae stick his bat into Andrés Iniesta and Xavi. Where were the holes that Michael Essien penetrated when they played Chelsea?
Limey Lawyers: Enough dad-joke innuendos, lads, keep it clean.
Team Limey: Park?
Fuming Scot: For a picnic?
Team Limey: No, Park Ji-Sung. You know, the technically inadequate midfielder who tries hard and generates the club income in Asia.
Fuming Scot: Oh, he's in the car park with Nani, surrounded by suitors from mid-table EPL clubs.
Team Limey: And Anderson?
Fuming Scot: Against the best, the lad offers less drive than the St. Louis Rams offense.
Team Limey: And Hargreaves?
Fuming Scot: Who?
Team Limey: Hargreaves, Owen Hargreaves?
Fuming Scot: Who?
Team Limey: You know, Canadian England international, annoys you by perennially turning up to training late, awful shiny '80s perm.
Fuming Scot: Oh yeah.
Team Limey: Well, he's good.
Fuming Scot: Yeah, one of the best holding midfielders in the world when he's injury-free. Hopefully his knee might get better before Wigan Athletic next wins the EPL title.
Team Limey: But you've got Darren Fletcher.
Fuming Scot: D'ye know what sums this situation up? It's when I have to bleat to the media that I knew Fletcher being suspended was a big loss for us, given he's such a big-game player. I mean c'mon, I only used to play him cuz he's Scottish, now he's one of my mainstays. Sums it up doesn't it, de ye know what I mean son, de ye know what I mean?
Team Limey quietly puts the phone down and moves on to beeping like R2-D2 to keep one-armed Chewie company.
Last time around, we looked into the situation at Arsenal and asked for your views. We were swamped with e-mails from impassioned Gunners fans. Here's a selection of the best comments.
Although Man. United has been more successful than Arsenal in the last four years, many of you point to United's debt-laden balance sheet thanks to the Glazer takeover. Davin Remmington argues, "I suggest that we've done better than Man U considering the financial states of the clubs. Certainly we've done better than Chelsea, who can't buy a title no matter how much they spend."
In a similar vein, Daniel Scarvalone points to the financial headache United will feel in a few years' time: "Interest payments on that debt alone hamper Man U's profitability. So year after year as Arsène [Wenger] pays back that debt, Man U spends [$100 million] each offseason, and next decade when those debts come due, in this financial climate, Man U will find itself in a tough place."
Kevin Shebesta takes pride in Arsenal's thriftiness and believes his good guys of Arsenal will eventually triumph over their big spending rivals: "Should Arsenal spend more? Yes, but not at the expense of financial stability like United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man. City. I take pride in the fact that my team does things the right way without leveraging itself to the hilt. The success that will come in the future will be all the more sweeter!"
Injuries and squad depth to cover those injuries have been the reason for this season's lack of a title challenge, according to Jon Leake of Newton, Kan.: "Injuries to key defensive players highlight the obvious fact that depth is the main villain at Arsenal. [William] Gallas, however volatile, is always strong in the middle. Had Wenger known before the season that he'd go down, perhaps [Philippe] Senderos might have been retained. For me, though, the loss of [Gaël] Glichy was the most damning. Had an admittedly weak defense not shattered and had the [Andrei] Arshavin move been made preseason, you are looking at a much different run out to the season."
Adam Humphrey of Cincinnati sees parallels with Ferguson: "Wenger is simply rebuilding his team now, the way SAF was in 2004 to '06. At that time, Ferguson was abused in the press and many people felt he had lost it. Wenger is doing the same thing. He needs to add a couple of players and a little depth, but then they will be back challenging Man U for the title."
In our next column, we'll be dusting off our tuxedos for our annual appearance at Castle Limey's end of season awards. Send us your nominations for awards, both serious and -- more importantly -- comical, to the usual address: firstname.lastname@example.org.