Wild American Gooner

When Sports Are More Than Just Sports


Don’t Give Up On Lukas Podolski Yet, Mr. Wenger

Leading up to Arsenal’s first game of the 2013/2014 campaign, I will do a series of posts profiling certain players. In these posts, I will assess their place in the squad and outline my expectations for them in the upcoming season. I might also have a few suggestions about how they should be utilized tactically. The first of these posts is about recent World Cup winner Lukas Podolski.

Everybody loves Lukas Podolski. It’s impossible not to. Few players in the game are as affectionate and openly passionate on and off the field as the German forward is. For many casual Arsenal fans, he is the first name they think of on the team. And not only is he personable, he is also lethal with the ball on his left foot. His shooting ability led to him becoming the youngest European player to ever reach 100 caps for an international team in 2012. Yet despite all that, many seem to think having Podolski on the field is a liability.

Having been at Arsenal two full seasons now, you would have thought Podolski would have earned a clear-cut role in the squad given his ability and goal-scoring prowess. However, Wenger has not found a spot he feels comfortable playing him in. Given Podolski’s strike rate (28 goals in the last two years in limited playing time) and obvious talent, it’s downright strange that Wenger hasn’t figured out how to utilize him. He’s not a center forward capable of holding up play like Oliver Giroud. He’s not a speedy winger that will offer support for the fullbacks behind him. And he’s not a number 10. But he’s someone who can score from anywhere, even against the run of play, and I think that’s pretty valuable.

There has been talk in recent days about Podolski looking to move elsewhere in the coming weeks. And frankly, I wouldn’t blame him for wanting to leave. His club has not loved him as much as he has loved the club. But I think it would be a huge mistake to sell the German forward this summer for a couple of reasons.

The first reason not to sell Podolski now is that I think the signing of Alexis Sanchez will help Podolski find his best form. Sanchez is the type of player that Podolski could thrive next to, and here’s why. In December of 2012, Arsenal played two of their best offensive games in recent years against Reading (a 5-2 win) and Newcastle (a 7-3 win). In those games, Theo Walcott played as a center forward, with Podolski on the left, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right and Santi Cazorla behind Walcott. As evidenced by those scorelines, this quartet played some amazing soccer together. The pace of Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain created spaces for Podolski and Cazorla on late runs into the box that Giroud never could create. Those four put on a show that December, but unfortunately, that lineup didn’t last long.

Last season, when Podolski got his run in the team in the final two months or so, he was playing alongside a rather static Arsenal side. Instead of the pacey Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski was playing with Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Giroud. None of them were opening up areas for Podolski at the top of the box by going in behind, and he couldn’t find any space to shoot in the crowded middle of the park. Only when Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil returned did Podolski start finding his form.

Players like Walcott bring out the best in Podolski, as defenders can’t hang so tightly on his left foot when the threat of Walcott running in behind is in their heads. The German only needs an inch of space to get his shot off, and when he does, it usually goes in. His shot to goal ratio is off the charts. But Walcott as a center forward had its faults against more physical teams. However, Sanchez might not have such problems. He would be able to make the same runs Walcott could, which would help Podolski out. Coupling Sanchez and Walcott with Podolski could also be an intriguing option. A front-four of Podolski, Sanchez, Walcott and Mesut Özil would be incredible offensively.

If a new defensive midfielder is signed that possesses a little more range and athleticism than Mikel Arteta does at this stage in his career, playing such an attacking minded lineup up front might be a possibility. I wouldn’t suggest using that lineup against every team, but when at The Emirates, most opponents wouldn’t stand a chance. And against the bigger teams, this could be the lineup used at the end of games when defenses are tiring. Put Podolski on in the final twenty-five minutes to run at defenders, with Sanchez and Walcott making those runs in behind, and good things will happen.

The other reason to keep Podolski around at least another year is that he is a proven winner, coming back with the confidence of a World Cup winner. Not only will that confidence manifest itself on the field, but it can also be a massive boost in the dressing room. Especially given his popularity among his teammates, another player that has tasted success could be key to this team believing they can actually win the league this year.

Yes, his defensive cover is rather troubling at times, but he does track back. He’s usually willing to run back when he loses the ball, and he does well in the air when Arsenal is defending corners. So I don’t think he’s as harmful to the team as he is sometimes made out to be. But there are a lot of players that are probably ahead of him in the squad right now. Especially considering that he’s arriving at preseason late due to his post-World Cup break, he’ll have his work cut out to earn a starting spot.

I implore Arsene Wenger to give Podolski a chance to play alongside Sanchez and Walcott this year. Think of all the goals he has scored over the last two years, and then think about him potentially having more space and time to shoot. It’s a mouth-watering prospect, one that could spark a twenty goal season should he be given a run in the team. Even if he’s not starting every game, he’s an incredibly valuable player in the squad. I would hate to see everybody’s favorite player sold before he’s given a proper chance to thrive.

I will leave you with a video of Podolski’s top 10 career goals, and you tell me if his finishing ability deserves a spot in the team.



Rating the Arsenal Performances at the World Cup

Making the transition from World Cup content to Arsenal content, I would like to write about Arsenal’s players in Brazil. The Gunners sent nine players to Brazil for the World Cup. Three of those players got knocked out in the group, three exited in the quarterfinals and three come back to London as world champions. Here, I would like to assess each of those players individually. And for the record, I am not including new signing Alexis Sanchez in this list. And as far as Joel Campbell, I left him off this list as he has yet to train even once with the club. However, I’ve had extensive coverage about Campbell over the past month which you can search for if you want to see that. Here is a link one of those pieces.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (England) – Having overcome injury concerns late in the season to make the final roster for Brazil, the Ox was terribly unlucky to pick up another injury in England’s final preparation friendlies. The hope was that he’d make it back in time for the final group game, but by then, England was already out, and Oxlade-Chamberlain never saw the field. It was a huge blow to the youngster, but one that might ultimately be beneficial. The added rest will hopefully mean he’s fit and firing by the opener, and he shouldn’t have to miss much of preseason. With other players in his position coming back from extended breaks and injuries, the Ox should be in line to start a few games early on, giving him a chance to show his continued development.

Jack Wilshere (England) – Wilshere was a frustrated figure for England in Brazil. He came off the bench to mild success in the opening loss to Italy, was an unused substitute against Uruguay, and started the meaningless game against Costa Rica. At times it looked as if Wilshere felt sorry for himself, but mostly it looked like he thought he should be the first name on the teamsheet. That was seen as confidence a year or two ago, but with mixed results lately, it looks a lot more like arrogance. As the young midfielder might be looking at a lot of time on the bench this year, he’ll need to channel all of those negative feelings into making himself better. Going out and smoking cigarettes on his holiday isn’t a good way to show everyone that he’s working hard.

Santi Cazorla (Spain) – While Spain was generally terrible in Brazil, Cazorla looked one of their better players when he was on the field in the final two games. He created a number of chances, and he was one of the few Spaniards to show any sort of urgency when they were down against Chile. Arsenal would seem to benefit from Spain’s exit, as Cazorla could be ready for preseason. And as he gets older, more rest can only be a good thing for the veteran midfielder. It’ll be nice to have him fit for the Crystal Palace game. And as he’s already won a European Championship, Cazorla still carries the winner’s mentality.

Thomas Vermaelen (Belgium) – This was a thoroughly disappointing World Cup for the Arsenal captain. Even though his team made the quarterfinals, he made only one start, and had to come off with an injury. A year away from the first team at Arsenal saw him lose his place with the national team, and he had to watch his team struggle all tournament. This World Cup disaster will surely cause Vermaelen to reconsider his future as a Gunner. I expect him to leave the club by the end of the window.

Laurent Koscielny (France) – The Arsenal center back surely would have wanted to start for his country, and he will be massively disappointed in his place on the bench for much of the tournament. Especially against Germany, when he could have been on the field against a few of his Arsenal teammates, he was quite unlucky to have been on the bench. I certainly feel he’s better than Mamadou Sakho, so it made little sense to me. Being a defender, he won’t need much of a preseason to be ready, so there shouldn’t be too much of a worry there. But overall, Koscielny won’t look back on this World Cup with particular fondness.

Olivier Giroud (France) – Giroud’s World Cup was a mixed bag. In the group stage, he played his way into the lineup with a series of impressive displays alongside Karim Benzema. Against Switzerland, the big frontman grabbed an assist and a goal. But when France took on Germany in the quarterfinal, Giroud was back to the bench. From an Arsenal standpoint, it would have been nice to have seen him score a big goal in the knockout round, but alas, he once again failed to make much of an impact against the very best teams. However, Giroud did force his way into a very talented team for a few games, and that should be good for his confidence going forward.

Lukas Podolski (Germany) – While Podolski didn’t see much of the field, totaling zero minutes in the knockout round, he leaves Brazil a world champion. And watching him on the field in the postgame celebrations, you could see how much it meant to him. Although he didn’t play a whole lot, this summer should still do wonders for his confidence. Nobody can take away the fact that he is a world champion footballer. And hopefully he was playing up Arsenal to Sami Khedira for the last month. While he’ll miss much of preseason, Arsenal should be able to deal with his absence until he’s fit.

Per Mertesacker (Germany) – The big German center back started for much of the tournament, but lost his place in the final three games when Germany moved Philipp Lahm to right back. However, that decision was not a reflection on Mertesacker’s play. He was solid in the back, and represented Arsenal well with every header won. And of course, he comes back to the club a World Cup champion. He is already held in a high status in the dressing room and this should only further that reputation. I expect a fully fit Mertesacker to be ready for the opener, and he’ll be in a great mental state going in to the new campaign.

Mesut Özil (Germany) – Arsenal’s record signing received a ton of flak throughout the tournament for a perceived lack of effort. Compared to Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos and many of his other world-beating teammates, his work rate wasn’t the best. However, despite being pushed out wide, Özil did play a lot of telling balls in the final third, and was unlucky only to garner a single goal and an assist. And he played his best game in the final, which should do wonders for his confidence. Being a World Cup winner could do more for Özil than anyone else, as he should now be of the mindset that he can be among the very best. Hopefully this means we will see Özil live up to his potential. While the Arsenal playmaker will miss much of preseason, this World Cup should do wonders for him for next season.

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Lasting World Cup Memories

In every World Cup, there are moments that stand the test of time, moments that leave their mark on all who watched. This was the third World Cup I can remember paying attention to. When I think back to my early soccer fandom at the 2006 tournament in Germany, I instantly think about Philipp Lahm’s screamer against Costa Rica in the opener, the Portugal-Netherlands round of 16 match with 4 red cards and 16 yellows, Maxi Rodriguez’s incredible stoppage time winner against Mexico, and of course Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt in the final. Had I been a better fan back then, the semifinal between Germany and Italy probably also would have been a standout game. The Portugal match for years was my favorite game I’d ever watched. Clearly, I didn’t know much back then.

When I think back to South Africa in 2010, the first image that comes to mind is Luis Suarez’s handball to save the quarterfinal match against Ghana. After that, I think about his teammate Diego Forlan and his free kicks, Michael Bradley’s equalizer against Slovenia, Landon Donovan’s winner against Algeria and Germany’s dismantling of England and Argentina in the knockout round. And of course I think about Spain and the brutal final against Netherlands. The images of Iker Casillas’s save against Arjen Robben, the karate kick from Nigel de Jong and Andres Iniesta’s winner will never leave me.

So now as this World Cup ends, it’s time to think about what the lasting memories will be from Brazil. When I think about this last month, a ton of images flood into my mind. I see Fred flopping in the opener, Casillas being made a fool of by Robben and Robin van Persie, John Brooks scoring the late winner for the U.S., Lionel Messi taking over against Bosnia and Iran, and of course I see Luis Suarez’s bite. And that’s just in the group stage.

In the knockout round, I think about Chile hitting the bar in the dying moments of extra-time against Brazil, Manuel Neuer playing the best game in goal I will ever see against Algeria, Wesley Sneijder tying the game against Mexico late on and James Rodriguez scoring a stunner against Uruguay. I think about Neymar getting his back broken and Tim Krul coming in to save the day in PK’s against Costa Rica. And then there was Germany 7, Brazil 1 – the most unforgettable 90 minutes many of us will ever see. Lastly, there was the bloody Bastian Schweinsteiger and the brilliantly taken Mario Götze extra-time winner in the final.

It’s hard to know which of those moments will stand out a number of years from now. But there is no doubt I’ll never forget Germany’s semifinal win over Brazil. And few will forget Suarez’s bite. In this country, we’ll probably also remember John Brooks and Julian Green, but will that be at the expense of recalling other special players in Brazil such as Costa Rican goalie Keylor Navas?

But regardless, there was plenty worth remembering from Brazil. It was a great four weeks. And now we have to wait another four years.

What will you remember from this tournament? Please comment below


My Best XI and Second Best XI From the World Cup

There were a number of standout performances at the World Cup. But I did my best to select the very best here. This is my World Cup best XI and second best XI. I tried to put players in their correct position, but I needed to be creative in a few areas to get the deserving players on the teams.

First XI

FW – Arjen Robben (Netherlands) – From the opening match against the reigning champions, Robben lit the World Cup up with extraordinary displays of pace and skill. When he wasn’t scoring goals, he was earning penalties or drawing two or three defenders to set up his teammates. Aside from his bald head, one wouldn’t have known Robben was nearing the end of his international career by his performances in Brazil.

FW – Thomas Müller (Germany) – Müller did it again at the World Cup, scoring another five goals and leading his country to the title. He was always in the right place at the right time, and his finishing was clinical. But beyond his goals, it’s his work rate that make Müller such a useful player. Never one to walk on the pitch, the lanky German made a number of impressive tackles in addition to all the chances he created on the offensive end. He could have won the Golden Ball.

FW – Lionel Messi (Argentina) – The winner of the Golden Ball for best player at the World Cup, Messi was incredible in Argentina’s first few games, showing the world why he’s considered the very best. His stoppage-time winner against Iran was just one of many magical Messi moments from the first four games. However, Messi’s effectiveness dropped significantly when Argentina’s tactics turned more defensive. And in the World Cup Final, he needed to be better.

CAM – James Rodriguez (Colombia) – Nobody will mispronounce the young Colombian’s name anymore. James ran rampant in Brazil, making everyone forget about Falcao. He scored in every single game he played, and most of his goals were absolute beauties. He was adventurous going forward, with a lethal combination of strength, speed and vision. His play in this World Cup won’t soon be forgotten, and he looks to be world superstar in the very near future.

CM – Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany) – It’s a toss-up between Toni Kroos and Schweinsteiger for this spot in the midfield, as both Germans were outstanding in the middle. But Schweinsteiger gets the edge for his improved play as the tournament wore on. Once Philipp Lahm moved to right back, Schweini found his ideal spot in the defensive midfield role. His distribution was excellent against Brazil, and in the Final against Argentina, his combative instincts halted countless counter attacks. His man-of-the-match display in the final gives him the nod in this spot. He could have been a worthy Golden Ball winner himself.

CDM – Javier Mascherano (Argentina) – Mascherano arguably had a better case for the Golden Ball than his teammate Messi. The defensive midfielder was the key to Argentina’s success, the main reason why his country didn’t trail at the World Cup save for the last few minutes of extra time. The Barcelona man was impeccable in his defensive role, always being in the right place for timely interceptions and tackles. And going forward, his distribution was usually spot on. It’s hard to say what his best match was, because he was great in all of them.

LB – Jan Vertonghen (Belgium) – While Vertonghen might say he hates playing left back, he sure plays the position well. Belgium wasn’t particularly impressive going forward as a team, but most of the time they found success, it came down the left. Vertonghen got the winner against South Korea, and in the round of 16 against the United States, he was the most dangerous player on the field. His defending was also solid on the left side of defense. He’ll have a hard time convincing everybody he’s better at center back.

CB – Mats Hummels (Germany) – The big German defender was excellent in the air, giving Germany the edge on every set piece, both offensively and defensively. Particularly against France, Hummels’s physicality kept talented strikers off the board. His tackling was spot on and while he lacked pace, he compensated well with his positioning. He looks to be just about the best defender in the world at this point.

CB – Ron Vlaar (Netherlands) – The veteran defender surprised nearly everyone with his consistently impressive play in the back. Alongside two inexperienced center backs, Vlaar provided the much needed composure in the back. His tackling was almost perfect, and his positioning was always spot on. That he missed a penalty in the semifinal shootout shouldn’t cloud the fact that he was brilliant in Brazil.

RB – Philipp Lahm (Germany) – While Lahm only played three games at right back, he earns this spot for his overall play over the course of the tournament. In his holding midfielder role, he helped key the 4-0 win over Portugal that got things going. And when he moved to defense, his runs down the right almost always led to a chance for Germany. Brazil had no answer for Lahm in the 7-1 thrashing. Defensively, in the right back role, I can’t think of a single mistake he made. The German captain looks eternally young.

GK – Manuel Neuer (Germany) – Not enough can be said about the play of Neuer at this World Cup. His performance against Algeria is one of the gutsiest displays we’ll ever see from a keeper. His ability to act as a sweeper was incredible to watch, and it proved effective time and again. His shot-stopping could not be questioned either. And as if Neuer couldn’t do everything else well enough, his distribution was the best of any keeper in Brazil. That he won the Golden Glove Award should come as no surprise.

Second XI

CF – Karim Benzema (France) – One of the early stars in this World Cup, Benzema was lethal in France’s opening games. His movement up front opened up spaces in the defense, and that was a huge part of France’s goalscoring form. His performances against Honduras and Switzerland were some of the best individual play in Brazil. While Germany shut him down in the quarterfinal, Benzema had a great tournament overall.

LW – Juan Cuadrado (Colombia) – While James was the undisputed star of Colombia’s World Cup journey, Cuadrado was the Pippen to James’s Jordan. The pacey winger was always on the move, wreaking havoc on defenses that couldn’t deal with his speed. His ability to get forward quickly sparked a number of brilliant counter attacks. Without Cuadrado, James wouldn’t have found as much space in the final third. Cuadrado’s goal and four assists were vital to Colombia’s quarterfinal run.

CAM – Neymar (Brazil) – The poster boy of the tournament started brightly, playing some superb football in the group stage. He scored a number of big goals early on, and was the driving force behind nearly every Brazilian attack. However, in the knockout stage, he was noticeably quiet. Opposing tactics beating up the young Brazilian left him battered and eventually gave him a broken back. Neymar was the inspiration for an entire country. And without him, his team was nothing.

RW – Mathieu Valbuena (France) – The diminutive Frenchman put a poor club campaign behind him with a number of impressive performances in Brazil. He was France’s most consistent player, continuously using his guile and pace to create chances for his forwards. He may have only gotten one goal and one assist, but he was a true joy to watch on the right.

CM – Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) – Shaqiri earns his spot in the Second XI for one performance. In a crucial group game against Honduras, he absolutely took over, scoring a brilliant hat trick and sending his country to the knockout round. The Bayern Munich man certainly left his mark on the World Cup with one of the performances of the tournament. He and his Swiss team were unlucky to lose against Argentina in extra-time. It has to be said that he is one to watch for 2018.

CM – Toni Kroos (Germany) – Kroos easily could have been in the best XI. He was incredibly consistent in the German midfield, and whenever he was on the ball, the opposing defense was on their heels. His set pieces were always dangerous, producing more goals than any other team from those opportunities. Kroos’s calming presence in the midfield also helped Germany settle whenever there a problem, as he rarely misplaced a pass. Like most of the German midfield, he played the game of his life against Brazil in the semifinal. A careless giveaway in the final could have been disastrous, but overall, he was outstanding this World Cup.

LB – Marcos Rojo (Argentina) – Left back was seen as a bit of a problem for Argentina coming into the tournament, but Rojo put in a number of assured performances. When he was called upon to attack in the first few games, he did so effectively. But in the semifinal and the final, he was needed in the back. And his disciplined performances helped stop Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm. Both Netherlands and Germany attacked down his side, but he was always up to the task.

CB – Thiago Silva (Brazil) – The Brazilian captain was spared the embarrassment of the 7-1 semifinal defeat due to his own stupidity, but that loss only served to confirm how important the central defender is to his country. He kept together an undisciplined back line through the quarterfinal, putting in a number of strong performances himself. Against Colombia, he was Brazil’s best player. But that yellow card for blocking the goalkeeper’s punt will forever haunt Silva. However, he and Neymar might be the only Brazilians to leave with their reputations intact.

CB – Giancarlo Gonzalez (Costa Rica) – Few expected Costa Rica to make the run they did in this tournament, but much of that was down to their defense. Gonzalez could easily have earned a spot of the first team, but he narrowly missed out to Vlaar. The defender who plies his trade in the MLS was always in the right spot for the Ticos. His aerial displays and hard tackling kept the potent attacks of Uruguay, Italy and England stifled.

RB – Cristian Gamboa (Costa Rica) – The other standout Costa Rican to make my team is the right back, Gamboa. This position was the weakest one in Brazil, with few right backs consistently playing well. Gamboa wasn’t spectacular, but he was solid. And that assured presence on the right allowed Costa Rica to send men forward on the counter. Gamboa’s positioning was as good as any right back in the tournament.

GK – Tim Howard (USA) – The American keeper earns his spot on the team for making big save after big save. His 15 saves against Belgium will forever be remembered in the United States. He was also excellent against Portugal. He showcased his shot-stopping ability with a wide variety of saves, including impressive displays of balance and strength. Howard was tremendous.

Final Squad Member

GK – Tim Krul (Netherlands) – Every team needs a 23rd man, somebody who can make a difference in a singular cameo if called upon. Out of every single player at the World Cup, nobody made a bigger impact in their time on the field than Krul. While Krul only played a couple minutes, his substitute appearance for penalty kicks against Costa Rica was a brilliant move by Louis van Gaal. Krul did his job in PK’s, psyching out Costa Rica with trash talk and powerful saves. Krul’s success goes to show to that even a squad’s third goalkeeper plays an important role at the World Cup. For this reason, he earns the final spot on my squad, and an honorable mention in my Best XI’s of the tournament.

What are your thoughts on the best players in Brazil? Who did I leave out? Please comment below.


My 58 Nation Blog

Good morning, everyone. Let the World Cup withdrawal begin. It’s been a wild month of action, one that will go down as a truly great World Cup, and now we all have to go back to whatever it was we were doing before we began watching 6 hours of soccer a day.  But fear not. For the club season is just around the corner. And as much as I love the World Cup, I must say that I prefer watching Arsenal. If you liked the action in Brazil and think you might want to watch more soccer, make sure to check out the Premier League. I absolutely love it.

However, before we move on from the World Cup, there is reflection to be done. I have a post lined up for later this afternoon about my team of the competition, with a 23-man squad complete with a best XI and a second-best XI. That should be up soon. And then at some point later this week, I’ll have a piece about what my lasting memories will be about this last month. Today, however, I would like to reflect about how the World Cup inspired this blog.

A little more than a month ago, I wanted to start a blog for a few reasons. I wanted to improve my writing, with the idea that doing more of it would be helpful. And I wanted to see how I liked writing about sports on a daily basis – with an eye towards figuring out if sports journalism is a legitimate career option. Writing this blog was also an excuse to watch as many games as I physically could. I thought I would write a post a day, likely more for myself than for any readers, and that I’d probably shut the blog down at the end of the summer.

But as I started writing every day, I quickly developed an affinity for writing these posts. I challenged myself to get as much quality content as I could up on the site, with the faint hope of developing a readership, even at the expense of many hours spent on my computer each day. At the beginning, my viewership was quite small. But slowly but surely, more visitors have started coming to the site. Yesterday was the third straight day I hit triple-digits with visitors, a significant rise from only two or three weeks ago. And I hit 3,000 views overall after the Final.

I received some scorn from my friends for how specific my prediction section was, but I had a lot of fun writing vivid descriptions of games before they happened. And by the end, I was doing pretty well, even with getting final scores and goalscorers right. My predictions didn’t start off so well in the group stage, but I ended up correctly predicting 15 of the 16 winners in the knockout round. I think that’s a pretty decent percentage if I may say so myself.

But aside from my success with predictions, the coolest part about this last month has been watching where my viewers come from. I never dreamed of writing for an international audience, but as of now, people in 58 different countries have looked at this blog. For me, the greatest part about the World Cup is that it’s a truly global event. And I got to experience that firsthand. Whoever has read my stuff in Namibia, Vietnam, Cyprus, Qatar, Colombia and in so many other nations, I say thank you.

As I said yesterday, Wild American Gooner is not ending anytime soon. My dream of becoming a sports journalist is alive and well, and I will continue writing on here as much as I can. For the time being, I’ll try to have daily posts in the mornings, with the occasional afternoon or evening post on anything significant that’s happened that day. There will be a lot of Arsenal content – I plan on outlining my expectations for each player in the squad in the coming weeks, doing two or three at a time. But I’ll probably also have more writing about the Red Sox. So despite the end of the World Cup, the site is alive and well.

Now, as we move on to the next chapter of the sports world, I want to stop and say thank you. I’m loving every second of this. Keep checking back for more content, share the link with anyone you think might be interested, and please give me any feedback you think might help improve the site. Thanks for reading.