Arsenal's season reaches a potentially defining moment this evening when they host Liverpool.
The Reds travel to the, er, Reds threatening to usurp them following an unbeaten run of seven league games, just as Arsene Wenger has replaced Rafael Benitez as the media's designated figure of fun.
A win tonight will keep Arsenal's slender title hopes alive. A defeat, however, will have Liverpool nipping at their heels, just two points behind them, and strike another blow to neutrals everywhere who chanced to hope that the top four of the table might change by at least a quarter for once.
The visit of Benitez's side comes after the Gunners have taken just one point from games against Aston Villa, Manchester United and Chelsea, and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Stoke. At least the humbling at the Britannia Stadium gives Wenger's players a week off before they face Porto for their Champions League last 16 clash, although plenty of his first XI had that day off too.
Despite his side flying earlier in the season and briefly topping the table just a few weeks ago, Wenger has been narkier than usual when it comes to defeat, or anything else that has displeased him, this season. ED preferred it when he just claimed he did not see things.
He may have had a point when he claimed the media has spun his words at times, but there is no denying he has given thinly-veiled critiques about teams having the temerity to employ tactics that help them compete against his side.
Aston Villa were labelled a 'long ball' side for hitting passes down the channels for their wingers to reach and send in something called 'crosses' to try and score 'headers'.
Earlier in the season, he accused United of playing 'anti-football' against them at Old Trafford, and following Sunday's defeat bemoaned the fact that Chelsea dominated his team by fouling and bullying them out of the game. This coming from a man whose early tenure at Arsenal saw more flashes of red than an Amsterdam tour guide.
Just in case Liverpool beat the Gunners this evening, Wenger could save everyone a lot of time by getting his excuses in early. Here are a few he could try:
"It's unfair that they get to play with a striker"
With Eduardo still out and Nicklas Bendtner a doubt to start, those Merseyside Fancy Dans think they can just waltz down Gillespie Road with not one but two recognised forwards. Even if they are David Ngog and Dirk Kuyt.
"What right do they have to play tall centre-backs?"
Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Sotirios Kyrgiakos all have a few inches in William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen, and about a foot on Arshavin, Nasri, Eduardo and Walcott. After being knocked around by those brutes at Stamford Bridge, facing them might be more than his diminutive dynamos can take.
"How dare they have someone like Lucas confusing us by misplacing all those passes in midfield. My players aren't used to that"
The Arsenal system may be based around training ground triangles and intricate interplay, but the very sight of a loose ball can make the wheels come off. That Liverpool have learned to play while the Brazilian does his water-carrying act is unacceptable and must be punished.
"They shouldn't be playing all those Englishmen"
The gall of Benitez to field not one but two home-grown players in his first team goes against everything the Premier League stands for. Thank goodness that Glen Johnson isn't playing, otherwise their team would be more than 25 per cent English. Oh, the horror!
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After what feels like an eternity of unpaid wages, changes of ownership and frantic negotiations, the bell may finally be tolling for Portsmouth today as they are set to have their winding up hearing brought by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in court.
As Aruna Dindane scrambled a late, late draw for Pompey against Sunderland, last-minute talks between the club and HMRC reached an impasse.
Unless something miraculous happens today, it seems the best Pompey can hope for is administration, and at worst they could be wound up completely. Either of these fates would represent a Premier League first.
Early Doors does not derive any pleasure from seeing a club go under, especially one which lifted the FA Cup just 21 months, even if the final itself was one of the worst in living memory, and ED once attended the 1999 Division Three play-off final (Leyton Orient 0-1 Scunthorpe, Calvo-Gracia 6').
However, if there is to be one club that should be sacrificed as an example to others on how not to run a top flight team in a one-club town into the ground, then it is Pompey.
For all the sniggering regarding Crystal Palace's administrators putting a 'for sale' ad in the Financial Times, that looks like the best-case scenario for Portsmouth's loyal fans now.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Referees are honest but they go with the atmosphere and they also read the papers, so it is easy to do it" - Avram Gant bemoans the refereeing decisions that have gone against his team recently. To be fair, it is understandable that he has not been reading the papers recently.
FOREIGN VIEW: Napoli fans will wear masks bearing the face of iconic former referee Pierluigi Collina to protest against decisions that have gone against them this season. The final straw came in last weekend's 3-1 defeat to Udinese, when Antonio di Natale scored after the ball had clearly gone out of play, before Cristian Maggio received a second yellow card for diving when he had a clear shout for a penalty. Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis, a film producer, is considering turning the protest into a film - Being Pierluigi Collina.
COMING UP: A bumper midweek of Premier League action continues tonight, all with live text commentary. Kicking off at 19:45 there's Arsenal v Liverpool! AND Aston v Villa v Manchester United! NOT ONLY Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur BUT ALSO West Ham United v Birmingham City! BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Blackburn Rovers v Hull City and Everton v Chelsea kick off at 20:00! There's also live scoring of a full programme of SPL matches, as well as Parma v Internazionale in Serie A.
You can bet on all of this evening's action at Eurosport Bet.