Here's who's having the worst Case Of The Mondays this morning.
It was definitely happening, and then it was off, and then it was definitely happening again, and then it definitely wasn’t, and then it finally did: Liverpool let Coutinho out of their cold clutches and into the warm embrace of Barcelona.
A saga that’s lasted longer than some soap operas, Barcelona has been loudly clamoring to sign the winger and Coutinho has, through a summer transfer request and continued convenient “sicknesses” and “injuries” during transfer windows, made his thoughts in the matter quite clear as well. It was bound to happen next summer, but most thought Liverpool would hold on to him for the full year after fighting so hard to keep him in August.
Fans are pretty evenly split on deciding whether this is a season-threatening disaster or not. He might not be their leading goalscorer, but he’s an undeniably important playmaker. But on the other hand, they survived the stretch they had without him at the end of August when he was “injured.” Holding on to a top 4 place without him could go either way, but where they’ll hurt most is certainly the Champions League, where anything less than their absolute strongest starting XI will suffer as the later stages progress.
It’s best to reserve judgement until the transfer window closes and all (if any) replacements have been brought in, but their next game against Manchester City will be a huge test in the meantime.
If there’s one thing Arsenal has year after year — besides coming in fourth — it’s winning the FA Cup. The A in FA might as well stand for Arsenal at this point. But not this year!
The Gunners lost their third round match against 14th-in-the-Championship Nottingham Forest, heading into halftime down 2-1 and ultimately ending with a 4-2 loss.
The Cup was really only the change Arsenal had at any glory this year, too. They’re a comfortable sixth in the league, five points out of fourth; it’s highly unlikely they’ll win the Europa league, especially if Sanchez and Ozil leave; and, well, it’s just a competition in which they’ve been immensely successful.
1996 – Arsenal have lost an FA Cup third round tie for the first time ever under Arsene Wenger, last falling at this stage in 1996 vs Sheffield United. Dumped.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 7, 2018
The magic of the Cup indeed.
A hat trick is one thing; a hat trick in a romp of a team 28 spots above you is one thing; but a hat trick in a romp of a team 28 spots above you that would reward you with a puppy? Absolute best case scenario.
Eric Lichaj, who came out of Nottingham Forest’s 4-2 win over Arsenal with a brace, revealed that one more goal would’ve been a prize way beyond just the honor of any old hat trick:
"My wife told me that if I score a hat-trick this year I get a dog, so I was trying to get the penalty…" 😂
Eric Lichaj scored what's sure to be one of the goals of the tournament, but you can't help but feel heartbroken for him with this revelation 😭😂 pic.twitter.com/z4ACTMRG3c
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 7, 2018
Sure, he helped his team pull off an incredible upset, but does that really mean anything when you can’t go home and celebrate the win with a tiny labradoodle?
Will Real Madrid ever not be on this list?
It’s going from bad to worse for the La Liga giants, who are stuck in fourth place after another disappointing draw against Celta Vigo (who, like Arsenal’s thorn-in-the-side, are also in 14th place). Real Madrid also haven’t won away in the league since October 14.
Could they even possibly miss out on Champions League automatic qualification? Sevilla are nipping at their heels, only three points behind, and Villareal is only one point behind them. Valencia, who sit in third, also won their game at the weekend and extended their lead by two points (to 5), so it doesn’t look like they’ll be climbing up the table anytime soon.
What the difference a season can make.