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Twas the night before kickoff

By Mac Johnson (Deputy Editor)

'Twas the night before kickoff, the Emirates quiet

We travel up north, 3PM the next day.

For those of you crying, that the time's not right,

I'm American, forgive me! 8PM a UK clock will display.

Arsenal voyage to Newcastle, that storied old club,

To St. James' Park, upon the Tyne.

Still chasing that elusive top four place,

And an all-important three points to assign.

We could have won it at Southampton,

And to that Dumbo-eared trophy return.

At Tottenham, too, the goal was in sight,

Another loss, our hopes were spurned.

Now with their lucky win against Burnley,

The Spurs have back that coveted place.

We're two points behind, this our game in hand.

We must win the match to stay in the race.

Nothing else will do, though mind you,

A newly resurgent Eddie Howe

Guarantees that the Magpies

Will not simply scrape, will not simply bow

To a team against whom they've struggled,

17 losses from their last 18.

Nor even a goal to show since Wenger managed,

Arsenal's sheets have stayed squeaky clean.

Yet memories of comebacks still abound,

Tiote's rocket sours the heart.

And with a history of falling at the final hurdle,

Arsenal must their habits restart.

Ignore the pundits, the critics, the doubters.

Forget history. Forget fame. Forget everything.

Bar 90 minutes, with a ball on grass.

The sport that makes us laugh, cry, sing.

This is football, our beautiful game.

More beautiful still should we get the award.

That we have sought for so, so long.

The chance to put Europe's best to the sword.

It's so close I can taste it, we've almost returned,

We just need six points and we're in the clear.

First Newcastle, then Everton, we've faced harder tests.

But rarely have they caused so much stress and fear.

For it's not all peachy, there's a thorn in our side

With defenders a doubt, and replacements sub-par.

Makeshift, ramshackle, temporary, who cares?

We cannot let injuries our triumph mar.

Two matches, two wins, and everything you've got.

It's the last hurdle, the final frontier.

180 minutes of Premier League football left to go!

Ladies, gentleman, pimps, the Champions League is near.

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