In early March, I wrote a post called “Tears for Piers” about the meltdown of Piers Morgan on Fox Soccer Channel as he watched Arsenal, the soccer team he supports, lose to Tottenham Hotspur, the club’s North London rival. In a tirade the sophistication of which failed to meet the standards of a 3:00 a.m. sports call-in show, Morgan castigated Arsenal’s long-time, hugely-successful manager, Arsene Wenger. He concluded by advising the legendary manager to look at himself and admit that he’s no longer the man for the job.
How, you may be wondering, has Arsenal fared under Wenger since Morgan’s ridiculous rant? Quite well, actually.
Since the loss to Spurs, the Gunners have played 11 matches. They have won 9, drawn 2, and lost none, outscoring the opposition 21-5 in the process.
The two draws came against Everton (0-0) and EPL champions Manchester United (1-1). Arsenal had the better of it in both matches. Indeed, Arsenal outshot Man U by a 19-12 and had a majority of ball possession.
But Arsenal’s most impressive result came in the very next match after Morgan’s rant — a 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich in Munich. Bayern is hands down the best team in Europe this year. For example, they thrashed mighty Barcelona by 4-0 in Germany and 3-0 in Spain. Bayern’s only other home loss this season in Bundesliga and European Champions League competition came last October against a strong Bayer Leverkusen team (1-2).
Today, Arsenal capped off its fabulous run by defeating Newcastle United away from home. With that win, Arsenal edged out Tottenham for a place in next year’s Champions League. Wenger has guided the Gunners into that prestigious and obscenely lucrative competition in each of his 16 seasons in charge of the club.
So tonight, his misanalysis of the situation at Arsenal notwithstanding, Piers Morgan must be smiling. And not just because he has been able to parlay his British accent, knee-jerk liberalism, modest intellect, and poor judgment into a prime-time CNN gig with clownish soccer commentary on the side.