Remembering a Play: “Aguerooooo!!!!!!”

Sports Remembering a Play
Remembering a Play: “Aguerooooo!!!!!!”

This Sunday marks the end of the English Premier League season, and Manchester City is poised to become the first team to ever win four EPL titles in a row. They have won five of the last six league championships, and seven total since 2012. All they need to do this weekend is beat 9th place West Ham United, or have Arsenal lose to 15th place Everton, or they both tie, and immortality is theirs.

It’s instructive to go back to the beginning of this era of City dominance, as it began twelve years ago with the most dramatic end to an EPL season ever. Manchester City and Manchester United entered the final weekend battling for the title, and all City had to do was beat lowly Queens Park Rangers who wound up avoiding relegation by one point that year, and they would win their first ever Premier League championship.

Fate had other plans than allowing City fans to enjoy what many expected to be a 90-minute coronation, as they were forced to sweat out one of the most stressful soccer games anyone has ever played.

Manchester United was beating Sunderland, narrowing City’s only title route to just a victory, and despite being up a man after a 55th minute red card sent Joey Barton off for QPR, City found themselves down a goal going into the six minutes of extra time added on after the 90th minute.

With four minutes remaining in the season, Manchester City needed two goals to salvage what was an impending disaster their rivals would hang over their heads for centuries to come. After Edin Džeko headed home a corner to tie the game in the 92nd minute, City pressed ahead in desperation, trying to rescue their championship from the jaws of defeat.

With their rivals across town safely past the final whistle and getting ready to celebrate their quadrillionth club championship, Mario Balotelli made a great diving play on a give-and-go to spring Sergio Aguero open in the box, who then took a lovely first touch, setting up Martin Tyler to make one of the most iconic calls in sports history.

“I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again” is perhaps the truest statement I have ever heard from a British football announcer. Two goals in the last four minutes to snatch their first EPL title away from their cross-town galactic rivals is a Hailey’s Comet-level once-in-a-generation event. This shot of it from the crowd is, as the kids say, absolute scenes.

Up to that point I had been a fairly casual soccer fan who would watch it on and off, but never really made it appointment television outside of the World Cup. After waking up in time to watch one of the most dramatic sporting events humans have ever played, I realized I needed to make the EPL a consistent part of my weekend sports routine. The following year I watched soccer every Sunday, and started down a path where I now am an Arsenal fan.

I do find it a bit ironic that the game which fully got me into soccer sprung a dynasty I now would very much like to see get taken down this weekend by Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard, William Saliba and a scrappy Arsenal squad providing City with one of its most serious challenges since Aguero’s famous finish.

In 2019, enraptured by Saka’s brilliant under-18 highlight reel and remembering my first real connection to soccer in the Thierry Henry era at the 1998 World Cup, I decided to band-wagon the Gunners just in time to live through the brutal avalanche of 1-0, 0-0 and 1-1 games leading to anonymous mid-table finishes and one moment of FA Cup glory over Manchester City and Chelsea that really got me to care about winning and losing.

I still felt like a fake Arsenal fan up until this past week. I have traveled to London, perhaps my favorite city, more than enough times to know how important pure hatred is to a true footy fan’s soul. Seeing signs outside of bars saying “no wrong team kits allowed lest you cause a melee” was a genuine culture shock. These people take their hatred seriously.

As someone raised through the blood-soaked Avalanche vs. Red Wing feuds of the 1990s who then attended a Zoo and received a PhD in haterdom, I am familiar with what this emotion feels like. The rage that permeates through my brain when I see a Detroit Red Wings or Boston College hockey jersey is exponentially larger than when I see a Tottenham kit.

But now I have something. I’ve made it. Tottenham played Manchester City this week with a chance to save theirs and Arsenal’s season, but those incompetent north London schmucks did what they always do and tripped over their own dicks.

Heung Min Son are you kidding me? What the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t you want to play in the Champions League next year? PUT THIS AWAY!

Unless something dramatic happens this weekend, I am going to see that horrendous shot in my soccer nightmares forever. Fuck Tottenham and every bloke dumb enough to stand with ’em.

Had Son scored that bunny against City earlier this week and that miserable joke of a squad somehow held on to that 1-1 score against the EPL’s juggernaut (spoiler: they lost 2-0!), Arsenal would go into this weekend in control of their own destiny, with the potential to write their own Agueroooo!!-style script to introduce the soccer world to a new era.

Instead, we are once again living through the impending inevitability of the modern demigods from Manchester, who introduced themselves to the world twelve years ago by doing something every sports fan dreams of: breaking your rival’s hearts at the buzzer, putting them in their grave, and then building an historic dynasty on top of it.

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