Man City is the Matrix. That’s what this is.


Man City is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

What truth?

That you are a slave, Arsenal. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

Man City perform on a level that renders all other levels of reality redunant, such is the ridiculosity (which is so a word) of their dominance. What can any other club do in the face of their complete and utter dominion over what the rest of us plebeians call “reality?” It’s an ontological question for the ages.

In the aftermath of our disappointing loss against Nottingham Forest, one against which I forewarned in this preview, we have to take stock. Has this squad run out of fumes? Have too many players downed tools and booked beach resorts? Is it a crisis of confidence?

I suspect that we’re seeing a phenomenon whereby we fear the feeling that can come from exerting ourselves to the fullest only to fall short and, as a result, we shy away from what feels like an insurmountable summit. We subconsciously choose to give less than our best, thereby guaranteeing we’ll fail​—but doing so from the security that comes from saying to ourselves that we didn’t give our best in the first place. Maybe, paradoxically, if we had given our best, we could have succeeded​—but we might have also failed anyway. ‘Twixt the two, we can at least console ourselves by saying we weren’t really trying, so we didn’t fail. It’s all a muddle.

Once it came down to Everton beating Man City, we had to know that our destiny lay beyond our grasp, and that may explain why, after Everton failed, we capitulated at home to Brighton. With nothing left to play for other than a few points, we couldn’t summon that incisive edge that carried us for most of the season. Did we down tools against Forest? No, by all accounts, we should have won.

Even if we had, however, the Matrix wins. We, among the youngest and thinnest squads in the Prem, pushed Man City to the edge only to fall short, thanks in no small part to two talismans​—Jesus and Saliba​—missing one-third of the season. Man City, meanwhile, control reality to a degree that leaves all of their opponents wondering just what reality is. René Descartes would have been left reeling at the degree to which Man City control reality and the perception thereof. Does Arsenal exist if it can’t win the Prem despite sitting top of the table for 34 weeks? How can I trust my senses when everything I see, hear, touch, smell, and taste turns out to be a lie?

Cogito, ergo sum. I think; therefore, I exist. Even if all of this has been conjured out of nothing to trick me into believing I exist, I must first exist in order to be tricked. Man City have moved heaven and earth to delude us into doubting ourselves. We exist. We are a threat to the matrix, to the hegemony that Man City have smothered the rest of us with.

We very nearly smashed through this matrix despite our own shortcomings. We’ll come back next year smarter, stronger, deeper. Shrewder. Savvier. We won’t be beguiled or waylaid like we were over the last few weeks of this season. Man City may have won the battle. That’s not nearly the same as winning the war.

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8 thoughts on “Man City is the Matrix. That’s what this is.

  1. palladio43

    It is not the Matrix nor should we be quoting Descartes. Maybe Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness”.
    Personally, I believe, as I may have previously noted, the book to read and quote is Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus”.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I think I’ve alluded to both Sisyphus and Tantalus at various points, but Sartre and Descartes would be fitting as well (although we don’t want to get too pretentious, do we? It’s only footy).

      1. palladio43

        But it’s England, and specifically London, not the US, let alone Evanston, where dumbing down has become the norm and even, in Florida, a state mandate

      1. consolsbob

        Well, being English and of a certain generation, I was reasonably educated. My Grandchildren, even my children, would not have a clue what I was on about. Until, say, the 1970’s, every generation knew more than previous generations.

        In our wisdom, we have reversed that.

        1. Jon Shay Post author

          You know of what you speak. I’m a literature teacher and can attest to how much less literate my students have become just in the years since I started teaching. I press them hard on various fronts, diction and syntax and grammar and all the rest, but it’s an uphill battle to say the least. I’m like the man who fought the windmills. What’s his name?

          On a potentially interesting side-note, it turns out that my first-ever blogpost happens to allude Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”. If you care to click through, be gentle. It was ten years ago, and I knew far less than the little I know now. Here’s a link:


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