Five Must-Reads to Enliven Your Day -- August 24

Posted by Roger Bennett

Arsenal's tiny ambition
We are suckers for any article that references Oompa-Loompas, but here the Mirror offers the added value of some analysis. An examination of Arsenal's new tiny midfield lineup anchored by the 5-foot-5 Santi Cazorla makes them wonder whether the blood-and-guts style of the Premier League is changing.

Arsenal v Stoke: Poetry v force
Michael Cox on terrific form with this analysis of the fixture that "is the most blatant contrast of styles in the Premier League."

The death of reggae

Usain Bolt reveals strange ideas about what might make something popular. He is petitioning Rio Ferdinand to help him make reggae blow up worldwide. You know what they say about best-laid plans ...

Soccer with subtitles

We love two kinds of movies: Soccer films ("Victory"!) and Venezuelan cinema. Imagine our joy when our two loves collide. “Hermano,” the heartfelt first feature from the Venezuelan filmmaker Marcel Rasquin, follows two soccer-playing boys whose striking talents offer escape from the slums of Caracas. See it this weekend if you, like us, believe there is simply not enough soccer on television.

Department of shameless self-promotion: Megan Rapinoe edition

As regular readers know, our Grantland Men In Blazers podcast is deeply mediocre. But this week's edition is worth listening to. Not for us, but for Megan Rapinoe. The USWNT star is one of the most articulate footballers you'll hear. She uses words. And will reveal who would win a Thunderdome battle between Abby Wambach and Hope Solo.

While on the topic ... here is a piece from today that might tempt your fury. Are American Premier League fans lesser than their English counterparts?

A magical weekend to all.

ESPN Conversations