New York (CNN)By the end of the weekend, Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke could be a Super Bowl champion. But seven hours before kickoff against the New England Patriots, and an ocean away from the big game in Atlanta, another Kroenke-owned sports team might find itself in far less celebratory circumstances.
Rams owner, on brink of Super Bowl triumph, faces rebellion from English soccer fans
Arsenal, the English Premier League club that billionaire businessman Kroenke has owned since 2011, will travel to play Manchester City on Sunday in a showdown between two soccer teams at very different junctures in their respective histories.
City is the Premier League's defending champion and, though it hasn't matched its record-breaking form of last season, remains in contention to retain its crown and is also a serious contender to secure a first Champions League title, European club football's top cup competition.
Arsenal, meanwhile, is in the midst of another season where it is battling for a top-four finish rather than the title, and is once again struggling to keep pace, both on and off the pitch, with big-spending rivals.
The Londoners' notoriously leaky defense could be humbled at the Etihad on Sunday -- the Gunners lost 5-1 in December to league leaders Liverpool -- making Sunday a two-fold referendum of sorts on Kroenke the sports owner.
With the Rams, Kroenke finds himself on the brink of the American sporting summit, a win away from a championship three years after he helped engineer the team's move from St. Louis to southern California; at Arsenal, the American is viewed increasingly as the man who has overseen the club's wayward drift.
Kroenke has become so unpopular among Arsenal supporters that even those who might otherwise be indifferent to American football suddenly have a rooting interest in Super Bowl LIII.
"A lot of fans over here are backing the Patriots," said Robbie Lyle, the host and proprietor of the YouTube channel AFTV, which bills itself as the "unofficial voice of Arsenal fans around the world."
AFTV has built an enormous following since it launched in 2012, boasting more than 900,000 subscribers who tune in following the team's matches to watch Lyle interview fans, many of whom use the opportunity to rant and rave about the club's shortcomings.
Lately, most of the ire on the channel has been directed at Kroenke. In a video this week following an underwhelming Arsenal victory over lowly Cardiff City, an AFTV