My cup runeth over

Some people look at life with the glass half full, some people with the glass half empty, but I prefer to look at the glass like a glass of Guinness: I see a glass full — of delicious beer. Yesterday’s win over Everton was no different. Some people choose to see only the negatives, some people only the positives while I saw a match full — of delicious beer.

Fabianski has been roundly criticized this season for the mistakes he makes, mistakes which some feel have cost Arsenal points, but I have taken quite a shine to Lukasz. He is still going to make some mistakes but he’s also going to make world class saves. Marcus Hannehman pointed out on the Match of the Day couch yesterday that several of the saves Fabianski made were simply blind saves, the one from Beckford in particular was at full stretch and he just got a palm to it. More importantly, though, he’s very vocal at the back and more than once I’ve even seen him order Cesc to do something. He commands the back line and that’s not something I’ve seen from an Arsenal keeper since Mad Jens was our number 1. Sure, there was the moment that he was floundering a bit at the back post and Saha’s header bounced off Lukasz’ head, but overall you have to admit that the keeper secured the points for the Gunners yesterday. After a glass — of delicious beer — I felt like he should have even had a clean sheet and would have if Saha’s foul on Song had been called.

Overall, I’m not quite ready to say he’s world class or that he’s the finished article but I am willing to say “shut up” to anyone who says we need a keeper. We have a keeper, he’s pretty damn good, and he’s saving us points — that glass is pretty full if you ask me.

The other player who often comes in for criticism is Andrei Arshavin. It’s not surprising that he’ll get some stick because he’s, well, he’s a bit lazy. I’ve never seen a player stand so stock still as his teammate scores: he doesn’t even change expression or shift his feet. Hell, he barely had the energy to turn his head!

Arshavin only managed 9 passes in the entire 66 minutes he played yesterday but he was one of the two Arsenal players who had shots from range, he drove at their defense when he had the ball, and he hustled to recover the spilled save and set up the opener. He now has two goals and five assists in his first 13 League matches and if he keeps doing that I have no problem with him playing a languid 66 minutes for Arsenal.

Chamakh is another player who can frustrate a bit, his left footed miss from 2 yards was as poor a finish as you will see all season. But unlike Arshavin, Chamakh’s work rate is amazing. He seems to be all over the pitch in the attack, linking play, and he’s always back defending on set pieces. Plus yesterday he set up Cesc’s goal with a truly wonderful pass between three Everton defenders. Not bad work.

Overall, this Arsenal team have something special about them that I can’t quite put my finger on but that reminds me of the 2001/2002 Arsenal team that barnstormed the second half of the season and won the League. If you look at the final table that year it looks like Arsenal won at a trot but the reality is that the race was much closer and in the end Arsenal had to overcome a tremendously physical challenge (and terrible refereeing) from Manchester United at Old Trafford to sew up the double.  That team saw the emergence of one of my favorite players of all time, Freddie Ljungberg and if I were to draw a comparison, I’d say that Nasri has some Freddie about him. I’d love to see Nasri emerge as that star this season, I’d even send him the red hair dye to complete the job!

But what was truly remarkable about that team was that they went undefeated on the road for the entire season. Now, obviously, we can’t do that this year because we’ve already lost to Chelsea but so far Arsenal have the best away form of any team in the League. We’ve secured 14 points from 7 away games and our nearest rivals have just 10. Man U have the worst away record of the top teams with just 9 points — despite being unbeaten. If you look back though at the 2001/2002 team, you’ll see thaat it’s going to take more than just remaining unbeaten on the road. After December, Arsenal remained unbeaten at home and in the late months went on a tear of 3-0 and 2-0 wins to ensure the double.

We’ve got a long way to get there, but as I look through the bottom of my empty Guinness glass at the results from yesterday, with Chelsea being beaten at home 3-0 for the first time since they discovered a vaccine for polio and Arsenal grinding out a 2-1 win at Goodison, I can’t help but see that my glass is empty and I need another beer.

A full beer.

54 thoughts on “My cup runeth over

  1. Pingback:

    Vote -1 Vote +1Tweets that mention My cup runeth over « 7amkickoff — The Arsenal blog from an American perspective -- Topsy.com

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Bala

    Outstanding game.Funny to see Baines walking instead of closing down Sagna before he scored.May be he thought Sagna wouldn’t go himself but then who would have?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Naylyn

      @Bala, “Mikael Silvestre carelessly gifted possession to Wiltord, who found Freddie Ljungberg on a trademark run from midfield. ” well well well.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      @Bala, Man U were brutal that day, if anything, that BBC report is soft on them. They should have had at least three red cards.

      Also, I bought the gold SEGA away shirt right after that game.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Prashant

    Funny. I thought our season resembles 2001-02 as well after looking at our away record. The home form is just a minor aberration- in wengerspeak, we are playing with our handbrakes on. When Van Persie is fully fit, he could be the bergkamp to nasri’s Freddie

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1gsco

    A great weekend to be a Gooner! It would have been better for my heart if Chamack had buried the third, but obviously can’t complain. Definitely don’t want to be picky, but these games have been stressful for a while. I guess that’s the fun of it, but I think we could all use a comfortable victory at some point. Let’s hope for it against the spuds this weekend. Although I am a little worried about everyone jetting off to spin money for FIFA in utterly useless friendlies and us having the early game on Sat. This has to be the ultimate in worthless international football events. I will be fully boycotting and pretend they don’t exist except to pray for injury free arsenal players. I hope others do as well so we don’t reward FIFA for this idiocy.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      @gsco, Don’t worry! Tottenham ARE the England B team, van der vaart should play for the Dutch and Tottenham are way worse than Arsenal after internationals or European games.

      I feel good about this weekend.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @Tim, Wait… I just looked. There are 4 Arsenal players in the England team and 1 Tottenham player. Plus we have 3 players in the France team.

        Ugh.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Bala

        @Tim, Not only that Djourou is also selected.Just confirmed from AFC.com that the total is 16.I fear for any one of them,well at least no one can say we have a young and inexperienced squad

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Bala

        @Tim, Not only that Djourou is also selected.Just confirmed from AFC.com that the total is 16.I fear for every one of them,well at least no one can say we have a young and inexperienced squad

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

        @Tim, About this international football thing. The Dutch had Khalid (the cannibal) Boularhuz withdraw through injury. One measy player. Every time a friendly comes around, all you read about is how many Scottish and Northern Irish players are not playing because of ‘injury’. Arsenal players could be dead or dying and couldn’t get out of one stinking friendly even if played against the national team of Bali.

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Limestonegunner

    Tim, lovely post, and I agree with your positions on the players and on the team. You should send a link to Goonerholic, as he might enjoy your particular take on glasses.

    One point I’d suggest is that their is no reason to judge the keeper position until the end of December. I am very encouraged by Fabianski’s performances and was one of those petrified by the idea of him playing any games for Arsenal after his past record. But he has the chance to wipe out that history, and if he continues to do so, we’ll be fine. However, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of upgrading in this and one or two other positions depending on how our players perform through the end of December. At that point, it will be time for an assessment.

    But here’s hoping Vermaelen comes back, Fabianski continues with very good form, and we get Ramsey back playing in mid-late December so that he is available in the homestretch.

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

    I come to 7amkickoff this morning and see no mention of Denilson’s very integral second half contributions? C’mon, where’s the love from the internet’s biggest Denilson supporter? He was good enough yesterday for me to overlook Song’s plethora of misdirected passes.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1The BearMan

    Was Fabianski wrongly criticised? I say not, I believe under the heavy bombardment of fans, Fabianski developed a compeditive edge to his game, which was lacking before.

    Where Almunia buckled under the weight of expectation, Fabianski discovered that he had wings. Fabianski, decided that sitting on a bench for the rest of his life is not what he is after, but flying is more enjoyable. Having carefully considered, 1,2,3,4. No NUMBER 1 sound best.

    Guess what, twice this month, he has been player of the match, could he have achieved that without fans comments. Well from his performances during pre-season warm-up. No chance!

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    A pint of Brooklyn Lager for me please. As I said after the Newcastle game, it’s a long season and I believe in the quality of the this squad. The only question is whether we can believe we can fly while keeping our feet firmly on the ground.

    No good, bad or ugly this time around? Fabianski was a lot of people’s MOTM, but I would find it hard not to give it to Sagna after a goal like that. He was an absolute rock defensively as well.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

      Has there been a more reliable player or presence for Arsenal over the last handful of years than Sagna? He quietly goes about his business and has been underappreciated in my view. For that, I was overjoyed to see his goal yesterday.

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    Arsenal World had a great story on Sagna last week. He wasn’t allowed to join a club by his parents till he finished school and he just kept on playing and fighting till he finished and finally got called up by Auxerre. A heart warming story that really made me appreciate his goal that much more.

  10. Vote -1 Vote +1Patrick

    The Chelsea loss at home to Sunderland makes up for our loss at home to Newcastle. Check.

    Our win at Eastlands combined with Chelsea’s loss there makes up for our loss at home to West Brom. Check.

    Now we just need to beat Chelsea at our place to complete the comeback.

    Uhm, I might have some sort of OCD.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1Red Arse

    Djourou has taken a great deal of stick over the past two years.

    It is good to see that his power in the air and his allround game has got him some good reactions from the fans, at last!

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1London Calling

        @ctpa, I watch that this morning. Its great etc… but we need a centreback. Yesterday a nightmare scenerio almost happened. Toto being sent off. Thomas V will not play for a while, Have you seen our fixtures to mid Jan. We have two new recruits and an old/young hand who has just returned from 12 months injury. Song is a defensive midfielder and is the last resort. Even Arsene is thinking about a replacement…. a loan deal maybe…. Who is free in Europe at present… Is Maldini still playing…..oh I can dream…. 10 years younger and he woulg be ideal….. maybe Sol wants to return…. funny ha ha ….

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Naylyn

      @Red Arse, he has been pretty poor recently due to his return from injury. I think the vast majority of fans have been willing to forgive him for that reason though and he has certainly been showed how good he can be against Everton.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1joseph

    Clicked on the site 10 min ago to read the the blog and point out that saha`s knockback for cahil to score was done by fouling Song guess what you stole my thunder. The fact that neither sky or the bbc noticed the foul like the ref or the linesman I know the ast ref but i guess they both fucked up.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    My link below.

    http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8742_6509245,00.html

    There are a lot goods things in the above link worth commenting on.

    I wanted to comment on Mike Dean who has taken on the mantle of FOMU (Friend Of Man U). Koscienly gets the heave ho for denying a goal scoring opportunity when Ranger the danger gets tripped so far from the goal he might as well have been in Kansas. Brown takes down Young in the box and thne Young later gets a card for celebrating his goal in the crowd. The real reason why he got that card was that he ‘made’ Dean give Aston Villa the PK against Man U. Dean being a FOMU could not penalize Vidic for the same offense could he?

    I pointed out that Clattenburg, Atwell did not get games this past week because they’ve very bad referees. Let’s see if Dean and Foy get games next week end.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1DF

    If we win in the weekend, I think the Arsenal will catch up on Chelsea. Now that every team knows Chelsea’s weakness–they are not creative enough in midfield, and their defence, when without Terry and Alex, is soft. Birmingham should take at least 2 points off the Chavs. Then Arsenal will sit with Chelsea on equal points but with an inferior goal difference. Of course if the unlikely happens and B’ham beats Chelsea, we shall celebrate.
    I hope Sagna did not play on Wednesday, or he may be too tired for Bale. S vs B is mouth watering. If Bale plays against Clichy, I have no doubt Clichy will outrun him.
    Will Arsene put Theo on the right side to run against Bale?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

      @DF, We have to put pressure on Assou-Ekoto to force Bale to defend. That’s down to Fabregas spraying the ball wide.

      Arshavin has to show up (and be counted) against the ‘flavor of the week’ RB Hutton.

      I cannot for the life of me understand how Sp**s are getting by with the patched up CB pairing with Kaboul.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Naylyn

        @ctpa, I think we need a player who is strong in defense against Bale. Personally I would prefer to see Nasri of Rosicky line up in front of Sagna, although Theo’s speed would be an asset if he was playing and defending well.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1jack king

      @DF, Theo v Bale would be an interesting confrontation considering their close friendship.
      It will definitely need some one who can work Bale onto his right foot (the way that Wes Brown did) and Sanga + Theo could do it.

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Nasri is now able to come and say to his critics after Euro 2008 that see, I really wasn’t the problem in the French National team, biotches cause I wasn’t there to screw up South Africa. Was I?

    He admits he played with Gallas for 1 yr and didn’t talk to Gallas for 1 yr.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Kevin

      I’ll concede that this miss is absolutely horrendous, making Chamakh’s miss just moderately horrendous.

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