Category Archives: Arsenal

£250m 3-0 Arsenal Youth; the Good, Bad, and the Handshake

Screw the match reports

I normally link to other paper’s match reports but today I’m doing my own, it goes like this: Arsenal played well in the first half, keeping a team that cost £250m to build at bay for 45 minutes through a combination of hard work and good defending. The second half got chippy and when the game gets chippy Arsenal always pick up the cards. As the yellows started to flow, Arsenal started giving City space, and they took advantage.

Add in some pretty appalling defending by Silvestre and Song in the center of defense and some absolutely brilliant goals from City and Arsenal were undone.

If Arsenal had spent £250m in transfers over the last two seasons and then fielded their first team against a bunch of kids, you’d be heartbroken if we didn’t wipe the floor with them. Credit to the Arsenal Youth for holding filthy mercenaries like Bellamy, Adebayor, Tevez, Barry and Lescott to a 0-0 draw in the first half.

The Good

  1. Adebayor didn’t score and didn’t stamp on any of our players
  2. No one got injured
  3. The Carling Cup exit means that we can play the Bolton game in hand on Jan 6th.

The Bad

Song, our muscle in the midfield, picked up his 5th yellow. He had to get it sometime, but we’re really going to miss his steel against Stoke on Saturday. There may be a silver lining here because last night he looked pretty tired. That “tackle” he put in was miles from Carlos Tevez and looked like tired legs to me. Tevez still made an admittedly incredible, unstoppable, shot but Song going down like that gave him the space he needed. Schoolboy defending which I am chalking up to him being tired.

It also explains why he’s a stopper and not a central defender: that’s the kind of mistake you can make when you know you have two more defenders behind you.

The Cult of Carlos Vela took another blow yesterday as he found himself on the ground more often than with the ball. I know that everyone loves Vela but I’m quickly getting sick of watching him go to ground every time he’s got the ball. He’s certainly getting lumps, but that’s something that happens in the EPL and he needs to keep his feet because I’m afraid he’s going to get a reputation.

In particular, that whole rolling around on the ground after a challenge and then popping  back up once the attack is back on is just a bonehead move. Watch Drogba, when you fake an injury, fake the injury! Make them get the cart and the magic spray.

You have to create doubt in the mind of the referee, make him wonder “did he really get hit?” Because when you pop up like a jack in the box after feigning injury you make it very easy for a referee, especially an English referee, to dismiss your penalty claims. Basically, if you’re going to lie, keep lying.

Either that or keep your damn feet a little bit. Not every time, but gods damn man, you can’t go down like a sack of beans under every challenge.

The exclusion of Senderos from the lineup has caused an explosion of news stories linking him away from the club with Athletico Madrid currently being touted. Despite the fact that a “mystery club” had a bid rejected for Aguero I don’t think that we’re after him. Rather, I hope we’re not after him, Aguero is 5’7″ and the last thing that Arsenal need is another Lilliput.

There is a player who Wenger has scouted that we might be interested in; Nacho Camacho. He’s a holding midfielder, he’s almost 6′ (180 cm), and he’s fairly strong. Both he and Raul Garcia would be viable options for Arsenal in the midfield and the perfect signing for Arsene: off everyone’s radar, young, and not English. As I always say about transfers, we shall see, but if we can get a holding midfielder for cash plus a player who Arsene is clearly not going to play then that would be a good bit of business.

Now, add a robust hold up player, like Gignac for £12m, and we might be on to something.

The Handshake

I’m sick and tired of Arsenal players/managers/etc. shaking people’s hands. On Sunday against Chelsea our players kept helping their guys up and shaking their hands during the game. Why are we being nice to people like Drogba and Mark Hughes? Fuck those people.

Yesterday Mark Hughes pretty much walked wherever he wanted, screamed expletives at Arsene Wenger over every petty little foul and basically made a prat of himself and an embarrassment of Manchester City. Then he has the temerity to call Wenger out for not shaking his hand. You know what shaking his hand would have done? It would have legitimized and forgiven Hughes’ boorish behavior.

The same thing on the pitch. When I played sports my coaches always forbade me from helping up the opponent so when I see Arsenal players being “gentlemen” to their opponents it drives me crazy. A guy like Drogba or Terry will use every advantage, they will gleefully cheat us out of any call in order to win a game, so why would we every offer a hand to them, except in some post-match B.S. ceremony?

Now, me? I would have gone over to Mark Hughes, grabbed his hand, pulled him in and whispered “you really are a huge cocksandwich” in his ear with a big huge grin on my face, waving to the crowd, as if to say “look at what a big sport I am.” That’s about the only way I’d shake that man’s hand.

Conclusion

It’s the Carling Cup. Arsene doesn’t just use the CC to blood his players he uses it to bring in youth players by promising them first team football in the Carling Cup. Besides, it’s not like Arsenal need the League Cup to get into Europe, we leave that to small clubs like Manchester City. It’s their only hope.

Anyway, I have a couple of things brewing, a guest article, and a contest from a new sponsor, both of which will be separate posts. Check back later for both of those, or you know, you could just subscribe to my RSS feed.

Cheers, and keep the chins up, we are The Arsenal.

Partly Spendy with a 100% chance of Adebayor

Shay Given looks like Eddie Munster!

Good morning, lots to get in, short time to get it, so let’s get stuck in.

Arsenal Spending in January

ATTENTION!

DO NOT BE ALARMED.

ARSENE WENGER HAS ADMITTED THAT ARSENAL MAY BUY IN JANUARY.

BEFORE YOU PANIC, HE ADDED “ONLY IF IT SUITS US” WHICH WE ALL KNOW MEANS WE WILL NOT BE BUYING ANYONE OVER £10M.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled Arsenal transfer speculation.

One serious note about transfer speculation is Andrei Arshavin’s interview with The Mirror in which he said that Arsenal

needs to buy new players – and expensive ones too. Why? because all the talented and inexpensive players are already with us at Arsenal.

I feel bitter about that we lose all the big matches. That is disturbing and also lets certain doubts creep into my mind. Chelsea are now 11 points ahead of us and they look the strongest team. They have attacking players who can make use of opponents’ slightest defensive mistakes. Didier Drogba is the strongest in the world.

Couple things here: first off, stop being such a whiny little emo beeotch. I hate phrases like “Lets certain doubts creep into my mind” because those phrases are usually followed by “Barcelona, blah, blah, dream, blah, blah.”

Second off, what does he think, that getting Didier Drogba is like getting a loaf of bread? Hey Wenger, while you’re in the striker aisle at Tesco’s could you get Arsenal two or three Drogbas? You know, in case one gets hurt we’ll have a backup?

Third off, why is he putting down himself and his teammates? Come on, Andrei, tell the boss your feelings in private and publicly say that this team has the talent to win things. You’re one of the leaders on this team, one of the older players, act like it and stop acting like a 14 year old girl.

Seriously, he’s talking like a crazy person, as if there are all these strikers out there who are robust, tall, strong, not going to the ACN, immaculate first touch, intelligent understanding of the game, score goals, are Premier League ready, and fit Arsene Wenger’s requirements of being a good kid with their head screwed on straight. Oh, and I left off “willing to leave their club.”

It has become a total throw away line to say that Arsene needs to spend big. Sadly the Russian hasn’t learned that yet. I’m pretty sure that Wenger has bought in every transfer window, all of them damn fine players. I have no doubt that he will buy in this transfer window. Hopefully someone big who leads his team into battle. After all we’ve clearly got our fill of mouthy little guys.

The Carling Cup Match

Wenger has both stated that he wants to win this match and that the match is not one of our targets. I suspect we’ll find out how much he wants to win the match by whether or not he starts surprise inclusion Alex Song. It’s a bit of a startling roster, with Rosicky, Song and Eboue all included from the first team along with The Rock of Silvestre at the back.

This strange roster means that Senderos has been shipped to some Gulag archipelago in favor of Song getting the start. Oh yes, I’m predicting Song to partner Silvestre in the back line. It’s no coincidence that in Arsenal’s 4-2 loss to City in the League Adebayor didn’t score until Arsene took Song off. Song had Adebayor pretty much shackled for the entire time he was on the pitch. So, Song will get the nod ahead of whatever under 9 center back that has been included (Kyle Bartley).

Wenger won’t say much about the lineup except that we will see Eastmond in the center of the park and Wilshere, erm, probably out wide in the attack.

My complete prediction, pulled completely out of my Arse, is thus:

Fabianski

Eboue     Silvestre     Song    Traore

Rambo     Eastmond     Merida

Wilshere     Whatt?   Vela

I fully expect to be publicly flogged by you all for my team selection.

For their part Manchester City are desperate to get their hands on the Carling Cup. Oh I know that the dot com interviewed some Manc reporter who talked about how winning the Carling Cup will start them on the path to winning more cups but he doesn’t really think that. Come on, after 7 straight draws and a defense that looks like Arsenal’s but with bigger flaws everyone knows why Hughes wants this: it’s their best chance to play in Europe next year.

Pantomime Villain Emannuel Adebayor is already talking to the press and has already dropped some hints about what his excuses are going to be after Alex Song makes him look like half the man that City thought they were getting: Arsenal fans and his ankle is not 100%.

He claims to have injured his ankle in the Arsenal match, which I suppose could have happened. He could have hyper-extended the ankle when he raked his studs across van Persie’s face and then he could have aggravated the injury when he, for the first time in his career, sprinted 100 yards.

I have heard that Citeh “fans” are already booing him and his lazy performances. That is, when they aren’t singing racist songs about him being “hung like an elephant.”

For my American readers, you’ll remember that the last time Arsenal played Man Citeh in the Carling Cup Arsenal won 2-1 off a 90th minute goal by Yankee debutant Danny Karbassiyoon.

For those of you who are wondering what Danny’s been up to, check out usa.arsenal.com’s interview with him.

I expect a very charged-up Arsenal side, I expect a very foul minded Adebayor, and I expect a shock away win for the Arsenal 3-1, goals by Whatt?, Wilshere, Ireland and…. Silvestre.

Speaking of usa.arsenal.com

Kevin from the USA dot com let me know about a special that Arsenal TV Online (ATVO) is having this week where they are giving away loads of free programming. I’m an annual subscriber (I actually switched to the USA version just recently) and if you’re sitting on the fence about whether to subscribe or not, some of this free programming might help you make up your mind.

If you’re a Yankee Goonah and you want to subscribe to the USA version of ATVO just go over to usatv.arsenal.com the content is all the same and Yankee Goonahs get a discount on the price — £45 for regular subscribers $49 for USA members, it’s about a $25 annual savings.

Before my English readers get all upset, yes, I know it’s not fair, but then again it’s not fair that you live in England and get to see a match for £85 and it costs me $2,000 to fly over, stay in a flea bag hotel, eat beans on toast, and see an Arsenal match.

Mmmmm…. beans.

That’s it

Right, that’s about it for today. I can’t make the live match today but Russ over at Doyle’s is recording the match for me and I’ll be posted there after work so I will maintain radio silence until 4pm.

I have a contest coming up just in time for the holidays so look for that over the next few days and I’ll see you tomorrow for the Good, Bad, and Adebayor.

Keep the faith

I have some training for work this morning and tomorrow so just a quick blog today.  Wenger should be giving his pre-match presser later and I’ll be doing tomorrow’s blog this afternoon. I’m sure you’ll all get over it.

For Arsenal supporters, there’s a lot of paranoia, anger, frustration, and hand-wringing floating around the internet at the moment and I think we all need to just take a step back and look realistically at what’s happened these last few weeks and where we will end up in the next few.

Yes, Arsenal lost an away match to Sunderland, won a home match against Standard, and lost to Chelsea, but it’s hardly the end of the world. In the Sunderland match, the whole team was sort of reeling from a combination of the van Persie injury, the World Cup qualifiers, and a number of other injury and personal problems. Sunderland played their game, took their chance, and came out with all three points. It should have been a call to arms but instead, Arsenal seemed to equivocate.

Then against Standard, again the cracks showed. Standard came to the Emirates hoping to play the type of match which Chelsea would bring 5 days later. Arsenal got the win and the clean sheet but both sides squandered a lot of chances. Again the writing was on the wall, Chelsea would not miss those same chances that Standard missed, and Chelsea would not give up the types of easy goals that Standard gave.

And so it came to pass, Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Arsenal exposed the flaws that all of us already know about Arsenal: we are set up to outscore our opponents and if we fail to do that then when we are exposed at the back, we will lose games. As I put it earlier in the year, it’s clear that this club would rather lose 3-0 while playing attacking football for 90 minutes than set up for a 0-0 draw.

In the Arsene system, then, what we lacked is some sharpness up front. Eduardo is a great footballer when he is 100%. He is a great poacher, he has the class and touch to be a set-up man, and he is the only player on this team who can score goals like this:

Yes, he lacks some height and right now he’s adjusting to the role that Arsene has thrown him into. We would do well to remember that it took Robin van Persie a few weeks to get a handle on the role as well. A few weeks during which some fans were asking for Wenger to play Bendtner there, a thought that Wenger banished outright.

But watch that video again, notice how the whole team conspired to get that goal. At the moment, the whole attack lacks the sharpness that you see in that video. Arshavin is clearly more effected by Russia’s World Cup loss than anyone (aside from my friend Matt) imagined, Rosicky is clearly not 100%, and Nasri still a bit off. But the thing is, these are still the same guys who many of you couldn’t wait to see play together at the start of the season! Nasri is still the same guy who scored two amazing goals to beat Man U — he’s just coming back from injury.

Defensively as well, Arsenal looked a bit jaded but there’s a clue in the fact that all of Chelsea’s starters had just spent three weeks resting and preparing for this match. No exaggeration, almost all of them spent the international break “injured” while two of Arsenal’s defenders, Sagna and Gallas, spent the last three weeks playing every three days in meaningful, emotional matches.

Wenger sees this and he has vowed to give all of the regular starters a rest tomorrow against Man City and next week against Olympiakos.

From my perspective, a week of rest and practice is just what the doctor ordered for this team and I think we’ll see a sharper attack on Saturday against Stoke. Meanwhile, I also suspect that the Carling Cup kids will be set to impress tomorrow against City.

Is it possible for this Arsenal team to get two wins in a row? Yes and when we do, will we all be happy again?