Arsenal 2-0 Man City; the Good, Bad, and Ugly

Match Reports

ESPN Soccernet: Captain Cesc Fabregas returned to help inspire Arsenal as two goals from Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor secured victory over Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium.

Telegraph.co.uk: Villarreal and Chelsea be warned. Arsenal may be running out of games to win the Premier League but, as displayed in domineering fashion in the sunshine of North London, their returning players are back and they are greedy for success in two cup competitions.

Match Video

The Arsenalist, like fresh baked bread, best to get it while it’s hot, slather some butter on it and down it with a pint of bitter.

Man of the Match

Easy peasy today, Adebayor scored two goals and despite his chronic, maddening habit of being offside showed why he is the envy of some Italian clubs and being linked to a summer move.

Before the match I questioned which Adebayor would show up: the one who works hard or the one who can’t be arsed. Today we had the pleasure of watching the Adebayor who works hard. Savor the moment because we never know which one will show up on Tuesday at the Estadio El Madrigal.

I’m sure some people will point out the slack defending that let Ade put in a flat footed header but there can be no doubt about the pure class that was the second goal. Cesc played in a beautiful ball, Adebayor was accidentally onside, and when Given came out to stop the ball, Ade dribbled once, stepped over a prostrate Given, and side footed into the net. I realize this is a divisive thing to say and I like Bendtner, but I’m sorry, I’ve never seen Bendtner score a goal like that.

The Good

It was great to see Arsenal’s captain back on the pitch. He looked a bit sluggish in his 76 minute debut but that’s to be expected when a player doesn’t play for 3 1/2 months. Moreover it looked like he and Arshavin were having a bit of trouble adjusting to each other. But even after a long layoff and playing with new players around him all he did was notch an assist for each of the two goals that Adebayor scored. Amazing. It’s great to have him back.

I also want to credit Song and Denilson for their industry in the midfield. At the start they looked a bit shaky but they settled in and bossed the middle for the rest of the match. You could point to the fact that City was missing their midfield engine in Stephen Ireland and you’d be right, but they had a job to do regardless who was in front of them and they did it.

And finally, the defense kept a clean sheet, their 9th of the 17 game unbeaten run and I want to credit them with that. There were a couple moments where the two weeks off showed as the back four couldn’t keep their shape and nearly let in two goals, but City couldn’t crack them open and they deserve credit for their hard work. Mooney especially gets credit for his save on SWP’s deflected shot, his quick reflexes saved him on his nearly poor positioning. Nearly poor.

The Bad

Kolo and Gallas do need to work on their communication at the back, because Villareal will punish them if they leave players wide open in the middle — why was Toure covering right back and center? — or if Clichy plays people on side again.  It’s not an insurmountable problem and they did keep a clean sheet, but it’s just something that needs to be worked on.

Similarly, the formation was a bit strange and Arshavin looked a bit lost (could have been that he was tired) again, not the end of the world, just something that they need to work on in practice. Arshavin is an incredible player and he has nearly won me over from my Winter of discontent. Now, if we can get him and Cesc clicking at the same time we’ll have something really special.

Finally, Bentdner needs to work on… well… everything: his positioning was terrible, his touch was terrible, and his finishing was comical. Moreover, with Eboue playing so damn well lately Bendtner has taken the lead as Arsenal whipping boy. I’d like to see him be a star and maybe it’ll just take a word in the ear from Arsene. “Calm, down lad, picture what you want to do and just do it.”

The Ugly

If I never see Howard Webb referee an Arsenal match again, it will be too soon. I’ve been trying to lay off the word “cunt” but in this case the moniker fits. Howard Webb is a massive cunt. For example, Toure picked up a yellow card and Webb explained to him that it was for two bad tackles (one of which was a clear dive by Robin-ho). Webb gesticulated toward both spots, told Toure to clam up, and then showed him the yellow. Fair enough, he’s the ref and if two infractions are enough to earn a yellow, then that’s how it will be. The only thing I don’t understand is how Toure gets a yellow for two infractions and yet Zabaleta fouls the living shit out of Walcott half a dozen times before he gets a yellow? How many times was Theo pulled off the pitch and scanned by the medical staff? 6? And after the match, he was icing his knee, like an aging Michael Jordan.

The fact is that Webb basically let City walk all over, push Arsenal players to the ground, and intentionally foul Theo’s knee multiple times and just waved play on.

Huge cunt.

And speaking of huge cunts, it turns out that Phil Brown’s accusations of Cesc spitting and verbally abusing Hull’s assistant manager were not caught on tape. SHOCKING!!! That means that this is going to be a case of he said she said which means that the FA will probably suspend Cesc because, after all, a known lying cunt is more reliable than a foreigner.

But most bizarre is that Cesc is now defending himself against a YouTube video from when he was 17 years old. But he does so with aplomb:

It was four years ago and I lent over to Michael Ballack who was playing for Bayern Munich at the time and I shouted at him because I felt like I did not make a bad tackle and I felt that the contact was minimal. I did not spit at him. It happens during matches that sometimes you have heated exchanges with your opponents.

I am not proud of it but I was 17 years old. The referee saw it and gave me a yellow card. People can try to find as many video clips as they like from when I was 17 years old or when I was 12 playing for my school team but this does not change anything. The simple fact is that I did not spit at the assistant manager of Hull City.

Fuck Phil Brown and fuck Hull City. I actually hope they stay up in the Premier league, Arsenal need someone to run off the pitch. We haven’t had someone like that in the EPL since Charlton made the drop a few years ago. Honestly, I hope Phil Brown has a very long career in the EPL, getting his ass handed to him bi-annually by Arsene Wenger.

Conclusion

Arsenal next travel to Villareal, Spain to play the Yellow Submarine in the Champions League. That happens on Tuesday which gives us 2 days to sort out some of the kinks that showed today. Plenty of time. I trust that the Arsenal will be in top form for that game.

We don’t know if RvP (doubtful), Eduardo (doubtful), Diaby (doubtful), Nasri (flu), and Theo (iced his knee after the match) will be available for the Villareal match and I’m guessing Wenger won’t tip his hand until Tuesday morning.

Anyway, it was a great win and I don’t want to go on too much so instead, let me just leave you with this quote from Arsene Wenger

We had a strongly balanced performance, offensively and defensively against a good Man City side, especially in the first half. In the second half we completely took over and maybe should have scored more goals. Overall I am pleased because there is a lightness back in the team and the way we play. Everybody looks to enjoy, and play without the handbrake or any restriction. That is good to see.

Yes indeed, Arsene, yes indeed.

Oh, and hey, Newcuntsle lost to Chelsea, puuting them one step closer to relegation. Now, we just need a draw between Villa and Man U tomorrow to cap off a great weekend!

Arsenal v. Man City Preview

There’s not a whole lot going on this morning folks, so I’ll just have a quick blog and be off. It’s full of the usual hyperbolic screeching and disconnected from reality musings, just packed into a smaller sphere of insanity today.

The last team to beat Arsenal in the EPL (17 games ago) come to town to face an Arsenal squad which will look nothing like the one they beat back in November — and that’s a good thing. First off, we’ve got a new captain who’s back from a 2 month layoff after suffering a knee injury that nearly ended his career from a deliberate attack by Xavi Alonso.1

That’s right kids and kittens, Cesc Fabregas is mostly ready to play and the boss is including him in the team. There’s some debate as to whether he’ll start given Arsene’s comments about him needing three games to get back to 100%. I’m firmly in the “substitute” camp but I’m always wrong about this sort of stuff so feel free to ignore me.

Similarly, Theo Walgod2 is available and ready to spread his message of love and end runs. Like Cesc, I think he’ll be used as a substitute. In fact, my gut is telling me that 10 players will come on as a sub, in the 12th minute.

Adebayor is scheduled to play and will almost certainly be the lone starter. He will headbutt Shay Givens in the 9th minute, then run over to the bench and kick Robinho in the balls (Robinho and Bellamy are question marks for tomorrow’s game). This will get him a stern ticking off from referee Andre Marriner. You remember Marriner, he refereed the Everton 1-1 Arsenal match: the one where Wenger played Diaby and Song in the middle and Denilson out wide.3

Where was I? Oh yes, Adebayor, Cesc, Walcott, and Arshavin are all healthy and ready to play. Well, Cesc, Walcott, and Arshavin are ready to play; we’re not sure if the Adebayor who’s ready to play will show up or the Adebayor who can’t be arsed will show up. I’m touching wood4 that it’s the latter former.

That’s about it, kickoff is 7am local time and the match is on Setanta. As usual, Doyle’s is showing the match live so come on down for some coffee and a sandwich and cheer on the Arsenal. The other telly will be showing Newcastle’s first completely demoralizing loss under the foolhardy Alan Shearer 8 game caretaker-ship, so if Arsenal gets boring you’ll have that disaster to watch. I’m saying Chelsea 4-1 Newcastle with Toon getting the first goal and then crumbling like a sack of relegation bound turds.

That would be a fantastic result, wouldn’t it?!?

In the mean time, if you want to see something truly fantastical check out a video of Tony Adam’s top 10 goals.

1. Hyperbolic screeching
2. Disconnected from reality
3. Hyperbolic screeching
4. True

Back to reality, nearly

Less than 24 hours after I make a statement about how Barcelona would be the preferred destination when Cesc leaves, Joan Laporta is quoted in the press saying how much he’d like to see Cesc in a Barcelona shirt.

I’m sure he would.

What I don’t get is how much outrage everyone seems to have over this quote. Barcelona say this kind of stuff every three months and yes it’s distasteful but as far as I know it’s not illegal. Real Madrid’s President calling Cesc to chat about his progress, that’s illegal. Barcelona’s President saying “I’d like to see Cesc in a Barca shirt” is not illegal. Sure, he’s a jerk for saying it, but he was already a jerk, this is not news!

Besides, we all know and should accept that Cesc will leave Arsenal one day and that his likeliest destination is the club he supported as a kid: Barcelona. Right now, he’s under contract until 2014 and if Barcelona want him, they will have to pay a huge, retarded, sum in transfer fees. Which I highly doubt they will do, especially given the fact that Joan himself says that Barca “have the best midfield in the world” (along with the best keeper!).

So, let’s all calm down and focus in on football, which we shall have on Saturday I say! Saturday!

Saturday, we’ve got Manchester City for a good olde fashioned 7am kickoff. If you’ll remember, City was the last team to beat Arsenal in the Premier League: a run of 17 matches unbeaten. That City game was one of the low points of the season. With the club in turmoil after Cappy Gallas’ outburst, they were outplayed in the midfield by Stephen Ireland, toothless up front, and defenseless in the back. We went to City (who were terrible at the time) and got an old-fashioned ass whoppin as we say in the States.   3-0.

After that, Wenger made some changes. They took a while to take hold but Arsenal are a different team now and not just in terms of players on the pitch, though the addition of Arshavin has proved crucial. Tactically and spiritually this is a different Arsenal side. They have scored 15 goals in the month of March and the club has a belief about them they they did not at the last meeting. I have to think that more than most rematches, Arsenal will be looking for revenge.

Personnel wise, we have our Crozillian back, and scoring goals. And more importantly, we’ve got our young captain and midfield maestro back and raring to go. Wenger is saying that Cesc needs three games to get back to top fitness and the next three games are his best bet: home to City, away to Villareal, and away to Wigan. We should expect Diaby and van Persie to miss at least the Saturday game against City but after that is unknown as there’s no news on those two. Bendtner, on the other hand, subbed in at the 33rd minute in Denmark’s 3-0 win over Albania so whatever injury he suffered on his knee must have healed, right??? And any rumors of Arshavin picking up a knock are false, as he played the whole match against Licktinstien.

And if you want to get REALLY excited, there are rumors that Theo could be fit to face City.

Let’s see, Arshavin, Theo, Cesc, and Dudu? Yes please, I’ll have two!

Finally, in the above link, Wenger also made a remark about how the next 8 matches in 25 days are make or break for this season. It’s true, we’ll have had both legs of the Champions League, 4 EPL matches, and an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea. Uhh… yeah, that’s slightly important.

But given that all our players returning to top form and have a renewed spirit I feel confident in quoting George W. Bush: bring ‘em on.

P.S. Adebayor is fit as well.