Pompey 0-3 Arsenal; it's a News News News News of the World

Match Reports

News of the World: Nicklas Bendtner fires up the Young Gunners

Match Video

I would link to News of the World, they claim to be #1 for video, but territorial restrictions prevent us Americans from seeing their video.  As it turns out the only videos I can watch on their site are videos of scantily clad women. Go figure.

Man of the Match

Aaron Ramsey… I KEED, I KEED! Arshavin was brilliant in the roles that Cesc is currently playing on the team; as captain and as the player “in the hole” behind the strikers. I’m not taking anything away from Cesc, but Arshavin showed everyone how that position was supposed to be played yesterday. Everytime I watch him play he impresses me more, his long passes, his short passes, his vision, his understanding of the game, his shooting, his dribbling, basically he’s the complete player.

Basically, Arsenal sold Hleb, who scored a grand total of 7 league goals for Arsenal and who demanded to be played in the spot that Arshavin occupied yesterday for £12m and used that money to buy an actual football player.

The Good

Bendtner scored… Arsenal kept a clean sheet… undefeated now 21 in a row… 4th place secured… 3rd place still within reach… no one was injured… it was a good day!

YAY!

The Bad

Everyone is hailing Ramsey as having a great game but the stats just don’t add up: he only won 1 challenge all day and his passing percentage was below average for an Arsenal central midfielder. In addition, I felt like Wenger subbed him out because by the 60th minute he was looking jaded. Yes, he’s young and he certainly shows flashed of brilliance, but yesterday was not his best game.

Also, Pompey should have gotten at least one goal.

The Ugly

Real Madrid were mauled by Barcelona yesterday and promptly made Arsene Wenger a huge offer, according to News of the World. Also according to NotW, Wenger promptly told them to piss off. This isn’t a surprise because Wenger is under contract and has said time and again that he will honor his contract.

Injury Report

No new injury news, Arsene Wenger is saying that Robin van Persie is a late test for Tuesday but that if he’s not 100% fit, he won’t be played.

We don’t know if Van Persie will be available, if he is 100 per cent fit he has a very good chance, if he is not he will not play in a game of that stature, that is for sure.

That’s a bit of a strange thing to say. I mean, it’s not like we’ll have anything left to play for if we don’t win on Tuesday. Moreover, we need to win 2-0 to go through outright so scoring is crucial. So I can’t see the logic of reserving one of Arsenal’s most prolific scorers, unless the player doesn’t want to play, or… if maybe you think you’ll have to remove him too early.

The rest of the team remains as reported on Friday: Gallas, Dudu and Rosicky are out for the season, Clichy is out for several more weeks (read “the rest of the season unless we play in the Champions League final”), and Silvestre is “short” for Tuesday with a groin pull.

So that’s about it for today, see you tomorrow.

P.S. Newcuntsle lost to Liverpool and are now pretty much assured of going down. I feel bad for the supporters but that’s what you get when you have a team with more criminals and lawbreakers that the Bush administration.

Liveblogging Pompey v. Arsenal

Top o’ the morning! Coffee is on. Stan Kroenke is the majority shareholder. Nick Webster is talking about how Arsenal were lucky in the Champions League. All I need is a half dozen Beyonce commercials and I can relax and sinck into the mediocrity that is a Fox Soccer Channel broadcast.

Back in a moment, need more coffee.

Ok, got the old Henry strip on, it’s the 2002-03 “third” kit.

Wait, 2003-2004, invincibles.

Just like old times, Matt! Well, not exactly, because I have a 1 year old daughter who is getting into everything and trying to take the computer from me. And now she’s crying!

Sigh.

Let’s see, some lineup news: Cesc and Adebayor are rested, Song and Djourou are playing in central defense, Arshavin and Theo up front, and a huge hole in the striker position. Here’s the actual lineup: Fabianski, Sagna, Song, Djourou, Eboue, Walcott, Denilson, Ramsey, Arshavin, Bendtner, Vela.

I agree Darkhail, I also like that it looks like a 4-4-2. We haven’t seen that in a dogs age.

Fun fact of the day! Budweiser uses HOPS! I have probably had 1000  Budweisers and have never tasted a hop, so that is news to me.

How many will Andrei score today?

Kickoff: Whenever I see Pompey play, I’m reminded of just how many former Arsenal players they have: Pennant, Campbell, who else is on the pitch?

3′ – Pompey looks like they want some points out of this and have a tame shot that’s easily saved by Fabianski. That’s followed by a lovely move from the Капитан, who plays Walcott in who plays a fizzing cross that no one gets on the end of.

6′ – Walcott plays in Mr. Useless who shoots tamely, and then Pompey comes back and Bel Hadj has a shot. Wow, end to end action, I can hardly type fast enough!

9′ — Fabianski sort of comes out, shades of his gaffes against Chelsea, you’d think he’d have learned by noow: keep your hands in the game, lad.

12′ — Vela is hauled down in the box and that almost certainly should have been given a penalty, but Arsenal score off the resulting corner when Bendtner makes great contact with the ball and David James allows the ball to dribble over the line, showing why Almunia should be England Number One.

16′ — The Капитан now has 6 goals and 5 assists. He may be a bit portly, he may be a bit short, but he’s certainly f*cking amazing.

18′ — Vela will never get another chance like that, not in 1000 years. Wasted opportunity from someone who is normally clinical in his finishing. You have to think if he had played once in the last few months he would have finished that.

22′ — It was a strong header Darkhail, no doubt. Full credit to Bendtner for that.

26′ — Crouch should have scored there, it was a classic give and go that played him in and some schoolboy defending by the makeshift back two.

29′ — Not only was it a cheap yellow, Matt, but then Sagna has a foul called on him as Bel Hadj hits him in the face AND he won the ball.

32′ — Arsenal are all over Pompey, this is more like it, it looks like a training ground exercise.

36′ — Uhhh, that was a clear penalty, what’s his name there stuck out his leg and tripped the Капитан as he was going to goal.

39′ — Uhhh, why do I keep seeing our center back in central midfield? Hey, we get a penalty! I guess that makes up for Pamarot’s tackle a few minutes ago.

40′ — Bendter scores the penalty and is now on a hat trick.

43′ — IT’S A FUCKING PENATLY BECAUSE ARSHAVIN COULD HAVE GOT TO THE BALL HAD THAT CUNT NOT HAULED HIM DOWN. Welcome to English football Капитан, the fans are giving him no end of stick.

47′ — Half-time and Theo is having a bit of a struggle getting off the pitch. I bet he doesn’t come back on. Fran Merida for Walcott?

BACON TIME

Fact of the first half: remember when Arsenal played Man U and I said Aveline had her kit on? Well, mommy (BAD MOMMY) didn’t put it on her and Arsenal lost. Fact: Aveline is wearing the kit and Arsenal have never lost while Aveline is in her kit. Coincidence? I think not.

Pompey increase their former Arsenal-ness and bring on Kanu to start the second half.

48′ — Arsenal are getting the booty end of the stick here from the ref. Maybeline? Again with the schoolboy defending by the Arsenal makeshift back two and John Utaka should have scored there. Arsenal haven’t seen much of the ball in the first 5 minutes of the half here.

53′ — Ye Gods! Pompey are eating our lunch right now! Gary Taphouse and Paul Walsh, for you Matt.

55′ — Oh gods… Pompey have another shot that should have been converted. But then Vela comes back and with a snap shot finishes in the only place that David James couldn’t get to… because he was out of position.

58′ — I’ve discovered the weak link in the second half here: Ramsey. He needs to put in more work, or come off. He’s playing in the central midfield role, for gods’ sake.

62′ — I think back to the blog I wrote that day, Matt, and how I pointed out that we were closer to 6th place than 4th… One day… one minute. It’s been that crazy of a  season.

69′ — Come on, this is game over, Bischoff is on, and Arsenal are in complete control.

77′ — I would totally be outside right now, but for the crappy weather up here. Noe Pamarot is sent off for a foolish challenge on Arshavin. The only story line I’m still looking for is whether the Captain will score, he deserves one for this performance.

83′ — #47 comes on for a listless Ramsey and our player numbers now total 417.

94′ — All done, shame that Eboue didn’t pass the ball back to Arshavin at the death there but oh well, I have seen the future and the future is very bright indeed.

See you all tomorrow!

Friday Pre(i)sser

Bit of a different format today, owing to the deluge of news that always happens on a Friday so let’s get stuck in, shall we?

Injury Update

Eduardo and Silvestre are both out for Saturday. Dudu is being rumored to be out for the rest of the season with his  groin strain while Silvestre will be a late test for Tuesday. I had wondered why Eduardo was such a late sub on Wednesday and I think now it’s clear: he’s never really been fully fit since ‘recovering’ from Martin Taylor’s horrific tackle. And that makes sense. He needs time to get the tendons and muscles back into shape. More rehab, more light practice, rest, recovery, etc. I don’t know a single Gunner who isn’t proud of the courage that Dudu has shown this year and would gladly wait to see him fully fit at the start of next year. Get better Eduardo, we’ll wait.

Robin van Persie is another who’s going to have a late fitness test to see if he can play on Tuesday.  Either way, I doubt he’ll start and instead will need to reprise the super-sub role he played against Cardiff. I know, Man U are not Cardiff, but I mean get a goal, like he did against Cardiff.

Gallas and Rosicky remain out for the season, and the boss is now saying Clichy will be out for three weeks as well. That basically means that Arsenal are without Eduardo, Clichy, Gallas, and Rosicky for the rest of the season.

Fabregate

Cesc has spoken out about the FA charges against him saying that if he should be suspended then 8 others who came on the pitch should be similarly suspended. The FA responded by basically saying, it’s not that you came on the pitch it’s how you acted.

With that said, I am now confident that Fabregas will get a 3 match ban here, the same amount that Martin Taylor got for intentionally breaking Eduardo’s leg.

Because those two things are equivalent.

Maybe next time he should come out and break a player’s leg. At least then he’d deserve the ban.

Transfer News? In April?

The papers are all reporting that Wenger will sell Adebayor and buy Roque Santa Cruz.  The selling point in this story?

Wenger has been an admirer of the 27-year-old for some time. He had Santa Cruz scouted and is particularly impressed by the player’s work-rate after studying his ProZone statistics.

Well, Wenger is a lover of hard work, how do you think Bendtner keeps getting a shot?

Speak of the Devil

Bendtner is featured in this week’s free video on the dot com. A word of warning: clicking that link caused my browser (Firefox) to crash. Actually, that’s about what I’d expect, even Bendtner’s videos suck.

Almunia for England

And finally, the big story of the day is that Fabio Capello would not rule out Almunia should he get an English passport when he becomes eligible in July.  Legally and morally, I don’t see how he could exclude him.

First off, my name is Tim. I’m an American, and I’m a Gooner. I’ve been a Gooner now for 10 years. I’ve seen matches at Highbury and the Emirates and I fly every year to see my beloved Arsenal. I also support France in world competitions, rather than the U.S. team, because, well, because I want to. And so I think I have a bit of a unique perspective on this Almunia situation.

Whether Almunia wants to become an English citizen or not is about choices and not about birthplace. That’s just the way the world is today. The old days of nationalism are dying slowly and people now have more freedom than ever before to choose the country they want to naturalize in. Personally, I’d like to see it be even more open. I have never understood why capital could move freely from one country to another but people were restrained by quaint old notions of borders. So, if Almunia wants to become an English citizen and renounce his eligibility to play for Spain, knowing the stick he’s going to get from xenophobes and nationalists, then I say more power to him.

Moreover, the old notions of “identity” that surrounded certain things, like being a Gooner meant that you were probably from North London, have changed radically as well. Now, you have millions of Americans, Indians, Chinese, Africans, and Spanish devoted to following English teams and thus the identity of English clubs are no longer associated with place. When you have millions of Africans wearing Liverpool shirts and identifying with Steven Gerrard it both takes a bit away from that old identity as “scouser” and adds something new to their identity. Again, you can wring your hands about this, you can jump on the Platini xenophobe bandwagon, and you can scream about how your identity is being taken over by Yanks and the Africans. But unless you are willing to stop broadcasting English games around the globe and shrink the English game back into something provincial and small (something that will never win a world championship) then you’re going to have to deal with the fact that football is a global sport with a global following. And that means that clubs now have global identities. And more radically, that national teams now have global identities.

Other countries have already accepted this change and I have no doubt that Croatian fans love their Brazilian born striker.  It’s time for England to let go of the old, small way of looking at football and join the modern world. And time for fans to embrace their future England Number 1; Manuel Almunia.

Tomorrow’s Match

Right, so that’s it for today. Tomorrow’s match kicks off at 7am (PST) is being broadcast on FSC. I’ll try to do a quick update before kickoff and then do a liveblog of the match. If you’re into that sort of thing, join us here at about 6:30.

See you then!