Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal; the Arshavin, the Webb, and the Injuries

Keep dreaming, Howard

Quote of the Day, Year, Decade

The boss screamed at us like I’ve never seen at half-time. He said we were not fit to wear the Arsenal shirt, and he was right. We were not good.

Captain Cesc Fabregas on why Arsenal’s second half was light years ahead of their first.

Match Reports

Telegraph: Liverpool suffered their second home embarrassment in five days as Arsenal grabbed the points in a game which was supposed to be a new beginning for the Anfield side.

ESPNSoccernet: Liverpool suffered their second home embarrassment in five days as Arsenal grabbed a 2-1 victory in a game which was supposed to be a new beginning for the Anfield men (seriously, that’s what they plagiarized, I mean, “wrote.)”

Match Video

The Arsenalist’s videos are fresh, and hot!

The Arshavin

No need to have a special section for Man of the Match when Arshavin takes it hands down (except the Telegraph who gave it to Denilson(!)). Look, I’ll be the first to tell you that Song was huge, massive, a monster in this game, but I have to give it to Arshavin because his shot was just that important.

I was literally biting my pillow the whole match (it’s cold and I feel ill so I piled a bunch of blankets and pillows on me) but when Arsenal threatened down the right then swung it wide for Sanga who put in a decent cross which fell to Arshavin’s feet, I threw the pillow down and got to my feet because I just knew it was going to be a magical moment.

Arshavin didn’t disappoint, unleashing one of his trademark short back-lift right-footed crackers which left Reina stock still, hit the post and went in. I think I screamed “YOU BEAUTY!!!” but I don’t remember, I sort of blacked out after that.

Speaking of blacking out, as soon as the goal went in you could suddenly see the Liverpool players give up. They started just going through the motions at that point and never looked like they were going to draw level. I think they knew, even if they did draw the match, Arsenal were just going to go ahead again, after all, we have Arshavin.

So, all credit to Vermaelen, Gallas, Traore, Song, and Sagna who did very well against Liverpool at Anfield, but Man of the Match has to be Arshavin.

The Webb

Before the match I had the outrage cannon firmly pointed at Howard Webb. I was fully expecting the typically anti-Arsenal match from him, and frankly, I was surprised.

He’s still garbage and clearly one of the worst refs in England, but today he was garbage in favor of Arsenal. Liverpool had several penalty shouts that fell on deaf ears today, but none more controversial than Rooney, I mean, Gerrard’s shout. There are legitimate reasons why he wouldn’t give a penalty there: as when Rooney got a pen against Arsenal earlier in the season, Webb might have thought that Gerrard had no chance of getting the ball. That’s a legitimate reason not to give the pen, a legitimate reason which is never used, but a legitimate reason no less.

Still, Gallas did wipe Gerrard out. Hell, there were fouls in midfield which were softer than that and earned the perpetrator a yellow.

If the shirts were switched (and for some reason Liverpool were wearing blue — which is as stupid as Arsenal wearing blue) I would be absolutely livid right now, Howard Webb had his usually shocking match. For once it went in favor of Arsenal. Maybe this was his way of thanking us for trading Adebayor; he hated him that much.

I have to give a “bad out” to Diaby, Almunia, and Denilson (first half) who I thought had very poor matches. Diaby, and I’m not joking here, Diaby should be put up front as the Center Forward because his ability on the wings is, uhh, not good and he’s not helping much in the middle of the park either.

He came on for Walcott, who had been playing as the third man in the attacking chevron and who had been moved over to the left and was effectively pegging back Glen Johnson and he promptly installed himself, well, hell I couldn’t tell because he was all over the pitch. He didn’t win a single header, his touch was poor, he turned the ball over several times, Geln Johnson started getting forward, and the best thing he did was leave the ball for Traore who went on the run which seemed to tear his hamstring!

Almunia, sigh… I don’t want to pick on him but he came out the other day and said that he was 100% mentally and physically ready to help his team. I hope to the gods that today’s performance wasn’t him at 100%.

Denilson was a tale of two halves. I thought he was having a shocker in the first half and was actually lucky to still be on after his high boot on Mascherano (another example of Webb’s bizarre match). But his second half was far better, maybe he changed boots or maybe the boss singled him out with his half-time hair dryer. Whatever the cause, he was pretty solid in the 2nd half and kudos to him for sorting that out.

Still, I’m worried about Alex Song going to the ACN, on the face of this and several other performances Diaby and Denilson are going to really struggle to fill his massive boots.

The Injuries

We don’t have anything official from the dot com but fingers, toes, arms, legs, peckers, any and everything crossed that Traore’s hamstring isn’t the normal “three weeks” out. I have seen his replacement and his name is Silvestre. Traore pulled up after a long run at the end of the match and it was pretty clear that he had a tight hamstring.


And we may yet get a chance to see Diaby as Center Forward since Arshavin limped off after his metatarsals hit one of the Liverpool defenders and he was taken off.


Timmy’s Final Thoughts

It was a mixed bag of good luck and bad luck today which sees us get a vital three points on a weekend where all of the other top teams dropped points, and Tottenham lost. There are only 7 points between the top four and while Arsenal have scored 40 goals already, we don’t have the best goal differential, that honor goes to Chelsea — our co-leaders in goal scoring. It could be a lot worse, a lot of folks rate Arsenal the same as Liverpool and when you look at the table, they are level on points with… BIRMINGHAM. I know that Arsenal are better than Birmingham, and I have to think that Liverpool are better than their league position indicates.

There’s a lot of football left but Arsenal have a lot of injured and rusty players, we need to get a good run here in the next month. Which means we really need some luck with injuries for once. We’ve got the talent, but we need to keep them out of the injury room, gain more confidence, score some goals and start to really put pressure on the other top two.

Great win today boys, keep your chins up, we are the Arsenal!

Rooney: “I have never intentionally dived.” O’RLY? REDUX

Wayne Rooney sat in front of dozens of media people, cameras clacking, microphone bristling, keyboards tapping, and set the record straight regarding the penalty he won against Arsenal back in September, saying:

I have never intentionally dived. There have been times when I have tried to stay on my feet and tried to get the shot off rather than going down. I don’t think it is fair for players to dive and cheat the other team.

These things have happened for years and I am sure many big games have been decided by the wrong decisions. You can only bank on the referee making the right decision and giving the right punishment. It is important the game is played honestly.

These remarks were amplified by Sir Alex Ferguson who feels like the two match ban for Eduardo, which Arsenal will appeal in the strongest fashion, is absolutely proper. Fergie stated flatly;

Not one coach is proud of the fact that they have players who simulate to get decisions. Coaches can’t be proud if they have won the game that way. I certainly wouldn’t be.

We all agreed that education is the best way forward, from youth teams through to first team players. We all have a responsibility, particularly the players of today, on how it impacts on young people.

And so it’s settled, Wayne Rooney has never dived because he’s a fair player and he would never cheat to win a game. Moreover, Sir Alex Ferguson would never want to win a game because of a dive and tries to educate his players about the evils of diving. Which raises just one question for me: do they both suffer from cognitive dissonance or is it a case of having over-sized brass balls? I mean, Rooney and Fergie have both publicly apologized for Rooney’s diving, so which is it, is he the kind of guy who needs to apologize for diving, or is he an honest player who just dove that once?

You decide:

Wayne Rooney versus Almunia — watch his left leg, he’s going to ground before he kicks the ball into the Stretford End:

Watch the trailing leg...

Rooney versus Arsenal again. This “penalty” ended Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run. How is this different than what Eboue did against United when he anticipated contact from Evra?  Oh wait, it happens in the penalty area and Rooney is awarded a penalty:

Rooney versus Tottenham, here he gets a yellow card for simulation, which proves he’s a diver, right?

Now, this next video is as close as you are going to get to direct evidence that someone is intentionally trying to deceive the referee into giving a penalty. Given the fact that he felt the contact, then when he had no chance of getting to the ball, flopped to the ground seconds after the contact, this, for me, is on the magnitude of Dida’s playacting and Rivaldo grabbing his face.

Note that the ref isn’t interested in the dive, note that Fergie appeals for the penalty (they were losing at that point) and then note Rooney’s hotheaded tackle on Christopher Samba after which he is STILL complaining that he deserved a penalty:

Wayne Rooney versus Chelsea. Here he seems to roll around on the ground simulating injury and getting Bosingwa a yellow card, note the lack of contact on the reverse angle:

And now, just yesterday, Man U are down 1-0 to Aston Villa, Rooney charges into the box, and as I have shown with all the examples above, does what Wayne Rooney always does: dives to try to win a penalty.

Rooney La PlongeuseThe most amazing home videos are here

The evidence is overwhelming, Wayne Rooney is a serial diver, a cheater, and a shame on the game. He should apologize for his actions and sit himself down for three matches, according to the anti-diving evangelicals that’s the only fair punishment.

I expect the anti-diving fundamentalists will be leading the calls for Rooney to get a three match ban in 3… 2…

Wenger Quote of the Day

I'm thinking of a mineral.

I said after our game that Chelsea will drop points, do you remember my statement? And everybody looked at me ‘This guy has completely lost the plot’. One week later they lost at Manchester City, and it’s as simple as that. They have lost three games and they will lose more games, don’t worry.

Arsene Wenger, prescient, as Chelsea go 0-3-1 since the win over Arsenal with a 3-3 draw at Stamford bridge today to a determined Everton. Better news as City draw to Bolton and Tottenham lose to Wolves.

All we need now is Villa to take points off Man U and for Arsenal to win both games in hand and Chelsea’s lead is a mere 3 points.

Hardly “running away with the title” as the Cascarino’s of the world predicted just last week.