West Ham v. Arsenal; a Major Missed Opportunity

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: Arsenal threw away the chance of a fifth straight Premier League win as West Ham battled back to earn a 2-2 draw at Upton Park.

Telegraph: Redemption Sunday for Rafael Benítez but, come May, an equally important narrative from the weekend’s football could be Arsenal’s sloppiness in failing to punish slips from so many rivals in the Premier League title race.

Match Video

Why, it’s the Arsenalist of course!

Man of the Match

Alessandro Diamanti, all he did was come on and win the game, I mean get the point for West Ham. You could say we were naive, you can blame Chris Foy, but Diamanti changed the game.

Quote of the Day

In our job you have no luxury to miss opportunities, unfortunately. You have to get points when you deserve to get points, and sometimes to get points when you don’t deserve to get points. Today we didn’t get the points and we deserved to get the points. We play well, we are a strong team, and we want to learn, of course, to finish these games off when we can and that’s basically the most important lesson of the day. — Arsene Wenger.

Chris Foy

I promised to look Chris Foy up in my archives, and sure enough I came across two examples of his refereeing prowess: the insanely officiated Charity Shield match at the beginning of the season and Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Bolton back in January. While liveblogging the match yesterday I commented that Foy was “having a nightmare” but in retrospect, that’s just his officiating style; utter shite. He will allow Ballack to elbow Evra in the face just like he will allow Diamanti to elbow Cesc in the face. He will allow Hines to try to break Clichy’s ankle, the same way he allows Kevin Davies to murder people in broad daylight. But the one thing he can’t stand for is a tap on the ankle in the box! That’s a stonewall penalty!

The thing is, as much as I’d like to blame Chris Foy for his mavericky, throw away the rule book style of refereeing, you can’t. He’s consistent across the board and Arsenal need to just adjust to him. Besides, if we’d have put in a single decent fucking cross last night we would have easily won that match 3-0 or even 4-0.

Sorry for the cursing there, I have no other way to describe Bolton’s striker than to call him a “Kevin Davies.”

Arsene Wenger and the Four Keepers

In Mooney, Manny, Fabby, and Sneezy Arsenal have four goal keepers and not a one of them seems ready for the rigors of an entire season of football.

Mooney (Almunia) seems to have done something wrong and is now in Wenger’s dog-house. Exactly what transpired after the City game is not public record, but from the press conferences and interviews one could make a guess that Mooney either lied about getting a chest infection and was subsequently dropped or that he was dropped and that Wenger used the chest infection excuse. I know, I’m not really telling you anything! That said, my suspicion is that Mooney was the one who caused the problem and the reason I say that is because Wenger had a sly smile ever time he said “chest infection.” Either way, I can’t  see him coming back in this team except as an emergency replacement.

And now Manny (Mannone) seems to have made a hash at keeper as well, though we really shouldn’t be too hard on the lad, he’s young and it’s not his fault that he is learning his trade in the toughest league in the world and playing for a team which seems to enjoy throwing away games. I’ve seen enough of him to think that he has a bright, bright future but that he needs to learn his trade before playing in these high pressure games. His reaction time is absolutely amazing, and while some people think that Mooney might have saved that penalty, he went the right way but Diamanti hit an unsaveable penalty, one inch to the left and Manny saves it. As for the free kick, that left-footed in-swinger to the near post is hard to parry away and probably not something he’s seen before.

Fabby, I haven’t seen enough of him to be convinced. In fact, back in pre-season, folks like East Ave Arse were already saying that Manny was better than Fabby. Frankly, they both suffer from lack of experience so for me it’s 6 of one… We’ll see, he’s going to be tested by Liverpool on Wednesday.

Sneezy is Arsenal’s unknown, but if Manny isn’t ready and Fabby isn’t ready then Sneezy is, erm, double-plus unready.

No offense to any of these keepers but this is something that can only be solved in the transfer window. Funnily enough, Arsene supposedly ran the rule over Robert Green and considering the fact that his mistake gifted Arsenal our opening goal, I’m not surprised he decided not to go for him.


Throw away a lead twice in a season? Could be costly, but certainly not a problem. Throw away a lead twice in a week? That’s a problem.

Arsenal are a team that is custom built to outscore their opponents and two things seem to be happening with this team at this moment: they are both not scoring enough and not defending their lead. Silly mistakes at the start of the season were papered over by eye-popping scoring displays; 6-1 at Everton, 4-1 against Pompey, and 6-2 against Blackburn Cloggers.  Silly mistakes in the last two matches have not been papered over with eye-popping scorelines and so Arsenal have suffered point-wise.

Tellingly, Wenger didn’t talk about the need to defend the lead, he talked about the need to be more clinical up front, to put in a better cross, and to take our chances. For those of you out there who were hoping that these two examples this week would lead to a defensive revolution, you might as well bury that hope deep, deep, inside. Arsene is going back to London Colney with only one thing in mind: get this team to score more goals.

I’m not pushing the panic button, yes we wasted a chance to gain on everyone this weekend, but this team has the quality in every position (except maybe keeper!) to win the League(s).  We just, I guess, need to learn how to score more goals.

I think a 5-6 goals per game average should be safe. Maybe.

Epic liveblog pt. 2: West Ham v. Arsenal

All right! So we got a good result in the first game and I frankly can’t wait to hear what type of dog Sir Alex Ferguson demands that the refs be fit as this week.

Arseblog’s tweet of the lineup shows that Arsenal number 1, Vito Mannone, keeps his spot and Almunia is back to warming the bench. No other surprises here:

Mannone Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Clichy Song Diaby Cesc Eboue Arshavin van Persie

Bit of news as Nasri makes the bench along with Eduardo and the rest of the usual suspects.

Kickoff — Arsenal in, gulp, white.

1′ — Wow, how did we conspire not to score that?

5′ — Arsenal at 6′s and 8′s as Scott Parker plays a beautiful through ball and the cross is dealt with by Sagna.

6′ — Mannone comes out strong for the corner and gets a blow to the eye for his trouble, foul called, thankfully. Mannone getting treatment.

10′ — Arsenal aren’t looking our best quite yet, credit to West Ham’s midfield, they are breaking us up and fighting hard.

13′ — Song cleaning up Diaby’s mess. Lots of calls for handball against Upson, but that’s a whole minute ago, move on!

16′ — Flag up for offside but Mannone with two really good reaction saves. I like this kid’s instincts and dexterity.

17′ — YEEEEEEEEEEEES! Robin pokes home from Green’s hashed clearance. Good all around play from Arsenal to set that up and cool-as-you-like finish from RvP. Arsenal putting the screws to the Hammers now.

22′ — A solid 4 minutes of pressure there from West Ham as Carlton Cole looks sharp in the attack. They are winning free kicks, corners, and generally getting what they want out of the game right now. I don’t really like this, we need to control possession we are not the kind of team which can defend from set pieces all night.

29′ — This is more like it, Arsenal controlling possession, slot to Clichy who wins a corner and… punched away well by Green. But this is Arsenal football.

32′ — Diaby… *sigh* that is just STUPID. But he makes up for it by staying in front of Cole on the return cross. What was the linesman doing there? Cole was off side by at least a yard, how did he fluff that?

36′ — Gallas, Arsenal’s Center Forwardback, powers home a bullet header over Ilunga. Well, done boys. Now, handcuff Carlton Cole and this is a done deal!

42′ — Vermaelen, Arsenal’s Centerleft Wingback, makes a huge run down the left side, puts in a Clichy-esque cross (useless) and then runs the length of the pitch back in defense and clears a header. Arsenal need to clone him and have 11 TV5s.

45′ — City let three points through their fingers today as Fulham make a huge 2-2 comeback in Manchester. 3 minutes of Man U time added for Arsenal to get a 3rd.

47′ — Darkhail asks about Mannone’s distribution and all I can say is that Arsene demands three things from his keepers; act as a sweeper, have a high distribution percentage, and control the box. Maybe he’s not as confident with his long kick yet? He’s young, give him time, he’s obviously going to be Arsenal’s number one for now!

HT — Arsenal really rolling and Song is looking huge out there at the moment. Currently, he’s man of the match for me. Not much else to say, for a few, must get ready for the kickaround.

45′ — Good lord it’s cold here, I’m packing extra socks, it’s going to be one of those days!

49′ — Cheap foul by Behrami on the captain and that’s always a worry, that one of the West Ham players will start to get chippy and hurt someone.

54′ — Good point WC. I read that Arshavin and Theo had a footrace and that Arshavin was Theo’s equal. He shows a good bit of pace just now and whizzes a wonderful cross which doesn’t find an Arsenal player.

58′ — Song’s had a couple of chippy little kicks and he needs to be careful, a yellow tonight sees him suspended for the North London derby. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wenger doesn’t bring Rambo on for Song any minute now.

62′ — Chesk with a BOLD LASH!

66′ — Diamanti fouls Cesc and I’m getting worried. Get a 3rd and start pulling some of these guys, we don’t need a silly injury here.

71′ — Hines attacks Clichy’s ankle and gets the first card of the night, a yellow. For me, that’s a straight red. He had no chance and he was angry from getting beaten by Clichy on defense. That was a straight red mist tackle and Hines’ protestations only reinforce that notion.

74′ — Poor clearance by Mannone and Cole gets a goal. Crap. Come on Arsenal pull your heads up and get another.

76′ — Scott Parker, who must have switched nationalities from English to foreign (because we know only foreigners dive), has a laughable dive and follows that up with an angry yellow card tackle on Eboue. It’s getting really tetchy now.

79′ — Penalty and I’m only surprised that Song didn’t get a yellow. Monnone guesses right but Diamanti puts it in an unsavable spot. Arsenal look really shaken and need to pull deep now to get points tonight.

85′ — AH HA, Chris Foy is having a nightmare, he sends Scott Parker off for Cesc’s foul on him. Fucking hell, I’m going to have to search the archives for Chris Foy, he’s lost his fucking mind tonight.

90′ — How does that stay out? Come on Arsenal, come on Arsenal, COME ON ARSENAL.

Son of a bitch…

Epic liveblog pt.1: Liverpool v. Man U

Good morning, kickers. It’s 6:45am in my part of the world and just about 15 minutes until Liverpool take on Man U.

Owing to the fact that Fox Soccer Channel is showing both matches live, we’ve got a special treat here at 7KO; an epic 4 hour liveblog! There is a lot of interest from an Arsenal supporter’s standpoint in the first match — a lot of the so-called challengers dropped points this weekend while Chelsea rolled over Fat Sam’s pitiful Blackburn Cloggers and took first place in the league with 24 points. This leaves Arsenal 6 points adrift of the leaders with TWO games in hand — West Ham and Notlob. If Liverpool don’t at least get a draw, Man U will be 7 points ahead and that would mean that the British Press will start cranking up Man U’s victory parade. We wouldn’t want that would we?

So, join us in 15 mi6nutes or so for the kickoff of Liverpool v. Man U and root for an epic 22 man red-card brawl which sees both teams banned from the Premier League for life or a draw, or a Liverpool win. There’s really no other choice is there?

7am — THIS IS ANFIELD — Gerrard out, Torres in, Old Americans still in charge.

Kickoff — Looney is on, balloons are cleared, and I’m ready. Is it bad to root for Rooney to dislocate his leg while trying a shot?

5′ — Liverpool look nervous without Stevie G and the back line won’t be able to play that offside trap against Looney all day. At some point the line judge will “make a mistake” and Rooney will get free. The Pool defense already nearly made two mistakes.

10′ — Liverpool controlling possession, Benitez gesticulating, Lucas getting stick. You know, I like Lucas, he’s easily almost as good as Denilson.

15′ — I just checked the lineup, is Glen Johnson actually playing? I hadn’t noticed. Light yellow card for Evra, I’m not complaining mind you.

16′ — Man U defense all over the place but van der Saar comes up roses. Damn. I thought Pool would get one there. There was a gaping net and Torres had the shot and scuffed it. Nerves are jangling I think.

@Harnet, I’m sure, on that breakaway, Lucas slotted the ball behind Kuyt, Denilson would have at least passed it where Kuyt could have a shot!

20′ — Good save from Pepe.

24′ — OOOHHH, nice stamp by Kuyt on human turd Evra. Evra goes down crying like a little child.

30′ — YAWN… little known fact, the so-called “big games” are rarely as exciting as the hype surrounding them.

35′ — Liverpool living dangerously there, probably could have been a penalty on Carragher. Certainly would have if an Arsenal man made that tackle.

39′ — GLEN JOHNSON GOT A TOUCH. £17m well spent then.

40′ — Liverpool have spent a lot of energy in this first half and are starting to look jaded. Will they be able to put something past United in these last 5? Will United take advantage? They look sharper! Hold on to your seats…

45′ — Two minutes of Old Trafford time. Wait…

HT — The whistle blows and as expected, United players, in a show of “Respect” surround the referee and start screaming at him. I think that a club should be docked points for doing that kind of thing. Let’s say a 7 point deduction. I thought that Marriner lost a bit of control of the game at the end, but that the Man U protestations were comical. Berba and Scholes both dived at the end there to make it look like they had a claim for a foul.

Second Half Predictions — Lucas Red card, Scholes Red card, Fergie Red Face, Man U penalty, Benayoun goal, 1-1 final score.

50′ — Benayoun showing the industry that I expected from him in the second half. As much as Glen Johnson looks lost, Benayoun looks found.

55′ — Are United playing Rope-a-Dope here? They sure look like they are giving Liverpool a lot of chances, certainly they can’t keep soaking up this pressure.

60′ — Valencia is Spanish for fast.

63′ — So, I’ve learned four things: 1) Evra shoving Torres down is not a foul 2) Carragher’s clean tackle on Rooney is a foul 3) Vidic fouling Pepe on a throw….

HA! Torres scores, fighting through several shirt tugging fouls by Ferdinand, and staying on his feet, Torres exposes the high line of United and pops a goal into the top of the net. How will United respond?

Like cunts, no doubt.

67′ — Marriner has decided to not give Lucas and Mascherano any leeway in the midfield and gives consecutive free kicks to United. Huh, all teams should surround the ref and scream at him on half time, the tactic seems to work!

70′ — Lucas is having a nightmare, do you Liverpool fans still want to get rid of him? I think he’d do really well on Arsenal’s reserves.*

75′ — Well, Fergie pulled Scholes before he could have his weekly moment of madness, damn.

80′ — Little know fact: Michael Owen won the Ballon d’Or. Oh goodness, Rafa’s Rotation takes Torres off and puts on Ngog. Liverpool are playing for the draw.

85′ — Just waiting for the last minute goal from United.

87′ — Good call ref, that was a yellow. Man, Carragher looks really old. I know a lot of people like to put blame on Lucas, but for my money Jaime Carragher of Bootle, you are the weakest link.

90′ — How much does Vidic hate playing Liverpool? Three consecutive red cards against Liverpool, that’s how much.

5 MINUTES!!! That’s is fucking comical. What were the five minutes added for? 3 subs?

93′ — Squirtle on Benyoun off…

94′ – I was wrong, Mascherano takes the fall in midfield for Liverpool, to be fair, it could have been a straight red.

97′ — Lucas sets up Ngog who finishes nicely. Take that you fuckers. Ok. Now all the top clubs have 2 losses, we need a Fulham win and an Arsenal win and this will be a perfect weekend.

Back in a moment with part 2: Wet Ham v. Arsenal

Link’s up, see you over there. Unless you want to talk about this old news!

*I actually like Lucas a lot and this is a blatant attempt to get Liverpool fans to force him out so Arsenal can get him on the cheap.