Arsenal 2-1 Hull; there must have been a second spitter

Holy Christ what shit storm have I awoken to? Cesc is accused of spitting, Phil Brown is spitting dummies, Arsene is spitting mad and not shaking hands… have you people all lost your minds?

Because instead of focusing on a well deserved 2-1 win over a pack of notloB bred, time-wasting, lucky-goal having, lying, cheats we’re now dredging up video of Cesc supposedly spitting on Ballack back when Cesc was 12 years old, or spending time reading about how Brown claims Wenger “never does” shake hands even though there is photographic evidence to the contrary, and most incredibly, an accusation that will literally make your mind boggle, is Phil Brown calling it a disgrace for Wenger to complain about time wasting when his pack of talentless hacks had started wasting time from the moment they scored the goal!

To recap: Phil Brown is a proven liar, a moaner of such epic proportions that he puts Fergie and Wenger to shame, and Arsenal still won the match 2-1. End of story.

Man of the Match

Unlike other matches, this is a bit tougher. I really liked Song’s poise in the game and feel like he has made tremendous strides in the last two weeks. He has added forward passing (he picked out a beautiful pass to a streaking Gibbs that made me remark to the local Arsenal supporters) to a reprotiore of good tackles and tracking back. He also seems to have gained pace and defensive awareness. I don’t know who’s handling this kid but whoever it is is doing a heck of a job.

Another obvious choice is van Persie, he scored the equalizer and I really liked his perseverence in the face of all the missed chances. There was a period there where I swore that Arsenal was going to have another one of those games — 100 shots, 0 goals.

Gibbs too was outstanding and is turning into quite a likeable replacement for Clichy at left back. He put in several crucial tackles and showed the requisite ability to get forward. I also really like his crosses, they seem to come in at better pace and with more accuracy than Clichy at the moment.

Honorable mention goes to Bendtner who still can’t score but at least he really, really tries. His perseverence in front of goal is directly responsible for the equalizer.

As good as those guys played, I have to give the award to Andrei Arshavin. He started slow and at first I thought it was a mistake to include him in the lineup as he looked to be suffering from the cut on his foot but as the game wore on he took over. He was the most creative player on the pitch and more than once threatened to score — the best of which was a volley that only needed a whisker less curve to go in the net. But it was the equalizer which made him MotM for me. Instead of taking the shot, he made the right decision and put the ball on van Persie’s chocolate leg with just the right pace for him to pass the ball into the net. Then he calmly gathered the team from their celebrations and reminded them that the game wasn’t over yet and spurred them on to victory.

Selfless leadership. Fuck it’s been a long time since Arsenal had some of that.

Match Video

If you need to see the ball played off the Hull keeper, go to The Arsenalist, of course

Conclusion

Before the match I read a great interview with Phil Brown where he was humble and talked about how when he was earning his badges they did a review of him and the reviewer mentioned that Brown’s training was down the line exactly the same as Wenger’s at Arsenal. Then the reviewer asked how many shots Hull did during training and Brown said 250 or so and the reviewer said Arsenal does made 60-70 and scores twice as many. In the interview he was being humble and said that that’s how much class Arsenal have and what the difference between the two teams really was all about.

What a shame he couldn’t keep that same humility after the match. Any good will he earned from that interview he burned by falsely accusing Arsenal of all kinds of crap after.

During the match I had some English guy near me complain about how Gallas was offside and how the linesman had bungled the whole match. I disagreed and he wanted to press the point, so I just grabbed the Arsenal crest on my shirt and showed it to him. I don’t care if the world thinks Gallas was offside (he wasn’t) I don’t care if the world thinks what’s his cunt was onside (he wasn’t) I support Arsenal and after all the shiat we’ve been through in the last few years a little good luck was well deserved.

In conclusion, f*ck Hull and f*ck all the detractors, bring on Chelsea.

We’ll have Ade and Spitting Mad Fabregas back, probably Eduardo too, if the Hull match was a cracker, Chelsea will be a test of these boy’s manhood.

After this week?

I’m putting my money on Red.

Arsenal v. Hull; the FA Cup semi-final and revenge await

Stupid, yes. Also dumb. But it is something I've gotta do

As usual Wenger’s playing the starting lineup close to his chest; only giving out little bits and bobs of who will be included today. From the article linked above, we can see that Fabianski and Gibbs (who have featured in the FA Cup) are the only two who are certainly being included in the starting XI. From there on out it’s a matter of fitness, rotation, and tactics that will decide the squad.

For fitness, the boss spoke of Arshavin’s desire to get on the pitch despite suffering a gash from a Ooijer tackle (link possibly NSFW) that required 8 stitches on Saturday. The Fonz spoke openly about the events of Saturday saying of the wound

It’s like a knife cut – not very deep but quite painful. Ooijer tore my boot and the skin, too. At half-time, our doctor had to do a lot of work on my foot. So when I scored the second goal, I ran over to thank him for a job well done.

That explains why he was late coming out of the tunnel and his sort of tearful hug of the team doctor after he scored, I was wondering about that. Arsene wants to include him, Arshavin wants to play, but ultimately, he’s going to be a game-time decision.

Rambo, on the other hand, has been ruled out owing to the fact that he is “growing in stature” and needs a rest. I remember some talk from Arsene about Rambo’s lack of fitness when he came in to the squad and so I’m guessing the boss means that and not that Aaron has literally grown and needs rest. 17 year old’s sometimes do have growth spurts and they are very painful. Either way, he’s not even included in the team.

Robin van Persie hasn’t played since the 11th so I expect him to get the start, no sense leaving him to rot on the bench, but after that the Gods only know who Arsene will pick. He could play a 4-5-1 with RvP as the lone striker, Vela and Arshavin on the wings, Nasri in the middle (or switch Nasri and Arshavin) and the two-headed-hydra in central midfield. He could put Diaby in the middle, could start Djourou and rest Gallas, etc. etc. Wenger has a lot of choices today and that’s a good thing. If he rests those folks and starts Vela and Bendtner up front, that leaves him RvP and Theo Walcott coming off the bench.

Wait…

Squad depth?

Whoa.

For their part Hull and their manager have a great deal of belief coming in to this match:

Win this – and don’t forget we’ve already won at Arsenal this season – and we’re at Wembley playing Chelsea, win that we’re in the FA Cup final

…our performances were good, but results were hurting. The Cup run reminded us of how good we can be. It meant players were still bouncing, still coming into training looking forward to the sessions we were putting on. A smile on a player’s face is priceless to me. There’s no question that the FA Cup maintained spirit.

Hull will be up for this game and we should expect a spirited, attacking team who see the FA Cup as a light in the dark tunnel of Premier League survival. Buoyed by their surprise result at Emirates at the start of the season and their run of form to get them this far in the FA Cup this is by no means a walk in the park. Arsenal will need to closely mark danger men like Giovanni in open play, be prepared for Hull to mark them closely in return, and defend well from set pieces: three things we didn’t do well last time.

Hull will want to score early in order to take some pressure off so, look for them to come out hard in the first 5 minutes. This isn’t the same team that Hull shocked earlier in the season and I expect that this Arsenal team can handle that pressure — considering that they just got back from Rome and played a world class team in an unfriendly stadium, Hull, at Emirates, should be considerably easier.

So, for our part, Arsenal will look to soak up their pressure and hit them on the counter early.

What are the odds for van Persie to get a goal in the first 10 minutes?

Right, that’s it, I’ve been sick basically since I got back from London (two different colds I think) and finally got on antibiotics for this crud that settled in my chest. I am feeling a lot better and need to get in and put in a half day at work… which is perfect since kickoff is 12:45 PST.

The match is being shown live at Doyle’s so come on down and join us if you’re in town. It should be a cracker!

Oh yeah, happy St.EveryoneInAmericaIsIrishAndDrunk Day!

Luck of the Alsacian

A few weeks ago, during one of my fugue-rants I did say that if we found ourselves in 4th place we should consider ourselves lucky and that more than anything we did, it’s up to what Villa do (or don’t do) as to whether we regain our 4th place birthright. Well, Villa has done it and dropped points in a rather remarkable fashion, culminating in a 2-1 loss at home to Tottenham which saw their star player booed off the pitch by his home supporters.

I understand booing Eboue: he’s had massive swings in fan support. From the highs of his Champions League run at right back to his near disastrous replacement on the left wing against Wigan. Moreover, Arsenal were within a few matches of taking the League last season, so expectations are high for Arsenal supporters. Booing Eboue makes sense, he’s a highly divisive figure on a team with a great history who’s fan expect champagne at the end of every season.

But booing Agbonlahor? How does that makes sense? If it didn’t come at our expense, I’d be rooting for Villa to take 4th place. Villa is an old club, with a great history, who routinely filled their stadium despite their recent drought of trophies. Why on earth would you boo one of the best players on the team? You’re just shooting yourself in the foot with that.

Come to think of it, keep booing. Arsenal are only ahead on goal differential and we could use all the help we can get. Could you boo Ashley Young while you’re at it?

Another strange moment during that game came as the commentators were talking up Wilson Palacios (the player rater there is rather generous). Each time they went to fellate him for his “hard work” he would promptly do something really stupid and remind everyone why Arsenal passed on the player. Maybe it was a one-off but take Song and Eboue’s worst games, wrap them up in an energetic shell, and you’d have Wilson Palacios. He sure has a lot of energy, too bad he has so very little talent.

Let me put it this way: would you rather spend £14m on Palacios or Arshavin? Hmmmm….

In the injury room, Arsenal are now saying that Thomas Rosicky has had another setback. This means his next setback will not be announced for another two weeks. I’ve maintained for some time that Rosicky will not play for Arsenal ever again, I hope I’m wrong.

Looks like England International Almunia picked up an ankle injury from El-Hadji Diouf’s horrendous challenge. Of the challenge, Wenger is saying he “didn’t see it” and needs to look at the tapes. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say after he sees the tapes!

Up next for Arsenal in the league is Newcastle (A), Citeh, and Wigan (A). We mauled Newcastle early in the season and given their recent form we should be able to pick up three points there. Citeh was the last team to beat Arsenal in the league and I expect Arsenal will be looking for a modicum of revenge there. But then there’s Wigan at the JJB… those shiat kickers will probably hold 6 Rugby matches the day of the match in order to turn the field into something looking like the surface of the moon in order to improve their chances of getting a 0-0 draw: like they did last season to give a lift to Man U in the title race.

I don’t want to get too far ahead, up next (Tuesday 12:45 PST) Arsenal have to beat Hull in an FA Cup replay for the right to face a resurgent Chelsea.

More on that tomorrow. Until then, keep the faith!