“Hand of God II” is the perfect example of why we need video replay

We love you too Thierry!

“Hand of God II, you heard it here first, Alex”

At just before 2pm yesterday, I got that text above from my French friend, Alex and knew immediately what was coming: the religious fanatics would start burning Thierry Henry in effigy.

So, I woke up this morning to the BBC and of course, they are talking about how Henry handled the ball, and whether they should use the word “cheat” due to possible lawsuits. And of course, they are talking about all this in that sort of reserved way that the Beeb usually covers world sport, but I knew, if they were covering this issue at all, then the internets is probably frothing at the mouth. I mean, the BBC actually wondered if Thierry Henry could keep his Gillette endorsement, what would the internet be calling for?

Before I go any further, I have a secret: I read Arsenal News Review. Wait, wait, hear me out… I read him not because I like his work but because everyone I know hates Myles Palmer so you know, I am curious. So, I’ve been subscribed to his RSS for a couple of weeks and all the articles have been like, “meh” and his style is like “eh, whatever” so I didn’t get what the big deal was about this guy. Until I read this about Thierry Henry today:

What a scumbag ! What a pitiful, cheating scumbag ! Thierry Henry, you are the scum of Paris, the scum of world sport, the scum of the earth.

I suppose Arsene Wenger will be making excuses for Henry tomorrow, defending his golden boy,  as always

He had three posts today and they are all hysterical: I mean, literally, hysterical, mad-dog, foaming at the mouth crazy.

One of his posts calls for Gillette to end their sponsorship with Henry and I immediately thought of the last time I remember a sports star losing his sponsors: when Kobe Bryant allegedly raped that girl in Colorado. And while I understand that we’re all up in arms over Thierry’s “outrageous” handball I hardly think that one handball merits the same punishment to Henry and his family as a rape.

So, now I guess I get what the deal is with Arsenal News Review and why so many people I know hate Myles Palmer. I mean, how can any Arsenal fan ever call Arsenal legend Thierry Henry “scum of the earth.”

Scum of the earth, for a single hand ball?


He’s going to have to do something a whole lot worse than a hand ball to wipe out the memory of him taking the ball 90 yards, weaving through the entire Tottenham defense, scoring and then running back to celebrate in front of their fans. And he’ll have to do something a lot worse than a handball to wipe out the memory of his meandering goal against Real Madrid. That’s just two goals out of 226 goals which make Thierry Henry more of a legend than someone like Myles Palmer will ever be.

The only thing this whole incident reiterates for me is that we’ve got to instill video replay. I’ve been calling for it all year and will continue calling for instant replay. As long as the Monday morning quarterbacks get to review these plays to death, and sanctimoniously call for Henry to be banned and have his sponsors dropped, why shouldn’t the referee be given a second shot at getting the call right?

Moreover, yesterday’s hand ball is a perfect example of how managerial challenges would work. The goal has been scored, play is stopped as Henry and France are celebrating, and Ireland feel strongly that there was a hand ball. The Irish manager would simply walk over to the 4th official and use one of his challenges. The head referee would then go over to the television, watch the replay, see Henry’s handball, give him a red card, and the goal wouldn’t stand. Ireland goes into the World Cup, France goes home in disgrace, and we don’t have to endure months of the British press wetting their pants over the incident.

My version of video replay is a pretty simple concept: both managers get 2 challenges, one per half, that they can only use when the ball is dead. If you want to make it more complicated, the 4th official could review every goal and flag for an official review if he sees something suspicious — like Didier Drogba throwing down a Man U player, while offside — and the match official would then take 30 seconds to get the call right. There’s no stoppage in play, no change in the flow of the game, nothing, just getting the call right.

In light of this latest “outrage” who could be against getting the call right?

Maybe I’ll get to talk about something Arsenal related tomorrow, you know, ahead of the match that Arsenal are playing on Saturday?

It’s the end of the world, Don’t Panic

“Going to watch the match this afternoon then?” Ford glanced round at him. “No, no point,” he said, and looked back out of the window. “What’s that, foregone conclusion then you reckon sir?” said the barman. “Arsenal without a chance?” “No, no,” said Ford, “it’s just that the world’s about to end.” “Oh yes sir, so you said,” said the barman, looking over his glasses this time at Arthur. “Lucky escape for Arsenal if it did.”

Ford looked back at him, genuinely surprised. “No, not really,” he said. He frowned. The barman breathed in heavily. “There you are sir, six pints,” he said.

Early yesterday, all the blogs were a twitter as the match feed from UEFA dot com updated the England U21 match and said “Gibbs out, someone Arsenal fans don’t care about, in: 21st min.” I instinctively reached for a towel, my well worn copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and began the mantra “don’t panic.”

Rumors have it that it’s a metatarsal injury and that’s usually a long recovery time. Like, a whole season…. erm, Don’t Panic.

The good news is that Arsenal have plenty of cover at left back. Most folks are mooting Armand Traore to step in and that makes sense given Wenger’s track record of giving youth a chance but there’s another player that we need to consider there as well; Sagna.

It is an interesting idea, play Sagna at left back and Eboue at right back, but the boss has options and I think he’d rather keep both of those guys in their natural positions… don’t panic.

The one option that I’m surprised no one has mentioned is Vermaelen. He’s left footed, he’s played at left back and he’s got the speed and experience to cover there.  I would welcome him at left back and, say, Senderos in the center, playing Vermaelen’s stopper position. This is the strongest combination in my mind, because Vermaelen and Gallas would be able to cover for Senderos, and Senderos provides size, experience, and the ability to score flat-footed headers.

There is one other option at left back, the one that I hear a lot of talk about: Silvestre. That’s right, the only player who played in all of our worst losses last season might very well be chosen at his “natural” position, left back.  F*ck that, PANIC!!!

Seriously, I don’t see Wenger playing Silvestre while he has a healthy Vermaelen at left and Senderos in the middle. 7:00am Nov. 18, 2009 I’m calling it: Vermy at left back.

Meanwhile, fingers crossed that Clichy makes a quick recovery and that Gibbs is just a minor bruise or something.

The Salomon of Doubt

Here’s the thing about all these injuries that keep happening to Arsenal players during pointless matches like the U21′s and friendlies: the players are choosing to go and play in these matches.

Look at the Chelsea squad, ahead of this week’s pointless FIFA/UEFA masturbation, Lampard, Terry, Cole, Ballack and Drogba all came up injured. Meanwhile Salomon Kalou kicked someone in practice and got sent away, and Essien just didn’t even show up when called up. It’s more than a little suspicious that pretty much the entire Chelsea first team has not played for 2 weeks for various reasons. It’s even more suspicious when Terry and Cole are suddenly healthy again. Cunts.

There are a lot of factors that go in to a player choosing to play for country; how strongly they feel about their home side, how fit they are, the importance of the match, how old they are and thus how invincible they might feel, and whether they need to prove themselves to get into the full squad, just to name just a few. I think Arsenal’s youth here is actually the downfall. Both because young players often feel invincible, but also because they aren’t established internationals and thus have to play whenever their country calls them up. Throw in the work permit rules in England and et viola, as long as Arsene Wenger makes a team of aspiring, young, foreign players Arsenal are going to suffer more during international breaks.

I just wish that the Arsenal players were more picky about which matches they played in. I don’t mean Arshavin and Gallas, they have to play their teams are facing elimination from the World Cup finals, I mean Cesc. Cesc needs the rest, he’s the captain of Arsenal. He should be setting the example by feigning injury ahead of almost every friendly, just like those cunts at Chelsea. I think Cesc, at this point, could probably get away with saying he has a “tightness” in his hamstring ahead of his pointless friendly today.

Alas, no one has feigned injury and thus, Arsenal’s players have a huge batch of matches today, and almost all of them are important. Gallas and Sagna are playing in the fiery France v. Ireland clash, the one which will decide who goes into the World Cup Finals. Oh, and the one which features Robbie Keane playing for Ireland and imploring his teammates to leave it all on the field. This is the match I’m most worried about and since I’m stuck at home, I’ll probably be watching it, while touching wood.

Meanwhile, Arshavin is playing in another qualifier for Russia, another match, more wood touching.

I’m sure there’s more but as I type this I’m having an anxiety attack…


Mostly Harmless, mostly

Of course it has to be that Egypt and Algeria would play in a one time, winner takes all match. It also has to be held on “neutral” ground in Sudan, because after playing through their group stage, they are exactly level on points, goals, and fervent hatred for each other. Though I hear Egypt has the bus stoning advantage.

Seriously though, this is the absolute worst of Nationalism Football and predictably FIFA is too busy worrying about Arsenal signing 16 year old’s to step in and do something about this.

For me, the moment the Egyptian fans stoned the Algerian bus, this whole debate ended. Egypt, sorry, you get docked points because you can’t ensure the safety of the opposition team. You don’t go to the World Cup and in fact you don’t go to the World Cup ever again until you can supply the minimal safety needed to ensure that opposition team buses aren’t stoned.

End of.

You can bet your ass that Septic Blatter would be screaming bloody murder if English fans had stoned the French bus and while chanting “Agincourt! Agincourt!”

So long and thanks for the dish

Finally, I don’t want to leave on a sour note so here is the world’s cutest ever video of Arsenal’s future #1. She’s got all the requisite skills, including the penchant for own goals:

See you tomorrow and I want all of you touching wood that the rest of the Arsenal team get through the day healthy, happy, and scoring goals.

EXCLUSIVE: Adebayor obsessed with Arsenal

Adebayor, how many money do you makes?

Dateline Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 Tacoma, Washington. I just spent the last 20 minutes watching various Emmanuel Adebayor goal celebrations on YouTube with Boots Randolph’s’ Yakety Saks playing in the background.

Seriously, try it; fire up this song, then open this dance compilation but mute the sound. SEE! Now, if someone has video editing capability, I would appreciate it a ton if you could mash this up. Sadly, I don’t, maybe I should email Arsenalist and see if he can do it.

Email sent, now, where was I?

Oh yeah, Adebayor… It’s funny but every time he opens his mouth he sounds more and more like a stalker ex-boyfriend. You know, the guy who is so obsessed with his ex-girlfriend Arsenal he has like a whole secret room with nothing but photos of the two of them together pinned to the wall with hearts drawn around them, in pigs blood. That guy who throws rocks at his ex’s window hoping that she’ll come out like Rapunzel and let down her hair and take him back?

All he can talk about is Arsenal, Arsenal fans this, Arsenal fans that, Arsene Wenger didn’t like me, blah blah blah. Dude, seriously, you have a new girlfriend now and she’s super rich, why don’t you talk about her? I suspect that she’s not going to take too kindly to you constantly talking about your ex, especially since the last time you scored was a grudge fuck, where you ran 100 yards, and loudly screamed your ex’s name.

Get over it, we all have.

I’m 100 placenta sure this isn’t going to work

Are you still listening to the Yakety Sax? Good, because Robin van Persie is going to get placenta massage to cure his ankle knock. Weird, but hey, if it gets him back on the pitch on time I don’t care if he uses a faith healer, witch doctor, or any other form of nonsense.

I wonder if the Obama health plan covers placenta massage?

ZOMG did you know that Cesc is from Spain?

The shit stirrers have stirred the shit, as they do pretty much every week, and once again are linking Fabregas to Real Barcelona Madrid. I only linked to that story because it’s the Star and there’s some boobs in there, and I don’t just mean the writers.

I do like the new angle of these Cesc to Barca/Madrid stories, that it’s a tug of war between Nike and Adidas. That’s funny, to me.

Diaby poppy shirt sells for £800 more than I thought it would

The other day Arsenal held a silent auction for a signed poppy embroidered Abou Diaby shirt and, evidently, he got £820. Got $1,000 burning a hole in your pocket and want to help out the Royal British Legion? Well, you could still get Almunia’s shirt for the bargain basement price of just £382.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.