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.

Liverpool v. Man U, who should an Arsenal fan root for?

Liverpool.

What? You need an explanation?

From a sporting standpoint we want either a win by Liverpool or at worst a draw. A draw leaves Arsenal 5 points off the top with a game in hand against Notlob and a loss by Man U leaves us 4 points off the top. Both results are relatively good for Arsenal. A win by Man U leaves Arsenal 7 points off the top, and suddenly Man U are starting to put a little space between themselves and the other challengers. So, a Liverpool loss is bad for Arsenal, table-wise.

But there’s an emotional component here for me. The thing is, I like Liverpool’s supporters. Russ, who owns Doyle’s, is a Liverpool fan and he opens his bar at all hours so that I can watch Arsenal. Some mornings I’ll be the only one there and Russ opens the bar for me. The other morning when we were all at Doyle’s watch Arsenal, the Sunderland v. Liverpool match was on and when the beach ball goal went in I was shocked, but Richard, an actual Liverpudlian, was joking about the goal. If that had happened to Arsenal, I’d have been up in arms, but here was this guy who just took it in stride. All the Liverpool fans I’ve ever met are like that. Every one of them that I have met is this strangely hopeful, full of belief, and sort of happy go-lucky person.

Man U supporters on the other hand are, well, I’ll be nice and just say that they are the most haughty, smug, pack of pricks I have ever met. To a man. Let me give an example, I remember when Man U won the Premier League last year, we were all at the bar, watching the match, and when the final whistle went, it was the most muted celebration I have ever seen. It was as if it was their birthright to win the title. That’s Man U fans, and that’s why I would never support Man U, even against Chelsea. The Chelsea/Man U matches are the ones where I hope for a sudden and virulent outbreak of Swine Plague to rip through the stadium, striking down all the players and fans.

Plus, how on earth do you root for the world’s most cynical, diving, xenophobic, referee disrespecting, prick? Yes, I mean Wayne Looney. How do you root for that?

And speaking of huge, elephantine cunts, a loss by Liverpool puts Man City closer to knocking Liverpool out of the top four. Do we really, really, want to see Adebayor, Bellamy, Tevez, Barry, Lescott and the rest of those money grubbers celebrating a top four finish?

That’s what I thought, UP THE POOL!

Now, if you don’t mind, I have a huge hangover and I have some Arsenal to write about. See you in a few hours.

The TAO of Wenger Silences Stan Kroenke

What is the sound of one Stan talking?

There is a metric ton of Arsenal news today, most of it is fluff, some of it is ‘meh’, and a few bob is “huh.” Let’s get on with the “huh.”

Of course you know by now that there was an Annual General Meeting of shareholders yesterday and you’ve probably read or listened to the breakdown of that meeting. If not, I think Arseblog has a great interview with both Tim Payton of the Arsenal Supporter’s Trust and Amy Lawrence of the Observer today in his Arsecast and you should give it a listen.

I will highlight my favorite quote from yesterday, it’s making the rounds and you’ve no doubt already read it, but read it again…

I know that we haven’t won a trophy for four years but we have been very close and I believe that this season we will do it. When I say that, it is not to please you, it is because I am really convinced of it. I believe that and the fans know we will go for it.

We are only in October and I know it will be very tight. It will come down to how resilient, consistent, intelligent and united we are until the end of the season. There will be periods when it will be difficult, but we have to show the strengths that have always made this club special.

We have developed the team over the last five years with a tremendous amount of training. It is easier to do that if the majority of players have grown up inside the club from 16 or even younger. They learn to love the club and what it represents.And this season we are ready to go for it in the Premier League, the Champions League and the cups.

He’s talking about Talent, Attitude, and Opportunity here. For many of the players in this side the talent has been nurtured through years of training. Sure, people will say that Cesc got some of his initial training from Barcelona, but 5 years now at Arsenal, training the Wenger way has developed his natural talent into what he his today, arguably the best central midfielder in the world.

Similarly, keeping the core of the team together, training together, under the careful tutelage of Arsene Wenger has crafted a specific attitude on this team; respectful, hard working, young men who love the club. A few folks have come in to the team with a different attitude and were able to keep their inherently prickish and lazy attitude at bay for a while, but when the chips were down they strayed offside, were flagged, and shipped to the Northlands where they bought ostentatious watches to flash around in their interviews where they talked about how it wasn’t “all about the money.” Nope, it’s not about money, it’s because you’re a prick.

And opportunity, a lot of folks point to the way Arsenal use the Carling Cup to showcase youngsters but I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Look at what Wenger is willing to risk for some of these kids. Cesc came on to a Champions League game just months out of the Barcelona academy. He certainly wasn’t ready, but Wenger wanted to give him a taste, an opportunity to show what he could do. Look at Mannone, Wenger took a rookie and has given him the opportunity to prove himself. And if the scrubbing of Almunia from promo material on the site and his replacement with Mannone is any indication, that opportunity will continue.

So of course Wenger is bullish on this season, he’s been working with many of these kids for years and he sees this season as a convergence of Talent, Attitude, and Opportunity. Will Arsenal win something? I don’t know. I feel strongly that they will and that January will be the month to do it.

Denilson is just four weeks away from practicing and that will give him another four weeks to get match fit before Alex Song — who is must be said embodies the Wenger project more than any other player outside of Cesc — before Alex Song bogs off to Africa. The other title hopefuls will all be missing African players at that time as well, so it will be Denilson’s opportunity to show that he has the talent and attitude needed to take points off our rivals.

I can’t wait for January, it will prove Wenger’s philosophy either right or wrong.

Transfers

One other funny bit of news that came out of yesterday’s AGM was this whole “does he or doesn’t he” flap about whether Arsene has money to spend, wants to spend money, and if he did have money who would he spend it on?

I want to put this stuff to the sword — all evidence suggests that Wenger will buy someone, if they are available and at the right price. He probably already has a few players in mind. Who they are is anyone’s guess, and if you enjoy playing “Wenger Transfer Bingo” have at it.

Me, I see articles like this one from 442 about Lorik Cana being an Arsenal target in January and literally, *LITERALLY* laugh out loud. Go look up Cana’s stats (the Telegraph is loading slow today) yes, he leads the team in tackles won and he’s second on the team in passes completed at 287. 287 passes! That’s a lot, right? Uhhh… no. Song makes that many passes in 3 games. Against Liverpool Cana made a paltry 14 passes, Song made that many in 15 minutes in the dour game away to AZ Alkmaar. As for tackles, he’s also leads Sunderland in fouls given away. So, while he tackles a lot and wins a lot of tackles he also gives up a lot of free kicks. A LOT. Giving up free kicks is one of the things that this Arsenal team cannot do.

So, while I respect Cana for his no-nonsense style of play and leadership he is not the kind of player that Arsene will ever sign. Moreover, the point of this little exercise is that I could do that with pretty much every player currently being linked to Arsenal. If Arsene signs someone, it will be someone like Nasri, Eduardo or Vermaelen, someone totally off everyone’s radar. Someone who plays the Arsenal way already. Not someone we wish would play for Arsenal!

Injuries

I wanted to leave you all on a hugely positive note today with news that several of our long-term injuries are working their way back into the team.

  • Djourou: out for the season (boss says March)
  • Fabianski: played a reserve game the other day and working his way back to match fitness — will likely play against Liverpool in the CC
  • Nasri: played with Fabianski the other day and is working his way back to match fitness — will likely play against Liverpool in the CC
  • Almunia: physically, he’s fit
  • Rosicky: 50-50 to play on Sunday
  • Bendtner: 50-50 to play on Sunday
  • Walcott: 3 weeks, but I’m actually hoping he stays out longer, because that recovery schedule coincides with the next Nationalism break and frankly the last fucking thing he needs is to go off and play for fucking Engerland before he’s played any serious matches for Arsenal. Fuck you very much.
  • Denilson: 4 weeks away from training!
  • Eduardo: will play against West Ham on Sunday

That’s a lot of injuries, innit? The good news is that many key players are coming back, just in time to give a rest to a lot of the guys who have been playing so hard for the last few months. Things are certainly looking up on that front!

Anyway, as for the Hammer’s match, I’ll have a better match preview tomorrow. See you then!