Tag Archives: Arsenal v. Liverpool

Arsenal’s winning run-on

By Tim Todd, understudy to the Russian sentence

As you watched Arsenal beat Liverpool 4-1 yesterday, with an opening goal from Arsenal’s 3rd string right back, who dribbled past two defenders, cut back in on his left foot, curled the ball between two defenders and snuggled it into the far corner, and with a second goal from Mesut Özil, from a direct free kick, David Beckham-like, except David Beckham didn’t score many goals from direct free kicks despite people thinking he was a direct free kick master, but Özil’s kick was masterful and also snuggled into the same corner as Bellerin’s, and you could see the pure joy on Özil’s face because lets not forget that this is the same Mesut Özil who has been accused of “nicking a living” from English football because most pundits don’t understand what Özil actually adds to a team, and then Alexis, Alexis who has been criticized for “dropping off in form” because again most pundits just don’t understand that football is a team sport and they expect the best players to always do obvious things that make them stand out from the rest of the team rather than giving to the team as a teammate, but Alexis, Alexis scored a peach of a goal from distance, cutting back as former Arsenal Invincible (and current backup center back for Liverpool, in case you’re reading this and don’t know anything about the two teams) Kolo Toure slid past him like a Giraffe on roller skates, and then Alexis struck a bobbling ball and looped it over Mignolet, like a little rainbow, which brought the score to 3-0 at half time and as the second half started you probably worried, like me, that Liverpool would come out and show some “British Steel”, which they did, finally earning a penalty when Bellerin, remeber the kid who opened the scoring, mistimed a tackle on Liverpool’s best player, Pounds Sterling, and I call him Pounds Sterling as a reference to the fact that he’s demanding £150,000 a week from Liverpool for a renewed contract because he really feels he’s that good but he’s not, he has the potential to be that good, and I think he’s better than Theo Walcott and if Liverpool want to trade we can do a straight-up swap, but Liverpool would do well to be cautious because Arsenal can offer ample examples of hy you shouldn’t pay for potential, Diaby and Bendtner’s combined “potential” probably cost as much as Sterling wants, but Sterling did well to earn a penalty and Bellerin made a costly error which allowed Jordan Henderson to score from the penalty spot, by the way that free kick was nearly saved because (I can’t remember who but) someone had a word with Ospina and told him which way Henderson likes to kick, but Ospina is just a little too small and the ball got under his outstretched hand, and Henderson turned and screamed like Liverpool had just won the war, and there were a few nervy moments after that but Arsenal are now well versed in playing defense first football and they held Liverpool at bay, even limiting the Pudlians to just a few tame shots, though there was a good save from Tiny Ospina in there, which will probably go unnoticed, but Arsenal held them off and did their best to counter attack which should have gotten Danny Welbeck a goal but Welbeck doesn’t score for his club, he only scores for England, and eventually Arsenal’s counter attacking football led to a cracking goal from Giroud, who hit a lightning bold, der sturm und drang, past Hapless Mignolet to seal the deal, well the deal was sealed when Emre Can, who can, tackled Welbeck from behind and got sent off for a second bookable offense, that’s when the match was well and truly over but Giroud did get to have a little icing there on the Arsenal cake at the end and it was a well taken goal too, not only the fact that it was struck from distance which, as you know, is a low percentage shot (about a 3% conversion rate) but Giroud’s touch to control the through pass was pillowy soft and that allowed him to set up the left footed thunderbolt, and remember when everyone wanted Arsenal to buy Mario Mandzukic and I was like “that guy is crap” well I doubt if anyone still wants Mandzukic over Giroud, because like Özil, Giroud offers so much to this Arsenal team beyond just the obvious cute little chippy passes and occasional brilliant goal, no, it’s looking like this Arsenal team have all the pieces in place to make a serious title run in the next year or so, heck, technically they are still in the title race today, and if Arsenal beat Chelsea and Man U, both matches forthcoming, the cracks might start to show at Chelsea, a team who are looking like they are too old and frail to keep up with the torrid pace of the Premier League, and a team who, let’s be honest here, are starting to look a little mentally weak and could conceivably fold under the pressure which would be a very Fabregasean end to their season, but that’s all wishful thinking, we all know that Chelsea are Champions Elect and that Arsenal can’t possibly catch them, despite the hiding that the Gunners gave to Liverpool yesterday, and let’s not forget that this was the Liverpool side who gave Arsenal a hiding last season, which was lauded at the time as a tactical masterclass from Brendan Rodgers and as yet another failure on Arsene Wenger’s failure pile, did you stop and think to yourself that with 11 wins in a row it’s amazing to watch the end of this season run-in as The Arsenal have all guns firing?

I did.



Complaining about the Suarez non-penalty: are you infected with Liverpudlianism?

Apparently, Scousers have taken to the air waves, the internet waves, and the blog waves to moan incessantly that their boy Luis Suarez (a.k.a. Bitey McRacist) deserved a penalty in Arsenal’s 2-1 win. Let’s see, how shall I put this? Uhh… The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Here are the facts of that match.

  1. The first penalty was soft. On first glance it did look as if Podolski might have touched Suarez but there is no doubt Suarez dove. Should have been a yellow card for Suarez and no penalty.
  2. Webb missed it when Squirtle karate kicked Cazorla in the foot with a head-high, studs up challenge. That was a nailed on penalty and probably a red card. Haven’t seen it? Oh, here’s a video I shot. Undeniably that is a foul. A foul in the box. A penalty.
  3. Or how about when Flamini squared off with Steven Gerrard? You know why he did that? Because Gerrard looked to have intentionally elbowed him in the head. That, right there, is a straight red card. Far more dangerous than any little kick out that a player might have in a moment of petulance, Gerrard looks down and smashes his elbow into Flamini’s head. Straight red, violent conduct.
  4. Did you know Gerrard and Flamini have a history? Gerrard put Flamini out for three weeks back in 06/07 when he seemed to intentionally rake his studs down Flamini’s achilles. How does Gerrard get away with all this dirty play? Oh yeah, that’s right, because he’s the England captain.
  5. The second penalty? Meh. Maybe. But the reason Suarez doesn’t get it is because he dove to win the first. Webb knew that the first was soft and didn’t want to give a second penalty to Divey McBiter. I do love the look on Suarez’ face and the fact that he’s holding his hamstring. Priceless.Suarez
  6. Suarez also didn’t get that penalty because he’s a serial diver. He dove to win a penalty when I was at the match in Anfield. That day he pretended to be cut down and rolled around on the ground for a few minutes. Then pulled his sock down to look for a mark. Incredible stuff. Thankfully Szczesny made two great saves to keep them lot from winning by cheating. Which is what Liverpool do, they are one of the dirtiest, cheating, teams in the Premier League. I like how Luis Suarez pulls back his sock to reveal the devestating injury that Szczesny supposedly inflicted.
  7. And perhaps you disagree that Stevie Vee shouldn’t have been sent off for the elbow to the head? Ok, but how about that tackle to stop Ox? That was a professional foul and certainly deserving of a second yellow.
  8. I guess if I want to be totally fair, Suarez deserved a penalty. And he got one, which your hero put away to give your horrible team of cheats and divers a goal. Arsenal outplayed you, Wenger out-witted Brentan, and you got what you deserved. Now you’re going to go another year without a trophy.

Liverpool supporters

Anyway, I sincerely hope Luis Suarez plays well for you the rest of the season, it would be nice if you could get him to score against a top team this year, seeing as how you’ve got to play against several of them before the season’s end. But I doubt he will be putting in the maximum effort from here on out, seeing how he’s already worried about getting injured ahead of the World Cup. How much you want to bet that he picks up a “niggle” in April? Or he’ll do something stupid in one of the big games, like use a racist word against a Man City player and claim he was just saying “Negredo” or bite John Terry, and get himself suspended for the remainder of the season.

Good luck Liverpool, with the whining it’s really what you’re best at.



Stay gold Poldiboy

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold can Stay”

Like Frost’s poem, Lukas Podolski is a paradox. At once a player who will sweep in a game winning goal and a player who will give away a game tightening penalty. A player who will delight us with his antics off the pitch and a player who will incite the manager to publicly take him to task. A player who was almost never subbed when he played for Köln and now a player who almost never finishes a game for Arsenal. A player who was bought to replace our main striker up front but who never reached his full potential and instead plays out wide. And now a player so seemingly out of favor at Arsenal that he must constantly deny rumors that he is going to be sold in the summer.

But also like the title of my piece today, Podolski seems impermanent, elusive, almost an outsider on a team which fancies itself as outsiders. Stay gold Poldiboy, is a play on words made famous by the movie and novel The Outsiders. Taken from a central theme in the novel that “Nothing gold can stay”, that everything is impermanent, we have it seems but fleeting glimpses of the gold that Lukas Podolski can offer. A goal here in the FA Cup, an important goal as well one that sees Arsenal through to the next round for the first time in years, is but a brief moment between odd appearances on the bench rather than starting for the team.

And I remember feeling like Arsene Wenger had plucked another gem from obscurity when I first saw Podolski play for Arsenal. Sure, the rumors were already circulating that perhaps he wasn’t the hard grafter that everyone loves to see from our team, but more important was the way he finished, with aplomb, with power, with surety. Whether the stats bore it out or not, I always felt that Podolski could and would finish chances presented to him and even some chances not presented to him. Imagine, for a moment, that Podolski had latched onto a ball at the top of the 18 yard box: goal gaping in front of him, all the time in the world. Would Podolski have skied that shot into row Z the way that Cazorla did yesterday? Whether he would have or not the collective feeling among Arsenal fans is that he would have ripped one through the back of the net.

We feel this way because Podolski scores important goals. The goal against Liverpool yesterday was the winner, and much needed as every Arsenal supporter knew that Liverpool would eventually get on the scoresheet. He’s also scored 2 on Coventry. Came on as a sub against West Ham and put the game out of reach. Scored a brace against Fulham, winning Arsenal three points there. And last season as well, he came on late against Stoke and won the match. He was the only Arsenal player to score against Bayern at home. Evened up the score against Swansea as a sub. Helped win against Montpelier. And single-handedly beat Liverpool early in the season.

Yet this collective enthusiasm we have for Podolski is tempered by the knowledge that Poldi just doesn’t fit with the manager’s plans. We have been given hints by Arsene Wenger that perhaps Podolski isn’t applying himself. And it’s pretty clear that Wenger sees him as a defensive liability: Santi Cazorla is no defensive beast and yet was brought on for Podolski in the win against Liverpool specifically to shore up the Arsenal defense and Cazorla did exactly that. And as we saw in that same Liverpool match, where he simultaneously won Arsenal the match and yet gave away a penalty, Podolski is a threat, on both ends of the pitch. He has variously frustrated and delighted me and Wenger doesn’t seem to have the patience nor the roster spots for such a player.

Which is hard for many to stomach. So what if he’s a one trick Pony, opined a friend on twitter, his one trick is scoring goals! And it’s hard to argue against that logic. Especially right now, when Arsenal really need a forward as Olivier Giroud’s boundless energy seems to have found its bounds.

Instead, Podolski’s Arsenal career seems almost fragile, leaf-like, ready to fall at any moment. He has undoubtedly given us many golden moments and yet it feels like nothing gold can stay.

Stay gold Poldiboy, stay gold.