Tag Archives: Arsenal v. Liverpool

Suarez

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.

Qq

Poldi-points

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.

Qq

Vermaelen misses everything

When your defense is so bad it makes Henderson look good

In the 30th minute Jordan Henderson looked up and saw Sturridge making a marauding run. It was a fast break moment and all he needed to do was make a simple pass to the Liverpool forward and it was going to be a clear goal scoring opportunity. Instead, he hit the ball wildly and even Sturridge, himself a mediocre player, looked at Henderson with daggers. At that moment I wrote myself a note, something to the effect that “Liverpool are such crap that Jordan Henderson can’t even make a simple pass on a breakaway and Arsenal’s defense is so comical that it makes Jordan Henderson look good.

In fact, if there was a man of the match it was Jordan Henderson. Not because of his stellar individual play, but because Arsenal made him into the man of the match.

The first goal Arsenal conceded was simply blightful. Sagna lost his footing when Suarez’ lame pass was inches from the Arsenal defender. Then Glen Johnson crossed what was essentially right at both Mertesacker and Vermaelen. The big German was too slow to get to the ball but the little Belgian was there and all he needed to do was kick the ball out of play. Instead he took the biggest swing and a miss in the history of the sport, the momentum of his swing was so great that it flung him dramatically in the air and landed him square on his face. He couldn’t have executed that move any better on the set of Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Sturridge was so confused by all this Keystone Coppery that he just shot straight at Szczesny. Ramsey tried to collect the rebound but it was behind him and his flick at the ball played it right to… HENDERSON. The man of the match passed to Suarez who also was surprised by his good fortune and since Suarez has difficulty scoring with his feet, unless he uses his hands first, he shot straight at Per Mertesacker. All Mertesacker had to do was stand still. Instead, the German jumped and pirouetted balletically and Suarez’ shot went in.

Liverpool’s second goal was just as comical. Henderson again gets the ball, and this time he’s sandwiched between Mertesacker and Santos. Mertesacker sticks out a leg, Henderson skips past him, Santos stands there for a second and then decides to try to pull Henderson down by the shoulders, but Jordan Henderson, the Lionel Messi of Liverpool, powers on into the box. Aaron Ramsey comes flying in and gets a block on Henderson’s shot but the ball bounces off Santos and falls into Henderson’s path and he scores with aplomb.

He'd fly through the air with the greatest of ease,That daring young man on the flying trapeze.

He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease,
That daring young man on the flying trapeze.

Liverpool were so poor that they needed no less than three comedy errors before they could score on Arsenal. Case in point, at the 43rd minute, Suarez plays Henderson through on goal. Arsenal’s normally solid keeper, Szczesny, comes out of his area and stands in front of Henderson with the goal gaping behind him. If Henderson had any talent at all he would have scored. One-on-one with a keeper out of his area is a dream situation for a decent footballer. But not Jordan Henderson, he chipped well over the box after taking a fortnight in deliberations. See, Liverpool needed at least three comedy mistakes before they could score and in that case Szczesny only offered the one.

 

Meanwhile, on the other end of the pitch Arsenal were at their rapacious best. Slicing through Liverpool’s own comedy defending with excellent passing and incisive dribbling. There was never any doubt that Arsenal would score and fans didn’t have to wait long after Henderson’s goal before Giroud delivered the goods.

Wilshere took a rare Arsenal long free kick and floated the ball perfectly to Giroud who simply nodded down. It was 1-2 now and Arsenal were back in the game, the Emirates faithful singing in full voice. It paid dividends as well as three minutes later Giroud slipped a neat little ball to Theo Walcott in the crowded Liverpool box. The Englishman slammed home down and to the right, where Peepee Reina has a known weakness. It was such a weird goal that I had to rub my eyes to check if I was actually awake.

From that point on it really looked like Arsenal would get the winner. Or maybe they would concede the winner, either way, a winner was there for the taking.

Cazorla and Wilshere were dynamic and surging forward. The Spaniard had a great cross fizz across the box and all Giroud needed to do was be a step earlier for an easy tap in. There were open shots from all sorts of angles that simply floated over or off to the side. If the first 75 minutes were carnival, those last 15 minutes were the day that the carnival wraps up: everyone wandering around drunk, looking to get that last elephant ear or play one more carnival game.

It was pure madness. So much so that in the 92nd minute, Andre Santos (who had been subbed on for the injured Gibbs) made a disastrous pass into the midfield which was picked off easily by Liverpool. At that moment I did something I’ve never done in my entire sports viewing life: I threw my pen on the ground and didn’t even watch what happened next. Apparently Liverpool didn’t score, see, because just one mistake, no matter how awful, wasn’t enough to gift that steaming pile of shit a goal.

And that’s Arsenal this season. Going forward they are a joy to behold, sometimes. When they are on, like in that second half last night, they are almost unstoppable, but they aren’t on all the time. In fact, the team doesn’t seem to be on even half the time. Arsenal didn’t even start this match until the 50th minute or so.

But at the back, they have the most errors of any Premier League team and they have the uncanny ability to put in 4 or 5 errors at a time gifting terrible players like Jordan Henderson man of the match-like performances.

Sorry but a top four team can have one or the other but they can’t have both. And Arsenal have just 14 game left to try to find a streak of good form in either department.

Qq