Match Report on location of the Tacoma Couch
Olivier Giroud slotted in two goals in two minutes and Arsenal ran out winners against a defensive minded ‘Boro side at the Emirates. In addition, have I mentioned that I’ve been sober now for longer than I care to remember?
Arsenal were on the front foot from the beginning and it’s hard to tell whether ‘Boro were simply pegged back or if their game plan was to sit deep for 90 minutes and give their goalkeeper a workout. Either way that’s what happened.
Arsenal’s staarting lineup caused quite a ruckus when it was announced that Alexis would start up front with Welbz and Giroud, and Wenger would eschew a traditional midfield and instead play former footballer, Mathieu Flamini in his testimonial role as DM along with forwards Özil and Cazorla. Wenger also shuffled the entire defense, starting Chambo, Gabrielbo, Kozbo, and Gibbo along with Hookah Joe in goal.
It was a stunning gambit by Arsene Wenger: playing Alexis after saying he is injured, playing Gabriel after saying he will give up goals, playing no midfielders, handing a start to Flamini who lost both legs in the war, and starting a clearly injured Alexis risking further injury to an injury injured team. The team selection had every Arsenal fan, save three, wringing their hands in worry about Alexis getting injured.
But Wenger, always keen to top the table, must have intentionally selected that lineup for the sheer banta he would be able to dole out after the Gunner’s won. And, in fact, he now tops the Manager’s Banta table on goal difference over Louis van Gaal, despite the Dutchman saying that Rooney is the best striker in the League but he’s going to play him in midfield anyway. Which was an epic bit of banta and nearly knocked Wenger off the top of the table after the “hand that to Fat Sam” dossier banta of last week.
Arsenal took the lead when Cazorla played in Gibbs, who slotted to Giroud and then the French guy chipped, lefty, into the goal from an acute angle. This is such a thing with Giroud, this ability to get to the wrong side of the goal and chip it kind of over his shoulder that I’m starting to wonder if Giroud is even capable of scoring a goal from any other angle?
Have you ever played H.O.R.S.E.? It’s a basketball game between to people where each one has to make a shot and the other person has to mimic that shot. Usually this results in outrageous shooting from all over the court. “Over the back, off the backboard!” that kind of thing. Well, I think Giroud was playing H.O.R.S.E. and he was on the E when his opponent said “PROVE IT!” and Giroud had to shoot the same shot again. This time he made it even harder as Alexis whipped in a dipping corner and Giroud took a similar shot to his first, except off the volley and from an even more acute angle.
Can Arsenal please sign Mario Mandzukic and get rid of this Giroud guy?
After that Arsenal were in cruise control and I was able to come up with…
Your metaphor of the day
Caazorla’s hair looks like a shark fin which is appropriate because he’s like a little black-tipped reef shark. It’s one of the smallest sharks, it’s lightning quick, it darts in and out of spaces, and it just gobbles up minnows like Middlesbrough.
Cazorla was the best player on the day. I think he had, literally*, a million dribbles. He probably should have set up another dozen shots and goals and he ran the show in the Ramsey role.
Now, I know that Özil, technically, had 7 key passes and that both he and Cazorla had the same number of dribbles. And I also know that Özil had almost as many passes as Cazorla and that he was 4/6 from his crosses. But what do the stats guys know anyway? HUH???
Their keeper made 8 saves, by the way. Three of them were boring and the rest probably saved a great Arsenal goal. It was one of those keeper’s performances that Arsenal somehow get out of the opposition and had Arsenal not had Giroud, I imagine Arsenal would have been punished. Did I mention how much I love Mandzukic? I remember when everyone was all “dude, you’re clueless, Mandzukic is so much better than Giroud!” and I defended Giroud then, but I really can’t defend him any more. Until he starts scoring ordinary, boring goals I’m going to have to admit I was wrong, Giroud is much worse than Mandzukic. Where is Mario playing now? Is he backup to Torres at Atletico Madrid?
‘Booooro really only had a couple good chances. They were dug in deeper than an Alabama tick for most of the match but got forward toward the end when they put on their best attacker, the fullback named Reacher. One was snuffed out with a good tackle by Gabriel and the other was saved by Szczesny who celebrated with a stick of nicotine gum. Good lad. Off the smokes!
Arsene responded by putting on Rosicky and Walcott and pulling off Sanchez and Welbeck. I’ve always liked it when a substitution is described as “pulling off”. I also love it when one team “pegs” the other team. Pegging someone and pulling them off in any context except this VERY sober match report would certainly have the censors reaching for the homophobic red tape.
Anyway, Rosicky came on and played almost the exact same ball to Theo that he played against Hotspurms and instead of punting it into the end stands, Theo got a good shot off and forced a save. I guess his touch is improving and good for the boss to throw Theo on to peg Boro back and get Walcott some good touches.
In the box.
Arsenal scored. Arsenal kept the sheets clean.
Whew… I have to go play football.