Archive for January, 2008

31
Jan
08

use the force, Luke!

Arsene Wenger has finally signed someone: Luke Freeman from Gillingham. And in a Kickoff exclusive we have video of the precocious 15 year old.

I scoured the google and the YouTube for hours last night and then discovered the above video at YouTube. Check it out, I think you can see why Arsene rates him so highly.

The only other news I have this morning is that Toure is out for the Mali clash. Looks like it’s just a flare up of the groin injury he suffered last week. Let’s hope it’s not too serious.

That’s it for today, I’ll post an update if and only if there’s a signing — which there won’t be according to le Boss — which just means that we’ll switch Bendtner for Canavarro or some such trade with Chelsea.

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30
Jan
08

Extremely Flamini

Due to popular demand, I am including the Flamini goal here. The Arsenalist is great about providing these clips, his site is listed in my Blogroll, and linked below. Please migrate on over there for post match clips.

30
Jan
08

Diarrwho?

Early blog today because the central air was set 14 degrees above it’s normal setting and kicked in at 1:45am with a long and strong gust of hot air.  Well, actually I’m not sure it was the central air, it could have been the bloviating over at Arsenal America that raised the temperature in my house.

I especially love that some people are claiming “no one could have seen that Flamini would be this good.”  Yes, yes indeed, some people did see it.  Some people commented on it last year when he selflessly played utility man.  Some of us commented on it when he had a brilliant Champions League run.  Some of us have been singing his praises now for two years.  But don’t let that cloud your fantasy!

Irregardless of all that, it is now abundantly clear to everyone that he is a very important part of Arsenal’s success this season.  And I’m not even talking about his goal and his assist.  I’m talking about the fact that he was tireless; defending, attacking, holding, passing, tackling, and leading.  The goal and the assist were just icing on the cake.

Wenger sees it too and seems eager to sign him.

I feel we have a few who have improved but he is one of them. His work-rate is tremendous, his run on the first goal was great, the timings of his runs are good and his composure with the final ball is great. That was not the case in the years before. On top of that he scored a great goal tonight. We are talking [about a contract]. I’m hoping to finalise it, he wants to stay, I want him to stay, so we should find an agreement. I’m not especially concerned because I believe what he tells me.

Yes, let’s all collectively relax and trust that Wenger is doing his best to sign Flamini to a new deal.

As for the game — it was altogether a great match, controlled from whistle to whistle by Arsenal.  This was probably not the most welcoming way for Kevin Keegan to start his third stint at Newcastle.  Which is kind of sad, because the reality there is that Fat Sam created a team of talentless assholes and against an open, fit, and talented team like Arsenal you can’t really expect to play anything other than crunch and hoof football that is the hallmark of Sam’s coaching career.  So, Keegan’s valiant attempt to play attacking football is destined to fail against Arsenal: he just doesn’t have the talent. The 6-0 scoreline over two matches should draw a bright red line under that.  Unsurprisingly, three matches in and the British press is already spelling his downfall.   Amazing.

Speaking of amazing!  Adebayor now has 20 goals in all competitions, 17 goals in the Premiership, and10 goals in the last 7 games, scoring at least one goal in each of those matches consecutively.  In fact, and I had forgotten about this because of the black cloud that hung over the match, up until the Tottenham match Arsenal had never lost a match in which Adebayor had scored.  And he’s reclaimed the top goal scoring spot (because of his alphabetical dominance over Winky-Divey) and is at third place in the Actim stats table.  He also tops my stats as the number one reason people travel to my blog.  But perhaps the most amazing thing is that all of the negative chatter about him has almost completely died off.  Good.  Long may it rest.

As the Adebayor phenomenon has taken off, the Gael Clichy phenomenon has been happy running all over the pitch in Ade’s shadow.  But make no mistake, Clichy is the real deal and while he’s being overshadowed by Adebayor in the eyes of some people, the guys who matter see performances like last night and recognize him for his brilliance.  Just see what Cesc said:

Mathieu has stepped up this year as have Adebayor and Gael [Clichy] and all these kind of players. We need them so badly.

And that about sums up yesterday’s match doesn’t it?  “We need them so badly.”  Indeed.

OK, that’s all, I’ve combed through the RSS feeds and shared a bunch of stuff that I think is funny or interesting (like Moyes calling for an ACN “break” to the Premiership or The Sun reporting that Woodgate is injured already).  If you’re interested you should check out my shared feed.  There’s just so much stuff going on right now, this blog could literally take almost any direction.  If it seems a bit confusing right now, stick in there, I’m sure a way out will present itself.

Until tomorrow!

29
Jan
08

Arsenal v. Newcastle

Good morning Kickers.  I’ve got a very busy schedule today so there is no way for me to watch the match until 8pm local time tonight.  So, after work, I’ll have to put myself into a media cocoon and not allow any news to penetrate me. BUT! If I’m sucessful, I can drink a few beers and watch a night time match and it’ll be just like I was watching it live.  Except it won’t be live and if I get frustrated I can always turn on the computer and get the result.

Match news has Joey “the most untalented criminal jerk in all of football” Barton starting for Newcastle.  I believe in giving a guy a second chance.  And if he’s a really nice guy who just caught a bad break I’m all for giving him a third or even a fourth chance.  After all, some times life is just out of your control and you get caught up in something that you wish you weren’t involved in afterward.

Joey Barton is none of those things.  Newcastle allowing Barton to play is like an abused wife welcoming back her husband while she still has two fresh black eyes.  And what really makes no sense is why they want him back.  If his off the pitch antics aren’t enough to warn you off the player, his utter lack of talent on the pitch should keep him at bay.  But somehow, he’s got people bamboozled into thinking that he’s a great talent that’s just gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd.  Note to Kev Kee: HE IS THE WRONG CROWD!

Unleashing him on Arsenal at this point is fuck near criminal in my mind.  If he permanently injures someone Newcastle should have to compensate Arsenal and the player.  And I only bring this up because in my mind there’s a significant chance of him just losing it and tackling Cesc knee-high, studs-up.

Fingers crossed nothing bad happens.

In other news, the Telegraph has a pretty cool little blurb highlighting some of the best Arsenal v. Man U FA Cup matches.  They left out Arsenal’s 5-4 penalty shootout win over Man U in 2005.  That match was one of my favorites because Lehmann saved Scholes’ penalty and Vieira tucked away the winner.  Yeah yeah yeah, “penalty shootouts suck!”  I don’t care, it was a great, pulsing game that went into extra time and all the announcers had said extra time benefited Man U.  But Arsenal came out on top and stuffed that trophy down Man U’s collective over-hyped throats.  Plus, it was the end of an era and the last time the untouchables would all play together.  So it’s one of my favorite FA cup memory, and certainly my favorite FA Cup memory that ivolved Man U.

So that’s it.  I have to get in the tub and go to work; it didn’t snow like the weathermen predicted… damn.

28
Jan
08

I feel the pain here in my house

ugh… Doyle’s FC had our second practice yesterday and I don’t feel too good. First, we played on a frozen pitch. Which, while there were moments of comedy gold, was overall very un-fun. Second, I took two tumbles on the ice and now I’m in a lot of pain. The first tumble was just a straight professional foul and no real harm done except to make me wet and muddy and cold. The second came when I chased down an errant header from the other side’s defense and was fully off the ground and ready to lash the volley home when a third player came crashing in to me, his knee to the thigh, my other knee to the frozen ground. Holy crap this hurts. Any ideas on what I should do to make this better are gladly accepted. I already cleaned the sand out of my vagina and that’s not helping at all, so I’m looking for ideas other than ones that mention sand and my vagina — please.

In real football news, Arsenal have reportedly had their bid accepted for Johnathan Woodgate. Now just to be clear, Tottenham and Newcastle have admitted that they bid £8m for Woody and Middlesborough confirmed that there is a “third club” who also bid £8m. This third club is rumored to be Arsenal. So, from what I understand, based on the English press — which is notoriously accurate, all three bids are equal and Johnathan Woodgate is now deciding which team to go to.

There was a lot of chatter last season about Arsenal possibly bringing Woody in and I had my reservations then and I still have them now. I remember his first match back in the EPL after we were linked to him and how I thought he looked rather ordinary. Almost immediately after, I think he spent the next several months on the injured list. That pretty much sums up my reservations about Woody.

That said, I have to be fair to the cat. He could do a good job for Arsenal. It’s pretty clear that they need cover at center back (with Djourou and Toure both injured) and as long as he’s not expected to be the first choice he could do the job. But for £8m?

So, I wrote this whole thing and then Wenger comes out and refutes it explicitly. Awesome. I guess Wenger had reservations about Woody as well!

In actual team news ahead of Tuesday’s match, le boss says that Rosicky, Toure and van Persie should be back much sooner than previously thought. Great. See, Arsenal don’t need that piece of shit Johnathan Woodgate, let him go to Spuds! Also, Almunia and Sagna will be back in for tomorrow’s match.  That means that tomorrow should see a pretty full squad and 3 points in the bag, right?

Finally, we’ve got FA Cup news.  First, if you were wondering why Lehmann was playing yesterday, it’s because the boss has promised the FA Cup matches to him.  Which means he has at least one more match in an Arsenal uniform.  And that match will be at Old Trafford to take on Man U.   Good luck Jens!  Some part of me suspects Jens will revert to his bat-shit insane form under the glaring lights.  Red card?  hmmm.  no.  I’m going to say  that Ronaldo will go to take one of those stuttery, cunty, cheeky penalty kicks and Jens will just run out of the goal, tackle him American style, pins his arms, and try to drink his blood.  Should be fun to watch.

So, Arsenal won Man U, and meanwhile Liverpool and Chelsea take on Barnsley and Huddersfield.  yeap.  That’s about right, it’s never an easy road to the FA cup and Arsenal would probably have had to play Man U eventually.  Best to get it out of the way now.

That’s all I’m doing today.  My legs hurt and I have to go to work in the snow.  So, until tomorrow, keep kicking!

27
Jan
08

I felt the pain down in Africa

The Kickoff is running a bit late today because, because, uhhh, no reason.  I mean there isn’t much going on today: Man-U beat Spuds 3-1, Citeh is playing our old foe Sheffield United at United and are down 2-0, and everyone else is away in Africa. So who cares what time I make a Sunday post about something as trivial as injuries and bribery?

Yes, it’s true.  Toure is injured.   How badly we aren’t sure, but it’s a groin strain and those can be very tricky.  Fingers crossed that he gets back home to Arsenal’s trainers and that they can sort him out and get him 100% for the end of season push.  Fortunately, Senderos is starting to show top form.  Unfortunately, Senderos is no Toure.  Let’s hope we get him back soon because we need his leadership, drive, and partnership with Gallas.

Other exciting news out of Africa is that there is confirmation that Namibia was offered a bribe to throw a match.  Sweet!  Sending our players off to get injured in a corrupt tournament! I’m seriously disliking this tournament more and more.

Arsenal are being linked with Micah Richards and I suspect that link will only strengthen on news that Toure is down for an unknown amount of time.  Honestly, I don’t put too much weight in this rumor.  Richards is a fine player but he’s very raw and very English: and £20m is being bandied about.  Only and English player could command that type of transfer fee and I can’t see Wenger paying that much for him.

Citeh just got a goal back.  Yay.  Wow, it’s been what, 2 years?  And Sheffield United’s pitch still looks like utter shit, don’t they have a greens keeper for that shit hole?

All right, I’m off to practice.  Until tomorrow Kickers.

26
Jan
08

What a morning

I put the blog down with 20 minutes left to get to Doyle’s.  Then I started searching for my wallet and keys.  Nothing… nope, not here… shit, where did it go?  Not in the car, not on the mantle, not in the kitchen, WHERE THE FUCK IS MY WALLET?

Fortunately my girlfriend is a saint.  She got up, dug around and got me $20.  I grabbed my passport and drove out to catch the first half.  I’ll worry about the wallet after the match.

The first half saw Arsenal playing very well, moving the ball, opening up Newcastle’s defense, keeping possession, and shooting on goal.  Given was having a whale of a first half so nothing was going to go in.    But Arsenal looked great in the first half.  Even Diaby was having a decent half — sure he turned the ball over a lot and dribbled too much but at some point he stopped trying to be too intricate and started passing and even had a great shot on goal well saved by Given.  Not too sure about some of the commentary saying that Newcastle “regularly worried” Arsenal in the first half: I’d hardly call two shots on goal “regular worry.”

The second half saw Arsenal rip Newcastle to shreds.  The first goal came when the ball fell to Adebayor after an Eduardo rocket that hit the post and Ade left footed past everyone and into the corner of the net.  Say what you will about him, he is pure talent in front of the goal in my mind.

For the next 30 minutes, Newcastle bumbled around toothlessly attacking and Arsenal  looked like to score.  Then Wenger subbed in Hleb and Gilberto for Diaby and Theo and the match opened up significantly.  Within minutes, Flamini had won the ball and it was moved to Ade who held off two defenders and fired home a powerful side foot past Given that bounced in off some Newcastle defender.

The third goal was an own goal off Butt and well, just icing on the cake.  Arsenal looked like to score anyway so it’s not like the goal was undeserved.

Afterwards Keegan claimed that Newcastle outplayed Arsenal in the first half and even Wenger saw that to some extent, but really only very early in the match.  By the time I got there (12th minute) Arsenal looked the dominant side and I found myself saying that if every team played Arsenal in this open and attacking style, it seems they would win nearly every match.  Since Newcastle came to actually play football instead of act like a bunch of shit-kicking cunts, there was so much space for Cesc to play in, Flamini was allowed to work the midfield and the wing players were given space to run.  This in turn opened spaces for the forwards and that led to chances on goal.

Credit to Newcastle, then, for coming to play.  Credit to Arsenal for taking advantage of it.  Credit to Adebayor for playing at the highest level.  And credit to Flamini for providing the engine to the midfield.  An all around enjoyable match to watch.

Oh, and afterwards, I found my wallet in the car.  So, the whole day is coming up aces.  Have a great night!




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