Archive for February, 2008

29
Feb
08

sick… and tired

Late blog today, I know. Well I didn’t get up until 10am and then I had actual work to do. If any of you care; I feel slightly better. I think my fever broke last night because today I can read articles and actually make sense of them.

Like this one, where Taylor says one good thing and follows it up with one bad thing. I know that footballers aren’t always the brightest guys in the world, but I’m really, really struggling to understand a man who claims that Wenger’s call for a lifetime ban caused people to send him death threats. Further, he goes on to talk about how hard this has been for him and his family. Dude. DOOOOOD. You broke Eduardo’s leg. Fine, you say there was no malice. Sure, people make illegal tackles like that all the time (people drive drunk all the time too). Sure, your family might be traumatized. But you whining to the press about how traumatized you are makes you look foolish. And you blaming Wenger for the death threats makes you look like an asshole. Up until this point you were doing all the right things; apologizing in person to the player and to the manager and keeping your mouth shut about all the stupid shit the press was saying about how you are the victim.

Let me make this exceptionally clear to you because you seem a little dense: YOU ARE NOT THE VICTIM. You broke Eduardo’s leg. Your illegal, overly physical, studs-up, knee high tackle resulted in the permanent injury of a fellow professional. Eduardo’s leg was not broken; you broke it. Your family is probably traumatized but they are traumatized BY YOUR ACTIONS.

Can anyone imagine for 5 seconds if a drunk driver had broken Taylor’s leg the press reaction being “oh that poor drunk driver, he didn’t mean it, he just didn’t have money for cab fare, people drink and drive all the time, it was an accident, look at how much the drunk driver has been traumatized by this…” Fuck no. So quit scapegoating, shut your mouth and show some actual contrition. You broke Eduardo’s leg.

Wenger addresses parts of the whole controversy here hitting on everything from the FA’s responsibility in this matter to the press’ responsibility. I have to agree with the boss. It is very odd to me that so many players like Micah Richards are defending this as a normal tackle. And there you have it. This is a cultural problem. And honestly it explains why England couldn’t qualify for Euro 2008: that type of tackle is the resort of someone who cannot actually play the ball and instead lazily goes for the man. But even if you are to allow those types of tackles at the very least, the studs-up part of the equation ought to earn an instant red. And that’s where the FA can play their part.

The press, at the same token, need to deal with how they encourage violence also as Wenger points out:

Journalists with smiles on their faces ask me, ‘they got in your face today and you didn’t have the answer’. That is encouraging violence

I would add to that this pernicious habit the press has of using the passive voice just look at this passage:

The Birmingham City defender said that it was never his intention to hurt Eduardo, who fractured his left fibula and dislocated his left ankle, and that that it was his greatest hope that he will see the Brazilian Croatia international play again.

Who fractured Eduardo’s leg? Did he do it to himself as many suggested because he was simply too quick? Or did Taylor fracture Eduardo’s leg? Or how about the cunts in the press who hide behind anonymity and do things like list all 72 red cards Arsene Wenger’s team has seen in 12 years off football. Why not look at Wenger’s teams in terms of the fair play index? Oh that’s right, because you have an agenda. I knew there was a reason I stopped getting your RSS feed, cunt.

There is some team news to report ahead of tomorrow’s home match against Aston Villa, who just so happen to have the dirtiest player in the EPL; Nigel Reo-Coker. First, let’s hope that Diaby doesn’t have his ankle broken again by Reo-Coker because the boss says Diaby is ready to play. Notice how just by leaving out a word I can make it look like Nigel Reo-Coker broke Diaby’s ankle! English is such a fun language.

Van Persie is fast getting healthy but I doubt the boss will play him tomorrow. Look instead for a freshly minted Theo Walcott playing down the right wing. I hope Theo scores 8 goals tomorrow, so we don’t have to see Eboue over there any more.

Finally, Wenger addresses all the hand wringing in the press and amongst detractors about William Gallas’ display at the end of the Birmingham match. Gallas is just committed and sometimes, this commitment boils over. I’m exactly the same way so I totally understand Gallas’ reaction. If I had seen a team mate injured in that way and then watched the referee consistently screw the team over which culminated in a ridiculous penalty decision in the last minute of the match. I can honestly say I would have lost it too. Thankfully, the team is dealing with it internally and Gallas will not be stripped of his captain’s duties.

Finally, I might warn Villa, who is right up there with other dirty teams like Birmingham, and specifically Nigel Reo-Coker not to try to overpower Arsenal with hard tackles and studs up challenges. Cesc is explicitly stating that Arsenal aren’t going to lie down and let you tickle their tummies. It could be an ugly match.

That’s it, I’ll do a post match update tomorrow.

Until then.

28
Feb
08

Sick

Ugh, I think I caught Almunia’s virus.  So this will be a short blog and probably all disconnected and weird because I’m high on cough syrup.

Looks like the world’s fattest Arsenal supporter has bought more shares and wants to get to 25% + 1 so that he can get a “blocking share.” Arsenal.com explains what a blocking share is. It doesn’t seem like that big a deal, other than the fact that Usmanov just keeps cropping up at the worst times.  God, they are tiresome.

Speaking of tiresome.  The Gallas thing just doesn’t seem to stop.   Look, he did what he did in the heat of the moment.  The sooner we can all get over it, the sooner we can move on and win the title.

That’s all I have energy for today.

Until tomorrow

27
Feb
08

It’s the shirt!

Curses.

I have one.

Every time I buy a shirt with my favorite player’s name and number on it, they leave the club at the end of that season. Only once has this not been the case; last year when I got an away strip with Fabregas on the back and he didn’t leave. Thinking the curse broken, I went and got myself a Flamini home strip when I was in London. Now word on the street is that Flamini is already signed to Juve. Damn.  I guess we’ll just have to hope that report is like much of the reporting on teams and contract negotiations; a load of Tottenham. Though I will admit that the one thing I do like about the article is how the writer calls Flamini the “salt in their (Arsenal’s) stew.” HA! Alternately I like to think of him as the pepper in their pepper steak, the cheese in their macaroni cheese, and the ham in their baked beans (or is that Eboue?) . However you put it, he’s been an integral part of Arsenal’s success; just look at how the team struggles with Gilberto in his place. So, let’s hope he’s not actually signed away, after all… he is the salt in Arsenal’s wound.

This Saturday, Arsenal have the Villains at home but the team are already looking ahead to Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday. Adebayor is saying he really, really, really wants to score on them and Toure thinks he’ll be fit by Tuesday. I think the team should remember my admonition of last week: don’t let the car right in front of you surprise you. Almunia seems to have his head in the right place.  Yesterday he said:

We of course have respect for every team and we don’t care who we play against, it is just important to get three points regardless of who is in front of us. All the games we have at home must be won. Here we are so strong and that is what can help us win the title. What must not happen again is what happened in the League here against Birmingham where we dropped two points.

Fine lad that Almunia, he’ll make a decent England goalkeeper one day.

Meanwhile over at the San Siro, AC Milan is stirring the dangerous tackle pot by claiming that Kaka is targeted. I don’t honestly know much about Italian football but I know that when Arsenal played them last week we most certainly did not kick at Kaka. Maybe AC Milan is genuinely mad because Palermo targeted him and caused the knee injury which will see him out until Tuesday. How would I know? I don’t watch Italian football because it’s more corrupt than the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. But I do know a tin-foil hat statement when I see one — take a peek at this:

It’s never the same player which makes two consecutive fouls, players take turns as if there is a plan. Evidently the referees have not noticed this. The treatment which is being handed out to Kaka is the same as which ended the career of Marco van Basten

That statement seems really crazy. It’s one thing to say that teams try to disrupt your flow through overly physical play and it’s another to say that teams devise a system of rotating fouls in a concerted effort to end the career of their opponent’s best player.

The other thing about this type of statement is that it seems like one of the most cynical and disgusting uses of the Eduardo tragedy yet. I say that because the only thing that statement could possibly do is serve as a warning for referees to be on pins and needles for every challenge on Kaka. It will also serve as a self fulfilling prophecy for fans and an excuse when Arsenal beat them at San Siro. Every time Kaka is involved in a challenge, the fans, the refs, and the other players will now feel like “see! Kaka is targeted!” Worse still, there could be an opposite effect, in that Gattuso could be given a pass for his often overly physical play and Arsenal could be punished. And while I am in the camp of harsher penalties for rash challenges, I am not in the camp of “no physical contact.” I don’t know, this statement by AC Milan, at this moment in time, seems pretty freaking disgusting.

That’s my initial reaction anyway. Maybe I’m off here and there’s another way to look at it, we’ll have to wait and see.

That’s it for today, if you have a chance drop on in at Arseblog, it’s his 6th birthday and he’s very mature for a 6 year old.  Here’s to another 6 years, old man!

To Arseblog… Cheers.

26
Feb
08

I’m shattered too

I almost didn’t want to write anything today, because I just knew that getting up this morning and reading the drivel being passed around as news would make putting finger to keyboard literally shattering; I almost feel as if the whole Eduardo situation is causing my fingers to splinter into a million pieces.  The pain I feel is unbearable.  More that unbearable, I am a broken man.  But thankfully, the support I have received from across America sees me able to overcome adversity of all the haters out there and get on with my life.

I want to send that as a letter to the editor of ESPN and various sports web sites with a note: “So, now do you see how ridiculous it is to paint Taylor as a victim?”  The article linked above is a particularly grievous  example of Taylor victimizing.  First, I don’t know which douche nozzle decided to use the word “shattered” (likely the Sun) but saying Taylor is “shattered” is disgusting.  Taylor will play again.  Likely this year.  He might even live to make a few more studs up, knee high challenges this year.   And that’s the other thing: wasn’t Taylor the guy who tackled Eduardo?  I’m confused, because I keep seeing these articles that make Taylor out to be the victim.  Oh that’s right, I keep forgetting that “Eduardo broke his leg” and “Taylor was done in by Eduardo’s speed.”  Taylor is the victim of the craft Eduardo and his lightning speed.

I have read reports that Taylor has apologized in person to Eduardo and now that Dudu has forgiven him.  If that’s true, Eduardo is a great man.  It takes a lot to forgive someone for something like that I can only think that Taylor must have made some very heartfelt gesture.  But I’ll probably never know, because instead of writing stories about what’s happened, the press are too busy spinning the story so they can “get at all angles” and today’s angle is “Britons Forgive ‘Shattered’ Taylor.”

In the end, I agree with Bendtner when he says that we need to put this behind us.  Just give us a few more days Nick…  Just a few more days.

Until then.

25
Feb
08

“Good news everyone!”

I felt such a huge relief when I read that Eduardo will be released from the hospital in just a few days that I just had to make a second post today. Furthermore, they are already giving a timeline for full recovery at 9 months. Which, if true, would be a really amazing comeback and more good news.

Hey. I just realized that that projected recovery schedule would put him available for next year’s busy holiday schedule. He’d be like a goal scoring Santa Claus except from Croatia, via Brazil.

Also, there have been a lot of well-wishers sending him positive messages. If you haven’t done so yet, do it on the Arsenal.com website.

25
Feb
08

the road ahead forks, which path do you take?

I really want us all as Arsenal supporters to move to the positive with the whole Eduardo incident. But it’s so fucking hard to be positive when so many people are being such shit heels about the whole incident. First off, there’s the Rooney Test which I honestly think should be applied to anything anyone does in English Football. Second, can we please, for the love of all that’s holy, stop with the hand wringing about Gallas and Wenger’s reaction? And finally, let’s not “put this behind us” but rather use this incident as we go forward.

To the first, the Rooney Test is a way to make sure you’re staying rational in a football argument. So, would Arsenal supporters be complaining this loudly if someone had broken Rooney’s leg? Not really, but I would like to think that we’d all be pointing to the incident as an illustration of football gone mad and calling for the same rules changes. I can only speak for myself, but I know I would. After all, I’ve been complaining about overly physical play now for years. But now imagine for a second if a Croatian defender had leveled the same tackle on Wayne Rooney during the Euro 2008 qualifier. The Croat in question is a really nice guy too, 3 kids, hard worker, good disciplinary record, etc. but he’s “just late” in the challenge and Rooney’s year is over, England are out of Euro 2008, Man U are down a key player, and Rooney may never play football again. Can’t you just see all the Birmingham supporters and Birmingham players leaping to defend a Croatian player? Can’t you see Steve Bruce saying “I don’t think it was really even a yellow card”? Or how about the Man U supporters calling for a calm reaction? No, of course you can’t see that! If it happens to Wayne Rooney, it’s just different. So, the Rooney Test is a valuable tool in understanding other people’s reaction to the incident: they are probably being provincial and almost certainly there’s a little racism and xenophobia at work.

But let’s take the analogy one step further. Could you see the match ending without some form of in game retaliation? Do you think for a second that Frank Lampard would have a calm post-match interview where he eruditely explained to all of Britain that he has forgiven the defender in question? Or how about when England are handed a harsh penalty at the end of the match and are kicked out of Euro 2008? Can’t you just see John Terry slowly and calmly walking over to the referee, while telling all the other players to stand down, so that he could have a private word with referee? You know, so that JT could better understand the decision — not dispute it. Fuck no. Wenger and Gallas play with the same level of passion that JT and Lamps play with: sometimes this translates into poor decisions and poor choice of words. But when the player apologizes or the manager takes back his words, that should be the end of it. We can all shake our heads and say “yeah, that was a rash thing to say [do] but given the circumstances I understand.” See, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to do. I’m still saying the FA needs to deal with on field petulance. But deal with it and maybe we’ll see less of it in the future. Because no one should see what happened at the Carling Cup finals of the last two years and think to themselves that “well, Gallas’ display was poor thus it’s OK for Chelsea to be cunts!” No, right now, more than ever, football need less cunts, not more.

And how do we move forward? First, you send an email to Eduardo. The club is collecting well wishes and will post them to his hospital room. As someone who suffered a horrendous injury and long hospital stay followed by a long recovery I can’t stress enough how important it is to get anything from the outside world, much less how uplifting it is to get well wishes. So, do it. And that means especially you Birmingham supporters. Put down the defenses for a moment and send a note to Eduardo. It’s what Taylor did. Second, Arsenal is a club. So let’s start acting like it. We need to support each other at this time too. When you see a fellow supporter lash out at someone try a little understanding first and if that doesn’t work, just let them be; we all heal at our own pace. Finally, we can support the squad that’s left on their goal of winning the season for Eduardo. I don’t mean “lay down reason” and support the squad at all costs, but if there was ever a time to try to rally around the few players we have left — now would be it. So, let’s all try to stay upbeat and positive in the coming months because the team needs us.

Cheers.

Oh yeah, one more thing, can we all stop saying “Eduardo broke his leg”? Whenever I see a press report about the incident it’s always put in that way. The correct phrase is “Taylor broke Eduardo’s leg.” I really think this is a case where semantics matter.

24
Feb
08

in retrospect

I joke around a lot about other players getting hurt. Or wishing for a career ending injury for a player. Or hoping that the earth opens up and swallows both teams and all their supporters. For Christ’s sake I have a picture of Diaby kicking John Terry’s head nearly off in the masthead of the site. But, no one in their right mind thinks that I actually wish that kind of harm on anyone, even someone as despicable as Joey Barton.

I also think that it’s very clear that there’s a huge difference between a supporter who thinks it’s funny to fantasize about a whole team getting ebola and a manager like Steve Bruce saying “He has mis-timed the tackle, and I’ve seen it. Some would say it is not even a yellow card.” Now, I know you are a dumb cunt Steve but let me show you a picture:

tackle

See there how Martin Taylor is A) over the ball B) lunging C) studs up? NOTE TO STEVE BRUCE: THERE ISN’T ANYTHING LEGAL ABOUT THAT TACKLE.

And isn’t that really the problem here? That the league, the managers, the referees, and the fans have let this happen? That they have encouraged this as an acceptable way for a lesser team to play a better team? I do. And I seriously doubt that the FA and the EPL and FIFA and UEFA are going to do shit about this.

How about, instead of whining about “foreigners” you teach your players how to move the ball? Or, instead of whining about how teams like Arsenal “get better calls” why don’t you get your players into shape by controlling their diet and, you know, actually exercising them. Look at what Juande Ramos has done for Tottenham or David Moyes for Everton. But it seems like the FA has said that it’s ok: instead of teaching your team how to play football, managers can simply tell them to go out there and “put a physical stamp on the game early.” And the referees allow it to happen. And the league sanctions it by giving the same punishment to Taylor as they do to Aliadiere. And the fans support it by saying that football is a rough game.

Arsenal supporters have seen this coming for a long while. For at least three years now Arsenal have fielded a team that valued movement and passing and athletic ability. And for three years now we’ve seen teams kick at their ankles. We’ve seen teams who have been told by their manager to go out and in the first three minutes to tackle someone hard or to physically intimidate Arsenal players during dead balls.

And until the FA or someone in charge does something about it, we’ll continue to see it. Because even in the game where Eduardo had his leg snapped clean off, that useless cunt Mike Dean let Birmingham play rough, tackle ankles and get away with dangerous play. And why shouldn’t he? Culturally, he’s taught that dangerous play is acceptable and that the way to beat a “skilled” team is to “play with heart” by tackling hard and physically intimidating your opponent.

That’s something that will take a generation to change.




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