Archive for April 3rd, 2008

03
Apr
08

1 nil to the Arsen… damnit…

That’s a penalty

The boss is right. That was a penalty. The Liverpool supporters saw it, the Arsenal supporters saw it, the commentators saw it, both teams saw it… In fact, everyone saw it except Kuyt and his childhood buddy, the ref. Actually, the ref did see it. Which is what leads me to believe that Hleb’s reputation as a diver kept Arsenal from getting the call.

Still, that’s no excuse for a 1-1 draw.

On a night when Arsenal dominated every aspect of the game for 89 minutes, for just 1 minute Flamini missed his tackle and Liverpool scored. 1 shot. 1 goal.

The night started well, Liverpool had just signaled their intent at 22 seconds when Gerrard hoofed the ball to Babel but time and again Arsenal dealt with the direct play. The defense was winning possession, the midfield was moving the ball, the forwards were keeping possession, van Persie had a shot on goal; textbook Arsenal.

More great ball movement led to a corner.  Then, through some slight of foot between van Persie and Cesc, the ball was played in to Adebayor who nodded the ball home. He was so wide open and the ball so perfectly placed it looked as if it was a training ground exercise.

I was still excited by the goal and urging the boys on when a few seconds of lapsed concentration and BOOM. Steven Gerrard makes a run at the Arsenal defense, puts in a cross, and Clichy puts the ball in the net. The team went limp.

Wenger put it this way:

We were unsettled by their equaliser. We’d scored the first goal and, when we conceded, I felt straight away that was like a thunderstorm going through the team. We lost composure and nerves a little bit.

Arsenal really did look shell shocked immediately after the goal and I felt certain that Liverpool would grab another goal and put the season to bed. But Arsenal called on those infamous “resources” and held onto the match before closing out the first half.

Now, I want to know what’s going on in the locker room at half time. Because this is the second game that Arsenal have been down at the half only to come out and terrorize the opposition.  I bet he just reminds them of how fucking good they are and how they need to be proud of what they’ve done this season.  We’ll never really know, but that’s what I’m imagining.

Theo replaced van Persie, who had injured his thigh again (AAAAAAAGGGGGGHHH), and Arsenal suddenly looked like they were playing some new formation. I honestly don’t know what was going on but I saw Hleb in the middle more, Flamini up front a lot, and Walcott blazing around the pitch taking shots and creating havoc.

Then Hleb got dragged down. Which we’re not going to belabor.

The key moment of the match, though, was when Liverpool brought on a 5th defender: Bendtner. It was a brilliant move by Benitez to sub Bendtner for Eboue as his goal line save of Fabregas’ shot was the moment of the night.

After that, Arsenal threatened but Liverpool hung on. Credit to them for defending well.

And that’s it, that’s the story. Liverpool came to do a job and they did it. Sure, the ref missed the call, but honestly? Arsenal conceded a sloppy goal — which is why here in America we say “defense wins championships.”

It was a great match though and I fully expect Arsenal to win the return trip on Tuesday.

I’m sure there will be a metric assload of stories today, can’t wait to read what the pundits have to say. Let me guess “Venomous Wenger Vents On Vink!”

We’ll know more about van Persie sometime today or tomorrow, until then.

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03
Apr
08

Seattle to get Henry?

 

The rumor mill is working overtime on a story that would see Thierry Henry come to Seattle FC to finish his career.  As much as my first reaction was “holy shit that would be cool!” I really hope this doesn’t happen.

I can’t see what kind of impact he’ll have.  He’s a washed up old striker, who’s French, who relatively few people know and who would be playing on a team full of wannabes.  Did I mention that he’s French?  Americans love the French almost as much as the British love the French!

Yes, he’ll be playing against the best pub league defenders the world has ever seen but his once great ability has looked quite lost since he left Arsenal.  This isn’t the same Henry who terrorized the opposition defenses during Arsenal’s unbeaten run.  Also, his temperament isn’t right for this sort of thing.  This is a man who had a hard time playing with Arsenal’s super kids last year, does he really think he has the patience to play with some of the world’s worst players?  And what kind of service can he expect?  And… never mind, I could go on and on. but I’ll spare you.

It’s a bad move if it’s true.

What the MLS needs is a Flamini on every team not a Beckham on every team.  Someone who will be a solid foundation, a team player, highly skilled, super athletic, and act as the engine of the team.  THEN bring on Henry.

Too bad it looks like MLS is going the route of the NBA; superstars for superstars sake.




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