Arsenal 4-0 FC Twente; the good, bad, and ugly

Before we get started with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly I just want to briefly say that there may have been some misunderstanding on the part of my new readers and I want to clear that misunderstanding up.  This overall negative theme that crept into the blog this week is an aberration.  Generally speaking I am a solid supporter of the team and the boss and generally speaking I back them both 98% of the time.  Of course, I call a spade a spade, as we say here in the USA, an I will call a player or even the manager to task if needed but generally speaking I try to remain positive.

I think that what happened last week was that Arsenal suffered such an ugly loss that I just got a little, well, Emo.  A lot of Arsenal blogs did!

The point is that whenever you read me criticizing the team I want you to take it with the understanding that I genuinely mean well, I fully support the team, and if I offer criticism it should be taken as constructive criticism.  As in, “I’m tired of Gallas” translates to “I wish I could walk a mile in William Gallas’ shoes and then I could understand him better but then I would be tired from walking a mile.”

Ok, no it doesn’t.  I have an ongoing dislike of both Gallas and Eboue, what can I say, they give me the Willies.  But other than those two?  I LOVE ARSENAL!  Never forget it.

Secondly, I want to give a shout out to The Arsenalist, he always has the highlights from the matches: go there, click some sponsors, and watch the highlights if you missed them.

Thirdly, I want to briefly touch on transfer news as it seems that The World’s Least Reliable News Source is linking Arsenal to some dude.  I don’t know who this dude is except that he’s the next Owen Hargreaves by way of Holland cum Canadia or something.  I kind of rather doubt this story because A) it’s The Sun and B) Arsene Wenger said this about the midfield situation after the match

I think Denilson had a good game tonight. We have as well Aaron Ramsey – for me he will be a very good player – and we have Alex Song and we have Abou Diaby. Even Nasri can play central but we have to see.

Sounds like a manager who feels like he’s stacked with players, not like someone who is looking to buy.  But if it happens then, huzzah, everyone will be happy until Arsenal lose again.

And finally, Senderos has stated that the loan to Milan is a “dream come true.”  These are not the words of someone who is coming home at the end of the loan period.  Nope.  I fear that the only way he’ll come back to Arsenal is if he’s a flop of Baptista proportions.  In which case we won’t want him, still.  Good luck big Phil, you were a loyal servant and you deserve a chance to shine.

Enough of that stuff… on with the show.

The Good

Any time a team wins 4-0 the whole damn game can be called good.  And Arsenal really, really were good yesterday.  Whether it was the clarion call of Cesc Fabregas making a reappearance in the middle of the park, or the team just wanting to make up for Saturday’s debacle, or a combination of both, whatever it was, Arsenal shimmered last night.

Top of the list, though, has to be Theo Walcott.  He just looked like he was in another gear out there.  Running past, over, under, and around the Twente back four and midfield he was quite literally unstoppable.  I think though, as nice as the goal was my favorite part about Theo’s performance last night was that Twente would try to put in a crunching tackle on him and more than once he was knocked completely to the ground, only to get up, pick up the ball and continue his run.  That’s a footballer.  Every player in every league should play like that.  No more of this “I feel contact, I go down” crap.

A great goal, great dribbles on the defense, great passes, and perseverance in the face of the enemy earns Theo Walcott Man of the Match.

Nasri also could have earned himself Man of the Match yesterday had he not needed to be substituted at half time with some kind of stomach bug.  He scored the first goal and, even more importantly, had put in a great effort in the first half.   Already Nasri has more goals in two games than Hleb had in three years at Arsenal.  I kid, a little.  Nasri already has half as many goals (2) as Hleb did in all of last year (4) and I swear half as many shots as well (not really, but Hleb only shot 25 times in all competitions last year).

The only thing I would say?  He needs to shoot a little earlier!  On the goal he scored there was a moment where he was wide open, in control of the ball it was on his left foot and the whole net was in front of him.  Incredibly, he dribbled in to the defender before he shot and the ball went in despite the deflection.  I’m not faulting him on the goal.  Just encouraging him to shoot earlier and more often!

It was good to see Cesc back even if he did look rusty.  I’m sure he’ll be fitter for this weekend’s clash against The Keegans having gotten 66 minutes under his belt.

And finally, honorable mention goes to William Gallas.  Sigh.  He worked hard the whole match, didn’t throw a single tantrum, scored a goal and after a week of criticism he was swamped by his teammates during the goal celebration.  That was a great show of unity by the team.  Maybe Wenger has got it right that this team has great spirit and that they were just tired last week?  I see a ray of hope here and am standing by ready to eat my Cuffley Cap if Gallas turns in a great season as Arsenal captain.

The Bad

Obviously, van Persie’s howler was the low light of the match. I was watching it on ESPN Deportes and since it was in Spanish the bar decided to play oldies music over the top of the match instead of match commentary.  So, what I saw looked like stoppage of play and van Persie missing a petulant kick.  But no, that was an actual attempt at goal.  Owch.  I think Robin is suffering from “too cute-ism” right now.  He missed several chances yesterday all of which should have been on goal and yet were wide of the mark.  Don’t try to be too cute, just put the ball in the net.  It’s simple really.

Also, not to get overly negative but, the midfield struggled a bit when Eboue came on for Nasri and Theo moved to the left.  I know that they scored three goals after that happened  but I thought they immediately got less creative and Theo had to work harder to get the ball to the strikers.

Finally, Song in midfield was pretty much a wash.  He didn’t do anything good and didn’t do anything bad: unless you count his giant mane of hair which was a crime against humanity.

The Ugly

FC Twente: they tried to ugly up the game and I swore that someone was going to get hurt because of their hamfisted tactics.  I know it is all they could do but I’m still going to call them out for it.

Also, the referee could have called the game tighter and he was lucky that Twente didn’t hurt anyone.  It’s not that they were dirty, just desperate and bad tackles are born of desperation.  The ref should have put an end to it early on when Tiote tackled someone from behind.  Sure he awarded the free kick but the player got away with just a warning when a yellow was clearly merited.  Tiote then went on to commit like eleventy billion fouls before getting a yellow and could have hurt several Arsenal players along the way.

The ref should have done better.

And that’s that for today.  I’ll be back tomorrow.  Let me just leave you with this remark by Arsene Wenger about Theo Walcott

I feel you have to be patient with Theo, I always say that. He can be decisive in any game against anybody if the team has a good collective display and if you can get him involved. He has improved his first touch, his link play, and that was a vital stage for him. Then without losing his one against one ability, he has worked on his control on the move and looks now to have found the balance between individual play and team play. He is a good finisher. What he did today is really the brand of a good finisher and you cannot teach that. He has that naturally.

Heady praise there — and well earned.


3 Responses to “Arsenal 4-0 FC Twente; the good, bad, and ugly”

  1. 1 Galveston Gooner
    August 28, 2008 at 7:24 am

    I too was watching a non-english broadcast (i think mine was in dutch…) and wasn’t sure RVP’s wide left was an actual shot at first…unreal. only thing i disagree with in your post is song’s hair…that mane is superfly! bendy was frustrating to me as usual with his flashes of brilliance and moments of ineptitude…i swear one minute he is tripping over the ball, the next he’s playing a pretty backheel into theo….to his credit, he got on the scoresheet even if that was all denilson. keep up the good work on the blog, one of my favorites, i like hearing from another american gooner!

  2. 2 CaribKid
    August 28, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Just a few points I would like to make on this victory:

    1) Theo can be brilliant when he is at his best and dreadful at his worst. The fact is he is only 19 and having started the game seriously at an advanced age, he is still very inconsistent. In 2-3 years from now he has the potential to become a great player, but for now he is unable to impose himself on games when needed, especially in the EPL.

    The conundrum which faces Arsene now is whether to rely on Walcott on a daily basis or use him as a super sub and strategically giving him starts where the situation calls for it. Obviously, Arsene has decided to force feed him and the results may be ugly at times and cost Arsenal points which we can not afford to lose in the drive for the EPL championship.

    2) Bendtner like Walcott to some extent is an enigma, at his best he is fantastic and at his worst, resembles a bumbling snail with two left feet. His supposed pass to Theo was obviously not intentional and in fact, was the direct result of a mangled attempt to control the ball. Again, it’s probably due to his young age and maybe in time he will become a great striker. Once again, can we afford to have him as a main striker this year and hope to win hardware.

    3) RVP has not looked like the RVP of old since he came back from injuries last season and it Can’t be attributed to a lack of games as he was involved in the last month of last season, the Euros during the early summer, the Arsenal Pre-season and the start of this campaign. Although healthy, he has lost his movement, first touch, usually dazzling free kick abilities and clinical finishing. Hopefully this is just a lack of confidence which can be rebuilt quickly as he will be very instrumental in defining failure or success in our season.

    4) While it’s great for our confidence, let’s not get overly excited about our 4-0 victory over a over matched, Dutch league, young, FC Twente side missing their top 3 players either due to injury or suspension and playing away from home. Our squad as currently constituted is more suited to compete in the CL rather than the EPL and the strengths we display in the initial CL stages could easily become a negative on the local front.

    I am not being negative here, but trying to be objective and rational and hope we do acquire more players in August which will enable us to compete on all fronts.

  3. 3 goon case
    August 28, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    nice site u got , nice writing.

    to me seeing song’s smooth early passes felt good.
    and seeing eboue’s magical turn of the ball into space only for bendtner to waste a shot but the replay showed only the shot felt painful.

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