Archive for September 13th, 2008

13
Sep
08

Fulha… I mean Blackburn 0-4 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good

There was a great atmosphere at Doyle’s today, there were about 30 people there to see Liverpool edge Man U 2-1 on tape delay and 3 of us Arsenal fans watching the other game. So, the three of us had a TV all to ourselves and no one there (openly) rooting for Arsenal to lose. I love just sitting with a few Arsenal fans, watching a game, and chatting about the game and about Arsenal — those are good times.

The only thing that makes 3 fans sitting around bullshitting about Arsenal more fun is when Arsenal dismantle their opponents which is exactly what happened today. So, the second “good” of the day is that Arsenal got a win, a complete win. 

I know that there was quite a bit of luck involved in today’s clean sheet but whenever a team gets a clean sheet it’s a “good thing.” So far now Arsenal have kept 3 clean sheets in the 4 league matches that they have played. Moreover, the club has kept 5 out of 6 clean sheets in all competitions and have scored 14 goals and only allowed 1. I know, it’s early, the competition hasn’t been too stiff, blah blah blah… it’s still 14-1 and you can’t ask for a better start to the season. Well, you could ask, but last year they started out conceding 3 goals and only scoring 12 and then went on to tear the league up. Regardless that they have lost a match, this is a great start, I’d even say that it’s a better start because defense wins championships. To compare teams for a second, last season’s champs have scored a paltry 4 goals and conceeded a whopping 4 in five competitions. They are also sitting in 13th place and have only managed 4 points from 3 games. The point is, this is a great start for Arsenal, well above most people’s expectations judging from the comments around the web.

Individually, Theo Walcott was just magnificent — hands down man of the match for me. My friend Alex was watching the game with us and said that he thinks that the number 14 jersey has some kind of magic for Arsenal. Man, I don’t know, but I do know that I saw the Theo Walcott that we have all been waiting for. He was selfish at the right times, ran his opponents off the pitch in the attack, and ran them down in defense. The only thing that would have made it a better performance would be if he’d have gotten the goal he deserved. As it was he’ll just have to settle for the spectacular run and assist that opened Arsenal’s account. 

Another great individual performance was put in by Denilson who I think showed a great deal of confidence and ability in the face of some strong opposition. Although he would have been to blame if Blackburn had scored a goal about mid way through the first half, all he did was quietly carry the water for the team and set up Adebayor’s first goal. It was a damn fine performance from a young man who is often overlooked. 

Another guy who just gets no respect is, today’s second best player, Adebayor. The other Arsenal supporter who was sitting with us is a guy I like a lot but who I think represents the feelings of a lot of fans: there’s nothing that Ade will ever do to win some people over. Score a hat trick? Not good enough, he should have scored 10. Yes, Ade was lazy, but HE SCORED THREE GOALS!! Good lord, what else does the man have to do? In the replays I could hear the supporters who were at the match singing, we should all be doing that with Adebayor, every game.

And finally, Jack Wilshere became the youngest player in Arsenal history to play for the team in the League (and Premiership) when he came on for Robin in the 80th minute. What’s even more amazing is that on his debut he set up Adebayor to score his 3rd goal of the night. I’d have to go back and look but it makes me wonder if he’s the youngest player to get an assist in the league as well — he’d have to be, wouldn’t he? I mean, youngest player to play in the league + gets an assist in his debut = youngest assist in the league, right?

As always, the goals are available at The Arsenalist click through if you missed any of the action today. Also, please click on of his sponsors, you know, to show your appreciation.

The Bad

When Arsenal win 4-0 it’s awfully hard to to find something bad. Usually, I pick on the ref in these cases, and so as to not let you down I’ll just say that giving Denilson a yellow card for that “handball” was mighty harsh. In fact, I thought the ref gave away quite a few poor calls; allowing Blackburn to put an overly strong physical stamp on the match with their obstructions, elbows to the face, and reckless shoulder charges (which inexplicably was called as a foul against Clichy.) Dean had a bad match, sorry.

The Eboue penalty was a bit of an odd call as well, it kind of looked like Eboue was diving in expectation of the contact, but that Warnock really did clatter him after the fact. Rovers fans might think it was a harsh call, and maybe it was a bit — I’m one of the first people to complain about that whole contact + simulation problem, but there’s no denying that Eboue was kicked as he was stretchered off the pitch.  

I’m probably not helping things with Adebayor by saying this, but, like Mike Dean, Ade seemed to be struggling today. He looked sluggish and lazy and was caught offside numerous times in the first half. The boss must have said something to him at half time because he was much brighter in the second half, often curling back behind the defense to stay onside. It is a testament to his importance and ability, though, that he scored a header in the dying minutes of the first half, despite his horror 45 minutes up to that point. And I loved watching young Theo go up to him, point a finger in his face and yell at him. I imagine he said “YOU’LL SCORE MORE GOALS IF YOU STAY ONSIDE GOD-DAMNIT!!!” Except given that Theo is such a clean living young man he probably said “GOSH DARNED IT YOU… GUY, YOU.” Before you jump on me about criticising Ade, please note that I turned that “bad” into a “good” by praising Adebayor’s sticktoitiveness and heartitude.

The Ugly

Adebayor’s dance, I’d appreciate it if he never did that “dance” again. What the hell was that thing anyway? He looked like a worm when I hook it, writhing around.  At least he didn’t kiss the badge.  (See how I expertly turn the negative into a positive???)

l can’t for the life of me understand why Mike Dean allowed Stephen Warnock to stand over Eboue and scream at him, probably calling him a cheat. Warnock did get a yellow card around that time, but since I watched the match with the sound off and none of the match reports I’ve found indicate why he got the yellow, I don’t know what happened exactly. Warnock could have, and under the new rules should have, gotten two yellow cards in that incident. Probably Mike Dean felt it would have been harsh to award a penalty and send the player off at the same time, we’ll probably never know.

I also hate seeing Eboue stretchered off. My loyal reader knows that I can’t really stand Eboue, but this squad is thinner than cat slobber and with Rosicky’s “hamstring” problem now turning into a “knee” problem (I shudder to say this but) we need Eboue — he also had a decent game, for Eboue. Hopefully, his injury is not too much of a problem.

And that’s it for today, I’m sure we’ll see lots of negativity about the Eboue call tomorrow, but for today let’s all just bask in the glory of a 4-0 win!

Ashita!

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