Archive for September 18th, 2008

18
Sep
08

Chicken Kyiv v. Turkey Arsenal: the good, bad, and ugly

The Good

Arsenal didn’t lose!

Theo Walcott was not given a permanent injury!

Seriously, it is difficult to take anything good from the game when Arsenal played so poorly but I did see a few things that I liked; I liked William Gallas’ “never say die” attitude and I liked Eboue’s late performance.

After gifting Kyiv pretty much every goal scoring opportunity, William Gallas pulled it together long enough to be at the far post when Theo’s cross missed everyone on the pitch. Way to rescue the point that you nearly gave up, cap.

I also thought (*gulp*) Eboue really brought some energy to the game when he came on. Pardon me, having said that I now have to go WASH MY BRAIN OUT WITH SOAP.

Did I mention that Arsenal didn’t lose?

The Bad

Arsenal’s defense was just bad. Kyiv had several wide open goal attempts and if they had been a team with any talent those shots would have bothered our keeper. Instead they bothered the corner flag more than Almunia. Regardless, I said it yesterday; I wanted the defense to show that they deserved those clean sheets that they have kept as of late. I wanted to see Arsenal earn a clean sheet yesterday through hard work and talent instead of the luck that we have had this season. Instead, they literally allowed a team that had absolutely no intention of going forward, much less scoring, have as many shots on goal as we did and worse, gave up a goal. So much for all those lucky clean sheets, eh?

Cesc looked like he had a rather pedestrian game (for his standards). I got a lot of negative feedback last season when I said that Flamini provided cover for Cesc but last night showed that to be true. Last night, not only did he look off, with the exception of one beautiful pass, but he looked like he was the one providing cover for Song. A more experienced, more talented defensive midfielder would have made life a lot easier for Fabregas and opened the game up quite a bit. But we don’t have that guy and I have to hope that Song gets solid ground under his feet quickly or this team is really going to struggle this year.

I could possibly put the performance down to Cesc being tired, he certainly looked jaded when he missed a three foot sitter in the first half or as he passed the ball poorly all night. I really hope he’s not too tired, Arsenal need him on Saturday — there’s no one else available to cover his spot. In fact, Arsenal need him every game which, after just a handful of games, is very clearly a problem.

Adebayor has also had a very rough start to the season and last night had to be one of his roughest games. I’m just going to say that for some reason he looked, well… disinterested. I’ve seen this happen to athletes before, especially after a prolonged contract battle. If we’re going to lose Adebayor mentally I’d rather we lost him now than in January; at least if we lose him early in the season someone else can come along a get their season off to a good start. Mentally, something just isn’t there with the big fella right now and his glaring miss in front of goal is all the proof of that that I need.

My other big problem is that Arsene got the draw he wanted. When you talk about a draw being a good result then a draw is all you can expect, really. And when you play a 4-5-1 with a clearly disinterested and discombobulated Adebayor as the lone striker a draw is all you’re ever going to get. Never mind that Arsenal played a 4-2-4 at the end of the match (seriously), which netted a goal (from the defense?) in the last few minutes. It took Wenger 70 minutes and a horrible goal by the opposition to realize that Arsenal have to score goals. I chalk that up to just plain self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t set up a draw as a good outcome and expect a win.

The Ugly

Well, the goal was ugly. Both goals were ugly actually.

The Kyiv goal was a cheeky little affair where the striker clearly pulled Sagna on top of him and flailed around as he was falling down in order to simulate a foul. But the ref didn’t see it that way and that happens, it seems to happen to us a lot but that could just be me suckling from the bitter teat. It happens. Good teams, championship teams, overcome poor refereeing decisions. Championship teams don’t put themselves in a position where one bullshit call can make or break their entire run. Championship teams score 3 foot open sitters to give themselves the lead so that the opposition has to play a more open and attacking style of football and then they eviscerate their opponents on the counter. Yesterday I did not see a championship team and I don’t care that the ref got the call wrong, or that it was bad luck. That’s how I saw it.

The goal we scored was an ugly goal as well. Theo’s cross was perfect, however it is the perfect encapsulation of Adebayor’s game last night that he missed that open goal scoring opportunity only to have William Gallas — who was flying his Captain’s armband upside down in an obvious signal of distress — walk the ball into the goal.

Of course Kyiv uglied up the game by being overly physical with Theo. Of course they wasted time at the end. Of course they made a substitution on the 90th minute and it took 3 minutes to complete. What did you expect? Kyiv to have Arsenal over as dinner guests and stand back and clap as they raped the net?

I could complain about the referee here, but what’s the point? Arsenal should have won the game on their own accord, complaining that the referee’s watch was minutes faster than everyone else’s won’t put the ball in the next from 3 feet out…Cesc. It’s kind of ugly to see the manager and players complaining about the refereeing after the match. Suck it up, you went there to get a draw and you got what you went there for.

Maybe next time you can go for, you know, A WIN? We have another bite at the apple on Saturday when we travel “oop norf” to take on the Dynamo Kyiv of the English Premier League; notloB.

See you tomorrow, I have a busy day today; with the U.S. financial system “overextended” I have to go take all my money out of the bank and hide it in the back yard, in jars. I hear that Mason Jars are currently giving a 5% APR.

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