Archive for October 31st, 2008


Stoke v. Arsenal; no rest for the wicked

Spooky Rachel Ray!

Spooky Rachel Ray!

Good morning cocksandwiches, and a happy Halloween to all of you, if you’re in to that sort of thing. Tomorrow, Arsenal travel to the windy hinterland and take on Stoke City in the Brittania stadium, which, given the fallout from the Tottenham debacle is quite frightening. Scarier than the thought of locking lips with Rachel Ray’s joker-esque smile!

While Spurs had gathered at midfield to circle jerk over their “victory” and plan the parade and which memorabilia they would auction off — uhhh, really? wow, you know you are a pack of losers when you are buying memorabilia from a draw in a league match — I guess there was some sort of fight in the Arsenal dressing room. Since the whole team is French they were arguing about, what else, who’s to blame for their surrender. Joking aside, I think a huge blowout argument was needed in this club because I suspect that people were walking on eggshells around William Gallas and that only ever ends with a huge argument.

Unsurprisingly, Captain Fantastic’s response to the criticism was to go all in and surrender the next two weeks to a “hamstring injury.” As soon as I saw the news report that Gallas and Eboue were being ruled out for injury I suspected that there was more to the story. Now, I know that I’m “making shit up” here with William Gallas, because the official line is that he’s injured, but pretty much everyone thinks that this injury is fake and a good excuse for Arsene to make some changes at the back.

Going even further, according to some reports Wenger wants to make changes all over with Adebayor, Nasri, Denilson, Eboue, Gallas, and the tea-lady all being blamed for the draw. This just highlights the uncertainty in the press and among fans because of the media blackout at Arsenal right now. I don’t blame the club for doing that, either, it’s better not to let Stoke City gear up for whatever crazy ass squad we’ll release on them Saturday.  Maybe Havard Nordtveit will get a run out what with him being recalled from Salamanca?

That’s a joke, people.

Maybe Adebayor’s being included in the group of death because the outspoken (and largely unpredictable) target man spoke out of church when he said:

To be champions in this way? You can never be a champion. There is a lot of disappointment. We are down at the moment because we did everything to get the three points and we ended up with one. We feel very sorry for ourselves that the things are not going the right way. It was one of the most difficult games in my life because I cannot understand that after 90 minutes we were leading 4-2 – I don’t know how we finished with a draw. It’s very easy to give up because we were 4-2 up and maybe thinking the game was finished. With five, six or seven minutes to go, maybe in our head the game was over.

For once, I think the big Togo-ian has got it 100% right. But still, Arsene’s not a fan of criticism in the press, plus he’s being hailed as one of the experienced players and thus should have stepped up to the plate, according to “a source.”

Anyway, tomorrow’s a big game. Yes I know it’s against Stoke and there they are at the bottom of the table but so was Tottenham and Stoke has to think they can get one or even all three off us in our current condition.  They are going to come out balls to the wall, try to exploit our weakness on set plays (with Rory Delap tossing the ball in from crazy distances and the wind swirling in the stadium making it hard to judge) and harass and frustrate to see if they can’t get Arsenal to crack emotionally.

Arsene’s job right now is to make sure that this team plays together and weathers the coming storm: Stoke will try to take it to us, no doubt. Also of no doubt is that this team needs to turn a corner tomorrow morning and pull out a win or the season is well and truly done — and it’s not even November, Jesus, that’s what it feel like to be a Liverpool supporter for the last 20 years?

Right, Arsenal are on Shitanta here in the states and so that means Doyle’s for me.  The game is at 3pm GMT which would normally mean a 7am kickoff but since George W. Bush even fucked up the time here in the states we’re an hour off of the rest of the world and kickoff shall commence at 8am sharpish. All you locals should be there for coffee and breakfast sandwhiches and lets show our support!

I just wanted to mention two more things; first, I was talking to T-Town Alex and told him about the heatmaps that several of the big stats gathering places are producing (so that you can see where a player was playing largely) and it turns out that has gotten into the swing and is making their own. It’s kind of fascinating to see where the players were playing because it really reveals more of what’s going on under the hood. For example, when you hear me say that I think Arsenal really play a 4-3-3 that evidence is backed up by the heatmap there that shows Theo in a very advanced role on the right side.  Anyway, you should check it out it’s pretty cool.

And finally, I want to mention that David Bentley has now taken to bragging about the goal. Not only is he auctioning off his shoes and jock-strap, but now he’s bragging that Clive of India told him that Almunia came off his line too much. Well, Bentley, you know you’re a real winner when the best moment of your life is a lucky shot in a 4-4 league match.

See you all tomorrow!

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October 2008