Archive for November 6th, 2008


Arsenal 0-0 Fener; the Good, Bad, and Ugly


The Good

Overcoming illness and injury Arsenal deputized Lucas Fabianski in goal, Aaron Ramsey on the right wing, Kolo Toure at right back, and Johan Djourou as center back and they kept a clean sheet. According to reports Almunia had a gut check before the match and came up sick (ok, so he had a stomach illness) so, Lucas Fabianski came in. It’s only one performance but I thought he did ok. He’s a bit antsy and of course since he’s only, what, 12 years old?, he made some mistakes at back but I like his agression; he came out and punched away some balls that I’ve seen Almunia allow to drop.  So, good to him,

Rambo, on the other hand looked like a terror. Injuries to Theo, Eboue, and Rosicky meant that Arsenal were left short handed there on the right and so Wenger took a chance and put Aaron Ramsey in there. Even though he only played 60 minutes, he was all over the field defending, attacking, opening up spaces, and terrifying poor old Roberto ‘Grandpa’ Carlos. He wasn’t perfect; his final ball was some times not of an Arsenal quality, and he had a wide open left footed shot which he instinctively switched back to the right and allowed the Fener defence to recover and easily smother, and his productivity did drop off quite precipitously in the second half but overall this kid has real quality and was one of the few bright spots on the team.

Kolo teamed up with Rambo on the right and honestly, I think that spot suits him better than central defense. His heat map on the right side is absolutely amazing.

Maybe it was the fact that Djourou had such a good game that makes me feel so good about Kolo on the right, I dunno. I do know that Djourou looked like a pretty good stopper back there, but that’s against a team that rarely attacked, how will he handle the pressure of a team like Man U? He’s almost certain to get a game now that Silvestre has been ruled out with a broken nose. Footballers should be allowed to wear that hockey mask thing and play with broken noses.

Speaking of injuries, I wonder how many Senderos haters wishes he was back at the team right now? I guarantee he would get a game right now and he’s easily as good as Djourou. Oh well, there’s no chance of that now, no use crying over red cards, right?

The Bad

Robin van Persie had another one of those games.. you know the ones that everyone accuses Adebayor of having: one of those “6 shots and no goals” games. At least he looked like he wanted to be there unlike his cameo against Stoke. Well, he sort of looked like he wanted to be there.

The question now is what will Arsene do on Saturday? RvP is mercurial and that means an occasional brilliant goal and at least someone up front who will challenge their back four. Bendtner looks like he’s going to be the only ‘seasoned’ striker available on Saturday and in this game he was completely lost.

And, of course, in what is quickly becoming the story of the season, Arsenal suffered yet another injury in defense. Senturk broke Mikael Silvestre’s nose and now he’s a doubt for Saturday. If he is actually ruled out, we should be real happy that Arsene rested Sagna today, we’re going to need him on Saturday as Christianochester come to the Emirates and try to steal three points.

Hey, another good that came from the game is that Arsenal are still top of their Champions League group and another point closer to qualification. Up next is a home match to Dynamo Kiev, three points there and we’ll certainly get into the knock out stages.

The Ugly

Man, that was an empty stadium wasn’t it? Hell, if I knew it was so easy to get tickets to these matches I might change my travel plans and go nearer my birthday every year. Then I could see two matches on one trip! Fly in on Friday, see a Saturday EPL match then bum around on Sunday and Monday, see a Champions League match on Tuesday and fly out the next day.  That would be awesome.

Who is this directed toward?

So, why wasn’t anyone at the match? Moreover, what the hell were you losers doing booing the club? What the hell did they do wrong? The first half was very entertaining and if the second half was less so you can put that down to the fact that Arsenal were tired from playing three grueling matches in 7 days.

Of course they missed some chances, but that’s football. You’re going to get some 0-0 draws. Some of you Arsenal ‘supporters’ are beginning to sound like Americans: next up you’ll want a goal to count for 7 points or something. Sure, the end of the match was frustrating but it’s not like the club just sat back and took the draw, they were still attacking all the way until the last minute. I’ve seen far more boo-worthy Champions League matches than this, trust me.

A little perspective people…

Also in the ugly category is the ongoing saga between Arsene Wenger and Tony Pulis. Now the FA are going to get involved, because you know that makes sense. When a Stoke player calls Arsenal players cowards that’s ok, but when Arsene Wenger defends those players by pointing out that Stoke players were the real cowards since they physically attacked players from behind who aren’t even on the pitch. In that case, it is fully expected that The FA would charge Arsene. I mean, he’s clearly in the wrong (eye roll).

If you read the blog a lot then you know that I think this is purely a French thing. The English have never gotten over the fact that the French occupied their country and forced them all to speak French for hundreds of years. So, in some sense the English are French, thus I put this down to a sort of national self loathing. All you have to do is look at the fact that a good “Englishman” like Sir Alex Ferguson is allowed to say far more incendiary things about his opponents and how they act like a bunch of cheats and no one blinks an eye. But as soon as Arsene makes an impassioned defense of his team who are routinely kicked off the pitch, the English speaking press get all bent out of shape and start calling him a sore loser and whatnot.

Get bent.

His criticism is right on and if you really want to know what he’s saying, read it here, I have better things to do with my life than respond further to people who write as if they just scrawled a blog on some toilet paper as they were waiting on the john.

I fully expect Arsene Wenger to be made an example of and banned from English Football for life, it’s the only fair thing to do. After all, he’s criticizing good Englishmen!

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