Archive for December 11th, 2008

11
Dec
08

Porto 2-0 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and Ugly

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: Below-par Arsenal slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Porto to leave themselves with a tougher path towards Champions League glory.

Telegraph: Arsenal’s inability to raise their game in matches they are expected to win manifested itself in Portugal on Wednesday night. And the defeat means that Arsene Wenger’s side, previously unbeaten in Europe and having beaten Porto 4-0 at home, finished as runners-up to the Portuguese, a point behind.

Quote of the Day:

We have seen our weaknesses from when we were in a position where we had to come out at the back and put them under pressure, because we lost balls where you cannot afford to lose balls and we were in trouble.

In the last 20 minutes, they were dangerous every time we lost the ball and we were not effective enough up front. — Arsene Wenger

The Good

…uhhh, well, no one booed Eboue, I think. I guess he even went over to the traveling fans and threw them his shirt, revealing an undershirt that said “Our God is Great.” Ugh, he’s a religious fanatic too?

This match was just so poor that the best thing was how the team played the kickoff directly to Eboue (which he turned over). YAY! It was like when you find out that your favorite puppy at the pound didn’t get put under.

Djourou looked good too, if I had to pick, he would have been Arsenal’s man of the match. But I don’t want to pick him because I’m afraid you’ll all Senderos him.

The Bad

I feel horrible for the fans who had to travel to Portugal, pay for the match, put up with being searched, the lack of beer, and all the other hassels to see Arsene Wenger field a Carling Cup team. They should get some kind of discount, at least on the ticket price. I mean Mark fucking Randall played, this is a player who is barely ready to play in the Carling Cup and you’re going to throw him on in a Champions League match???

No.

Arsene Wenger went to Portugal with the idea that he was going to rest his stars and get some experience for his youth players because this game didn’t matter. Well, I hope that the 4,000 traveling fans at least had a nice night out in Portugal (as T-Town Alex pointed out) there must be some great seafood there and we all know about their famous fortified wine.

Second, this performance should finally put to bed the notion that the Carling Cup kids are ready for the rigors of a full campaign. Please stop, I can hear you typing out a response about what a cocksandwich I am for attacking the Young Ones. I’m not attacking them. I love them. Their touch is just incredible: at times it’s like having 10 Ibrahimovich’s on the pitch. But they aren’t ready and there’s nothing wrong with that. Wilshere’s only 16 for God’s sake!

The Ugly

Which should I pick?  There were so many things that were ugly: the first goal, the fact that Arsenal only had 3 shots on goal, the way the team gave up, or Wenger’s insistence that they just needed to keep more posession?

Let’s start with the fact that Arsenal still have no clue how to defend the dead ball. Last night, Alves traipsed into the Arsenal defense, rose into the air unchallenged, and placed the ball into the net. It looked like a training ground exercise. Diaby was there, gazing up in awe at Alves’ magnifiicence, but I couldn’t tell who was supposed to be marking Alves. Whoever it was, Diaby certainly couldn’t be arsed to fucking head the ball away.

Or how about this one: Arsenal had 58% of the possession and 31% of the shots. How does a team with such a clear ability to keep the ball, manage just 3 meagre shots on goal: 1 shot per 30 minutes??? What are we Sheffield United all the sudden? Someone needs to remind them that the point of the game is to score goals and not just to pass the ball around. In fact, it’s getting to the point where all this passing is not as beautiful to me as it once was. Maybe I’m just angry right now, but I’m sick and tired of all these “slick moves” and “great balls” that lead to nothing.

But hey, according to Wenger, they just needed MORE posession. Not more goals, or even more shots, MORE POSESSION.

Final Thoughts

Arsenal play ‘Boro on Saturday and it looks like we’ll get back the first team. Maybe The Dutch Chocolate can unleash a barrage of right footed shots and by “barrage” I mean 2, it would be 66% of the shots that Arsenal managed to put on goal last night.

Next up in the Champions League is one of these five:

AS Roma
Panathinaikos
FC Barcelona
Bayern Munich
Juventus

And since we only managed 2nd place, we have to play the first leg at home. I have a bad feeling that we are going to get Barcelona. We’ll see I guess.

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