Archive for March 4th, 2009


Arsenal Lite 1-3 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and Ugly

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: Bendtner Bags Brace. Bendtner Ends Arsenal Drought

The Independent: Rampaging Bendtner Leaves Albion Reeling

Match Video

The Arsenalist didn’t put up any match videos today so I hope everything is ok with him. In his absence, you’ll have go to 101 Great Goals, which ought to be renamed 73 Crappy Javascripts 25 Goals and 3 Great Goals.

Man of the Match

I have to swallow my dislike of the player, and put aside my pride, and give MotM to Bendtner. That first trickly, slow-mo, bullshit, lucky-ass goal gifted by Albion’s nightmare defending was so utterly surprising that I sat there with beer in hand, jaw open, and waited for the goal to be called off. There’s no way that the defender could be that poor, the keeper be so out of position, and the ball trickle so slowly across the face of goal and have no one get in front of it. It was simply incredible, a miracle, if you will.

But what sealed man of the match wasn’t the first miraculous goal, but the fact that for the first time in a dog’s year Bendtner received a long pass and struck a good goal on the volley. Normally that’s the kind of shot he’ll put into the upper deck. A second miracle and man of the match.

After the match, the boss released a joint statement with Bendtner and his Father/Agent which read “Nicklas is bigger than Thierry Henry, Jesus, and cigarettes all rolled into one. We expect sainthood following this match because both goals could be considered miracles.”

Seriously, the boss did praise the player after the match and Bendtner did have a good first half, but Wenger hailing him as “improved” is a bit of a stretch. Sure he can score against the Albion’s, Argyle’s, and United’s (Sheffield) of the world but let’s not get carried away; he’s man of the match, but his record this year proves that he’s still crap. In fact, he scored bigger, more important goals against stiffer competition last season, he’s got a long way to go before I’d label him “improved.”

Irregardless, congrats Nicklas, don’t spend all the good will in one place.

The Good

Depending how you look at it, Arsenal have been unbeaten in 16 matches in all competitions in a stretch that goes back to a 2-0 loss to Porto in December or, Arsenal have been unbeaten in 14 league matches in a stretch that goes back to a 3-0 loss to Man City in November. Either way, that streak was kept alive yesterday.

But better than just keeping the streak alive, Arsenal scored! I can’t tell you how stoked I am that Arsenal scored 3 goals.

10 matches left in the league and Arsenal have a really easy schedule coming up. If they continue playing like yesterday against these lower teams and are able to eek out draws (or better) against Liverpool, Chelsea and Man U in April and May we could see the unbeaten run extended to 24 league matches. If that happens, I’m sure we’ll secure 4th. 10 draws won’t do it, mind you, but a good mix of wins and draws will certainly do it.

As for the players, before picking up an undefined “calf” injury Toure had a great match; scoring one and putting in the long ball that Bendtner miracled into the net.

Arshavin was, well, pretty much (aside from Jesus Bendtner) the only player with any class in the Arsenal attack yesterday. His vision, footballing awareness, passing ability, and assuredness with the ball are exactly what this team needs. Further, that ball he put in to Toure from the set play was magnificent and another piece of the Arsenal puzzle that has been missing all season. At least, it feels that way since I haven’t seen a decent ball off a set play for Arsenal all season, much less a ball that was so perfect that even Toure couldn’t screw up the header.  I don’t care who’s on the pitch, Arshavin should be taking every set piece. I say that fully understanding that it’s damn early to be saying something like that and knowing I will incur the wrath of Cesc’s supporters. I don’t care, I’m that excited by the fact that Arsenal scored from a dead ball.

And though no one will agree with me, I have to give honorable mention to Denilson. Denilson had another great match bossing the midfield. He was especially effective after our 4th striker, Song, was moved from the attacking midfield position to cover for Toure. I know none of you like him but he did get an assist, had a 95% completion rate on an astonishing 65 passes, and won 6 challenges. He was Arsenal’s water carrier yesterday, the facts are irrefutable.

The Bad


Song would have been firmly in The Ugly except that when Toure went out, Song deputized well in defense.


This is a player who is completely incapable of making a forward pass, has no positional awareness, cannot make himself available to his teammates, has no touch, can’t dribble, and is the slowest player I’ve ever seen play the game. I bet I could beat him in a foot race and I’m short and fat.

And yet? There he was in the opposition box playing the attacking midfield role. Why in the fuck is that man on the pitch much less past the midfield line?

This player is a black hole on the pitch, sucking the talent off all the other players around him. I can’t wait for anyone else to get healthy and come on for him. Anyone but Song. Well, almost anyone…

The Ugly


This is a guy (pictured above) who is actually worse than Song — and I’m increasingly convinced that he might be actually mentally handicapped. How many times a year do we say “what the hell is he doing???” Fuck year, how many times a match are we saying that?

Yesterday, he was dancing around in the wall when the ref blew the whistle and Brunt saw an opening and put the ball in the back of the net. Does this guy not know how to form a wall? SERIOUSLY???

And if that’s not enough, I have to watch this absurd man, this joke of a player do some kind of choreographed celebration with his teammates after every goal.  Every goal. Just to what, remind us that he’s the clown on the team? Dude, your every touch of the ball is clown-ish I don’t need some “rock-a-bye-baby” celebration to remind me.


*Deep breath*

I apologize for the above rant and I realize I should be more positive; Arsenal won. It’s just that those two guys drove me insane yesterday and more than any other players will weigh heavy on Wenger’s neck if Arsenal are unable to secure 4th place at the end of the year.

That’s a big “if” though at this point: Arsenal have finally put a little pressure on 4th place rivals Villa and we’ll have to see how they respond today against a depleted Man City. A loss here, a bad loss, could be the kind of shock to the system that Arsenal need to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. A good win, a commanding win, could have the opposite effect. So, it could be an important game and it’s live today on Fox Soccer Channel (in the U.S.) which means that I can watch it when I get home tonight. WHEEE!

The next Arsenal match is on Sunday at 6:30am (FA Cup match against Burnley) and that too is live on Fox Soccer Channel so I’ll be staying home and doing the liveblogging thing. Arsenal should have Walcott back healthy by then and he’s supposed to be the first shot over the Premier League bow of Arsenal players regaining fitness in the run up (followed by Eduardo and Adebayor and then Cesc). So, things are looking up, Kickers, a big win by Citeh today could put us on track to get our 4th place birthright back.


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