Archive for April 16th, 2009

16
Apr
09

Arsenal 3-0 Villareal (4-1 agg); The Good, Bad, and Offside

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: Young Gunner’s progress pleases Wenger

Telegraph.co.uk: Arsenal outplay Villarreal to reach last four date with Manchester United

Match Video

You could go to the Arsenalist.com or you could just go to the Telegraph, where they have embedded an Arsenalist.com video. Hmmm….

The Arsenalist’s videos are, in all likelihood, illegal: I was harassed for taking pictures, with my own camera, at the game and videos are routinely taken down off YouTube for violation of copyright. I mean, there’s a reason his videos are named “aujaoijduiue” and “wownnbdy”. If he put “Walcott goal Champions League, Arsenal v. Villareal” the video would be yanked and his account suspended faster than you can type “wownnbdy.”

I’m not saying anything you all didn’t know. What’s pissing me off is that the Arsenalist was a neat little secret place to see the videos without too many pop ups or advertisements and the Telegraph very well may have ruined that for all of us. The Telegraph had to know that the Arsenalist isn’t paying for the right to show these videos and they also had to know that putting that video up there just essentially exposed him.

We’ll have to see what the fallout is but I’d be surprised if he isn’t hit with a cease and desist. Enjoy his videos while you can.

Dance of the Match

Dance of the match goes to Arsene Wenger (video above) who’s jig was obviously a spontaneous release of emotion. After 7 months of criticism from reporters, fans, and bloggers about how the team isn’t good enough and they should buy SennaDavidVillaAnyoneBecauseTheyWillNeverWinAnythingAndArseneWengerShouldBeFired it’s no surprise to see Wenger’s spontaneous expression of joy. It was almost a f*ck you to all the critics. Like “here’s this team you said wasn’t good enough and they are in the top four and they have made it to the Champions League Semi final, ding diddle ding ding ding ding ding, fuck you!”

Man of the Match

Theo Walcott; his pace was electric, his finishing superb, his crosses were magnificent, and he’s English which gets him bonus points. Two goals now in two games and there is no doubt that Theo is back to 100%.

The Good

Arsenal have defied nearly everyone to get to the semi-final of both the FA Cup and the Champions League. You will, no doubt, hear about how they will never beat Man U in the next round, or how Saturday against Chelsea is going to go to the Blues but I’m not having it. Arsenal beat a Champions League quarter final team decisively. Villareal are not chumps. This isn’t a home win against Wigan. This is a 3-0 win against one of the best teams in Europe and anyone who says anything less is talking shite.

The best part is that Arsenal have been undefeated, in every competition, since the 2-0 loss to Porto back in December: that’s 25 matches on the trot and yes, I count the second leg against Roma as a win, we won on penalties. Digging a bit deeper, we can see that since November we’ve beaten teams like Chelsea (at Stamford Bridge), Villareal, and Roma and if you go back to the start of the season, Arsenal have beaten Man U and Everton. And digging deeper still, Arsenal have two of the top scorers in the EPL (Adebayor — 10 and RvP — 9) and three of the best set up men in the league (RvP — 9, Cesc –7 and Denilson — 7) so again, anyone who says we are lucky or don’t deserve to be where we are is talking shite.

Last night was a decisive victory, the kind of complete win that should serve us well when we face Chelsea, who are leaking goals at the moment, on Saturday. Win or lose, we should all know that the days of 0-0 draws to Sunderland are over and can bank on the fact that Arsenal are going to put in a hell of a performance. One last bit about this 25 game run. Arsenal have accomplished this while carrying a team with some of the most devastating injuries I’ve ever seen any team suffer. The work they have put in to cover for that is simply amazing and the whole team deserves kudos; that’s the sign of a really good team when you’re able to overcome adversity by banding together.

I also want to single out two players; Alex Song and Robert Pires. First, I cannot say enough good things about Song at the moment. To illustrate how far he’s come, let me contrast with the Sunderland game again. Against Sunderland, he just looked lost and disinterested. In that game he looked more likely to pass the ball sideways, and less likely to track back and harass the Sunderland midfield. But against Villareal and others recently, he’s vastly improved his forward vision and is picking out forward passes that are finding teammates.And more importantly he’s tracking back, harassing the attackers, and playing his role as holding midfielder pretty much perfectly.  He’s even dribbled in and scored a goal! I don’t know what Wenger did (belief alone is not enough) but Song has gone from a player who I said should be plying his trade at Charlton to first choice defensive midfielder in my mind. Hell, the only reason he didn’t get man of the match was because Theo is English — just kidding, Theo was just slightly more vital, but it was REALLY close.

Robert Pires: thank you. At the end of the match he exchanged shirts with Kieran Gibbs and I just think that shows how classy he is. In an age when older footballers look down at giving their shirts to 19 year olds who are just getting a taste of Champions League football, he gladly exchanged shirts with Gibbs.Not only that but he stuck around, got an earful of praise from the crowd and  has said some really wonderful things about this Arsenal team being nearly at the same level as the invicibles (the press tried to paint it as criticism, the c*nts, but we all know Le Bob loves Arsenal.)

They can go far. This is a big team full of potential, speed, freshness and youth. What I hope is that they reach the final and win it. I’m still a fan of this team, who play the type of football that I love.

And we love you too Bobby!

The Bad

Gibbs has come out of the clash with a “groin problem” and is now a doubt for Saturday’s clash with Chelsea. With Sagna recovering from a virus, Gallas out with the knee, Clichy out with a bad back, and Djourou out with a knee, the boss isn’t really in trouble because his selection is pretty much made for him. If Gibbs goes down and Sagna stays out there’s no choice but to play Song in the middle and Big Head out on the left.

Also, could we stop doing the chicken dance? I know that Eboue started it, and yesterday it was funny, but no more please. Thanks!

The Ugly

Adebayor seriously needs to stop being offside. Seriously. It makes me wonder if he isn’t retarded? ESPN is saying the team only had 6 offsides but I think he had 7 or 8. It was so bad yesterday that I actually said to Alex that the ref will probably flag him for offside during a throw in, just because.

What’s most frustrating about him being continually offside is that he was faster than all of the Villareal defenders, he doesn’t need to be offside to have an advantage, he IS the advantage!

ARRRGHHHH

Conclusion

If you want to see some madness, check out the fixture list. In the next month, Arsenal play Manchester United three times (twice away), Chelsea twice, and Liverpool away. Throw in a game against ‘Boro and Pompey and Arsenal will play 2 times a week for the next 4 weeks — against the best teams in the world. A win on Saturday will set us up with an FA Cup final against either Everton or United. If it’s United, we’ll have the priviledge of facing them 4 times in a month and potentially re-stoking the old Arsenal-ManU rivalry.

It’s the craziest time of the craziest season I have ever witnessed. Hell, Arsenal actually still have a chance to win the leagu, that’s how crazy this season is!

It’s no surprise that it’s going to be a crazy ass finish.

Hang on to your hats!

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