No news today so, here are your goal of the year candidates, voting enabled at the end.
Adebayor v. Villareal
Eduardo v. Burnley
Robin van Persie v. Everton
Nasri v. Man U
Arshavin v. Liverpool — the second goal
Song v. Wigan
Good morning gang! I just found out that the FA Cup final would be on Fox Soccer Channel this morning and decided to stay home and do one last liveblog.
Need food, be right back.
0640 Need any motivation to root for Everton? How about this, if Chelsea win today not only will they get to claim a trophy this year (their first in two years) but A. Cole will join only a handful of players to have won 5 FA Cups in their career. 3 came while at Arsenal and Abramovich bought Chelsea one FA Cup a few years ago, so that’s his four. WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN!
0650 Joey Barton has revealed his desire to stay at Newcastle. There is no mention of the fact that no one else wants him.
0700 Howard “f*cking” Webb is reffing the match, this will end well *eye roll*
1′ — YEEEEEEESSSSS!! A dream start, as Louis Saha puts in a wonderful goal off a Fellaini header. Amazing.
2′ — Chelsea are stunned, they can feel their last chance of ever getting any silverware slipping through their fingers.
6′ — Cheech is all the way out the half way line and heads the ball back into play. I’d rather Everton not try to sit back and defend this deep.
8′ — First terrible Webb decision as he hands Hibbert a yellow for his accidental clash of legs. Foul, yes, yellow, my ass.
15′ — Damn wordpress RSS feed isn’t loading again…
16′ — Hi Matt! Nice to have someone here! Nice turn by Peener draws a foul from Bosingwa.
In the leadup to this match I was thinking that this was potentially a test of the two coach of the year candidates. I know everyone is impressed with Guus but I’ve actually wondered about some of his tactics. Like the Barca game, I thought he had those tactics dead wrong. Sitting back against Barca was a big mistake.
21′ — How much can a bad reffing decision change a game? Hibbert’s BS yellow earlier led to him sitting off his marker, which gives him space and time to put in that cross that Dogbag easily puts in the net.
26′ — Essien gets away with a red card, over the top of the ball, challenge on Fellaini. Second horrible decision from Webb.
31′ — It’s actually really frustrating how few stats are available to the public. There are stats we could use, like time spent running, walking, jogging, miles covered, etc. but all that stuff is closely guarded and you have to pay to get it. Imagine if you were never told how many points a player scored in basketball? It’s roughly the equivalent.
37′ — Yawn… both teams are trading jabs but no knockout punch, yet.
40′ — 80 minutes into the blog and it’s now starting to propagate in my RSS feeds. I wonder if Moyes will change Dr. Hibbert in the second half? That yellow card has really limited his ability to defend Malouda and the Flourent one is abusing the left side in this match.
42′ — DOWN GOES DROGBA!
45′ — I must be wrong about Hibbert, since the announcers have said pretty much the same thing I just said. Free kick at the death…
Cheech fumbles the ball and Everton get a corner… they are good at set plays…
End of First Half
Neither team looks like they want to extend themselves too much, though Chelsea is attacking more, it’s still very calm, almost Arsenal like in their build-up and final ball.
LOL, thanks for the link Matt, you know what’s even funnier than Hleb asking to be traded? He was the only player draped in a Barca flag during the award ceremony on Wed.
Hey Hleb, Al-Ahli in the UAE Football league needs a wing player!
Halftime nearly over
I must admit that I miss the Beyonce commercials. Yes they ran 50 times during the break, but they were catchier than the crap they are pushing on us now.
Hibbert out, Jacobson in, well played by Moyes. He’s too ruthless to let Hibbert lump around on the pitch like he did in the first half, the exact opposite of Wenger.
47′ — Howard Webb (3rd terrible call) gives Neville a yellow for half the tackle that Essien put in in the first half. Also, being on the receiving end of a tackle is the first meaningful action from Obi-Wan Michael.
50′ — Frank Lampard puts in a two footed tackle from behind on Neville and Howard Webb sees nothing wrong with it. No call, no card, nothing.
I think it’s pretty clear that Howard Webb is the worst ref in the league.
55′ — Yeah, the RSS feed is being really strange. It’s showing in Gooner News, my Facebook, and your comments are showing in Reader, but the main thread isn’t.
Basically, this is what happened yesterday.
60′ — WOW… Essien subbed, bad move by Guus, in my book. Essien has way more talent than Obi.
65′ — Remember Hibbert’s Yellow card tackle earlier in the game? Ballsack gives Peener a flat tire and barely draws the foul…
73′ — damn, it looked like it was coming, too bad the world’s worst human being had to hit the goal.
78′ — The fix is in, Howard Webb is calling pretty much everything against Everton. It’s hard to win when you’re playing 12 on 11.
81′ — Oh man, how poetic would it be to have Chelsea and Webb robbed of their trophy? That ball was clearly over the line.
86′ — Lamps makes a meal of a Peener challenge and Howard Webb gives him a yellow. Strange decision from Webb, since that was his chance to ensure the Chelsea trophy.
88′ — Everton look dead. A. Cole is declared “Man of the Match.” I think I’m going to be sick.
92′ — Everton need some luck now.
Oh well, can’t win ’em all. Three coaches, £100m in transfers in, probably £300m in salaries, 2 years, and 1 trophy.
Adebayor v. Villareal
Eduardo v. Burnley
Robin van Persie v. Everton
Nasri v. Man U
Arshavin v. Liverpool — the second goal
Song v. Wigan
As far as I can tell my RSS feed isn’t working properly. I’m contacting wordpress, to see if they fix the problem.
It wasn’t even close. 76% of you voted for Andrei Arshavin in the poll while Robin van Persie was a distant second at 58%. To put it another way, the difference between 5th place and 2nd place was just over 10%. It’s a comfortable win for the little Russian and here’s why.
First, he had to overcome the negative press that those racists at Zenit were spewing in order to make themselves look like the better party in this deal. They tried to make him look like the whiner, like the guy who had been given everything and that they just wanted a fair deal out of it. But the truth was that they foolishly cup tied him in the Champions League, thus devaluing the player, and the fact that the Russian season doesn’t kick off until after the January transfer window meant that Arshavin wasn’t match fit, further devaluing the player in the January transfer window. When Andrei got to Arsenal he immediately gave an interview, where he showed off his impressive English skills, and set about dispelling all the rumors. He wanted to play for Arsenal.
Second, he had to overcome his lack of match fitness. I’m not saying the guy was 200 lbs or something, just that no matter how much you work out it’s not the same as actually playing and practicing at full speed. There was a brief moment where we all thought we might see him against Spurs, only 8 days after signing, but it wasn’t to be. He remained on the bench until Feb 21st, 2009, against Sunderland, perhaps you remember the day? I do.
Still it took him a few weeks to sort of settle in. The match against Fulham a week later, you could really see that the toll of the Premier League pace had gotten to him.
And then the little Russian went on a tear, scoring or setting up goals in 5 games in a row; WBA, Burnley, Blackburn, Hull, and Newcastle. As he gained fitness, Arsenal started reaping the benefits and the club started winning games. That’s when I think we all knew we had something special, because a fully fit Arshavin was truly something to behold.
Third, he had to overcome the physicality of the Premier League. Speaking of the Newcastle game, does anyone remember Steven Taylor’s vicious attack on Andrei? No?
After the game Andrei simply said “The style of play is hard but not vicious. It is not something that I am used to but I understand it perfectly – you can’t relax for a second.” He had taken his lumps and came up a better man for it.
Which brings us to the final obstacle that he had to overcome; Premier League defenses. Despite Man U’s blistering defeat in Rome, I still believe that in league play the English Premier League has the toughest defenses in the world. If you look at the top four defenses in the EPL, they concede less than a goal a game on average. So, scoring goals, against top clubs, in league play, is very hard. One player scoring two goals against a bottom club is pretty good, but one player scoring 4 goals, against a top club, on their patch, where they had only conceded 10 goals all season?
I’m not going to put all four goals here, because one stands out as extra special and I don’t want it lost in the shuffle. It’s the type of goal that only the top, top class players take. It’s the type of goal that Gooners of the Year make.
So, for overcoming all those obstacles, for playing beautifully, for scoring wonder goals, and for putting us on your back and securing fourth place, Andrei Arshavin, you are our Gooner of the Year.
My one observant reader will notice that I have put a third page on my masthead, entitled “Players Who Didn’t Sign for Arsenal” it’s my little tongue in cheek look at all the guys that get linked to the club, that the press go gaga over, and who sign elsewhere. Today, we can add one name to that list, some Jerkoff from St. Racistberg, who signed for Chelsea. I’m hapy for them both.
Future additions to the list could be:
Gareth Barry apparently wants to come to Arsenal… for £12m. I would pay £12m for Gareth Barry. I would pay probably £20m for him, just because his passport is that all important shade of Claret that makes xenophobes like Platini and Bleater get all tingly inside. Of course, this has about as much chance of happening as I do of having sex with Christina Hendricks, but hey, a man can dream.
Supposedly, Arsenal are also targeting a striker from Bordeaux named Chamakh. You really have to check out this link, his “highlight” reel is absolutely comical. It’s two videos showing a few dozen missed goals and like one decent chip shot. A striker who misses bags of chances? Rarely do we see Arsenal linked with a man who is so truly ready to jump right into the first team.
Since Brede Hangeland is making noises that he’s going to stay at Fulham and fulfil his life’s ambition of being a second rate defender, the press have turned their attention to Ajax captain Thomas Vermaelen. Hey, he’s a defender, which is a refreshing change from all the stories linking us to strikers…
and wingers like Marat Izmailov. Signing Arshavin from Zenit seems to have had the knock on effect of getting the press to link us to every Tom, Dick, and Ivan in Russia.
And last, but not least, someone went back into their tickle file and pulled out the name “Mbia.” He’s over 6′ tall, plays as a holding midfielder, and has been linked with Arsenal in the past, practically begging to come to Arsenal in the January transfer window. But, my favorite aspect of this rumor is that when you google “mbia” you get some kind of Municipal Bond Insurance Agency.
Also, no way.
Thanks to frequent commenter gooner sems for this gem!
36 games for Arsenal (17 more than last season) 20 goals and 13 assists (both of which lead the team) and the ability to score absolutely incredible goals: but for some Ivan come lately, he would have easily been Gooner of the Year.
There isn’t much to say about Robin, we all see that the quality is there, we just need him healthy. I thought his best game came back in January, when we drew 1-1 to Everton. Here was a player who, in the month of January, had a hand in every Arsenal goal — either through assist or by putting it in the net. He carried the team at a time when no one else was around to do it and as much as Arshavin gets some credit for saving our season, Robin van Persie deserves equal credit for the work he put in at a crucial time.
Oh and, we need him to sign the damn contract and stay healthy.
Here’s some video of my favorite goals from van Persie this season
From the Arsenalists archives
Everton 1-1 Arsenal; goal of the season candidate
Arsenal 3-1 Plymouth; power goal at the end
Right, we’re almost at the end of this portion of the award ceremonies and I want you all to start thinking about “Goal of Year” and “Match of the Year” if you have suggestions for either/both, please put them in the comments below.
I loved watching Man U get beat. I loved watching those smug bastards at the bar sit in silence as Barcelona gave them a full serving of what Wenger’s cooking up at Arsenal. I love the fact that they list that bogus “Club World Cup” and the laughable “Carling Cup” as one of their pieces of silverware this season. I love that people were touting Man U to win the “quint” and all they got was one real trophy. And most of all, I love Crom, Crom solved the riddle of Arsenal yesterday.
After watching Barcelona play I have it all figured out. We have Eduardo/van Persie to finish like E’t’o’o’o’t’o, we have Cesc to play like Iniesta, we have Arshavin to play like Messi (give him the #10 shirt, Cappy), we have Eboue to play like Puyols (the playacting and the Man U fans reactions were f*cking priceless!), we have Song to play like Yaya, and all we need is someone to play like Pique and we are set.
SET I TELL YOU.
Anyway, it was great to watch a blend of youth and experience, grace and power, kick the shiat out of a pack of overrated, scowling, head holding, whining, cunts.
Oh, and Cesc? Watch Iniesta play this summer during your Spain qualifiers. If you can’t do that, at least watch the tape of last night. Last night, he was what you should be; tackling, passing, hustling, and outplaying everyone on the pitch.
He’s only 5’6″ and yet he was the biggest player out there. If you think you’ll get a move to Barcelona while Iniesta, Messi, and Toure are there, you got another thing coming brother.
IT’S A SIGNING
Arsenal have signed a pair of 15 year olds.
Arsene Wenger has given a rather strange interview in which he waxed poetic about Thierry Henry saying that Henry would have won them the title last year. It’s about as much an admission from the boss that he screwed up in the rebuilding as we will ever get. It’s also a glimpse into his mind when he states that there’s no way he’ll let these young players go after he spends all this time educating them.
I also just want to mention that with this win Thierry Henry can finally close his trophy case. He has won the league and the cup in three countries (France, England, Spain) he’s won the World Cup, the European Cup, and now the Champions League.
Good night sweet prince.
Club v. Country
Theo Walcott has been called up to play for the U21s which is proof that country wins, every time. My only thought on this is that if he gets injured playing in the U21s I sincerely hope that Arsenal sue the FA.
Sue them until they never call up another Arsenal player ever again.
Oh and hey, good news (this is what people call ‘irony’) Kieran Gibbs earned a call up to the U21s! Good for you son!
It was a bit of a surprise to see Song jump from 5th place to third place in the poll on the last day, but that’s exactly what happened. Emotionally, I like the player but objectively, he had an up and down season so 3rd place in the poll is at least two places higher than I would have put him. Granted, he turned his season around in the second half but there were some really rough patches in there, like when I went and saw them play Sunderland.
Again, you have to understand that I like this player, he has heart and sometimes heart is enough for me. So, I’m not taking the piss out of him when I mention his rough patch, or if I point out that his best games came against Burnley, Wigan, and Fenerbache. I’m simply stating the facts.
Beside the heart, what most supporters like about Song is that he played wherever the boss asked him to, he never gave a bad interview, never got caught with his pants down, gave 100% most games, and he got better as the season wore on, he was easily Arsenal’s most improved player.
At the start of the season, I ridiculed Arsene for even THINKING of using Song. I mean, I like the guy, I thought I saw flashes of good stuff from him at the end of last season, but he certainly wasn’t ready for the rigors of a Premier League, FA Cup, Carling Cup, Champions League season, was he?
Clearly, he was.
Alex Song isn’t going to score 10 goals, he isn’t going to spray passes all over the field like some pass spitting machine, and he isn’t going to be flashy, but he is going to be only one on the pitch even trying when we lose 4-1 to Chelsea… at home, he’ll be the guy who puts in a tackle when Nani is seal-dribbling, he’ll mark their best player, carry the team’s water, he’ll play center back in a Champions League final in a pinch because you need him too, and run till his lungs are bursting.
He’s got guts. And some times, guts is enough.
Is Something Else Going on Today???
Champions League final.
I was thinking about this the other day and part of me wishes that Chelsea played in this final, because then I’d have nothing to root for and could instead focus all my glee on watching one of the two teams lose. Doesn’t matter which one, one of those two has to lose and either way, I get my money’s worth.
Unfortunately, I have a lot to root for; I want “Titi” to get a gods damned Champions League winner’s medal! Which sucks, because now I’m invested in the outcome of this match, and if I were to be perfectly honest, after watching the way Man U steamrolled our poop in the semi-final, and after watching Barcelona eek by a terrible Chelsea squad, I have to think that it will take an incredible, incredible game from Barca to beat Man U. That’s why I’m going to say a little prayer for Barcelona:
“Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That’s what’s important! Valor pleases you, Crom… so grant me one request. Grant me revenge!
That’s right, Crom, Patrice Evra ate Thierry Henry’s child, alive. He is an evil man AND he can turn into a snake at will. Oh yeah and one more thing, Crom, do you really want to spend eternity listening to Man U supporters sing songs about their European Double?
In conclusion, please help Arsenalona win the Champions League tonight and if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!”
Hangeland is a Wuss and other Transfer News
Remember when I said that defenders might be reticent to come to Arsenal as our style of play often hangs center backs out to dry? Well, Bread Hangeland has said pretty much the same thing.
If there is an offer on the table, style of play and formation would be important factors. I’m probably more protected as a defender at Fulham than I would be at some other places.
It’s kind of a remarkable statement isn’t it? It makes me wonder if mentally he’s the right man for the job. Maybe he’s just got low expectations and doesn’t want to rise to the occassion that a club like Arsenal could provide.
And yes, yes, I know what you’re going to say, “Arsenal need to buy a Defensive Midfielder and then we can get Hangeland.”
HA HA I FOOLED YOU
There is no other transfer news, which is boring.
OK, well, I’ll be down at Doyle’s this afternoon, wearing my #14 Arsenal strip and cheering for Crom to annihilate Man U.
Join us for a tipple?