Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Ramsey

25
Jan
09

Cardiff 0-0 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and Downright Pathetic

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: An Emirates Stadium replay will now be required after an entertaining repeat of the 1927 final, which the Bluebirds won 1-0, failed to produce a goal.

Setanta: City ran themselves into the ground

Man of the match

Ross McCormack. The Cardiff supporter there at the bar turned to me and said that they had signed McCormack for £100,000 which is an incredible bargain considering how well the midfielder played for the Bluebirds.

The Good

There was no news about the Andrei Arshavin transfer saga which is a welcome respite.

The Bad

I really feel for Aaron Ramsey. This kid is only 18 and there he was thrust into the middle of a heated cup tie, against his old team, with the supporters giving him a hard time, and his old teammates roughing him up. He had an Eboue of a game and Wenger was right to take him off, though I can’t quite figure out why the Cardiff fans booed him off the pitch.

His inclusion at the start was very perplexing since Wenger had said the day before that he would only include him if it was for the best and clearly it was not for the best. With Rambo in the midfield the team played the worst 20 minutes I have ever seen an Arsenal team play. No, I take that back. The second worst, the worst was when Arsenal lost 5-1 to Man U and that fuck Nani did the seal dribble and was damn near kneecapitated by Flamini.

A bad day for the young man, but lets hope he learns from this and comes back stronger in 9 days; if Wenger risks him again.

The Downright Pathetic

This is hard because there were so many pathetic players out there today. For example, while Eboue was diving all over the pitch and generally looking like he doesn’t give two fucks, Adebayor was fluffing wide open shots. And when Arsenal did break and get an open shot it inevitably was hit straight at the keeper or right into the crowd. Or how about a defense that was shockingly inept for large stretches of the game and only kept a clean sheet throught the bad luck of their opponents?

It was so bad all over the pitch for long stretches that I actually started to enjoy the play of Alex Song and Abu Diaby. Figure that.

But I can forgive poor play, it happens, what I hate to see is 20+ minutes at the end of the match where Cardiff are huffing and puffing around the pitch and the whole Arsenal team just looks disinterested. Passing the ball side to side and not taking the match up another level. That was infuriating.

Incredibly, Wenger didn’t see it the same as me:

I feel in the first half we started very well, but overall Cardiff had a good committed game and created some chances. In the second half we were on top and it was the quality of their defending and their commitment that stopped us scoring. The pitch, too, was not easy, but it was a great cup game and showed what this cup is about.

Really? Arsenal started well? Nearly conceding 2 easy goals and the midfield in utter disarray? That’s “starting very well?” This has to be his version of a pep talk, because there’s no way he saw that first half and thought Arsenal were positive.

Like I said at the outset, it was the second worst performance I have seen from an Arsenal team and they will have to be a lot better if they think they are going to win anything this season.

Conclusion

Well, Cardiff get a rematch at the Emirates in 9 days and a good bit of the gate receipts, which is good for them. Arsenal, on the other hand, get a crowded fixture list right at the time when they have half the squad out injured, which is bad for them. But hey, it was a clean sheet, and our “not losing” streak is still alive, right?

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05
Sep
08

“It doesn’t happen in America.”

Mmmmm… coffee.  I live near Seattle (a city called Tacoma) and it’s state law that we Washingtonians drink at least 5 cups of coffee per day.  I’m just enjoying my second cup.  Ahhh.  Hey, also, in case you’re curious coffee has been shown to protect your liver from alcoholic cirrhosis. So, drink up!

Sorry, this is an Arsenal blog right?

Lessee, internationals week gives us the following wonderous news stories for today: the Daily Mirror is reporting that Theo Walcott may get the start in tomorrow’s match against the Andorians. If that happens then Theo will get a start over 7am Kickoff’s ubiquitous whipping boy David “the gambler” Bentley. So, I’m rooting for that. I’m also hoping that the Andorians are banned from using their telepathic antennae this time. Last time it nearly resulted in a full scale England riot.

Welsh international Aaron Ramsey may also get a start against Azerbaijan. Or he might not. “Experience” is the buzzword in that article and I suppose that if you’re going to blood the kid, do it against the 138th ranked world team in a pointless international friendly. Unless you lose that match and he has a horrible game, in which case, OH GOD DON’T PLAY HIM!! I’m sure he’ll be fine, he’s a great talent and did really well in the pre-season run up, so I’d give him a go.

That’s it for Arsenal news today, yawn.  

In non-Arsenal news stories that I love to follow, Joey Barton’s got a date today, a date with a magistrate, and I hope he gets a nice lengthy ban with a warning that any more bad behaviour and he’s going to get a permanent ban.  Sadly, I don’t think the FA have the balls to really stick it to Joey and he’ll probably get some paltry 3-8 match ban for an unprovoked beating on his teammate. I wasn’t even going to report this story though because it’s not really news, until I read that he’s up to some of his old tricks again. This time, poor Joey Barton was “so afraid” of the press that he slowly drove through down town Newcastle, using the bus lane and ran a red light to get away from them. Or maybe he just really needed a Big Mac? He only ever seems to commit crimes when a Big Mac is on the line.

His agent put it into perspective for us

Why are they following him? It is a disgrace. What would you do if people followed you in a car? What is the guy meant to do? He doesn’t know who is in the car, does he?

You know that’s the exact same excuse that got him off in May for a March attack on a taxi cab that reportedly refused to take him to the McDonald’s drive through. “I was scared,” and “I wanted to get to safety.” It’s not like you live in Bagdhad, Joey. It’s England… yes there’s violent crime in England. Yes, Footballers get held up. But, it’s also broad daylight and if you’re afraid, go pull into a police station.

All that said, it’s still a non-news story; so what if arrogant rich guy breaks some traffic laws? That happens all the time: he’s late, he can afford the fine, it’s only a moving violation, etc. It’s not something serious, like beating up a teammate in an unprovoked attack.

It’s what the agent said last that really made me laugh.

Who do these people think they are to hound people for a story for a newspaper? It doesn’t happen in America.

What doesn’t happen in America? Celebrities hounded by the press? Bad boy celebrities hounded by the press? What? What kind of drugs is his agent on? That’s like America’s forte for Christ’s sake. We’re the world’s leaders in following around untalented people who have serious emotional problems and rampant substance abuse issues. How do you think Paris Hilton got famous? Britney Spears? It certainly wasn’t talent.

And while we’re on the subject of what would happen in America to Joey Barton, I firmly believe that if a player attacked a teammate in the way Joey did, he’d be looking at a one year ban from the sport. During that year he would then be hounded relentlessly by the press, hoping that they could catch him doing something stupid like using an HOV lane and running a red light because he’s late for his parole hearing.

“It doesn’t happen in America” my ass.

13
Aug
08

The future is now

Just 2 months ago, Aaron Ramsey was being pursued by Man U, Arsenal, and Everton and being hailed by all three clubs as “one for the future.”  In the end, it was his choice to join Arsenal and it was something that Arsene Wenger said to him at a private meeting on neutral ground that convinced the young man that Arsenal would be the club for him.  The boy came away from the meeting convinced that he would be given every opportunity to succeed at Arsenal and said something that not many gave much thrift to at the time

Arsenal is a club which always gives young players an opportunity at the highest level of the game and I am going to work my hardest to be part of future successes here.

Tonight, he gets his opportunity. Wenger gave a tepid review of Ramsey’s progress, saying that the kid needs to work on his technique, and so I doubt that Ramsey would have been any where near consideration for a starting spot if everyone was healthy.  But needs must is the devil’s playground, or something like that, and the lad gets his shot.  After my initial response, I am excited for him and really wish I could watch the match, but it’s not being broadcast here in the States and so I’ll have to either do the Beeb’s scrolling update or find some way to do a peer to peer thing.  So, here’s to you lad, break a leg, erm… no, wait, don’t do that.  Don’t break any legs, yours or anyone else’s, please?

As I said yesterday, I’m now on the record with a sense of dis-ease with the lack of midfield signings and constant midfield injuries.  First, to the injuries, it turns out that Cesc and Senderos both picked up a Hammy because the boss overworked them in training. Here’s Wenger’s mea culpa:

But it is always tricky when you have players coming back late. You always try to rush the fitness a little bit. When you play a qualifier you are a bit more pushy with players who come back late and that’s when you get injuries. That is what happened with Fabregas.

Note to Arsene Wenger; Cesc Fabregas is the most important player in the club, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t kill him in training in your haste to get him fully fit.  Thanks.  I mean, what’s done is done, and I fully back Wenger as manager, but for the love of god, why?  Why couldn’t the manager and physios, with all that’s at their disposal, ensure the fitness of their most important player?

As for the signing, all summer I’ve maintained a healthy skepticism that Wenger will sign the big name player that so many of us supporters are slavering over.  As much as I would love to see Xabi Alonso in the proper shade of red, I honestly don’t think the club has the resources to do the deal.  Well, they sort of have the resources, but I think they’d have to borrow money to do it.  Maybe the sale of Justin Hoyte, if they accept Middlesboro’s bid, will help grease the skids a bit here but again I remain doubtful.  Every quote I read from every person, from the board to the boss, seems to be setting us up for one of those classic “well, we had a couple of targets, but the price wasn’t right” justifications for not filling out the team.  The part that they admit is that they need a body, but then Wenger will say that he may or may not buy, depending on the value.  Like I said a few days back, if you have a flat tire and you’re on a road trip, you don’t wait for the repair shop to have a fire sale; you fix the damn flat.

I’m resigned to the notion, though, that Arsenal aren’t buying anyone, not Inler, not Alonso, not Bale, and not Annan or whoever else the press can fabricate as being linked to the club.  That way, if the deal does suddenly happen for Alonso I can be double-plus happy.

Anyway, the boys take on FC Twente in a few hours.  Here’s to a rousing win and superb performance by all and especially the ones who have been thrown into the breech.

Unless Arsenal sign Alonso… tomorrow.

14
Jun
08

It’s a sign!

It’s true, as Alex pointed out in the comments, Aaron Ramsey was officially unveiled yesterday afternoon. Yay! A signing! Of course, so far his only accomplishments are “youngest player to do such and such” and he’s only 17, so I suspect it will be 3-4 years before he’s a full-time impact player for Arsenal. The cool part about this signing is the glowing review he gave of Arsene Wenger and Arsenal’s youth policy.

Arsenal is a club which always gives young players an opportunity at the highest level of the game and I am going to work my hardest to be part of future successes here. I recently met with Arsene Wenger and he was a big factor in my decision to join Arsenal. He talked to me for a long time about the club and the plans for the future, which really excites me.

Hard work + opportunity = success? Aaron, you should ring David Bentley up and let him in on the secret. He seems to think it’s: Ladbrokes + wasted opportunity = whinging about foreigners.

Aaron seems like a good kid and all the pundits agree that he’s got a ton of talent. So, here’s to a signing by Arsenal! Cheers! Oh, and here’s to doing one over Man U who said that Aaron had signed with them a week before any decision was made. Cheers!

Adebayor Watch 2008

The dust is finally settling on the “Adebayor to Milan” story and it’s increasingly looking like that dust was nothing more than the agent’s attempt to extort money from Arsenal. Player and team are now said to be “in talks” over a renewed contract worth £80,000/wk. I’m treading lightly over this story as the sources here are a mixture of speculation, hearsay, and quotes; typical British football reporting. Arsenal fans (at least the 5-10 of us who actually think Adebayor isn’t a “lumbering oaf” etc etc) should be heartened by Adebayor’s latest official statement:

My future with Arsenal has never been in doubt and I want to assure fans I will be here for many years.

Yay! And equally disheartened by the follow up:

My agent has met with coach Arsene Wenger about a new deal and I am happy about how the talks are going so the fans can rest assured.

Boo! So, basically, all this stuff about Milan was to get an improved deal from Arsenal.

Other Transfer News

Gervinho is claiming that Arsenal have spoken with his agent. I don’t know, he looks pretty good in this video, we should break the bank to bring him in.

Euro 2008

I got to watch Netherlands v. France yesterday and here’s my report: we saw two teams that play like Arsenal. The team that played like Arsenal at their best beat the team that played like Arsenal at their worst 4-1. I was really hoping to see Nasri play but Dominich is tactically retarded and he played some other guy — who did absolutely nothing. Oh well.

I did love seeing van Persie in full fitness even if he was playing with some guys who I despise. The goal he scored was vintage van Persie: run full bore at the goal, pick the ball off the volley, and smash it as absolutely hard as you can — devil may care. It brought a smile to my lips, he literally blasted it at and through Coupet.

Today, we’ve got Spain and… uhh… I don’t know and I don’t really care. I might try to pick up some of the Spain match so I can see Cesc come off the bench on the 85th minute.

And finally, James Lawton has proclaimed that International football is more successful than ever! No doubt, this is the first in a series of articles calling for a quota system, or the expulsion of Arsenal, a demand that Arsenal change their “communist” ways, or at the very least the installation of an English coach at the club or some such. Whatever it is, I will dissect it tomorrow. Because today, I just don’t feel like it and frankly, I need something big, and fun, and important to talk about for my Sunday roast.

See you tomorrow.

10
Jun
08

First Blood

Manchester United is delighted to announce it has agreed terms with Cardiff City for the transfer of Aaron Ramsey subject to terms being agreed and the player passing a medical.

Uhhh, not so fast there Man U. In the ongoing battle between Arsenal and Manchester United, it’s being widely reported that Aaron Ramsey, Rambo, has chosen Arsenal as his date to the prom. I haven’t seen anything on the dot com, but I feel good about reporting this as every single paper is printing a variation on the story: there’s a lot of smoke here folks.

Reports are that Sir Alex Ferguson was so busy cleaning up Ronaldo’s Jheri Curl drippings that he couldn’t even bother himself to show up for the meeting with the youngster. Meanwhile, Arsenal flew Rambo and his whole family out to Switzerland for lunch with Arsene Wenger. Over lunch in the bucolic mountain setting, I’m sure that Wenger simply listed all of the players who have been through Arsenal’s youth academy and gone on to play in the Premier League in order to turn the boy’s head. Then he mentioned that his youth teams play first team football in the Carling Cup and how there may be a hole on the left wing what with Alex Hleb off to Barcelona, no wait, Bayern. A world class footballing education, a boss with a personal touch, and plenty of opportunity for a candidate who wants it and it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that the kid chose Arsenal.

Meanwhile, United was offering not to educate the boy, but to simply ship him back to Cardiff. Which, while great for Cardiff, was not exactly a bonus for the boy: Cardiff isn’t exactly a hotbed of football achievement.

If all true, then Arsenal have done one over United and I consider it First Blood in the upcoming Premier League season.

The Squad

Walcott wants more playing time, which is great. He’s targeting more than 20 starts and more than 10 goals I guess. Well, I have news for you young fella: with Eduardo making an early comeback and Vela coming in to the club there are now a metric ton of strikers at the club (Bendtner, Ade, Eduardo, van Persie, Theo, and Vela). Which means that there will be some very stiff competition for places up front. Logically, Theo could slot in at the spot held down by the team jester (Eboue) but there are problems at that spot too. Because of the pace and movement of the team Wenger likes a strong defensive presence at that spot and for all his talents, no one has ever accused Theo of playing defense. Looks like Wenger will have a decision to make here or else he may have a very unhappy young man on his hands.

UPDATE:

Cardiff City boss Ridsdale is publicly claiming that Aaron Ramsey is going to Arsenal.  On their club web site Ridsdale claims Ramsey called him and explained he was off to Arsenal and why.  Still, I’m holding out until I read it on the dot com.

Other Teams

I know, everyone seems to love Luca Modric but some of us who watched that first Euro 2008 match were unimpressed. He’s undersized, a tremendous diver, and really didn’t show me anything special. Hey, maybe Spuds can put him along side their other £16m flops.

Meanwhile over at Liverpool, there’s some grave news about how much money the club lost last season. Reportedly, they lost roughly half what Man U lost last season; an astonishing £33m. Of course, they just loaded the losses back on the club and the fans, just like Man U and Chelsea have done the last 3 years.

I think, though, what’s probably going to burn the Liverpool faithful the most was that at a time of increasing debts, the owners were piling on £1.5m in personal expenses: like travel, personal assistants, and haircuts. It’s tough being rich. Who do you think pays for the hired car and burly bodyguards so the scions of these wealthy “patrons” can go out to a pub and have a beer?

And finally… Arsenal’s New Kit

I guess the guys at REDaction are in an uproar over the new Arsenal kit. I don’t like it, but then I’ve always disliked the kits where the white sleeves go all the way up to the neck. In my opinion, sleeves start at the shoulder and not the neck. The kit isn’t the problem, for me, because if you look at the history of the Arsenal home kit it’s really not that radically different. My problem is that when I first became an official supporter, they promised not to change the damn kit every year. They seem to have found a way around that and now they just change the away kit every year with this year’s away kit switching to a yellow and blue thing and the crummy white kit going to the third kit slot formerly inhabited by the Barcelona kit. White, Crimson and Blue, Yellow, Blue, Yellow and Blue… AAAAAAHHHHH stop messing with the away kits! Red and white for home and either all yellow or all blue for away. That’s it. Change the design every two years at most and leave it at that. Word to Nike: if you mess with the kits too much, people will stop buying them, and you want people to buy them, right?




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