Posts Tagged ‘Arsenal v. Roma


I’m back, baby

Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday but, not to be too emo, I just didn’t feel like writing about Arsenal.

I spent Sunday walking around the southern part of Hyde Park, went to Harrods, went to the Natural History Museum, and generally spent Sunday just relaxing. No drink, no smoke, just chill.

Outside the museum I saw a metric tonne (metric tonnes are spelled differently) of high end sports cars: Lotus, Ferarri, Maserati. It looked like a “best of”  episode of Top Gear. Must be the posh end of town.

Harrods is, well, ostentatious. It’s the place to go if you absolutely need to get a $100 pizza, or if you find yourself out of caviar and just need to get a single dollop, well bust out the check book and head down to Harrods! I settled for the $5 “Scotch Egg” and wandered down the street to the museum.

I honestly didn’t know what a Scotch Egg was before I bit into it, so imagine my surprise when I bit into an actual egg!  I had looked at the ingredients and saw sausage, but somehow missed the fact that it contains an egg. It was a pretty tasty, if not a fatty, hand held lunch. And it had the added bonus of sticking around all day: every time I’d burp I’d get a little Scotch Egg!

The Natural History museum was neat, of course, but I couldn’t get into either of the special exhibits (Darwin) because they were sold out. Ummm, that sucked. I really wanted to see the Darwin exhibit. Oh well, I settled for dinosaurs and sloths and ickthyosaurs, which were pretty damn cool.

I’ll spare you the boring description of Monday because I mostly hung out at the airport doing Calculus homework and no one really cares about that. I will say though that I’m pretty pissed off about the chick who sat behind me on the plane coughing the entire flight because my throat hurts today. Also, if you ever find yourself stuck somewhere for several hours and there’s a copy of Gordon Ramsay’s “Humble Pie” available in audiobook you absolutely MUST listen to it. If that man had a human sized ego he would look back on that book and feel a deep humiliation and shame. Let me just put it this way: this man’s hubris eclipses King Lear. He spends the entire first half of the book describing how hard life was for him and the entire second half how hard he’s making life for his kids while bragging constantly about what a great businessman he is. What a donkey.

Anyway, I made it home and back to my girls, and I didn’t even mind that Aveline cried almost the entire car trip home. Poor little thing has the sniffles after all.

In football news, Arsenal play Roma today and the Boss has filled his pre-match interview with all kinds of goodies. Just wander over to the dot com and click on a link, gems will drop out like candy from a pinata.

For the match, the big story is away goals. Arsenal absolutely need to keep a clean sheet here today, failing to do so will pile pressure on them in the return leg and make Roma’s job so much easier in a fortnight. So, more important than just extending their 13 match unbeaten run (they last lost to Porto on Dec. 10th, in this very competition) Arsenal need to increase their 4 match clean sheet run; just one more game.

With that in mind and given the dearth of real strike options I suspect Arsene will play a 4-5-1 with Bendtner playing the Center Forward, van Persie playing the #10 slot and Diaby (he’s “healthy”) in the #8 spot. Nasri will play wide left, Denilson will mark Totti, Eboue will play wide right, and the back 4 will pick itself.

Did I mention that Denilson will mark Totti? This will be one of the most important games Denilson plays in his entire career and we shall see how he responds to the pressure of marking a Roma legend, with the added pressure of needing to keep a clean sheet, and the added pressure of marking a Roma legend, and needing to keep a clean sheet.

I remember when Cesc played his first champions league match against Juventus and went head to head with Patrick Vieira. It was his job on Vieira in that match that really solidified Cesc’s reputation with Arsenal supporters and I’m willing to go on a limb and say that Denilson could do the same today against Totti. No pressure young fella!

Right, that’s about it. The match is being shown live locally at Doyle’s and several of my readers are heading down to watch so, if you get a chance, join Travis and Alex for a pint. I cannot make it to the live showing as I have a metric tonne of work to catch up on and a class to attend. However, I have asked Russ to replay the match when I get off work and will be down there to watch the replay some time after 4pm local time. Leave a note in the comments if you want to make it a communal event or just want to come out and see my new away strip.

That’s it for today, got to get to work, see you all tomorrow for The Good, Bad, and Ugly.



Lady Nina Strikes Back


Following on the heels of Peter Hill-Wood’s vanilla announcement about “board restructuring” yesterday, Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith has made a little statement of her own:

I’m in total shock and very upset about the appalling way I have been treated. The board have no manners whatsoever and my views were ignored on many occassions. I can’t understand why I have been removed in such a ruthless fashion. I have had no proper explanation as to why they wanted me out so much. It is very difficult to accept especially after what my family has done for Arsenal for so many years.

The board removed her and she doesn’t know why? I hardly believe that. What did they do, wait for her to go to the restroom and vote her off the board?

Quick Pete, Lady Nina’s in the loo, let’s vote her off the island!

No, this sounds more like someone posing as the injured party so that when she sells her shares she can make a statement about her heavy heart and how she disagrees with the way the company is being run and wants to spend more time with her family, etc. I could be wrong about this, she did say that she has no intention of selling, but it is a mysterious statement.

Whatever the motivation, the facts are that more shares now exist outside the board than inside with Usmanov and Lady Nina holding more of Arsenal than Stan Kroenke and Danny Fiszman.

Frankly, this makes the board look increasingly hostile and insular. They fired two board members in two years and took an awfully long time to appoint Gazidis as the replacement for David Dein, the first casualty in this boardroom battle. An insular, disconnected, and hostile board is very concerning. No one knows what they are really fighting over with speculation ranging from  selling shares to the appointment of  Gazidis but whatever the issue(s) lets hope they settle them quickly. The last thing this team needs is disarray off the pitch — they suffer enough on the pitch.

Wouldn’t it be funny if the board were fighting over new signings? Honestly, given the vociferous debate here, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

Champions League Draw

UEFA held their Champions League draw and Arsenal got paired with Roma. You’re going to have to forget about what happened last time Arsenal met Roma (4-2 on aggregate) because this Roma team is in top form. Roma have won 8 of their last 9 matches in all competitions, dispatching Chelsea 3-1 and Bordeaux 2-0 in the Champions League along the way.

This will be a hell of a clash and Arsenal will need to be in top form to move forward in this competition. But we knew that. This is the part of the tournament where every team is pretty damn good and some are downright frightening.


Until the transfer window closes on February 2nd I will be keeping with my summer policy of not speculating or reporting on speculation. 99% of it is stupidity anyway, just look at what Valencia is asking for David Villa: £120m. Arsenal will never, ever, ever pay that much for any player, much less an overrated player like David Villa.

On a related note, this means I’m not going to be talking about whether Arsene should or shouldn’t “strengthen the squad” or any other Football Manager type of stuff. Frankly, it’s tiresome to hear the same things over and over and I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing me say the same things in response. I think we’ll all be happier if we stop arguing over who Wenger should buy, if he should buy, when the sky will fall, and all that pap until we see what actually happens this season.

I’m going to save it for the summer, when there isn’t any actual football to watch. You all feel free to argue away in the forums, I’m not participating.

Tomorrow there will be a preview of the Liverpool match. See you then.

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