Posts Tagged ‘Cardiff v. Arsenal FA Cup

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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23
Jan
09

Arsenal on the verge of signing?

Arsenal travel to Ninian park on Sunday for an early FA cup match but all that anyone really cares about is the Andrei Arshavin signing saga.  Well, that’s not true some of us care about that, the FA Cup match, and Arsenal signing someone better than Alex Song to anchor the midfield but if you read the papers all we care about is the Arshavin deal.

Well, let’s put it to bed: according to Zenit, Arsenal have increased their offer and the deal will be done on Sunday. Never mind that Peter Hill-Wood said just yesterday that Arsenal made their last offer, Zenit is claiming that Arsenal have increased their bid!

I’m pretty certain that what we’re seeing here is a Zenit club that are basically rank amateurs when it comes to negotiations. Their very public attempts to increase interest from people outside the negotiating room was distasteful and unethical. But worse, they now look like a bunch of clowns as they change their tune every two days. One day it’s “we want £20m, Arsenal are being too cheap, no deal” and the next day they are saying “Arsenal have offered us a good deal we should conclude this in 2 days.”

I say screw this story, there’s too many known unknowns and even some unknown unknowns to report anything as fact. If Arshavin signs anything I’ll report it, if not, f*ck it. I’ve got to put this story down before I lose my mind. I mean, if you thought I was vitriolic against Zenit before for their overt racism and hiring discrimination I am now at the point where I just want to strangle the whole lot of them.

And if you want to go absolutely bat shit insane, all you have to do is listen to Wenger say all the things I said he’d say yesterday.

I am very happy with the squad I have and will only add someone who can give us something special. For the rest I have good players and believe strongly in them. Should we not get what we want, we will accept it as well because I believe we are strong enough with what we have.

I really wish he would have mentioned the fact that they are a young team here but he didn’t, instead he said that Arsenal aren’t really buying anyone because…

At the moment I am more focused on doing well with the players we have than being frenetic about the transfer market. I am convinced there is enough quality inside here to achieve that target.

Wait for it…

We are not close to signing anybody else, but what I see in training is a very determined team of top quality.

Wait for it…

Also the players coming back, like Fabregas and Walcott, there is a little chance that Rosicky will play again before the end of the season, so we have plenty of players coming back who are like new signings.

They are like new signings! If by “new signing” you mean “players who are currently under contract but who have been out for up to a year due to freak injuries and would be coming back into the team but won’t actually be signing anything nor are they new.”

Sometimes I want to strangle Wenger too. I’m in a strangling mood today I guess.

You should also know that Arsenal supposedly have rejected offers for Bendtner and Eboue. Now, before you get too excited, both of these stories come from the players’ respective agents. Moreover, both agents are claiming that the respective clubs contacted the agents and made an offer for the player. Unfortunately, for me, that all adds up to this being the biggest hot air story of all hot air stories.

Anyway, Arsenal have Cardiff on Sunday in the FA Cup, which is something real, something that we all know is going to happen and not some agent’s fantasy. The actual kickoff is 5am and the match is only available on Setanta or one of the P2P sites, which as you all know means a trip to the pub to watch the game!

Doyle’s (listed in my blogroll) is showing the match on a delay because they don’t want to get up at 5am (I don’t blame them) and that’s where I’ll be on Sunday, 7am-ish.

A match will be a welcome respite from the fantasy world of transfer windows, what with all the candy colored Kaka’s and champagne Arshavins.

04
Jan
09

Kolo gets a touch of the Irish, plus the FA Cup draw

You know a story has credibility when you read about it in the last paragraph of a story that quotes another story that quotes anonymous sources.

See, it turns out that Theo Walcott’s cousin’s sitster’s boyfriend saw Theo at 31 flavors last night and Theo is really mad that Arsenal haven’t opened negotiations over his contract which expires in 18 months.

He was doing well for both his club and country but still nothing happened on the contract front. The fact is, he feels as if he’s being taken for granted at the moment, as if people simply expect him to sign a contract.

Theo’s anonymous source is absolutely correct, Wenger is taking advantage of the player by giving him playing time when he’s healthy and paying him a salary while he’s out with a shoulder injury.

Seriously though, my suspicion is that Arsenal were waiting for new CEO Ivan Gazidis to come on board before negotiating contract extensions with Theo and RvP. Given his comments earlier in the week about how he’s building this team on a budget I’m 100% certain that Wenger wants to keep Theo at almost all costs. Comically though, the Telegraph raises the spectre of Theo pulling a “Webster” and buying out the final year of his contract. I’d be worried about that happening if all signs didn’t point to Theo Walcott being a very well balanced young man who appreciates all that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal FC have done for him. You know, if he was more of an asshole like Alex Hleb.

As if that story wasn’t funny enough, the Telegraph throws in a transfer bone at the end there, linking Arsenal to Stephen Ireland in a straight swap for Kolo Toure.

I hate Stephen Ireland… when he plays against Arsenal.

Ireland’s a good little player who has some steel in his game, a decent passing range, a good shot, an understanding of the game, and is having a career season on a dreadful Citeh squad. Why Citeh would let him go for Kolo Toure is beyond me. Also, there’s no evidence that Arsene Wenger would buy a player like Ireland, he’s just a little too, well to be frank he’s not continental enough. Also, his character is questionable and Wenger has placed a very, very high value on character.

The story that surfaces every time there is a transfer window is that N’Zogbia will be coming to Arsenal. This transfer window has the player speaking to the French press and describing Arsenal as his dream club: it’s all cotton candy clouds and technicolor dreamscapes for Charlie! Unfortunately, N’Zogbia as a player is more of a nightmare than a dream so this transfer has -0% chance of happening — no matter how much the player dreams of it. Hell, I dream of being on the Arsenal board, eating prawn sandwiches with the big boys while we take in the game from a luxury box.  IT COULD HAPPEN.

My other favorite story is Mathew Upson coming to Arsenal in exchange for Bendtner. I just want to remind you all that Arsene Wenger has categorically ruled out taking players back once they have left and so there is no chance that Upson will come back to Arsenal.

Further, add in that Arsene Wenger has ruled out anyone leaving the club over and over this week and the fact that Silvestre picked up an injury that will see him out for 3 weeks in yesterday’s match and you have to think that rather than a defensive player leaving, Arsenal will be bringing one in. I mean, where do they get these stories? Don’t they read their own press reports?

FA Cup Roundup

Arsenal swept aside Plymouth with either a commanding performance or a steaming pile of shiat, depends who you ask. I didn’t watch it, but did listen to the match on the BBC5 online audio stream. My only impression is that we went into the half at 0-0, came out and got 2 goals, and then did the thing that is now epidemic at this club: lost concentration immediately after scoring and let our opponents back into the game.

Losing concentration and conceeding goals in general is now a hallmark of this team. This happens when a team has no leader or when a team has other internal problems. It’s also something that can’t be solved by bringing in new players. I’m not saying Arsenal don’t need new players, rather that just bringing in some new faces won’t fix the concentration problem.

Chelsea seem to be suffering from the same problem, managing only a 1-1 draw against Southend United at home. It’s so bad over in West London that pretty much everyone is claiming Scolari’s reign is over. They just seem to throw good money after bad over there, don’t they?

Anyway, the Arsenalist has the highlights of the Plymouth match, saunter on over there and take a gander if you are so inclined.

Right, that’s it for the day, oh yeah, I nearly forgot, Arsenal travel away to Cardiff in the next round of the FA Cup.  I’m sure Aaron Ramsey will get a warm reception on his old stomping grounds and here’s hoping that Arsenal get a win as well.

Now… see you tomorrow.




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