Posts Tagged ‘Cesc Fabregas

02
Apr
09

Back to reality, nearly

Less than 24 hours after I make a statement about how Barcelona would be the preferred destination when Cesc leaves, Joan Laporta is quoted in the press saying how much he’d like to see Cesc in a Barcelona shirt.

I’m sure he would.

What I don’t get is how much outrage everyone seems to have over this quote. Barcelona say this kind of stuff every three months and yes it’s distasteful but as far as I know it’s not illegal. Real Madrid’s President calling Cesc to chat about his progress, that’s illegal. Barcelona’s President saying “I’d like to see Cesc in a Barca shirt” is not illegal. Sure, he’s a jerk for saying it, but he was already a jerk, this is not news!

Besides, we all know and should accept that Cesc will leave Arsenal one day and that his likeliest destination is the club he supported as a kid: Barcelona. Right now, he’s under contract until 2014 and if Barcelona want him, they will have to pay a huge, retarded, sum in transfer fees. Which I highly doubt they will do, especially given the fact that Joan himself says that Barca “have the best midfield in the world” (along with the best keeper!).

So, let’s all calm down and focus in on football, which we shall have on Saturday I say! Saturday!

Saturday, we’ve got Manchester City for a good olde fashioned 7am kickoff. If you’ll remember, City was the last team to beat Arsenal in the Premier League: a run of 17 matches unbeaten. That City game was one of the low points of the season. With the club in turmoil after Cappy Gallas’ outburst, they were outplayed in the midfield by Stephen Ireland, toothless up front, and defenseless in the back. We went to City (who were terrible at the time) and got an old-fashioned ass whoppin as we say in the States.   3-0.

After that, Wenger made some changes. They took a while to take hold but Arsenal are a different team now and not just in terms of players on the pitch, though the addition of Arshavin has proved crucial. Tactically and spiritually this is a different Arsenal side. They have scored 15 goals in the month of March and the club has a belief about them they they did not at the last meeting. I have to think that more than most rematches, Arsenal will be looking for revenge.

Personnel wise, we have our Crozillian back, and scoring goals. And more importantly, we’ve got our young captain and midfield maestro back and raring to go. Wenger is saying that Cesc needs three games to get back to top fitness and the next three games are his best bet: home to City, away to Villareal, and away to Wigan. We should expect Diaby and van Persie to miss at least the Saturday game against City but after that is unknown as there’s no news on those two. Bendtner, on the other hand, subbed in at the 33rd minute in Denmark’s 3-0 win over Albania so whatever injury he suffered on his knee must have healed, right??? And any rumors of Arshavin picking up a knock are false, as he played the whole match against Licktinstien.

And if you want to get REALLY excited, there are rumors that Theo could be fit to face City.

Let’s see, Arshavin, Theo, Cesc, and Dudu? Yes please, I’ll have two!

Finally, in the above link, Wenger also made a remark about how the next 8 matches in 25 days are make or break for this season. It’s true, we’ll have had both legs of the Champions League, 4 EPL matches, and an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea. Uhh… yeah, that’s slightly important.

But given that all our players returning to top form and have a renewed spirit I feel confident in quoting George W. Bush: bring ’em on.

P.S. Adebayor is fit as well.

20
Oct
08

Arsenal turn the corner, run into a Turkey

Theo’s Impact

I’m in a bit of an odd spot. See, some folks are poo poo-ing the impact that Theo had on the Everton game.  Even Wenger himself shot down the notion that Theo turned that game around. So it’s a bit odd, but I know what I saw and… and, well… I want to tell them that it is well within their rights to be completely wrong.

First, Theo is able to pick the ball up and run with it the way Henry used to do for Arsenal and he’s the only player on the team who currently does that. I’m not saying that Theo is Henry. Just that no one really makes those kinds of runs for Arsenal. Adebayor does it occasionally but he doesn’t terrorize speedy defenders like Theo and van Persie never makes a dribble preferring to wait for the ball so he can cannon it out of the stadium and down the Seven Sister’s Road.

Theo also has a winning attitude that few of the other players on this team have. Right now, Cesc is too busy looking for someone else to lead him and Gallas is too busy blaming everyone else. When Theo gets tackled by some clod, he never looks at the ref, he jumps up and gets on with the game. That’s a winning attitude. And, in the absence of Rosicky, Theo is currently the only player on the squad who can provide the team with width on the right side. Sure he makes mistakes, but overall, he’s the best player on this team right now.

Yes, better than Cesc.

Maybe this can all be accounted for with a simple dip in Fabregas’ form and a temporary rise in Wallcott’s but how many times have you heard “that was a pass uncharacteristic of Cesc’s quality” this season? How many times have you seen Cesc chirp at the ref rather than get up and get on with the game? And most importantly, how many times have you seen Cesc act like a leader on the pitch?

The proof is in the pudding; if Cesc was in top form, he’d have more assists, his midfield partner Denilson would be playing better, and this squad would not have lost to a team like Hull. Great players make everyone around them better and Theo is the only Arsenal player doing that right now.

My detractors will point out Arsene’s comments about Theo after the game.

I felt that it is a bit of a shortcut because I believe that the game changed before he came on. Everton had a strong start but we had three or four chances in the first half and in the last 20 minutes of the first half. You could see we were on top and that our domination would certainly increase during the second half. Theo came on and did very well and had an impact on the game of course but I feel the whole team played very well.

What else would he say? He can’t let Theo’s ego get too big and he needs to keep up his mantra that the whole team is more important than the individual. But you can’t tell me that he saw that first half and thought Arsenal were “on top” or “dominating.” I was praying that they got out of that first half only down 1-0. It wasn’t until the second half that Arsenal dominated anything — when Theo came on, stretched the defense, and provided the team with a huge spark.

I love Fabregas but there’s just something wrong with him right now.

Turning Another Corner Against Fener?

Think about it, first there was a lackluster 1-0 loss to Fulham, then came the heartbreaking 2-1 home loss to Hull where we fought valiantly but couldn’t overcome them, then there was the breakthrough game against Sunderland — all but defeated and they scrap out a draw. Last week I predicted a 2-1come back win over Everton based on what I saw in this squad and sure enough, down 1-0 and looking seriously out, Arsenal turned a corner and played the second half the way we all know that they can.

Now they face a Fenerbahce squad that may be struggling domestically but will play their hearts out as this is their last chance to qualify for the next round of the Champions League. Buoyed by 55,000 insane Turkish fans and last year’s home record against European opposition they will provide the sternest test yet for this Arsenal squad. Arsenal are coming off an emotional game against Everton, get one day’s rest, then on a plane and off to face a Fener team that will be balls out trying to win this match.

Arsene will have Nasri, Djourou, and Bendtner available but Toure, Gallas, and Sagna will be out.  No word yet on how long Toure will be out, but Gallas and Sagna are expected to be fit for Sunday’s game. I would never have guessed that Arsene would have put Song at right back so, what kind of lineup we’ll see tomorrow is really anyone’s guess.  Maybe Song will partner with Bendtner up front, Theo will play right back, and Cesc will play on the left with Eboue as the attacking midfielder. It will be a 1-2-2-1-0-1-2-1 I’m sure.

The Arsenal match is available here in the states on Setanta and that means I will be going down to Doyle’s for lunch and a pint. Kickoff is 11:45 am local time, stop by and cheer for the boys, they’ll need all the positivity we can muster.

16
Oct
08

Cesc wants his Hlebby back

After the Spain v WhoCaresIt’sAnInternational match Cesc Fabregas gave an interview in which he stated his concern that Arsenal lack both the experience and the flair to win anything this season. Predictably the pundits are spinning this as either “Cesc criticizes Wenger” or “Arsenal has lost its flair” but for me it’s really neither of those two. Cesc statement is revealing, not about Wenger but about the character of Cesc.

Here’s the quote in question:

Our squad is a bit short on numbers and we are very young. Behind me there is Denilson, who is 20, or Alex Song who is 21. Theo Walcott is 19 and Samir Nasri 21.

It’s hard to imagine a midfield where I am the oldest member.

We find it very hard to win matches, as we do not possess enough experience.

I scored 13 goals last season but then I had plenty of allies. Tomas Rosicky (injured) was around, Mathieu Flamini (now at Milan) covered every blade of grass and Alexander Hleb (who went to Barcelona in the summer) was like a brother to me out there.

The team played with a lot of skillful touches, we were as solid as a brick wall and our opponents would not get a look in.

Now none of those players are in the side and I feel like a rare being. We are more defensive-minded and sturdy as a team but we don’t play so much skillful stuff.

First, I understand that Cesc would feel a sense of loss because he can no longer play with his close friend (Hleb). I also understand that he’s feeling more pressure on him to perform because, as I said and was criticized roundly for last year, he’s lost the cover that Flamini provided. But what I don’t understand is why he has decided to denigrate the contributions of his current teammates and himself.

As good as Hleb was (at not shooting) in his last year of playing with us he was shockingly bad for the two years previous. He wasn’t creative at all, he was more likely to dribble into a dark alley than to put in a proper cross or otherwise open up the opponent’s defense. And then, of course, there was his chronic inability to shoot when presented with open chances. No, I’m sorry, but Samir Nasri already looks a more than apt replacement for Hleb. Why Cesc is slagging off Nasri I have no idea.

On the Flamini issue? Yes. We need another Flamini. But given the rise of Ramsey and Wilshere and Wenger’s desire to play those two and bring them up rather than buying a player, I can’t see him spending the money on Yaya or Alonso this January. Unless Cesc threatens to quit or something.

But more than just the individuals, what’s really troubling with this statement is the way that Cesc sees himself. The team lacks experience? Wait, what about Cesc? Isn’t he experienced? What about all those finals he’s been in, the trophy he won this summer, don’t those count for anything? I disagree with him here, Cesc possesses the requisite experience, and it’s his job now to pass that on.

What I think we’re really hearing from Cesc is that Arsenal lack the leadership that someone like Flamini provided. We’re hearing, moreover, that Cesc lacks the leadership to transfer his own abundance of experience over to the others.

I guess that’s why Arsene didn’t make Cesc the captain: he’s too busy looking for others to provide the leadership and experience. I almost feel like someone should give him a “leadership coin” and say to him “Ok, Cesc, put that magic coin in your sock and it will magically give you the leadership qualities that you’re looking for in others.” Then, you know, he could lose the coin and show some leadership and we’d all say “that was just an ordinary coin! The qualities you sought were already within you!” and there would be a rainbow and birds chirping and a fucking trophy and Spurs would be relegated.

That’s my fantasy anyway.

I hope the manager has a couple of words with Cesc, at least, and tells him that he’s a leader now, that Denilson and Rambo and Nasri and Theo all need him to step up and play that role. Oh, and also, don’t slag off your teammates publicly, jerk.

Does Anyone Miss Seaman

Miss Seaman (lol)…

Anyway, David Seaman is having a hard time containing his schadenfreude over Spurs recent “drop” in form which is nice and interesting and all. But what’s REALLY cool about that article is that there’s a YouTube of Seaman’s greatest saves and if you can watch that video and not miss Seaman, well then you’re no Arsenal fan.

Poll

WordPress has included some kind of poll function and I thought I’d test it out!

Tomorrow there will be a match preview and square pie. See you then.

29
Mar
08

Bolton v. Arsenal

Can’t sleep, so you get an early, crappy, post.

Today, the squad is without Eduardo, Rosicky, and Sagna due to injury. You all know that Sagna picked up an injury during the Chelsea match. But what you probably don’t know is that Chelsea haven’t apologized for it yet. What? Terry is as much at fault for Sagna’s injury as Eboue was intentional about Terry’s injury, why shouldn’t they apologize?

Anyway, Sagna is going to be at home today, combing his beads, waiting by the phone for John Terry to call him up and apologize. On the other hand, Adebayor might be at the stadium but he’s unlikely to play. Le Boss has said that Ade looks ‘jaded’ which is British for “tired.”

Adebayor, Adebayooooor

I don’t do fantasy sports but if I did, I wouldn’t play Adebayor because if he plays at all it will be in a reserve role. Which is a bit of a shame, because he really needs to get a goal ahead of the Liverpool clashes, but I guess Wenger has weighed that against his jadedness (jaditude?) and the big Togolesian getting a break.  What will the Arsenal fans sing about if they don’t have Adebayor to sing to?

So, it’s up to a very rusty van Persie and a very big Dane to carry the scoring load. As I was looking both players up and I found this video of van Persie’s “13” greatest goals.

Watching that video makes baby Jesus cry. He’s so fucking good. Here’s to Robin getting his touch back all at once.

Other than to report that Wenger wants to rest Ade, I’m not going to guess what kind of lineup Wenger will choose. It’s his team, he knows them best. Don’t be surprised if the old man has some further tricks up his sleeves. Flamini and Cesc may also get a rest today, you never know.

In our penultimate story, Cesc has fired his old agent and hired David Dein’s son. I don’t like this one bit. Darren Dein is the same agent who greased the rails that saw Henry shipped to Barca. Is the Dein family hell bent on destroying Arsenal? From his father’s association with a Russian mobster who wants to milk Arsenal dry to the son’s relationship with Barcelona this family seems noxious at first glance. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe they are collaborating to get Barcelona to over-pay for Arsenal players.  And maybe they are scamming a Russian mobster.

And maybe rainbows and pots of gold will suddenly appear at Emirates…

And finally, Martin Keown is coaching a one-time famous clash today.  He’s managing Oxford in the Oxford-Cambridge match.  This is the long way around for him to get his UEFA A coaching license.  Good for him, and may he have a long career coaching.  Oh, and by the way, he’s doing this for free.  I always liked Keown.  Especially when he went Donkey Kong ape-shit on Ruud van Nistlerooy.

And that’s it for today.  Here’s to 3 points.

18
Mar
08

I’ll be praying for Martin Taylor on Sunday against Chelsea

Before I start, I ask that all my readers pray for me and Martin Taylor during this holy week. For me because I had to go to the doctor yesterday because my Achilles was killing me and I found out that I have a “partial tear” of the Achilles tendon. I guess it’s extremely rare to partially tear the tendon, but hey, I guess I’m just a special guy… This means 6 weeks in a brace before I can even start to rehab my left leg. The doctor said that 95% of the time, if I don’t heal it properly, I’ll fully tear the tendon. Which he described as “excruciating” and “like being hit in the heel with a 4 wood.” So, pray for me to heal.

Excruciating is also the word to describe the psychic pain that Martin Taylor is feeling right now. At least that’s what Birmingham’s chairman is saying. He then goes on to try to disparage Cesc Fabregas for his emotional comments about the Taylor tackle. Let me remind everyone of exactly what Cesc said:

Taylor did it and he knows why he did it. Of course he is not going to say he did it on purpose. A good player gets injured for a year and the player who makes the free-kick gets suspended for three little games. It is very unfair. This type of tackle shouldn’t be allowed. It doesn’t help football.

Honestly, there’s not much wrong with this statement. I think that chairman Gold is overreacting in order to “protect” Taylor. Which is fine. But let’s not pretend for a second that Gold is being objective or fair. Because if he was being fair, he’d put Alex McLeish up on the podium and have him clear the air. Did McLeish tell the players to “get stuck in right away?” Did McLeish tell the players that they needed to put a “physical stamp on the match right off?” Because for me, that’s the only issue here. And that’s how I interpret Cesc’s remark about how only Taylor “knows why he did it.”

Taylor too could come out and admit that the manager told the team to rough Arsenal up and that his tackle was meant to do that. Of course I don’t think Taylor went in to break Eduardo’s leg, but I do think Taylor was following orders. That tackle, at that time in the match, only has one purpose: send a message to the opposing team that says “if you try to dribble around us, we’re going to tackle you… hard.”

Teams who come out to “put a physical stamp” on matches are a problem. Those teams and their managers should be punished. That’s the whole issue for me: I want to know what Allie McLeish told the Birmingham players in the locker room before the match. Until we have a statement about that, then the rest of this is just handbags.

So shut the fuck up, Gold.

Sunday at Chelsea is a huge match. A season defining match, in fact. On Wednesday, Man U plays Bolton and Chelsea plays Tottenham which means that Arsenal supporters have to be rooting for Tottenham for one day. I don’t have any hangup about doing that. Let’s go you Spurs! You can certainly be bigger cunts than Chelsea! And you notloB cunts! Come on! “Put a physical stamp on the match” like you do against Arsenal.  That should make SA’s head assplode!
On Sunday, Arsenal could drop as far as 3rd place, but we have to wait and see what happens on Wednesday. There are too many points at stake and the race is too close to get too excited about Arsenal dropping to 3rd just yet.

Make no mistake, Sunday is the big showdown — Chelsea will be looking for revenge for what they perceived as an overly physical match that Arsenal took 1-0 back in December. Everyone expects this to be a very tense and physical encounter between two teams who have a history of tense, physical encounters.

Chelsea tend to get away with being a pack of cheating cunts like they did at the League Cup final where Mikel (one of the worst offenders on a team of criminals) started the whole thing with a dangerous tackle on Toure, who took exception, and then Lampard decided to ramp up the bullshit by attacking Toure.

Wait… I meant to say: “Lampard was protecting his teammate.”

Fights like that are more of a probability than a rarity on Sunday, sadly. Chelsea are like the Detroit Pistons of the EPL: they are a dirty team who knows full well that the instigator is rarely blamed. So, they like to come out and push Arsenal around hoping to get a reaction.  At the very least, pushing Arsenal’s buttons will make them lose concentration on their game.  At the very best (for Chelsea) Arsenal will have two main players sent off for one role player.

In a situation like that the Referee’s Association would want to put their best ref on the job.

You would think.

But NO!

In a shock move, Mark Clattenburg has been put in charge.

…This should end well.

What I find truly mind boggling is that referees’ chief Keith Hackett, who has TWICE punished Clattenburg this season for his poor handling of the Liverpool/Everton match and then for the Blackburn/Wigan debacle, is calling on Clattenburg for the one match this season which will probably be the most tense. I’m all for giving a guy a second or third chance, but I just don’t think this is the match to let him shine through. I would love to hear what special instructions they give him: like “whatever you do, don’t give too many cards.”

Ugh.

I have a bad feeling about Sunday.

And that’s going to have to do for today.  Until tomorrow.




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