Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea cheats


Arsenal v. Chelsea preview

I'm sure there's something about swine plague in this message!

Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge back in November, a win which kicked off Arsenal’s 21 match unbeaten run. Some folks say Arsenal were given a bit of good fortune as Robin van Persie’s first goal was widely seen as offside, but sometimes good luck is exactly what a team needs to kick off a winning run.

That said, these are not the same two teams that lined up against each other. Arsenal have added some serious quality in Andrei Arshavin (who will be out with the “flu” tomorrow) and Chelsea have abandoned the Scolari/Deco experiment in favor of the more direct approach of Hiddink/Essien. Both clubs are in good form now and both clubs have something to play for: 3rd place in the Premier League.

The absolute gulf in class between the two clubs is evident not on the pitch, where Chelsea have spent “magic money” as Wenger put it to win exactly zero trophies in two years, but in the board room, where Arsenal fined Bendtner for his off field actions but Hiddink is asking Roman to go easy on Drogba after his disgusting on-field actions after their crash out of the Champions League. It’s always been that way, though, and we should expect no less from the world’s most classless club.

Drogba may miss tomorrow’s game as Hiddink thinks he’s not mentally stable enough to get involved in a huge clash like this, which begs the question, is he ever mentally stable?

Meanwhile, the tin-foil-hatters will be in full tin-foil-hat mode over the fact that Arshavin is being left out of the clash having come down with the flu. Add in that Arsene left Andrei off the starting XI during the Chelsea/Arsenal FA Cup clash and there is some strong circumstantial “evidence” that Arsene is afraid to play Andrei against Hiddink. The theory goes that Hiddink knows some weakness in his Russian star’s game and would exploit that weakness and show the EPL how to beat Arshavin. Personally, I think it’s just coincidence.

First, why would Hiddink expose his star player’s weakness?  Wouldn’t doing that also hurt his Russian team too? Second, I think the FA Cup match can be explained simply as a tactical mistake by the boss. He probably figured that Arshavin would have more impact as a super sub, exploiting tired Chelsea legs at the end of a hard fought FA Cup match. And third, it is possible that Arshavin is just sick, in fact, it’s more than possible, it’s the most likely answer!

One player that Arsenal will absolutely use tomorrow is Gibbs; owing to the fact that Clichy is out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his back and Silvestre is shit. I think this is a wonderful inclusion, if Arsene project is to bring along youth players then we might as well use some of them. Plus, he made a mistake, yes, but nothing will help his confidence more than the manager putting him right back in to the starting XI… in a London derby… which may well decide the title… and which will certainly decide the all important 3rd place.


Right, that’s pretty much it, if you want to read Arsene talk about “magic money” or “bringing in one or two players” or hear him talk about what will almost certainly be a heated and prolonged summer transfer period, head on over to the dot com. There are more articles on that topic than Carter has little liver pills.


A Children’s Treasury of Funday News.

Ironic Quote of the Day

“If players do not respect him, it should be yellow and red cards. It doesn’t matter who you are – Liverpool or Manchester United, whoever.” — Chelsea Manager Scolari on why Man U got 7 yellows on Sunday.  Uhhh, I think you left off the team that was the reason for the Respect Campaign.

Yellow Card or Red? Elbow to the Head?

The 20% of football fans who want to go back to the good old days when a studs up challenge that lands on top of your opponent’s shin and is followed through with a second studs up foot for good measure and is considered “not even a foul” need a little persepctive. First, the “challenge” was at the end of the first half. This is important because there wasn’t any reason for him to make that challenge, except that he wanted to “put a physical stamp” on the game and intimidate Arsenal before they went in for half-time. Had Davies put in that challenge at the 60th minute in a crucial possesion it would be seen as very different, but much like Barton’s challenge on Nasri, it was a pointless tackle that was overly physical and designed to injure in order to send a message.

Second, no one can deny that Davies came in studs up. That is an illegal tackle 100% of the time.

Third, the challenge landed on Clichy’s shin and Clichy’s foot was on top of the ball. How much higher does a challenge have to be in order to be considered a foul? Knee high? Groin? Shoulder?

Finally, no one is calling for an end to tackles. No one is calling for an end to the physical part of the game. One of my favorite players of all time is Denis Bergkamp and, if I may, he was a jerk. But Bergkamp also used skill in the challenge he didn’t just lunge at people. Let’s let Kolo Toure put some perspective on this last point:

It is wrong to allow those sorts of challenges in football. If we are going to allow that, you might just as well get in kids off the street because they can make those challenges just the same as anybody else can. Football is supposed to be a game of skill. I am sure we could go out and kick players just as hard as we are kicked but we’d rather concentrate on playing football.

Kevin Davies and Bolton would do well to concentrate on playing football instead of trying to intimidate people, because as much as I admire his hard work and grit I equally despise his talentless scything down of opponents.

What do we think of Tottenham?

Poor little David Bentley is at the foot of the table in the league and is second string choice for the national team behind 19 year old Theo Walcott. Cream rises to the top, David.

Can someone please start the “Juande Ramos quits to spend more time with his family” countdown?


un jour heureux!

They're Back


After what seems like an ice age, the hundred years’ war, and the occupation of Iraq all rolled into one, Arsenal have gone back to training. Of course notable for their absence are Adebayor, Hleb, Nasri, Gallas, Fabregas, and well, a whole bunch of guys but the training got underway none-the-less.

It’s good to see the boys in red back, and even better to see our new no.14 smiling and buddying up with teammate Clichy. Ok, now I’m excited about the season. I’ve got a season kickoff party to plan, the annual mecca, lots of stuff, work work work!

Speaking of Hleb and Adebayor, they both made the columns since yesterday morning, albeit for two totally different reasons. Hleb, because he said some “very bad” things, and Ade because I ran across a rather comical article.

First, Hleb had this to say to the press yesterday

My view of how I should be playing didn’t coincide with the manager’s. I told him last season I wanted to leave and think he was quite upset about it. But ask him. It may turn out he’s happy to see me go.

If Wenger isn’t happy to see you go, I’ll be double happy for him! We’ll turn that frown right upside down!

All kidding aside, this isn’t really as shocking of a statement as the press folks are making it out to be. It was clear to everyone with eyes that Hleb didn’t like playing on the wing and that he was often unhappy on the pitch. Anyone with a brain could have guessed that Hleb spoke to the manager about playing him more centrally and anyone with a brain could see that that desire was in direct conflict with the fact that Arsenal have one of the best central attacking midfielders in the world already at that spot. There was no way that Hleb was going to usurp Fabregas in that role and that’s really what this all seems to be about because he follows up that statement with a “blast” at Fabregas

When we get scoring opportunities, Fábregas is much more selfish than me. Given a chance to shoot, he always goes for it – unlike me.

And much like his few shots on goal, this “blast” is ineffectual and raises nothing but guffaws from the opposition.

He’s actually saying that he feels that he’s a better player because HE PASSES UP ON OPPORTUNITIES TO SCORE. BWahahahah ahahaha hahaha. Dude. We already knew that about you and it’s the quality that we (and I speak for all Arsenal fans) HATE about you. What the hell is wrong with you, you moron?

Of course this could all be lies and mistranslation, it is a story broken by The Sun, but still you have to have a laugh at the idea that Hleb fancies himself the better teammate because he passed up on open looks. He might even have an argument is Cesc wasn’t the team’s leading assist man and is widely praised for adding goals to his bag of tricks. Too funny.

Second, there’s the ongoing saga of the “Adebayor non-transfer” and it’s looking like Milan are out of the race for his signature… again. Yawn. In “real” news I did run across an inadvertently funny article in the Telegraph that mentions Adebayor. The paper took 4 “experts” and asked them their views of the top 5 EPL transfer targets (Barry, Ade, Ronadinho, Ronaldo, and Lampard). Typically this wouldn’t be a cause for reprinting here in the blog but I ran across this quote and thought it was funny

Fan’s view: Another who’s been linked with Chelsea, as well as Milan and Barca. I hope we miss out on him. I get the impression he’s a guy who believes he’s bigger than the club. He also has a discipline problem, as many Arsenal players tend to have.

Wh wh what? Many Arsenal players have a discipline problem? I was confused, so I looked at who the fan was, giving their all important view on this topic.

The fan: Trizia Fiorellino is the chairwoman of the Chelsea Supporters’ Group.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAH BNEHAYEHHEHEHAH (choke) hah aha hah (gasp) (cough). Ahem. Excuse me. Uhh, yes, it’s the Arsenal players with the discipline problems. Let’s see, what objective measures would we like to use to measure the relative discipline problems of the two teams. I know, how about the Fair play table? Oh looky, there’s Arsenal in 4th place and there’s Chelsea in 19th place. Or how about the whole Ashley Cole incident with the ref? Or, let’s compare off the field adventures… That woman is seriously demented. Good for a laugh, but seriously demented.

That’s really it for today, there’s some press about a few players that are not signing for Arsenal, a story about Arshavin being valued at £400 billion or some such nonsense but I’m going to leave you on that high note; how much you want to bet there’s a signing this week?

Update: See, the whole Hleb thing was a lie manufactured by The Sun.  You gotta love them though for trying and for providing us with some brief comedy.


Drogba stirs the cauldron of shiat

Late blog today, I partially tore my Achilles tendon last Sunday and to accommodate my need to get a ride from my girlfriend I’ve changed my work schedule to four 10 hour shifts. Yes, I have Friday’s off and so I got to sleep in this morning and thus the late blog.

A late blog though isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For example, the late blog let’s me write about the story that Drogba’s stirring up the Chelsea supporters. First off, there isn’t a single dirty trick for Chelsea to pull that would surprise me in the least. But inciting the Chelsea supporters to be even worse than they already are is pretty low.

During the Carling Cup final, Cesc was pelted with celery every time he went to take a corner kick. At first it was just rib of celery or two and then they started chucking whole hearts of celery. Which culminated in this famous image:

I understand the celery thing, I really do. And I remember remarking last year that tossing the odd rib of celery at a player isn’t really that big of a deal. The problem only happens when things start to escalate, as they did in the photo above. Once fans start tossing out hearts of celery, or even whole celery plants, the only possible outcome is escalation. And the Arsenal supporters did promise to escalate this war of veggies by promising to hit Ashcole with whole fruit and veg on his return to Arsenal.

Fortunately, Wenger called for calm, the stadium stepped up searches and Cole wasn’t hit with vegetables. Because we all know that if Arsenal supporters were given the same leeway that Chelsea supporters seem to get and allowed to throw veggies at Cole, the next escalation would be peas… wrapped in a can. It was a very classy move by Arsenal to defuse the situation.

And now we’ve come full circle. Chelsea are in a serious shambles right now conceding 4 goals to bottom of the table Tottenham and with Avram Grant’s tactics being openly questioned by his players. Not only that, but Ashcole’s tackle and the squad’s subsequent ugly remonstration of Riley’s let off of a yellow card shows that there is a deep, deep trouble at Chelsea. And so, it’s natural for the players to grasp at straws and say things like:

William knows he is coming to the cauldron of Stamford Bridge, like with Ashley Cole [at Arsenal], he will be booed. But they are top players and I will need help from the crowd to unsettle William

I would think that Chelsea as a club would, right now, with all that is going on, want the players to bring a measure of calm and professionalism and workman attitude to the game. If the club wanted to do that, they might make a statement like this:

I want our fans to be behind our team and not to especially have resentment… He did well for the club for as long as he was here and ideally you want everybody who has played for you to be respected. What is over is over and you have to take a distance with that.

Those were the words of Arsene Wenger ahead of Cole’s return to Arsenal. He’s a classy guy that Wenger.

I would hope that Avram Grant would say something similar but Chelsea just don’t have the history of being a classy club. Chelsea are the kind of club that always puts winning ahead of everything else. They are the Floyd Landis of English football.

Sunday has all the potential to be the ugliest football match we have seen all season. I expect trouble in this match, Arsenal have seen a serious drop in form since Milan and will not be above hard tackles to regain that form. Chelsea, as I already mentioned, are in an absolute free fall and with the personalities on that team it’s a matter of “when” and not “if” they will start the pushing, shoving, yelling at the ref, dirty tackles, shirt pulling and all the other tactics they employ when they can’t win a match by playing football. If you add in that the FA, in a moment of sheer insanity, placed Mark Clattenburg (who has been disciplined publicly this season…TWICE) in charge of the match this thing is ready to explode.

Which makes Drogba stirring up the fans that much more reprehensible. The last thing this match needs is the supporters egging on the bad conduct — literally.
So, shame on you Drogba, and shame on you Chelsea for not calling for calm ahead of the storm.

Until tomorrow.

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