Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea v. Arsenal


Chelsea v. Arsenal; liveblogging the 2nd half

The first half wasn’t really that bad. The score line is a bit harsh on Arsenal and especially Djourou, but I really liked that he took a moment after the goal and snapped right back up. The rest of the squad need to do the same, right now. One thing that I have noticed in all my sporting years is that champions come out and play hard in the second half, some commentators call it “finding another gear.” We saw that often with the Invicibles, even a great team like that had moments like we saw in this first half but they always responded in the second half. Chelsea will certainly be aware of this and will come out swinging at the start of the half. Arsenal need to keep their heads up, not get frustrated, and play their game. They are making chances, they have to believe that something will come of it.

Also, Nasri needs to defend Bosingwa further up the pitch — he’s abusing that side and putting extra pressure on Clichy and Clichy doesn’t need any more pressure.

46′ — Well, they are playing hard but back to back miscommunications with Adebayor won’t do much to endear him to his detractors.

51′ — You are seeing an absolutely clinical performance by Chelsea right now. They have sucked the life out of this Arsenal team and are picking apart the defense at will. Cesc is nearly invisible as the Chelsea midfield dominates.

56′ — I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Arsenal squad look this ordinary. Come on boys, you’re the Gunners!

59′ — Looks like Wilshere is warming up. Well, sure, it’s not like Nasri and … NO WAY!!! van Persie is yards off-side and yet Mike Dean rules that the ball came off A. Cole. 1-1 to the Arsenal. Well, I’ll be damned, that’s a harsh call on Chelsea, the Gunners need to really step up now.

61′ — Terry with a two-footed challenge, good yellow.

62′ — now it’s Chelsea who look discombobulated, free kick to Fabregas flicked by Adebayor and falls to van Persie. Well, well… 2-1 to the Arsenal.

65′ — My dog is deaf, Matt! Adebayor is frustrating the hell out of me right now, and I’m probably his biggest fan. Nasri is defending well suddenly, maybe someone had a chat with him.

68′ — Clichy with some brilliant defense in midfield and a great run earns Arsenal a free kick in a dangerous spot — van Persie hat-trick?

70′ — Hey… why isn’t Clichy put in as holding midfielder? Probably a dearth of left-backs it the only reason, he could hardly be worse than Song and reminds me a lot of Flamini.

73′ — Chelsea are getting tetchy, John Terry just elbowed the back of van Persie’s head to clear him off Cesc’s pass.

76′ — AH HA! Clichy has been assigned to cover Bosingwa and is doing a much better job of it than Nasri. This moves Nasri over to the middle of the park where he seems more creative.

79′ — I agree Barnaby, I’ll be happier if the score line is 6-1…

80′ — Ivanovic has been doing a great job harassing Adebayor. Nothing getting past the big Russian. Song, too is having a decent game defensively.

83′ — Adebayor’s had a rough game and is subbed by Bendtner. Mike Riley has to shoo him off the pitch. PINK BOOTS!

85′ — Clichy throws himself about and gets a yellow on Ivanovic… This is the start of my campaign: CLICHY FOR MIDFIELD.

89′ — Come on boys put this one to bed.

92′ — AHHHAHHAH Denilson…

94′ — Oh fuck off, the commentator just reminded me of Essien getting that last-gasp equalizer

95′ — Max Bretos just called Arsenal “truly dysfunctional” you can fuck off too Max, you useless cunt. — Crap, sorry, I just channeled Joe Kinnear there.

Final Thoughts

I’m sure we’ll hear non-stop hand-wringing and recriminations over that first goal and I’d be the first to admit that it looked like Arsenal got away with one there. And? So? I’ve seen plenty of teams get over on us over the years. Until they introduce goal line technology or T-Town Alex’s video replay that’s how the league works: sometimes you get screwed.

We’re also going to hear how Arsenal don’t deserve the win. Well, I could argue that Arsenal didn’t deserve the loss to Hull or Stoke, that’s how the cookie crumbles. Arsenal won.


2-1 to the Arsenal! And again, happy St. Andrew’s day.


Chelsea v. Arsenal; liveblogging the 1st half

Hey Joe!

Both teams are mostly being respectful, well, both teams except injured Joe Cole, who takes a swipe at Arsenal because they haven’t won a trophy since 2005.

People are always going on about the nice football Arsenal play but if you look at the last few years, who’s won the trophies? Know what I mean? I wouldn’t want to be playing for a team that didn’t win trophies.

Chelsea beware; Joe Cole is clearly angling for a January move to Pompey or Tottenham. Also, hey Joe, how many International medals do you have?

Arsene Sticks to His Guns

This will probably make a lot of you very ill, but, well, Arsene Wenger is already saying he’s not buying anyone in January.

People have not yet analysed what will hit society in the next 12 months and I’m quite proud that, after making £30 million last year, we’re in a strong financial position. We’ll try to make the same amount again. Yet, at the moment, nobody cares – they want us to spend £50-60 million. But we have stability. We have a stadium that is built, and a training ground, and a young and very promising team.

Okay, results are not as good as expected. But they’re not as bad as they have been. People speak as if this club has been in the Champions League continuously for 50 years. But it’s not true.

There’s a glimmer of hope in there, I guess, but I would put 100 to 1 against him buying one big name much less the three big names that people want. I used to think that Arsene was taking the fall for the club, that maybe there wasn’t any money and they were all lying, but I’m slowing coming around to the idea that Wenger is just doing it his way. I’m sure that the board is aware of and supportive of this fiscal austerity and in a sense, I am too, because it does make sense to run Arsenal responsibly. Still, it would be a huge shame not to play in the Champions League next year, hey maybe we can win the UEFA Cup? Joe Cole would like that.


Is anyone taking this seriously?

Ok… breakfast is on I’ll be back for the kickoff.

0746 — I have squad info: looks like Sagna, Nasri and Adebayor are all in. Djourou also gets the nod over Silvestre. Interesting.

0751 — Oh hey, I forgot — happy St. Andrews day! I’ve taken tomorrow off so that I might indulge in a few spirits this evening. Hey if American Irish can have a drunken holiday, why can’t American Scots like me?


0753 — the first of many “Upgrade” commercials, oh joy!

0800 — FSC has lost the feed — RUN THE UPGRADE COMMERCIAL!

1′ — nerves are jangling, the crowd is electric, A. Cole gets his first of many boos.

5′ — nervous moments at the back as Clichy puts a feeble cross out that is batted around at the edge of the box.

8′ — Almunia flapping at the ball, takes two punches to clear. Arsenal look very nervous at back.

9′ — First corner of the game goes to Arsenal and cleared well by Chelsea who counter quickly. Again Arsenal nervous but they keep the home team at bay.

13′ — damn, both of Arsenal’s “full backs” are streaming forward and it leads to another corner that fails to clear the first defender.

15′ — damn, I can’t keep up! Arsenal now applies some pressure and Cesc has a shot that is easily handled by Chech.

17′ — Matt comments on the corners and is 100% correct. Not only is Arsenal weak defending corners but they must be the worst team in the EPL taking corners as well. How often have we seen Arsenal fail to clear the first defender?  Twice today.  I think that’s why they do that little one-two corner between Cesc and van Persie; though that doesn’t work very well either. Something the boss needs to work on. Let Nasri take the corners!

24′ — Frank Lampard makes a great run, no one picks him up there, problems with communication at the back.

26′ — HOLY CRAP! A full footed clearance from Arsenal. That must be the first of the season.

28′ — Gallas is wrongly penalized for a great tackle on the edge of the box and the free kick is cleared by Song.  Bad call Mike.

30′ — Almunia… sigh that was a stupid mistake. Chelsea get an own-goal from Djourou who jumps right up after his mistake to get on with the game. God, I hope Djourou doesn’t go down the same path as Senderos.

33′ — Come on Arsenal! That was a crazy few minutes there where van Persie has a weak shot that is parried by Chech. If only Arsenal had a Pires, or an Eduardo, (someone who wants to score) that ball and the other one that Chech left out could have been converted.

40′ — Chelsea seem content to poke and prod and wait for an opening now. Arsenal too, seem to have taken their foot off tha gas. That own-goal may be catching up to them, phychologically. Come on Cesc, you’ve got to pull this team up now.

45′ — That’s it for the first half, Arsenal look really down right now, sluggish and disinterested, they need a spark right now from somewhere.  Mikel and Lampard are owning Cesc and Denilson right now, it’s not even funny. Maybe Wenger can call Beyonce, I hear she’s giving away Upgrades.

Second half available to the masochists here.


Arsenal v. Chelsea Saturday Preview



I’m sitting here watching the Fox Soccer Channel preview show and my advice to the guys running this program is to change the commercials every once in a while. The Beyonce “Lemme Upgrade You” commercial is mind bogglingly annoying the first time you hear it, has the ability to cause existential dread the 10th time you hear it, but if you hear that commercial more than once in an hour it actually has the ability to rip space time and unleash unspeakable horrors upon mankind — according to 3 of 4 professors in a Miskatonic University study.

Oh God, commercial break…


And the beasts that she has unleashed? Adebayor, Nasri, and Sagna are all fit and ready to maul the Chelsea back line. This is great news, but only if the Nasri who played against Man U shows up, if his doppelganger shows up we could get the type of game we saw against Man City.

The other beast that Beyonce had unleashed upon the world is Abou Diaby, hopefully he doesn’t kick John Terry’s head clean off tomorrow.

Proving that Beyonce’s powers warp all of space time, Wenger has shocked the world by saying the same thing that I said back in September; given that Cesc has played over 200 games he can’t really be called “inexperienced.” You can’t just count the number of games but look at the quality of the games as well; cup finals, Champions League campaigns, Euro 2008 champion, etc etc. With all those quality games under his belt, Wenger sees him as a 26 year old instead of “just” 21. Right, which is why I was saying that he’s not really captain material; any player with any leadership quality who has that number of games under his belt should just naturally step up and be captain de facto. Oh well, it’s all moot now isn’t it? He’s captain de jure.

Not everyone can be Flamini, I guess.

Hmmm.. what other horrors has Beyonce unleashed upon mankind? A refeshed Gallas? A renewed Anelka? An Ashley Cole love in? OH GOD NOT THAT

end transmission


Great Zombie Arsenal

One day Ballack is throwing dirt on our coffins and the next day Scolari is resurrecting us, which is it, are we dead yet or not? Somewhere in-between.

I have maintained all season that more than any other year, there has been massive compression of talent in the Premiership. So, more than any other year, any team can beat any other team on any given Sunday Saturday. I know that my friend T-Town Alex (among others) disagrees and sees Chelsea as the clear favorites but already they have struggled at home, winning only 3 of 7 home games and spectacularly losing to Liverpool for the first time since man walked with dinosaurs.

Don’t get me wrong, Chelsea is a dangerous team and when they smell blood they pounce — winning several times 5-0. I think they might even be the second strongest team in the EPL, right behind a healthy Liverpool. Also, I certainly don’t need to chronicle the difficulty that Arsenal have had so far this season to any of you, you’ve heard it all before and even mentioning those team names evokes winces of pain among the faithful. Chelsea may be struggling and Arsenal may look resurgent but let’s not kid ourselves, even a struggling Chelsea is 10x the threat of Kiev. Imagine for a second that William Gallas gifts the ball to Anelka as he did to Bangoura on Tuesday: that will be a goal against Chelsea.

Arsenal will need to be in top form to pull out a draw and will need some luck to get the win. I think that they can do it, especially if Adebayor, Nasri, and Sagna are all healthy and they all show up to play.

If the matches of the past are any indication it should be a spectacular match too — full of piss and vinegar and probably a few yellow cards and possibly a red. The good news is that Fox Soccer Channel is showing the game so I can watch it from the comfort of my home. I hate going to important games at Doyle’s because there’s a combination of fantasy sports people rooting for individual players, hangers-on who just root against Arsenal (or Chelsea) and of course, there will be Chelsea supporters — some old school, some new school, but nearly all of them unbearable.

Nope, I’ll be at home, with a nice breakfast, a cup of coffee, and my family, which is a great way to watch an Arsenal match.


Yes, I saw that Gallas’ book came out or something and all the newspapers are a-blubber about Gallas v. Chelsea. You know, I’m not going to get into the whole Gallas thing again, the quotes in the press make him sound like a little kid crying with stuff like “they didn’t even let me get my clothes.” I don’t know if it’s true, I don’t care, Chelsea are a classless organization who have racists in the grounds crew, who defend their players throwing coins at fans, and who are currently on a downward money spiral and firing every coach and scout outside of the first team. And obviously, some of that classlessness and greed rubbed off on William Gallas. But so what? He won’t be a Goonah much longer (maybe he never really was) so unless he reveals something truly shocking — like Chelsea put on a show of classlessness and are actually a decent organization that adopts puppies and feeds hungry orphans — there’s nothing to report here.

Platini the Cheat

And speaking of blubbering to the press, Platini is desperately trying to remain relevant and is still calling for “financial fair play.” Put aside for a moment the fact that English clubs operate on a more purely business model than any continental clubs — who receive funds from cities and townships for stadiums and past player transfers, who have newspapers do the tapping up for them, and have favorable tax rates legislated for the players so that they can attract big names. Put all that aside because all you need to look at is how quickly Chelsea are unraveling to see the detrimental effects of a single owner piling debt onto a team can and does have. Michel, my belle, that business model is not sustainable, it eats itself.

Currently Chelsea are cutting costs at the periphery but killing off your international scouting is a death knell. In the old days Chelsea would wait for Arsenal to bid on a player (Essien, SWP, Drogba, etc,) and then swoop in with triple the offer. But as Roman’s fortune dwindles and his interests start to wane, that won’t be a viable option anymore. He’s already said that Chelsea need to sell to buy this January and with his net worth tumbling from $23b to a “mere” $3b, it’s safe to say that the well is drying up. With the club losing millions nearly every week on overpaid salaries, a too small stadium, and the fact that they are out of one competition and hanging by a Cluj to the Champions League, Abramovich cannot possibly continue to throw millions at them.

Further, at the cost of nearly a Billion US dollars, Chelsea has only back-to-back Premiership titles and one FA cup to show for it. Despite their billions in player salaries and transfers, they won exactly the same number of trophies that Arsenal did last year (0) and they haven’t won a single Champions League trophy, which is what Platini wants to protect, right?

If anything, the Chelsea model is definitive proof that the model fails on its own merits and needs no regulation. Just watch as they unravel this year, Platini and save the rubbish regulations scrubbing the scourge of racism from football.

The fact that Zenit-St. Petersburg openly will not employ black footballers, has a huge contingent of the world’s most racist supporters, and yet is still allowed to play in Europe is an affront to the notion of “fairness.” Any head of any organization that would allow that scum to play in any tournament they sponsor has no right to lecture others on the notion of fair play.

F*ck off Michel.


the middle road

I’m neither a wide eyed optimist (though, you can’t spell optimist without “tim”) nor am I pessimist (which you can’t spell without “piss”). I am a realist. And in reality, Arsenal got beat yesterday, fair and square.

Yes, I know Dogbag was offside. So what? They had been lobbing balls into our box all day and the defense had failed to deal with them time and again. Yes, I know that Chelsea are a bunch of dirty scum who played the ball back “accidentally” into the Arsenal corner for a throw in — and then defended it. Yeah, that’s what Chelsea do. Hell, I thought they were on good behavior yesterday. None of that changes the fact that this Arsenal defense was not good enough in the air, nor really on the ground.

What Arsenal were very good at was the midfield. Whenever Chelsea tried to build up — Flamini and Co. was there to win the ball back, harass, and run circles around Chelsea’s fat old men. In fact, when the game started I commented that Arsenal looked very assured in the midfield.

While Arsenal’s midfield defense was solid the midfield attack never seemed able to slip past a very organized Chelsea defense. Too often Cesc’s passes fizzled, or he turned the ball over carelessly. In fact, the whole midfield attack looked completely lost.

Which leads me to “up front.” That must have been the most frustrated I have ever been with Adebayor. When the ball came to him he looked lost or maybe scared. His touch was poor, his passing was poor, and he seemed to always be facing the wrong goal. Make a run for god’s sake. And I don’t think he won a single ball in the air, wait, no he did; at the end of the match when Gallas was streaking in behind the defense and Cesc lobbed him the ball and Gallas had what looked to be the tying goal all wrapped up… Adebayor won that header and looped it softly to the keeper.

John Terry beat Adebayor in the air.



And if van Persie getting “healthy” is like a January signing then I think we should demand our transfer fee back. He needs a run of about 10 games to knock the rust off. Too bad there’s not 10 games to get him in shape.

On the other wing (van Persie was playing in Eduardo’s slot on the left wing) was Football’s equivalent to George W. Bush; an affable guy with no discernible talent, shit for brains and a penchant for getting his team into trouble. Eboue is a cunt’s cunt. He could easily have been sent off a half dozen times. His early yellow was completely deserved and he compounded that early yellow with a temper tantrum direct at the ref. Given the events earlier, I assumed he would be tossed. But nope. He kept right on motoring, doing nothing with the ball once he got it and pretending to be mortally wounded at every opportunity. Like when he crashed into Toure causing the big Ivorian to actually go down hurt, he too went down with a mystery injury. If they didn’t already have Jokehole, he’d fit right in at Chelsea.

Why didn’t Theo play yesterday?  I know that technically he substituted in on the 76th minute but I don’t remember him getting the ball even once.   What happened, tactically, that prevented him from getting the ball?

But all this is to say that yesterday teams were handed a blueprint on how to beat Arsenal: organized defense, forget the midfield, lob the ball to strikers, and wait for the inevitable defensive collapse. This is going to be a true test of Wenger’s tactical, team building, and training genius.  Make no mistake, Wenger is a genius: that goal by Sagna was a prime example of that.  Wenger caught Chelsea out by playing in a man who normally defends the counter attacks on corners.  It was great stuff to see The Beaded One get on goal.  But with the loss and the exposure of Arsenal’s weaknesses, the pessimist might say “yes, and that means the season is over, time to start buying some players!” The optimist might say “yes, and now Wenger can get to work shoring up the defense!” And the realist might say “the only way they are winning the Premier league now would be if their opponents slip up, so let’s see what Wenger has them do in the Champions League — it is a different type of tournament after all.”

And with that I bid you a really good day.



T-minus 1 hour and 45 minutes and it’s time to put away all the profiles of Flamini, the hand wringing over Gallas, the pontificating about what the two teams’ relative strengths are, and how much Avram Grant loves Arsenal’s style. We need to put aside the Eduardo incident, the attacks on refs, Flamini’s contract talks, Rosicky’s permanent injury, and just play our game.

If you’re looking for a good break down of player by player matchups and the like, click on over to Yogi’s blog at A Cultured Left Foot. He breaks it all down for you, including probable starting lineups.

But what’s needed now, is the team to perform and the supporters to support. This is it. This is the big one Elizabeth. Arsenal must win and so all the talk is pointless, right now.

I have to admit, I’m very nervous. I can’t imagine what the Arsenal players feel like.

Update: I’ve been listening to the Man U v. Liverpool match and it looks like Mascherano has been sent off for dissent. This is simply crazy. You can’t change the rules in the middle of the season. Much less change the rules on the day of the matches that will decide the outcome of the season. Disgraceful.

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