Posts Tagged ‘Eboue

09
Feb
09

Spuds 0-0 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and the Eboue

What were they thinking?

Quote of the Day

For the second one, I touched him. I put my leg up because he had touched me before in front of the referee and he did not say anything. He kicked me when I tried to go forward and I put my leg up. The second card is normal, I accept it. But for me the referee was not good today. It was a goal. I don’t know why he did not give it. The referee said I touched Woodgate but I did not. I know have to control myself but I did not want to let Tottenham win. I just wanted to give my best. — Emmanuel Eboue points the finger at the ref for his failings.

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: Ten-man Arsenal battled to earn a point as the north London derby against Tottenham ended goalless at White Hart Lane.

Telegraph: Tottenham fail to break down 10-man Arsenal after Emmanuel Eboue sees red.

Player Ratings

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been wanting to start putting player ratings and a man of the match feature here and this seems like as good a game as any, doesn’t it? So, without any further fan fare here are your player ratings:

1 Manuel Almunia (G) — 8.5 and MotM — Best game I’ve ever seen from the future England number one. After a shaky start where he failed to command his box, he came alive and made several important saves and cleared his lines pretty well.  More than any other player he saved Arsenal a point yesterday.

10 William Gallas (CD-L) — 7.75 — Solid at the back, cleaning up after Denilson, Toure, and Song’s mistakes.

5 Kolo Toure (CD-R) — 5.5 — Made several critical mistakes that could have resulted in goals for Spuds. When Wenger says the team is young and still learning, I wonder how he explains 28 year old Kolo Toure stabbing at the ball? That’s a fundamental defensive mistake and he did it several times.

22 Gaël Clichy (LB) — 6.5 — Vastly frustrating player.  His ability to get forward is crucial to providing width on this Arsenal team, but he’s a major gamble at the back. Got skinned time and again by Lennon and Modric. The only reason he rates higher than Toure is that he made a crucial tackle on Modric that certainly saved a goal.

3 Bacary Sagna (RB) — 8 — Sagna, solid as a rock.

17 Alexandre Song Billong (CM-L) — 7 — Tale of two halves. At the start, he looked his normal “who cares?” self out there and was caught jogging back defensively several times. Then, after Eboue was sent off he really did a good job putting a physical stamp on the midfield and at times looked Palacios’ equal if not his better. This is the second time that he’s played on a 10 man Arsenal team and put in a good performance — are we missing something or does he just have two gears? And if he does have a second gear then why doesn’t he use it more often?

15 Denilson (CM-R) — 5.75 — Horrible game, overshadowed only by the fact that Eboue was sent off. Outplayed consistently by Palacios and several times failed to mark a man on defense, at least one time which should have resulted in a goal for Tottenham. One of the worst games I’ve seen from him.

8 Samir Nasri (LM) — 6 — Did he actually play?

27 Emmanuel Eboue (RM) — Golden Turd — A performance so bad that it actually disintegrated the fabric of space/time. If you’re still supporting Eboue after that performance, well then you’re a retard too. I’m as Arsenal as anyone and I understand the whole “support the team” thing, but being an Arsenal supporter is more than just blind loyalty. Arsenal stands for something and Eboue is the antithesis of everything that Arsenal stands for; he’s a cheat, he’s a liar, he’s a blamer, he’s a fake, and he’s a diver. If that weren’t enough, he’s also clearly mental. Even in his mea culpa he refuses to take responsibility for his actions and blames the ref. Yes, the ref was a joke, so fucking what? So, you get to kick Modric? I’d say he’s lost the plot but I don’t think he was ever on the plot.

11 Robin Van Persie (CF-L) — 7 — Put in a ton of hard work as the lone striker after Eboue lost his mind.

25 Emmanuel Adebayor (CF-R) — 6.5 — Hard to give a man bad marks if he’s stretchered off.

Subs

Nicklas Bendtner for Emmanuel Adebayor (39) — 6 — Not really his fault because he had to play midfield after Eboue was sent off.

Kieran Gibbs for Gaël Clichy (87) — NR — Didn’t play enought to get a rating.

The Good

Second consecutive clean sheet, 11 matches without a loss, 10 years wiuthout a loss to Spurs, and a tough fight back while down to 10 men for 50+ minutes. I’m proud of them for not just securing the point but for nearly nipping all three.

The Bad

I’m tired of watching former Arsenal central midfielders come in an boss the middle of the park. I’m also tired of talking about it. Congrats Wilson, you had a great game.

The Eboue

I really wish that the manager didn’t have to go up in front of the English press and defend his team, but Eboue made sure that was always going to be the case. The apoplectic reaction from the British press to Wenger’s statement that “he didn’t see it” was always going to happen and I almost wonder if Wenger didn’t do it on purpose: in order to draw some of the criticism off the team and on to him.

Eboue for his part must now live in infamy. There was a remarkable article about how after the booing incident he ran home, took the phone off the hook, and cried into his pillow until his three friends on the team (Ade, Toure, and Sagna) came over to his house to console him. It’s a remarkable admission by a professional athlete that really, the pressure of playing for Arsenal had gotten to him. As if to underline that point he went and cracked yesterday. In that moment of madness, he vindicated the boo boys and destroyed the faith that Wenger placed in him after the booing incident. After yesterday’s performance I will be utterly surprised if we ever see him in an Arsenal shirt again.

Conclusion

Eboue’s madness is both liberating and limiting. It’s limiting because Arshavin can’t possibly be ready to start a game, Vela clearly cannot cope with the physical demands of the EPL yet, and Denilson is not a wing player so choices are between an unfit player, a small player, and a slow player. Moreover, Arshavin is ineligible to play against Cardiff because he wasn’t on the roster for the first match. He’s also unable to play against Roma because he’s cup tied. So, like I’ve said, he’ll be getting his debut against Sunderland on the 21st, probably as a sub, and if I know Arsene, Andrey will get his first full start against Fulham on the 28th. So, it’s limiting because without Eboue and with all the reasons why Arshavin can’t play we’re going to see a lot of Denilson on the right wing.

That said, in some way, Eboue’s actions are liberating. Unless the boss has completely lost his marbles then he cannot play Eboue and that means that someone else must get the start on the right wing. Right? So, it’s liberating if only because this just bumps Vela up a bit in the pecking order or maybe Eduardo gets some time out there. I dunno, I just know that someone, anyone will get the start over Eboue from here on.

Right, well, we’ve got a whole week off from football with the next game falling on President’s day (Monday the 16th) and the boss clearly has his work cut out for him. Adebayor is out for three weeks, Eboue is out for the next match at the very least, and we’ve got all these “like a new signings” coming back into the squad.

Time to get down to business and never mind catching Villa, we have to catch Chelsea. Ultimately, I can think of no better end to this nightmare year than to claim 4th place from Chelsea and have them go into the tail-spin that everyone has been predicting for Arsenal for 4 years. Because unlike Arsenal, they do not have a sustainable team, fanbase, or even management and thus are actually vulnerable to serious turmoil should they miss the Champions League.

Come on you Gunners, do one over those Chelsea c*nts.

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22
Jan
09

Forget Arshavin, Jack Wilshere is like a new signing! Plus, Eboue gets a new contract.

Animated GIF of Wilshere scoring a wonder goal.

Oh man, I had a good sleep in today: I hit the snooze button twice! So while I normally get up at 4:30, I got up at 5:30. I’m not complaining though, the reason I slept in was because I got up at 1:30 the day before to buy my match tickets for the Sunderland game. That’s right, yours truly is heading to balmy London for vacation — I wonder if I should pack a Speedo?

Anyway, you’re not here to hear about me in a Speedo (which is a magnificent sight) you’re here to hear about the latest transfer news amiright? Right.

Let’s see, Arshavin is praying to the God than isn’t his omnipotent agent that a deal will go through that takes him out of Russia. What are the stages of grief anyway? Doesn’t it go: bargaining, threatening, praying, and then acceptance? It better have acceptance in it somewhere because despite the one report that has Zenit going from the lead role in 300 to Monty Hall in saying “let’s make a deal” Arsenal are steadfast in their valuation with Peter Hill-Wood publicly saying that they have reached the limit they are going to spend. I have to think that the Zenit position is just there to save face. They know Andrei can buy out his contract in November, and so he has them over a barrel a little bit but not as much as many will claim.

First, he can’t go on strike. Well, he could, but if he did that then he might not qualify for a work permit in England (depending on national appearances). Second, he can buy out the remainder of his contract, but only in November and remember Zenit are a bunch of disgraceful human beings. I have no doubt that Zenit would keep Andrei in court for months while they haggle over his price. That’s the threat Arsenal used on Hleb. Plus, there’s still the summer transfer market to go through and I’m confident they could sell Arshavin in the summer for £10m. So they lose a few million, which brings me to my final point, so they lose a few million. HA! They don’t care. They don’t need the money. Make no mistake, this isn’t like Valencia and David Villa, where the club is over-pricing their superstar because they need the money. Zenit is doing this because, well, because they are a bunch of whackos.

In his little statement Peter Hill-Wood sounded a lot like a jilted lover by saying that there were “other fish in the sea” but the truth is that there are other fish; Fabio Simplicio could be a set up man to challenge Diaby/Denilson and Stéphane Sessegnon could be a good wing player to challenge Theo (when he comes back). Now, as for a hard man, well, as Mae West said “a hard man is good to find.” As soon as I find one I’ll let you know.

While we’re waiting for PHW to grab his fly rod and fish us a hard man (seriously, this is getting a little gay – ed.) we should celebrate “new signing” Eduardo and his first full 90 minutes of play. He still hasn’t scored (he had a goal disallowed for offside yesterday) but getting out there and playing for 90 minutes and giving yourself chances to score are huge, considering the damage that Taylor inflicted on him. The player feels ready to go out and play first team football, but I’d like to see him get a goal in reserves first. Sorry, but I’d hate to see him rushed back and something horrible happen.

The player who does seem ready for some first team football is Wilshere. Well, some folks are tipping him and after watching his audacious outside of the boot left footer (obviously in the GIF above) I’d be tempted to agree with them, except I kind of think Vela is ready-er and more naturally a wing player. Irregardless, I think we’ll see a bit of both players in the weeks to come, the squad is that thin.

By the way, I found that animated GIF over at Gunnerblog.

And finally, the most incredible story of the day award goes to… it’a a fight to the death! In the periwinkel blue corner, it turns out that City could have signed de Jong for £2.3m if they had just waited for his release clause to kick in this summer. Instead, they put up £19m to get him right now, incredible stuff.  In the red corner, Arsenal turned down an offer from Athletico Madrid for Eboue and instead are racing to give him an improved contract. Let me put this as diplomatically as I can; Eboue has not done anything this season to warrant a pay raise. Not one thing. He’s done his job, he’s done what he’s told to do, but I haven’t seen anything from him that warrants an improved contract.

Ok, that’s as diplomatic as I can be. In my heart I’m screaming “I don’t care how little it was, TAKE THE OFFER” but you probably already knew that.

Ok, so that’s it for today, we’ve got the Friday press conference ahead of Sunday’s game tomorrow where I’m sure Arsene will be all “we’ve bid what we can afford” and ” we live in the real world” and “this is a young team” and “Cardiff will be a tough match.” If he says anything new, I’ll be sure to report it.

Until then!

30
Dec
08

Best/Worst of 2008 #4; Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham

pardon me for being frank, but this picture makes me want to puke my guts up

When Arsenal hosted Tottenham on the 29th of October it was a tale of two seasons. For Spurs, theirs was a season of high expectations, quickly followed by failure and derision that had culminated in the firing of Juande Ramos and appointment of Harry Redknapp. For Arsenal, despite a couple of blips against Fulham and Hull, hopes were still very high for the senior team and the world was delighting over the exploits of Wenger’s youth team. It took just 90 minutes for Tottenham to expose Arsenal’s frailties in the game that shook Arsenal’s 2008/2009 season.

It started about as bad as a game could. David Bentley, a failure of Arsenal’s academy and constant press loudmouth scored the goal of his lifetime. I mean that in the most derisive sense possible because it wasn’t as much a great goal as it was an utter failure on the part of Arsenal’s defense. From the failed clearance to the fact that Almunia was caught out in no-man’s land Arsenal failed completely. To his rat-faced credit, Bentley did strike the ball well but had any component of the Arsenal team had their head in the game it would have been a wasted shot. Unfortunately Arsenal losing their heads has since become a familiar theme.

But the worst part, the part that stings the most is the knowledge that no lead is safe in the hands of this Arsenal team and Spurs amazing comeback proved that to the world. Up 4-2 and seemingly cruising, Arsene hauled off Walcott, van Persie, and Nasri and put on Eboue, Diaby, and Song — you know, to shore up the defense.

Within one minute of the final sub Tottenham scored twice and shredded the once great Arsenal defense. Of course, the final scoreline is not all the fault of the three subs but it’s no coincidence that those three players are singled out for the most fan derision. It seems like those three are most likely to be on the pitch when some once in a lifetime defensive frailty is exposed.

Letting Tottenham back from a 4-2 lead and exposing our supposed defensive players for the quality they truly are would be a huge enough pivot point of the season yet this game had one more surprise in store for us. Several weeks later, in what is easily the biggest fallout from this game, William ‘Cappy’ Gallas decided to let the whole world know, via the French press, that there was a huge dressing room bust up at half time of that game. Gallas threw in some stuff about disrespectful players and people who think they’ve already arrived when they haven’t done as much as his Greatness, and how when he was a kid he had to kick the ball up hill, in the snow, both ways. Oh yeah, and they should all GET OFF HIS LAWN!

Wenger was left with no choice but to strip Gallas of his captaincy. Cesc was the obvious choice and was quickly appointed. Yet, the problem is that despite a brief upturn there still seems to be some unrest at the club over who leads the team and how they do it. Now with Cesc out for four months with an injury the leadership gap at the club is more glaring than ever.

Defensive woes, a leadership gap, and Diaby, Eboue, and Song exposed for their lack of polish. It didn’t all happen at once, but I can think of no better game that highlights those three stories of 2008 than the 4-4 draw against Tottenham.

Transfer News

Reports have hotted up around supposed Arsenal transfer targets Shay Given and Andrei Arshavin. This morning the Telegraph (who are fairly reliable — for an English newspaper) is reporting that Arsenal have offered £8m for the Newcastle #1. He supposedly wants £60,000 a week in salary but I don’t think that would be too much given Arsenal’s bizarre salary structure. Rumor has it that Spuds and Citeh are also interested in Given, Spuds because their world class keeper is on his way back to PSV and Citeh because everyone on the planet is linked to Citeh.

Meanwhile, multiple sources are reporting that Wenger is “mulling over” a bid for Arshavin. I’d rather he mulled a bid for someone like reported Real Madrid target Antonio Valencia from Wigan. The price tag has to be better and we don’t have to do business with those unseemly racists at Gazprom.

Bad news for the people who wanted Arsene to call up Arteta from Everton, it seems like they are reluctant to let their best players leave for some reason. We all knew that was going to happen, really. Everton would be fools to let Arteta go and unless Arsenal did something like unsettle the player and force their hand (which supposedly we don’t do) I can’t see Arteta joining us for less than something like £20m. More?

Worse though is that that article indicates Mark Hughes is in the market for pretty much the exact same players that Arsenal are in the market for: Premiership tested players. This means that Arsenal are likely to end up in a  bidding war with Citeh over at least one if not more than one player.

This is strongly reminiscent of when Abramovich stormed in to the league and basically just waited for Arsenal to make a bid and doubled it. Remember that year? I do, it was a nightmare.

Part 3 of the year in review tomorrow and I’m sure there will be more transfer rumors. See you then.

17
Sep
08

Chicken Kiev jokes!

I guess it had to be done. Some newspaper just had to print a Chicken Kiev headline and today the winner is the Daily Mail. clap… clap… clap…

A quick bit of housekeeping, I mentioned yesterday that the match starts at 11am PST, which is wrong. The match actually kicks off at 11:45am PST but the Shitanta pre-game show starts at 11am. Unless you’re in to puppets and Muppets I’d skip the pre-game and show up at the kickoff. Which is 11:45am PST. 11:45.

Pretty much right after I published yesterday the boss named his squad and the only change from the team that drubbed Rovers 4-0 is that Carlos Vela is in and Kieran Gibbs is out. That means no Nasri or Silvestre tonight, which is a shame, I really enjoy watching Nasri and am kind of excited to see what Silvestre can offer. The squad the boss named also means that Eboue has miraculously recovered after being stretchered off on Saturday.

Since I get this question all the time, let me just say that this is one of the reasons I dislike Eboue. He’s a faker of the worst sort who, like the boy who cried wolf, is now raising his fakery to ever higher levels in order to make the “injury” look real. The tackle that saw him stretchered off did look as if he suffered a blow to the back of his knee, which we all know is painful, but unless the physio detects some kind of rupture of the ligaments why can’t he get up and walk off the pitch himself? The only thing I can imagine is that Eboue played the “precaution” card and said he didn’t want to take any chances. (eye roll)

The good news is that these antics are drawing close to their zenith with his stretchering off on Saturday. In order to fool any of us again, he’ll need a medivac chopper to descend on the pitch and a team of doctors to perform “precautionary” field surgery before airlifting him to the nearest hospital. Regardless, he should get the starting nod today, which means that the lineup is unlikely to change from Saturday.

Almunia
Sagna     Toure     Gallas     Clichy
Eboue     Denilson     Fabregas     Walcott
Adebayor     van Persie

Meanwhile the boss has said that Dynamo Kyiv is the kind of team that can score a lot of goals and that we need to defend well… oh god. The facts are that we’ve been lucky with our defending as of late. Yes, the sheets are clean, but after the game the underwear are not. I am hoping for another clean sheet today and this time on the back of a really convincing defensive performance, rather than relying on the opposition’s profligacy in front of goal.

Up front, Adebayor’s desire to win burns with the intensity of a thousand suns, or something.  Just score goals big fella, just score goals. This “scoring” just so happens to be my winning strategery for the day: Arsenal need to score goals and the more, the merrier. So, come on you big oaf, “balge the auld ernion bag.”

Manchester United, Sponsored by the American Taxpayer

When the “small government” conservatives who are ruining (oh I mean, “running” e.d.) this country announced on Monday that they would be bailing out AIG I wondered what would happen to Manchester United, after all they are getting something like $122m from AIG to prance around in their logo. But then I realized… oh nevermind they will just get some other business to pony up $100m to sponsor their shirts.

It is fundamentally disgusting to me though that the American Taxpayer is bailing these companies out and if I were in charge, the first thing I would do is cancel AIG’s world-wide sponsorships, all of them.  Make Man U sue the US Government for breech of contract, then we could invade Manchester, set up a puppet government and start drilling for oil.

John Terry Tackle, More Fallout

This whole thing is about to make my head explode. First, JT performs a tackle that would make an American Football coach proud of his strong safety. For which he is rightly sent off, because if it isn’t “serious foul play” (a red card) to ARM TACKLE your opponent then what the hell is a red card? Then, he and the rest of the team do their normal Chelsea thing and surround the referee and berate him for the decision, which was supposed to have been stamped out this year. THEN… JT takes his sweet time leaving the pitch while arguing with the fourth official and abusing the fans.

All of those above things could have and, given what they did to Aliadiere last year, should have resulted in at least a three match ban if not a 4-5 match ban (for a frivolous appeal and for failing to leave the pitch in an orderly fashion). This should have been the FA’s chance to really show the footballing world what they meant by this new “respect” campaign.

Instead Chelsea, as I predicted, win the appeal because the FA doesn’t actually give two f*cks about the “respect” campaign. Worse still, Mark Halsey (the referee who made the right decision against Terry) is being demoted. DEMOTED. For standing up for what he saw on the pitch, the referee is being demoted and will now referee in the 2nd division. Owch.

Basically, this decision means that the FA has instituted video replay for all matches and if you have the money to pay the extra fines that might amass from frivolous appeals you might as well appeal every single red card. Which is basically what Chelsea already do, cheat and then appeal.

It’s a sad day for English Football.

Right, now I have to go to work.  Cheers and let’s see a positive result from the Arsenal match today.  How about “Adebayor scores 13 goals?”

07
Jan
08

Looks like someone has a case of the Eboues

Not much team news this morning and when your team is on top I always say “no news is good news.” Lehmann is still deciding and there is no news about Diarra even though he didn’t play yesterday which Arseblogger points out is very strange indeed; maybe there’s a deal in the works, maybe he just pissed the boss off… I don’t know. No one seems to know.

The 4th round FA cup draw was held and Arsenal got the winner of the Stoke City/Newcastle tie. Let’s face it, as much as we’d all like to see Arsenal kick Fat Sam’s team of cunts off the pitch, it’s going to be Stoke. Newcastle is in serious turmoil and the daily denials about Sam getting the sack only exacerbate the problem. Additionally, they are missing Barton and Martins, arguably their two best players. Either way, it’s a great draw for Arsenal. In other FA Cup news, I’m really looking forward to whichever team Luton face — should be a cracker!

Ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Spurs, Wenger says he is fearless about using the youth team in the Carling Cup. I have to agree, given last season and this season’s performances, these kids are great. I think the only lesson they have left to learn is that the match lasts 90 minutes. It will be an exciting match and there will be plenty more on that over the next two days. I’ll be watching the Carling Cup match at Doyle’s on Wednesday — kickoff is at 11:45 am local time. A little bit of Arsenal America business as well, I think a bunch of us are going to meet up to watch the Birmingham match on the 12th. This will be at the George and Dragon in Seattle. Directions to the pub are on their web site. If anyone wants to carpool to Seattle send me a PM. Most of you already receive email updates from me so… erm, this is a second update!

Ok, now I’m going to get serious for a moment. I want to say just a word about Eboue and then this will be the last time I will be slagging off Eboue. Why? Because I am so often wrong about players. Sure, I was right about Flamini. But literally that is all I have ever been right about. Last season I hated Hleb, Wenger had faith, and now Hleb is, to be fair, a tremendous asset to the team. So, I just have some things I need to get off my chest and then that’s it, no more Eboue hate.

First off, the good: I remember back three years ago when Eboue got his chance. He took it and with force and vigor and was spine-tinglingly good at making runs down the right side. He was great in the tackle and all around a revelation at Right Back for Arsenal. His only niggling little problems were that he couldn’t seem to put in a decent cross when he got in the final 1/3 and he had a penchant for petulance.

The next season he was even better: he learned to cross and the assists started racking up — he had 6 in all competitions. And then you’ll all remember how he stood up to and matched Christiano Ronaldo pound for pound, step for step, and shut him down. I have never been prouder of the man than that match. The only thing left for him to work on was marking on set pieces and the way he would throw Dida-esque dives and fucking stupid ass shit like “slapping” Wayne Bridge in the Carling Cup final.

This season, however, has been a revelation as well — in how poorly a man can play and still keep his starting place. I can’t remember a match where he hasn’t either been stretchered off, only to bounce right back, or gone down and rolled around like he was permanently wounded, only to bounce right back. He’s also the first to get involved in a fracas and often an instigator. But worse than that, he’s seemingly lost the ability to put in a cross, while simultaneously caught Hleb’s disease of last year. You know, the one where you as the viewer see him receive the ball, square up to the defender, and then promptly telegraph to everyone on the pitch and everyone watching on television exactly where he’s going and where the defender needs to be to dispossess him.  Or, he simply passes the ball right into the feet of his defender, which is a joy to watch.  Arsenal build up play, stretch the defense, and Eboue turns the ball over.  Arsenal build up play, stretch the defense, and Eboue turns the ball over.  AHHHHRRRRGHHH!!!!  STOP DOING THAT!

That’s it. That’s my beef with him. He’s a cunty little cheat and he has to learn to be a winger. This is a steep learning curve. Maybe he can do it, maybe not. I don’t know. Obviously Wenger believes in him (to the detriment of Theo I would argue) and I believe in Wenger. So there you have it: I trust Arsene Wenger and he has a plan for Eboue. I’m going to step back and let that plan unfold. So, no more hating on Eboue, from me.

Ok, that’s about it, until tomorrow.

06
Jan
08

6am Burnley v. Arsenal

This is a very early match and I’ve promised a few people that I’d meet them at Doyle’s so this will be a very short blog. All that, and there’s no news. Here’s the BBC sport preview a match recap will follow at 8:30 am PST.

Up the Arse!

Update: an away win in the FA cup, that’s the important thing, right?  Eduardo is really picking up now with 6 goals in 4 starts and this was nothing less than you’d expect from him if you’ve seen his last 3 matches.  In the 9th minute the ball was played in by Toure, Dudu juggled it with his right knee, got pushed in the back, and regained enough composure to slot the ball into the left corner.  Sure, the keeper should have done better and come out to stop the play but I think last season Arsenal might not have scored that goal: which is exactly what Dudu was brought in to do… do.

After that there was a long stretch of mediocre play by Arsenal and a few decent chances by Burnley.  Arsenal did their level best to make Burnley look like a decent side.  During this spell there was some seriously deficient play down the right side and Eboue has to be goat of the game.  Unimaginative, unskilled, common, lackadaisical, what other adjectives can I use to describe the play of Eboue?  I mean he did it all!  Honestly, I think he probably completed less than 5% of his passes.  But that wouldn’t be unusal for him, no he took it a step further.  The moment of the match for him came when he was slotted in down the right side, managed to get around his marker, evaded a tackle, and then dribbled into two defenders instead of playing the ball anywhere.  Then!  THEN!  He started yelling at Eduardo.  He really is a cunt.

This was the same Eduardo who only moments earlier had played in an absolutely perfect ball to Bendtner who dribbled around the Burnley keeper and side footed the finish.  So naturally, he just shook his head derisively at Eboue.

If you’re looking for match video and want to see the two goals, I always recommend the Arsenalist.

There was some drama in the 60th minute when Lafferty got a straight red for a rash challenge on Gilberto.  In live action it looked like a two footed challenge and straight red.  In replay it wasn’t really that bad of a challenge but Lafferty did lunge, studs up, over the ball and the ref was right on top of it.  It may be a bit harsh from a Burnley perspective but it was a dangerous tackle and Burnley were rightly reduced to 10 men.  Not so that you’d notice it by the uninspired play that followed.

Lastly, Lehmann looked very shaky.  In fact, the whole defense looked shaky with him in goal.  He flapped at the ball early in the match and escaped with a bit of luck when a Burnley player headed a free ball into the crossbar.  Even worse than that no one wanted to play a ball back to him which led to a few sketchy moments at the back with players dribbling around rather than back passing and letting Jens clear the ball.  Clearly the squad is uncomfortable with him in goal.  Adios Jens, you nut.

That’s about it.  Just note of thanks to Mike, and his two friends Mike and Jesse for coming out at 6am to watch the match it was fun to watch a match with company rather than sitting here in my livingroom in the dark.

Till tomorrow!

02
Jan
08

“I prefer to lead from the front — definitely”

So, I show up at Doyle’s and I’m there long enough to get some coffee and watch the minute of silence for Phil O’Donnell (the Motherwell player who died of a heart attack) when Russ comes up and starts b.s.ing with me about something. We’re chit-chatting when I hear a roar from the Emirates crowd and look up to see Dudu celebrating a goal. WTF? 90 seconds in and Eduardo has expertly chested down a perfect right foot cross from Cesc on the left channel: right foot, lower right corner, 1-0 to the Arsenal. That’s the way to start a match! And that’s the way to endear yourself to the Arsenal fans. I said last year that Arsenal need a poacher. And now 5 goals in three starts and it’s stating to look like they have one.

For the next 16 minutes West Ham had a few chances and were clearly up for the match, they were scrapping and tackling hard and generally winning the ball in the midfield. I honestly thought their big striker, Carlton Cole, looked likely to score but it wasn’t to be. Instead, on one of those decent possesions Clichy got the ball, evaded Cole and played a beautiful ball forward to Adebayor who, to be fair, was perfectly slotted in between the two central defenders. The two defenders beaten, Ade used his pace and guile to head the ball past a hapless and ordinary looking Green and then somehow caused the earth to rotate just enough to get a ball that looked as if it was past the end line to spin into the goal. You can see the video of it here (which I found at Arseblog and who he credits to 101 great goals) — stunning, mystical, magical. I dunno, breathtaking maybe? How else to describe it?

Sigh — of course this was followed up by some kind of stupid celebration between he and Eboue (video by the Arsenalist, who is an awesome source for post match videos). Let me say this now and be very clear: Eboue is my least favorite player on the squad. His antics on the pitch are a disgrace to the club. If he was playing at the same level as Adebayor I might forgive him but he doesn’t. He’s shit more often than not. To be fair, Tuesday’s match he looked very bright and tackled well, passed well, and kept the ball well. And he has his moments. But more often than not he is a cheat and a faker and possesses no footballing intelligence. Norman Hubbard says it in a much nicer way but still calls him one of the worst players of the season so far (right up there with Jonathan Woodgate, yeesh, he’s not THAT bad!). This dance thing just adds to my dislike of the man. Applaud the fans, kiss the Arsenal badge, and get back on the pitch and play football.

Sorry about that. Eboue just chaps my ass.

The rest of the match looked good: Arsenal played the ball around, Cesc had a few shots on goal (good to see him looking to score again), Theo looked bright and had a poor shot, and basically they killed West Ham off. The sad moment of the match came when Freddy limped off at half time. What a drag it is getting old.

Speaking of Eboue, he’s one of three players we’ll be “missing” for the African Cup of Nations; Eboue, Song, and of course Toure. Song is the surprise of the three as I haven’t rated him too highly even though he had his best, albeit very shaky, performance in the Carling Cup last outing.

That leaves the squad with Senderos and Djourou (and I suppose Gilberto) to partner with Gallas at the back. Senderos looked fantastic in the Champion’s League last season so let’s all raise a pint in hopes that he can regain that form under the careful tutelage of Bill Gallas.

We’ll find out on Sunday when Arsenal take on Burnley in the FA cup. The match kicks off at 6 am PST on Fox Soccer Channel here in the states. If you don’t have Fox and you live in Sunny Tacoma, WA you can catch the match for free at Doyle’s Public House.

Finally, in the transfer market Arsenal are tipped to get Luke Freeman from some screaming, bald, toothless guy. Just what they need, another striker. Maybe Wenger can magic him into a center back?

Until tomorrow, here’s to you, all my non-existent readers! Happy New Year!

8:53am Update…

Arsenal Wallpaper is up on their website.




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