Posts Tagged ‘Euro 2008


Great Caesar’s Ghost!

I realize that I’ve moaned quite a bit about this Euro 2008; how it’s boring, how Arsenal players just get hurt, how much I can’t stand Platini and Blatter and their insane proposals, and how at it’s worst this competition is nothing more than an exercise in nationalism.  But how could an Arsenal supporter see last night’s match and be anything but moved?

The first half started as a droll affair, Spain dominated possession but never really threatened, meanwhile Russiarshevin looked very, very ordinary.  Things had brightened a bit — literally — with the introduction of Cesc for the injured David Villa.  Cesc was easy to pick out of the crowd because, since he came off the bench, his top was dry and thus his jersey was easily twice as bright as everyone else’s muted, wet, tops.  Spain brightened “footballistically” as well with the introduction of the Arsenal youngster: with Xavi, Iniesta, and Fabregas roaming the midfield it seemed like they made every pass and won every challenge.  In fact, I think I remember Arshevin touching the ball maybe once in the whole first half.

Still they didn’t score.

The second half picked up where the first half left off; more Spanish possession, more Russian frustration, still no goals.  And then Cesc took over.  Sure, the first goal came from Xavi’s shot that Iniesta put in, but it was Fabregas who won the ball and put it in to Xavi.  Then on the 73rd minute Cesc had the commentators babbling about how he couldn’t possibly have meant to do that when he chipped the Russian defense and Güiza chested it down and wrong footed the Russian keeper.  Arsenal fans know that Cesc did that on purpose: we’re used to seeing the 21 year old maestro set up his teammates like that.

After the second goal the result was academic but Cesc added another assist to his tally when he crossed in for Silva on the 83rd minute.  It was the perfect cap to the perfect game for Cesc and has all the pundits scrambling to name him in Spain’s starting XI against Germany on Sunday.

It doesn’t seem to matter if he starts or not.  His class will show through.

Another player that I’ve been very impressed with is Spain’s Marcos Senna.  Playing at the holding midfield spot he’s been very solid both defensively and in distribution.  Too bad he’s almost 32 years old, or maybe Arsenal would pick him up.

Arshevin, on the other hand, looked very ordinary under the watchful eye of a steady Spanish defense.  Still, Barcelona is supposedly interested in the 27 year old.  I don’t know, maybe Barcelona are going to take another look at Hleb.


Anyway, it was a great day for Cesc and I will be rooting for him to both win and come through uninjured.  A trophy here would be a great start to Arsenal’s season.


Good buy, Spuds

There’s a trick to taking penalty kicks: get the ball on target.

That’s it, that’s my only trick.  Master that and everything else is gravy.  Too bad for poor Croatia that they couldn’t master that simple trick.  I watched the entire Coatia v. Turkey match as I was home sick and my analysis is

  1. Luca Modric is overrated, undersized, can’t play a lick of defense, and chokes in the clutch.  In short, he’s the perfect Spurs signing.
  2. Tommy Smyth has no clue whatsoever about how the game of football is played. I’ve known this now for years, but he’s usually been relegated to just covering Champions league matches and now it seems like he’s the main announcer for every match in Euro 2008.  Whatever genius in ESPN’s programming department decided that Tommy merited this promotion should be shot to death, resuscitated, and shot to death again.  If I have to hear him say “bulge the old onion bag” one more time, I am seriously going to lose it.  Plus?  I don’t need Tommy Smyth telling me what is and isn’t a foul, especially when the same foul is committed on both ends of the pitch and he sees it two different ways.
  3. Slaven Bilic has always been a diving cheater and cheaters never prosper — except Ronaldo, who stands to prosper quite handsomely.

I can’t wait to see Germany utterly dismantle Turkey.  I don’t think Turkey can even field 11 players due to all the suspensions that they have coming.  I know that everyone is picking Holland to win, and who doesn’t like a team that has more vans than a skate shop?  But I think the Germans are the team to beat.  They are just too damn big, tough, organized, oh and they have learned to dive.  When I saw the 6’4″, 200+ lb,  Metzelder drop faster than Britney Spears’ panties after he got touched in the face, I knew that the Germans were working on something really special.  They are my favorite team of the tournament so far.

There’s No News Like Arsenal News

Today, Arsenal aren’t buying Diogo, nor are they buying Eto’o, which brings the reporters up to the “E’s” in Arsenal’s alphabetical non-pursuit of every player in the world.  Up next, denials that Frings is coming to the team.

Silly season is in full swing, folks.


It’s a sign!

It’s true, as Alex pointed out in the comments, Aaron Ramsey was officially unveiled yesterday afternoon. Yay! A signing! Of course, so far his only accomplishments are “youngest player to do such and such” and he’s only 17, so I suspect it will be 3-4 years before he’s a full-time impact player for Arsenal. The cool part about this signing is the glowing review he gave of Arsene Wenger and Arsenal’s youth policy.

Arsenal is a club which always gives young players an opportunity at the highest level of the game and I am going to work my hardest to be part of future successes here. I recently met with Arsene Wenger and he was a big factor in my decision to join Arsenal. He talked to me for a long time about the club and the plans for the future, which really excites me.

Hard work + opportunity = success? Aaron, you should ring David Bentley up and let him in on the secret. He seems to think it’s: Ladbrokes + wasted opportunity = whinging about foreigners.

Aaron seems like a good kid and all the pundits agree that he’s got a ton of talent. So, here’s to a signing by Arsenal! Cheers! Oh, and here’s to doing one over Man U who said that Aaron had signed with them a week before any decision was made. Cheers!

Adebayor Watch 2008

The dust is finally settling on the “Adebayor to Milan” story and it’s increasingly looking like that dust was nothing more than the agent’s attempt to extort money from Arsenal. Player and team are now said to be “in talks” over a renewed contract worth £80,000/wk. I’m treading lightly over this story as the sources here are a mixture of speculation, hearsay, and quotes; typical British football reporting. Arsenal fans (at least the 5-10 of us who actually think Adebayor isn’t a “lumbering oaf” etc etc) should be heartened by Adebayor’s latest official statement:

My future with Arsenal has never been in doubt and I want to assure fans I will be here for many years.

Yay! And equally disheartened by the follow up:

My agent has met with coach Arsene Wenger about a new deal and I am happy about how the talks are going so the fans can rest assured.

Boo! So, basically, all this stuff about Milan was to get an improved deal from Arsenal.

Other Transfer News

Gervinho is claiming that Arsenal have spoken with his agent. I don’t know, he looks pretty good in this video, we should break the bank to bring him in.

Euro 2008

I got to watch Netherlands v. France yesterday and here’s my report: we saw two teams that play like Arsenal. The team that played like Arsenal at their best beat the team that played like Arsenal at their worst 4-1. I was really hoping to see Nasri play but Dominich is tactically retarded and he played some other guy — who did absolutely nothing. Oh well.

I did love seeing van Persie in full fitness even if he was playing with some guys who I despise. The goal he scored was vintage van Persie: run full bore at the goal, pick the ball off the volley, and smash it as absolutely hard as you can — devil may care. It brought a smile to my lips, he literally blasted it at and through Coupet.

Today, we’ve got Spain and… uhh… I don’t know and I don’t really care. I might try to pick up some of the Spain match so I can see Cesc come off the bench on the 85th minute.

And finally, James Lawton has proclaimed that International football is more successful than ever! No doubt, this is the first in a series of articles calling for a quota system, or the expulsion of Arsenal, a demand that Arsenal change their “communist” ways, or at the very least the installation of an English coach at the club or some such. Whatever it is, I will dissect it tomorrow. Because today, I just don’t feel like it and frankly, I need something big, and fun, and important to talk about for my Sunday roast.

See you tomorrow.


Do you know what’s going on today?

All we got is the same old rumors: Adebayor is leaving, Hleb is leaving, Nasri is leaving, David Villa is now worth a bajillion dollars, van Persie would like some Kompany in the infirmary this year.

Look, there is no Arsenal news today.  None.  So, I will turn to…

Euro 2008

I think I’ve watched part of two games and I think I’m going to try to watch France-Netherlands today, why not?  I know it’s really only a passing interest.  I mean, mostly the football’s not very good and I really only watch the games to see what the Arsenal players are up to.  So, the France-Netherlands game holds a lot of interest for me: we could see Vieira, Henry, Gallas, and van Persie today.  The last time I saw Henry and Vieira play was actually kind of sad, they just don’t have “it” any more.  This is especially true with Vieira, he was my very first favorite Arsenal player and the last time I saw him play for Inter he looked really, really bad.  I just think the injuries are starting to take their toll and he’s lost a step.  It would be awesome for him to put France into the next round by beating the team he won his first international cap against over 10 years ago.

One more time Paddy!

I should have put a bet on Howard Webb giving a PK.  He really is the worst ref I’ve seen since… well… huh.  I guess he’s not that bad, as far as English refs are concerned.  I just don’t understand why he’s always there when a penalty kick is involved.  It must be luck.

And finally, I guess the Croats beat the Germans and I guess their “Axe Wielding” coach has said it was a better win than the one they did over England.  You know what I think?  I think Germany needs to institute an affirmative action quota program.  It’s the only logical way to fix this abomination.



Thierry Henry, Super Hero

The only people who hate the French more than Americans are the English. It’s funny too, because, well, I’m not giving a history lesson here: suffice it to say that the French, both for the good and bad have been one of the key ingredients in forming both countries.

I’m not a Francophile, far from it, if anything I’m an Anglophile. I cook some French traditional meals (the Julia Child stuff) but my GF’s 10 year old daughter pretty much hates French food so I haven’t done it much lately. But, I don’t speak French, don’t have a thing for French chicks, in fact I really don’t know much about France except they seem to annoy conservatives in America and the English can’t stand them. So, whenever these international tournaments take place I feel this sense of dread because I always have to explain why I support the French national team.

It’s not my fault!

How could a person new to the game NOT support France after watching them win the World Cup? Zidane! Oh my god. I’d never seen anyone play like that. Anyway…

I support France and hopefully this year it will pay off too. I have $5 in a pool and the payout is 70%, split among owners. There are only two French supporters, me and a French guy on our pub football team. The other people are splitting teams among dozens of owners. We’re the only two supporting France. At last count after the two way split, we’re getting 70-1 odds! Heheehe: Allez Les Blues!

Arsenal News

I don’t think Peter Hill-Wood has suddenly seen the error of his xenophobic ways but he has decided that Stan Kroenke would make a valuable member of the board. From “we don’t need his sort” to “he seems to have been very sensible” PHW’s view of Kroenke has changed drastically and rapidly. I guess that can happen when you have a convicted criminal trying to buy the team and turn it into his personal piggy bank: sometimes you have to reach out and form new friendships when you’re under siege.

It’s understandable that PHW was reactionary about Kroenke, but there was and always has been this tinge of xenophobia about the whole thing, and as a foreigner that’s a very sad thing to see. Oh well, maybe an American on the board would be just the kind of interaction with “our sort” that will soften the hard heart of Mr. Hill-Wood.

Another thing that I’d like to see Arsenal try is to reach out to Americans a little more by putting together some package deals to bring us over there to watch a match at Emirates. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to be part of a group of, say, 20 Arsenal supporters that all fly in together, stay in the same hotel, and so on? I think it would be a blast.

Especially if we could get tickets to a big game like Tottenham.

Maybe having Stan on the board will help push some ideas like that through. Let me give him a call…


The papers are reporting that AC Milan is going to put forward a £32m bid for Adebayor. Dude, you can have him for that price and that’s not a knock on Ade. Is Adebayor worth three Eduardos? Two Henrys? I don’t think so and I like the guy. Sorry, but at that price Arsenal would be foolish not to take that bid.

Which is why it’s probably never going to happen.

Eduardo may be healed but Birmingham is still broken

And finally, the story that just refuses to die has reared it’s ugly head again. That’s right, we’re being reminded that when Eduardo broke his leg on Taylor’s studs it ruined Taylor’s career and Birmingham’s season. Pardon me while I grab a tissue, I have to dab away my tears after reading Alex McLeish talk about how much his team struggled after that incident and how Taylor was never the same again.

How about next time, Allie, you teach your players how to play the game and maybe some man marking instead of just telling them to go out and “get stuck in?” See, for me, it was Allie McLeish who ruined Birmingham and Taylor’s career. He’s the one who told the team to go out and “put a physical stamp” on the match. He’s the one who took Taylor aside and told him to go out and give Arsenal a good lump right from the start. He’s the one who failed to teach his players how to play the game. So, no matter how much he wants to blame Eduardo, Alex McLeish is the reason that Birmingham was relegated. And judging by the supporter’s display at the end of the season, they deserve each other.

I hope they make the drop again.

I’m going to stop there, because like Peter Hill-Wood, I get irrationally angry when I go over that whole incident.

Until tomorrow.

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