Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Keegan


Arsenal 4-0 Porto

The Good

Giant, 1 liter steins of some kind of German Lager, plus I got to keep the mug.

A 4-0 thrashing to shake off the hangover from Hull on Saturday — now I need a 4-0 thrashing of my body to put me back in shape for work this morning. Wait, not that kind of thrashing you perv.

Hanging out with my old friend (and tireless Nottingham Forest/Everton supporter) and catching up on everything, even if it meant missing parts of the game.

To the game: two goals each from Adebayor and van Persie was very good and in all honesty it could have been 7-0 with the opportunities that this team made and missed last night. I’m not complaining about the missed opportunities, rather I’m highlighting that the team made a lot of good opportunities and took a majority of them. When your squad scores 4 goals and keeps a clean sheet it’s hard to complain.

Kudos also to the boss for saying one thing and doing something different — he said he was going to axe someone and then decided to keep the faith and, well, it worked. As soon as I saw that Toure and Gallas and Theo were in the starting lineup I thought “well, there went another well founded, logical prediction down the shitter.” It’s a bit maddening, as a writer, to read that Wenger promises to make cuts and then to see he does the exact opposite. Not because he didn’t act as planned, but because I failed to put in the proper caveat! Of course Wenger selected the same squad as Saturday, he’s always doing unpredictable stuff like that, I should have totally said “unless Wenger ‘surprises’ us all and sticks to the same starting XI as Saturday.” Oh well.

Theo did very well and doesn’t look at all phased by the fact that he’s played, what, eleventy Brazilian games in the last month? Porto clearly had no answer for Theo when he turned on the afterburners, beating their full-backs with ease nearly every time he touched the ball. He is, by leaps and bounds, the most exciting player on this Arsenal team — truly a joy to watch. Now, score me some goals Theo!

And finally, I liked seeing van Persie’s reaction to the poor game he had against Hull — he worked fairly hard last night and got two well deserved goals. Now, do that in every game, we all know you can.

The Bad

Arsenal kept a clean sheet but they damn near shit the bed three times in the opening 30 minutes. The first time was when some dude broke down the wing and whipped in a venomous cross that some other dude headed toward goal only to be denied by the cross bar. It should have been a magnificent goal but luck was on our side.

The second was from open play and but for Almunia’s good save would have been another embarassing goal from midfield that came about because the player wasn’t being marked.

And the third was, well, I thought the ball had gone in and was head down for fully 30 seconds before I realized that the ref hadn’t blown the whistle. Yet another corner, not properly dealt with, and the Porto guy seriously should have put the ball over the line except Arsenal had 9 people in the net. Amazing bit of luck there.

Which is exactly why it is ‘bad’ to keep a clean sheet: once again the team was lucky and not skilled. To win the two big leagues (EPL and Champions) you do need a certain amount of luck, but you cannot rely on luck. This team, defensively, relies on luck. Of course, Arsene Wenger disagrees directly with me

I believe that the first time they caught us tonight was on the break from one of our corners. We were caught on the break, but that is maybe the only real time when we were lucky.  The second time was on the corner when Clichy saved on the line. Those were the two times when they were dangerous tonight. Overall we were much more disciplined and focused on corners. The fight in the air was there.

No and no, sorry Arsene, the corners are still a massive problem as evidenced by this game in which Porto had just 4 corners and nearly scored on the one except for a bit of luck. If you think you’re going to go to Sunderland and allow them to take 4 corners on you and escape unscathed with the defensive display Arsenal put on last night, you’re sorely mistaken. As we speak, Sunderland are practicing non-stop corners because the entire world knows that’s our weakness.

Sort it out.

The Ugly

The dance… Adebayor… stop it for the love of all that is holy… please?

There’s only one other ugly, and that’s this statement by Arsene Wenger on the defensive problems on this Arsenal team. Speaking about the Hull game on Saturday he said

Before Saturday we only conceded two goals and they were from corners in the League. On Saturday we conceded two goals too. I must say one of them was another corner but the other one was a goal that we have all scored but only once in our lives. We conceded a goal that you cannot do a lot about

Well, that’s just absolutely incorrect. You could, for example, close down on the player, just a little, make him rush his shot a bit, the keeper could cut off some of the angle, or maybe, just maybe the defensive midfielder could win the ball back. You could have done any of those things and while it wouldn’t guarantee that the kid wouldn’t score the goal it sure would look a lot better when he did. As it stands the guy had a wide open shot on an out of position Almunia with no one closing down on him and he dribbled and shot. Two of the guys I practice with made that shot this weekend. It’s not a once in a lifetime goal, it’s something all talented footballers have in their bag and I really wish Wenger admitted that or at the least didn’t say anything at all.

Finally, there are two more uglies that I want to get in. 1) 7am Kickoff’s perennial whipping boy Robbie Savage has finally achieved the level that a man of his footballing talent deserves: he’s been dropped by Derby and is now playing for League 1 side Brighton on a one month loan. 2) Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Kevin Keegan is ready to re-return to Newcastle, presumably to finish the work he started with good pal Joey Barton.

I don’t know why but I find these two stories infinitely funny.

Crap, gotta go to work, see you tomorrow.


Feel better?

Breathe in…  exhale… breathe in… exhale…

Now, un-clinch your wringing hands, clap in time, and say it with me: “We love you Arsenal, we do.  We love you Arsenal, we do. We love you Arsenal, we do, ohhh Arsenal we love you!”  Repeat until you stop worrying about the season ahead.

I love Arsenal and I do trust Arsene Wenger.  Maybe I can have this faith because I never played Football Manager, I don’t play Dungeons and Dragons for football fans (fantasy football), and I don’t play any sports on my computers.  Those games are *ahem* simulations, folks.  In real life, Arsene Wenger is arguably the most successful manager Arsenal have ever had.

Moreover, there’s this voyeuristic quality to Arsenal fans right now.  We look at what every other team is doing and want to compare ourselves to them.  That’s unhealthy and only invites a fat tick like Usmanov to jump on board, satisfy your desire to be like Chelsea for a few years while slowly draining the blood from the team.

And to what end?  Chelsea have spent something like £800m in order to win 3 real trophies.  Last season, in fact, they won exactly the same number of trophies that Arsenal won: ZERO.  They have the highest wage bill of any team in the world, they pay ridiculous transfer fees to get players in, they sit those players on the bench to rot, they take huge losses when re-selling, and they have the world’s most classless fans. Is that the kind of team you really want to support?

It’s telling that Jose Mourinho was so desperate for kudos that he counted Milk Cups and Charity Shields when he held up his infamous “6 finger salute” to Roman Abramovich.  He had to, everyone, everywhere knows that £800m Milk Cups don’t make you a big club.  It’s a truly sad day when you have the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard beating up teenagers and taking their Milk money then celebrating as if they had just won the Champions League.  Honestly, why shouldn’t they celebrate like that?  They’ll never win the Champions League, so I guess, like Tottenham, the best they can manage is to win a 5 game tournament against 3rd division teams and Arsenal’s youth team.  No, Chelsea will always be the second best club in London.

Same too with Manchester City.  They can buy all the Robinho’s in the world, they will always be the second best team in Manchester.  Their new owner is so out of touch he believes that they will be in the Champions League next season.  How?  By finishing 4th?  No. Fucking. Way. They have a better shot at winning the FA Cup than finishing 4th.  But of course he thinks that, what does he know about football?  He’s an oil guy, a guy who buys property, and Manchester City is now one of his properties.  A toy for him to play around with.  Tellingly, Al-Fahim has said “I’m the new Abramovich” which means “I’m here to meddle in this thing you all call ‘football’ and see if I can’t buy myself a Champions League trophy.”  Well, like Abramovich he’s got a harsh lesson coming; you cannot buy respect or success.

Finally, who cares if Bobblekopf went to Man U?  It’s another £30m that the club cannot afford, that they had to spend to keep their prawn sandwich fans with their unrealistic expectations in line, and that Tottenham will probably never see.  The player himself is a tremendous talent but a horrible teammate.  I can’t wait to see him dress down Ronaldo.  Oh, it will happen, mark my words.

No, I’d rather have Arsene Wenger and Arsenal FC.  The only thing I have to overcome to fully support this team is my own ego.  My ego tells me that I might know better than Arsene and thus second guess why he didn’t land Alonso.  My ego tells me that I know better than he does when it comes to Eboue, Vela, Nasri, or any others on the team.  It’s my ego, and I suggest, your ego that needs to be put to bed.  This is the team we have, this is the manager we have, these are the owners we have, and you are the fans.  Get behind the team or go support Chelsea: London’s second best football team.

“We love you Arsenal, we do…”

P.S. Kevin Keegan has reportedly tucked tail between his legs and ducked out of the Newcastle spotlight for the second time.  I believe I called it two days ago: relegation is looming now for Newcastle.


Bolton v. Arsenal preview


3 years in a row now Arsenal have lost to Bolton.


Arsenal’s Premier League season now hinges on winning an away match to one of the dirtiest teams to ever disgrace a football pitch.

Bolton. Ugh…

There is a ray of hope here though. Bolton no longer have Sam Allardyce and there can be no doubt that Bolton’s home form against Arsenal was largely (pun intended) a product of the Fat Man. Bolton also let Anelka go this January (which prompted me to predict relegation) and they have really missed his presence. So much so that the second leading scorer on the squad (behind Anelka) is midfielder, skipper, and hard man, Kevin Nolan. Unfortunately for Bolton fans Kevin Nolan won’t be on the pitch tomorrow either, because he is serving a suspension for his 10th yellow of the season.

No Sam, No Nicholas, no Nolan: a walk in the park right? No way.

Bolton are fighting against relegation and players like Davies (7 yellow cards) and Diouf (10 yellow cards) are not going to roll over and let Arsenal tickle their tummies. I fully expected the nasty game to be the one against Chelsea and it turned out to be a pretty fair match between the two — by recent standards. And now, with Bolton and Arsenal at opposite ends of the table but their respective seasons hanging in the balance I’m going to have to move the tense match to tomorrow. Throw in 3 years of bitter history, a depleted Bolton squad which will force them to ugly up the game, and it could very well explode.

Or… Arsenal could score early and put them to bed.

Personally, I’m hoping for the latter. The longer Arsenal wait to score, the more belief will creep into the Bolton side… then, one ball hoofed up to a speedy Diouf and… damn, I don’t want to think about it.

Fortunately, it looks like Wenger has studied the tapes of the last 5 matches and is calling for a defensive renaissance.

I believe we will do it but we need to get back to our defensive stability. We were leading with 20 minutes to go at Chelsea and then surrendered it. What we produced defensively was just not us: we can do much better than that.

Yes. “Defense wins championships” we say here in America (because our sports don’t have draws) and in this case it’s true.  Arsenal need to shore up their defense, stat.

It’s important to note, however, that while Wenger was reminding the team to tighten up their defense, he was also giving 100% support to William Gallas. So, while he’s calling out William to lead the team, to lead the defense, he’s not doing it in such a way as to undermine the squad.

Some Arsenal supporters (me included) would do well to take note of this technique. It’s too easy to slide into attacking and blaming when the team has a slump in form. But that’s when the team need us most — supporting.

And so, Bolton tomorrow at 8am PST in a potentially tense match. It would be a nice match to see Arsenal regain their form, wouldn’t it? No one needs reminding that Arsenal have three tough tests against Liverpool next week, do they?

The match is live on Setanta, which normally means me at the pub at 8am, but I’m busy tomorrow and so I’ll have to watch the replay at 5pm.  Here’s to a break-out match for Arsenal, a 7-0 thrashing, and everyone goes home unhurt!   Hell, I’ll take three points and everyone unhurt.

Until then, kickers…

p.s. The Madness of King Kev has struck again! There’s a story that he wants to sign former Gunner, Reyes. Um, Kev? He’s a striker who scored 16 goals in 69 appearances. And when he wasn’t taking up space on the pitch? He was bitching about the weather or the physical play of the PL. Come on, this story HAS to be a fake, right?

p.p.s. The Madness of Jens Lehmann has struck as well! 20 years ago this would have been a non-story but in these day and times, feeding non-alcoholic beer to a toddler is probably a crime. It’s a real shame that, I remember my dad gave me beer when I was very young AND I TURNED OUT FINE.




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