Posts Tagged ‘Theo Wallgod

13
Oct
08

The new David Bentley

Welcome back, kickers. I took the day off yesterday because I woke up at 8am and felt like utter death. My friend was on a brief leave from his military training and of course we had to go out: this meant copious quantities of beer, shots of booze, more beer, more booze, and so on. I swear, I’m never drinking again…

So, stop me if you’ve heard this one; promising young English Arsenal player, has a serious attitude problem, quits the academy and is courted by Blackburn and Tottenham. That’s right, 7amkickoff’s perennial whipping boy and failed professional gambler David Bentley has made the news again. As it turns out the Arsenal academy has a kid in it named Jason Banton, this kid has already once quit the academy — in order to join Tottenham — and is reportedly ready to quit again, for Blackburn.

Well, he’s got balls that’s for sure. But seriously, I hate to break it to you Jason, but if you were really good enough, you would have already had a chance with the first team. Enjoy your time on the bench in Blackburn.

Meanwhile, Ashley Cole is making the news rounds this morning because of his poor performance at Wembley on Saturday and the subsequent hails of boos that rained down on him after his gaffe. Oddly, the press make it out that it’s the way he left Arsenal that caused this latest round of hatred but I don’t see it that way: that’s just the press typically whipping up anti-Arsenal hatred. No, his disgraceful departure from the Arsenal was simply the story that kicked off his infamy. It’s was his shameful actions against referee Mike Riley last season that I think is the real cause of this latest enmity. The press would like to paint fan hatred of Cole as if he were the icon of greed in the EPL but that’s not even logical: his teammate and overrated midfielder Mr. Badge Kisser pulled a huge flip-flop this summer in order to get Chelsea to pay him $1m a week or whatever he earns. If anyone is the icon of greedy footballer it’s Frank Lampard. No, I think the fans hate Ashley Cole because he’s the icon of disrespectful modern footballers. I kind of wish he was available for selection against Belarus, just to hear more boos rain down on him. He deserves it.

Speaking of England v. Belarus, Theo Walcott had the most disgraceful game of his short career and probably won’t be allowed to ever touch a football again, at least that’s the story I’m getting. I watched the England v. Borat game and I thought he did very well. Coming off that hat trick the expectations were insanely high but he started very well, got plenty of free kicks, defended well, and even put in a cross that Heskey should have put in the goal except that Heskey hasn’t scored a goal in any competition since 1988. Man, you England fans are frickin nuts, why don’t you just appreciate what you have?

Appreciating what I have is what I’m trying to do with Arsenal! Now, let’s see… we have… two injured central defenders (Djourou and Gallas) and a halfling who claims that size doesn’t matter. YAY! First, it’s a little early to say that Gallas and Djourou are crocked, both of them are going to sit out their mid-week internationals and then fly back to Arsenal where they will receive a fitness test no doubt. Second, Kolo makes a great point

When you consider set-pieces, it’s not just the centre backs – it’s everybody who has to defend.

He’s right, Bendtner has been at fault several times in defense of set pieces and why isn’t Adebayor winning the ball? Most of the problems come from lack of organization: both of the headed goals seemed to come when the defense was scrambling to figure out marking. That’s the captain’s job and I don’t care if he was 7’2″ it wouldn’t change the fact that Gallas isn’t a very good captain. So, I agree with you Kolo, why don’t you step up and help organize? You’re the co-captain, right?

Finally, there was a brief story and I don’t want to get too excited about it until we see something solid, but it looks like Alisher Usmanov may be close to ending his interest in Arsenal. Even the fact that this story is being reported should be proof enough that he was never really interested in the club, but only wanted to leech off our support: as if you needed “proof” after all the stuff we’ve been through with him. No, this was always going to be the outcome. In some sense, I feel bad for Usmanov, because I think he was the victim of David Dein’s machinations. I would not be surprised at all to learn that Dein manipulated Usmanov with promises of riches and glory at Arsenal in order to sell his stock for $150m. That’s all speculation, mind you, and we’ll have to wait until Usmanov or Dein writes his tell-all book. I suspect it will be Dein and it will be called “If I did it, here’s how I would have done it: how to bilk a billionaire and get away Scott free.”

See you tomorrow.

11
Oct
08

All Walcott All the Time

What? Her name is Walcott too!

What? Her name is Walcott too!

Having the press go gaga over an Arsenal footballer is a bit confusing. I know that I’m a relatively new Arsenal blogger (since Jan 1, 2008) but I can’t remember a time when the press was so unified in their glowing praise of an Arsenal player: even the invincibles were criticised. So, you’ll pardon me if I cast a jaundiced eye on this recent spate of Wallgod love. Oh wait, I’m wrong, at least one person is criticising Theo; bitter old England failure Chris Waddle.

Look, as much as I want to listen to a man who once famously sported this fabulous haircut I just can’t.  And it’s not just because he’s an ex-Spud either! This is the man who dumped England out of the 1990 World Cup semi-final with a missed penalty. What would he know about World Cup football except how to fail at it?

No, partisan hacks and World Cup drama queen failures aside, pretty much everyone is behind Theo as he single-handedly sets out to slay the evil Kazakh dragons. “Don’t clip his wings!” reads one headline. “Walcott to dance a jig on the dead bodies of the 1966 superstars” claims Russel Brand who’s hairstyle will be as fondly remembered as Chris Waddle’s in 5 years’ time.

Russel, please, for the love of God, look at yourself in the mirror; that hairstyle is as preposterous a coif as I have ever seen on a human being. What is that? It’s like a reverse 80’s high school aquanet bangs hairstyle. Seriously, you make Chris Waddle look like a sensible man.

If the articles aresn’t full of hyperbole about how Theo will solve the global economic crisis, cure cancer, and score a quad-trick on Borat they are looking back at his glorious career: here’s a great one about how some guy spotted Theo when he was 10. Have you ever wondered what happened to Theo’s teammates on the England U-17 squad? Me either. Or what about the thoughts of Sunderland’s “Theo Stopper?” Sup on those and you shall fill your belly with the food of genius. Or how about “What is it like to practice with Flash Walcott?” Seriously. All of this hype is getting to me, I think I need a rest.

Theo is a tremendous talent and I am convinced that as good as he is he will only get better. Given that we all know that, can we stop all the hyperbole now? Oh, and Russel?  Cut the mullet, tell the barber you’re sick of looking like an asshole.

Hleb is a Cunt

I really wish Hleb’s left leg fell off at the knee. If he isn’t talking shit about his former teammates, or talking shit about London he’s busy “living his dream” in Spain dribbling incessantly for Barcelona and talking shit about how Cesc should come play with him at Barca. Yes, Alex, I’m sure Cesc would be extremely happy at Barcelona, you know, as the third option behind Xavi and Iniesta. Can’t you shut your mouth and wait until Summer to try to unsettle him, at least? Don’t you have any loyalty to Arsene Wenger, the man who rescued your failure of a career?

Clearly not, which is why Hleb is a cunt.

Adebayor Spins in Togo’s Grave

I admire Adebayor, his waffling skils are unrivalled by any player in the world. What other player could retire one day and un-retire two days later.

Gallas Takes the Blame

And finally, William Gallas admitted that his sit-down protest at the death of the 2-2 draw away to Birmingham was the wrong thing to do. Well… that’s pretty incredible. It took you nearly a year to admit that? Come on Bill…

13
Sep
08

Fulha… I mean Blackburn 0-4 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good

There was a great atmosphere at Doyle’s today, there were about 30 people there to see Liverpool edge Man U 2-1 on tape delay and 3 of us Arsenal fans watching the other game. So, the three of us had a TV all to ourselves and no one there (openly) rooting for Arsenal to lose. I love just sitting with a few Arsenal fans, watching a game, and chatting about the game and about Arsenal — those are good times.

The only thing that makes 3 fans sitting around bullshitting about Arsenal more fun is when Arsenal dismantle their opponents which is exactly what happened today. So, the second “good” of the day is that Arsenal got a win, a complete win. 

I know that there was quite a bit of luck involved in today’s clean sheet but whenever a team gets a clean sheet it’s a “good thing.” So far now Arsenal have kept 3 clean sheets in the 4 league matches that they have played. Moreover, the club has kept 5 out of 6 clean sheets in all competitions and have scored 14 goals and only allowed 1. I know, it’s early, the competition hasn’t been too stiff, blah blah blah… it’s still 14-1 and you can’t ask for a better start to the season. Well, you could ask, but last year they started out conceding 3 goals and only scoring 12 and then went on to tear the league up. Regardless that they have lost a match, this is a great start, I’d even say that it’s a better start because defense wins championships. To compare teams for a second, last season’s champs have scored a paltry 4 goals and conceeded a whopping 4 in five competitions. They are also sitting in 13th place and have only managed 4 points from 3 games. The point is, this is a great start for Arsenal, well above most people’s expectations judging from the comments around the web.

Individually, Theo Walcott was just magnificent — hands down man of the match for me. My friend Alex was watching the game with us and said that he thinks that the number 14 jersey has some kind of magic for Arsenal. Man, I don’t know, but I do know that I saw the Theo Walcott that we have all been waiting for. He was selfish at the right times, ran his opponents off the pitch in the attack, and ran them down in defense. The only thing that would have made it a better performance would be if he’d have gotten the goal he deserved. As it was he’ll just have to settle for the spectacular run and assist that opened Arsenal’s account. 

Another great individual performance was put in by Denilson who I think showed a great deal of confidence and ability in the face of some strong opposition. Although he would have been to blame if Blackburn had scored a goal about mid way through the first half, all he did was quietly carry the water for the team and set up Adebayor’s first goal. It was a damn fine performance from a young man who is often overlooked. 

Another guy who just gets no respect is, today’s second best player, Adebayor. The other Arsenal supporter who was sitting with us is a guy I like a lot but who I think represents the feelings of a lot of fans: there’s nothing that Ade will ever do to win some people over. Score a hat trick? Not good enough, he should have scored 10. Yes, Ade was lazy, but HE SCORED THREE GOALS!! Good lord, what else does the man have to do? In the replays I could hear the supporters who were at the match singing, we should all be doing that with Adebayor, every game.

And finally, Jack Wilshere became the youngest player in Arsenal history to play for the team in the League (and Premiership) when he came on for Robin in the 80th minute. What’s even more amazing is that on his debut he set up Adebayor to score his 3rd goal of the night. I’d have to go back and look but it makes me wonder if he’s the youngest player to get an assist in the league as well — he’d have to be, wouldn’t he? I mean, youngest player to play in the league + gets an assist in his debut = youngest assist in the league, right?

As always, the goals are available at The Arsenalist click through if you missed any of the action today. Also, please click on of his sponsors, you know, to show your appreciation.

The Bad

When Arsenal win 4-0 it’s awfully hard to to find something bad. Usually, I pick on the ref in these cases, and so as to not let you down I’ll just say that giving Denilson a yellow card for that “handball” was mighty harsh. In fact, I thought the ref gave away quite a few poor calls; allowing Blackburn to put an overly strong physical stamp on the match with their obstructions, elbows to the face, and reckless shoulder charges (which inexplicably was called as a foul against Clichy.) Dean had a bad match, sorry.

The Eboue penalty was a bit of an odd call as well, it kind of looked like Eboue was diving in expectation of the contact, but that Warnock really did clatter him after the fact. Rovers fans might think it was a harsh call, and maybe it was a bit — I’m one of the first people to complain about that whole contact + simulation problem, but there’s no denying that Eboue was kicked as he was stretchered off the pitch.  

I’m probably not helping things with Adebayor by saying this, but, like Mike Dean, Ade seemed to be struggling today. He looked sluggish and lazy and was caught offside numerous times in the first half. The boss must have said something to him at half time because he was much brighter in the second half, often curling back behind the defense to stay onside. It is a testament to his importance and ability, though, that he scored a header in the dying minutes of the first half, despite his horror 45 minutes up to that point. And I loved watching young Theo go up to him, point a finger in his face and yell at him. I imagine he said “YOU’LL SCORE MORE GOALS IF YOU STAY ONSIDE GOD-DAMNIT!!!” Except given that Theo is such a clean living young man he probably said “GOSH DARNED IT YOU… GUY, YOU.” Before you jump on me about criticising Ade, please note that I turned that “bad” into a “good” by praising Adebayor’s sticktoitiveness and heartitude.

The Ugly

Adebayor’s dance, I’d appreciate it if he never did that “dance” again. What the hell was that thing anyway? He looked like a worm when I hook it, writhing around.  At least he didn’t kiss the badge.  (See how I expertly turn the negative into a positive???)

l can’t for the life of me understand why Mike Dean allowed Stephen Warnock to stand over Eboue and scream at him, probably calling him a cheat. Warnock did get a yellow card around that time, but since I watched the match with the sound off and none of the match reports I’ve found indicate why he got the yellow, I don’t know what happened exactly. Warnock could have, and under the new rules should have, gotten two yellow cards in that incident. Probably Mike Dean felt it would have been harsh to award a penalty and send the player off at the same time, we’ll probably never know.

I also hate seeing Eboue stretchered off. My loyal reader knows that I can’t really stand Eboue, but this squad is thinner than cat slobber and with Rosicky’s “hamstring” problem now turning into a “knee” problem (I shudder to say this but) we need Eboue — he also had a decent game, for Eboue. Hopefully, his injury is not too much of a problem.

And that’s it for today, I’m sure we’ll see lots of negativity about the Eboue call tomorrow, but for today let’s all just bask in the glory of a 4-0 win!

Ashita!

12
Sep
08

Blackburn v. Arsenal — preview

Arsene Wenger spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s trip to Ewood park and the questions were mostly transfer market with a chance of Theo and a smattering of match preview. But, before I get into all that, tomorrow is the very first 7am kickoff of the season! That’s 7am local time and since the only channel in the States that is offering the match is Setanta, I will be posted at Doyle’s (link on the right) tomorrow morning. See you there if you’re one of the locals — or if you’re in town!

Wenger on Supermaket Forces

Wenger and I are of the same mind on this one. How is it that City can come out and say that they will be offering £135m to Ronaldo in January without their being some kind of inquest by the FA? How is that not tampering with the player? And before you non-Arsenal readers (I have a few) point out, as the press did a while ago, that Wenger mentioned Barry and that somehow that’s the same thing. It’s not. You’re full of it. What Man U did with Berbatov and what City are trying to do right now with every player in the league is despicable. Arsene Wenger mentioning that Barry is a good player is a world apart from City saying that they will make a £135m bin, in January, for Ronaldo. The boss, as always put it best:

Football is not a supermarket, we have to all understand that. You cannot come out and say ‘we pay £250,000-a-week to Ronaldo and £135million’, when the player has a six-year contract with Manchester United. It is not possible or acceptable. 

Why bother have contracts at all?

His broader point though is even more important, and that is that there’s a destabilizing effect that money like ADUG is tossing around has on all aspects of the game. Already rumors are flying that Wenger will have to up Walcott’s salary to keep the flies off him next season. That right there is the epitome of destabilization: the kid scored one hat trick in one international game and the next day there’s talk of having to work a new contract to keep him at Arsenal.  

You only need to look as far as City’s new signing, Robinho, and his confusion over what team he really signed for in order to see the end product of this destabilization.

Injury Report

More than just about any other day this year, tomorrow’s team is going to be a mystery. First, the promised debut of new signing Silvestre may have to wait until Wendesday and I won’t be surprised if the guy gets moved back another few days on Tuesday as well — not that this is a pattern with this player or anything. 

Also doubtful is Samir Nasri, who may have some kind of knee injury. The club is being vague, only saying that whatever it was that kept him out of the France match may rule him out for tomorrow.

Rosicky was slated to return this month and was, by all reports, doing splendidly in his recovery. Then Czech coach Petr Rada spilled the beans and told the world that Rosicky’s knee failed him again. I will be shocked if we ever again see this player on the pitch in an Arsenal uniform.

Obviously, Eduardo cannot play yet, but Diaby might get a start tomorrow and in his favored central midfield role. I’m really interested to see 1) how Diaby handles the role; can he tackle without being reckless? can he hold back his attacking instincts? does he have that sort of “spider sense” that the defensive midfielder needs? and 2) will he play the whole 90 minutes without injury?

Which just leaves “rotation” as the reason that a lot of players will or will not see action tomorrow. Fabregas is fresh, having only played a 1/4 of an hour on Wednesday, so I fully expect him to anchor the midfield. Depending on the fitness of Nasri, Theo could (and should) be left out of the squad tomorrow so that he can be fresh for Wendesday.

This means that I fully expect Eboue on the right side of midfield and if Arsenal.com’s “Key Battles” is any indication then both Gallas and Sagna will start in defense.

The other two defensive positions are up to the fitness of Silvestre, which means that Toure and Clichy will almost certainly play.

Up front we will see Adebayor (since he didn’t play for fear of death) and his partner will likely be RvP to start with Bendtner coming off the bench; Vela is out because it took too long for him to return from the Americas.

Given all of this, don’t be surprised to see a very strange lineup tomorrow.

The Opponents

Blackburn have proven to be a tough opponent even if Arsenal have run rough shod over them in the last handfull of matches (knock on wood) and I expect that new boss Paul Ince will have them up for the challenge tomorrow. Given the number of players Arsenal had out on Internationals and the fact that they haven’t had a practice together in a week and a half, I am nervous about this game. Arsenal haven’t had a chance to really gell yet and this latest international “break” could set that back a little. Plus, all the injuries and just plain tired legs… ugh.

Meanwhile Blackburn are coming off a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of West Ham and have had a week and a half to prepare for this game. They should be fresh and focused and Arsenal will be tired and distracted, so I’m going to say that a draw would be a good result for Arsenal, a win would be more than we should expect and a loss is not unreasonable.

We’ll see!

11
Sep
08

Theo Walcott is the greatest player to ever play for England. Ever.

At least when I get it wrong, I get it spectacularly wrong. Years and years ago before Tim Duncan came into the NBA (humor me) I was watching him play college ball and I said to my friend “that guy will be a flop.” Famous last words. And, of course, yesterday I claimed that England would lose. Seeing that I get it so wrong when I do get it wrong, I might as well just say that Arsenal will finish last in the league this season because they suck so much. Too bad it doesn’t actually work that way. I have to believe that they suck and based on some performances yesterday, it’s pretty clear that this Arsenal team doesn’t suck. 

First and foremost, of course, is the fact that Arsenal forward Theo Walcott scored a hat trick away against a Croatia team that kicked England out of Euro 2008 last year at Wembley. An Arsenal player hasn’t scored a hat trick for England since Ian Wright bagged 4 against San Marino in 1993. I’ll admit it, I was pretty excited. I kept sneaking out of the retreat yesterday and checking the live text on the BBC and when I read that Theo got his 3rd I was pretty stoked. It’s been a few years since Arsenal even had a player on the English national team, much less score a goal, and I’d never seen a hat trick from an Arsenal player. Heady stuff.

The next step here is for Theo to take the lesson he learned from that game (BE A BIT MORE SELFISH) and apply it to his Arsenal game. Also, he needs to heed the advice of people like John Barnes

He’s a great player but let’s not get carried away. The last time we did this, when he got selected for the World Cup, his career halted for 18 months to two years – let’s allow him to develop 

Good advice — let’s all not get carried away. It was a good game, a breakout game, a historic game, but it was just one game. What am I saying? It’s time to queue all the stories that “Arsenal will win the league, Theo will score 50 goals, Engerland will win the world cup!!!”

I don’t think it’s getting carried away, however, to say that Wenger will clearly have some selection problems. Rosicky is nearing full fitness and the boss has been pretty stubborn about his stance that “Eboue brings defensive balance” to the right side so those two are going to push Walcott for a starting spot on the right. Note that the shift here is subtle; Walcott is no longer pushing them for a starting spot, they have to be pushing him. I also think that as well as Walcott did on the right wing, he’s an out and out striker which Wenger has also said numerous times. Does this mean that Walcott will start to push Bendtner, Adebayor and van Persie for a starting spot up front? Time will tell, but I love the fact that this so-called “thin” squad now has 4 world class strikers to choose from.

Bendtner too scored in Denmark’s win over Portugal yesterday. Already, Bendtner has a few starts under his belt and the fact that he’s put in a few goals (Twente and Portugal) has to bolster his argument for more starts. It will be interesting to see how all this plays out this season. Will fans regret Arsene’s decision not to sell Adebayor?

In defense, France elected to play three of Arsenal’s back four against Serbia, handing Clichy, Sagna, and Gallas the start. I didn’t see this game, but it is worrying that the Arsenal three couldn’t keep a clean sheet and that, according to match reports, they have a serious problem with free kicks and headed balls. Let’s hope this backsliding on the part of Gallas doesn’t effect Arsenal’s league play.

Equally as worrying is that Djourou played as Switzerland lost to Luxemborg. If Arsenal had a week in training together, perhaps Wenger could sort some of this out, but we don’t, Arsenal play Blackburn on Saturday without so much as a practice session, ugh.

Finally, some fans in Croatia made monkey sounds when Heskey took the pitch as a second half substitution. I’m sorry, but this is 2008, if a country cannot control their racist fans, they have no place in World Cup football. I’d give countries one warning and then ban them from the current World Cup competition. It’s a hard line, I know, but this needs to stop.




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