Posts Tagged ‘West Ham v. Arsenal

27
Oct
08

West Ham 0-2 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good

I love these types of games; wide open, both teams attacking, pulsating play and me screaming “HOW THE F*CK DID THAT NOT GO IN??!??!?” every 12 minutes.

The first half was a keepers game, no doubt, with both keepers making some spectacular saves but Robert Green edged out Almunia in that first half having done more for his team to keep them in the game. This is not to say that Almunia had a bad first half, au contraire, that was easily the best performance I have ever seen from Almunia, simply a recognition that Green had more to do at the back than Manny and did it against much stiffer odds.

Theo was the victim of some of that, erm, Green-ery and had an ordinary keeper been in the sticks for West Ham we could have easily been talking about Theo for MotM. But we aren’t… Theo shots were saved by Green and he ended the match sacrificed along with Nasri so that Arsene could bring on Adebayor and Diaby: the men who broke open the game.

I was kind of surprised to see that neither man was included in the starting lineup but heading into the congested fixtures list Wenger felt they needed a rest. It was a good bit of managing and refreshing to see Arsenal with some super subs on the bench for once. How many times have we seen Chelsea get into one of these tense 0-0 affairs only to bring on some multi-million dollar sub and win the match?

Adebayor repaid his manager and made up for his foolish remarks of the other day by simply doing all the things that have made him indispensable for this team. No other player in this club terrifies defenses like Adebayor; he can dribble around most defenders, he can run under a lofted ball, he’s a decent header on set plays, he can take the ball high or low, and he’s Arsenal’s only true target man. He showed all of that off yesterday and thus is MotM for this blog.

Oh yeah, and for the first time in his career, he had 0 (zero, nil, zip, nada, none) offsides.

Alex Song on the other hand, looked like a completely changed player from the game on Tuesday. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that he played next to Cesc instead of in the middle of the defense; where one slip is devastating compared to the other. But more than just his assuredness, he also seemed to relish the task of running his lungs out and policing the midfield compared to the sprint and panic that characterizes the Arsenal defense right now. I know it’s just this one game but he did a great job out there and I’d like to see him get a few more chances.

The Bad

I can’t really complain about the match, our defense looked more assured than they have recently, the team responded well to the physicality of West Ham, they kept possession and harassed the opposition, Almunia had a great game, they put two past them, and kept a clean sheet — what’s to complain about?

I guess I kind of got tired of seeing the West Ham complain about hand(s) ball(s). The only one handling his balls was Robert Green in the 24th minute. And lesee… Was it just me or did William Gallas look super extra sweaty? Like he was playing while nursing a hangover? Have a good fried breakfast, a zip fizz, plenty of coffee and some water next time Bill!

The Ugly

I’m not a fan of that shade of green that Almunia was wearing, that was ugly.

The other thing that was ugly was the fact that Robert Green was clearly outside the box, and clearly intentionally handled the ball outside the box and clearly should have been sent off and the officials got it dead wrong. Graham “three yellow cards” Poll thinks it’s a case where instant replay would have made a difference but I’m not sure: first, someone on the pitch would have to have seen it and I’m not convinced that even Bendtner truly saw it as there was almost no complaint after the incident. Second, I’m not sure this is one of the things that we want managers challenging.

My friend Alex’s idea is that you try to rule out challenges that occur during the run of play and keep the disruptions to a minimum. So, you would be able to challenge a disallowed goal, yellow cards, red cards, and penalties. I like this idea a lot because it minimizes disruptions and gets big calls right (I’d like to throw in that if a penalty is falsely awarded AND the player is judged to have pulled a Drogba in order to win the penalty the referee could give a retroactive red card to the cheater — by that’s just the axe that I grind).

Where were we? Uhhh, yes, would instant replay have fixed the Green call? I don’t know, what do you all think?

Ok, that’s it for today, Harry’s Hot Spuds are up on Wednesday and given that the squad is riding high now that a “good Englishman” is in charge I fear that we could be in for a raucous North London derby. 7-6 to the Arsenal, that’s today’s prediction! More on that later this week.

Cheers!

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26
Oct
08

Liveblogging West Ham v. Arsenal, first half

Good morning Arsegoblins, a few news stories to catch you up on before the kickoff here in 5 minutes or so. The biggest story of the day has to be Harry Redknapp’s appointment to Spuds. Harry’s a damn fine coach and chronic blinker and I have to think that Spurs are going to have a hard time getting their money’s worth out of him — he’s costing Spuds $10m for the transfer plus his salary and the salaries of Ramos, Poyet, and Comolli. It’s a huge gamble, but really what else do you expect? Clearly, apart from his two off wins against Arsenal and Chelsea to win the Milk Cup he’s been one of the worst managers in Spuds long history of shitty managers.  If they didn’t do something, they were going to get relegated, I was just hoping that they waited until after the North London Derby.

Oh well.

In other weird news, Becks is heading to AC Milan, who I got to see this morning. What a weird team… Flamini was subbed at the 20th minute or so for some 86 year old Brazilian. And it’s not like he’s the only octogenarian on the club. They seem to be collecting old men, so I guess Becks will fit right in.

Shit.

Match is starting, BRB….

Oh yeah, Chelsea lost to Litterpool.

1′ They just showed the league table and my girlfriend just said “Wow, Hull City’s up there” yes, yes, they are.

1′ Bendtner and van Persie get the nod up front and Song gets a start next to Fabregas. Also Gallas is starting at the back, I think he’s sneaking a smoke.

3′ Looked like van Persie was pulled down there but no complaints from the Arsenal.

6′ Eboue plays in the exact wrong pass in the final third after a display of pretty good control. Wasted chance there.

8′ van Persie is playing awfully deep. Hmmm…

11′ West Ham is doing a good job controlling the tempo and Arsenal are doing a good job clearing their lines, this could be a 1-0 or even a 0-0 affair, which would be refreshing.

17′ yawn… hey did you hear that Joey Barton was pelted by Sunderland fans for kissing the Newcastle badge? This then, in turn started some fan violence and a pitch invasion and… police are investigating.

20′ Walcott with a great run and strike! Action! Good save by West Ham.

22′ Gallas is working hard, breathing heavy, get him some oxygen!

24′ Robert Green collects the ball clearly a yard over the line. Blown call by the assisstant Andy Williams.

25′ Great save by Green off some great interplay between Theo and Robin. Robin chests the ball down for Theo who is making a great diagonal run, collects and fires low. Green miraculously gets to the ball.

29′ Arsenal are caught out with a great pass from Parker to Bellamy, his shot is saved by the leg of Almunia. Gallas and Silvestre were caught out there and it’s just a great save from Almunia that saves Arsenal’s blushes.

31′ As poor as Song was in the middle of the defense, he’s really really good in the center of the park. Maybe he’s not as much of a utility player as Arsene thinks.

34′ For example, Song just trekked back the entire length of the pitch to nip the ball off Carlton Cole who had rampaged through the Arsenal midfield.

36′ DAMN! Green is having a monster of a game, he saves well off a great shot by Bendtner. The keepers are the difference so far in this match.  The commentator just said “the best goalless first half you’re likely to see all season.” I Agree.

42′ West Ham is getting tetchy and Parker rightly gets booked for a reckless tackle from behind. Arsenal get a free kick in a dangerous area… nothing.

45′ Right, 0-0 and I need some sausages or something, catch the second half over here.

25
Oct
08

West Ham v. Arsenal Preview

Not much of a preview today because, well, aside from Captain Smokey there isn’t much going on at the club ahead of a game, for once. Rosicky, Eduardo, and Sagna are the only injured players for our squad and West Ham is also at full strength. Further, despite West Ham’s recent slip in form (losing to Hull and Bolton) all the club news is positive because the honeymoon with Zola is still on.

Key men Parker, Upson, and Bellamy will all be looking to pull a Hull on Arsenal tomorrow and get West Ham back to their winning ways. Frankly, with Man U slipping to a dour 1-1 draw, Hull City not really a top team, and the Chelsea/Liverpool clash wrapping up right before Arsenal kick off I think it’s safe to say that this is a must win game.

As for lineups (which I find that only the sad people who play fantasy sports care about) I’d put money that Denilson gets a rest. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part because his performances seem to go one good then one bad and he’s due for a bad one but he’s also the only Arsenal player who hasn’t had a good rest yet. If Denilson doesn’t get a rest it’ll be because Wenger chooses to play the 4-5-1 that was so successful against Fenerbahce.

We’ll see.

Now, as for the William Gallas flap, I’ve now seen the picture (above) and have read the full comments of Arsene Wenger:

I did smoke but never a lot and never when I played. After, when I became a young coach, I sometimes had one because my assistant was smoking at three o’clock in the morning, when we had lost a big game.

In France, we all smoke. I have seen buses in France that you would not believe, you do not see each other. When I was a player, nobody would ever tell you that you should not smoke. We were driving home in coaches. You had to open the windows in winter to see each other.

Gallas has a responsibility as captain and that cannot be accepted, it is a public job with public responsibility. But there is smoking and there is smoking. I am sure you had players who were smoking 40 cigarettes a day.

This quote is hardly the condemnation that I’ve seen in the press, the blog comments, and from the holier than thou other bloggers. If William Gallas’ mental breakdown at Birmingham wouldn’t convince the boss to drop him I hardly think that the odd end is going to see him over the edge. In fact, the only thing I know for sure is that William Gallas smoking has whipped the fans into a frenzy and brought out the moralists in the blogosphere. As I pointed out last blog, this just shows poor judgement, but we all already knew that Gallas often shows poor judgement. It’s not like this is a new trait with the man, so I’d be surprised if Wenger takes any action more than just fining him — and not because he was smoking, but because he was caught.

Time to stub this story out and move on.

Speaking of fuming and blazing and someone who is smoking hot right now, St. Etienne midfielder Blaise Matuidi is again being linked with Arsenal. According to the French side, Wenger called during the summer to see if he was available and was rebuked. That said, the player is now expressing his interest to play for Arsenal. I know the fans feel like Matuidi would fit right in and would like to see the player signed in January but St. Etienne are insisting that the player is not going anywhere until this summer. So, once again it’s no news on the transfer market.

In our final bit of preposterous news Micah Richards is excited by the impending arrival of Thierry Henry. Let me be clear: Micah Richards has a better chance of playing with syphilis than he does of playing with Henry. Thierry Henry has categorically ruled out playing with any Premiership team other than Arsenal, end of story.

Ok, well, Arsenal are playing on Fox Soccer Channel tomorrow at 9am and I’m going to continue the live-blogging experiment, even though no one really likes it. But it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to!

Stop by tomorrow if you’re into that sort of thing.

P.S. Hull City must be dreaming, they are winning 3-0 against W.B.A. right now and it’s some really amazing stuff from them. With a win today they will temporarily go level on points with Liverpool and Chelsea, mind boggling really.




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