Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh Dear

Well, well, well. What can you say about Liverpool that hasn't already been said about Afghanistan?

I have to say that of the so-called Big Four (RIP), Liverpool was always the one that I didn't really hate. Not that I really liked them or anything (in fact, after a certain 2008 Champions League match, I could barely stand to think about the club). It's just that I always reserved my greatest animosity for United, Chelsea, and Spurs. Maybe it's because most of my Arsenal-Liverpool related memories involve Henry, Pires, and, more recently, Arshavin doing unspeakable things to them. Regardless, I respected Liverpool's history and a lot of their players. I respect their supporters. It didn't hurt that the team were often fun to watch, especially when they came back to beat Milan in the CL Final (the greatest match in European club soccer history - no, I won't back down from that) and for the two seasons where Gerrard and Torres had a telepathic understanding with one another that was simply mesmerizing. I even kind of liked Rafa and was willing to defend him from his numerous detractors (but which even I am unwilling to do now).

I know that it was just a Carling Cup match that they lost today. I know that teams like Chelsea and Man City also went crashing out (hilarious). I know that good Premier League teams have often been beaten by lower-ranked opposition in these one-off tournaments. So why this post? Because this loss to Northhamptumberwhatever is emblematic of Liverpool's performance as a whole. They are a shell of their former selves. And from the look of things, with their current financial woes, it may be a long, hard road back to glory.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Arsene Knows (And So Do I)

That when Cesc isn't on the pitch, Nasri needs to be taking Arsenal's penalties. Go on, show 'em how it's done, Samir:

First one.

And then again (perfect).

Also, the Arsenal fans were in extremely fine voice today. Even I will admit that the support (especially at home) can be a bit weak at times. But today, they outsang Spurs almost the entire match. I couldn't quite make all of them out, but from what I heard, here are the top three Arsenal chants of the night:

(1) "Shall we make a DVD?" (In reference to this.)

(2) "Oh when the Spurs go marching out." (Fantastic appropriation.)

(3) "Are you Tottenham in disguise?" (Standard, but never fails to make me laugh out loud.)

My other thoughts, in no particular order:

- Wilshere and Gibbs are the future, and the future is probably coming a lot sooner than we think. I'm OK with that.

- After Spurs smashed Arsenal 5-1 in the 2008 Carling Cup and finally broke the ten-year spell of Gunners league dominance in April, is this a statement of intent that normal service will be resumed? Whatever.

- The first penalty was a bit soft, but when you get on the wrong side of your man the way Bassong did with Nasri, you're tempting fate. And for the second one, the referee had absolutely no choice. Chamakh didn't exactly try to stay on his feet, but he was obviously impeded. Awful defending, but also very clever passes by Arshavin to put Nasri and Chamakh in position to win those penalties.

- Robbie Keane's goal was definitely offside. And I can't stand him. But Fabianski should have done better - he just couldn't resist the urge to add more fuel to the "Fabianski is terrible please God sell him every time he plays he screws something up" bonfire. It's a raging bonfire. Sometimes I think he's doing it on purpose just to see how poorly someone can play and yet still suit up for Arsenal. Someone check and see if he's placed any bets on how long he stays in the team.

But I digress. A great result. And fair play to the kid below, if I were a Spurs supporter I'd be weeping, too.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

So, What Have We Learned?

Harsh, hateful words from the fictional Sr. Guardiola, the use of which I in no way condone. In every other way, hilariously spot-on. And now, the week in review:

1) Tomas Rosicky should never, ever come near an Arsenal penalty again. Why Chamakh, whose primary purpose in life is the scoring of goals, or Nasri, who has ice water pumping through his gangster, Marseilles-ghetto veins, didn't take that spot kick against Sunderland I'll never know. Arsene was similarly nonplussed.

2) Sam Allardyce may be on some dangerous, hard drugs. The man is seriously delusional.

3) Manchester United are, in fact, somewhat fragile at the back. The discipline and steel of past years is missing. Evans and O'Shea are, quite frankly, not very good at the moment. Or as the English say: "crap."

4) However, Dimitar Berbatov is settling in quite nicely, thank you very much. Cruising along, smooth as a big body Lexus, he put in another finishing master class. Haters gon' hate, and Berba don't care. Get that money, Berba. Buy yourself another Argentina replica jersey. Maybe go for Spain this time, actually.

5) Barthalona and Real Mourinho are both capable of ugly, gutsy wins. But as Juan mentioned with regard to Barca last week, when you put out those lineups, you expect to win at any cost, by any means. See above cartoon.

6) Zlatan Ibrahimovic is probably a sociopath. Maybe he's so humorless and borderline autistic because he's constantly being scrutinized and criticized despite being one of the most prolific goalscorers in Europe. (See above cartoon.) Something I like to call Anelka Syndrome. But it's much more likely that he's just a huge jerk regardless of what the press says about him. At any rate, he's still really good at scoring goals, especially when his feet are firmly planted on Italian soil.

7) Having Florent Malouda as the captain of your fantasy EPL team has been a very good idea. Not to pat myself on the back or anything. But seriously, we won't learn anything new about Chelsea until next weekend's trip to the City of Manchester Stadium. I'm hoping (as always) for a Wayne Bridge winner that deflects off John Terry's groin.

8) Roma were clearly demoralized by how last season ended, and they look stuck in preseason mode. That squad is more than capable of winning the league this year. Frankly, it's confusing. And the pressure may be getting to the tinkerman.

9) It's official: there's something seriously wrong with Fernando Torres. I know I'm about three months too late with that obvious announcement, but I was willing to overlook his subpar World Cup display due to his injury struggles (and the general overhype that accompanies every star into a new tournament after performing fantastically at their last tournament - in this case, Euro 2008). But he really does not look like himself. (I believe) he won the penalty and the free kick that gave Liverpool a way back into the Northwest Derby, but anyone who watched that entire match knows that something is up.

10) Everybody should move to Barcelona (see Juan's excellent dispatch from the Camp Nou below). Beautiful football, beautiful women, and delicious sandwiches (mostly likely prepared by beautiful women and then enjoyed whilst watching beautiful football). Sigh. Get the couch bed ready, good sir.