Friday, 30 September 2011

A Big Derby Weekend!

Oh boy. These two games are so opposite to each other for me it's unbelievable. I love going to Everton v Liverpool and I hate it when Arsenal are playing at Tottenham.

The first one is obviously Everton v Liverpool tomorrow lunch- time. I will be getting up at about 8.30am and setting off at about 9.30am to go to my Gran's for a nice brunch before my Dad and I set off to Goodison Park. My Dad isn't as big a fan of this game as I am so I may have to make sure he doesn't vere off road and end up taking us home or something instead.

We will then park up (maybe in his red car) and walk to the ground, which is about a 20-25 minute walk, soaking up the atmosphere before we arrive at the ground. We may decide to take a walk around the ground, to try to spot any famous people as we have in the past and to soak up the atmosphere even more. Once inside the ground we will take our positions at our seats about 10-15 minutes before kick off and have a look at which 'characters' have made it to the game. Will Mad Man be there? Will Fellaini/ Terrorist Girl? Will Played Man be there? Hairy Ears? Referee Hater? Only time will tell.

We will then sit down and I will enjoy the match. Of course my Dad will if Everton are 3-0 up or more (or the equivalent of) with about a minute to go. I am really looking forward to watching this. A great atmosphere, some exciting players, 2 teams looking for the win in a hopefully entertaining game with a few goals to be bashed in.

Then there's Sunday. Tottenham vs Arsenal at 4pm of all times. Bloody hell. *Sighs*. If Arsenal win, I'll be ecstatic but I do hate the North London derbies. I'm going to predict a 2-2 or 2-1 to Tottenham as I worry about us defensively at the moment. But, like Everton v Liverpool, I can see it going either way.

I don't really buy into Tottenham being a better side than Arsenal as people have been suggesting but I think the new look Arsenal are settling in and getting used to each other, and lets not forget have some key players out such as Vermaelen and Wilshere. While Tottenham just happen to have hit a shot period of form, but they aren't a better team or squad than Arsenal in my opinion.


Everton 2 v 2 Liverpool

Tottenham 2 v 1 Arsenal

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

How much can Oxlade Chamberlain contribute to Arsenal this season?

More than I thought when we signed him that's for sure. I've just watched him play about an hour against a Champions League side (OK, not the best one- but still a decent side) and cause them a lot of trouble with his pace, flair and direct dribbling and running. Not to mention his very well taken goal.

If you compare him to Walcott, as everybody seems to be doing, when Theo was 18 (OC's age now) you would say Chamberlain is the better player. He's got pace, which Walcott also had and still has, but he's got better technique than Walcott did, better decision making ability and is a better finisher by the looks of things. He can make a pass better than Theo could, he looks more creative and maybe even more confident too.

He didn't just beat players tonight, he breezed past them with confidence as well as pace and skill. He took his goal excellently and passed the ball well too. He looks like he can contribute a lot more than what I, as well as most other Arsenal fans I imagine, thought when we signed him in August. I thought £12 million rising to £15 million was a lot for an 18 year old, and now I see why we paid it.

He could be a useful under- study to Walcott on the right, or maybe more than that. He could also be a useful player to bring off the bench when we need a goal, with his pace, finishing and delivery all bound to be hard for opposition defences to cope with.

The most exciting thing is that he will only get better. He will become a better decision maker, a better user of the ball and a better passer and finisher for example. He already has talent and his talent will surely only increase year by year. and he's only 18, who knows, we could be enjoying his eye- catching performances and runs for a decade or more.

Elsewhere, I thought Santos and Song also stood out tonight in what was an important win, and not one than should be under- estimated as they were a decent side, more dangerous than I thought they would be. OK, we only helped and encouraged them with that during the first half but we got much better in the second half and overall, looked the more likely team to score and we didn't really look like conceding.

An important win and one that showed our strength in depth. We had Wilshere, Vermaelen, Gervinho, Walcott, Benayoun and Diaby all out tonight with van Persie, Gibbs and Ramsey rested on the bench and we still won and played well for spells.

Match Ratings:

Szczesny- 7

Sagna- 7
Mertesacker- 7
Song- 8
Santos- 8

Frimpong- 7
Rosicky- 7
Arteta- 8 (gets +1 for the goal- line clearance)

Oxlade- Chamberlain- 8- MOTM
Chamakh- 7
Arshavin- 5

Ramsey- 6
van Persie- 6
Gibbs- 6

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Back To Winning Ways

Ahh, that feels better. I'm still awaiting the chance to see the MOTD highlights and the Sky extended highlights of the Arsenal v Bolton game but I think I can still talk about it despite not having seen even a second of it yet.

The best thing was of course getting the much needed 3 points and climbing up to the dizzy heights of 12th in the table. Other positives from today are Robin Van Persie getting his century of goals for Arsenal and Alex Song grabbing a lovely goal (by the sounds of it.) Oh, and a clean sheet.*

OK, Bolton had 10 men at 1-0 for the last half an hour- ish but it was still a good win. Firstly, we were already ahead when that happened and secondly, it was our quality that forced them to go down to 10 men as they were unable to deal with the pace of Theo Walcott. Plus, it sounds like we created a tonne of chances in the second half and, of course, we took three and kept a clean sheet. So all in all, a good day Arsenal- wise.

Unfortunately we have a North London derby next Sunday (4pm kick off, which I hate) and it is really bad timing as Tottenham are on good form at the moment but even if we are without Walcott as well as our other absentees, we can still win there. Plus, we're due an away win.

I fancy us to stack up a good tally of points over the next few games as, Tottenham and Chelsea away aside, we have a pretty good looking fixture list between now and mid- December including home games vs Sunderland, Stoke, West Brom, Fulham and Everton and away games at Norwich and Wigan so there should be a very good tally of points racked up there that would take us up the table. Who knows, maybe even the top 10.

Let's enjoy the win. 2 in a row, we're having a laugh!

*FACT: We have now kept more clean sheets than Man Utd or Chelsea this season.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Physio Mania

It baffles me that Arsenal get so many injuries, and so many long term injuries. It baffles me even more why the club haven't done anything about it yet. Now super Jacky Wilshere is out 'for months' and should be back around Christmas.


One of our best players is out for a while. well there's a change. It's no longer deemed a coincidence as it was a couple of years ago that injuries have been holding Arsenal back since 2005, and more so, since 2008/09 which also can't be a coincidence as this is around the time that Gary Lewin decided to move his boots permanently to the England physio room. His cousin, Colin, replaced him and since then our injury problems have increased season by season.

I used to class Arsenal as 'unlucky with injuries' but it can't be bad luck. It's got to be someone's fault, surely. Otherwise it's the biggest coincidence of the age. Something has to be done. I'm not a physio myself or an expert on Sports Science etc but I know that there's "somethin' screwey goin' on here" and it needs to change. A new physio or physio team, or even bringing in a mystical old African witch doctor who can connect with the Gods to cure injury. Something, anything will do.

Otherwise it will continue to hold us back.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Joys of Twitter

Rebecca Ryan is an 20 ish year old actress I am fond of from Waterloo Road. Last night I was slagging of her tweets to @JonnyEighty2 on Twitter for being boring. I did it bitter way due to her not getting back to my tweet/s in the past*. Then I sent her another tweet and she got back to me, saying 'Hiya :) x' which was really sweet and something she didn't have to do.

So I feel so guilty now that I bitterly slagged her off saying her tweets were dull. Especially when I'm quite fan of hers. Ah the impatience and bitterness of youth.

Oh, and I do realise that I sound like a stalker here, maybe I am, but I've been following (on Twitter, not in a stalkery way) her for months now so it's not like I've harassed her. I'm talking about 5 tweets over 6 months or so. And even then she only got 1 or 2. And I think anybody would understand the appeal of getting in touch with a celebrity, particularly one you are fond of. Especially when it was just to say Hi.

So to conclude, I'm an idiot.

*However most were my fault as I'd done something on the website when I set up my account that hid my tweets from other people, so my bitterness was made even sillier by the fact that it's mostly my fault anyway.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Good (ison) Medicine

I was planning to write a blog tonight about my beloved Arsenal losing at Blackburn, but I've wittled about it for the last ooh...( looks at clock) 10ish hours and I'm fed up of being miffed off today, so I'm going to vere my blogging in the direction of my Everton adventures...

I can't think of a better (realistic*) medicine for a painful Arsenal defeat than being at the Everton game. I can't help but laugh at some of the people that sit around us at the game. Kev next to me must think I'm a nutter, constantly spontaneousy laughing throughout the match but if you were there, you would surely do the same.

It does tickle me when 'Mad Man' gets up and yells for no good reason, or when 'Referee Hater' screams at the referee for no reason and whistle's the same, irrelevant tune all the time, or when 'Played Man' constantly says 'Played' and in so many humourous ways it is impossible to convey the humour of it in written text.

That's not even mentioning the man that spends his time at the football reading his programme, stopping at half-time and then leaving after exactly 67 minutes every game. Bizarre. Or 'Fellaini Girl'** who dressed like a terrorist today with hudded clothing on for no reason, dark shades and a shifty, myserious persona.

There's also the match itself. We very rarely (tempting fate) go to Everton and see a dull game, it's always eventful and usually with plenty of goalmouth action. The game was surprisingly good today, especially putting into consideration my dejected mood after Arsenal losing. Wigan were impressive (that's discluding there pointless passing on the edge of their own box that made Arsenal look like a 'no nonsense' team), especially Franco Di Santo and Victor Moses. And Everton were their usual forceful, creative selves. Which made for a good game that resulted in an even contest and a 3-1 win for the 'Mighty Blues of Everton' as 'Fabio' (I'll get to that in a minute) calls them.

'Fabio' is the announcer guy at Everton who reads the teams before the game etc and we call him 'Fabio' because he looks an awful lot like Fabio Capello. The difference is he's got more knowledge on football, despite him calling Alex Song 'Alex Young' last season and mis- pronouncing a lot of players names, including Gabriel 'Alobsigor' last week.

So, to conclude, I've had a good day in the circumstances and once again, football has been a good medicine for me. G' Night.

* That's therefore ruling out the obvious better medicine than football of a romantic afternoon and evening with Jessica Alba.

** She always used to wear those dreadful Fellaini wigs, hence the title.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Europa League

I find it silly that Tottenham are playing the team they are tonight. Some of their starters I've never heard of and they clearly don't give a monkey's about the competition. They are 'resting' their first choice team (and then some) and playing their reserves...

RESTING?! We've only had a few weeks of the new season, Tottenham have played 3 league games and 2 Europa League games so far (even then they 'rested their team in one of them) and some of their players will have had a two week rest over the recent international period. I find it staggering that they feel the need to rest players.

So my question is this: 'If Arsenal were in the Europa League, what would you want us to do?' I for one would want us to play at least a near full strength team and treat it exactly the same as we treat the Champions League now. That means playing with our strongest available line- up and trying to win it.

After all, it is a trophy. Not the most prestigous one I admit but it's still silverware and the feeling of winning something. I think if you're in it, you may as well try to win it. Especially at this stage of the season when teams haven't played that many games yet. And there's no FA or Carling Cup yet.

Overall I think it's silly to rest players unless they genuinely have played a lot of games over a short period of time, which only really happens around December/ January anyway which is when the European competitions aren't on anyway.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Un- Arsenal like performance should up confidence

Arsenal started the game off poorly tonight. We have Sagna's terrific clearance to thank that we weren't 1-0 down at half time rather than one up. But in the second half, Arsenal came out gritty and determined and were very professional.

When you think about it, we have quite an experienced squad now. Sagna, van Persie, Mertesacker, Benayoun, Rosicky, Arteta, Santos, Vermaelen, Arshavin, Chamakh and Song are all experienced and it showed tonight. We were so strong and inpenetrable in the middle tonight, as well as out wide. Song was magnificent, putting in so many strong, well- timed tackles and clearances and Mertesacker and Koscielny were very solid. Sagna was as solid as ever and Gibbs had one of his best games for Arsenal. The whole team contributed to the defence tonight, we had experience and solidity in centre midfield as well as the defence, with Walcott and Gervinho working hard to defend too. We were a very solid, strong defensive unit. The only issue tonight was giving the ball away in dangerous areas but that also had a lot to do with the excellence of Dortmund's pressing game (which we could learn from).

Song was my MOTM, he was so solid and strong. He tackled well, covered well, stayed discliplined and kept the ball well. It was the Song we've all dreamt of having on a regular basis. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, he also looked like a really good character out there, and probably deserved the captain's armband when Van Persie went off. He could well be one of our main leaders now. I can't think of him putting a foot wrong tonight. All he needs to do now is keep it up, keep playing consistently. It's easier said than done but if he can, we may have the league's (at least) best defensive midfielder on our hands.

Koscielny was very Koscileny tonight, but better than usual, A couple of mistakes but otherwise immense, particularly in the second half and particularly in the air. That challenge at the end at 1-1 was outstanding. Runner up to Song tonight.

Walcott's assist was excellent, Van Persie's finish and work rate for that goal were too. Mertesacker and Szczesny were very solid too and it was just great to see us being such a strong defensive unit, defending as if our lives defended on it and as a team, with no weak link. We were solid from set- pieces too generally.

Onwards and upwards to Blackburn where we will face a different kind of test, but one that shouldn't be as hard as tonight and I fancy us to win. Tis a pity I won't be there as I was last season for the 2-1 win (great day, upper tier to be precise by the way). Got a sneaky feeling we might win 3-0. COYG!

Match Ratings:

Szczesny- 7 +
Sagna- 8
Mertesacker- 8
Koscielny- 9
Gibbs- 8
Song- 10
Arteta- 8
Benayoun- 7 +
Walcott- 7
Van Persie- 7
Gervinho- 6

Frimpong- 7
Chamakh- 6
Santos- 6

Monday, 12 September 2011

What were Sky Sports thinking?

I want that 90 minutes back! QPR v Newcastle was an appauling game. It as decent for about 15 minutes of the first half but dreadful the rest of time, especially the second half. It made an afternoon in the company of Rachel Scarf look entertaining*.

What were they thinking having Norwich v West Brom, Fulham v Blackburn and QPR v Newcastle as the live games this weekend? There were plenty of better games available and people pay good money to have Sky to be entertained by things such as football so it is unfair that they should choose such dire, unattractive games to show live. Particularly 3 in one weekend.

I know they have to show every team a certain amount of times, but why? Surely if you are a Blackburn fan or a Fulham fan etc you're able to go and see the team play if you want because the demand isn't as high for tickets as it is at teams like Arsenal and Man Utd for example. Show entertaining games, that is what you're there for!

And if they are going to show games like this they should spread it out a bit rather than 3 in one weekend. Bloody idiots. Sky should be half price now this week.

*That is a joke that will fall on deaf ears for anyone who didn't go to Brigshaw High School. Rachel is a seriously dull character, I'm surprised she didn't keep falling asleep herself with boredom. I spent an afternoon with her in Leeds going to the cinema and for a drink and it was like going out with a rock. Lifeless. Not to be mean or anything.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A Great Chance

Arsenal have a got a great chance now to kick on and gather up a lot of points. We've beaten Swansea, that was important. It doesn't matter that it wasn't a 5-0 mauling, the win was what counted yesterday. 3 points was the mission, even if we had to sneak on at half time and score into an empty goal to do so.

Now the mighty reds of Arsenal take on Blackburn at Bolton Road and I'm not really sure of what to expect from the team that plays brilliantly every week according to Steve Kean. Still, we should win. Then there's Bolton (not at Bolton Road) who we should also beat, especially with it being at ze Emirates Stadium.

That's before the biggie. Oh yes, the North London derby. The meeting of two bitter rivals, North London's big battle, the meeting of titans, the day of drama and excitement, a time for nerves and get the point. A draw would be decent there but Arsenal could easily go there and win, it's a game that suits Arsenal and if we can win there (and stick the V's up at Adebayor in the process) that would be great. So 7- 9 points could and should be on the cards by the time we have Sunderland and Stoke at home consecutively. That's a fantastic opportunity to grab 6 puntos before we go to Stamford Bridge for another biggie...

Yes, the battle of London, the clash of title rivals, the...I'll stop that now. The point is that we have a good fixture period now where we can catch up to the Manc teams and the others and it could be later referred to as the 'kick on period of the season'. By me anyway.

Come on you Gooners!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Protesting 3 games into the season...

Only at Everton would you find protests this early on. Maybe Newcastle as well but they are pretty insane up there. Granted I'm not very familiar with protest marches but I love how the 'Blue Union' (dramatic title) have emphasised it will be a 'friendly' protest. I have this vision of getting to the ground tomorrow to see a thousand Everton fans with flame- throwers and grenades calling for Bill Ken'wrong'* to be hung before kick off.

Don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily disagree with the protests but I think Everton fans sum up football fans generally. They think that money is no object, but they need to realise they aren't Man City. They can't afford to spend loads of money when they haven't got any. They just need to accept their club is skint and be proud of what they have achieved over the last few years because they have done brilliantly and it's a great club with passionate fans, a great stadium and a good team that has made it to the FA Cup final, broken the top four up at the expense of Liverpool briefly and got into Europe a few times, and with not much dosh. It's all a bit spoilt if you ask me. It's like a group of children throwing paddies because their parents won't buy them the new Action Man/ Spiderman/ Barbie doll^.

I don't have any strong negative feelings towards Everton fans, I'm talking about us fans in general. We forget sometimes that football doesn't revolve around us and that money doesn't grow on trees even in the beautiful game (or at Stoke). Even if it does grow in the players' bank accounts and at certain clubs like Man City and Man Utd.

Anyway, I'll look forward to seeing the protests tomorrow as well as the real reason we all go of course, the match itself. Everton v Aston Villa is always feisty and entertaining and often has a lot of goals in it, I enjoy the rivalry between them too as it's played like a semi- derby if you like.

* Don't shoot the messenger for that name.

^ I used to love getting Spiderman action figures, they used to come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Not only Spidey himself but also villians like Doc Oc, Scorpion and occassionally made up ones I think. He also used to have loads of 'away kits' as my Dad liked to call them. Spidey could be kitted out in blue, black, yellow or multi- coloured stripes and with a car or boat or flying elephant. You name it, the Spidey action figures had it. Brilliant.