Archive for August, 2004

Everton 1 – Arsenal 4

4 comments August 16th, 2004

Arsenal rampaged to a 4-1 win over Everton today, sending a message to title rivals Chelsea and Manchester United, who played out a dull 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The Arsenal line-up contained one change from Cardiff: Freddie Ljungberg regained his place ahead of Jermaine Pennant. This meant that Cesc Fabregas became our youngest ever Premiership debutant. Having received international clearance, Matthieu Flamini made the bench, and would later replace Gilberto to make his debut.

23 minutes into the game, and Everton had a corner, and a rare opportunity to put Arsenal under pressure. Toure, however, headed away to Reyes, who played a quick one-two with the alert Bergkamp before exchanging clever passes with Thierry Henry. Jose then charged on into the Everton half, as their three defenders backed off. Eventually, Stubbs put in a brilliant tackle on the edge of the area, but unfortunately for the former-Celtic man, the ball broke to Henry. The Frenchman released the arriving Dennis Bergkamp, who took a touch before blasting the ball beyond Nigel Martyn and into the back of the net.

Arsenal began to really get a grip on the game at this point, and in the 39th minute, they doubled their lead. A cross from Lauren had just missed Jose Reyes, but with little defensive pressure applied, Ljungberg was able to retrieve the ball and cross it back into the area. With the defence flat-footed, Reyes was able to get across to the near post and powerfully nod the ball into the corner of the net. 2 nil.

After half-time, Ljungbergâ??s goal effectively killed the game off. An attempted clearance by Yobo was headed straight back by the impressive Fabregas. Bergkamp picked the ball up and found Henry, whose ball across the box was stabbed home by the Swedish midfielder.

Everton gave themselves a glimmer of hope with a lovely goal courtesy of the fantastically shit Lee Carsley, but this only served to force Arsenal to step up a gear once more.

And step up a gear they did, restoring their three goal advantage through substitute Robert Pires, who prodded home after Ashley Coleâ??s follow-up to a Thierry Henry shot crashed off the bar.

Player by Player:

Jens Lehmann
Relatively untroubled. Probably couldâ??ve done better on the goal, but beyond that, nothing really stood out.

Was very good going forward and providing width when Freddie roamed, but was caught a couple of times for pace by players who arenâ??t actually that quick. Seems to have lost his sprint a bit, but still has great technique and awareness.

Kolo Toure
Very solid. Made a couple of crucial blocks and clearances, and is undoubtedly now one of the better centre-backs in the division.

Pascal Cygan
Gave away a lot of free-kicks, and Everton had decent arguments for two penalty appeals by his hand. I thought he was weak, but others have disagreed. Whatever, itâ??s my site.

Ashley Cole
Very solid defensively. Didnâ??t get to show off his full array of attacking talents, because the man in front of him, Jose Reyes, spent so much time going forward. Still, he matures as a defender with every game.

Freddie Ljungberg
One of his best games for a long-time. He was, like in the pre-season game against Ajax, very busy, and one of our better players. Scored a typical Freddie goal and created one for Jose Antonio. Was replaced by Jermaine Pennant, who looked bright enough on the counter.

Was his usual tidy self. His game was probably hindered by the fact that he spent most of the match getting kicked to pieces by the Everton midfield, and eventually had to limp off for Flamini, who continued his run of Gilles Grimandi impressions with aplomb.

Cesc Fabregas
This kid makes me (and Arsene) rave. Heâ??s so neat. He can tackle, he can pass, he can dribble, and he can shoot. In a post-match interview with Sky, Arsene said heâ??s already ahead of a 27-year-old midfield player in the pecking order. Donâ??t know who he meant by that, but it can only be good news for the youngster.

Jose Reyes
Was again superb. Ran Everton ragged. Heâ??s still a â??rough diamondâ?. Heâ??s not perfect. And he still loses the ball quite a lot. However, his pace and panache make him such a threat. I genuinely believe that Pires will have difficulty in reclaiming his spot. Having Reyes, Bergkamp, and Henry all playing together is like Christmas every Saturday. Was replaced by Bobby, who did well, and notched a goal.

Dennis Bergkamp
Pulled the strings like only he can. With Reyes providing genuine width, Den found himself in a load of space which he used to drop off and pick some quite brilliant passes out. It looks like heâ??s going to have another great year.

Thierry Henry
Didnâ??t have his best game, but was still a threat, and set up two of the goals. Should have scored himself, but over did it when one-on-one with the last man. More to come.


Well, Iâ??m off to Scotland on the ‘morrow. Enjoy yourselves â?? the next update will probably be on the 1st September.

Till then.

Vieira deal off ( Nothing to do with Ken Dyer… )

10 comments August 15th, 2004

Friday was the most important day of our pre-season. It was the day that Patrick Vieira didn’t move to Real Madrid. It was not the day that he discovered that the place his heart truly lay was Arsenal, but instead the day that his move to sunny Spain failed to materialise. I don’t want to say too much on it, but I feel I ought to pass comment. The question of “why?” is one that everybody is asking. Some suggest that Vieira had a problem with being offered a sub-“Galactico” standard wage-packet. However, I am starting to believe Arsene and “Double D” David Dein when they insist that money was not a factor.

I believe that in the end, Paddy didn’t have the balls to go through with the move. Michael Owen left behind everything he grew up with to join Real Madrid. He accepted that he wouldn’t be a top earner, and didn’t even demand an automatic starting place, such was his determination to join the star-studded Spanish outfit. I’m sure Dein is right when he says that Paddy was within the hour of joing Real. However, I don’t think Paddy could go through with it. He has everything he needs at Arsenal, and in the end, I think Madrid was just too big an adventure for our wantaway skipper. He couldn’t gamble 8 years of his life away on a glamour-driven change of lifestyle. To be succint: he bottled it.

I don’t know how it will affect our season. Ask me in a month.

Today we take on Everton at Goodison Park. The team should be similiar to the one that faced Man Utd in the Community Shield. Pires and Ljungberg are both available for selection, but Cesc could keep his place in the centre of the park. He faces competition, however, from the newly-registered Mathieu Flamini, who could play some part.

On Monday, I go away for two weeks to the Edinburgh Festival. I’m performing. That’s right, I’m a big limp-wristed am-dram type. Anyhow, during that period, the site might not be updated. Apologies. I could well be back as soon as after this afternoon’s game though.


Ken Dyer says the Carrick deal is off…

64 comments August 10th, 2004

…so I suppose we ought to believe him.

After all, he is Ken Dyer.

Various other people, not including Ken Dyer, think we might sign Michel Angulo, the Valencia striker. Intriguingly, a friend over at the wonderful Arseblog feels Le Boss might want to squeeze Angulo in at right-back. Don’t ask me how.

There isn’t much other news, if I’m honest. A bunch of unreliable sources say Vieira might join Real on Thursday. It’s gripping stuff, I tell thee.

‘Till next time.

UPDATE (2:37am) Francis Jeffers has joined Charlton. I’m sure we’ll get over it. The £2.6m they’re giving us will certainly speed-up the grieving process.

I’m a bad person…

6 comments August 9th, 2004

Sorry for my absence. You know what I’m like.

Thinking about it, you don’t, do you.

I’ve been a bit busy is all. But I’m back now. And better than ever (DISCLAIMER: This may or may not actually be true).

Yesterday was the Community Shield. And yep, we won. 3-1, in fact.

I’d type up a full report, but the fact is, it’s now been so long since the game and so many other writers have published their thought that mine now seem somewhat irrelevant. I do however have a couple of players that I’d like to give special mention.

Jose Reyes looked superb, and nearly scored a truly brilliant individual goal. As it was, he set up one for Gilberto, and swept home the second. Was easily the man of the match, and looked like he’ll be one of this seasons genuine stars if he can keep up this form.

Cesc Fabregas was also thrown in at the deep end, and looked a worthy successor to Ray Parlour’s hallowed number 15 shirt. Got stuck in well, and played a couple of truly superb passes. Kept Keane out of the game. I think that his performance made a lot of people feel a lot better about the possibility of losing Vieira.

In general Arsenal news – there isn’t much. Apparently, Patrick Vieira might leave . We should know by Saturday, according to Le Boss. Jeremie Aliadiere is out for 3 months after a knock picked up in the shield (Shock. Horror.), and Michael Carrick could sign this week.

Back soon, I hope.

Why there was no post yesterday…

55 comments August 6th, 2004

It’s because I’m tired. Not just physically, but I’m now drained entirely of any ability to add even more to the pack of lies surrounding this:

Arsene yesterday categorically denied accepting a bid, and I probably believe him. However, the phrasing suggests there has been a bid, but negotiations will continue.

I suppose the question of who might replace Vieira will eventually have to be raised. The current favourite is Maniche, but here Merse claims that the Portugese player “couldn’t even lace Patrick’s boots”.

I’m tempted to agree. Maniche is without any doubt a good central midfielder, but he’s a very different player to Paddy. Far more Lampard-esque.

Other potential targets include Stephan Appiah, Mark van Bommel, Xabi Alonso, some Argie kid, and interestingly Michael Carrick.

Of those, I’d prefer Xabi, but do reckon the Argie’s quite likely.

Despite the claims of The Sun, Freddie Ljungberg isn’t leaving. His denial of rumours, coupled with those of Edu’s, make Vieira’s silence all the more embarassing.

In other news, Hatem Trabelsi could sign within 24 hours.

That’d be nice.

UPDATE (9:57am) : I saw Paddy this morning. With mine own eyes. He popped out of his house to get a french loaf, then dashed back home again. Lovely Aston Martin. Anyhow, it’s only worthwhile telling you because there were a few dodgy reports that he was out in Spain.
Arsenal have a press day today, and if Paddy turns up, that’s a very good sign.
Perhaps another clue as to the big Frenchman’s future arrives in the fact that Real have left the number 4 shirt free.
However, conversely, Florentino Perez here seems less than certain of a deal.
Oh, and Matthieu Flamini, who would’ve started, is out of the Charity Shield after legal wranglings with Marseille. Wangers.

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