Archive for April, 2006

Chelsea are Champions…

17 comments April 29th, 2006

(Because the picture of Chelsea celebrating upset so many readers, I decided to replace it with this one, showing Roman Abramovic being taught how to clap.)

Again. Buy one get one free, it would seem.

Fair play to them. The way in which they dispatched Man United 3-0 was an indication of just how good a side they are. And with the levels of investment that Abrahmovich offers, they will doubtless continue to improve.

However, their dominaton has to end sometime. And for Arsenal, the aim now has to be the first club to break their title-winning streak. It might not be next season, or the season after, but everything comes to an end eventually. These quotes from Mourinho show that there is nothing permanent about Chelsea’s revolution. When the Roman empire crumbles, we need to make sure our club are in the best possible position to suceed the throne.

And we’re going the right way about it. A new stadium with increased income, and the possibility of maintaining several key players, like Ashley Cole, mean we have fantastic potential. If our young stars continue progressing, there is no reason we can’t leapfrog Man U and Liverpool in the race to suceed Chelsea.

If we’re serious about long-term success, we need to be able to beat teams like Sunderland in the short-term. There are a few injury worries, but the aforementioned Cole could return.

A word for Arsenal fan Harry Redknapp, who has managed to keep Portsmouth in the Premiership at the expense of West Brom and Birmingham. It’s a fantastic achievement, and he deserves a lot of credit. Perhaps he’ll retire on this final note. Great stuff.

And well done Chelsea. See you next season.

Supermann Saves Arsenal

102 comments April 28th, 2006

We all owe Jens Lehmann a hell of a lot. When one considers how poor our domestic season has been, and counter that with the fact that Lehmann has been the best goalkeeper in the Premiership, it’s a horrible thought wondering where we’d be without him. As it is, with him, we’re in the Champions League Final, thanks to an 87th minute penalty stop from Juan Roman Riquelme.

Tuesday night was some time ago now, and I’m sure you’ve all had time to celebrate the win before booking your Eurostar, or, failing that, beginning to walk to Paris. If you have to, do. If you can get there somehow, then do not miss out. This probably won’t happen again.

Especially if we churn out many more performances like Tuesay night. We were stilted in attack, and nervous in defence. We badly missed the injured Philippe Senderos, and Mathieu Flamini was withdrawn after just 10 minutes, you couldn’t help but fear for the team. They were obviously full of fear themselves – they were on the brink of something extrsaordinary, and their nerves showed. Diego Forlan missed an abolsute sitter in retro Man U style, before the terrifying penalty incident.

But now we’re there. And like I said, do anything you can to get there. And when you do, enjoy it. I for one know that I genuinely can’t believe I am going to Paris to see my team play in the Champions League Final against Barcelona. It certainly has a nice ring to it.

I’d love to stay and write more, but I’m paying for this by the minute. No internet access, you see. I’ve just moved house, and anyone whose done that recently will know how much of a nightmare that can be.

Sunderland on Monday is the next important date in your diary. Please just don’t let us lose that one.

Whoever gets fourth place will deserve it…

23 comments April 23rd, 2006

…and at the moment, that’s not Arsenal. I’m glad I didn’t write something yesterday, when the game had put me in a truly foul mood. My feelings have calmed somewhat since then, and I no longer feel the need to throttle anyone in a white shirt.

I don’t think what the Spurs players did was so bad. There’s no point in trying to take the moral highground – if we’d’ve scored that goal, we’d be saying the same things they are, especially with Wenger’s tendency to not see critical incidents.

Truth be told, we were lucky not to be out of the game by half-time. 1-1 was a fair result in the end, but in the first 45 minutes Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon were causing us a multitude of problems.

I find it hard to understand not starting with Henry or Fabregas. For me, this game was the priority. Surely beating Tottenham, Man City, Sunderland and Wigan is an easier way of guaranteeing Champions League qualification than winning the competition itself?

Even so, winning that competition is now not just a possibility – it is a must. For Wenger’s gambling to pay off, we must beat Villareal and win in Paris. Otherwise, we will probably be entering the Emirates without European football, and most likely without Thierry Henry.

Henry’s goal was a masterstroke after good work from Adebayor, instantly controlling the ball and flicking it across Robinson. A winner would’ve been too much to ask, but sadly, a win was probably needed.

Bolton and West Ham need to do us favours and take points of Tottenham. Maybe they will, I don’t know.

I still find it hard that we gambled with team selection for such a crucial game. Still, we must now look forward to Tuesday, and the second leg against Villareal, without Philippe Senderos.


Don’t believe the lies.

20 comments April 20th, 2006

Judging by the reaction of Sky TV and their assorted pundits, you would’ve thought we’d lost last night. We didn’t. We won the first leg of the semi-final of the Champions League, one nil. Apparently, this wasn’t good enough for some. Needless to say, it was for me.

It wasn’t as spectacular a performance as against Madrid or Juve, but Villareal were a better side: better organisation and better discipline, if not better players.

The goal was a toe-poke from Kolo Toure after good work from Henry and Hleb. It was his first ever goal at Highbury, and it’s great that he managed to get one before the old ground closes.

Beforehand, we could’ve had another, only for Thierry Henry’s strike to be incorrectly ruled out for offside. However, this was evened out shortly afterwards when they should’ve had a penalty for Gilberto’s clumsy tackle. It was Gilberto’s only mistake in an otherwise flawless performance.

Second half was a bit of a non-event. Bergkamp and van Persie were introduced late on to try and grab a second, but as you now know, we didn’t. Don’t let this throw you. 1-0 was an excellent result. Anything-0 would’ve been good. If we score out there, they’ll need to get three against a record breaking defence with an astonishing 9 consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League.

I haven’t written anything for a while because my internet is well and truly buggered. Click here for a report on Dennis Bergkamp day and the 3-1 victory over West Brom that ensued.

Spurs on Saturday. Massive, massive, massive game. Must win.

Will win.


1-1: Ade-Akin-Bayor Rues Missed Chances

30 comments April 13th, 2006

Let me get something straight: I really rate Adebayor. The headline doesn’t do him justice. He is a good, powerful striker who is more than capable of scoring 15 goals a season for us. When you consider he is only 21, he’s a fantastic prospect.

However, the kid must be beating himself up this morning, because last night he missed two absolute sitters.

The BBC called his cock-ups “atrocious”, and it’s hard to argue with that. He started the game well, showing a great touch to play in Henry for a fantastic goal, and was generally putting himself about. But then the misses.

The first? A good header from Ade on the halfway-line started a blistering counter-attack, which ended with Henry squaring to Adebayor, three yards out, to tap in and make it 2 nil.

Or not.

Come the second half, and this time he missed a free header from four yards, somehow glancing it wide. As Arsene said, “You don’t miss chances on purpose, but of course he is very disappointed”.

And then their goal. A set piece that was defended awfully, and Lua Lua headed in. Apparently we were marking zones. Perhaps it would’ve been better to mark Lua Lua. He scores more often than zones do.

Even after that Johanne Djourou should’ve netted a winner, but his header had a touch of the Adebayor about it.

Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t play badly. Considering that the likes of Alex Song (don’t say I didn’t warn you) were on show, we played pretty well. Arsene even believed “We should have won by five”.

It means that fourth place is now out of our hands. We have to win all our games, including beating Spurs, and hope Man U do them in too. Which is quite possible. They’re only Spurs, after all.

Don’t get on Adebayor’s back. At this moment in time, he is by far the best partner for Henry. Just look at our goal last night.

But whatever you do, don’t ever look at his misses again. You might just shed a tear.

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