Archive for January, 2008

Not a lot of news, and not a lot of time to report it

Add comment January 31st, 2008

Hello, I’m in a real rush today, so this will be spectacularly short.

It’s pretty much a tale of two youngsters: eighteen year-old Theo Walcott will not be going out on loan, and fifteen-year old Luke Freeman has climbed through the transfer window to become our latest prospective star.

Last night Manchester United and Chelsea win, but Liverpool lose to fall to seventh. As if there was any doubt, this is now very much a three horse race as opposed to four.

Must dash.  More tomorrow.  Ciao.

Arsenal 3 – 0 Newcastle: Do I have to write a whole new piece?

1 comment January 30th, 2008

Seems a bit silly. Same teams, same stadium, same scoreline. Yawn. Oh well, here we go…

FlimFlamIn truth, I’d never complain about writing up a 3-0 win that takes us top of the table. As on Saturday, we didn’t play particularly well, but were that much better than Newcastle that we didn’t really have to.

A good number of the crowd didn’t stroll in until about ten minutes into the game. The team themselves didn’t turn up until much later, only starting to look recognisable as the slick footballing unit we know after about half-an hour.

The first-half was ruined for me by the man sitting next to me, who was, frankly, an idiot. I hope he is reading and I hope he recognises himself and subsequently the error of his oh-so-erroneous ways. Every time a pass went astray, this fella would pronounce, rather loudly: “Shit ball”.

“Well, blow me,” says I, “I had thought that punt into the crowd from Senderos was a work of genius until you pointed that out to me. You are truly some kind of God of punditry”.

He was like the worst kind of backseat driver. Only if it had been in a car, I would’ve swerved off the road, smashing into a petrol station and taking us both out in a fiery explosion of retribution. My life would have been a minimal sacrifice to rid the Emirates of this mouthpiece of idiocy.

I’m glad that’s out of my system.

Anyway, as I was saying, we were pretty poor for the first half hour, but managed to get a goal before half-time when Aleksandr Hleb and Cesc Fabregas combined to set the outstanding Flamini in down the right. He skipped beyond a tackle and fired a wonderful cross into the area for the red hot Adebayor to nod home. Surely Ade has finally earned the title of greatest Togolese player to ever play in the Premiership…

As on Saturday, you had the sense that the first goal had figuratively killed Newcastle. Had anyone got in the way of the second goal, it would have literally killed them: an absolute screamer from Flamini. The sooner he signs a new contract the better.

Substitute Bendtner provided a third for Cesc Fabregas late on, and that could prove important – the Catalan hadn’t found the net since early November. If we are serious about winning things this year, he needs to start providing end product again.

The way this team has evolved this season has been fascinating to watch. At the start of the season we were scoring goals from all over the place, with Fabregas and Hleb starring, and then as they have waned Emmanuel Adebayor has waxed, taking on the goalscoring responsibility with gusto. If he can keep his form up, and the midfield can find their shooting boots once more, we could be in business.

In other news: Diaby has signed a new deal until 2012, and grumpy Bendtner was the only player not to join the team huddle at the end. I imagine Bendtner to be a bit like Kevin from Harry Enfield, only much better at football.

This write-up has been a bit mental. My head is all over the place. But we won. And we’re top.

Which is good.

If I were Jonathan Woodgate’s agent…

Add comment January 29th, 2008

…I suspect I too would have thought it a grand idea to make him out to be a transfer target for Arsenal shortly before I negotiated personal terms with Tottenham. They’d be so scared by the prospect of losing him to their rivals that they’d throw money at a player who makes Darren Anderton look invulnerable.

As it happens, we weren’t interested at all, and Spurs got their man. And now I’d like to stop talking about Tottenham players and move swiftly on.

Fortune, they say, favours the brave. Well, apparently our team is full of cowards, because the FA Cup draw sees us facing Manchester United at Old Trafford, whilst the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool take on giants such as Huddersfield and Barnsley. Still, we should look upon it as an exciting challenge. If you’re going to win the FA Cup, you’ve got to beat the top sides at some stage.

Don’t worry, you’re not experiencing déjà vu: we really are playing Newcastle at home again. Tomas Rosicky is the latest addition to our injury list, but Bacary Sagna and Manuel Almunia will return to the squad.

As I said over the weekend: the same result as last time out would do nicely.

Woodgate to sign? + Bendtner: The Movie

1 comment January 28th, 2008

Johnathan Woodgate could be a surprise signing at Arsenal after Middlesbrough accepted a bid from a mystery third club. Sky and others believe that club to be Arsenal, and if Woodgate has any ambition he’ll surely turn down Spurs and Newcastle to join a bona fide Champions League club.

Could be a lot of movement on this one today.

Secondly today, thanks so much to Toronto Gooner from the arseblog forums for this little gem. Enjoy.

Arsenal 3 – 0 Newcastle: There’s Only One Kevin Keegan

Add comment January 27th, 2008

He may have his detractors, but I for one am a declared fan of Kevin Keegan. Having seen so many teams come to the Emirates and stick eleven men behind the ball, Newcastle’s enterprising approach was a refreshing change. The first-half was an end-to-end in which Newcastle were arguably the better side, Steven Taylor, Damien Duff, and Alan Smith all discarding opportunities to open the scoring.

The second half, however, was a different story. Keegan’s decision to attack Arsenal was always going to be a double-edged sword. As soon as the whistle blew, it was an entirely different game, with Arsenal dominating and putting a sloppy Newcastle defence to the sword with three goals.

The stars of our performance were three men who’ve been outstanding in this mid-season period – whilst Cesc and Hleb’s form has faded somewhat, Gael Clichy, Mathieu Flamini, and Emmanuel Adebayor have all excelled. In his programme notes, Arsene spoke about Adebayor’s recent improvement:

“He is getting to the stage where a player becomes a great player. He has taken on a lot of responsibility, he prepares well, he’s highly focused every time. And that’s the difference from the Adebayor I knew two or three years ago – he means business and wants to win.”

Well, he certainly meant business yesterday, netting twice to make it six goals in the last four games. The first was a hammered left-foot shot after Eduardo (who had replaced the injured Rosicky) had hit the post.

Eduardo played as a big a part in the second, blocking off Cacapa as Eduardo slalomed through the Newcastle defence to fire under Shay Given. A late Nicky Butt own goal put the icing on the cake.

Arsene was understandably pleased with the result, and after the difficulties of the past week it was important for morale that the team redeemed itself.

It’ll be interesting to see how this game impacts on Newcastle’s return to the Emirates on Tuesday. Another 3-0 would do nicely.

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