Interesting statistic for you – at home, in 9 games, we have conceded just 2 goals and kept 7 clean sheets. That’s all I’m going to say about goalkeepers today. Apart from, hilariously, there are still those that blame Almunia for Bolton’s goal (and it was hardly his fault). There are also those who point to Koscielny’s error as a sign of our impending relegation. If you think either of those things you’re an idiot. It’s my own opinion, I don’t speak for the other writers on this fine blog, but I’m fed up with reading people looking for excuses to trash talk the players.
Koscielny in particular has looked the real deal – an excellent tackler, great (usually) in the air and probably one of the best passing centre backs I’ve seen in an Arsenal shirt. His distribution and confidence on the ball is fantastic. He has made two critical errors since arriving and unfortunately for him both have led to goals, one against Blackburn and one against Bolton. It’s not a question of strength, he stood up well to challenges in both games and continued playing after first Joe ‘Cabbage’ Cole tried to remove his leg against LOLerpool, and then on Saturday after Kevin Davies attempted to head his head off his shoulders. It’s just naivety, maybe a lack of experience, and hopefully those mistakes will help him learn that much quicker. Certainly he has not cost us points yet.
On the subject of Kevin Davies, the meat headed no talent hack, how the hell did he not get sent off twice in the first half? First on Rosicky and then Wilshere? Both challenges were far worse than Cahill’s. Cahill’s challenge was poor, late, two footed and from behind but there was actually a fairly good chance of him winning the ball if Chamakh hadn’t have backheeled it. I felt at the time and still do, that whilst I fully understand and support the red for discouraging two footed challenges from behind, that it was a harsh sending off. Davies on the other hand went in twice with the intent of hurting the other player, he even lifted his studs on Wilshere after the ball had gone. And yet he only got a yellow after both? He should have then received a second yellow (and therefore a red) after headbutting Koscielny – again, the ball had already gone, but he dropped his shoulder and head anyway. You can’t always stop your momentum, but you don’t have to offer the hardest bits of your body to hurt the opposition. Cretin.
Squillaci – he slotted right in didn’t he? There were a few moments where I thought ‘RUH OH!’ but the lads at the back, considering we had Eboue defending playing up front at RB, did incredibly well to recover from any dicey situations. Not that there were many, because defending starts at the front. Don’t lose the ball, win it back in the middle and finally drop back to block – all these things make defending far easier than it otherwise would be, and all of these things we did well.
You’ve probably read that the Arsenal move that led to our 4th goal comprised of 24 passes, a record in this seasons Premier League so far. What most people have missed was that the move was started by the eventual goalscorer Vela. It was Vela that won the ball in the centre of the park, tracking back to win it after a pass in his direction came up short. That’s what crowned the move for me, Vela getting stuck in and winning the ball, as much as the passes and the impeccable assist from Fabregas. Lovely to see the hunger of the young man – let’s face it, he’ll probably be up front on his own if Chamakh also gets an injury.
There are far more positives than negatives to draw on at the moment, disregarding injuries. On injuries, tragic for Bobby Zamora at the weekend. Fulhams answer to Robin Van Persie (ie legs made of bone china) has broken his leg above his ankle. Zamora has been a workhorse, I remember going to see him a couple of times when we lived in Brighton, but he has always been susceptible to injuries. He’s one of the footballers I admire in this league though, he’s not a gobshite, he’s not full of elbows, he’s not prolific against us and he doesn’t pay for fanny. Top bloke, hope he comes back well.
Actually – Zamora wasn’t the only one at the weekend who got injured by a terrible challenge. Diaby nearly lost part of his leg after Robinson tried to nail him to the floor with his studs. Threeandin have written an excellent article on the subject of bad challenges and British TV’s (specifically Auntie Beeb’s) totally inability to address foul play. Recommended reading.
Karl Henry is rapidly becoming the new Shawcross, a player who seems determined to wreck others. He’s now broken a players leg in a game immediately after he karate kicked Joey Barton in the stomach. Remember how that ended? Alan Hansen and Shearer whooping and laughing, hi-fiving each other over what was probably one of the most sickening displays of thuggery the premier league has seen in a few years. I’d suggest they are at least partially responsible for Zamora’s plight. Remember, this was the same episode in which Shearer counted the number of seconds Theo had on the ball throughout a slow motion replay. Total wankers.
I fear playing Wolves I really do. With our injury record and their new found ability to damage people, it could be a blood bath. Hopefully if they keep at it they’ll all be suspended and we’ll be able to play their youngsters and tea lady – it won’t end well otherwise. I was listening to 5 live after the games and the amount of Wolves fans that were ringing in to complain about being mislabeled as a dirty team was incredible. One guy said “I don’t like it”. Well here’s a newsflash pal – if the team you follow go out of their way to injure an opponent (Barton) or make dangerous over the ball studs up challenges (Zamora) that result in people getting broken legs, that makes the team you follow a dirty team. Seriously, it’s that simple and it’s irrelevant if it embarrasses you. Be dirty, get labelled dirty. It’s the same thing as Shawcross and Stoke. These total morons don’t ever like it when the attention is on them for being dangerous pricks on the football pitch. If you don’t like being a villain, don’t do villanous things. Ringing into 5 live won’t change the fact that Zamora will miss a large part of the season after flirting with international call up (especially given Defoe’s injury).
Blackpool did the business at the weekend – and it’s really lovely to see them sitting in the top four at the moment. 28 points seperated them and Newcastle at the end of last season, but with a slice of luck and an impressive goalkeeping display they managed to take all three points at St. James Park. Put it into perspective, it’s the first time that Newcastle have been beaten at home since being relegated. I hope Blackpool stay up, purely because their manager isn’t a total dickhead and so far they haven’t resorted to boxing in order to earn points. A rarity in this seasons Premier League.
Much has been said about Chelsea looking amazing again, and sure they do. But they’ve played Wigan, Stoke, WBA and West Ham – 4 teams you would have expected them to comfortably beat. Don’t get me wrong, they look incredibly strong, but I’m going to reserve total judgement until they play United et al.
Manchester United made Saturday even more incredible, throwing away a 2 goal lead for the first time in 9 years. Such utter capitulation, Everton never gave up and credit there, but again Manchester United looked fairly mediocre in the middle. It was probably a fair result though – even with a two goal lead, it was Everton were creating more chances (14 on target to United’s 8 ) and had more corners (7 to United’s 5) – United also commited twice as many fouls which suggests that they were struggling to impose themselves on Everton. Weak.
It was lovely to see Baconface’s team concede two and lose two points, it was even better to see Preston (and Son of Baconface) concede three from the same position, lose 4-3 and throw away three points whilst the big man himself sat and watched. Darron Baconface is even worse than his old man, he’s got all the arrogance and twattish behaviour without anything to back it up. Anyway 5 injury time goals and 5 points lost – Ferguson’s are jinxed, AMIRITE?
LOLerpool did well to hang on against a Birmingham team that did everything except score. Another team that looked really dire in the middle, Liverpool had virtually no creativity or service to the front men. Torres won them games last season, he’ll struggle to do that this time round without seeing the ball. Or throwing himself to the floor like he’s just been hit by his mum.
Finally, both Spurs and City struggled again at the weekend, both looking less like teams and more like a bag of cats.
It’s a great time to be a Gooner, don’t let all the idiots spoil it for you.