Monday, 27 September 2010

Arsenal v West Brom - video highlights and post-mortum

If you can bear to, you can watch the 'highlights' of Arsenal v West Brom by clicking on the window above.

I watched the game on a live internet feed but wished I hadn't bothered. I switched off when it was 3-0 to West Brom (even typing that makes me feel slightly nauseous) but was pleased to see at full-time that we did actually have the fight to come back to 3-2 with two goals from Nasri.

On paper, a home match against the Baggies looked like a cakewalk but (as the cliché goes) football matches are not played on paper; they are played on grass. Whether due to complacency or whatever, Arsenal didn't turn up. I hope Arsene Wenger let them have it with both metaphorical barrels in the dressing room at the end of the game.Occasionally in the past we have looked poor in the first half of games but then come out much better in the second half, but in this match we only really started playing when we were 3-0 down, and by then it was obviously too late.

I have a theory that we always play poorly after a good League Cup display because the first-team players feel under extra pressure from the understudies who have played so well, but as Arsene Wenger has said, pressure should make top players play better, not worse.

That all said, at 1-0 down the game was still very much winnable, but the Spanish Waiter finally made the mistake we've been dreading all season and at 2-0 the players must have felt they had a mountain to climb. To give Manuel credit, he had been impeccable this season up to that point and he made a great save from the penalty when it was 0-0. But we all knew this error was coming, didn't we? It was just a matter of when.

Almunia is now out of the match away to Partizan Belgrade with an 'elbow problem'. Although it was not explicitly stated by Arsene Wenger, I can exclusively reveal that the problem is that he doesn't know his elbow from his arse and consequently often gets tangled up when diving to stop simple shots at his near post.

I am, like many Arsenal fans, now in a very difficult position with regard to our goalkeepers. Arsene Wenger has stated that his pecking order is Almunia, Fabianski, Mannone, Szczesny. For me, Sneezy is the only one of these who looks up to the job, so I'm in the unenviable position of wanting Manuel, Flapianski and Mannone to make mistakes (which will probably cost us matches) so that he gets his chance. And just to add an extra dimension, Sneezy has now started to make noises suggesting that he is unhappy at being fourth choice and has reminded Arsene Wenger not too subtly via the press that his contract expires at the end of next year.

Oh, the agonies of being a football fan. Anyway, let's hope that we beat Partizan tomorrow and Flapianski has a stormer and then goes on to regain his confidence and perform brilliantly all season. Well, I can dream, can't I?

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Monday, 20 September 2010

Sunderland v Arsenal - Sam Allardyce influences the media

I was gutted after Sunderland's last-gasp goal at the Stadium of Light. Conceding a goal in the last minute gives you no time to get another goal and feels like a kick in the stomach.

The fact that the Sunderland goal came from a mistake by Clichy and that we missed a penalty and several other good chances only served to make the feeling worse.

But I think there are a lot of positives to be taken from this match and I don't think we should be too downhearted. Overall, I thought we did pretty well against a Sunderland team that is very difficult to beat at home and without Cesc and Song for most of the match, having already been without van Persie, Walcott, Vermaelen and Diaby from the off. Would ManUre or Chelski have done any better with the equivalent players from their line-ups missing?

If Sam Allardyce wants any proof that what managers say before a game can influence referees then he only has to look at himself. Last week he was moaning about Arsene Wenger complaining about 'hard but fair' tackles on his players and as if by magic his Blackburn team got away with constant fouling of the Fulham keeper this weekend (one foul in particular resulting in a Blackburn goal which was allowed to stand), while Arsenal get a player sent off really cheaply and Sunderland were allowed to get away with several very cynical tackles without even picking up a booking.

Urgh... it makes me mad. And don't even get me started on the fact that that wasn't even what Le Boss said.

Anyway, despite the disappointment, we may look upon this as a good point come May.

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Thursday, 16 September 2010

Arsenal v SC Braga - video highlights

Highlights of last night's amazing match against Braga, including that back heel by Jack Wilshere to set up Chamakh. Awesome!

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