Friday 29 February 2008
Tuesday 26 February 2008
As Arseblogger says, the FA are weak cowards who have been refusing to address the problem of violent tackles for a long long time. The sheer inconsistency of punishments astounds, as petulant little non events like Aliadiere's are jumped on, while genuine career ending tackles are just lumped in together with everything else.
There should be some way of punishing the more violent offenders more severely to try to stamp this nasty streak out of the game. It also should not matter if the referee has or has not seen the incident, if it is violent and dangerous then it should be punished whether seen or not. The FA have preferred to ignore flaws in the system, as dealing with them would be far too much like hard work.
The way people are expressing their sympathy for Martin Taylor beggars belief, Alex McLeish has come out of this affair looking like an utter ignoramus, even commenting that Taylor would have to make challenges like his tackle on Eduardo again. Taylor does not deserve to be demonised, however he should be thinking long and hard about his woeful tackle, and if he is feeling shattered then he should think how he would like to have a shattered ankle covered in a plaster cast.
Anyway while Eduardo recovers, Arsenal will be taking on Aston Villa at the Emirates. One of the few positives to come from Saturday's game was Theo Walcott's performance, hopefully he can use this as a platform to move on from. We badly need three points from the Villa game, and it will be interesting to see how Arsene shuffles the pack.
Monday 25 February 2008
The club appear rather optimistic about Eduardo's prognosis:
I do not wish to appear pessimistic, however the outcome of these kind of serious injuries is not always good. In fact the prescence of a fracture dislocation of the ankle is a predictor of poor outcome:
Sunday 24 February 2008
The ignorant and ill informed comments continue to appear in the media, Stephen Kelly being the latest to try to defend Martin Taylor's tackle with some truly incoherent comments:
Stephen Kelly is at best a stupid fool, at worst a lying idiot. The red herring of intent and maliciousness is an irrelevant sideshow here, used by people who want to see English football stuck in the dark ages where agricultural challenges are part of the so called 'beautiful' game. As ANR makes clear, these kind of tackles are reckless by their very nature; it matters not the intent, it is the recklessness that has to be punished:
Other bloggers have made the point that this is more than a one off incident, the English game is blighted by an ugly mentality, a regressive footballing culture that allows violence and over aggressive play to flourish. On one hand foreigners are blamed for the lack of home grown talent emerging, while on the other hand the mass media are happy to encourage the unfair physical bullying of those with skill and technique; to me it is clear that the two are linked, our ugly footballing culture means that those with skill and technique have the odds stacked against them. Birmingham's behaviour since the incident has been pretty embarrassing to say the least, a dignified silence would have been better than their incessant disrespectful comments.
The symptoms of the disease are the likes of Martin Taylor, very average footballers with limited technique who are favoured in our thuggish English environment. I am not angry with Martin Taylor, however I do not feel for him either; my heart goes out to Eduardo and his family, get well soon and hopefully something positive can come out of this terrible incident.
Eboue's tackle was idiotic and stupid, however it was never going to do anything more than graze Nani's thigh. Taylor's tackle was with a straight leg and studs up, and was a genuine leg breaker. Intent does not matter in these cases, if one goes into a tackle out of control in this fashion with a straight leg then one runs the risk of ending a fellow professionals career. Steve Bruce reckons:
The 'some' in 'some would say' are therefore cretinous halfwits that we would be better off without. While a Birmingham City club statement reads:
I don't care whether Martin Taylor feels remorse, he should have thought of this before he went into a tackle completely out of control with a straight leg and studs up. It's like someone setting a building on fire, burning to death the people inside and then claiming there was no intent to kill the people as it was not known that the building was occupied.
Andy Gray, David Platt, Mark Lawrenson, Garth Crooks, Mickey Quinn and others have all tried to defend the tackle by claiming 'it was just clumsy', 'he's not that kind of player' or 'it wasn't malicious'. Radio morons like Terry Christian and the regressive Dj Spoony were happy to compare Taylor's tackle to Gallas' kick out at Nani the week before. It's hard to find words to describe this kind of illinformed verbal diarrhoea. These comments seem to echo exactly what happened when Andy Cole ended a young Australian's career a few years ago, with Andy Cole claiming:
The media then leapt on some rather emotional post match comments made my Arsene Wenger in a completely unsympathetic and disrespectful manner, comments which he has since retracted. The malignant way in which the media have looked to excuse the tackle, while jumping on the victim's manager, has neatly revealed their overt bias for all to see.
English football needs to come out of the medieval age, a rather nasty undercurrent of xenophobia seems to emerge as a way of blaming foreigners for our failings, rather than taking any responsibility for them ourselves. Small minded bigots like Andy Gray are more comfortable living in a state of perpetual denial, than productively moving forward by learning from our own mistakes. Players with skill and technique have it rough in England, cloggers like Martin Taylor are produced by a system that favours thuggery and violence over technique and craft. It's no wonder the English game is so poor technically, but in the media's opinion it's all the fault of the foreigners, how they could do with a mirror.
Change should come from yesterday's horror show, change that outlaws this kind of violence that has no place on a football pitch. The FA's useless disciplinary system is in desperate need of a major overhaul, how can a tackle like Eboue's recieve the same punishement as Taylor's violent assault?
Saturday 23 February 2008
The games started with a truly appalling tackle from Martin Taylor that may well end Eduardo's career. He lunged in, completely out of control, and broke Eduardo's tibia and fibula in two. Mike Dean got about his only decision right when he pulled out a red card for the disgraced Taylor.
Sky refused to screen the tackle again. A strange position to take, given how they have shown many similar breaks in the past such as David Buust's and Henrik Larsson's leg breaks. Andy Gray and David Platt should be ashamed of their pathetic comments. Gray tried to claim that there was no intent in the tackle, showing his complete lack of objectivity and understanding when it comes to deciding what constitutes a bad tackle. Platt then insinuated that it was partly Eduardo's fault for overrunning the ball. Compare and contrast Taylor's red card to Eboue's red card, this is the perfect contrast between the stupid and the genuinely dangerous.
Referee Dean gave Birmingham their first goal with a non free kick as McFadden threw himself to ground for the umpteenth time, good old British players never dive though do they? Arsenal played outstandingly in the second half and should have been out of sight, only for the incompetent buffoon Dean to point to the spot in the very last minute when Clichy clearly won the ball fairly in the box. I don't even have time to mention the countless examples of Dean's brain dead incompetence, they had to be seen to be believed.
The boys don't deserve any criticism today. Events outside of their control conspired against them in a tragic way. Mike Dean showed his weak character by gifting the home side two undeserved goals, while our thoughts should be with Eduardo this evening as his season and possibly his career have been ended by a disgraceful tackle. The FA need to come down hard on these violent challenges, if Taylor gets no extra punishment for his filth then it will show yet again why the English game is being held back technically due to an environment that encourages violence and not flair.
Thursday 21 February 2008
Wednesday 20 February 2008
As ANR comments it is one hell of a big night for a certain humble German. I hope I will be proven wrong by Jens, but I don't think he's been on top of his game for over a year or so, and Almunia has been outstanding so far this season. Hopefully Jens will rise to the challenge, but I would rather see Almunia fit and in goal for the Milan biggie.
Almunia is sharper and quicker, and he has swept up danger on the edge of the box superbly behind the two centre backs. Part of the reason that our defence has been so solid has been this expert covering of ground by Mr Almunia. He is also a younger man, and is consequently that little bit more agile that Jens.
Importantly Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna are back, along with the Flamster and Emmanuel Adebayor. We will have to be at our sharpest and we will have to concentrate for the full 90 minutes, the guile of Pirlo can carve any team open when they least expect it. Good luck Mr Lehmann, make this a decisive moment that will be remembered fondly.
Monday 18 February 2008
Eboue had his studs dangerously up, however the worst that would result from such a challenge would be a bit of a graze; Eboue's leg was bent and anyone who has played football can understand that this kind of tackle may look bad to the non-footballing armchair fan, but in fact it is nothing compared with a leg breaking straight legged tackle. In my opinion it deserved a yellow card and a stern ticking off. It is very rare indeed to see straight reds handed out for this kind of challenge. The sensationalist reaction from certain Gooners is quite surprising to me:
'Eboue should be sacked'
'He's a cheating, diving, fouling twat who can't do anything for our team that someone else can't do better.'
'Fuck off you idiot. He will never learn and however you might think he can improve he will always be a cunt on the inside and will continue to do these stupid things in games. Today’s red card just reminded me what he’s like, he had a chance to return from Africa and make a fresh start, but no.'
I could go on. Having said that, there has been a substantial majority of sensible and thoughtful comment from the Gooner blogging community.
Eboue is an idiot. However I don't think insulting him more than this is productive or fair. His tackle was stupid, however it was not a dangerous red card tackle, he was a little unfortunate to see red but he should never have given the referee the chance to send him off. Even if one accepts it was a red card tackle, then at least make your point politely without sinking to the lowest depths.
If Eboue cannot learn he may have to be moved on, Arsene knows this and I trust him to do his job. However do not make Eboue the scapegoat for all our troubles, there were eleven men on the pitch in the first half and we were three down at half time. Eboue has also not done too badly this season when he has kept his head, his partnership with Sagna has given us solidity down the right and he has helped in our charge to the top of the league. He does need to control himself better and he must improve his end product, however he doesn't deserve to be castigated as some kind of satanic scum. Do we really have to sink to these depths to make a point? Shouldn't we try to to rise above this kind of sensationalist tabloid journalism?
The missing fullbacks and centre midfielders made a difference, the centre backs looked very exposed, while Manu's five in the midfield was a tactical victory over our below-par four. Gilberto does not hustle as he once did, while having no Flamini, Diaby or Denilson to add a bit more energy and bite did not help. Having said that the players on the pitch did not do themselves justice and they will know this. Hoyte does not appear to have the quality to make it as a first choice player, while Traore clearly has a lot to learn about his defensive duties.
Our entire side cost less than Wayne Rooney, and Manchester United have countless twenty odd million pound players that can come into the side when needs be. The fact that Arsene's Arsenal have competed on their level for so many years just shows what magic has been done to make up for our smaller financial outlays.
The pitch was a joke, but this made do difference, we were toothless and gapingly open at the back. Eboue's red card did not help, a stupid high foot but a slightly harsh red in my mind. Fletcher and Ferdinand's lunges were as bad as any tackles I saw on Saturday, and the mountain out of molehill that Ferguson is trying to make from Gallas' little kick is typical of the demented Scot. He might want to remember that Nani's head movements will also need to be looked at if Gallas is reprimanded.
Milan is the important game, our baskets of eggs are decreasing in number, but Arsene had little choice but to ensure we will go into this game with as strong a line up as possible. I am dissapponted but expected a defeat on Saturday, it still hurts of course, but we have to be pragmatic, as gambling on Saturday could have left us with more injuries for Milan and the same result.
Man Utd were clearly 125% motivated for this game, presumably having been bollocked all week by Demento after their own lacklustre performance against Man City last weekend. As a unit, their team was simply unrecognisable from that which didn't turn up against Man City. Every single time an Arsenal player got the ball he was harried, hustled, shoved and usually fouled, which brings me onto the ref.
However, that does not even come close to my frustration with the players. Our 3 little blokes in midfield, namely Hleb, Fabregas and Eboue, all had terrible first halves, with Gilberto adding little defensive cover behind them. Eboue's game didn't last much longer than the half time whistle and I think this performance, or rather lack of it, now makes him a genuine doubt for next season. Toure and Gallas played as if they had never kicked a football before in their lives. They weren't quite as bad as the Stepanovs / Grimandi pairing back when we shipped 6 goals in at Old Trafford in 2001, but they were pretty close.
Hoyte and Traore completed the comedy defence. Hoyte was skinned on the outside at least 6 times during the game, which must raise doubts about his pace, and Traore simply does not defend. At all.
To be honest, the second half was not much better, but at least we started o kick them back. The introduction of Big Phil, Adebayor and Flamster added some much needed muscle into our team, but game was already well lost. In fact, if it was not for a sterling performance from Mad Jens, then Man Utd would probably have equalled, if not beaten, the 6 goals they scored in 2001. Absolutely shocking.
Demento will make as much of this game as he possibly can, but the truth is that for all the money he has spent, Man Utd have had more off-days this season that Arsenal. Most people will point towards our lack of strength in depth, but I say it's irelevant. We have bags of talent and potential, but Saturday was all about a lack of motivation. 11 pumped-up Arsenal players of almost any age would have done a better job than the majority who simply didn't give a shit on Saturday. The success of the Carling Cup side over recent years is testimony to this.
Lastly, whilst Arsene says he doesn't know what happened on Saturday, I strongly suspect that this was a team ordered dive. Wenger publically stated last week that Arsenal couldn't compete on three fronts this season, so the team orders for the Man Utd game were to take the hits, don't get injured, don't waste energy, see if we can go down 2-1 and get ready for Milan on Wednesday.
Tuesday 12 February 2008
I wouldn't read ANR if I were you, it's full of these kind of dramatic bursts of arrogance and you won't learn much about football either. This coming from the same man that wrote off Almunia and refuses to change his mind on the matter, despite an excellent consistent season taking Arsenal to the top of the league. This is also the same man who wrote off Adebayor in his early Arsenal days, it's almost looking like a slagging off from ANR can guaranteee a great Arsenal career, what a magical understanding of football Myles Palmer has.
I have no problem with people having different opinions to mine, however being unable to ever admit that one made a mistake and possessing immense cockyness beyond one's station are not traits that I particularly admire. We all misjudge players, Arsene included, however Myles Palmer seems completely blind to his own faults and seems to be rather too keen to believe his own hype that is generated from within his own journalistic goldfish bowl.
So don't read ANR, it's written in such an over confident patronising nauseating manner that the only thing you'll learn is how not to write well about football. I'd rather read Arseblog for some excellent good humoured and modest banter. Solid win against Blackburn last night, it will be rather interesting just what kind of side Arsene plays in the FA cup fixture away to Manu on saturday, I would like to see a few key players rested as the Milan game is far more important in my eyes.
Sunday 10 February 2008
One can certainly tell a lot about people in the way that they react after disasters. It seems that pathetic little squabbles over a few grand are of major importance to a club that is probably the richest in the whole world. The club clearly has more important things on its agenda that behaving with dignity and respect, things like making a fast buck I would assume.
The Munich disaster was undoubtedly a great tragedy. However the way in which Manchester United tries to expoit such tragedy does them no credit whatsoever. Manchester United were quite a popular club back in those days of old; in the following fifty years they have gained many new supporters but also alienated countless thousands with their arrogant profiteering behaviour.
The hypocrisy of it all is also rather bemusing. On one hand they use Munich as an emotive shield to hide behind, while on the other hand they are quite happy to exploit the Munich disaster to make a quick buck. In this way their cynical profiteering cannot be criticised, as any criticism of the club is seen as an insult to the victims of the crash.
I am sure many true Manchester United fans are rather embarassed at what their club has become, and certainly the Glazer's ownership isn't helping this situation. Given that Gordon Brown is so keen for fans to be listened to in some matters, one wonders why the government has made absolutely no effort to stop profiteering billionnaires taking over English footballs and risking their very existence with some very dubious short termist decisions. I wonder.
Referees do know the rules, but unfortunately have never played the game themselves at any decent level, they were most likely the unathletic child who stood by the touchline watching his classmates have a kick around. This means they can't tell the difference between a dangerous aggressive challenge and a mistimed inocuous challenge. This was perfectly demonstrated yesterday by Clattenberg's straight red for Bowyer, when he failed to stop two shocking challenges from Hayden Mullins which both involved two straight legs and studs up.
One game I particularly remember from this point of view was the Arsenal Bolton fixture of 2003, the loss of two points cost us dear in the end but it was the way Bolton played that was the disgrace that day. Sam Allardyce, the contemptible fat walrus, created a side in his own image, a filthy thuggish bullying side that played the lowest form of football possible. Bolton players repeatedly lunged in with studs showing, with straight legs and studs over the top of the ball, but the referee allowed it to go unpunished and as a result Bolton were unfairly allowed back into a game, in which they had no right to be. Teams like Bolton are allowed to prosper by poor officiating like this, and in the long term English football suffers as good technical football cannot succeed as it would otherwise do. Good refereeing is therefore key if English football is to continue catching up its competitors technically, so referees should learn the game as well as the rules.
Wednesday 6 February 2008
Saturday 2 February 2008
Bar a rare error from the dominant Clichy, it was a great team performance lead from the front by the warrior that is Emmanuel Adebayor. The defence was solid, Sagna raiding at pace down the right with Senderos and Gallas imperious at the back. Flamini and Fabregas complimented each other nicely, while Diaby is starting to look like the player that he obviously has the potential to become, Hleb was decent too. Eduardo was razor sharp, capping a fine performance with a lovely overhead kick following a good piece of chest control to put us 2-0 up after twenty odd minutes. Adebayor was a beast, strong, dominant in the air and predatory in the box.
Clichy's error gave City hope, but they never looked like levelling matters. Adebayor made the game same with five minutes left when the referee did well to play the advantage. It was a shame the referee missed two pretty good penatly shouts when Richards fouled Adebayor from behind twice on seperate occassions, luckily it didn't matter in the end.
We are spoilt as Arsenal fans, to be able to play away from home and dominate a good side in such a manner is not easy, credit must go to the players whose teamwork and determination was there for all to see, and to Arsene for managing the club so excellently. Whatever the outcome at the end of the season, I am proud to be an Arsenal fan, the football is from another planet and it is done on a relatively small budget compared to our main competitors. I salute you Arsene.
Friday 1 February 2008
Now, whilst that means that we could try and get about a million people together to buy Arsenal, it would cost too much and will never happen. Plus we might mess it all up and ruin the club we love, which would be a bad thing.
However, what is to stop us putting together a secret consortium to buy Spurs? We would have to be subtle and not let on that we were Gooners, but once we are in control, we can just liquidate the assets and close the club down, sack all the players (no point in trying to sell them), forfeit all the matches and refund all the season tickets. Absolutely brilliant.
We might lose a few bob in the process, but the development potential for turning Shite Hart Lane into a Pound-Saver supermarket means we might even make a bit of cash.
So who's up for it?