Just another North London derby

No long match report...The Scum really aren't worth it in the end.

The big story is that, a few amazing misses aside, Jose Antonio Reyes seems to have broken out of his stretch of poor form. Sure, those misses were almost comical in scope, but he tucked away his chance when he really, really had to. His pace and skill kept the Scum off-balance the whole game. I still don't like the guy, but if he can play well enough to tack on another 5 or 10 million to his transfer fee from Madrid, then hey...good on him.

Other than that, any Gooner has to love how the Arsenal defense held, especially in the end. We all hate the Scum, but let's be objective here for a second. This isn't your older brother's version of Tott'numb. Whereas they used to have The Shell of Les Ferdinand and not much else, this version of their squad has a pretty fair assortment of offensive talent (and once in a great while, they even live up to their potential). Every single member of the defense, including Jens Lehmann (maybe even *especially* Jens Lehmann) were brilliant today. Senderos was a titan again, Cole and Lauren controlled the wings with imperious ease, and Toure won every single key header that came his way. Kinda brought back a few memories with this performance.

In the end, this could and probably even should have been a far more comprehensive victory than it was. But, now that the final whistle has gone and the nerves have abated, I'm kind of glad it finished 1-0. That was a fun little match, and of course, the happy ending made it all better.

I think we're getting hot at the right time, in terms of the one match this season that will likely mean anything (because really, on this form, are the Red Scum catching us for second? I doubt it).


New link, new stuff, old question

1. Please put your pin in the world guestmap over there on the right. I'd love to know where the regulars that read this come from.

2. New link: Club Soccer, in the other soccer section.

3. What the hell happened to www.red-geezer.co.uk, anyway? Did their disappearance off the face of the planet ever get explained?


New link

First off, I want to thank everyone who has stopped by my humble corner of cyberspace in the last few days. By my count, my virtual doorstep has been crossed by people from India, Trinidad, Poland, England, Canada, the Philippines, Singapore, and many different parts of the United States. Thank you for taking the time to read my stuff, even if you think it's horseshit.

If I'm missing anyone, feel free to leave a comment...when they decide to start working again, that is. Wherever you are, the honor and the privilege is mine.

With that said, please extend that honor and privilege to the newest link over there on the right-hand side, in the Arsenal section. "Here I Go" is the Arsenal-and-other-stuff blog from a gentleman in India, and it's excellent reading.


The FA Cup Semifinal

Between both teams, there had only been one instance in the earlier rounds where one faced Premiership opposition. I have two things to say about that. First, it seems fitting that Arsenal (the team that did end up facing the Premiership squad) had to play the first set of untalented, psychotic hack-merchants in order to get through to face the even worse set of untalented, psychotic hack-merchants. Second, it's painfully apparent that the only reason the fucksticks from Lancashire got this far was precisely because they didn't play anyone else from the Premiership. Had they had even a slightly more difficult draw, they would have been dumped out on their violent asses long before (I'm sorry Todd, but it's true. Mark Hughes has your boys playing like the prison guards in "Mean Machine").

With that, the particulars:

Arsenal 3-0 Blackburn Rovers (from the Millenium Stadium - Cardiff, Wales)

Robert Pires - 42'
Robin van Persie - 86'
Robin van Persie - 90'

The Gunners: Jens Lehmann - Ashley Cole, Philippe Senderos, Kolo Abib Toure, Lauren Bisane-Etane - Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva, Fredrik Ljungberg (Francesc Fabregas Soler 50) - Jose Antonio Reyes (Jeremie Aliadiere 90), Dennis Bergkamp (Robin van Persie 82)

The Cheating Slasher-Film Evil Fucks from Lancashire: Brad Friedel - Ryan Nelsen, Dominic Matteo (Jonathan Stead 83), Andy Todd, Lucas Neill - Aaron Mokoena - David Thompson (Robbie Savage 63), Steven Reid, Garry Flitcroft (Brett Emerton 51), Morten Gamst Pedersen - Paul Dickov

Frankly, this game doesn't deserve a giant write-up, so here goes. Blackburn came in with a game plan straight from George Romeo, John Carpenter and Wes Craven. It's a fucking shock that they didn't have Freddie and Jason lining up in their midfield as well...though I suppose it's even more of a shock that we haven't yet seen the movie where Flitcroft and Thompson and Todd go around killing off teenagers at a summer camp somewhere. I mean, how obvious does it have to be when you start the match with Brett Emerton and Jonathan Stead on the bench? Clearly, they intended to get someone (Patrick Vieira) injured, and then bottle up Arsenal as much as possible until perhaps a chance came along on a set piece. It's a crime when such tactics end up in a semifinal of a cup competition...normally you'd like to see some actual skill involved...if it had to be a bottom-end team, I wish it had been Norwich or someone who at least tries to play football. It really was shocking stuff, and for 41 lamentable minutes, it worked like an absolute charm.

But, some good work down the left-hand side (and really, what WAS Toure doing there, anyway? Not that I'm complaining, just wondering) found Kolo in a good position in the box. His excellent cross was met by Pires, who had at some point switched over to the off-wing. Despite Friedel's heroics before and after, there really was nothing he could do about the tap-in, and thus it was 1-0 to the Arsenal once again. A quick word about Brad Friedel, if I may...he was absolutely brilliant. Other than Pedersen and Emerton, he was the only guy in a blue-and-white shirt (OK, maybe Nelsen too) who didn't look completely out of their depth in a cup semifinal.

From the second half on, Blackburn had to chase the game...and if anything, their infractions only got worse. I defend Premiership referees 90% of the time, but Steven Dunn had an absolutely horrendous match. He cautions Cole for clearing the ball 0.3 seconds after the whistle (remember, players are always told to play to the whistle, and if they don't hear it immediately...), but Dickov tries to break Senderos' leg, Savage comes up with another horror-show tackle on Fabregas, and Andy Todd hits the best Running Elbowsmash this side of New Japan Pro Wrestling on van Persie, and NONE of those got so much as a caution. I'm going to have to call "shenanigans" on that one.

So yeah...van Persie came on and scored two excellent goals. Take that, you pricks.

So, we get the matchup that we all wanted...Arsenal vs. The Dark Side of the Force, with the FA Cup being the only thing either one of us can win. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm sure they are as well. Both squads should have as close to full first-choice XIs as possible, so there won't be any excuses (which is exactly as it should be). We can beat them...hell, we HAVE to beat them. And, if there's any luck, maybe it will make them sell Timmy Howard to a team I don't hate. At this rate, I'm rooting for a transfer for Friedel, too. He deserves better than those cunts.


Catching up...

Thanks to the fact that I'm actually playing a fair bit of football now (including two matches back-to-back yesterday), I haven't really had the time or the energy to write about it. Since the debacle down in Mexico City...

USA 2-0 Guatemala: This was much, MUCH better. As far as the teams in the hex go, the Guatemalans are probably the least dangerous. They did have that 5-1 win over Trinidad, but my sense about the Trins is that they're a halfway-decent side that are just coached in speactularly-poor fashion. In stark contrast to the hesitant and overly-conservative approach south of the border, the USA treated their fans to a nice show of offensive prowess. If you take away some poor finishing and the heroics of Guatemala's keeper, this easily could have been 4-0 or 5-0. Still, a win is a win, and we're in pretty good position having now faced our toughest opponent on the road. I'll say it again...I can't wait for Mexico to come up here. We're going to fucking murder them. Again.

England 2-0 Azerbaijan: Dour, drab, dull...choose whatever "d"-word you wish. The funniest thing about all of this is that the Azeris should have scored twice...most nations in the world would have beaten England based on this performace. Personally, I hope for nothing better than England playing like this when they come to Chicago in May...I'd love to see the USA knock 3 or 4 past them (if only to shut up the type of English fan that thinks they should beat everyone 11-0, and who thinks that anyone who is from America can't know anything about The Beautiful Game). For their part, England should have had a bucketful, especially Michael Owen. But, credit the Azeris for not folding, and especially credit their keeper, who was excellent.

Arsenal 4-1 Norwich: Anyone who thought Norwich was ever staying up this season is insane. They did practically nothing to bolster their squad heading up into the Premier League...even WBA did a better preparation job. We looked like the Arsenal of old, but that isn't such a big deal...not against shite opposition like this. All credit to Huckerby for scoring a nice goal, but that really was their entire lot. I'm sure that Green, Ashton, and maybe Huckerby and Francis will find useful employment somewhere else in the EPL next season. The rest of these jokers will be much better suited to Division One, where they belong.

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