Normal service resumed.

April 5, 2009

I had a good 800-odd word match report typed up last night when I got the old blue-screen-of-death and lost the whole lot. So, I really can’t be arsed going into such detail a second time round. Yesterday saw us defeat Man City 2-0 and it really was a fairly easy victory over a side which really don’t seem to travel well at all. The scoring was opened after Adebayor headed home a Fabregas free-kick. It was good to see him get on the score-sheet on his return, but he still has a lot of work to do to get himself fully back into the heart of this particular Arsenal fan.


Fernandes then had a good chance for City which, luckily, he managed to screw up and hit the outside of the post. This came after some lazy play by Song who didn’t bother his arse even trying to put in a challenge on Wright-Phillips before he played the ball in for Fernandes. It was infuriating and it isn’t the first time that we have watched Song lazily amble around the edge of the area and not bust himself to put in a challenge or make a block. You can be sure that if it was Flamini rather than Song a challenge would certainly have been made.


Walcott received plenty of ‘attention’ from the City players in the first half and maybe we can consider ourselves lucky that he didn’t pick up a recurrence of the knee injury that has kept him out for the past few weeks, although the sight of him sitting on the bench with an icepack on his knee after being replaced by Eboue did little to ease any worries over his injury. However, the manager revealed afterwards that it doesn’t appear to be serious and that he should be ok.


I missed our second goal of the game due to connection issues with my stream so I can’t really make any comment on it. I tried downloading the highlights of the game from Arsenal TV before heading out this morning but as I try to view them now in the cafe where I am sat, they refuse to play… That’s technology for you, eh?


Maybe I am being too harsh on Adebayor and Song for what I perceive to be laziness and, at times, apathy to what’s happening on the field. But, it drives me up the fucking wall to think that they earn more in a week than most people do in a year and yet they can’t be arsed to put the effort in on the pitch. Song has been improving of late, but he sometimes slips back into lazy mode and it’s something I think he needs to work on.  Maybe lazy is the wrong way to describe it, maybe he just switches off sometimes.


It was great to see Cesc back and get almost eighty minutes under his belt with no obvious signs of any setback. Ramsey came on to replace him. Let’s hope that there is no reaction over the coming days and that our talisman midfielder will stay fit for the rest of the season. Realistically we won’t see the best of the Cesc-Arshavin partnership until next season but they could contribute greatly to the business end of our campaign. 2-0 was a good result against City and now puts real pressure on Villa to get a result against ManUre, who themselves have enormous pressure to get a result given that Liverpool beat Fulham 1-0 in the evening’s late kick-off due to an injury-time Benayoun goal. The result currently leaves us six points ahead of Villa and let’s hope that it is no less than a five point gap come Sunday evening.


Yesterday’s performance was pretty solid overall and it was great to get the three points in the first game after an international break, a fixture in which we have traditionally struggled for form. Our endeavour was undoubtedly aided yesterday by the fact that we were playing a team whose away form is pretty poor, to say the least. We are now seventeen games unbeaten and although there are a fair few draws in that seventeen, it is an impressive run all the same and one which nobody would have predicted following the abysmal display against City in the reverse fixture back in later November. It is a sign that the team is maturing and the manager said as much in his post-game interview:


“We are 17 unbeaten, but we lost five of the first 14 – you can’t do that and win the league. However, it shows that when a team is young, they can improve and they are showing that now. We are not the same team that was playing in the autumn.”


We can all be very thankful that they are not the same team that they were back in the autumn because if they were we would be sitting around mid-table now. Losing five games in the first fourteen, especially when you consider the teams that beat us, was wholly unacceptable and it is good to see that the team have managed to start repaying the manager’s unwavering faith in them by putting a run together and improving their all-round play.


Looking ahead to the game against Villarreal, the manager had some words of high praise for former Gunner Robert Pires:


“"I have spoken to him and he is working very hard in training to be ready to face us. Robert hides very well a strong determination so I expect him to be highly motivated to do well against us. Before his first cruciate injury he was the best player in the world in his position. We just gave him the ball and he would do the rest. I would have loved him to stay longer. He was such a great example. He is one of the greatest players to have played for us.”


I think all Arsenal fans would agree with that analysis and sentiment and I dearly wish that the manager had bitten the bullet and offered him a longer-term contract than we usually do to our over-thirty players. He was, and still is, a quality player.


In the club’s match-day programme Cesc again reiterates his commitment to the club


“Once more, there have been stories in the media recently talking about my future, I’m very happy at Arsenal and have said it many times – but I cannot control what the newspapers say or stop the press. When they speak for me, I don’t understand it because only my friends, family and the boss know what I think. It’s just a story that will go on and on, even if I was to say I would stay and retire here!  I’ve said many times I’m proud to be captain of this club and I see my future with Arsenal. All that I want to do is to focus on my football and finish the season very well because I think Arsenal have a lot to say in the next few weeks.”


It’s great to hear him say it, yet again, but you have to feel sorry for him because no matter what he says or does, those cunt-bags in the Spanish media will use him to sell papers and the hierarchy of clubs like Real and B-arse-a will use him to aid their political machinations and in a bid to unsettle the player and turn his head. Utter cunts.


Elsewhere, there is speculation that Fiszman sold his shares to Kroenke was so that they can they make a joint bid to buy Bracewell-Smith’s holding while still staying below the 30% ownership mark which would trigger an automatic takeover bid. I wondered about that myself when I heard the news of Fiszman’s sale to Kroenke. Though all of this depends on what the exact state of Bracewell-Smith’s relationship with the club and board is following her acrimonious ousting last year. It will be interesting to see how this story develops but it would be in the club’s and the fans’ best interests, should Bracewell-Smith decide to offload her holding, that they go to Fiszman and Kroenke rather than our very own Bond-esque, fat Uzbek villain.


The News of the World, a great bastion of truthful reporting *cough, cough*, reports that Rosicky is set for a return to action this coming Thursday when he lines-out for the reserves against Tottenham. It will be a great day for the player and he must be itching to get back out onto the field again after being out for so long with an injury which originally seemed to be relatively minor. Who would ever have thought that Eduardo would have made his first-team comeback before Rosicky when their respective injuries first occurred?


Don’t you just hate it when the mass media steal your headline?


Right, that’ll do for today. Sorry the match report wasn’t more in-depth but after losing the initial report last night I couldn’t face writing it all over again.