Saturday, 27 November 2010

Aston Villa

Not at this one unfortunately so watched on Sky. Another match where Arsenal nearly threw it away, exhibiting incredibly unprofessional nervousness but came good in the end.
Overall, Arsenal played at a good tempo, creating chances, taking shots and forcing Friedel into saves. The absence of Fabregas had no impact - in fact, it was a positive as the tempo was not deliberately and unnecessarily slowed. In the first half, Rosicky was generally the most forward of the central midfielders as Arsenal played the usual 4-2-3-1. In the second. Rosicky moved to the left with Arshavin, having his best game for a long while, relishing his central, more free role. Ok, he could pass more but his overall contribution both offensively and defensively is higher when he plays centrally. Rosicky is also more professional, in that, even when he is playing wide, he generally tracks back and does his defensive duties.

Try and see Villa's first goal if you can. Carew, having writhed in the box, gets up and staggers on the 6 yard line directly in line between the shooting Villa player and Fabianski. He was in an offside position but was he interfering with play/seeking to gain an advantage? Ref didn't think so but he didn't think it was a goal when a Spurs shot crossed the line by a metre a few seasons ago.

Finally, just on Spurs - apparently Van der Vaart said 'Hands up if you want to join Barcelona' just before that fateful free-kick last week. Check the YouTube clips, you can quite clearly see him saying it. Unbelievable!

Guardian Football Podcast

A great comment on the podcast about Chelsea's match against Birmingham - that was the worst Chelsea performance since they were founded in 2003!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Another frustrating performance replete with a lack of leadership, passion or desire. NB52 given his chance in the starting line only starts to make any movement in the box when he's about to be substituted. Theo - some marvellous runs that took him "out" of space, i.e., the opposite of running into space. Poor defending for their first and even worse for their second - 1 attacker, 3 defenders yet none can get a tackle in. For all Arsenal's possession, I thought they were actually quite boring to watch - no penetration, so difficult to see where a goal is going to come from.

Saturday, 20 November 2010


2-0 and we ****ed it up - nuff said. Reasonably balanced match report on
With Chelsea losing, I see this as an opportunity missed rather than seeing Chelsea's defeat meaning we stay in touch (though, of course, this is true).
I still think we lack tempo in the play and lack belief. Defensively we were unbelievably poorly organised at times - both full-backs seem to forget the basics.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Everton away

The translation of their Latin motto is 'nothing but the best' but it doesn’t apply to the catering. No Chicken Balti Pies on the menu but they did have a Guest pie which I was told was a Cornish pasty. That’ll do for a change, I thought, nice crispy pastry to cope with dropping down a mineshaft (or throwing from the upper tier of the stand!), tasty mixed filling of meat and vegetables. What a disappointment! I was presented with a flat piece of puff pastry in a cellophane wrapping that was ineffective in preventing the grease seeping out. The pastry was flaccid and uninspiring, the filling: an insipid mix of meat that looked like cat food and an occasional vegetable – it had absolutely no taste what so ever. It was so poor I threw most of it in the bin. It must have taken a culinary genius to create something so appalling, it was that bad. This ranks with a sausage roll at Tottenham two years ago as the worst pre-match food is the history of ‘Chicken Balti Pies’.

The match – 2-0 up and controlling the game then 10 minutes of nervousness that almost threw it away. Mentally certain players found it very difficult to cope with the pressure of Everton's final onslaught. It is the same mentally that produced such an ineffective performance against Newcastle. It's about belief and being a winner. Read the book Sven-Goran Eriksson on Football where he talks about players like Mihajlovic. He may have been a complete nutter (Sinisa not Sven) but you need that type of winning mentality in a team for it to be successful. Witness Keane at ManU - not the greatest technically but he made the others play and that's what the Arsenal lack.

Wolves away - pie update

Good quality filling – spicy and hot – pastry ok but a bit of a struggle to eat the bits left when all the filling is gone!

Monday, 8 November 2010

The normally interesting has a report on Sunday's game entitled " Ten steps: how Newcastle coped with Arsenal in the centre of midfield (whilst playing a 4-4-2)".

The quote in the second para "Arsenal’s poor performance cannot be overlooked – the whole team were sluggish with their passing and not creative enough" says it all really. The ten steps illustrated by ten screen shots add little to the overall analysis of the game.

What they don't show is Mike Dean's pally-pally act with Kevin Nolan - he's obviously someone Mike can talk with rather than these foreign types.

Mike Dean

Corrupt, incompetent, racist? Who knows. When I have the time I'll do an analysis of the results when Mike Dean referees the Arsenal. I suspect we'll see a somewhat abnormal distribution!

Arsene's thoughts on Fab21

"Lukasz Fabianski didn't have a lot to do and I don't think he was expecting the challenge when Andy Carroll scored. It was not a technical mistake from Lukasz, it was a problem of timing."

Isn't timing an element of technique? Doesn't expect to be challenged?

Arsenal v. Newcastle - blame Fabianski?

Fabianski fails to collect a high ball and Carroll has an easy header into an empty net. Ok Fab21 made an error but it would be wrong to blame him wholly for the defeat. Part of playing in a team is how you respond to adversity and how you dig your team mates out of the shit – be it in putting a game saving tackle to deny an attacker when a defender’s pass goes astray or collectively rallying round to win a match. There was so little of the latter in evidence at the Emirates yesterday. The lack of movement and tempo in play in the second half was bewildering. It was almost as if, having dominated the first half, the team thought they were 3-0 up and coasting to victory. Fab4, great player as he is, had an off-day. His passing was poor by his high standards and his work rate, particularly when he had lost the ball, was low. More worryingly, he appears to show no real leadership on the field. The substitutions were strange – Arshavin for Nasri (I can only assume the latter had a knock), RVP for Chamakh seemed like a triumph of hope and sentiment over reality, the introduction of Bendtner was the realisation that it was wrong to take Chamakh off in the first place. The downside to the introduction of B52 was the removal of Wilshere who was the only midfield/attacker with a bit of fire. In fact, we actually looked worse after the substitutions and all that attacking prowess failed to trouble the Newcastle goal.

Back to Fab21. Carroll ran in, leapt and met the ball at its highest point relative to his leap. Fab came out, adjusted and by the time he jumped he had no momentum so he could not get as high as Carroll. Secondly, he didn’t get in a position where he could take the ball at its highest point relative to his jump. A goalkeeper should always beat an attacker in the air if he does this as he is about a metre taller thanks to his arms. However, if you watch Fab in the warm-up when the crosses come in from alternate flanks, he very rarely takes the ball at the full extent of his height.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Pies update

Blackburn - excellent - even had a website listed on the label.
Emirates - good quality but poor finish - ha ha! Not really, a very good pie all round!
Spurs - good pie with herb pastry - a great improvement on the bland sausage roll from 2 years ago.
Chelsea - no Chicken Balti so had a Red Thai curry pie - have I seen the future?
Man City - good pie, no complaints.