Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Bolton: Carling Cup

Good to see Vermaelen back in the side and he put in a typical tough-tackling assured defensive performance.
Interesting to see AW finally play Arshavin in a central role. I wouldn’t describe his performance as outstanding but he scored one and created one so that’s not a bad return. His goal, a shot through a crowd of players, was typically Arshavin and caught the goalkeeper by surprise. He has the ability to do the unexpected and not many players would have gone for goal at the moment he did. As I’ve said before, he’s much more dangerous in the box rather than stuck out wide.
The second goal was an ‘Henry-like’ curling shot by Park – an excellent finish. Or, at least, I think it was Park - the chap behind me was having difficultly identifying Arsenal's Asian players though I suspect that his level of knowledge was suspect as he told his American companion that the football season runs from September (then corrected to last week in August) to June. That's the problem with the Carling Cup - you get a lot of people attending who normally don't and their level of knowledge is not on a par with the regular fan (tongue-in-cheek comment, of course,  and could equally be taken either way!). In fact, I was the only regular in my part of the front row - no Laurel, John, Dominic, Ali x 2, little man and his little son, Judy, Nigel or Peter.
Bolton came more into the game at 2-1 as they pressed forward. There was one heart-stopping ‘Flapianski’ moment when he contrived to mishandle a shot unintentionally over the bar. Mannone is back from loan and on the bench – he must be close to being #2.

Bolton - pre-match food

Decided to try the stall close to the Arsenal tube that sells roast pork or beef in a baguette. Went with the pork with stuffing and apple sauce out of a large plastic catering size tub which was just as you'd expect large-scale catering apple sauce to be like. Pork was good and a generous helping. Baguette was soft and disappointing as it was slightly cotton woolly. A crusty baguette would, I think, be better.
I did notice that the stall selling steak baguettes in Drayton Park provides the afore-mentioned crusty baguettes so that is now on my mental to-try list.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Stoke at home - a win for football

In truth, a comfortable win in the end. 3 well-worked goals with Gervinho influential in all 3. After dominating the first, egregious defending allowed Stoke to equalise. Again, Gervinho had a part to play. Defending a Stoke free-kick, he was isolated on the left-hand side of the box with 2 Stoke players to mark. He called to his team mates which only resulted in him getting the ‘hand’ instead of a hand from Chamakh. Gervinho then failed to track the deep run from Shawcross who headed across goal unchallenged. A second header at the far post and the ball fell to Crouch who tucked away from 1 metre out. Poor defending but the free-kick that preceded it was highly debatable. Koscielny rose like ‘un saumon’ and hung in the air to win a fine defensive header against Crouch. Inexplicably, Lee Mason (remember him last season from Everton at home and Blackpool away) blew for a free-kick.

As expected, the only threat from Stoke was the long throw-in from Delap. It is almost as if Stoke have adopted the American Football approach of special teams as all Delap does is take long throws – thankfully, they can’t follow the model completely and keep him on the sideline until required though I expect Pulis will suggest this to the FA. In any case, Stoke’s ‘line-out practice’ failed to materialise in a direct goal threat as the Gooners’ defence dealt with the aerial threat no doubt helped by  having an additional centre-half as Djourou was at right-back.

Delap was substituted in the second-half and with him went Stoke’s creativity. A cliché, I know, but worth repeating nevertheless.

A good win. RvP took the media plaudits by coming off the bench to score twice, But my MotM was Gervinho. Arsene should produce a DVD of his contribution and give it to Theo so he can find out what he should be doing!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Monday, 3 October 2011


The dictionary definition is:
Sentimental pessimism; sorrow that one feels and accepts as one's necessary portion in life; the feeling all Arsenal supporters currently have.

For the cunning linguists amongst you, it is a compound German noun: welt, "world" and schmerz, "pain." The term may have been coined by Jean Paul Richter but was popularised in German literature by Heinrich Heine.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Spurs away

Sky Sports web report sums up Arsenal's performance perfectly: "though their three-man midfield controlled long spells, familiar frailties told".

A big contrast in composure in front of goal - Gervinho failing to open the Gooners account after good work by RvP - Van der Vaart handling his chance much better, firing across the goal and into the far side to open the scoring. Taken with aplomb but you (I) have to question the absence of basic defensive organisation that allowed him the freedom of the right-side of the Arsenal back four. 

Ramsey equalised early in the second half when Song made a penetrating run behind the Spurs defence and pulled the ball back as Aaron made a good run across the face of the defenders. Theo - please note Song's run, RvP - please note Ramsey's movement.
Arteta had moments of great control and ability, Coquelin kept it simple, worked hard and shows a lot of promise, Ramsey, goal apart, was disappointing as was Theo. There were a number of players who were up for the physical challenge, there were others who were definitely shirking in this area - Ramsey, Theo, Gervinho.
A great strike from Walker made it 2-1. Arteta failed to track Sandro's run into the box and the ball broke free on the edge of the box.

AW's substitutions, Arshavin and Benayoun for Theo and Gervinho had little impact and the play became very narrow.
Arsenal had a couple of corners at the end for which Szczesny ventured up but to no avail. Overall, Szczesny made some good saves from chances that, unfortunately, were created mainly by defensive lapses.

Spurs away: today's ref is?; Malaga; MOTD

Mike Dean according to the ashburtongrove blog.

I've posted on Mike Dean before - it's impossible to ascertain if he is prejudiced or just plain incompetent. We'll see what happens today.

Btw: watched MOTD last night for the first time in ages. Didn't watch in real-time as I recorded the start while watching the end of Malaga v. Getafe. Malaga winning 3-2 with 2 late goals, the winner being a spectacular overhead kick from the 'Beast' who had no such memorable moments when playing for us. Need to dig up some info on Malaga. They've clearly had an injection of pesetas. Looks like a new stadium plus a cast of ageing players such as Ruud van Horseface who scored their 1st goal. Santi Cazorla, who was once touted as a possible Gooner, is also there but I can only think for the money. Having said that, Malaga went top with the win but the big boys play today.

Watching a recorded MOTD meant I could skip Lineker's smarmy, self-indulgent comments and the 'analysis'. Martin Atkinson had a shocker in the Merseyside derby with an unbelievably inconsistent assessment of tackles made by the boys in blue. Again, I've posted about Atkinson before. I believe he and Howard 'ManU' Webb are the EPL's only two Fifa refs - can't understand why as Atkinson is really poor.

While on refs - what a comedian Halsey is - pointing to where the Wolves player landed as the spot for the free-kick rather than giving a penalty as offence was clearly in the area. I think I've posted previously about his revision to the offside law during a match at the Emirates v. Middlesbrough.
From Wikipedia: Mark Halsey (born 8 July 1961) is an English professional football referee who officiates primarily in the Premier League. He was formerly based in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, currently in Bolton, Lancashire, after a house move engineeered by a series of positive appearances at Old Trafford. (Guess which bits aren't true - clue: start with the 8th word)

Olympiacos: late thoughts on match

Arsenal's 10¼ men survived some good football from Olympiacos, compounded by Arsenal's usually defensive frailties, to achieve a 2-1 win - an essential result given that Marseille beat Dortmund. Good goals from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santos set them on their way until horrendous defensive organisation allowed the visitors back into the game. AW has noted in the match-day magazine that defending starts from the front but apparently he has yet to convey the message to AA23. Perhaps the Russian translator is on holiday - perhaps we've never had one as it works both ways. Perhaps AW thinks AA likes playing wide left but the latter has been able to explain why it's a big No in Russian

Olympiacos: Pie update

As forecast, I made a pre-match visit to Piebury Corner and ordered the Reg Lewis which is the vegetarian option. The very kind lady at Piebury Corner insisted I sample the other pies I had yet to try. So my plate consisted of the Reg Lewis and samples of the lamby Ian Wright and Charlie Nicholas which, of course, is the Scotch pie. And no ordinary Scotch pie it seems as it is the 2011 Champion Scotch pie!

The Reg Lewis was good but imho doesn't dislodge my current table toppers (update below).

Will, of course, try full versions of the the other two as the season progresses. I am particularly looking forward to the Scotch pie as the pastry is different from the others. According to a Google search, it's hot water pastry which is made using lard. Apparently, the filling can vary: "a typical Scotch pie recipe will have meat, salt, pepper, nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, onion and pastry. Many local Scottish bakers will keep their Scotch pie recipes secret, especially the spice ingredients and quantities."

Piebury Corner League Table:
  1. Dennis Bergkamp – eaten 1
  2. Tony Adams – eaten 1
  3. Reg Lewis - eaten 1