Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood appeared for an interview with the Daily Star and he has the following to say –

“It’s important for me and for the board to not lose our nerve when the media and the fans are all screaming. We’ve had some tough years.

“Once, in the mid-1980s, I was smuggled out of Highbury, lying in the back of the car. We were having a bad run, and there were 500 people standing outside the boardroom shouting, ‘F**k off, Hill-Wood’.

“These days, the bar has been raised. But, I’m surprised that people keep saying that Arsenal have not won anything for 5 years. Liverpool haven’t won the league for 20 years!

“And I remember when they were in the old Second Division and Manchester United were in the old Second Division… I think the boys and girls who support us are very lucky.

“I remember a year ago, standing in the front of the directors’ box… there was a woman shout, ‘Spend some f*****g money’.

“I said, ‘Don’t worry, darling. Leave it to us; we will sort it out’… or some similar patronising statement, which probably pissed her off even more.

“This season, we’re still in all competitions and we’re 2nd in the league. So, we’re not that bloody bad!”

Now we’re all entitled to our opinions of course. But unfortunately for Arsenal fans, PHW’s opinion really affects their transfer scenario and what the club is doing with regards to player acquisition etc etc.

Needless to say I disagree with Peter Hill-Wood. (He’s had some exciting times eh? Smuggled out of Highbury in the back of a car?). Anyway, the point is this –

1) Does he really want to compare Arsenal to Liverpool; a club that haven’t won the league in 20 years? It shows a worrying lack of ambition from the Chairman of one of the title chasing two clubs in the league. He seems to think like this – “Alright, Liverpool haven’t won a the league in 20 years, so we have another 15 years to go”

Lacking ambition

2) The same Manchester United who were languishing in the second division back in the day are now racking up trophy after trophy. So shouldn’t a club that’s been playing first division football pretty much throughout its history be winning a few trophies?

3) Arsenal are currently second only because of astute signings by Arsene Wenger. Whatever he needs, he gets cheap. However, if Arsenal had decided to spend big and invest heavily in areas that needed to be improved (Goalkeeper, Center Back) who knows, they could have been first in the league.

 

 

 

A third away win for Manchester United in this season and that puts the gap between them and Arsenal at 5 points. Arsenal, meanwhile, on the same day, ended up booking a place at Wember-ley for the Carling Cup final. We now know that their opponents on that day will be Birmingham City who beat West Ham 4-3 on aggregate.

More on that in a bit, but first lets start off with Man United’s terrible first half performance at Bloomfield Road.

You know there’s something wrong with a United performance when Nemanja Vidic almost scores an own goal. I don’t even know where to start. The defence, the midfield, Wayne Rooney? I don’t even understand why Sir Alex started with the 4-3-3 formation when the 4-4-2 has been working wonders thus far. Of course, it was changed before half time with Rooney playing up front with Berba and Gibson moving to the left leaving Scholes and Fletcher in the center of midfield. After that they played as if their life depended on it. Those of you who don’t sense sarcasm in that statement can kindly kill yourself in a painful manner.

As woeful as United’s first half was, Blackpool’s was fantastic. Charlie Adam was spreading the ball here, there and everywhere, and more often than not, Patrice Evra was caught of out position leading to Blackpool attacks. Evra was perhaps at fault for the second goal after he was caught ballwatching while DJ Campbell headed it into the back of the net. What’s worrying for United is that defending from set pieces has traditionally been one of their strengths, but this time the marking was all over the place.

What changed it in the second half was the introduction of Ryan Giggs who brought more urgency into the game. Another pivotal moment was the removal of the ineffective Shrek, for whom a certain Javier Hernandez came on. If Rooney continues playing like this, United fans will have to change his chant slightly from “White Pele” to “White Adebayor” perhaps.

By the way, Berbatov is top scorer for United with 19 goals and Hernandez has 8. Nani has more goals than Shrek who has only netted 3 in the season. Why on earth aren’t Berbatov and Hernandez United’s front pairing? Its a question only the gum chewing bespectacled wise old man can answer.

Entertaining - but he might pay the price for it

In the end, it finished 3-2 in favour of United. This was perhaps as much because of Ian Holloway’s policy of attacking as because of United’s policy of attacking. Towards the end, United were easily breaking and stretching Blackpool. Its definitely entertaining football, but will it help them fight off relegation this season is anyone’s guess. After all they’re only 6 points clear of 18th placed Wigan.

Arsenal are going to Wember-ley

Its been so long since Arsenal have gone to Wembley that their coach driver claims he’s forgotten the way. He was quoted as saying “I think I’ll have to go and buy a map. But the problem is, the mapmakers are holding out for a buck and Arsene [Wenger] has said that he won’t pay more than 50 pence.”

The crisis was resolved after the map paid the other 50 pence.

By the way, this blog (and me specifically) predicted that Arsenal would end their trophy drought this season. So I hope they beat Birmingham.

Richard Keys is doing too much Crystal Meth
“There are some dark forces at work here. I asked if we could make people aware of the fact that [Massey and Keys] had had a conversation and thought it was best for both parties to move on. I was told ‘no’. And 24 hours passed, by which time the world had gone mad. I don’t know why I was told ‘no’… I remember saying to Sian ‘I need to make this official, on behalf of Andy and myself we unreservedly apologise for our behaviour. It was wrong.’

.

Careful with that meth, Keysey

That’s part of the official apology tendered by Richard Keys. Who on earth are the dark forces here? Sauron? Voldemort? Silly me, of course he’s referring to the Sith Lord Palpatine.

Fact of the matter is – Keys was wrong. I don’t know what difference it would’ve made if he’s apologized on Monday or on Tuesday, so long as this Monday are Tuesday isn’t a year, five or twenty down the line.


 

 

 

I suspect most of you are familiar with Andy Gray, commentator, analyst and Scotch of great and undeserved renown.
Well you may have also heard that he has just been shitcanned by Sky who provide us (via Espn) with our Premier League fix.

"Hi, I'm an idiot, and I no longer have a job"

The circumstances of his dismissal are fairly simple. Think of the Dean Jones-Hashim Amla fiasco and replace Jones with Gray and Muslims with Women.
The idiot thought his mike was off and said some stupid things(YouTube it if you wish to hear).

Gray and his colleague and fellow brainless idiot Richard Keys basically questioned a woman’s ability to understand anything as ‘complex’ as the offside rule and trotted out the general “they belong in the kitchen making me soup” attitude. The context being the officiating of Lineswoman Sian Massey in the Pool-Wolves game

She got it all right actually

However sexism is not the only thing that fills up Andy Gray’s cup of idiocy . Gray is one of the most shameless proponents of Xenophobia in English football, and unlike Racism or Sexism there is an institutionalised approval almost bordering on encouragement of xenophobia in the modern game, from the media, the FA and from talking (sh*t)heads like Gray.

Anyone who has watched Premier League football over the last few years shoud be able to recall the numerous times when British and Foreign players have been given differential treatment by all quarters.

Consider the instance when Eduardo dived in the Champions League against Celtic, there was an immediate queue of people forming to formally condemn him as the worst human being since Hitler. Contrast this with the studied ignoring of Steven Gerrard’s oft repeated and frankly badly acted gamesmanship. These double standards extend beyond diving.

Rooney’s vicious (and hilarious) attack on some Portuguese bugger’s nuts were explained away as the evil foreigner Ronaldo’s fault, just because Ronaldo was supposed to have been making fun of him. If I attacked someone’s genitals everytime somebody poked fun at me…well I’m pretty sure society would frown upon it.

This xenophobia seems quite often to go hand in hand with another moronic attitide prevalent in England today. The notion that Leg-breaking assaults are “part and parcel” of the game. Well. No, they’re not. The two trends often tie together withpPoor, innocent English “He’s not that kind of player” types like Martin Taylor and Ryan Shawcross are painted as Freaking victims of the tricksy, dishonest foreigners who have no business to be skillful or have quick feet.

Xenophobia is now visible even in the treatment of managers by the English press. Contrast the treatment good old uncle Woy got from the press with what Rafa recieved. Contrast the furore over Sam Allardyce’s dismissal with the sneering treatment of Avram Grant.

Andy Gray who was always quickest to jump to John Terry’s defense for a cynical foul or to Gerrard’s defense for a dive and just as quick to condemn a foreign player as “one of those types” i.e. Cheats is/was but one of the symptoms of a general malaise infecting English football, one that is particularly odious to us foreign supporters of the PL.

Team of the Decade!

Posted: January 1, 2011 in General Football

Happy New Year to all the readers of this brilliantly awesome one of a kind blog. So Nishanth and I have looked back at the players of the past decade and decided to assemble the Team of the Decade.

Let me tell you guys that this wasn’t easy at all. In fact it was probably the hardest thing that I’ve done.

So here we have it, the team of the Decade 2000 – 2010

Iker Casillas

Lahm                        Nesta                           Cannavaro                    Ashley Cole

Messi                              Xavi                           Makelele                    Zidane

Cristiano Ronaldo

Henry

Subs – Buffon, David Villa, Cambiasso, Kaka, Gerrard, Vidic

Coach of the Decade – Jose Mourinho.  Won laurels at all the clubs he’s managed. Probably the only low point of his career (other than the 5-0 mauling at Barca) is NOT winning the Champions League when he was at Chelsea. That shows you the kind of coach he is.

Coach of the Decade

Honourable Mention

These are the players that we really debated about having either in the team or on the substitutes bench, but we couldn’t find any place for them. They’re fantastic players in reality, of course, but its just that we felt that the players we put in the 11 and on the bench were better; in some cases marginally so.

Honorouble Mention – Thuram, Van Nistelrooy, Van der Sar, Nedved, Lampard, Paul Scholes, Andres Iniesta, Ronaldinho, Vieira/Roy Keane, Bergkamp, Totti, Maldini, Roberto Carlos

Hurray! The assorted knick knacks column is back after a really really long time. Snow prevented me from putting up updates for the past few weeks. I mean, what is up with that? Damn global warming. Or is it global cooling? Anyway, back to more important matters.

Man United beat Sunderland to stay on top

That’s the way its done best, if you’re on top, but you still have to come first if you know what I mean. Dimitar Berbatov bagged a brace in a game that started off with a bang for the Red Devils. Anderson hit the frame of the goal once and so did Berbatov. Berbatov took his chances quite well and played a very good role linking up play with the midfield.

Rooney too looked sharp, at least he did in the first half with some glorious cross field balls. However in the second half, Roonaldo was anonymous. Its a good thing United didn’t win a penalty though.

Anderson had a really good game. His midfield runs sometimes leaves the opposition wondering as to how to stop him – its somewhat like a bull charging at you. His touches could be better and his execution when it comes to passing should definitely improve. He sees the pass, but when he releases the ball, its a fraction too late or a shade too powerful. Evra has challenged him to make consistent his sporadic pieces of brilliance. I hope he proves Evra wrong.

Like a bull in midfield (at times)

All in all a good game for Man United, not so much for Steve Bruce though. Bruce was without a lot of players especially in the Center Back role. Danny Welbeck was also ineligible as per the conditions of his loan deal, meaning Bruce was without a real goal scoring threat. Darren Bent was largely anonymous and Gyan just ran around a lot.

London Derby

It is official. Chelsea have forgotten how to win. And Drogba has forgotten how to score. Hah! I’m glad United aren’t the only team where the main striker has lost his goalscoring touch. Even he missed a penalty, mind you.

Lets be very fair, on the topic of Arsenal versus Chelsea, Arsenal deserved to win. They were the better team, they looked more incisive and most importantly they scored more goals.

Frank Lampard made his long awaited return for Chelsea but even he couldn’t inspire the Blues to a win or even to snatch a draw. It was a cracker of a game for neutrals, even in the first half to be honest, where only one goal was scored.

Chelsea started out better, with a little bit of creativity and some forward runs by Lampard. However once Arsenal got off first gear, there was no looking back. It was a really good move by Arsene Wenger to play Johann Djourou along with Koscielny as his Center Back pairing. Djourou was commanding in the air and won a lot of the air balls, and perhaps even negated the physical threat of Didier Drogba.

Good move, Mr Wenger

After Alex Song scored the first, I was pretty sure Arsenal were on their way to winning the game. Then when the second half kick started, Arsenal scored again through Fabregas. Chelsea had the ball nicked off them in midfield, well not really, but they did lose the ball in that area. Essien’s tackle put the ball in Walcott’s pass who squared the ball to Fabregas in order to avoid Cech’s charge and the Arsenal skipper made to mistake.

The third goal happened within two minutes of that. Chelsea had the ball nicked off them in midfield. Feels like I just typed that. Oh wait, I did. This time Fabregas played in Walcott who put it in the net.

Chelsea did look like they might recover actually. Ivanovic headed a goal home from Didier Drogba’s free kick and you wondered whether Arsenal were going to, well.. do an Arsenal. Ivanovic later on made another charging run only for Drogba to take the ball off him at the crucial moment and hit an Arsenal defender from his shot.

It didn’t look like Chelsea’s day and to be very fair, Ancelotti didn’t have too much on the bench to change things around. Mikel had started but was anonymous so he was subbed at half time for Ramires (who did close to nothing). Malouda lost the ball for Arsenal’s third and he paid the price by making his way for – – GAEL KAKUTA, an experienced youngster – isn’t that an oxymoron? Ancelotti’s third attacking move was to bring on Bosingwa for Fereirra. Bosingwa’s only contribution was to shoot from really far out and miss completely.

On the Arsenal squad – Van Persie did a good shift as center forward. Held the ball up, good link up play. Only disappointed with him for this one chance where maybe he could have played in Walcott but instead decided to go for it himself from a really difficult angle. He didn’t get a goal, but his contribution wasn’t unnoticed, for sure.

Walcott was good, his pace troubled the Chelsea defence. Although initially he struggled to get the better of Ashley Cole, but towards the second half it could be fair to say he made Ashley Cole his bitch – much to the delight of all the Arsenal fans, world over!

Fabregas was really good, even though he started off with a few misplaced passes. One of his turns in particular was simply sublime and he left two Chelsea players in his wake with that. Arsenal are glad to have him back I’m sure. Alex Song also put in a really good shift and even had a goal to his name at the end of the day.

Glad to have him back

Jack Wilshere ought to take a bow for his performance. I thought he’s be easily bullied out of the ball by the likes of Essien and Mikel, but he did really well to hold off the physical threat of Chelsea’s three man midfield. In particular there was an instance where he held off Essien and Ramires and eventually won a free kick for the Gunners.

Even Clichy didn’t look as vulnerable as he always does and you know that means that Arsenal are going to win the game.

So that means that Arsenal have gone to second place two points behind leaders Manchester United and on top of Man City because of superior goal difference.

Tottenham’s victory over Aston Villa

Just a small note on Arsenal’s arch-rivals as well. They were fantastic against Villa. Period. Even after Jermaine Defoe got sent off, they kept the ball really well and to be honest it looked like Villa was the team that was down to 10 men. Modric has rarely been given credit for the Lilywhites’ performances thus far. But hear this – Modric is sublime, they’ll miss him more than Gareth Bale in my opinion, some of the balls he picks out is simply beautiful. If you don’t believe me, go watch Spurs’ first goal against Villa and check out his pass to Alan Hutton, just before the goal was scored.

Take a bow, Luka.

 

http://video.rutube.ru/de5a69559e5df227d6c6c0e669d3b102

Nothing if you ask me. Just check out how they absolutely demolished Espanyol 5-1 in this game. Even if you hate Barcelona, you cannot deny the fact that they play some of the most attractive football on show. Messi and Xavi are capable of passing a ball through the eye of a needle.

Pedro is a player who can play wide or can even lead the line and do so effectively. Check out Messi’s pass to Pedro for the first goal, by the way. With Xavi pulling the strings in the midfield, David Villa, Messi and Pedro pop up from the wings and make some fantastic runs through the center sometimes (1st goal, for example) and if your defence even switches off for a second, then you’re screwed.

The draws are out and Arsene Wenger will probably be wishing he kept his mouth shut.

Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk

AC Milan v Tottenham

Valencia v Schalke

Inter Milan v Bayern Munich

Lyon v Real Madrid

Arsenal v Barcelona

Marseille v Manchester United

Copenhagen v Chelsea
We’ve watched most of these ties last season. Last seasons two finalists get it on and Munich have a shot at revenge which they’ll most likely get. Tottenham get to face the other team from Milan and they’ll find themselves at familiar ground when they go back to the San Siro.

Arsenal draw Barcelona. Nuff said.