Tag Archives: barcelona

Hear No Evil, Robin Van Persie

That match against Barcelona was somewhat typical in that we lost, a ref made a terrible decision, and it has ended our Champion’s League hopes. It’s the Barca trifecta, the dirty gits.

The whole thing was marred by the sending off of Robin Van Persie. What was a Barcelona advantage at 1-1 quickly turned into a Barcelona win when Arsenal went a man down.

Simply put, the ref was a joke. He was having a laugh.

You're a joke, ref

Given the missing Alex Song and Theo Walcott, and going a man down at the 55th, we didn’t do all that bad. Funny that you can say that with what statisticians are saying were 0 shots on goal.

Never Forget

Arsenal’s victory over Barcelona yesterday was the stuff that dreams are made of. A bit of a rivalry has been developing between the clubs, and Arsenal has now tipped the scales in their favor. It was an epic performance against an equally brilliant challenger, and Arsenal deserve much more praise than anyone outside the Arsenal blogosphere are giving them.

The start of the game was indicative that Arsenal could pull off a win. We were dominating possession and getting some really good opportunities. It was only after the first 15 minutes that Barcelona began to settle. We continued to play a high line and pressed possession at every opportunity, which seemed to catch Barcelona off guard. The high line only failed us a couple of times (which is a couple of times too many), mainly due to Barcelona’s speed and a lack of concentration in our defense. But that could be overly critical.

As Arseblog mentioned, Barcelona were playing at their best. We should keep this in mind because it’s not as if we just got lucky or they had an off day. We beat them on their best day, with almost their best squad (like ours). We can never forget this.

The main of the night was Jack Wilshere, and everyone is unanimous in that proclamation. The boy wonder is now a man wonder, whatever that is. He played his own style of football that we goners are used to seeing day in and day out. However, he played it against what people continue call the best team in the world. The collective age and experience of Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, and Messi didn’t deter him at all. He was calm and collective on the ball, maintained possession in dangerous situations, and created opportunities and passing lanes. He was in there.

He looks for Arshaviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!!!! Martin Tyler was getting really heated up as Nasri barreled down that right side from Fabregas’ pass. Just check this video courtesy of Arsenalist and 101greatgoals. Arshavin is a little deserving of redemption from the critics and pundits that have dogged him. Although his form has dipped slightly, he is still a great player, and he proved that in what I already called a brilliant substation from Wenger. I was confused that Denilson wasn’t the selection, but Arhsavin proved to be the right choice. The little Russian is working out well as a substitute assassin. That second goal was a thing of beauty, from the back line to the back of the net in a matter of seconds.

Arsenal V Barcelona - Trolls

Fabregas had a great game as well, although he was marked heavily by the opposition. It was a good thing Wilshere had such a great game, because Fabregas was barely allowed wiggling room because of the heavy pressure on him. Although Busquets had some poor lapses, by and large Fabregas was cut off. The Barcelona camp had said that he was among their top priorities, and it showed on the pitch. The game had particular significance to Fabregas, with an uncertain future and what I’m sure were conflicted feelings about playing his boyhood club. It was great to see him lead Arsenal to victory.

Alex Song was forced to play a stunted role because of the early yellow card. The early yellow was a huge decision from the referee, which was given without prior offense. From that point on, everybody held their breath every time Song went in for a challenge. We all know that even a clean challenge can result in another card depending on the reaction of the opposing player, so it was a dicey situation for Song. Fortunately he continued to press well and came off in what was a perfect sub from Wenger early in the second half.

Walcott’s speed gave Barcelona problems and confusion. Unsure of his movements, cutting inside or pushing out, Barcelona allowed Walcott to create space and openings for Arsenal. When Bendtner came on for Walcott in the 77th, I think Barcelona felt as though they’d escaped the speed problem. Nasri proved them wrong.

Koscielny was a stalwart in our back line. Although both he and Djourou played well, Koscielny was the man who stood out. Every game he is better and better, and this was the match where you wanted to see him really stand out. He made Barcelona’s strikers look like chumps.

Clichy could be blamed for Barcelona’s goal, but he also set up Van Persie’s. Besides, the whole line was caught off by that Barcelona goal. I don’t think it’s fair to single out Clichy. Clichy was an instrumental figure in taking apart the Barcelona passes.

Robin van Persie was a menace for Pique and Abidal. And frankly for Maxwell and Dani Alves as well. He had 7 shots, more than anyone else on the pitch (2 more than Messi). He also had the most shots on goal. Van Persie’s first goal was a thing of beauty. It was the type of shot that strikers take and you get angry for wasting such a narrow opportunity. But guess what? Those crazy shots can go in if the circumstances are right.

Half Karate ChopHere’s a nice little gif of Samir being a badass has also surfaced courtesy of arsegirl on tumblr. That looks like a pulled Karate Chop.

One of the things we’ll benefit from on the return leg in Barcelona is the appearance of Sagna. Although Eboue was great in the right back position that he now frequents, we all know that at the end of the day Sagna offers an edge in both defensive and offensive strength. Eboue put in a solid performance and it’s a good thing that he is still a member of the squad, despite his ups and downs. Let’s all remember that Eboue was party of the 11 that beat Barca.

As usual, Zonal Marking has a nice write-up of the match.

The New LehmannAnd @GunnerArchitect pointed me in the direction of this nice little clip from Nike which shows all of Fabregas’ secrets. It’s pretty much exactly what he did on the second goal to set up that lengthy Nasri pass/run.

Here’s a clip of Szczesny pumping it via 7amkickoff. With moves like that, he’s going to give Lehmann a run for his money as “most bizarre Arsenal keeper”. Yeah Szczesny… give it to that ghost… do it. Given his performance, he can celebrate however he’d like. He never waive red, and came up with some really spectacular saves. This guy was our third string keeper not so long ago!

Messi is #2, Barcelona are Trolls

THE DAY IS AT HAND.

It’s put up or shut up time for the old Arsenal. Today we host Barcelona in the fabled Champion’s League in a game which surely the entire world will be watching. When we have a global audience for big games like this I get extremely excited and extremely worried.

For one, the lads have the opportunity to really strut their stuff and make what many people say is “the best team in the world” look like a bunch of school kids. On the other hand, “the best team in the world” has yet another opportunity to make us look bad.  Barcelona has become the latest bandwagon team and I just hate having conversations with bandwagoners about Arsenal.

Barcelona Is Number Two

I am crossing my fingers and hoping for a thrilling match in which Arsenal put things to rest.

In other news, Messi says Barca is just number two. Either that or he has a turtle head poking out.

News ahead of a game like this is always frenzied. The last reports out of Arsenal are that Nasri is fully fit and will be starting. This is a bit of a relief. Sagna is still serving the red card ban, so we won’t have our regular back line. This is the one issue we are going to have with our line-up.

Out of the Barcelona camp, Puyol is still injured, which can only be a good thing for us. That mop-haired muppet is a regular in their side, and we’ll certainly benefit from his absence.

And interesting fact out of The Independent is that Messi has never scored on English soil. I’m not sure that really matters, as those sorts of stats are only the sort of thing people like to write about. They don’t hold any bearing on the actual proceedings. Pique has been slightly off form.

I set off to make a Barcelona v Arsenal graphics and things got way out of hand. I ended up making one those images that you would see in front of a boxing match or a UFC fight. It’s only missing some explosions and some gigantic fighting text.

You can see the finished result below, which can be clicked to get a full screen version (1920×1080, perfect for widescreen desktops).

Arsenal V Barcelona

After spending so much time staring at those ugly Spanish mugs, I felt the need to do something mean to them. It took me awhile to figure out what exactly, but suffice to say that I accomplished what I wanted to set out to do.

Here you can see the Barcelona players for who they really are, a bunch of trolls.

Arsenal V Barcelona - Trolls

If you are both an Arsenal fan AND a reddit user, then I hope you find that extra special.

Come on Arsenal!

Nasri’s Back for Barca

And suddenly Nasri is back! Arsenal have announced that Nasri is fully fit and has been named for the squad against Barcelona. That’s just in the nick of time. Let us rejoice.

It’s really nice to have a player in the squad that beats injury recovery estimates.

Here We Go Again

Saturday’s match against Wolves was the ideal way to set the mood for Wednesday’s clash with Barcelona. Robin Van Persie was in great form as he finished both goals for us. The rest of the squad was also up to the task, and this is evident in the fact that Wolverhampton had 0 shots on goal, and only 2 shots to begin with. We were dominant, and Wolves only had a couple of spells where they looked capable of producing anything.

Cesc Fabregas was a mastermind in the midfield, setting up all sorts of opportunities from a variety of positions. We truly should have won that Wolves match by upwards of 5 goals save for the mystical powers of Wayne Hennessey tending goal. Although Hennessey was called on to make a number of superb saves, he never had much difficulty with Fabregas’ shots.

In fact if there were any criticism of Fabregas in that match, it would be that his goal-sense is a little off. He’s always in the right spot at the right time, but his shots head wide or directly at the keeper. It will be great to see how his attempts at goal against Barcelona will turn out… perhaps that’s the match when he will get on the score-sheet again.

Arshavin’s form has continued to improve. This is crucial given Nasri’s injury. Without Nasri’s fluid movement and passing, Arshavin is really going to have to step up against Barcelona. Ugh. Just writing that unfortunate city name causes sharp pain. And thoughts of Lehmann throwing his body around the pitch like a crash test dummy, screaming German profanity with eyes full of fire.

Barcelona has me nervous, and we’re more than 24 hours away. If this trend continues I may end up pissing myself at the first whistle. I may require so much liquid courage during the match that I’ll be pissing myself at the final whistle too. If it’s a win, it’ll all be worth it.

Come on Arsenal.

Reader Comments: A Review

Apparently it’s not appropriate for a guy who writes a blog to speak his mind, especially when it comes to a certain player’s future with our illustrious club. I’m talking about Fabregas.

Let’s look at some reader comments shall we?

Steven writes:

They want our captain and playmaker, he is under contract for 3 more years and he also wants to go. No problem, we have put a price on him: 80 million pounds or no business. The ball is in their court now…the either put up with the way the transfer market is or they simply shut up, Barca players, presidents, press and all! When you want a top player, you pay top dollars!End of.

I couldn’t agree more. Well… maybe the price tag is a bit too high, but I agree with the sentiment. The issue though is that Barca is a massive and resourceful club, who despite having money problems, will surely scrounge up the funds necessary.

A chap named ‘jammer’ provided 5 decent reasons as to why Fabregas has ample justification and reason to leave, if he really wants to.

In my opinion, cesc is going to leave and I can’t blame him for numerous reasons.

1. cecs literally breaks his ankle getting the team back in the game against Barcelona, where they scored 2 easy goals. And we lose 4 1 in the return.

2. when hes on the field, he is surrounded by medicore players, denesion, alumunia, fabiska, silvestre, diaby who blows hot and cold, Bend who needs 10 touches to control the ball, and any talents players at the club are under 20.

3. INJURIES, Ramsey and Edu, cesc was on the pitch when they happened.

4. He actually wants to win something and he is reaching his prime age.

5. This season

Fair enough, and a good supporting list to my main point.

JoeB seems to think that I listen to ‘some sky sports hack’ for all my news:

I can’t believe you’ve been convinced by some sky sports hack that we’ll sell our best player to a club that by their own admission need Arsenal FC to comply in the sale, which we most likely won’t.

It’s just that sky sports hack has such a nice smile! But seriously… these rumors have been swelling for years from multiple sources. It would be terrible for Arsenal to not comply in a good offer for a player that doesn’t want to stay anymore.

QD wants to reel things back in a bit:

So what if fab is leaving and why are you getting so scared of what really. It’s only football and fab leaving will not be the end of the great club Arsenal. So everyone should just calm down and let arsene and the managers at the club get on with it.

Fab is a wonderful player but if he has to go then so be it. Another player, another star will rise again .

And I think that is a great point. Maybe QD has pointed out what I really intended in the first place… let’s all just relax. The club will be fine, with or without Fabregas.

Paul N writes:

Why add to the hysteria? especially as as Arsenal fan and blog. No one is fooling themselves, if Cesc wants to go, SEE YA MAN! well, only for about 70 mil.

Find something to write about other that the flavor of the day, especially in such light.

Fair enough. I didn’t want to add to any hysteria though… I had felt like all the other Arsenal bloggers were actually trying to assert he would stay. I’m ready to not care, either way. I will henceforth do my best to avoid flavors of the day Paul.

gunner17 sympathizes with my wife:

i’m sick of all these down and insecure arsenal fans. i’d hate to be married to them. as soon as barca flashes it’s eyelashes at your boy you fall to bits! it’s all fatalism and hysteria and mad jealousy. grow a fucking pair.

That’s an interesting approach at disagreement. First, Barca has been public about Cesc for a long time. Second, Cesc has not been good at refuting interest. Third, rest assured, my pair is well grown.

My mortal enemy Mike wrote:

Why bother to blog if you have nothing to say?! Have I learnt anything? No. Was it interesting?No.

Don’t think I’ll visit again…

I thought I did say something. Maybe I wasn’t loud enough… but you know, when I started this blog, the one thing I wanted to ensure was that I always taught people something with every post. Because, you know, people read blogs to get educated. Mike, did you check out my review of Tottenham’s Unforgettable Product Line? Maybe you could learn some things there. But again, like I said, as far as I know everyone is writing stories about how Fabregas will stay, he has to stay, we need him to stay… let’s just let it all go.

But user Erik really summed up his opinions must eloquently. Although I disagree with him, he clearly speaks with intelligence and a clear mind.

I don’t think he’ll go to Barcelona this season… I think he’ll go in the 2011-2012 season when he has a year left in his contract and his valuation will lower between £25-30m then.

At the moment he is too expensive for Barca, too expensive for a player who is not even guaranteed a starting place in their current line up.

A player exchange between Yaya and Cesc is not going to happen, Yaya’s agent has said he does not want to join us.

Arsenal will NOT reduce their demands, if anything I think we are the best team in the world for not getting done with crap deals, we got Arshavin for like £15m when Zenit wanted like £25m and we get all our players for reasonable fees.

And another way to look at it, is that Cesc might have the power to get the players we need in the squad… he could easily sit down with Wenger and say: “yes, I beleive in many of our youngsters but we are carrying some deadwood which we need to replace with quality players, you do that and I’ll be happy to stay for another season”

That’s what I’d do if I was Cesc anyway… he is not far from getting trophies here but we might need at least a new GK, 1-2 CB depending on Gallas, 1 DMC to replace Denilson and be cover for Song.

Plenty of valid points Erik.

No more talk about Fabregas at Arsenal until the deal is done, or, through some unnatural fluke, he actually shows up at the locker room for training.