Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday:
11 Goal Trifecta Link-O-Rama Edition

Shit - been gone for a minute - another new job role at work. Anyhow, while I've been busy actually working full days, Arsenal have gone out and won very impressively in three different competitions, with lots of Joga Bonito on display - I managed to find and link to every Arsenal goal from the last 3 matches- all 11 of them. Enjoy

FA Cup 3rd Round
Usually in the 3rd round of the FA Cup the big premiership clubs are more likely to draw a lower division club like Stoke, Blackpool, etc and cruise into the 4th round (think UGA being put in a pot with all D1 football teams - chances are they are going to draw a team significantly weaker than them like say Central Michigan) rather than another heavyweight, but Arsenal had no such luck: they not only drew Liverpool but Liverpool away. Oh, and midfield maestro Cesc Fabregas, who is very much the straw that stirs the Arsenal drink, did not play. Liverpool did not lose at home in all of 2006, so it was a daunting task to be sure.

Liverpool 1-3 Arsenal

What an impressive win for Arsenal, with Tomas Rocisky Harry Potter doing to Liverpool exactly what he did to the US at the World Cup this summer - singlehandedly putting them to the sword with a stunning double. It was a bit of rope-a-dope, with Arsenal allowing Liverpool much of the possession and then hitting them on the break. Rosicky scored a stunning opener, then after he put the Arse 2-0 up the travelling Gooners sang loud enough for me to hear in the pub "Are you Tottenham in disguise?", a pretty sweet double dig at both Liverpool and Arsenal's little sister Spurs.

Harry Potter sinks Liverpool with some black magic;
the Christian Right in America immediately
denounces him as a bad influence on children.

Liverpool scrapped one back thanks to Dirk Kuyt Johnny from Cobra Kai in Karate Kid, but soon after Thierry Henry put the game to bed with a goal that only he could score: he got the ball near midfield, booted it around 2 defenders into open space in the corner, ran 35 yards to get it, beat the defender to it, then attacked the goal, turned another defender and coolly slotted past the keeper. Yes Carracher and Dudek could have done better but it was still a brilliant TH14 goal, after 80 minutes of him doing exactly nothing except for making one 2nd half run in which the Brit announcer hilariously said "Thierry Henry... he's on his bicyclette...".

Knocking the FA Cup holders out of the competition on their own hallowed ground is a great win for this young team to build on for sure.

Arsenal have drawn Bolton at home for the FA Cup 4th round (round of 32).

League Cup Quarterfinal
Just 3 days later and they had to travel back up to Liverpool to play in the League Cup quarterfinal, which I don't have time to explain fully but you can get an understanding of here. Both teams played less than their strongest sides, and amazingly the average age of Arsenal's outfield players was a ridiculous TWENTY. Surely these kids would get stomped away at legendary Anfield at night, right?

Liverpool 3-6 Arsenal

All 9 goals:
0-1, Aliadiere
1-1, Fowler
1-2, Baptista
1-3, Song
1-4, Baptista
1-5, Baptista
2-5, Gerrard
3-5, Hyypia
3-6, Baptista

Not so much. The kids were rampant and played Liverpool off the park, with "The Beast" Baptista finally showing signs of his former self by scoring no less than four goals, and struggling young striker Aliadiere playing a blinder, scoring the first and creating a few for Baptista. Baptista recognized Alidiaere's effort by shining his shoes after the 6th goal. Hell they should have scored 7 (Baptista had a penalty saved) and by many accounts they could have easily scored 10.

"The Beast" finally celebrates
his Arsenal coming out party

Even though it was the League Cup, it was an amazing result and Liverpool's worst home loss in almost 100 years. Arsenal have drawn Spurs for the 2 legged semifinal, the winner of which will meet the winner of Chel$ea-Wycome.

Premiership Round 23
Blackburn 0-2 Arsenal


Arsenal were up against it after only 12 minutes, thanks to a combination of the ridiculous antics of uber-cunt Robbie Savage and the ineptitude of referee Rob Stiles. The red mist descended on Ewood Park as Arsenal's best player this season, Gilberto, was given a straight red when his retaliation for Savage's hacking deserved no more than a yellow at most.

The red mist descends on Ewood Park: Gilberto is off

As for Savage, I fucking hate that cheating bastard, and I'm not alone. Oh well, I can always fire up YouTube and feel the warm fuzzies watching:

1) Cesc absolutely toying with him and making him look foolish by nutmegging him last month on his way to setting up Arsenal's final goal in thier 6-2 romp over Blackburn at home

2) Robin Van Persie scoring one of the most beautiful goals you'll ever see despite Savage's sly attempt to hack RVP down from behind after being schooled, that RVP stepped out of before scoring from an absurd angle (Highbury, 2006)

3) Robert Pires unintentionally smashing the ball right off Savage's fucking face (0:23 - 0:37), leaving him with a bloody nose

So staring at 80 minutes with 10 men away in the North on a cold and windy day on not the greatest pitch didn't look good for a team based on slick fast passing on a smooth field. Did I mention the torrential rain? No matter - a beautifully executed set piece, Henry to Toure, and then later on an absolutely brilliant Henry & Fabregas collaboration and it was 2-nil to the 10 man Arsenal. The travelling Gooners were now taunting their hosts with song: "10 men! We've only got 10 men, we've only got 10 men, we've only got 10 men..."

Beautiful stuff.

For the first time in over a month the team does not have a midweek match and will get to rest up a bit before the always huge clash on Sunday with Manchester United. United were off midweek too so it should be a great match as both teams will be rested.

This team seems to be coming together and is getting back to the point of being exciting must see TV every time they take the field - more on that soon...

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