Showing posts with label Arsenal Joga Bonita Wednesday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arsenal Joga Bonita Wednesday. Show all posts

Friday, February 29, 2008

William Gallas: No Entiendo

Another thing that has been rattling around in my brain all week was the reaction in Britain to Arsenal captian William Gallas' behavior at the end of the Birmingham-Arsenal match. He kind of freaked out a bit when Birmingham was awarded a last minute penalty- he stormed off to the far end of the field, then when McFadden converted the penalty he kicked the shit out of the advertising board, and then at the final whistle he fell to the ground and was pretty emotional.

Hard to describe unless you saw it. As Myles said:

In that moment, Gallas saw 8 months of hard work by 30 people go down the toilet . Having started the game by witnessing the most horrific injury he'd ever seen, Gallas ended it with a close-up view of the most stupid defensive error he'd ever seen.

Anyhow, what struck me through the week is how the press in Britain reacted to his actions. He was universally criticized, and he was slammed pretty hard for acting inappropriately, especially for a captain, and some even said that Arsenal should strip him of the captaincy or sell him. Like the injury porn thing, I couldn't help but compare this to how this would have been reported in America. I'm pretty certain that here he would be praised for being emotional, that showing emotion would be a positive thing, showing his team how much he cared and how they should to, setting an example to the team & younger players, he cares so much, etc, etc.

Interesting to say the least.

Furthermore, this is the country who counts Gazza's emotional outburst when he broke down crying in the middle of a match at World Cup 1990 as one of the defining moments in their sporting history, and this was lauded rather than condemned.

Would the reaction to Gallas' actions be different if he wasn't Gallic but rather British?

Color me confused.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday: Cesc Appeal

It's been quite a week for Cesc Fabragas, now a grizzled veteran of 20 years and rapidly becoming the iconic talisman of the new {and improved???} Arsenal. Last week he scored a massive 1st goal away to Sparta Prague in the 1st leg of the Champions League qualifying match, putting Arsenal in a great position to qualify. Saturday he scored the only goal in Arsenal's 1-0 win over Man Citeh in the last 10 minutes. Today he came on as a late sub and scored again against Sparta Prauge and Arsenal indeed did qualify for the Champions League. Oh, and he was also rated as the #2 hottie in all of world soccer by Kickette.

The best is saved for last: the humiliation of one Robbie Savage {0:37}

But forget all that. I want to highlight again how mature and classy Cesc is, especially for his age, and how he not only always seems to do the right thing on the field when he has the ball, but he always seems to say the right thing in interviews, which is pretty remarkable considering his age, and the fact that he has been doing it since he was 16.

Cesc is Spanish, and played on the Spanish Under 21 national team with Antonio Puerta. In today's match Cesc wore a black armband in honor of his tragically lost former teammate, which was a pretty nice gesture, both by him and the club {the reports made it sound like he alone wore an armband, but I did not see the match today so i'm not 100% that this is accurate}.

After the match he dedicated his goal to Puerta and said the following:

"I was really sad when I heard Antonio hadn't made it. He was a special guy, although not particularly a special friend. But I played with him for one year in the under-21s and we made our international debut together. I knew he was really ill and then I heard he hadn't made it and that's why I wore the armband. The goal is for him, everything is for him - he was a special guy. It just shows you may know where you are today but in life you don't where you'll be tomorrow. He was a talented player and what's happened is a terrible shame."

That is pretty classy stuff from such a young kid, both the gesture and the words.

Fab4, C4, Cescy Beast, whatever the hell you choose to call him, I freaking love that kid, and I continue to be impressed with him as a person, especially one of such a young age.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday: Big Tone

OK, so Joga Bonito isn't the first thing that comes to mind when one says Tony Adams. But he is an Arsenal legend, captain in 3 decades, who lifted 7 major trophies for Arsenal at Highbury and was on 2 double winning sides {1998, 2002}.

Tony Adams: hardcore, hard drinker, hard nut, Arsenal legend

He spent all 22 years of his career at Arsenal, became Arsenal's youngest ever captain at age 21, and remained captain for 14 years until his retirement. He was the rock of the famous "Arsenal back four", the most famous defense in modern English football. In 1991, Arsenal won the league with only 1 loss and amazingly only conceded 18 goals over a 38 match season. And he took the biggest negative of his career, his alcoholism that led to a conviction on "drink driving" {the Brits seem to have a cooler sounding term for EVERYTHING} and spent 3 months in prison, and turned it into a positive, by coming clean, seeking help, conquering his alcoholism, releasing a book about it, Addicted in 1998, and starting a charity that aims to help athletes with drinking, drug, or gambling problems.

One of the biggest legends in Arsenal and Highbury history, and one of my favorite players since I started my journey as an American Gooner back in 1999. His improbably goal in the final game of the 1998 season was the cherry on top of the 1998 Double Ice Cream Sundae and is one of the most revered goals in Highbury history:

Some dude's top 5 Arsenal goals at Highbury {I guess Th14 vs. Spurs was his #6}:

"Would you believe it?!?"

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Few Quick, Dirty, Random EPL Predictions

As the new season gets underway, I just want to get this down so I can look back in May at what a moron I was.

As much as I hate to say it, I think ManUtd will repeat as champions.

I think people are underestimating how much Chel$ea will be affected by the African Nations Cup this year, where among others they will lose the services of their 2 best players from last year, Drogba and Essien. I have a hunch that between this and the soap opera of Mourhino, Abromavich, and the new director of football {Isreali dude whose name I cannot remember}, they will not offer the challenge to ManUtd that everyone expects. I think they will finish 3rd.

Liverpool- no idea, but somewhere between 2nd and 5th {duh}.

The Arsenal- I for one am extremely excited about this Arsenal team, and I honestly think they will be better this year without TH14. In every single player interview so far players are going out of their way to talk about how great team spirit and the desire to fight for each other is- read between the lines and it seems to validate the rumors that the dressing room was not a united cause of peace, love, and happiness with the moody & mercurial Henry as captain the past 2 years. I also think Van Persie is going to blow up this year and score 20 goals, and in Eduardo hopefully Arsenal at long last have a clinical finisher. If they convert even 10-15% more of the million chances they created last year and missed, they will be massively improved. Also Rosicky and Hleb should both be better this year, as so often foreign players need a season to adjust to the EPL and in year two they vastly improve. I seriously think that they will surprise everyone who is automatically slotting them 4th or 5th. I think they will finish 3rd or even 2nd, and I fancy their chances at legitimate cup runs.

I also think that West Ham will be relegated. They stayed up by the skin of their teeth last year, with Tevez carrying them on his back the last several games to do so, and now he is gone. Sadly Ljungberg is past it, and without his pace he is much more limited in what he can do. So give me a fiver on West Ham going down.

So I'll take:

1. ManUtd
2. Arsenal
3. Chel$ea
4. Liverpool

And Pressed Ham going down.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday:
We Love{d} You Freddie Edition

Freddie Ljungberg, Arsenal 1998-2007.

A true Arsenal legend. Scored on his debut against biggest rivals Manchester United, a team he would have a habit of scoring against down through the years. Ran his socks off in every match. Scored huge goals in huge games. Fast as shit on the wing, ran right around people, made perfectly timed runs and was a great finisher. To say that he played with passion, was a fan favorite, and loved the club and fans is a bit of an understatement: dude dyed his hair red {back when he had it} to show he was Arsenal through and through. This begat his epic and famous song, to the tune "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons:

"We love you, Freddie
Because you've got red hair
We love you, Freddie
Because you're everywhere
We love you Freddie,
Cause you're Arsenal through and through."

Went on an unreal tear at the end of the 2002 season leading Arsenal to the double {Premiership & FA Cup titles}. Scored in consecutive FA Cup finals in 2001 & 2002, and his amazing 2002 late goal against Chelsea but the 1-0 match to bed as a 2-0 win, bringing the FA Cup to Highbury.

That FA Cup clinching goal.

Afterwards he was interviewed on live TV and asked one of those inane questions by the TV inverviewer like "Freddy, how does it feel?", to which he replied "It's fucking excellent!" which further cemented his legend status and provided the byline for soon to be created Arseblog.

The last two years he has lost his speed and can no longer run around people, and has only scored 1 league goal in the last 2 seasons and perhaps 4 total. Additionally his 70,000 pound a week salary was a bit of a burden as well considering his contribution, so he was sold to Pressed Ham United.

Thanks for everything Freddie, you will always be an Arsenal legend, loved by the fans, and lusted after by the ladies, who loved him as much if not more for his moonlighting gig as a CK underwear model. Best of luck Freddie.

How I'll remember FL8

How my sister will remember FL8

No thanks to some wankers named "NetResult", who just in the past week have made YouTube remove every single compilation video of Ljungberg that existed. Fuckers. {*Update: screw you, NetResult, I found one}.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday:
Invisible Wall Edition

Gotta rep soon to be new Arsenal captain and current Brasil captain Gilberto Silva, who has been an excellent captain to the young Brasil team this summer and has guided them to the finals of Copa America. Sadly he picked up a very ticky-tack yellow card late in last night's semifinal match with Uruguay, and as a result he will have to sit out the final on Sunday. Pretty weak sauce from the ref, especially considering how rough and tumble parts of that match were. If Brasil do in fact win the Copa it would be a shame that someone else will lift the cup after he has done such a good job captaining the team all spring and summer.

A defensive midfielder, he is nicknamed "the invisible wall" in Brasil {"volante" en Portugese} because he protects the back four and is not at all flashy, and you often do not notice his great play. In that regard he is the kind of player that is often taken for granted and only truly appreciated when he is not playing, as the resulting instability in the back and loss of shape contrasts to when he is on the field. A World Cup winner with Brasil in 2002, he was the only player on the team to play every minute of every match. With Arsenal he has won 1 EPL title, 2 FA Cups, and was a member of the 2004 "Invincibles" team that went the entire season undefeated. They only thing lacking from his club resume is a Champions League winners medal, although he does have a runners up medal from 2006.

Muito bom, Gilberto, muito bom

Finally, he is universally hailed as a class act, gentleman, and one of the humble and genuinely good guys in football. He also took his fellow countrymen under his wing and mentors them at Arsenal: first Baptista and then teenage sensation Denilson. Oh, and he also plays a pretty good cavaquinho, which is a Brasilian mandolin, although he says that musically he is not yet on the level of team samba organizer Ronaldinho.

Many, many people don't fully appreciate how good he is because his lack of flash, but I for one love the dude and am happy to give him thanks and praise.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Arsenal American Joga Bonito Wednesday:
America, Fuck Yeah! Edition

I'll start off with Benny Feilhaber's stunning gamewinner in the recent Gold Cup final against Mexico, since it is probably the best US goal I've ever seen.

Que golaso del Estados Unidos!

Yesterday, at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup The young US team must have been feeling extra patriotic. They were lucky to draw their first match with South Korea despite getting pretty much dominated, and they faced a Poland team high off their shocking 1-0 with only 10 men upset over always favored Brasil. The US spotted Poland a 1-0 lead and then cued up the soundtrack to "America Fuck Yeah!" and annihilated Poland by scoring 6 unanswered goals to win 6-1. One of the best performances by any US national team, well, ever, with a good bit of Joga Bonito to boot.

Warning: American asskicking ahead: proceed with caution.

Freddy Adu got a hattrick {his 1st was something special} and I'm pretty fired up that we have a dude named "Zizzo", who resembles Cesc Fabregas both physically and in his play. Overall the kind of performance by the youngsters that gives US soccer fans confidence and hope that we will be able to compete at the highest levels in the years to come.

Oh, and if you hate soccer, then just watch this video.

"America, fuck yeah!!!"

Happy 231, America.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday: Who Else?

A final tribute to Monsieur Va Va Voom himself, TH14.

First off, a great 2 part piece by Reebok on Henry the man, in his own words.

As normally crappy Reebok commercials go, these are pretty great.
Titi has a nice jumpshot, too.

Perhaps the best "my life" since Mary J's 2nd album

Most Henry compilations feature goals, goals, and goals, but dude has some incredible ball skills as well. Like Ronaldinho, sometimes the most amazing thing to watch with Titi is not his goals but simply when he has the ball and 2,3,4 and sometimes even more defenders cannot get it from him. Remember that in 2002-2003, he did something unprecedented: he lead the league with 24 goals and also led the league with 23 assists, which is just unfathomable. By the by, that is the all time Premiership assists record and will probably be so for a while, and I seriously doubt if the goals/assists double will ever be accomplished again. This video showcases his skills moreso than just his goalscoring ability.

Last but not least, this video featuring some dude doing a Th14 homage remix to 50 Cent's "P.I.M.P", which is truly International Bad Line: it is so bad that is absolutely rules.

"He'll take you on, he'll take the piss, and leave you on your ass,
he is the best, the #1, you know he's fucking class..."

Encore: merci beaucoup Titi, et bonne journee a toi.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday: RVP

With all of the attention on TH14 "will he/won't he?" this spring and summer, the almost forgotten man at Arsenal is the other main striker, Robin Van Persie. He fractured his foot while scoring against Manchester United and has been recovering since then, but he will be back for the attack in August. He is ridiculously talented and still only 23 years old, and last year he started to have a breakout season with 14 goals before getting injured in January.

I am predicting right now that RVP scores 25 goals for Arsenal this season. Yeah, I said it: twenty five. Whether it's paired with Henry or Eto'o, {and I still think it will be TH14} I think he is primed and ready for a big time break out season. Anyhow, here is a great sampling of his goalscoring prowess.

How do you say the shizzle in Dutch? RVP.

Addendum: how the hell did this brilliant goal not make the top 5?

Not even Robbie Savage's cheating could stop this badass golaso

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday:
You Cescy Motherfucker Edition

Arsenal {and now Spanish national team} wunderkind Cesc Fabregas finally turned 20 last month. He's already appeared for Arsenal over 100 times and Spain 15, and last summer at age 19 became the youngest Spanish player in history to play in the World Cup, and played very well at that. Four years ago he became the youngest player to ever start for Arsenal's first team, and shortly thereafter he became the youngest goalscorer in the history of Arsenal Football Club. He is the best passer Arsenal's had since Bergkamp, if not already his equal. One day he surely will return to Catalonia and play for Barca, but thankfully he is under contract with Arsenal until 2014.

Whatever you call him {Cesc, Cescy, Cesc Appeal, C4, Fab4, etc}, he is EL HOMBRE, and is in my opinion Arsenal's most important player and very much the straw that stirs their drink. I also think that after Lionel Messi he is the 2nd best player in the world under the age of 21.

So enjoy this sweet vid of Cesc to a tune that kicked ass way back when, "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC. The rarely seen Arsenal youth team goal he creates {-1:59} is simply que ridiculo.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday: Genesis Edition

No, not Abacab.

Genesis, as in, how I came to be a big fan of The Super Eagles of Nigeria, Kanu, and Arsenal.

In early 1996 as an enterprising young lad who was trying to get into grad school to pursue a Masters Degree in Sports Management, I decided to volunteer for ACOG, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, in the Athens office, which was right on campus in the Tate center. I went by the office a few times a week and helped out wherever I could. I parlayed this into a paying job for the summer, working logistics for the Athens site, where among other things we converted Sanford Stadium into a proper soccer stadium, Stegeman colisuem held volleyball & rhythmic gymnastics, and the UGA Athletic dorm was converted into the village for housing athletes. I was able to score the Sanford stadium gig as my home base, and when the medal round soccer finally came my various job duties and my "infinity" badge allowed me some serious behind the scenes access, interview room, locker rooms, press box, suites, field, etc, etc. In short, it was an amazing experience.

Anyhow, the 4 men's teams were Brasil, Argentina, Portugal, and Nigeria {in the Olympic tournament teams field their Under 23 team but are allowed 3 players of any age over 23}. Brasil were massive favorites with Argentina close behind, and Nigeria seen as the rank outsiders. Most all of the workers on staff quickly became fans of Nigeria, mainly because unlike the other three, who mostly acted like prima donnas, the Nigerian players were very down to earth, humble, approachable, and nice. Always friendly, happy, and smiling- it was obvious that they were really enjoying the experience. Same for their fans, who were all so nice, full of joy, and down to earth. Through one of my job duties I got to spend some time with the Nigerian players, especially Taribo West, he of the crazy hair, and they were all very nice and friendly. Though my job required a neutrality and professionalism, internally I was pulling hard for Nigeria to succeed.

So in the semifinals Nigeria faced Brasil, and although the Super Eagles were a talented young bunch, many who had won the FIFA Under 17 World Championships in 1993 and some who played on the successful 1994 World Cup team that won its group and went out to an Italian golden goal in the round of 16, they were pretty big underdogs. Like many international tournaments, it was simply assumed that Brasil would walk away the winners. Looking back there was a ton of young talent on the field that day: Dida, Roberto Carlos, Bebeto, Rivaldo, and a young 20 year old by the name of Ronaldo, who then went by Ronaldinho because there was another older Ronaldo on the squad, for Brasil. Nigeria had the core of what would be a golden generation of players including Celestine Babayaro, Jay Jay Okocha, Taribo West, Daniel Amokachi, and young Kanu.

The match started out as expected, with Brasil scoring in the first minute, and before halftime they were ahead 3-1. It was a great match, with Brasil showing it's expected brilliance but Nigeria played with joy and flair and energy, and the crowd got behind them for the way they played and that they were against the odds underdogs.

They won a penalty in the 2nd half, giving them a bit of hope, but when it was saved the situation looked pretty dire. Then in the 78th minute Victor Ikpeba pulled one back and made it 3-2, setting up an exciting last few minutes. And then 18 year old Kanu got the equalizer in added time, completing a last gasp comeback and dramatically sending the match into sudden death overtime.

Five minutes into extra time, Kanu capitalized on a ball that fell to him outside the box, shifted to his left foot, and rocketed the golden goal game winner that slayed the Brasilian dragon and sent Nigeria into the Gold Medal Match. For not the first or last time in his career, his goal celebration was wacky as hell, and included some sort of interpretive dance and pat-myself-on-the-back move. Great stuff.

Nigeria 4-3 Brasil, between the hedges

In the Gold Medal Match Nigeria faced powerhouse Argentina, and were again heavy underdogs. After Hernan Crespo's 3rd goal of the medal rounds they found themselves down 2-1 in the second half, and came from behind again to win 3-2 with the winning goal coming in stoppage time. This was especially significant for not only Nigeria but all of Africa, for it marked the first time that any African nation had won a international tournament above the youth level.

Brasil, after pounding Portugal 5-0 in the Bronze medal match, immediately flew home which meant that they no-showed for the medal ceremony after the gold medal match the following day. Pretty bush league, and the word was that they were so pissed and embarrassed that they had lost that they just wanted to get the fuck out of dodge and go home.

Even in victory the Nigerian players and fans alike were friendly, gracious, humble, and generally cool as shit. We had to quickly set up the medal stands on the field immediately after the match, and just like with the US Women's team 2 days earlier, it was cool as hell getting to be down on the field as they celebrated and received their medals in front of a sold out Sanford Stadium. And West even hooked me up with his practice jersey, signed it, and a few of his teammates did the same.

An amazing experience that instantly made Nigeria my favorite international team. Perhaps that will change years from now when all of those guys are long retired, but today it's 11 years later and they are still my squad. And Kanu was the hero so I obviously liked him, and after his heart problem after that which required surgery and some said he would never play again, when Arsene Wenger took a chance and signed him from Inter Milan in 1999, well that is how I became an Arsenal supporter.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday:
Kanu En Espanol Edition

Here's an outstanding vid of Kanu's career, from winning the FIFA Under 17 World Championship in 1993 with an up and coming generation of Nigerian footy stars, to his early career at Ajax {where he picked up a Champions League winners medal} leading Nigeria to the gold medal as an 18 year old at the 1996 Olympic Games in Sanford Stadium {where I worked, met him, met the team, and became a fan of Kanu and the rest of The Super Eagles}, to his brief stint at Inter Milan, major success at Arsenal {2 EPL titles, 2 FA Cup titles}, through to his current stint at Pompey, as well as his overcoming a life threatening heart condition and setting up The Kanu Heart Foundation to provide medical assistance to Nigerian children with heart defects.

And for all of his sick goals over the years, I loved seeing that amazing goal that he scores in the Arsenal practice session where soon-to-be best striker in the world TH14 jumps on his back afterwards- never seen that one before.

Even if you aren't into footy, it is hard not to like Kanu: supremely talented and accomplished athlete from a humble background, overcame the adversity of life threating heart condition to not only recover but play again at a world class level, good family guy with values, and gives back to his community by investing his own money and starting a heart foundation to help children with conditions similar to his own. A little bit like Lance Armstrong really, except for all of the messy relationships with various women and the accusations of doping.

So enjoy a brief synopsis of the most decorated footballer in the history of African football, en Espanol.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday:
Dare To Dream Edition

Of course we all know that 99% of all stories in the "silly season" are completely untrue, but...

...if Arsene Wenger really has 40 million pounds to spend this summer, than forget all of the rumored talks of Samuel Eto'o coming to Arsenal and Thierry Henry going the other way. Buy Eto'o outright and play them both together, with SE9 as the fox in the box best outright striker in the world and TH14 dropping into a half striker Bergkamp-esque role. After all, Titi is an amazing passer for a striker.

The odds of this are close to zero, but I shall watch this video repeatedly and dare to dream about it anyways.

Bonus: the extremely rare footy compilation video without a horrible song over it.

Added bonus: My SE9 Barcelona jersey would still be relevant and current: to me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday:
God Save The Queen Edition

AJBW has been on hiatus for a while, partly because I have been mad busy and partly because Arsenal were pretty damn rubbish there for a while. The last few games they have been playing some really joga bonito, especially in the first halves of games.

But fuck all that, today is all about Her Majesty The Queen Gooner.

EIIR: "I'm Arsenal till I die."

You see, it recently was revealed that England's 2nd longest reigning monarch is an Arsenal supporter and has been a Gooner for 50 years. This had been a tight-lipped secret for some reason, probably some crap about it not being Royal to show favoritism or whatnot, and most amazingly she was outed by a 19 year old Spanish kid named Cesc Fabregas.

It was long known that The Queen Mother was a Gooner, and soon to be off to Iraq Prince Harry is a well known Arsenal supporter as well.

"I don't give a toss about this ceremony- what's the Arsenal score?"

I just love that there is now something that I share in common with the Queen Of England, and that is that we get euphorically high when The Arsenal wins big matches, but even cooler that we both have our days darkened and are reduced to uttering profanities when big games go in the favour of our opponents. I envision Queen Elizabeth raising both fists in the air and screaming out "FUCK YESSSSSS!" when Patrick Vieira won the 2005 FA Cup final over Manchester United with the final penalty of the shootout as well as his last kick of his Arsenal career, at the very same moment that I shouted the same thing in the middle of The Mad Dog In The Fog pub on Haight St, right before I took off my PV4 jersey and held it aloft to taunt all of the ManUtd fans in the house. Similarly, I can imagine her reaction to Ryan Giggs' wondergoal to win that infamous FA Cup Semifinal Replay in 1999 or Belletti's winner through the legs of hapless backup keepr Manuel Almunia with only 7 miuntes left that lost last year Champions League final to Barcelona: and that would probably be to scream out "FUCK!" and toss some 17th century teacup across the room thereby shattering it, and then ordering some servant to clean every single on of her jewels one at a time with a Q-Tip to help her vent her anger and work through the pain.

Equally great is knowing that any time a TV shows an in-match closeup of Jose Mourinho, Ashley Cole, Big Sam Allardyce, or Robbie Savage, that she mutters Royally to no one in particular: "wanker..."

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday: Kanu Shot
The Sheriff Chelsea Edition

A while back I wrote about one of Kanu's finest hours - his hat trick in the last 15 minutes at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea that brought Arsenal from 0-2 down to 3-2 winners. Well finally someone has thrown up all 3 goals on YouTube, although frustratingly they chose to cover up the great announcing with I Shot The Sheriff (and not even the Marley version either). Anyhow, here it is. Enjoy:

Kanu believe it! He's flattened Chelsea!
He's hit a hatrick! At Stamford Bridge!

I'm off to the pub to watch the Arsenal-Tottenham Carling Cup Semifinal 2nd leg. Henry is being rested, Gilberto is back, but Cesc is not starting - not sure if the kids can do it without him, but we will see. I'm sure he will come on in the last 20 minutes if the result is in doubt.

***Update 2.47 p.m.***

Arsenal 3-3 Tottenham, 5-3 A.E.T.

Arsenal went up on 78 minutes via Adebayor, then Spurs equalized on 85 minutes through Mido header. I figured that was that as it finished 3-3, that Arsenal were through on the away goals rule. But I forgot that the Carling Cup does it differently - they play extra time in the event of any aggregate tie, then apply the away goals rule if it is still tied after extra time. Seems a silly rule to me. Anyhow, Aliadiere and then Rosicky scored in extra time and Arsenal won 5-3. They will meet Chel$ea in the final.

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...

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Brilliant Ineptitude

Arsenal 0-0 CSKA Moscow.

More of the same. I honestly don't know that I have ever seen such a lopsided 0-0 soccer match in my life. You would have to have seen it to believe it, because the 23-5 shot advantage and 64-36 possession don't tell the story. There are shots and then there are scoring chances, and then there are really great scoring chances, the kind that result in a goal 50% of the time. Well Arsenal had about 10 of those, and at least 6 or 7 where they missed the goal by a foot or less. As beautifully as Arsenal played, when it came to finishing they looked like the Kanu that plays for FC Red Stripes of the San Francisco Sport & Social Club Co-ed Rec League (although that joker did score 2 on Sunday in addition to his usual bad miss). Cesc and Rosicky both managed to miss with the wide open goal at their mercy. They really could have been up 5-0 at halftime - I'm not being hyperbolic. Hell, Arsene said that the 1st half was the best that Arsenal have ever played in Europe.

Yet despite all of that they didn't score and split the points. So whereas they really should already be through and the final 2 group matches should be glorified practice sessions, now they must do the business home to Hamburg and must get a result away to Porto on the final day. That disallowed goal that turned a draw in Moscow into a loss now looms large.

In honor of today's brilliant display but miraculous lack of a goal, Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday's features this vid of lots of tricks, flicks, and pretty play, but you will notice that, like today, not once does a ball actually go into the net.

Is dude really rapping about myspace? Weak.

ManUtd lost but are still in the driver's seat to go through, and AC Milan cruised. I still think that they are going to win the whole thing which will be the cherry on top of the Italian football joke sundae this year, since they should not be in the competition at all to begin with.

Here are the standings after 4 of the 6 group stage matches. Holders Barcelona, finalists Arsenal, and Italian power Inter Milan still have lots of work to do to qualify for the knockout stage. Can anybody beat (or even score on) Lyon?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday:
Current Events Edition

I did miss a good weekend of proper footy while on my weekend excursion. Sunday alone had Reading-Arsenal, Manchester United-Liverpool, and El Classico over in Spain: Real Madrid-Barcelona.

Arsenal destroyed Reading by 4 goals to nil while (apparently from all that I have read and seen) playing their best Arsenal Joga Bonito since the golden years of 2002-2004. In honor of this new team full of kids playing flawless beautiful Wengerball, the highlights of this match will serve as this week's AJBW. Enjoy.

Props, too, to the traveling Gooners for being so loud

Hopefully they can keep it going this weekend against Everton. In those other matches ManUtd beat The Pool 2-0 and Real Madrid gave European Champion and 2 time defending La Liga champion Barcelona a 2-0 thumping, their 2nd loss in 5 days. When is the last time Barcelona lost 2 matches in a row? Methinks they miss Eto'o alot more than they thought they would - just goes to show how special a striker he is, and I for one just hope that he can come back and play at that level again, as he is only 24 years old and should have the 4 best years of his career ahead of him if he can get his knee back to 100%.