Saturday, September 28, 2002

"Men and boys" - That was the quote with about 20 minutes left from the FSW announcer as Arsenal were cruising 3-0 on their way to a 4-1 win over dirty Leeds. And that really explains it all. It's hard to explain what watching Arsenal feels like, but I know that every time they get going on the break I think they can and will score. This team carves up midfields and defences with their pace and fluiditiy (feel free to insert other adjectives here), and the defense, while not as legendary as the famous 'back 5' can certainly hold their own. For more accolades, read the Insider on Soccernet.

Oh yeah, almost forgot, Sp*rs lost 3-0 at home to Boro. That's a bit more like we expect from them, isn't it?

Time to get the beers in.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Thuggish Ruggish Leeds tomorrow - and I can't say I feel very confident about this match at all. The team spent a lot of energy in Eindhoven just a few days ago, and an early Saturday kickoff is not a great way to recuperate from a Wednesday evening Champions League game. Squad news: Bergkamp is out at least three matches with an Achilles injury, while Keown's hamstring, Parlour's hamstring, and Edu's groin are all acting up, forcing them to miss the match as well. My lineup: Seaman; Cole, Campbell, Cygan, Lauren; Ljungberg, Vieira, Gilberto, Toure; Wiltord, Henry.

Record watch - A goal for Arsenal would break Chesterfield's record by scoring in the 47th consecutive Premiership match. Avoiding defeat means they will equal Manchester United's Premiership best of 29 unbeaten set in the 98-99, and would also break Nottingham Forest's top flight record of 22 away League games without defeat.

Prediction - The boys are probably running on fumes, but they are the more skilled team. Leeds will be crashing in tackles all day, and El Tel will have them fired up. Leeds have done a decent job of keeping our attack nuetralised in the past. 1-1 prediction, with Toure and Smith getting the goals.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

An interesting article here, regarding why BBC thinks Arsenal can and will win the Champions League. I personally think that the talk is a bit premature, I'd like to see us in the quarters or semis before we go talking about winning the thing. However, it makes for good reading. Special thanks to 'ClockEndOrange' who posted this on the Soccernet Message Board.
Just got done watching the Arsenal video highlights from the UEFA site. If you'd like a look, and have Real Player, click here. Arsenal looked awesome, especially in the second half. Of course, they only show the goals in that video clip anyway, so PSV didn't get much time on the highlights at all, except when their defence was in disarray, which was quite a bit. By most accounts (including my own) we were outplayed in the first half, PSV went close several times and had several goals disallowed. No matter though, we ran them dead in the second half, and looked like scoring about every time we had posession.

It's not all good news though, Keown went down with a tweaked hamstring and had to be strechered off after only 10 minutes. Martin is expected to be out for about 2 to 3 weeks. However his sub, Cygan, got his first significant runout and played excellent, making numerous timely tackles. I must admit I was a little skeptical at first when he wasn't even making the bench for some league games, but based on this performance he seems ready.

Furthermore, UEFA is set to investigate missle throwing towards Thierry Henry during last night's match. TH14 was quoted as saying, "They were throwing coins, lighters and other stuff. I don't know whether you heard what they were saying or saw what they were doing."

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

WOW! 3-nil now with about 10 minutes left. Arsenal just carved up PSV in the 2nd half, and goals from Freddie and Henry should be enough for our first win in years away from home in Europe. I can't contain the excitement, I'm off to celebrate. CHEERS!

Gilberto started our match off with a bang by scoring in 20.07 seconds after the opening whistle. The previous fastest was 20.12. That staked us to a one-nil halftime lead.
Our second Champions League fixture is tonight. Arsenal are in great form at the moment and look likely to beat anyone they play. However PSV is no pushover, they are top of Eredivisie and have conceeded only one goal through five games while scoring 14. This will be a great test to judge how serious we are about our Champions League cause. Although a loss wouldn't kill Arsenal's chances of reaching the second round, it would certainly demoralise the squad a bit with all the talk of our away record in Europe. I think, however, the Arsenal will have enough to get away with a point, so I'm reckoning a 1-1 draw with Henry and Van Bommel scoring. Key matchups I feel will be Van Bommel against Vieira, and Hofland against Henry. Both of those players were linked with a highbury move at one time, and they should be fired up to prove they would have been worth it.

My lineup: Seaman; Lauren, Keown, Campell, Cole; Ljungberg, Vieira, Gilbeto, Wiltord; Henry, Bergkamp. Ray Parlour is out with a hamstring problem, and Edu is still having trouble with his knee.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Not much going on today . . . the only interesting news (rumors aside) that is somewhat Arsenal related: PSV Eindhoven coach Guus Hiddink recently received a death threat, and almost retired from the game after opening the letter six weeks ago. The letter had two bullets in it, and Hiddink explained: "The message was along the lines of, 'if you have the same success in the league with PSV as you did with Korea, we'll kill you with one bullet.' Or 'if you succeed in the Champions League, we'll kill you with the other.'"

Speaking of that match, it's been confirmed that Dennis Bergkamp will travel to Eindhoven to play in the match tomorrow. We'll also get a firsthand look of two players rumored to be coming to Highbury over the summer in Kevin Hofland and Mark van Bommel.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Arsenal 2 - Bolton 1 - An interesting game this, it had a bit of everything. Arsenal flowing forward, Henry missing a few chances. Then Freddie is pulled down in the box and Henry steps up and . . . wanks it. I'm becoming increaingly worried about his spot kicks, he missed a few in the CL campaign last year and to hit the woodwork yesterday, well that's not helping matters. To his credit he came back and scored a beauty, latching onto a Freddie longball before rounding the keeper and staking us to a one-nil lead. We seemed to never be threatened by Bolton until what many Arsenal fans have seen time and time before . . . Nayim, Ronaldinho, Zola, and now add the name Gareth Farrelly. Although Seaman could not be faulted for thinking it was a wayward cross, the ball managed to trick him and bend into the side netting, leaving Seaman and the rest of highbury stunned. Arsenal surged forward, went close a few times, and then saw the Bolton side open up a little with the dismissal of Campo. Then in the third minute of injury time Kanu, who played shit for the previous 92 minutes, cleated in a loose ball for Arsenal to claim 3 points.

I'd love to write more, but I just bouth a 2-month old pug (named him Gunner) and he's taking up quite a bit of time.