Daily Archives: February 17, 2011
I spent over 50 minutes pondering how to start today’s post. For the first time in my young blogging career, my hands were jittery while I was holding my BlackBerry.
We all knew what we were up against yesterday night. The BarcAliens came from Krypton with their flying saucer. They had set all the “invasion” plans in check.
They came to steal the ball away from us. They actually wanted us to “chase the ball” for 90 minutes. We at Arsenal play “Cescy” football. A perfect blend of intricate passing, ball possession and classy finishing.
Barcelona on the other hand, play like footballing “misers”. They hold on to the ball without having plans of sharing it with their opponents. You’ll have to possess the stamina of an ox if you want to contend with those Aliens.
The starting line up I predicted in yesterday’s post included Andrei “AA23” Arshavin. I thought that Nasri wasn’t fully fit but AW the Alchemist thought otherwise.
In action movies and comics alike, Aliens are renowned for being “green”. The jerseys that the players of FC Barcelona wore justified my “claims” that they are “BarcAliens”.
Unlike us that went to the Nou Camp last season with half of the first team injured, the BarcAliens fielded their best lineup with the exclusion of their “caffeinated” BarcAlien in chief, Carles Puyol.
Javier Mascherano left the Red Vampires at Anfield Transylvania to seek greener pastures in Alien territory. He’ll keep missing out on the “big games” because there’s no way in Hell that he’ll be able to take Sergi Busquets off the team.
Both teams started brightly with some end-to-end stuff.
Arsenal’s leader, Super Fab flighted a free kick into the BarcAlien box. Song came close but the ball was closer to Victor V.
Barca’s right back hails from Saturn. His head is shaped like the planet with the rings on. In yesterday’s game, he was more or less a right “winger”. I wrote in yesterday’s post that as excellent and potent their attacking threat poses, the BarcAliens have a very weak backline.
I was good to see that AW the Alchemist was tactically astute yesterday. He knew that hitting them on the break would be our “best bet”.
We had our first swift counter attack. The ball fell to Theo Walcott. While he ran with the ball, rVp became a decoy and ran to the right while Nasri was free to the left. Most pundits revel in Walcott’s inability to act on the final third. They say that he lacks a “footballing brain”. He probably gave some pundits a wet dream by choosing the wrong move to feed rVp instead of Nasri.
They say that the BarcAliens are the possession kings. They also say that the have the best passers of the ball. Our next goalmouth action involved us playing our “Cescy” football.
Theo Walcott is renowned for his pace. His dribbling skills invove quick movement and swift turns. What I saw yesterday put me in a short state of perplexion. Same ol’ Walcott got the ball on the edge of the BarcAlien area. I’ve never seen our handsome winger so fluid in dribbling. He took on the Aliens at a slow pace and evaded them with consummate ease. He then teed his captain who gave a “Schole-esque pass over the top to rVp. That was the kind of pass that the Man Utd veteran used to tee up the RooThug. rVp lashed the ball at Victor V.
Eboue was the stand-in right back due to Sagna’s suspension. I wrote in yesterday’s post that I’ll do with a few dives. Eboue didn’t disappoint us with his accurate diving skills. As soon as he was charged by the fast White Zombie Iniesta, he “tilled the soil” with his red jersey. Gooner Daily doesn’t call him the “Farma” for nothing.
As soon as Barca got a foothold on the game, they created their first chance. David son of Villa sent a nice pass to that little Wizard. Koscielny realized that he couldn’t keep up with the Wizard so he changed his direction and opted to be our “sweeper”. Wojciech “Szszsz” Szczesny looked extremely calm when the Wizard approached him. A player of Messi’s quality can do a million and one things with the ball when in a one-on-one position.
Szszsz made himself really big for the Wizard. The Wizard waited for him to commit himself fully but he realized that he was being closed down. He went for the impudent chip but it missed the post and went over. Sweeper Koscielny was smart and lucky not to get a touch on the ball. That would have been his undoing. He fell into the net for his troubles.
The BarcAliens had another miserly football spell with us chasing the ball for a very long time.
Wizard Messi tried another lob from far out but it was bread and butter for Szszsz.
rVp had some touches and teed up Walcott on the right hand side. His cross led to nothing.
Arsenal had another swift counter attack with Walcott and El Capitan in the thick of things. rVp spurned that chance.
Then from almost nothing, we found ourselves a goal behind due to poor positioning. Wizard Messi ran with real intent then sent David son of Villa through with a deft soft pass. The striker saw Szszsz closing him down quickly so placed the ball past our goalie. The pace of the ball was really slow but there was no Arsenal defender within a mile.
Arsenal 0 FC BarcAliens 1. Our worst fears coming to pass. The cameramen showed AW the Alchemist seconds after the goal was scored. He ran to his touchline and started using his fingers to explain his “plan B” to his side. He acted like the leader of an orchestra at that point in time.
Nasri got a yellow for having a go at some Alien chum.
The BarcAliens lone striker, exposed Clichy then sent a lovely ball to Pedro. He tried a cheeky back heel but Szszsz was equal to that task.
Jack Wilshere ran the show in midfield yesterday. He didn’t misplace the ball at any point in the game. He shoved off 2 challenges then fed rVp. Our flying Dutchman on red hot form missed that chance too.
With more rVp misses, I started wondering when our breakthrough will come from.
Fabregas had a shot that was quickly closed down. Eboue did some more “soil tilling” at his own end of the pitch.
The Wizard scored a goal that was ruled offside. I didn’t care less because at 0-2 the chances of us coming back would have been slim to none.
Eboue did some neat work on the right hand side and gave song who was even neater with his quick feet. Song gave Wilshere who linked up with Nasri. Nasri fed Fab who scooped it wide. The sound of appreciation from the Arsenal faithful was relieving. They were behind their 11 heroes from start to finish.
Walcott had another blocked shot and rVp had a header that went wide.
The ref blew the half time whistle. I can’t remember any football game I’ve watched that had no corners in the first half. That was quite impressive from both sides.
El Capitan fired a weak shot at Victor V. It was easy pickings for the Barca goalie.
Wilshere did a neat one-two with Walcott but lashed a weak volley at Victor V.
Song did well to evade a challenge but his pass that was proposed for rVp was atrocious.
Xavi sent an evil defense opening through ball to Wizard Messi’s path. Up stepped Laurent “Kos100%tackle” Koscielny to anticipate the ball superbly.
Walcott cut in from the left hand side and cross into the box. The clearance by the Maximum Kryptonian Well came back to Walcott. His second cross arrived at rVp’s feet. Our Dutchman killed a bird with his attempted effort.
In a Alien team that is infested by Dwarfs, Imps, Goblins, Sprites and Hobbits, Gerard Pique stands out as the one-eyed man in a land filled up with blind men. The tallest BarcAlien in existence was walking on a thin rope because he was a card away from suspension. He received a yellow card in the match thereby making him ineligible for the 2nd leg. I sincerely hope that their caffeinated captain will still be a doubt for the second leg though.
The resulting free kick from El Capitan was fired straight at Victor V.
One of the most amazing features of football is the statistics involved. While the players to their thing on the pitch, some people on the background get paid to write down how many times that bar hit the bar. Other will be paid to write down how many times the man with the whistle brandish a card.
In the 60 minute, the statisticians at UEFA decided that it was high time the commentary team said something new so they flashed the number of passes and pass accuracy pencentage on the screen.
Arsenal had 203 passes with a 73% passing accuracy while the BarcAliens had 413 passes with an 83% passing accuracy.
Nasri created a chance that was intercepted by Pique.
Fabregas and rVp started another counter attack but rVp slowed the game down. Fabregas’ shot was ineffective.
Messi ran with the ball then somehow scrambled his way past our defense. His low drive hit the side netting.
Arsenal needed to make changes to shift the balance of the game. Arshavin stripped and tucked in as usual to be introduced into the game. The usual suspects would have been Walcott or Nasri but AW the Alchemist took off Song to introduced the “Assassin”. That was a tactical move that showed AW the Alchemist perfect ability to read the game.
Song had lost the plot a bit in midfield and had a high chance of getting red because he made 3 or 4 tackles after receiving a yellow early on.
It took the Russian some time to get into the game.
AW the Alchemist brought on B52 for Walcott.
We built up confidence and started playing our own game. It was obvious that our breakthrough was on the cards. As we Nigerians say…..a goal was “smelling”.
Arsenal’s equalizer came from the man whose form is as hot as supernova. Gael Clichy overlapped well but saw that there was a little opening for rVp. He played a clever chip to rVp path. Everybody including me thought it was going to be one of rVp’s “twist and turn” moments. The intelligent Dutch noticed that Victor V left a very minute gap on his near post so he lashed a shot from an impossible angle that beat Victor V on his near post. That was the 3rd best goal that I’ve seen rVp score in Arsenal colours.
My 2nd best was the superb curling effort that he fired against Blackburn in our last season in Highbury.
My best rVp goal will definitely be the best goal for many Arsenal fans. That flying volley against Charlton at the valley.
That equalizer gave us a newly found belief and confidence. It showed that we could actually go all the way to defeat the BarAliens.
Victory came in the 83rd minute. A killer through ball from El Capitan found Nasri on the opposition half. He dallied on the ball and waited patiently for reinforcements to arrive. We all know Lionel Messi as the “little Wizard” but up stepped our own “little Wizard” Czar Andrei to curl home the winner after he latched unto Samir Nasri’s beautifully weighted pass.
I went haywire in celebration of that goal. I was jumping up and down like Herbalists, native doctors and false prophets in Nigerian Nollywood movies. I sent broadcast messages to all my BlackBerry contacts. Most ladies on my BlackBerry Messenger changed their statuses because of the Enigma. The general plot of their messages were “enough with the broadcasts”.
But I don’t expect them to understand. I love my Arsenal the way some lazy non-cooking ladies love Indomie.
Demigod-coach Pep removed the White Zombie Iniesta and put Adriano the wing back. He actually wanted to “defend” against us from that point onwards. I can’t remember the last time the BarcAliens defended against their opposition.
With time running out on both sides, Barca changed to route 1. A long ball into our box was sighted by match winning hero Arshavin. He saw that his goalie was free but he didn’t notice the presence of Saturn head Alves.
The ball left his head but touched his arm as he sent it back to his goalie. Our “favourite” penalty giving ref Phil Dowd would have wasted no time pointing to the spot.
Saturn head Alves anticipated the ball and found himself one-on-one with Szszsz. All he needed was our young Pole to give him the slightest of nudges so that he would drop dead for a penalty but Szszsz acted like the only goalie that entered the top 3 in the World Footballer of the Year award. Oliver Kahn or “Jens Mustermann” as Football Manager 2007 ™ called him.
Szszsz came unto Alves but withdrew his hands when he knew that Alves was taking the ball away from him.
Arshavin and El Capitan linked for one more counter attack but El Capitan’s pace let him down.
The sound of the ref’s whistle was like music to the ears of Arsenal fans worldwide. We defeated the BarcAliens.
Szszsz (7.1) put up a performance that has cemented his number 1 spot. Eboue (6.4) did okay defensively but lacked ideas upfront. Clichy (7.0) was exposed for countless times by Alves but came forward to give the assist for the equalizer. Koscienly (7.3) was rock-solid in defense. He also learnt from his penalty errors by showing more maturity and calmness when he was backing attackers in our box. Djourou (6.8) made some vital headers. Song (6.7) did well but was rightly substituted because he was in danger of getting sent off. Whizkhid (8.5) was imperious in midfield. El Capitan (8.0) gave the killer pass that orchestrated the winning goal. Nasri (7.5) showed off his sly moves and gave the winning assist. Walcott (6.6) did okay. rVp (8.3) proved to the world that he’s the hottest striker in 2011. AA23 (7.6) scored the winning goal and showed us that “form is temporary but class is permanent”. B52 (6.5) did okay.
After the game I watched the interviews on AA23 and El Capitan.
Arshavin says,””It gives us confidence in the future but we still need to concentrate because Barcelona is going to be a very very tough game”
Fabregas said that we didn’t have 5 or 6 injuries and that the squad is 1 year older. But he said that its not over yet.
This game was like a modern day football battle of Thermopylae. It took place in the Emirates Hot Gates.
We put the “immortals” to the test and passed admirably. Just like the Persians in 480 BC, Barca’s amazing footballing form and intimidating record against us counted for nothing.
As always there was some time to delve into Twitter to take my pick from the pack.
“@SandraUbak: Jack wilshere is 19 buh dammit dat dude don’t play 19year old football! Man of d match”
“@StefanSyndrome: Well i can die happy, i seen arsenal beat barcalona”
“@gunnerblog: Tonight, Jack Wilshere showed Barca what #ArsenalDNA looks like. Stunning.”
“@eromzy: Mr. BALOTELLI, DO YOU KNOW WHO JACK WILSHERE IS NOW?”
“@OptaJean: 3 – This is only the 3rd time Barcelona have had fewer shots than their opponents in their last 32 Champions League games.”
@v_jay_: I wnt stop tweeting abt arsenal till further notice.If u hate it,feel free 2 unfollow.#TEAMARSENAL
We have gotten the approval from NASA to board Apollo 15 to Krypton in a fortnight
Happy Barca winning Thursday