Daily Archives: August 7, 2011

A tale of more injuries, Fabregas and the Eusebio Cup

After seeing Manchester United’s amazing comeback from the usually watertight Manchester City, I’ve concluded that we are in for another tupsy-turvy season like the campaign that just ended. Many gooners and football fans alike criticized Arsenal heavily in November when they allowed their bitter rivals score three goals to end their 68-match unbeaten run against the top four despite being two goals down at half time but we witnessed the same feat in Wembley this evening. In recent times,  Arsenal is a club that’s renowned for a brilliant preseason adventure but a disastrous time out at the business end of the season. As usual, November is always tagged as the ‘bogey month’ but there’s always another month where everything goes wrong. Last season, the club  dismantled Barnet before raining goals like manna from Heaven when they visited Austria. The Emirates Cup was a joyous affair and it ended in that scary 11-goal thriller against Lukasz Fabianski’s previous employers, Legia Warsaw.

This season, Arsenal started with the romping of Malaysia’s XI but Hangzhou Greentown shared the spoils with Wenger’s men. Gervinho showed what he was made up against FC Cologne but the Emirates Cup was overshadowed by more defensive frailties and boos from the fans. I regarded the loss of the Emirates Cup as a blessing in disguise but Portugal’s greatest player offered Arsenal a chance to win another trophy that won’t get into the club’s cabinet, the Eusebio Cup. 

The lineup I predicted in yesterday’s post almost had an exact match with the starting lineup yesterday with the inclusion of TR7 for Emmanuel Frimpong. The game started at a very high pace but it eased off as both teams settled in. Benfica had a very big shout for a spot kick when Szczesny challenged a bloke in the box but the ref was having none of it. Martin Atkinson or Phil Dowd would have wasted no time in doing what they do best. Gervinho used his trickery to evade a chap before drilling his attempt into the side netting. Gervinho has used this preseason adventure to show everybody that he can also be regarded as a speed merchant with a good footballing brain as well as decent technique on the ball. Arshavin created a chance for himself but his effort went wide.

Benfica continued to threaten the Arsenal defense with a quick cross shot and another shot on the turn but Arsenal’s Flying Dutchman almost handed himself a befitting birthday gift when Song supplied him with a wonderful through ball. It was a brilliant impudent chip that beat the goalie but it drifted beyond the far post. Robin van Persie proved to the gooners that he can be relied on to hit the back of the net with consummate ease and he got his chance two minutes later after some great work from Arshavin and Kieran Gibbs. The little Russian set up Arsenal’s new number 1 left back and his cut back was converted in grand style by Robin van Persie. A striker as hot as supernova itself.

Shortly after celebrating his birthday goal, van Persie was on the end of a very rash tackle from former Real Madrid reject, Ezequiel Garay. With his record of bad ankle injuries, I feared for the worst. At half time, it was expected that new faces were going to be drafted in. As expected, like-for-like switches were made and Wenger introduced Arsenal’s second tier squad that struggled throughout the half. Fabianski replaced Szczesny while Squillaci, Jenkinson, Miyaichi, Frimpong and Chamakh replaced Djourou, Sagna, Arshavin, Song and rVp.

The change in personnel was necessary because it was a friendly match but it was disastrous because Benfica got into the game thanks to more questionable defending. Their right winger Nico Gaitan was a constant thorn in the flesh to the Arsenal defense and he made mince meat out of Gibbs before drilling the ball into the heart of Arsenal’s defense. The intelligent Pablo Aimar noticed a teammate on the far side so he opened his body up to execute a perfect dummy that turned the entire Arsenal backline into statues. The teammate returned the favor to Aimar and he did extremely well to shove off Vermaelen before placing it past Fabianski. Shortly after conceding the goal, Arsenal’s defense attempted an offside trap that didn’t work but they had their lucky stars to thank because Luisao’s effort smashed the bar and went over but the defense didn’t learn because Benfica went ahead courtesy of Nolito’s quick feet and Squillaci being Squillaci.

Pablo Aimar fed Capdevila on the left hand who wasted no time in teeing up Nolito. Squillaci charged forward to mark the striker but he evaded him as if he wasn’t even there. The striker smashed in his effort that beat Fabianski on his near post. The disappointment on Fabianski’s face showed how pissed he was about the defense in front of him. Arsenal offered no threat whatsoever in the attack and Benfica grew in confidence and continued their barrage of attack on the Gunners. Fabianski became Arsenal’s hero because he kept Benfica at bay making saves of outstanding quality.

Chamakh was an utter disappointment in the game and keot drifting to the left wing despite the fact that a young Japanese bloke was supposed to be playing in that position. Gervinho did some running but lacked ideas on the final third. Lansbury replaced TR7 and Ignasi Miquel came on for captain Vermaelen. Arsenal’s first chance in the second half came in the 87th minute of play when Lansbury’s header hit Axel Witsel on his hands. Lansbury decided to take over the responsibility of the free kick and succeeded in killing the bird in Benfica’s logo with his attempt.

The ref blew his whistle and Arsenal watched from the sidelines as Benfica lifted the Eusebio Cup with glee. Tottenham visited the Estadio da Luz last season and went back to London with the trophy. Losing the trophy wasn’t really a big deal because we would still be considered as a trophy-less club even if we beat Benfica 7-0. After the game, we’ve gotten reports that three Arsenal players had suffered injuries. Robin van Persie’s had an ankle problem probably from that tackle, Kieran Gibbs has a thigh strain and Thomas Vermaelen has a back problem.

This is bad news for Wenger and his men because it means that he’ll go into St. James Park with Maroaune Chamakh leading the line and Armand Traore as the stand-in left back. I don’t really have a problem with Vermaelen’s injury because I got used to not seeing him in action thanks to his Achilles. Djourou and Koscielny did a very decent job in his absense last season but there are tales emerging that Wenger is going to announce new signings this upcoming week. The media Vultures can say all they want but at this point in time, Arsenal is back to the same situation they were for a considerable chunk of last season in terms of defensive manpower.

In other transfer news, the media Vultures say that Arsenal is lining up a 12m pound bid for the Chambered Ox, Barcelona want to bid for Arsenal target Gary Cahill and Werder Bremen are willing to listen to offers for the Beanpole Mertesacker. If Arsenal places a bid of 12 mil for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, I’ll shoot someone’s foot because that’s the same amount that can be used to purchase Chris Samba. I know that the bloke is one for the future but Arsenal has had a lion’s share of players for the future. Cahill has been touted as Arsenal’s defensive messiah but the 17m price tag on his head has not impressed Wenger so it seems as if he might never be acquired by the Gunners. Barcelona on the other hand are currently searching for a possible replacement for the legendary Carles Puyol so they’ve placed Cahill in their radar but I’m pretty sure that they’ll go to their Mutant Lab and create another starlet that’ll be as good as Puyol. In Football Manager, there’s a bloke I discovered in their youth ranks called Andreu Fontas and his stas are not half bad.

As for Mertesacker, I won’t set up a welcome party for him if he joins us because he’s clearly not the type of center back I’ll like to see in Arsenal. He has the height to make Peter Crouch and Nikola Zigic feel normal but he lacks the pace to play in the Premier League. I love his composure though; there are not many center backs on Earth that are as composed as the bloke. In Arsene We Trust though.

Francesc Fabregas has been enduring in a saga that has lasted all eternity and it seems as if he wants to deop the bombshell at Arsenal because there as reports revealing that he’s willing to pay his way out of Arsenal to join Barcelona. The media Vultures are good at creating stories to sell their papers so I won’t comment on that but as they say,

“for every rumor, there’s an element of truth”

What we know for sure is that Wenger has said that he won’t allow Fabregas and Nasri to go but Barcelona’s Victor Valdes has joined the list of cuntbutlers that won’t mind their business by saying that he’s confident that Fabregas will be a Barcelona player.

To end it all up, former vice chairman David Dein has said that Arsene Wenger is still the best man for the job at Arsenal.

Arsenal was made for Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal owes a part of its life to Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal’s top facilities, diets and new home was influenced by Arsene Wenger amongst others.

There’s no other team in the world that has its manager who shares the same first name.