Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"We're all wired into a survival trip now."

Every last one of us. At least we’ve got that in common. The curtain (last curtain reference of the season!) was torn back and we’ve all been revealed – for better or worse – as desperate hoarders of those precious points.

After watching the full slate of football over the English Premier League’s opening weekend we’re all fully aware that the race is well and truly on. Newcastle looked industrious in nicking a point from an admittedly undermanned United at Old Trafford. It’s always fun being the lone man singing for dropped points in a pub titling heavily in favor of Manchester United. Newcastle ran their little hearts out and Shay Given gave a performance in goal that makes you want to rush back to watch him play yet again.

On Saturday, watching Boro brush aside an awful Spurs team was pure joy. And right along with that was the row of frowns on the Spurs fans who shuffled out after their match ended in disappointment, yet again. The true joy of the weekend came as Arsenal picked up their three points in a 1-nil win over newly promoted West Brom. Tony Mowbray promised us football and the Baggies delivered. At times, in truth, they bossed the game (although Eboue in central midfielder did better than expected, which isn’t saying an awful lot). If not for a Johan Djourou clearance off of the line, the final would have been quite different. (Quick note as well: nothing better than standing on a city street outside a football pub in your shiny new Arsenal shirt waiting for kickoff and having a guy pull up on his bike yelling, “Up The Albion!”)

It’s tough to assess the Arsenal side after this first game, with key parts either missing or not yet in place (buy someone, Arsene!), but a few thoughts can be offered in brief.

-Looked like Adebayor was trying a little too hard. True, he needs to win over the fans again after the ugliness of the summer, but the man is just a freak of nature with his athletic talents.

-Good to see Djourou back from loan and contributing as he did. We need him to make an impact this year. Hopefully he’s up for it.

-Theo was fairly absent.

-A gold star for new boy Samir Nasri. Anyone listening to me in the last year will know how happy I am with this signing. His goal, quite possibly the fastest debut goal in Arsenal history – the Arsenal Web site is doing some research on that - is what supporters in Marseille hoped from him. Clichy and Nasri should recapture the thrust that Arsenal enjoyed with Cole (spit!) and Pires. And it’ll definitely be welcome.


Ian Smith said...

Isn’t it funny the way we as fans can systematically pick apart our own teams. It seems to be a constant that goes back years and years, from generation to generation. Always different players that for some reason you as an individual see a glaring weakness that others may have over looked. It grates on you till you find yourself blaming every under par performance on that one player whether it’s their fault or not.
I can recall my Grandfather berating John Toshack for being lazy, my father stood on the Kop year after year next to a guy who picked apart Alan Kenndey week after week. Both players are considered Anfield legends and played in the most successful team in British football through the 70s and 80s. The legacy of irrationality unfortunately was continued by myself, who in the late 90s and the turn of the century had a pet peeve against two players. One of which doesn’t matter much in the scheme of things but the other is a dark part of my past that I later came to see the light upon, let’s just say the second player I will mention is not my proudest moment as a Liverpool fan.
Let’s start with player number 1 - Dominic Matteo who was a solid enough defender /midfielder who could never put a foot right in my eyes. He was later transferred to Leeds and had a good career but was the weakest link as far as I was concerned. When playing aside my second least favorite player I held little hope and lost all optimism of gaining 3 points.
That brings me to player number 2- Jamie Carragher (Don’t shoot me) Sounds crazy now I know but as a kid breaking into the first team he was woeful! Played in central midfield or at left back was completely out of his depth. You couldn’t count the amount of times I screamed at the player from the stands or at a tv set, calling him all the inept sons of bitches under the sun.
I guess what I’m trying to say is watch what you say about certain players (Eboue) because it may be you 10 years from now writing a pitiful retraction due to an irrational dislike of a player who is after all another player who plays their part in the legacy of our great football clubs.

Jim said...

Yeah, but Ian, Eboue sucks

Jamie said...

Mmmhm, I used to hate Kolo... he scored an own goal against Villa to cause a 2-2 draw on our way to the title - which we let slip due a run of draws and a couple losses, very much like last season. That was all it took. I have changed my views now, of course...

Next on the list was one Fredrik Ljungberg - he dived a LOT! It was normally at the most ridiculous of times. So Wenger sent him home... Freddie ate some killer cheese and came back a legend. He near enough single handedly won the league for the Arsenal with a string goals in 1-0 wins, both home and away in the last few weeks of the season.

Then it was/is Aleks Hleb. No need to justify this one.

Moving on... Eboue just has delicate ears. It seems they get hurt a lot when he dives, I mean when he gets fouled. If he was not to dive so much, I mean, get fouled so much, then the ears would not be cupped so much - thus speeding up their recovery from injury, I assume...

Hang on, nah... you're right, Jim. He's shit. Give me Paul Gibson from Elmhurst Middle School for Boys, anyday!