Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Damn time zones.

I love those glitzy European nights. Even when the ties grow a little more dour than we'd prefer for some of the hottest talents in all of football. Rather oppressively, the kickoff time where I live in America is 1:45 p.m. Smack dab in the middle of the work day. Those precious vacation days are saved in the event The Arsenal should make it through to the semi, or even final. Time was, I'd be able to record the match, avoid all utterances of the match, race home and watch the, ahem, passionate act of European Club football with piercing eyes to catch every last detail. Time was, the one network responsible for carrying these games in America, ESPN, bothered to bestow us with more than just Manchester United and Chelsea on alternating days. Time was, other teams existed beyond the realm of the ticker. (Grumble)

Arsenal hosted Roma last night in what was always going to be a fantastically interesting match. Arsenal's form is well documented. Both worrying and optimistic at best. Roma? They scraped the gutter to start the year but have been climbing back to themselves of late. And I was relegated to checking the ticker about three times throughout the match. Thankfully, one of those peeks was the instant Robin Van Persie moved into the box, was brought done, and dutifully (is there any way other than dutifully to complete your penalty task? cheekily, sure. beyond that, not much.) converted his penalty. Arsenal's defence held on and, reportedly (for it's all I've got, damn am I bitter about that) they moved forward and held possession quite well. It seems they used a new approach with Nasri supporting Van Persie. I like the sound of that quite a bit. I also like that Diaby was healthy and seems to have turned out for the match. He's got his haters, to be sure, for the amount of time he spends in the trainer's room, but Diaby adds something to The Arsenal. I will stand by that fact. Arsenal kept yet another clean sheet - they have been broken three times since December 28, a span of 11 matches. With another solid and organized effort on Saturday against Fulham, they can keep al of February clean as a whistle. Quite an accomplishment given from whence they've come. 

To the goal ... Van Persie again. There's a lot, an awful lot, to say about Robin at the moment. Because time is pressing (dios mio! I just saw the replay of Juninho's goal for Lyon! dios mio! Ronaldo can bite me.) I can only offer the following (and trust me, I'd pour on and on given a moment's opportunity) ...

The man has become a leader, and the leader we've needed so desperately. He's the leader we've waited for him to become. He's remained healthy, he's checked the temper he was noted for in his early career and he has found the drive to succeed that we'd only demand of him at 25. 

To close .... you gotta read the live blogs from ol' Jim there, Match Pricks readers. Great, great stuff.

1 comment:

Darrell said...

Excuse my LOTR reference)

RVP is like Samwise Gamgee (Samwise The Brave referred by some)....

You don't think he'll do much, but he will create damage and save your ass in the end!