In preparation for today's inevitable clash between David Luiz and Gareth Bale, I bring you, "How To Dive And Cheat":
Random ramblings about Arsenal.
Filtering by Tag: Video
You win some and you lose some. That’s how I’d describe the Tottenham result in the pragmatic light of the rearview mirror. We came up against an in-form team on their home ground and betrayed our lack of form by crapping the bed in defense. To be fair, Spuds were much less dominant than they appeared by scoring twice in rapid succession. They could easily have fallen victim to the same silly mistakes that we did - if you don’t believe me and haven’t already viewed Gary Neville’s excellent dissection of the North London Derby, give it a look:
For the first 20 minutes we appeared solid but ultimately we chose to play a high, disorganized defensive line and paid for it, full stop. Also, as has happened so frequently this season the usual suspects forgot their shooting boots; more on that in a minute. To say that this result has shifted the balance of power in London is perhaps a bit hasty, what with our 13 league titles, 10 FA Cups, and record 49 domestic games unbeaten streak. Have you ever seen Tottenham win the league?
You win some and you lose some, but then you win some but actually lose some, like in Munich. It’s a rare treat to come to Bayern Munich and not only win but hold the Bavarians goal-less. Much like against AC Milan last campaign, though, we created a situation where even a big win amounted to an aggregate loss by being so porous defensively in the first leg.
This fixture put Wenger into a Catch-22 of sorts. He could have rested most of the first team knowing that it was a dead rubber match in order to prepare for the top 4 fight (Wild, right? Throw a competition match to try and help qualify for said competition next season...). Alternatively, he could have fielded the strongest possible team in the hopes of overturning a 3-away-goal deficit. As intimated in the previous post, my preference would have been for the former. Give the younglings some experience, give the senior squad time to rest and get their handbrakes tuned up for the rest of the season, and let’s get on with the run-in. Either choice would have been frowned upon by one clique of supporters or the other.
Thanks to injured, cup-tied, and “rested” players, what we ended up with was a weird hybrid of these two possibilities, with a memorable but meaningless result as the prize. My hope is that this win will restore a bit of pride and put some fire in bellies to round this campaign out properly, starting with some Swan-hunting at the Liberty on Saturday. Come on you Gunners!
PS: I’m pleased that €hel£ki and Spuds are still in the Who-ropa League (that slight will bite me in the ass when we are in the competition next season), mainly because it offers them more opportunities for weakening and fatigue. I’m a bitter, opportunistic old man.
Interlude On Theo Walcott:
Young Master Walcott signed da ting on 18 January 2013. Notice anything about his production after the ink dried, particularly when February rolled around? I had to glance at the team sheet periodically during the NLD and remind myself that he was in the starting XI. Perhaps typical. Definitely frustrating.
NLD...the North London Derby. Twice a campaign, a fixture that is like a trophy (sorry). To whet your appetite a bit, here's a video of the so-called "best" of Arsenal vs. Tottenham:
A lot of names in there that we'd rather forget currently, eh? Let's have another look at one of my all-time favorite goals in the NLD, where Cesc Fabregas scores while the announcers are still singing the praises of the previous goal:
For more recent nostalgia, we only have to look back to the last two matches, both of which supplied us with a Spud being sent off and both of which finished with the delightful scoreline of Arsenal 5 - 2 Spuds. I'm not sure we can hope for the same accommodations come this Sunday. Let's not forget that we have not managed to win in our previous 4 trips to Shite Hart Lane, drawing and losing twice apiece. Spuds have also only lost twice at home this campaign.
The last few years have seen the Arsenal criticized for being a one player team, particularly when it comes to offensive production. This term, the same criticism could be leveled against our lilywhite neighbors. Gareth Bale has 19 goals in all competitions so far this season; next highest Spuds scorers are Defoe with 14 (who is returning from injury and will probably start on the bench) and Dempsey with 8 (who is currently injured), with goal production petering out from there. This is not to say that Tottenham will be without offensive weapons on Sunday; it is fairly obvious where the danger from them will originate, though.
A positive note for us is that we are no longer dependent on one player to score our goals. Walcott, Giroud, Podolski, and Santi are all into double figures for goalscoring in all competitions this season, with Gervinho and Arteta chipping in. Being that our next match is not until 13 March, there's no excuse to rest any of these players...well, maybe Gervinho. If we're being perfectly honest, there's probably every reason to rest players against Bayern Munich (though remember how close our comeback came against AC Milan?), but that's a whole other post. The point being, I expect all of our big guns out on the pitch in as close to their preferred positions as possible from the start, with no reason to get cute and put Ramsey in goal or some such lark.
We are not without our own key injuries. Both of our starting fullbacks are out injured, with Diaby still perpetually in recovery. Young master Jenkinson will have his hands full mitigating Bale's current marauding form. It's not brilliant punditry to say that containing Bale will go a long way in helping us to a victory.
The lessons from last post still apply. We must finish the chances we are given and not be too quick to offer chances in kind. Basic strategy, really, but both tactics seem to elude us in fits and starts. Every match remaining in our season is important and vital to securing a top four finish but naturally no three points would be as sweet.
Remember one simple fact, win, lose, or draw: we won the league at Shite Hart Lane.