A Great End to a Disappointing Arsenal Season (2016 – 2017)

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It’s Memorial Day today and after returning from a quaint little Jazz festival in Alexandria, Virginia, I just thought I need to make a few blurbs about Arsenal.  I originally wanted to write another hate-filled speech about Cheetos Emperor Donaldore J. Trumpfuckery the 15th and his ties to a secret cabal of one-eyed KGB kickboxers, but that’ll be for another day.  Today is for the vets, and it’s also for me to celebrate Arsenal’s victory over Chel$ki F.C. to win the 2017 F.A. Cup.

Our season in the Prem started out well, and things were looking good between November 2016 and January 2017.  However, losing Santi Cazorla was a massive blow, and as you already know, the wheels started to come loose a little later in the campaign.  Losing to Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Tony Pulis F.C., and Watford, along with ties to fucking Bournemouth and some offsides bullshit with Citeh dented both our hopes and our top four chase, making us 5th for the Europa League.  A big blow to us for sure, but I really REALLY want to stay positive and hope that there’s a silver lining in that as well.  If Chel$ki and United fall into the Europa League with little ire from the press, why can’t Arsenal, right?  (I’m being sarcastic of course)

However, I’m still not in the Wenger Out camp.  I’d only do so in order for Uncle Arsene to be spared of all this stuff.  That’s not to say that Arsenal aren’t without problems.  I’m as sick of it as anyone else when it comes to our pattern of implosion, but to visibly vent our frustrations on Wenger does him or us no justice.  Protest the way we play, or get in the board’s face about investment or even a change in tactics, but for reals folks, please don’t dis Uncle Arsene.  He doesn’t deserve it.

So give the old man credit for that back three.  Give him credit for his selections.  Give him AND the players some cred for smacking Mourinho in the face after beating ManU in the Prem and give him his due for giving us one helluva F.A. Cup final.

If you watched the final, then you know how exciting it was.  I was screaming at Arsenal all day to make sure they didn’t fuck anything up and sure enough, they didn’t.  The first 5 minutes was all Arsenal with some amazing possession and, handball or not, a neat goal from Alexis Sanchez.  I’m glad we got in Chel$ki’s faces and I’m glad we got some fortune for once.  Ramsey offside?  Yeah right.

However, with all the chances we had throughout the first half, the game should’ve been out-of-sight with 4-0.  We dominated the midfield battle and for all the excuses Chel$ki fans can make about not being at the races, save it.  You guys put out THE title-winning eleven and for an occasion like the F.A. Cup final, you guys looked ordinary.  Oh, and that Ozil tackle on Hazard?  Priceless.

The second half saw the Blues amped up with a few more fouls, penetration and pace, which only made David Ospina look cooler and cooler with some fine saves.  Per, Rob and Nacho held Neaderthal Costa back pretty well for the most part.  Well, except for his goal of course.  But that was after the Victor Moses dive.  Which he got a red card for.  Sweet.  Again, you’d think Arsenal would be safe after that but then we got Costa’d.  I kicked a box at home as my head boiled with fury.  For an Arsenal fan like me, this usually means that we would not only implode, but  Per would break all three of his legs somehow, Ox would get a Red card for being Gibbs (again) and Phil McNulty would begin masturbating at the thought of writing another thinly-veiled ‘Arsenal-are-weak-get-Wenger-sacked’ fluff piece.

However, in only a few short minutes, Phil would have to go limp and clean his chin in disgust because when Olly Giroud came on, he made made a beautiful cross to an unmarked Ramsey, where he cannoned a header past Courtois (the best GK in teh Prem mind you).  The roar of the Gooner faithful thundered the air, the blue poop of London groaned and the Red Sea parted in Divine Rapture.  I wasn’t the only one jumping for Joy.  I clutched my Wife, I held on to the sky and was ready for Arsenal to defend for their life.  What a feeling, and what a goal!

Ospina and the rest of the defense had to then pull in one helluva shift to make sure the game didn’t turn into 2-2, with a brilliant save to keep us all in.  Mesut should’ve scored when Arsenal broke free but had to settle for the post, Courtois’ leg and a corner and I wished to God Giroud got his 100 goals for the club, but when that final whistle came, I didn’t care.  We saw through the challenge.  We beat the deserved Champions of England.  We won the F.A. Cup.  And we did it with our BFG Captain making his FIRST START OF THE SEASON!

I’m not so sure if this ‘saved’ our season because there’s just sooooo much that we still need to work on.  Injuries, motivation, mentality and, overall, contracts.  It sounds like the ‘same old Arsenal’ tag that most shit pundits like to beat us with, but it all happened at the latter half of the season, not the tail-end of November like usual.  We’re starting to slowly find a way to play without Santi, but we need to really rethink our defensive transitions because teams are finding out how to exploit us in our own half.  It’s my hope that the maturation of Xhaka in the Prem will help in that regard, but like many new signings at Arsenal, they usually don’t mature until they take a pounding.  Keeping Sanchez and Ozil are should be the main target of the club this summer, and if we do, we need to drill Sanchez to avoid turnovers at all costs.  I also personally think Giroud and the Ox should still stay at the club, with the former being a beast from the bench and the latter shining as a wing back.  Finally,it’s my hope that with a win like this, we can take a serious look at our problems, use Spurs’ current form as a kind of jealous motivation, and our sinking into the Europa doldrums as a silver lining for experience as we try to recoup ourselves to do something big next season.

Until then guys, let’s savor this win and tell the rest of the naysayers to piss off.

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Arsenal vs. Chelsea: EPL (9/24/2016)

Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League

The last time I saw Arsenal whoop Chelsea was in 2011 during the RVP days.  The last few times, it’s been Diego Costa getting away with being a complete jerk without any penalty.  The last few times, it’s been too many goals against us and not enough against them.  The last few times, it was Mourinho being a dick wad.  Specialist in failure anyone?

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Win Ugly: Arsenal vs. Newcastle United (1/2/2016)

koscielny vs newcastle 2016

Watching yesterday’s game reminded me of our mauling in Southampton on Boxing Day, yet Arsenal (thanks in no small part to Petr Cech) stood as the victor in what would’ve been a game that we’d normally lose or draw.  Koscielny’s goal was the difference in a scrappy affair where the Magpies had the better chances to score.  Mitrovic was unlucky to some degree, but Cech did the business to snuff out the danger as Newcastle squeezed past our defenders to fire.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the ref.  The man was atrocious.

Oh, and Ramsey….please, if you’re clear on goal and if your lane blocked, GIVE IT TO CAMPBELL!!!!

Arsenal have always been beaten by the cudgel of “mental fragility” by many a pundit over the years, but it’s nice to see that we can dig out an ugly win with a set piece and get 9 out of a possible 12 points during a very hectic timeframe.  With us still retaining our place at the top of the table, it will become more of an imperative to grind out wins as the next set of fixtures approach (along with an FA Cup tie).  Yes, we’ve got some injuries, but our depth is there (barely).  The worry I have is that our defense and midfield was left exposed quite often against Newcastle so personally, I really think we need to tighten up with some structure / shape.  We’re missing Coquelin’s physical presence in midfield since both Southampton and Newcastle have proven that they could bully us in midfield with little consequence.  Here’s to hoping that we can dig deep and make it happen as we wait for the rest of our troops to return.

 

Bidding a Fond Farewell to the Arsenal 2011 / 2012 Season

With Arsenal sealing Champions League qualification, thanks in part to Martin Fulop (rofl) and a stunning save from Kieran Gibbs, it’s safe to say that the club has finally rounded off another season of the Premier League, but with twists and turns all around.  Sure, we don’t have any silverware, but we’re third aren’t we?

There’s so much for me to say about the 2011-2012 season that there’s no way I can fit all of it into one post, but starting from the Gervinho red card against Newcastle to the drubbing at Old Trafford, both the media and Gooners smacked full blown with the “Wenger Out” Kool-Aid voiced their doom and gloom throughout the football sphere, as they told us all we were relegation fodder, a club in crisis and a weak, trophy-less, feeder club whose “attractive” football lacked any “real grit” to hunker down and win games (as if Ashely Young could show grit in the box before he scores, all I saw was a goddamned diver if you asked me).  August and September were gloomy months indeed.

October started off horribly with a defeat at the hands of our much hated rivals, Tottenham Hotspur (all the while losing Sagna to injury for months in the process), but then came our continued fights to beat the Group Stages of the Champions League, our dismantling of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (with John Terry kissing the dirt too) and the fact that our signings, like Santos, Mertesacker & Arteta in particular, showed their mettle as Gunners worthy in name.  Panic buys my ass.

From November onwards, it was a roller coaster of a ride.  We beat Borussia Dortmund in grand style (there’s only one Song), we continued to rise slowly up the Premier League ranks,  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain proved how raw yet prodigious of a talent he could be (while Park continues to elude us to this day), Henry returned on loan to help us out with a brief gale of victory, and RVP continued to score, score and score.  What more could you ask for?

February proved to be another roller coaster for us as we were knocked out of the FA (not before Henry returned to give us one helluva win against Leeds) , we lost 4-0 to AC Milan and a re-match against the Spuds were upon us.  Did we give in?  Hell no.  After scores from Saha & Adebayor, Bacary Sagna returned from the very same fixture that wrecked his leg to give Tottenham the “FUCK YOU GOAL” of a lifetime.  Couple that with a resurgent Tomas Rosicky and you have yourselves one of the most memorable games the Gunners had this season.  It was the sign of things to come, in the form of a big middle finger to all the negativity surrounding the club.

By March, we had seven straight wins in the Premier League, with a dramatic one coming out late against Newcastle thanks to the insane drive of Thomas Vermaelen.  April yielded one of our best games of the season as the Gunners pressed hard against current champs Man City and won 1-0 with a stunning shot from Mikel Arteta.  However, as the season came to a close, we let things slip a bit.  Losses to Wigan and ties to Stoke & Norwich added quite a bit of pressure on us as the race for Third place was coming to a head.  Yossi Benayoun showed his mettle and experience as he began to score good goals, but the loss of Arteta through injury was also a loss of midfield composure for our side.  By the time we made it to West Brom on our last game, things looked grim as we were down 2-1.  But, as I said earlier in this post, all that is in the past.  Chelsea have won the Champions League (classless fucks), and we got our spot to play on it.

As we bid farewell to the our season (along with Pat Rice, god bless him), let’s all remember that we still have to wait and see if our Captain will continue to score for us for years to come.  Let’s look forward to another one of Song’s lofted assists.  Let’s hope the young guns like Johan, Ramsey and the Ox strive better to improve their game.  Let’s hope Yossi stays!!  Let’s not forget the defensive badassery of Laurent Koscielny.  Let’s make sure that the new guys like Per, Jenks, Andre & Mikel find a great home with us at the Emirates and let’s hope to God that we’ll avoid any disasters like what we found ourselves in at the start of this season.  Let’s not forget that RVP is the man, winning the Premier League Golden Boot, the PFA Player of the Year award AND the FWA Player of the Year award (eat that Rooney…EAT IT!!).  And finally, let’s add some quality to the squad during this forthcoming “silly season”.  It’s been a crazy time for the Gunners, and a frustratingly vein-popping season for Uncle Arsene, but at least in my opinion, it was a very memorable one.  Cheers to all you Gooners out there, and cheers to our Gunners!!  ‘Til next season!  ^__^

Special Thanks goes to Arseblog, Arsenal FC Blog, Arsenal Bleacher Report & the Arsenalist, along with Grumpygrad.  Thanks to all of you for accompanying me on another footballing season with the Gunners!!

Arsenal vs. AC Milan , UEFA Champions League Round of 16 (3-6-2012): THE REVENGE!!!

So much has already been said about this game, much of it being a bit negative from sacks of shit like BBC’s Chris Bevan and all, but let’s be honest with ourselves.  We had a small sliver of hope ever since we were walloped at the San Siro.  Turning it around was already a monumental task, so the Gunners decided to give it all they got.  Sure they sulked as the scoreline read 3 – 0 at full time, but what a magnificent way to end it.

From Koscielny’s dolphin-like header to Rosicky’s return to midfield Mozart, the game showed shades and shades of positives.  Gibbs was as great a left back as ever, mixing great forward play with timely and tasteful clearances.  RVP had some dynamite chances (including an absolute cracker near the box that made the keeper go Superman on it), while the likes of Gervinho and the Ox mixed it up with gutsy drives and great performances in ball pressing.  Our defense was composed, and our Polish keeper was a source of constant motivation while maintaining a clean sheet for the team.  As for AC Milan, the likes of Boateng and Seedorf were absent, and, in some fashion, so was the rest of the team.  Ibrahimovic and Van Bommel sure can dive, but the big thing to moan about is that cunt of a ref who sure needs a roundhouse to the teeth.  It’s not as if the Rossoneri didn’t play like shit, but they weren’t up their best (thanks Thiago Silva!!).  As for what Wenger said that got UEFA all up in a tiff?  I smell a touchline ban again!

So while you’re remembering our Gunners sulk after the end of the match, with the Arsenal hate train ticking on and off the blogo / net / twitter-sphere, please take it to heart that the team played their collective asses off.  This is the kind of performance we need from our boys here, and lets hope that this will carry through towards the end of our domestic season.  It takes class and drive to did what we did in the face of a monumental defeat, and in the end, the very end, we did not disappoint.  Raise your guns high gents, and let’s aim for a fine finish this season…