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

18765734_1491553554241816_4077796175652832984_n

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.

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?

Continue reading

2015: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Facepalm-Meme-Gif-08

I wish I had written this before the end of 2015, but to be honest, I dreaded writing this because 2015 was just a bad year overall.  Sure, there were some nice highlights that I savored but so much occurred that I can’t even begin to really write anything coherent but here goes.

Continue reading

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.

 

RAMBO REVOLUTION: Arsenal vs. Stoke City (9-22-2013)

Ramsey arsenal stoke win 2013I haven’t written about Arsenal in quite a while, but it’s great to see them in fine form and striding away with well deserved wins.  With yet another silly season behind us, we’ve emerged with 2 free signings in the form of Yaya Sanogo and former Gunner Matthieu Flamini, a great deal of off-loading and Real Madrid’s assist-king Mesut Ozil in our ranks.  The signing of the summer in my honest opinion, his price tag is well worth whatever Bale’s was, and the fact that we flexed the financial muscle to get him shows that we can spend the money when we feel it necessary.  Ozil’s impact to Arsenal’s style of play has been tremendous, along with one other Young Gunner, the stalwart Welshman Aaron Ramsey.

He’s divided many opinions among the Arsenal faithful, but whatever ill you’ve thought of him in recent years now needs to be eaten with 50 spoonfuls of humble pie.  Last season, his shifts as a right back and all-purpose midfielder have shown us that he’s ready to give whatever the team wants, but his recent displays as a box-to-box powerhouse illustrate that not only has his confidence returned, so to has his tenacity.  With commanding performances where he’s dribbled through players, made smarter passes and has FUCKING scored 7 goals in 8 games, you start to realize why Wenger has truly kept the faith with Aaron.  Not many managers can do that, and, unfortunately, not many fans can either.

ramsey vs sunderland arsenal 2013 goalRamsey always had it in him to make things possible by playing a direct game, but his recent exploits in Marseille, Sunderland and Stoke have shown us that his footballing brain has gotten bigger, with his last goal against Sunderland being my favorite of his so far.  In addition, let’s not take anything away from the rest of the squad.  Giroud is scoring like a real striker should be, while the midfield is really putting their work in like heroes.  Although the defense has always been a point of contention at the Emirates, we’ve seen everyone from Gibbs to Per make great saves (along with the SZCZ).  Jenkinson himself is a fantastic crosser and Sagna continues to retain the title of “Mr. Reliable” all the while scoring today with a fabulous header today.  The team is riding high at the moment, and Ramsey’s influence has helped in paving the path for everyone to play on with spirit.

Maybe it’s too early to say glowing things about Arsenal now, but let’s bask ourselves in this for a little bit, shall we?  We’ve got injuries but those folks will come around.  We’ve flexed our money muscle and people are taking notice.  We played physical football against the Orcs of Stoke and we beat them with Setpieces….can you believe that?  And what’s more?  We’ve got Aaron Ramsey in fine form, and if he keeps this up, then we’ll truly have a Rambo Revolution on our hands.

bM2leZO