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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Weekend Roundup (11/23/2013 to 11/24/2013)

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Quiet weekends are usually good weekends and in this case, it was damn good!  Saturday morning started out well with a good win from Arsenal at home against in-form Southampton and my, was it a cracker!  The Saints played very well in the first half, but some luck from Artur Boruc’s horrible work in front of goal saw Arsenal’s Giroud steal the ball from him to score on the spot (muhaha!).  Despite what the BBC’s written, luck wasn’t the only thing that helped us will that day.  With solid defending, great build-up play and a penalty for us due to Per getting his jersey yanked, we convincingly closed out the kind of game that we would usually falter with years ago.  How’s that for a good start to the weekend?

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A Tale of Two Sixes: Arsenal vs. Manchester City (EPL, 9-23-2012)

September the 23rd marked my sixth year living in the Tampa Bay area and nothing could help me start that day better than a valiant display of attacking football at the Etihad.  The Blue Moon’s number 6, Joleon Lescott, scored from a thumping header in the first half, but it was our number 6, Laurent Koscielny, that made the comeback with one helluva goal (thanks in no small part to a corner earned from Cazorla’s near death shot.  Ouch!!) to deny the Citizens the win.

I’ll be brief with my words here, but the Gunners’ midfield dominance was key to all of this.  Those who predicted that last Saturday’s game would be a war between Abou Diaby and Citeh giant Yaya Toure were in for a surprise as the latter exerted absolutely no influence on the game.  Both Diaby and Arteta commanded the pitch while Ramsey had his BEST game ever, darting away and making trouble for the citizens outside the penalty area.  Gervinho continued to have the majority of the chances, and although he blew quite a few, he was instrumental for adding pressure to the opposition’s defenses.  Cazorla and Podolski continue to link up well, with the latter being the creative outlet for the team.  By miles, we were the better side going forward.

But the talk of the town right now is our defense, specifically with Per Mertesacker.  Voted Man of the Match during the game, Per made key interceptions during Citeh’s forward drives and was THE leader of the defense, while Koscielny used more of his skill to win back or take away the ball from the opposition.  Laurent almost gifted Aguero a goal after his, but thankfully, the Argentine’s shot went wide.  Mannone is beginning to prove himself as a number one and will be seen as a keen competitor for the spot soon.  Gibbs was reliable going forward and in defense, save for his error that gifted Citeh a corner, while Jenkinson continues to improve dramatically, with him being the one that began to mount more attacks in the second half.  Who would’ve thought that we could defend like this?

And let’s not take anything away from the Blue Moon.  They defended well and had great chances in the counterattack, but were unable to mount anything particularly deadly (generally) since they were unable to hold the ball for any long spell.  Overall, it was a spirited performance from Arsenal, and if it even got Jaime Redknapp, Gary Neville, and that cunt of a man Robbie Savage to actually sing praises about the Gunners, then by Jove my friends, I think we’ve done it.  Staying humble amidst all of this is a must, but it seems like the belief is there in the squad.  Chelsea is a comin’ and we’ve got Coventry to tangle with today for the League Cup, so lets keep this up gents.