The Champions League draw takes place tomorrow morning. I'll post an update with my thoughts
when it happens. I meant to post this earlier, but I had a friend in town from back home who's
doing stand up comedy in the city this week, and we met up for a drink, which turned into two
drinks, which turned into three, etc.
Well, the polls on the goalkeeper position are closed, and our winner, in a very, very tight
vote, was Jens Lehmann, taking 63 (52%) votes to David Seaman's 58 (48%). Manuel
Almunia picked up a solitary pity vote. Next up: right-back.
Not too many options here, either, although I think it does present an interesting dilemma about
what your criteria is in selecting who should be on the "All-Decade" team.
Well, crap. Two points dropped, and frankly, it very easily could have been 3. Aside from one
stretch in the first-half, we really looked bad all night. Which is not to take anything away from
Burnley. The fact is that the difference in motivation and desire between the two sides was so
clearly apparent, and Burnley went out played their butts off for their point.
Lineups are in:
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Caldwell, Carlisle, Jordan, Eagles, Elliot, Alexander,
Bikey, McDonald, Fletcher. Subs: Penny, Kalvenes, Gudjonsson, Blake, Nugent, Thompson,
Arsenal: Starters: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Silvestre, Cesc,
Song, Diaby, Nasri, Arshavin, Walcott.
Position: 13th, 5-3-8 (18 points, -14 goal differential)
Recent Form: DDLLD
Home Form: 5-2-1
Last Meeting: Burnley 2-Arsenal 0 (12/2/09) (Carling Cup)
So let's do this. Take any preconceived notions you have that this is going to be an easy win, a
chance to rest some players or improve our goal differential, or an automatic 3 points, and chuck
that right out the window.
Just a quick news round-up before my formal preview of the Burnley match coming later this
afternoon. First, the bad news is that Denilson is out of the Burnley match with a back injury.
You'll recall that he just returned from being out for 10 weeks with a back injury. Hopefully this
isn't a serious recurrence Wenger seems not to think so, indicating that he'll probably be back for
Hull on Saturday.
With the end of the decade upon us and lists popping up everywhere, I thought it might be fun to
have a series of polls for us to determine Arsenal's all-decade team.
Today, we start with goalkeepers. Arsenal really haven't had that many # 1 keepers this decade,
so our options are limited.
First off, I want to talk about Arsene Wenger's half-time speech, which apparently had quite a
bit to do with Arsenal's second-half resurgence. Wenger reportedly came in at the break and told
the squad that they didn't deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt, the way they had played. Cesc said
Wenger screamed at them "like never before.
Coming into this weekend, looking at the fixture list, this was poised to be the end of
Arsenal's title hopes. Chelsea was at home against Everton, who have been very poor this season,
and Manchester United was at home against Aston Villa. Spurs were also home against Wolves, and
Manchester City were playing at relegation zone dwellers Bolton.
Liverpool. Arsenal. Anfield. Join Ed from Liverpool Offside and I for my first-ever liveblog on
Match report to follow.
Position: 7th, 7-3-5 (24 points, +11 goal differential)
Recent Form: WLDDW
Home Form: 4-2-1
Last Meeting: Liverpool 4-Arsenal 4 (4/21/09)
Well, tomorrow is the big day.
Injury news ahead of Sunday's clash at Anfield. Emmanuel Eboue is out for the match with a
hamstring problem. It doesn't sound too serious, so hopefully he'll be back for the midweek trip to
Burnley, or at least next weekend's match with Hull. All those people who only come to see Eboue
are going to be disappointed this weekend, though.
While looking for stories about last night's Champions League action, I came across a story
about Jens Lehmann. Apparently after last night's Champions League victory which put them into
knockout stages, former Gunner keeper "Mad" Jens Lehmann was apparently critical of Stuttgart's
board for dismissing manager Markus Babbel, and now he's in trouble with the board.
Well, Arsenal goes down 1-0 to Olympiakos. For all the talk about how we might be disrespecting
the competition by fielding a team of players in their teens and early 20s, it sounds like they
went out there and put on a pretty good performance. Playing Olympiakos in Athens is never easy,
and a 1-0 loss is nothing to be ashamed of.
Lineups are in, and pretty much everyone else in the lineup is young enough to be Mikael
Silvestre's illegitimate love child:
Olympiakos: Starters: Nikopolidis, Galitsios, Avraam Papadopoulos,
Mellberg, Raul Bravo, Galletti, Dudu, Maresca, Leonardo, Oscar, Mitroglou.
I know, it's not a Carling Cup match. But we appear to be treating it like a Carling Cup match,
so I'm using the "Carling Cup Kids" picture.
Anyway, we travel to Olympiakos tomorrow for the final group stage match. The match is
pleasantly anticlimactic. As you'll recall, when the group stage draw was done and the fixtures
announced, my general sense was that we got a very good draw, but we needed to be sure and wrap up
a spot in the knockout stages by the 5th match, because Greece is always a tough place to play, and
we didn't want to be in the situation where we had to go to Athens and win just to get through.
That's the rumor, anyway. According to Pavlyuchenko's agent, Arsenal are among the teams bidding
for the lanky Russian striker, who has thus far been a massive disappointment since arriving at
Spurs from Spartak Moscow.
It seems pretty unbelievable. (A) He plays for Spurs, our arch-rivals, and (B) he hasn't been
good enough to hack it there, so why would we go out and buy him?
We won. We controlled the match. We scored. We kept a clean sheet. Did I mention that we
I know, I know we're Arsenal, we should always expect to thoroughly beat teams like Stoke at
home. But given Stoke's recent history of taking big scalps away from the Brittania, and our woeful
recent form, I think we can be forgiven for having a big, collective sigh of relief.
Lineups are in:
Arsenal: Starters: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore,
Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri, Eboue, Rosicky, Arshavin. Subs: Fabianski, Senderos, Silvestre,
Merida, Ramsey, Vela, Wilshere.
Stoke City:Starters: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Huth, Faye, Collins,
Lawrence, Delap, Diao, Etherington, Sanli, Sidibe.
Position: 9th, 5-5-4 (20 points, -2 goal differential)
Recent Form: WDLWD
Away Form: 1-4-2
Last Meeting: Arsenal 4-Stoke 1 (5/24/09)
Tomorrow's the day we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back into the habit of
playing good football again.
The big news today is there's quite a bit of hubbub over Wenger's refusal to shake Mark Hughes'
hand after yesterday's 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Predictably, the media has been quick to jump on the bandwagon criticizing Wenger for being
"disrespectful" and a "sore loser." On the sore loser point, I'm sure that losing had something to
do with it he probably would have been more magnanimous if Arsenal had won.
Well, honestly, that was about what we expected. Not that it's not still disappointing,
especially with us managing to get to halftime all tied up. But as I said in the preview, our first
team has lost the last two years at Eastlands, and City definitely fielded their first-choice XI,
so it would have been asking a lot of our youngsters and back-ups to go up there and win.
Lineups are in:
Manchester City: Starters: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Bridge,
Wright-Phillips, Barry, Ireland, Bellamy, Tevez, Adebayor. Subs: Taylor, Kompany, Onuoha,
Weiss, Johnson, Santa Cruz, Robinho.
Arsenal: Starters: Fabianski, Eboue, Song, Silvestre, Traore, Ramsey,
Eastmond, Rosicky, Wilshere, Merida, Vela.
ennui noun a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from
satiety or lack of interest; boredom.
That pretty much sums up how I've felt for some time about the Thierry Henry handball situation.
You'll recall that I launched a preemptive backlash against the hysterical media coverage right
after the incident happened, before most of the media accusations of cheating, etc.
Thought I'd get out ahead of this before we read too many headlines misinterpreting what Arsene
Wenger said today about what he had in mind for the upcoming transfer window, and it related (in my
mind, at least) to an ongoing dialogue I've been having with Jack over at the Chelsea Offside about
Wenger's comments about Drogba, so I thought I'd just turn this into a complete rant.
Well, once again November comes and goes and leaves us broken down by the side of the road. It's
been a bad month we knew the Chelsea match was going to be tough, but to lose at home by 3 goals is
something that should never, ever happen. We knew Sunderland was going to be a tough game, but to
lose it, and lose it by failing to score, was brutal.