Results tagged “arsenal” from VANTAN.ORG

Why I Love Arsenal

November 29, 2009 3:10 PM

Why I love Arsenal

These lads aren’t just big on the field, they’re also big-hearted, raising money for a children’s hospital. And they look adorable in their furry costumes!

Nicknames I’ve thought of for each of them, based on what they’re wearing:

  • Theo “the Leo” Walcott
  • Cesc Fa-bear-gas - waitaminute, is that a bear or a lamb? I’m making myself imagine it’s a bear, because I don’t want our key midfielder to be eaten by the Chelsea ‘wolves’ tonight
  • Andrei Ar-shark-vin (or Ar-Shark-fin if you’re Chinese)
  • Bird-cary Sagna (can’t think of anything that fits with ‘owl’)

Arsene Wenger on David Beckham

December 30, 2007 3:16 AM

Football fans will know that David Beckham himself will be training at Arsenal, possibly with the first team or reserves. Arsene Wenger has good things to say about Beckham:

"I admire how strong Beckham has been mentally through his career because he went through some tough times... I respect the fact that he has always loved football and he has always shown respect for his managers even when he was dropped. He didn't come out in a silly way, a spoilt way."

Did you hear that, Jens Lehmann?

Arsenal top the table again

December 30, 2007 2:43 AM

And how the tables have turned! Arsenal and Manchester United have switched places again and we Gooners will have a Happy New Year indeed.

I was hoping against hope that West Ham would give Man U a run for their money, and they actually did! However my ultimate wish was for ex-Gunner Freddie Ljungberg to score against Man U. [Afterthought: And then, to see Freddie rip off his shirt and give us a glimpse of his CK underwear. OK, I just made this part up while typing.] Anyway, a win is a win. Good for the Hammers.

What looked unbelievable was how Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty kick totally. It was just as shocking as seeing David Beckham slip on a muddy pitch in Turkey. Also, I thought Carlos Tevez was doing fine and didn't need to be substituted by Anderson. It looked as if Man U didn't want to win after the first half.

On to the Everton-Arsenal match. I thought at best we'd have a draw because Everton's been in form while Arsenal has been off colour against mid-tier teams. Indeed in the first half it was a scrappy, halting match - precisely the style that Arsenal aren't comfortable with. And the Gunners were unhappy and started showing their temper. That is one psychological aspect of the game that many of them have yet to master, particularly the younger players. It's good to have passion but not to get so carried away that you get yellow-carded. Twice.

Those who watched the match will know exactly who I'm referring to. Nicklas Bendtner should remain a sub for some time until he matures. His winner against Spurs was great, but the lad must learn that consistency is key. Despite his tall figure, Bendtner was slow and awkward, unable to dominate the ball on many occasions. Adebayor, on the other hand, has matured greatly and was calm in front of goal.

And 'calm' can barely describe Eduardo de Silva's two goals. They were clinical, cool flicks that showed the ineptitude of the Everton defence. Everton fell apart in the second half. My theory is that mid and bottom-tier teams usually hold up well in the first half, but when things go wrong they lose concentration and allow better teams to prevail.

Arsenal did better this season against Everton, and this may indicate their championship quality. Resilience and the ability to perform despite being a man down are certainly worthy attributes.

Update: Everton boss David Moyes is reportedly furious at Fabregas' reaction to being elbowed in the face. He adds:

"We cannot hide that we made mistakes for the goals, but I will take some convincing that Arsenal were better than us."

It seems like the 4-1 scoreline wasn't enough for him.

Arsenal 2-2 Manchester United

November 3, 2007 11:12 PM

What a match! What an atmosphere! What fighting spirit from both teams! What a sore throat I'm going to get from all that shouting!

The match began with Arsenal energy and Man U trying to contain them. After some missed shots from both sides, Wayne Rooney drew first blood towards half time. I felt Manuel Almunia could have done a better job to save it - he looked unprepared. I could imagine Jens Lehmann smirking in his reserves seat, preparing his next snide comment. Fortunately, Almunia made some decent saves in the second half that might keep his position secure for a few more games at least.

So Man U were up by a goal during half time. I pictured Arsene Wenger giving the lads a pep talk. Could Arsenal be the comeback kings again? They were! Within a couple of minutes, Cesc Fabregas found himself unguarded in front of the Man U goal and calmly tapped the ball in. Roawwr!!

Things got more exciting in the second half but neither side made progress. Shots were either off target or saved. It looked like it was going to become a draw. Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger made changes. Wenger brought on Walcott - it's about time! Walcott made some impact by shooting at range and on target - but Van Der Sar caught it. Then Walcott appeared on the other side to prevent Wayne Rooney from keeping the ball.

Then Ronaldo scored! I thought, oh noo, there's not much time left! Just that we weren't sure who exactly scored the goal because the Gunners looked like they were giving a 21-gun salute to Edwin van der Sar. Walcott was the last to attempt a shot. The video playback revealed it was none other than ex-Chelsea defender William Gallas - who has now scored against Man U three times in three different teams! Good for the linesman to have spotted the ball; that would have made a 2 point difference!

What was heartening to see, apart from Arsenal's resilience, was the sportsmanship and respect that was lacking in previous matches between both sides. How can we forget the pizza thrown at Alex Ferguson in the tunnel and the shoves at Ruud van Nistelrooy? But this time Wayne Rooney shook Kolo Toure's hand - no hard feelings. Rooney has controlled his emotions better this season and he will come out a stronger player for it. Tevez didn't make much impact though and Ronaldo was a bit quiet in the first half, getting clipped off by Clichy, but later on he nearly won the game for Man U.

One of the last fleeting moments captured on TV was Fabregas and Ronaldo shaking hands. They are both rather handsome, young, and despite being pretty good at what they do, have potential to become even better. Fabregas has a good chance of becoming player of the year, but I hope the glory won't go to his head. The young Gunners should stay hungry and the world could be in their hands.

Gunning for a ticket

October 17, 2007 3:16 AM

Just cleared my snail mail after being away for a week. I am happy to announce that I am now officially on the waiting list for an Arsenal season ticket. By the time I do get it, hopefully I will be in a position to watch a few matches in London at my own leisure.

I'm officially on the Arsenal Season Ticket waiting list!

The magic 2-0

September 27, 2007 10:47 PM

So, after slapping a post-Mourinho Chelsea in the face with a 2-0 win in the Premiership, Manchester United get sent to Coventry, literally, with a 2-0 loss to the Championship team. Watch the video replay on Youtube.

The thing about Man U is that they can be so magnificent, as winning the Treble has proven, yet they can be cocky right after a triumph to the point where you expect them to come crashing to the ground, which just happened again. Never fear, they will pick themselves up again, but Coventry fans certainly had a night to remember. Meanwhile, Chelsea at least got back on the scoreboards with a 4-0 win.

Is Alex Ferguson's decision to field younger players in the Carling Cup to blame? After all, Arsene Wenger did the same thing and beat a Premiership team, Newcastle, also by 2-0. He did field 'seniors' who featured more regularly from the first team, such as the 24-year old Emmanuel Eboue.

However, Man U still want the last laugh as they're opposing the dispensation offered to new Chelsea coach Avram Grant, so that he can no longer coach Chelsea.

Is old man Ferguson thinking properly? Why not LEAVE Avram Grant there so that Chelsea is stuck with a mediocre coach. With his defensive tactics, fans will be bored and players will be disillusioned and leave. So kip yer muth shuut, let 'em haf 'im.

Oh well. If Man U do have their way, maybe Grant can join Spurs. Bwahahahar. Over at Liverpool, Rafa Benitez can continue NOT fielding Fernando Torres regularly, we don't know for the love of football why. Maybe it's just a phase some managers go through. At least Portsmouth's Harry Redknapp is jealous of Arsene Wenger.

A final word from dear Cesc Fabregas on Thierry Henry:

"Henry intimidated us, ... He is a great player but it was not easy to play alongside him... We were a bit inhibited by him - dependent on everything he wanted to do and his demands. Now it is different."

No player is bigger than the team, not even Henry. He has yet to get into the swing of things at Barcelona.

On managing and Mourinho

September 23, 2007 11:47 PM

I'm not a Chelsea fan, as regular readers may know. However, I did respect Jose Mourinho as a coach, even though he stepped on many toes. It is a shame that he is no longer the Chelsea manager.

But ever since Chelsea was bought over by Roman Abramovich, its managers have been under increased pressure to perform. Claudio Ranieri learnt that coming in second in the league - the best results before Mourinho arrived - was still not good enough. Now we've learnt that 5 trophies in 3 years is still not good enough, because Chelsea is not playing 'exciting' enough football or fielding Abramovich's favourite players, even if they were underperforming.

Of course, Abramovich is one of the richest men in the world, and I am just a puny little public servant. All his critics combined may not be as astute as he is in business, or as wealthy. But look at it another way - Abramovich is not a football player or a coach. He should stick to what he does best and leave the managing to his coach. Similarly, good CEOs do not micromanage. My CEO knows what I'm doing but doesn't tell me what colour my websites should be, or how I should blog.

The decisions made at Chelsea so far seem to imply that you can be the best at your job and still lose it - if you displease the ultimate boss. That is not very reassuring. A football manager in one of the top clubs of the world is already under a tremendous amount of pressure. He should not have to worry about more things like a meddlesome owner who undermines his better judgment. Look at the more successful clubs over the last couple of decades. Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson have been around for a long time. They have experienced lulls in the last few seasons due to a rising Chelsea, but they have longer-term strategies that will ultimately strengthen their clubs. Liverpool's Rafael Benitez looks like he's settling down fine, with a Champion's League title tucked under his belt.

Another disturbing thing is how Chelsea captain John Terry himself may have been responsible for ousting Mourinho. Things are unclear, but whatever happened, Mourinho has left behind a legacy and a hard act to follow.

Now all Chelsea has is a second-rate coach with limited Champions League experience and even less fashion sense. Meanwhile, Man United are a goal up thanks to Carlos Tevez, against a 10-man Chelsea team. Things are not looking good for Chelsea. Abramovich and his entourage are watching. Maybe the Russian is thinking of new tactics for Grant to 'parrot' to the team. Woe to them.

[Update: A Louis Saha penalty makes it 2-0. Chelsea had better start looking for a new coach soon.]

[Update 2: John Terry is furious at the allegations that he played a major role in Mourinho's ousting. ]

Arsenal 2, Manchester United 1

January 22, 2007 1:01 AM

It was the time of the year again, that the old titans of the English Premier League clashed. Though somehow I think yesterday's Liverpool v Chelsea match was talked about more.

Arsenal had already beaten Man United this season at Old Trafford. Both sides were in good form. The jury was out on the final score.

It was a classic match, though it certainly didn't start like one. Play was choppy and tempers were provoked. Emmanuel Eboue was annoying but Wayne Rooney managed to control his temper. Cristiano Ronaldo was spirited but less influential than in other recent games. Play kept on getting halted as the referee blew the whistle at every foul. However, he did not award a penalty to Arsenal when Thierry Henry was felled inside the box. Overall, it looked like it was going to be a draw.

Finally when Wayne Rooney scored after half-time with an excellent header, I thought it would be impossible for Arsenal to win the game. It was Jens Lehmann who seemed to be making more saves, not Edwin van der Sar. I felt Alexander Hleb was giving the ball away too often, and Tomas Rosicky frequently tried to score but kept going wide. I wished both of them had been substituted, and earlier on. But eventually the Gunners picked up the pace and took control of the possession.

Finally, Robin van Persie, whom I thought might not be playing as he wasn't fully recovered from his injury yet, came in as a substitute and he made all the difference. He sped towards the goal and gave a powerful upwards kick that sent the ball flying in a difficult angle, which van der Sar could not reach in time.

Man United looked disillusioned at that stage. They probably thought they had the game wrapped up, 1-0, tit for tat, even stevens with Arsenal. The biggest problem with Man United is not their lack of skill - far from it - but their complacency when they think they're already winners. A rejuvenated Arsenal pressed forward and in a manner reminiscent of their previous clash, scored a late winner with a surprising header from Thierry Henry.

At this point, Henry and Adebayor did their little reggae-like dance just off the pitch. I think it looks more graceful than Peter Crouch's imitation of a robot. Whatever the case. They scored. Against Man United. Narrowed the gap. Woohoo!

This is good for the Premier League, and good for the fans. It would be so boring otherwise.

Man of the match: Thierry Henry. He's being interviewed now as I type. He said he could've done better with his first header attempt - but hey we forgive him because he didn't screw up the next one.

Manager Arsene Wenger's the next to be interviewed. He mentions the team's quality and resilience which helped them come from behind and win the match. I agree - the young Gunners looked a bit overwhelmed at first but fought back. It's not easy to come back from a goal down especially against Man United. The young Gunners look very promising.

Technorati Tags: Arsenal, Manchester United, EPL

Theo Walcott wins BBC sports award

December 12, 2006 1:11 AM

Congratulations to Theo Walcott for winning the BBC Young Sports Personality Award.

Even better - Arsene Wenger says that the young man will be making more appearances in future games for Arsenal.

(ps. Am I glad I bought more Theo Walcott shares in Sportdaq recently.)

Technorati Tags: Arsenal, Theo Walcott, Arsene Wenger

I was supposed to take a nap before watching the Chelsea v Arsenal match yesterday night. Instead, I slept through the match and woke up at 4+am! Bah. On the bright side, it's done wonders for my cough which I hope to fully recover from by this week.

In the end I settled for reading news reports on how Arsenal nearly won it if not for Michael Essien's late goal. Not too bad considering Arsenal were away - then again, their away record isn't bad compared to the fact that they still seem unable to settle down at their new home.

Anyway, if you read about the spoof Ashley Cole bank notes that got photographed in the Straits Times today, there is a higher-res version courtesy of Arseblog, in PDF format! It can still be used for the reverse match next year.

Also, someone found my blog via a Yahoo! search on the combined terms "Van Persie" and "gay". Curious, I did a search myself and found that somehow my main address is among the top 10 of Yahoo!'s search results. I found a news report stating thatDutch gay men do like Van Persie and Freddie Ljungberg. Why am I not surprised?

Technorati Tags: Arsenal, Chelsea, Ashley Cole, Robin van Persie, Freddie Ljungberg

Arsenal 3, Liverpool zilch

November 13, 2006 12:46 AM

After a hectic start, Arsenal started showing their mettle. It was not very nice to see Thierry Henry getting knocked about - how often does that happen?! - but that could have fired the team and fans up.

There were red herrings aplenty in this game: Robin Van Persie's handball (or was it more like a fingerball?) which earned him a yellow card, an offside goal by Peter Crouch, and one more by his substitute Craig Bellamy.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the Gunners who scored. Flamini? Toure? Gallas? Who would have put money on them! The 'Pool defenders were too busy knocking Thierry Henry about (one more time), tripping up Toure and Flamini, and finally Stephen Gerrard and John Arne Riise were spotted quarreling with each other.

The commentator noted that Liverpool had more shots off-target than any other Premiership team.

In the second half, Liverpool brought on Jermaine Pennant who was apparently a short-lived Gunner, and if I recall properly he still has a grudge against them for it. He commented that his youth team didn't last at Arsenal. Well look at the young team that beat them today.

The funniest thing that happened was when the referee jerked his body back to avoid being hit by the ball. Firstly, that didn't help because the ball hit him anyway. Secondly, he cramped up and ended up on the floor. Thierry Henry tried to give him a massage. The medic looked amused. Everyone did, actually, including the fans. The ref could have been substituted! Minus points for lack of match fitness, eh.

Credit to the other Gunners who set up the goals - Fabregas and Van Persie. Captain Henry was in many places on the field, not just sitting around near the goal. Hleb was everywhere and Clichy held up well.

The Gunners move up to third spot with a game in hand. Yeah.

Loose cannons

November 5, 2006 10:42 PM

Caught most of the West Ham v Arsenal match this evening, and my premonition was right: I could have done better things with my time. As much as I wanted to see the Gunners climb to the no. 3 spot in the Premier League table, they looked a pale shade of their usual selves. Thierry Henry has not been performing up to par. When Teddy Sheringham came on, I felt a sense of dread and seeing them score the last-gasp goal was bad enough.

At that point, we didn't need to have the two managers scuffling. Earlier on, Referee Rob Stiles should have awarded Arsenal a penalty after Alexander Hleb was fouled inside the box. That would have changed the game. And who threw that coin at Robin van Persie's head? Certainly not a penny for his thoughts.

It was a scrappy game, full of injuries, yellow cards and poor behaviour from the fans. I hope Arsenal shake this off and go back to their winning ways soon.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Super Saturday and Sunday

October 2, 2006 1:04 AM

My comments on three Premiership games played over the weekend.

My namesake does Arsenal proud

OK, cheap thrill. I'm referring to Robin VAN Persie and his amazing flying kick which scored a goal. And that was his second for the match. I was out with the girls that night and came home learning that Arsenal had won away at Charlton. Yay!

Famed Arsenal blog, Arseblog, titles its post "Supervan". I like that name too. You can also watch a multi-angle video replay of Van Persie's flying volley on that page.

BBC's feature on Arsene Wenger's 10 years is pretty riveting. Le Professeur definitely looks better now than when he first arrived!

Ole ole - the return of Super Sub!

Disclaimer: I am NOT a Manchester United fan. There are already enough of you in Singapore to make it boring. But I do admire individual players from many different teams.

One of them is Ole Gunnar Solskjær. I was glad to see him return to form, after being sidelined by injury for 2-3 years. Of course, I hope he never gets to turn his guns on the REAL Gunners.

Something's up with Wayne Rooney. He's never been so off-form for such a long period. I'm suspicious. Ronaldo on the other hand is trying his best, though he's missing something but I don't know what. Well, he's definitely not missing the goalpost! :-P

Korean scores for Reading in 90 seconds, winning match

The Sunday Times ran a feature on three Koreans playing in the Premiership and how Koreans generally are faring better than the Japanese. I noticed that too, after initial media interest over players like Nakata, Ono and Inamoto a few years ago.

With the article fresh in my mind, the news flashed that one of these Koreans just scored a goal against West Ham. I missed the powerful long-shot goal by Seol Ki-Hyeon but I'm sure Koreans will be reading and watching it on the news for the next few days.

Reading however ran out of steam and resorted to time-wasting tactics, which makes me not like them as much as I liked the more fiesty Wigan last season.

Arsenal 3, Sheffield United 0

September 24, 2006 1:23 AM

Phew! Arsenal made the most of their last 30 minutes and stifled the attacking spirit of Sheffield United for their first home win this season.

William Gallas was an all-rounded performer who scored a goal deservedly. Freddie Ljungberg looked livelier today. Thierry Henry finally provided an 'assist' to a Sheffield player's own goal and scored one as well. He's still not looking at his best, but it's much better than before.

Arsenal finally scoring and winning in their own stadium is like ... not having constipation anymore. Imagine if you could do it in a Man United loo but not the brand new loo in your own home. That would be a sick feeling indeed.

Finally! Arsenal beat Man U

September 18, 2006 1:41 AM

I nearly couldn't bear to watch this game. But I did, and am glad for it.

After watching Chelsea beat Liverpool I felt it was lost ... Manchester United would obviously be the favourites to beat Arsenal at Old Trafford and the title race would almost be sealed. Arsenal haven't been doing too well against their nemesis in the last few seasons, and under former captain Patrick Vieira the encounters were rather physical, too.

However, apart from tattle-tale Wayne Rooney getting Jens Lehmann yellow-carded at the beginning, the foul that led to a penalty kick for Arsenal, and Lehmann getting smacked in the face by Cristiano Ronaldo's ball at close range, there wasn't anything really adversarial or violent about the game. Which was good.

Arsenal once again were playing lovely passes but as with other recent EPL matches I feared they couldn't finish. Especially with Thierry Henry injured and off-form. The crowded shouted "Theo! Theo!" many times but young Walcott didn't come on. Emmanuel Adebayor annoyed me with his misses at fairly close range. I see him as a B-grade striker. Lehmann's aggressive mannerisms also largely unnecessary - why put himself at risk of getting a second consecutive yellow card?

However, in the end all was forgiven as Adebayor tapped in the ball for a goal, and Lehmann made great saves as Man United frantically stepped up their efforts to score an equaliser in the dying minutes of the game. In vain :-B

Other player ratings:

Tomas Rosicky, Alexander Hleb and William Gallas were lively and contributed to the flow of the Gunner's game. I liked how Gallas roared with pride at the end of the match and got the crowd clapping. I can nearly forget about Ashley ... Ashley who?

Fredrik Ljungberg is not as good as he used to be, and can be outrun by opponents. Substitute Cesar Julio Baptista was not too bad. His shots were near misses and it should only be a matter of time before he finds the back of the net for Arsenal.

Gilberto Silva's penalty shot was not powerful and Thierry Henry is missed in this area. However Gilberto did act like a captain, giving the thumbs up in acknowledgment of a good attempt.

I was also happy to hear that Newcastle won. There is life after Alan Shearer, much as I've admired him.

So overall, it was a satisfying night in the end.

Technorati Tags: Arsenal, Manchester United, soccer

Arsenal v Aston Villa

August 20, 2006 9:26 PM

I was disappointed with the 1-1 scoreline, but at least Arsenal equalised. The bonus was finally watching Theo Walcott come on for Freddie Ljungberg. He immediately shook up the Villa defence and provided a valuable assist for Gilberto to equalise. Good lad!

Arsenal is definitely in need of more experienced players if they want to seriously contend for titles. I can't wait to see how our youngsters of today blossom into top-rate players in a few years' time. For now, however, the Premiership title will have to wait.

Chelsea v Liverpool

August 13, 2006 9:54 PM

Last year, Chelsea beat Arsenal. Tonight I hope Liverpool draws first blood in the new season's challenge for trophies.

Go, Reds! Beat them black and Blue.

[Update: Yess! 2-1 to the Reds. Amazing run by Riise.]

Gooner + Geek

July 29, 2006 6:31 PM

I decided to check out other people's photographs, tagged with 'Arsenal'. Not bad! At least there's a different perspective - as if we were one of the fans, looking at the whole pitch rather than close up.

Then I discovered Flickr's Arsenal clusters - which lets me zoom in on particular matches like Bergkamp's testimonial and the new Emirates Stadium. Cool!

Update: I found an Arsenal Flickr pool.

Hello Fellow Gooners!

July 2, 2006 11:50 PM

This is a belated discovery, considering that:

  1. I decided to support Arsenal before they went on their unbeaten streak (ie, a few years ago)
  2. I have already made many friends online, through other interests such as web standards and blogging
  3. It did occur to me on several occasions that there might be an Arsenal fan club in Singapore, somewhere. But I never got round to looking for it until someone posted a comment on Blinkymummy's blog.

Now I'm looking forward to meeting fellow Gooners!

It has been challenging finding other people with the same interests. An ex-colleague was the first Arsenal fan I ever knew. Then I discovered that an old friend's fiance was an Arsenal fan. That was really it! As far as I know, there are no Arsenal fans in my current workplace. However, if you went anywhere in Singapore and threw a stone at a group of people, you'd most probably hit a Man U fan.

And throwing the stone would be worth it. Heh heh heh...

Since Jose Mourinho arrived as Chelsea manager, more people I know have emerged as Blues fans. However all have claimed to be Blues fans *before* Chelsea won their first Premiership title. However I don't doubt Liverpool fans' faith - the true fans held on for years and were finally rewarded with the Champions League win. Yeah, I don't really have much against Liverpool, just that I find Arsenal more exciting to watch.

There must be something special, to make Thierry Henry sign on for 4 more years...

Technorati Tags: ,

Goodbye, Argentina

July 1, 2006 1:59 AM

I was sad to see Argentina lose on penalties. They were doing pretty well considering the Germans were on home ground, having lost their first goalkeeper through a potentially damaged spleen.

The turning point of the match was when the Argentinan coach decided to take off playmaker Riquelme and striker Hernan Crespo in favour of a holding midfielder and lesser-known striker. It was a little early to be presumptious and Germany took advantage of the change in strategy.

Even as an Arsenal fan I do not like Jehns Lehmann. However I did feel he would prove slightly superior in penalties, judging from his performances in high-pressure finals like the 2005 FA Cup (which his team won) and the recent Champions League. I was less confident of Michael Ballack, who seemed to have a bad case of cramp.

Touchingly, rival Oliver Kahn went up to Lehmann during the break, and held his hand in encouragement. Team spirit overtook any personal rivalries and Lehmann soon proved his worth by saving two penalties. He dived the right way every time whereas the reserve Argentinan goalkeeper was less telepathic.

So Germany move a step "Klose" to the finals. Will it be a repeat of the last World Cup?

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Uno, dos, tres, cuatro!

June 14, 2006 11:12 PM

Olé indeed! Spain simply outclassed the Ukraine 4-0.

The most famous strikers on both teams, ironically, failed to impress. Shevchenko was so quiet that I thought he wasn't even in the team! His few attempts at goal were blocked by a responsive and resilient Spanish defence. To be fair, Raul was called in as a substitute, but only when Spain were already up 3-0. It was an indication that he was not yet ready to start in a match. His team-mates were more than able to cope with his absence.

Goalkeeper Casillas was definitely not as busy as his counterpart Shovkovskyi, who was sabotaged unwittingly by a free-kick deflection from his own defense wall. If not for the Ukranian goalkeeper, more goals would have been let in as his defence was almost nonexistent at times.

Spain was playing free-flowing football - very much like Arsenal on a rampage - and while they were very good, it was also partly because the Ukranian midfield and defense allowed them to run riot.

The ineffectiveness of both star strikers, however, brings up a big question. Does a famous player deserve to be in the team even though he's out of form, or recovering from injury? Because it appears that reputation alone is not enough to win a World Cup match.

I'm thinking of Rooney, of course, and wondering if he can do any better if he plays tomorrow. Because if he can't, can England count on the somewhat out-of-form Owen? Perhaps Crouch and Walcott should play instead...

Man U 2, Arsenal 0 (again)

April 10, 2006 12:57 AM

Well.

It appears that we have no choice now but to win the Champions League.

Gunning for a win

December 18, 2005 10:52 PM

The big match begins in two minutes.

Go, Arsenal!

Half-time update: Someone please knock some sense into the linesman and referee Rob Styles- Van Persie was onside. Also, could someone knock out Essien's two front teeth? A tooth for a tooth, considering what he did to Lauren. Essien is a brute - I'm sure Liverpool would agree. Some ex-Chelsea player commented before the match that Arsenal have never lost while this referee was in charge. That's an insinuation which could be reversed now.

Van Persie did not commit a foul while chesting the ball - but, he also should not have lost his temper which got him a yellow card.

Just out of sheer revenge, I hope Arsenal score two more back after half-time. I may not bother to watch on - I have a day job and need to sleep. I'll give the young Gunners a few more years with the new stadium before they make it back to No. 1 spot again in the Premier League.

Looking for Robert?

October 24, 2005 9:57 PM

Bonjour and ¡Hola! It appears that my recent post on a certain Arsenal midfielder's misadventures in a recent match, has attracted attention from Google searches all over the world. This is what my Mint stats say:

Hits from the miss

On further investigation, it appears that those favourite search keywords, combined with a keyword from another post (to do with Apple's latest iPod) became a winning combination.

Sorry guys, but you have to look elsewhere. Maybe this wallpaper of Monsieur taking the first kick the right way, will appease some of you.

Premier League report

October 23, 2005 12:05 AM

This evening I watched two different matches at the same time: Man United versus Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal versus Man City.

Man United looked good in the first half. Smithy put up a spirited show, though I and my boy-cousins weren't too sure what Scholes was up to. Things looked topsy-turvy when a defender scored, and Rooney dropped back in defence! However, Spurs started more strongly in the second half [at this point, I changed over to the Arsenal-Man City match] and equalised. One point each.

I've already accepted the fact that Arsenal may not win any honours this season or even the next, because their squad is lacking in depth and attitude. After watching the Pires penalty, I thought, OK, they need to score another goal to secure themselves. And what do they do? Screw up the next penalty. Of all people, Pires botched it up by tapping the ball instead of firing into the net. What a frickin' waste. I'm not sure if that got Bergkamp annoyed (I would be, if I saw my team-mate squander a penalty that I earned). I'd love to hear the locker-room talk.

Elsewhere, it looked like 2-0 was the magic number - Fulham beat Liverpool, Wigan beat Aston Villa, and Blackburn beat Birmingham. I quite admire little Wigan and like reading their striker Jason Robert's columns. This one is funny.

Tomorrow, the slaughter begins (Chelsea versus Everton).

Footie updates

September 19, 2005 1:10 AM

It's decent news, at least to me anyway. Liverpool drew with Man U, and Newcastle have finally won! On an away match! And the Shearer-Owen strike partnership seems to be finally taking shape. I'm happy for the Magpies.

And I'm appalled that top-notch goalkeeper Casillas of Real Madrid is only getting 7,000 quid a week. I mean, he's playing with Galacticos who make that much in a day. It's ridiculous. Join Arsenal. Come on, Wenger, we only bought Hleb and we sold Vieira, so we need at least another big name signing. Boot out the erratic Lehmann and patch up our defence! We've got lots of catching up to do with Chelsea, who have the most impregnable defence in the Premier League.

Wigan 0, Chelsea 1

August 15, 2005 12:56 AM

What a crying shame! After 92 minutes of glorious Premier League football, Wigan lost concentration and let Hernan Crespo unleash a massive projectile into the top corner of the net.

The last two matches (Arsenal v Newcastle and this one) showed some similarities. The underdog teams knew what they were up against, and began with fervour, attacking constantly. The usually sharp Arjen Robben missed the net, and Damien Duff also seemed out of sorts. Didier Drogba, the Man of the Match against Arsenal in the Community Shield a week ago, seemed a pale shade of his former self. Wigan's striker Henri Camara looked dangerous.

However, in both matches quality and class emerged in time, and as the underdogs ran out of steam, the superior teams took control of the game. While Arsenal and Chelsea seemed overwhelmed initially by their respective opponents, after the second half things slowly crept back to normal and they re-imposed their dominance. Chelsea did take a longer time to wake up, though.

Another mark of a great team is the ability of its players to score in numerous different situations, under great pressure. Chelsea could finish (eventually). Arsenal could finish. Wigan's Johansson skied two frighteningly good chances in the dying minutes of the game. A top-class poacher like Ruud van Nistelrooy would have scored in tight situations like that. That's what's lacking in the weaker teams.

But still, I can't help but say, poor Wigan. And poor Newcastle. Try, try again.

[Update: Jose Mourinho himself just said that Wigan didn't deserve to lose, and that his midfield and attack didn't perform. He's hinted at making changes in the lineup, showing no mercy. Things will get interesting for the champions. ]

Arsenal 2, Newcastle 0

August 14, 2005 10:52 PM

What a nailbiting match! Newcastle started as if they were on fire, and Arsenal were doing all they could to douse the flames that were popping up everywhere. As if the pace of the typical English game wasn't fast enough! It looked like Graeme Souness had a good chance of keeping his job - at least, this week.

And then the Geordies' enthusiasm received a slap in the face, when Jermaine Jenas, ironically an Arsenal target for the transfer market, kicked Gilberto Silva from behind, in full view of the referee. It looked bad but most people were surprised when the referee flashed red. Even le captain Thierry Henry seemed to think it was harsh, exchanging words with Souness, of all people. Henry makes friends wherever he goes.

Still, Newcastle being a man down didn't seem to dampen their spirits, and their fans roared with approval. The Arsenal fans seemed relatively subdied. My heart started to pound as the minutes ticked by, past the hour mark. Couldn't Arsenal score a goal? Even one measely goal would be good enough at the rate things were going.

Eventually, a foul on the vivacious Freddie Ljungberg, who was pulled down in the penalty box, resulted in a Thierry Henry free kick. You had to feel sorry for goalie Shay Given (although his name sounds ominously like a 'sheer given'), because he actually made many good saves. I feel he was actually better than his counterpart Jenns Lehmann, except that the latter was seldom challenged especially in the second half. Newcastle were quickly running out of steam now.

Finally - finally! They took out the misfiring Dennis Bergkamp as well as Robert Pires - the greying members of Arsenal's squad, as well as Newcastle captain Alan Shearer, who had a goal offside. In came Aleksander Hleb and Robin van Persie. What took Arsene Wenger so long? We only had 20 minutes left to seal a victory with a second goal!

But the second goal did come - an excellent assist from Ljungberg at a very narrow angle, finished by van Persie who fired between the goalpost and Shay Given's left arm and leg. Given must be feeling rotten about it but apart from that he had a good game.

So it ended - and my heart has stopped pounding.

It's now on to David versus Goliath (Wigan v Chelsea), except that in this case, I don't think that 'David' even has a sling. We'll hope the scoreline stays in the single digits, and that Wigan will pull a few surprises.

Community Shield 2005

August 7, 2005 10:55 PM

Bleah. It's half-time, Arsenal are down by a goal and Chelsea look like they aren't letting any in.

I think Arsenal fans need to hang in there for a few more years, until the Emirates Stadium is built and they can actually start spending more money on players. £357 million was raised for the construction alone.

Of course, at the way things are going, hardly anyone can beat Chel$ki, and face it - they really have the best defence in the League.

Come on, Wenger, bring on Hleb for the second half!

[Update: I braced myself to lose so it didn't feel so bad. Chelsea were better overall*, though Arsenal moved up a gear in the second half and pulled one goal back. Hleb looks good. Henry looks creative but a little stifled. And anyway, the last 8 Shield winners never won the Premiership afterwards. The competition will surely be stiffer this season. ]

[*Update 2: According to the stats, Arsenal had more possession, more attempts on goal, more shots on target, and less fouls and cautions than Chelsea. Of course, at the end of the day, it's still all about who scored more goals.]

Well done, Liverpool!

May 26, 2005 11:34 PM

Congratulations for the amazing comeback. Surely when you were 3 goals down, you'd think there was no more hope. Even Maradona didn't think so. Then it was time for the other captain to score, and the tables started to turn. Then your goalkeeper did the dance of his predecessor, confounding the penalty takers, and history was made.

I didn't manage to stay awake at 2am, and when I woke up I told myself to take it easy when I did hear the news on the radio. However I didn't hear anything about the results on the way to work, but a quick visit to the BBC website showed me that wild dreams do come true.

And this is coming from an Arsenal fan. Congratulations again, Liverpool!

Now the focus will be on whether they will be allowed to defend their title. Emotions aside, surely Everton would feel hard done by if they were bypassed for next year's Champion's League.

Another year older

May 25, 2005 2:25 AM

The only thing on my mind, actually, is the Champion's League final.

I was already pretty chuffed to hear that Arsenal picked up the FA Cup. My Shanghai hotel's Star Sports channel hung for days and nobody bothered to fix it, so I had to reply on SMS reports. Any mishap that happened to me when I was China, was swiftly erased in my mind whenever I told myself, "It's all right. Arsenal won the FA Cup."

I got back to Singapore and watched the replay. Man U were definitely the better players. But for once I have nothing bad to say about Jens Lehmann, who probably played the best game in his life. If he keeps it up like this, Oliver Kahn had better watch out!

I've decided to spend my birthday evening at Alpha. After all, God is my maker and why not spend time with Him and those who want to learn more about Him! [Of course, a lot of participants might actually decide to stay at home and watch the American Idol finals instead. Wednesday is gonna be a biiiiig day]

And to be in Istanbul again ... one of my favourite cities! It will be an electrifying match.

And this time, my heart will be with Liverpool. It's strange because I support Arsenal with my head, and I've always respected AC Milan, but somehow the Merseysiders have a sort of romantic history to them, that whenever they appear as underdogs I tend to support them.

Well, we shall see...

02 Mini

May 6, 2005 2:36 AM

I don't have much time to say this, because I am totally engrossed and distracted by my brand new 02 Mini. (Am I not a staunch Arsenal supporter and geek?)

In brief: Sync software of choice was the Missing Sync. After reading about how difficult it is to totally uninstall PocketMac, and how the support wasn't as good, I chose the former. PocketMac did have a free Mac theme but frankly it didn't look that impressive and face it, it's still a Windows OS underneath the superficial veneer of an Apple logo.

Mistake: Installing demo of PocketMac, because sure enough it didn't uninstall cleanly and I had to search for obscure files in my Macintosh HD. Synchronisation took a while as I re-connected the USB cable, rebooted the Mac and 02 Mini multiple times, removed all other USB devices (due to possible hardware conflict) before it suddenly prompted me for my Registration info, hours later (hence this late post).

Apart from that horrible episode, the 02 Mini itself is a joy to use. Using GPRS, I downloaded my emails from 2 different accounts, including Google POP mail (will figure out how to do the Bluetooth Sync another day).

For viewing, you can toggle the view from vertical to horizontal (either side). Office documents open up quickly. Ringtones are loud and clear.

I've tried out their handwriting recognition and so far they got most of my words right. However I must remember to take regular eye breaks as the text can be strenuous to read after a while.

Let's see if the 02 Mini starts to get slower like my now traded-in Nokia 6600. Hopefully not! I knew the only thing I'd be downgrading to, would be the camera. Sure enough, a picture I took was grainy. I have resigned myself to the fact that nothing is ever perfect, and am now starting to pine for the new Canon Ixus 7 megapixel camera (ever so slightly).

Ah, it appears that my gazillion contacts and calendar items have been synced from my Mac to the 02 Mini. It is time to stop writing and continue playing with my new toy.

You'll Never Walk Alone

May 5, 2005 1:43 AM

Wow, Liverpool really did it. Now they just have to do it again.

AC Milan or PS Eindhoven? I bet most people are expecting Milan to follow through with their 2-goal lead.

Chelsea, from what I read of the player reviews, was behaving like they had a celebration hangover after winning the Premier League title. From the TV replays it looks like the ball did cross the line, albeit a couple feet up in the air. Anyway, if Chelsea really were the better team in that game, they would have scored the equaliser and perhaps a winner as well, no?

Don't get me wrong. I'm neither a Chelsea or Liverpool supporter although I respect both clubs. In fact I was hoping Chelsea would clinch the Champions League title as well, because I'm curious to see how big Jose Mourinho's head can get, and how the Blues will react in future seasons after realising that they can't always win 3 titles every year (look at Man U now).

For Italian teams, I like the flair of Juve players, and when I was younger, I was far more familiar with the Inter Milan players. However AC Milan has some household names as well.

South Korea will doubtlessly be hoping for a PSV shock win, preferably with Korean players involved in the goal-making. Guus Hiddink still has his fans, I'm sure.

It will be boring if AC Milan win the Champions League as they've won it recently. It will be a dream if Liverpool win it this year, but a crying shame if they don't qualify next year. Years, decades from now, films or documentaries will be made about the title they could not defend.

Of course, I really want Arsenal to win the FA Cup. So that when it comes to the tally, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool will all be cup-winners except U-know-who. Am I evil? Have I pissed off a lot of readers (particularly Singaporean ones)? Mwahahahar.

Assorted football thoughts

April 24, 2005 12:57 AM

One of English football's modern mysteries: How Liverpool can get so far in the Champions' League, yet lose to one of the bottom teams in the Premiership today.

Maybe it's Everton's turn to shine next season in Europe - they certainly got a kick out of beating Wayne Rooney's current team. Ironically, his leaving them for 'greener pastures' has done their team spirit a lot of good.

Alan Shearer on ESPN

A recent TV interview with Alan Shearer, my all-time favourite English striker, has cemented my respect for him. He's shown that age isn't a barrier when you have passion, and he's stuck with Newcastle even though he could've gone to any of the bigger clubs for greater glory and titles. He cited Thierry Henry as another striker he respected - certainly, the Arsenal player is also dedicated to his club and clearly loves the game.

Why do English commentators keep on saying 'Jo-say' when talking about Chelsea's manager? Isn't the 'J' supposed to be silent, or take on a 'H'?

Even as a Gunner fan, I think Chelsea fully deserve to win the title. Every player is committed and talented and a good number of them can score goals in any situation. Arsenal will have to wait a while to catch up with them in terms of funding. Things will get more exciting after their Emirates Stadium is built and they have more money to buy better players. They must also figure out how to stop Man U from cramping their free-flowing style of play, which has resulted in too many defeats by them. It would be a shame to finish second in the Premier League and have the teams above and below them, winning other Cups while they remain empty-handed.

It's been said in the papers before, but I'll say it this time: Manchester United, former treble-cup champions, are going down. How they lost to Norwich (by two goals) is baffling - and their behaviour in the Everton game surprised even me. It is not the mindset of a winning team. As an English tabloid reported, it has cost Man U 3.5 million pounds per goal for each of their 4 strikers. To be fair, a couple of them were injured for a while, and Smithy wasn't in the starting lineup after the first few months.

Somehow, now that Smithy's playing for Man U, I've totally lost interest in him. I'd much rather wear a Leeds 17 shirt any time, thank you very much.

But even though I don't support Man United (Singapore has too many fans already - let's balance things out a little!) I am also disturbed at Malcom Glazer's takeover plans. Ugh. He may not be to Man U, what Abramovich is to Chelsea.

Kudos to the teams in the relegation zone for fighting so hard. Certainly, with Chelsea's imminent victory, and Everton's likely qualification to the Champions' League, the real excitement lies at the bottom of the table. I particularly like Norwich and Crystal Palace's attitude. Well done.

I never thought Southampton would face relegation, but it looks like it might just happen. What a shame. And Sunderland will be back in the top tier soon.

Today...

March 6, 2005 11:34 PM

I made a trip to Swee Lee at Bras Basah Complex today to pick up a microphone stand. There were too many models to choose from. Got hold of a more experienced-looking employee who gave me a good overview on choosing and using microphones (he even told me which mic stand was of inferior quality) and I settled for one that was reasonably priced. The studio chairs and scoresheet stands looked very tempting but I refrained.

Next was a nostalgic visit to Basheer bookstore, a favourite haunt of art students and designers. Beautiful books and magazines galore - if only I had the time to look at all of them!

While browsing their website as I was typing this entry, I noticed a hilariously mis-phrased line:

Basheer has not forgotten the secret of his success. Personalized service. If you don't fancy lugging heavy volumes, contact us. And our well-built staff will provide some serious off-line browsing.

A pity that the website's limited list of books doesn't do the shop's comprehensive floor-to-ceiling collection any justice. Maybe I should ask for a well-built Indian salesman to show me his wares.

Digital TV has finally arrived at our house. A youthful Arsenal beat Portsmouth 3-0. Glad to see Henry's back in action. They have a better chance with the FA Cup than with the Champions League - not a good goal deficit to overcome, against the Germans. Between the two teams, I think Oliver Kahn is still the better goalkeeper anyway - never thought much of Jens Lehmann.

Come on, Arsenal!

December 13, 2004 12:21 AM

The big match is on right now but I can't watch it on TV because we only have one SCV point, and everyone in that room has fallen asleep. If, in the first minute, I had jumped up and shouted GOAL!!!! I don't think anyone would be cheering with me. But well done, Henry.

Oh well. There's always the BBC (live updates) and the human imagination.

My running commentary, in chronological order:

Man United 2, Arsenal 0

October 25, 2004 1:04 AM

Arsenal's unbeaten run has been broken by arch-nemesis Manchester United. Can't say I'm too pleased with that, although it had to come sooner or later, and quite frankly Arsenal weren't playing up to par.

I cannot imagine that their goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann, thinks he can actually replace Oliver Kahn in the German national team. He doesn't deserve it and that is an understatement. Of course where penalties are concerned, it's a guessing game, and once he leaped the wrong way, he was committed.

It was a rough match, more of a scuffle than free-flowing football which Arsenal are used to. There were some tackles on Reyes that were brutal and unpunished. But ultimately what was dreadful was Sol Campbell's tripping of Wayne Rooney in the penalty box. Subsequent tacklings by Arsenal were mostly clumsy and late, no thanks to the rain.

And as for the second goal, which was a brilliant 1-2 between the young hopes of England - Alan Smith and Wayne Rooney - Arsenal were defenceless. The defence was practically nonexistent - chasing behind the Man United attack. Perhaps Sol was still smarting over his blunder and wanted to play safe. Well, he can smart some more, since he needs more of that.

The Manchester United defence, however, was immaculate (and this is coming from an Arsenal supporter). Rio Ferdinand was good as usual. He is still much better than any of the other England defenders. Once Thierry Henry and other attacking players like Reyes and Bergkamp were shackled, it was only a matter of time before the superior Manchester United passing resulted in a goal. Sure, Arsenal had some good runs too - with shots on goal, above the goal... and too many passes that ended up nowhere.

In the end Arsenal were up against van Nistel-Roon-aldo. The only good thing is, they still have a good lead in the Premiership. The bad thing is, do you remember the last time Arsenal lost to Rooney's old team, Everton? Arsenal eventually lost the title that season, too.

May the best team win the title this year - whoever it may be.

Gaston triomphe

June 7, 2004 1:10 AM

Many people didn't expect the unseeded Gaston Gaudio to clinch the French Open title. I said they should look back to Wimbledon 2001, when another guy I was rooting for, Goran Ivanisevic, decided not to become second best again. Ah, if I were a betting woman...

Now, who would've thought red-hot favourite Guillermo Coria would have a leg cramp? Fortunately there wasn't any fighting in the locker room this time, although he did thrash his countryman 6-0 in the first set. But deja vu it wasn't in the end.

Gaudio's facial expressions remind me of Arsenal football player Antonio Reyes'. They have this smiling grimace that makes them a little more likeable than moodier-looking opponents such as Coria. The crowd was behind Gaudio after he went two sets down, but support evened out after his opponent limped off for treatment.

Obviously if not for Coria's cramps, Gaudio would not have won. He was definitely more erratic and committed many errors that made me want to jump up and take over the game for him (and I suck at tennis!).

For one, I didn't see the point of channeling so much of his energy into power serves at the expense of accuracy. If I were Sampras / Roddick / Philippoussis on a hard court, that might be a different story, but this is a clay court and you have a limping opponent. Get real.

However the older man started to improve his technique and became a trickier opponent towards the end.

And to be fair, you cannot fault him for fitness, nor for his desire to play at Roland Garros - the commentators noted that he had to rely on financial support from family and friends to send him to France, because he was an unseeded player. Perhaps he's given the Argentinan government (and many others) something to think about. Nothing is impossible.

And speaking of commentators: Despite the topsy-turvy form of both players, the most irritating person was actually the sports commentator who kept on mixing up Coria with Gaudio - even until the end of the match. It was embarassing and very disturbing that such morons were allowed to speak live on international broadcasts. His fellow commentator(s) kept on correcting him but it didn't really help.

So it was a gruelling, drawn-out affair in every sense of the word. I can imagine Coria will be back next year with a vengeance. But this is Gaudio's day.

Ladies and Gentlemen

May 16, 2004 11:26 PM

The headlines everywhere are going: Well done, Arsenal! I suppose everyone's had their say about it... But after reading this article I thought something was funny. The men won one Cup this year and everyone's ga-ga over them - but what about the Arsenal Women's team?

...After the men it was the turn of Arsenal Ladies, who showed off their Women's Premier League crown and FA Cup trophy too.

Surely the lasses deserve more than one measely sentence in recognition of their Cup double? I suppose the movie Bend It Like Beckham did have a point.

Inspiring quote

April 17, 2004 7:20 PM

The weekend

February 23, 2004 11:57 PM

So many things have happened in the past few days, yet I hadn't the time to recount them on my blog until now.

On Saturday, I learnt to my delight that I am getting the Korg Triton Extreme as a birthday present (three months to go). That's absolutely brilliant, or might I say in Ali G-speak, "Wicked!" of my parents. They knew I was going to use my savings to buy it, and since I do put my existing equipment to good use (abuse, actually) they probably felt it was a worthwhile investment.

Earlier that day, I had also recorded a piece which I wrote back in Bristol, on the Clifton Hill House piano, for my mother who requested a CD of it for her birthday (which was on Sunday). Yes, the person who inspired the song also qualifies for a copy which can be collected upon return to Singapore ;-)

We missed the big match as we had dinner at Blu, but as expected Arsenal beat Chelsea again. I was also glad to hear that Smithy scored one for Leeds - best of all against the Red Devils.

Today I got to test pianos and electronic keyboards during lunch time. It was fun, I didn't want to leave! This is the third time I've been willingly dragged along by people to test keyboards before they made a purchase. Anyway this time the instrument will be used to play worship music - all the glory to God.

Launched in Johor

December 15, 2003 12:53 AM

We drove to Johor, Malaysia this afternoon to attend a book launch. The book in question was written by a relative of ours, about a famous ancestor who built palaces for the Sultan of Johor. Some of these structures still stand today.

Since young, all I could remember was the photograph of an old man, dressed in the traditional Chinese fashion, complete with white whiskers. We hear he was a very nice man who never said an unkind word to anyone. Being well-liked, he caught the attention of the Sultan, who at the time was looking to build more palaces to boost his reputation.

Because of this, a kampung and main road was named after him. If you should ever drive to Malaysia, after reaching Johor via the Causeway at Woodlands, look out for Jalan Wong Ah Fook round the corner. The old man's really done us proud.

On the way home, we spent two hours at the Causeway, stuck in a terrible jam. Tempers and engines were overheating. One driver adjacent to us tried to vent his frustrations by sounding his horn constantly, although nobody could move and nothing could be done about the jam.

Even more motorists attempted to change queues upon realising that their line wasn't moving as quickly as others'. Naturally, not everyone was able to cut in. In the meantime, we heard on the radio that Saddam Hussein had been captured.

We finally returned home, tired but relieved. I watched some football and was glad to see Arsenal win, and Leeds, well, take the lead. Tomorrow I hope Thierry Henry becomes World Player of the Year. [Update 15/12/03: Hmph, I'm tired of seeing the same people win all the time. Well done anyway, Zizou.]

Playing the field

September 22, 2003 2:35 AM

I fell asleep halfway into the Middlesborough v Everton match, but caught the goal that wasn't (how unfair to the home team). I awoke at midnight, with the Man U v Arsenal match near completion. Kicking myself, I witnessed van Nistelrooy scuff the last penalty kick - one of a few such opportunities he wasted, I hear - and then saw him get knocked around by jubilant Arsenal players after the final whistle. That was also unnecessary.

On the other hand, there was probably too much diving and theatrics going on to make this match something to remember. Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira was sent off in a tussle with the Dutch striker (second yellow card = red). In a post-match interview, Roy Keane wryly refused to comment on the incident, which was reminiscent of Beckham's 1998 World Cup episode - where he lashed out with his foot at an Argentinian player who had downed him. I was still in England when that incident happened, and the next day one of the tabloids screamed, "Ten Brave Men and One Foolish Boy". But of course, the lad's managed to turn his life around and he's doing well at the Bernabéu, so we'll leave it at that :-)

From this latest episode, we see that even the more experienced players are still susceptible to a 'tit-for-tat' mentality. It was a huge match, and expectations were understandably high. While the scoreline was disappointing, Arsenal have certainly improved since the 3-0 drubbing by Inter Milan. We'll see how it goes with Newcastle on 26 September, UK time.

[Intriguingly, the Gender Genie has rated this post as 'male'. How appropriate.]

All fired up

August 25, 2003 1:08 AM

Yeah!! A four-nil score from Arsenal, away at Middlesborough. Poor Juninho. The Brazilian national tried his best, but was outrun by taller, faster Gunners and never quite made it to goal. As for the rest of the team, well, they could very well not have played, it wouldn't have mattered. They weren't crass, but they were simply outclassed by last season's runners-up.

I can't possibly stay up for the Man U and Wolverhampton match. But I expect an even bigger trouncing from the home team. Didn't see much of the Liverpool v Aston Villa match. It was b-o-r-i-n-g ... you can look at a team and don't feel they're going anywhere, anymore.

These Mancunian infidels

April 17, 2003 10:47 AM

It appears that the Iraqi Information Minister's influence has pervaded even English football commentary. A Guardian reporter for the most recent Manchester United v Arsenal clash, writes, after van Nistelrooy's opening goal:

A quick word from my co-commentator Mohammed A(rsena)l-Sahef, Iraqi Information Minister: "That was not a brilliant goal. It wasn't even a goal. Arsenal are beating these infidels to within an inch of their lives. It's 15-0 to the Gunners. Manchester United are tying nooses to the crossbar and preparing to take their own lives. The streets of North London will soon be awash with the blood of Mancunians. Not to mention Manchester United supporters."

Hilarious stuff. And I'm sure many more M.A.S. tributes abound.

Soc it to 'em!

December 30, 2002 2:03 AM

Woohoo! It's a Newcastle :) win, and Arsenal :) have drawn with Liverpool :) A good day for all my favourite Premier League teams tonight. I've been listening to the games go on as I'm working on the website, and have missed almost all the goals because my back's turned to the TV set.

Thank goodness for instant replays.

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