Monthly Archives: January 2008

The magic of FA Cup

Havant & Waterlooville are 5 leagues below Liverpool, arguably the most successful British club in history. And when the team of part-timers played some good football against millionaire footballers, it is the sort of stuff that FA cup dreams are made of.

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It was the sort of start that Havant needed and they twice led Liverpool.

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This was a team of part-timers who have an average stadium attendance of 500!!!

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Filed under FA Cup, Havant & Waterlooville, Liverpool

Time to bounce back

I would be missing the FA cup match against Newcastle for sure but I can only hope Arsenal beat them fair and square and do not extend the this round to the replay. That would add another match in what could turn out to be an eventful February for the club. There has been a lot of doubts raised in many an Arsenal fan’s mind on whether this team can go the full distance in the league. It is time to answer those questions and many others now.

We play Newcastle again on Tuesday in the Premier League and that match would be a more significant 3 points definitely but entry into the next round of FA cup would be an admirable result, given that Wenger might not start his full strength team as his priorities are going to be the league and the Champions League. But this is an important coming at the back of a thrashing from Tottenham in the Carling Cup. So a win is a good way to bury that bad memory of White Hart Lane.

The more shocking news of the day has been the injury to Toure in the African Nations Cup. A complete analysis of his injury has not been done and we will know in the next 24 hours if he will be fit to continue in the tournament or if he would be fit for the Champions League match against Milan in February end. Toure has been a rock at the defence for Arsenal and he has been sorely missed especially with Senderos also getting injured. Arsenal need him badly for the rest of the Premier League if we are to pose any challenge to MU.

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Filed under AC Milan, African Nations Cup, FA Cup, Newcastle, Toure

A night to forget

Well, I saw the match in the early hours of Wednesday here and could not go back to sleep. The way Jenas, Keane and Lennon outplayed the Gunners were scary and I would not want to see something like this again. These kind of defeats happen only once in a really long while and it will be a match where the opposition play out of their skins and we defend like suckers. There are lots of points to ponder on this match.

And to top the misery there was an unnecessary clash of passionated fury from Adebayor and Bendtner which now will be examined by FA. The reasons look to be silly if it is true. Another thing we need now is a suspension to either of them. With Persie injured and Walcott nowhere near the expected finished article, Eduardo seems to be the only option. Are we short of forwards? Van Persie is one player who has disappointed the team for couple of seasons now. He plays for one third of the seaons and then goes missing due to injury…but all that for another day.

We lost to Spurs because Spurs were the better team, playing better football and was the team that wanted to win the Cup. They had the desire. This was missing in the Arsenal team as half the team had to be changed due to injuries and other reasons. So Gallas and Sagna played in the back four, Hleb and Gilberto played in the middle and Bendtner and Walcott were upfront. Gallas had a very bad game getting beaten on couple of occasions. And Fabianski was a bit suspect under the bar. Overall the team played badly.

The forward line was very faulty. Walcott was completely inactive upfront. He still needs a long time to get his act going. Bendtner tried too hard and conceded the own goal. Later on Adebayor and Eduardo were introduced into the team and Ade scored the equaliser, but too little too late. What is worrying again is the firpower of our forward line, where all the current fit forwards played in a match and we scored one and conceded five.  Wenger will have to rethink his strategy as Keegan would be getting ideas to stop this Arsenal team now. Hope the team bounces back against Newcastle in the FA cup on saturday.

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Filed under Adebayor, Arsenal, Bendtner, Carling Cup, Eduardo, Gallas, Tottenham Hotspurs, Van Persie, Walcott

Arsenal Shop-Bangkok & Carling Cup semi

I am in Bangkok for a week and went to visit the Arsenal shop in Central World in Chidlom. Nice shop with a lot of goodies. There is one more shop in Thailand in Phuket.

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The shop is run by two gooners, Ali and Sujet(very similar to my name). They are very friendly guys and gave me a nice discount for the goods that I bought there.

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One of the exhibits they have in the shop is a penalty spot from Highbury.

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They also have a seat from Highbury as one of the exhibits.
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Last but not the least is a seat from Emirates.

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I hope Arsenal lads will be able to beat the Spurs first team at White Hart Lane and advance to the finals. This young team has played some wonderful football this year and it would do their confidence a lot of good to beat their traditional rivals on their ground. So lets hope it will be a exciting match with the honours going to the visitors.

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Filed under Arsenal Shop, Bangkok, Carling Cup, Highbury, Phuket, Thailand, Tottenham Hotspurs

Back to winning ways

A great match for Arsenal where they displayed their passing skills, controlled the game in both the halves and scored from both flanks. Adebayor headed in two goals and Rosicky came diving in to bang the third. With MU winning their match away to Reading, Arsenal still remain second, even on points but inferior on goal difference.

Almunia had little to do but Senderos had a decent match. I wont say he was great but I think against teams like Fulham etc he would be able to stand his ground and defend. There were one or two lapses in concentration but it did not prove to be detrimental. Sagna came up with a few decent tackles and runs while Clichy continues on his good form and it was his cross from the left which set up the first goal.

This was probably a match where the midfield played quite well. Hleb had an excellent match where he kept making his runs and dribbles past the Fulham players. Fabregas  had a quiet game, but he tried two shots off target and set up the pass to Eduardo which resulted in the third goal. Rosicky had a decent match too and his third goal was a result of skill and aggression. Not many players will come sliding like that for a goal. He also hit the post of a wonderful move from Eduardo again from the left. There was a nice tackle from Rosicky who came from behind an unsuspecting Fulham player and won the ball for yet another Arsenal attack. Flamini was the “terrier” on the pitch and he gave nothing away. It was his fighting tackle to win the ball that went to Hleb who crossed for the second goal. Some of his tackles do seem to be fifty-fifty ones, I would like the opposition to have a fear of Flamini and his attacking instincts on the field.

Frontline of Eduardo and Adebayor was expected as our half a season player Persie is still recovering. I have forgotten the last time he has played a full season for us. Adebayor came up with two very good headers. Somehow he seems to be jumping taller than all the other players to meet the corners or crosses. This was one game where he did not waste much chances. Eduardo might have been frustrated as he did try to create a few chances and he missed on one himself.

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Overall a good game where we saw the old passing game from Arsenal and also saw two un-arsenal goals and a sliding goal to claim 3 points in the run up to what looks like an amazing race to be the Champions. There will be a few more slip ups for both Arsenal and Man U for sure, but who will slip the most would be interesting to see. Lets hope Arsenal keep this momentum going.

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Filed under Adebayor, Arsenal, EPL, Fulham

A young Gooner from India

I have met Gooners in plenty after coming to Malaysia through the official fan circle and otherwise. But when you meet a gooner otherwise it is a special feeling. You praise Le boss, you disucss Henry’s departure, you ponder on the maturing of Fabregas, the disappointment of a loss or a draw…it is endless.

But once in a while you also see people wearing a jersey and walking past you in the street and you feel nice to see a fellow gooner. India is not as football-mad as say any country in South East Asia, but there are really some strong supporters for the top 4 clubs in England.

This photo was taken by my girlfriend Jasmita in Mumbai, India, when she was out on work. This young gooner was kicking a football in his garage and later posed for this photograph.

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Nice to see youngsters taking a liking to the Gunners…keep it up

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Filed under Gooner, India

Opta Statistics for 2007

Courtesy Setanta Sports and Opta Stats

While football news is hard to come by, here are some facts about the Premier League in 2007.

  • Manchester United won 25 of their 37 league games in 2007, more than any other team
  • Fulham drew 16 times in 2007, more than any other team
  • Wigan lost 22 of their 38 games in 2007, more than any other side
  • Top scorers: Manchester United & Spurs with 73 goals each
  • Worst defence: Bolton and Wigan with 66 goals conceded each. Spurs were third with 63
  • Reading (38) gained more points at home than Liverpool (36) in 2007
  • Manchester United conceded only eight home goals all season
  • There were 79 goals in Tottenham’s 18 home games in 2007
  • Arsenal won 16 home games in 2007, more than any other side
  • Chelsea were the best away side in 2007, winning 11 games and collecting 37 points
  • Bolton leaked a worrying 47 goals in 19 away games in 2007, a divisional high
  • Fulham were the only ever present side not to win an away game in 2007
  • Charlton and Watford both played half the number of away games as Fulham but collected more points on the road
  • Chelsea made the most substitutions, 102
  • Arsenal hit the woodwork the most, 15 times
  • Arsenal and Spurs were both awarded 10 penalties in 2007, the Gunners scoring eight, Spurs six
  • Portsmouth and Wigan both conceded a league-high eight penalties
  • Liverpool hit the most long-range shots, 258
  • Chelsea scored the most long range goals, 14
  • Reading scored 18 headed goals, more than any other side
  • West Ham committed 582 fouls, more than any other team
  • Bolton were shown 81 yellow cards, the most, while Blackburn saw red eight times, also a league-high
  • Spurs leaked 18 long-range goals, more than any other side while Liverpool were the only team not to concede from long range
  • Robbie Keane was the top scorer in 2007 with 19 goals
  • Cristiano Ronaldo hit 113 shots during the 12 month period, more than anyone else
  • Sheffield United’s Rob Hulse was denied by the woodwork five times, more than any other player
  • Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe both saw two penalties saved by keepers
  • Kevin Doyle was the most prolific player with his head, scoring seven times
  • John Carew was responsible for the most headed shots, 29
  • Matt Derbyshire scored five substitute goals, more than any other benchwarmer
  • Cesc Fabregas ended the year with 14 assists, a Premier League high
  • Fabregas also made the most passes, 2238
  • David Bentley whipped in the most crosses, 281
  • Kevin Davies enhanced his bruising reputation with 82 fouls during the 12 months
  • Mikel Arteta was the most fouled player in the division, 110 times
  • Blackburn’s Ryan Nelsen gave away four penalties, more than any other player
  • Nicky Butt received the most yellow cards, 13
  • Marcus Hahnemann made the most saves, 139

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Filed under England, EPL, Opta Stats, Setanta Sports