Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A big up to Arsenal and my Gooner fans

There's not much more I can say about the performance of the foreign boys from North London, other than they 'mannersed' AC Milan. In all my years of watching European football I have never ever seen Milan get brush up like that, and in the San Siro to boot. As you know I am a die hard Liverpool fan, but props is props and you could see after the first tackle by Flamini on Kaka that Arsenal were taking no prisoners. The Liverpool final win against Milan 3 years ago will always be remembered, but more of a fluke. This Arsenal, away from home, with the game on the line, odds stacked against them, playing passing football (granted I was under the influence of some white widow) will rank alongside Liverpool's performance against Nottingham Forest back in 1989, when we used to run things.

I was in a bar in Amsterdam (again) and the atmosphere was electric last night, regardless whether you were an Arsenal fan or not and the fact that there is no commentary means I did not have to listen to endless biased punditry and could observe the natural beauty of the match. Football is football and when you saw time and time again, Arsenal play little one-two's around the Milan penalty box, it was frightening. Supporters of English football, have long admired Arsenal's style and panache for playing attractive football, but over the past 5 years they're talents have warranted more than a single appearance in the final. Should they keep free from injuries, suspension and Adebayor get's his hair straightner back and stop scaring people with his Michael Jacko afro, then Gallas 'Don't Vex me' may well lift the trophy, come May in Moscow.

This is the way football should be played. No kick and lump it rubbish and when you you are in possession, you retain the ball, wait for an opening before you strike. Football is a little similar to chess and the higer the level you perform the more disguised your attacks should be and the more clinical your strikes. English teams are not normally patient in this art as the fans are nieve to modern football and still prefer to see football played the 'Watford' way rather than 'Sexy' way. But in Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson (read article later in the week) these are two managers who command enough respect from the players and fans that they are able to implement their own brand and style, without so much as a murmour out of the dressing room. Who would have thought that Diaby and Eboue would comfortably deal with Gattuso and Pirulo. And Kaka was more kak than representation of current European footballer of the year. I know many people do not like Eboue, but he would always be in my team. I like at least one player in my team who the other team do not fuck with. This stems from back in the day, when Messers Graeme Souness and Jimmy Case, who dealt with the opposition deadlier than Al Qaeda, would patrol our midfield and dare the other team to put their foot on the ball and try to play. That's why I loved Davids, Roy Keane, Viera and Sissoko until Rafa Benny start take ecstacy and sold him to Juve. Eboue is one dirty player, granted, like Robbie Savage or Van Bommell but with more skill, heart and a brain. His claim for a penalty when he tripped from Maldini's tackle was more Jeremy Beadle than Jeremy Kyle. When he won a 40-60 tackle against Pato, I felt for the Milan youngster as he never touched the ball until 10 minutes from the end. And when Grandad Insaghi came off the pitch to be substituted you felt that he should not return again to play against top class players, but more inclined to play in the garden against his nephews and grandchildren.

What is so obvious when watching Arsenal play was that all the players can play and are comfortable on the ball. When Arsenal stroked the ball around, Milan must have wondered who do these little boys think they are. Events changed after the penalty appeal on Hleb. Arsenal didn't get vex and use the fact that it was a blantant pen, like a number of English clubs we could mention, no, they continued to pass and move until Adebayor was to change that. There was a moment he had the ball by the box, and brushed passed Maldini and next man, as if to say I dare you to touch me. From then on the game was over. Gattuso, realised that tackling and tracking African man who grow up playing against tree and brick wall, and chase buffalo, was a waste of time and he was looking for a way out after 20 minutes. Many times, I waited for him to stand up and show he was leader, all the while he was looking for wifey in the stand, to make sure she had not run off with with one of the rough 6ft ragamuffin black Arsenal supporter's they had in the crowd.

Look at they way Senderos and Clichy coped. Even little drummer boy Walcott, has an aura of confidence instilled by Wenger. I wonder what Wenger could have done with a young Emile Heskey. OK, too much white widow, but how he has worked wonders on Adebayor, shows not only his coaching qualities but his man-management skills. This on a player, who when he first arrived in the premiership to partner va-va-voom Henry, his bottom lip used to hang quicker than it takes Amy Whitehouse to get stoned. His goal at the end was throughly deserved for his effort, tireless running and leading of the line. Nesta and Maldini will not have been in a harder game and must have sat in the dressing room afterwards, glad their careers are coming to an end.

So finally to all my Gooner mates, I hope this will be the year when you finally banish that monkey off your shoulder and land the big one, we at Anfield take for granted. And to rub salt into the wounds of the porn stars from Stamford Bridge, what a boost it would be to see the Gunners parade the Champions League around the streets of North London while JT, SWP, Coley2 and Drogs appear in their soap opera 'Sexual Confessions at the Bridge'.


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