Demba Ba scored a hat trick for Newcastle to beat Stoke at home.A halloween treat for the Newcastle fans as their team goes above Chelsea to claim 3rd spot.
Goals while they last.........
Stoke City - Newcastle 1:3 by FootballKing1892
October 2011 Archives
Some Spanish headlines reporting the end of the dream run ......
At the kingdom of Navarra stadium, Levante were dethroned," declared Marca. "Levante: back to earth," said AS. They were on the cover of El País and El Mundo. "Levante fall," said el Mundo; "the party's over," said El País. "The dream is over," said Sport.
Οσασούνα-Λεβάντε 2-0 by corazonbasque
Lionel Messi took 17 minutes to score a hat trick against Real Mallorca. His timing was marginally slower than Ronaldo's who took about 15 minutes to score his hat trick against Malaga last week.
However it was Messi's13th career hat trick.C Ron's tally stands at 11 so that time factor is not such a big deal. He still has two more hat tricks to go before they are all square.
It is good for Messi to be back among the goals at a time when Pele has been saying unkind things about his head. It also ends a 3 game goal drought for him.
Barcelona won the game 5 - 0 and are in second position behind Real Madrid.
Their fifth straight victory and a 5 point lead. Goals from Edin Dzeko, Aleksandar Kolarov and Adam Johnson made it 36 goals for Manchester City in their first 10 games. Levante's miracle run in the La Liga has put a spanner in the works of the two horse theory there.The EPL now looks that it might become the 2 horse race instead. A two-horse race based in Manchester.The other horses - Arsenal and Chelsea don't seem to be in any position to be contenders at the moment.Their defenders are a bit worn out from having to keep picking up the ball from the back of the net.
The goals of City v/s Wolverhampton.....
szólj hozzá: M3-1W
The scoreline ended up exceeding last weeks 6 -1 Manchester Derby result. Chelsea - Arsenal ended at 5 -3 with all the goals barring the last two being scored alternately. Lampard started the scoring for Chelsea. Van Persie - who else - scored a hat trick. John Terry was both hero and villain - for scoring a goal and then literally falling down on the job and allowing Van Persie to score. High drama. Not for the faint hearted.
A FIFA panel is considering a proposal to make referees more benevolent towards players who foul in the penalty area.
The FIFA Task Force Football 2014 led by Franz Beckenbauer agreed that the so-called "triple punishment" of penalty, red card and suspension is too severe.
"A penalty is enough if it is a simple foul or a tackle where you try to get the ball but you are a second late," said Beckenbauer. "If you have a violent foul, if it would have been a red card anywhere on the field, then it's a penalty and a red card."
Red cards would still be given for handball offenses that stop a certain goal, under the 20-member panel's proposal.FIFA's head of refereeing, Massimo Busacca, said the proposal would have stopped him sending off South Africa's goalkeeper in a 2010 World Cup match against Uruguay.
Busacca dismissed Itumeleng Khune for bringing down Luis Suarez despite only slight contact. South Africa lost 3-0 and Khune missed the final group-stage match against France.Video of Khune's foul....
"I would love to play with Lionel Messi. But Messi is an incomplete player because he can't use his head. Also I played football for 20 years, Messi has only played for several years."
Well someone put together a video of Messi using his head a good bit.
Liverpool were a goal behind Stoke at the stroke of half time. Suarez busted the myth that he missed more than he scores by almost single handedly bringing his team to the Carling Cup quarterfinals.Words of praise from Daglish
"The wee man scored a fantastic goal.And the header for the second wasn't bad either. We wouldn't mind him scoring the odd tap-in, and if we had put a couple of our chances away in the first half it would have made things easier, but all you can say about a goal like that is that it was worth waiting for."
Continuing where they left off on Sunday Manchester City came from behind to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-2 to move into the Carling Cup quarters.
Nenad Milijas opened the scoring for the Wolves but City levelled ithrough Adam Johnson. Samir Nasri beat the Wolves defence with sheer pace 3 minutes later and scored. Edin Dzeko, Dorus De Vries (own goal)and Dzeko again took the tally to 5 before Jamie O'Hara got a consolation goal for the Wolves.
Andrey Arshavin found himself to be the centre of attention in Arsenal's Carling Cup win over Bolton scoring the equalizer and then setting up Park Chu-Young's first goal since his move from Monaco in the summer. Some nice finishing there. Fabrice Muamba, an Arsenal academy product opened Bolton's account after Emmanuel Frimpong coughed up the ball. Lukasz Fabianski made some familiar flapping motions but also smartly saved a threatening Ivan Klasnic attempt.
Here we go again with lip reading. The 2006 Zidane headbutt to Marco Materazzi's remarks and more recently, the Sergio Busquets incident with Marcelo in last season's El Clasico which had oral motor pundits giving their versions what was said.
This time it was John Terry, never the modicum of respectability, and marginally deserving of England's captaincy exchange with Anton Ferdinand during the QPR match landing him in trouble. Terry says he was responding to Ferdinand accusation of using a racial slur by denying using those exact words caught on camera. It's a fricative that is being investigated by the FA. Ashley Cole walking past obscures Terry's opening words where he claims he said, " Oi, Anton, I never said ..." However there is no denying he ended by saying, "finish your milk." Just kidding.
City fans would like nothing more than Sunday's humiliation of Utd to signal a shift in the balance of power. Pundits are already debating its merits. 6-1 is a historic statement and the margin could have been even larger if Edin Dzeko had been on target in his first few attempts. City showed the destruction they're capable of when each player plays to the best of their ability.
Roberto Mancini also showed shrewdness starting Gareth Barry and James Milner with their industry and indefatigability supplementing the flair and creativity of David Silva, Mario Balotelli, and Kun Aguero. It was quite remarkable to see the "settled" look to this side as if they'd been playing together for years.
What was even more evident right from the outset was Sir Alex's unpreparedness for this match and a distrust in his personnel. At this point Phil Jones may give up a few years in age to Jonny Evans but in terms of maturity he's streets ahead. Evans sending off was a pivotal moment as the game went on and Utd committed more men up front in desperation leaving them exposed to City running up the score. In this tactic, Utd seem to have bought into the comeback phenomenon previously seen to yield some remarkable results. Fletcher's goal spurred them into overdrive but City's defense proved to be far too resolute and ready for the counterattack. The decision to drop anchor seems to have been completely written off in Sir Alex's options.
Here one has to compare the defenses which is where most of the difference seem to lie. Utd have a transitional look in defense as Rio Ferdinand sinks into the twilight of his career, Nemanja Vidic contends with injuries, Patrice Evra seems to put more stock in controversy than with performances, and Chris Smalling is the reluctant choice at right back. As the last line, David De Gea, the newly minted custodian compounds this vulnerability. In contrast, City's defense is peaking. Micah Richards seems to have sorted out his attitude and is fulfilling his talent after a couple of seasons in the wilderness.
Utd's justifiable pride in their achievements having pushed back Chelsea, another money rich club into playing catch up, matching Arsenal in the talent department, and eclipsing Liverpool as the most storied English club might slow them down into recognizing the danger of their upstart neighbours. But this is the time for pragmatism and not for banners touting their winning historicity. A coming to terms is as needed as tactical considerations and the best personnel on the pitch. For someone with a reputation of making adroit personnel changes, the Utd manager was guilty of inertia and safe choices, suggesting a sense of denial. Danny Welbeck's direct approach against a very physical defense proved unfruitful when a more elusive presence might have been more effective which is why the late introduction of Javier Hernandez was mystifying to behold.
Changes will be made. It must involve drawing up a blueprint to beat City to add to the one's that go with Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool. There is no club that rises to the challenge as well as Utd have in the past and the return encounter at the Eastlands will be fought on more equitable terms. Unlike Arsenal under Wenger who have been stuck in orthodoxy for some time, Utd have shown a willingness to avoid ideological pitfalls. To talk of a shift of balance in power is premature and a glib way of dismissing the other side's capability of giving a fitting rebuttal. Having said that, who feels that David Silva will better Cesc Fabregas and Ryan Giggs as arguably the best midfielder on English soil? He was 5' 7" of unstoppable sublimeness.
Levante have become the unlikely leaders of the La Liga.Their 3 - 0 win over Villareal on Sunday has taken them to the top stop for the first time in their 102-year history.
Levante, who just avoided relegation last season are looking down on Real Madrid and Barcelona with 20 points thanks to a six-match winning streak which began with a win over Real.
Robin van Persie came off the bench to score a quickfire double to help Arsenal beat Stoke City 3-1. Arsenal get their fourth straight home victory.Wenger insisted that his team were not down to a one man army.
That's after he scored this altogether stunning goal against Malaga with the sole of his boot.
Other reasons for dancing would be the fact that this was his 3rd goal in 14 minutes in Real Madrid's 4-0 mauling of Malaga.
Also Messi missed a penalty for Barcelona against Sevilla and so Real Madrid went ahead of them in the la liga standings.
Sergio Aguero scored a historical winner for Manchester City 10 seconds from the final whistle. Villareal went ahead of CIty within a couple of minutes of the game starting.They came back into the game through an own goal from Carlos Marchena and then that glorious winner from Aguero.
szólj hozzá: MANVIL
Robin van Persie gave Arsenal the lead in the first minute itself. Seb Larsson brought Sunderland back with a brilliant free kick. Wojciech Szczesny saved what looked like a certain goal and kept Arsenal hanging in there. Arshavin flattered to deceive.
Finally it was Van Persie again who scored the winner - free kick.
szólj hozzá: A2-1S
Irish jockey Richard Hughes has decided to quit racing because of a new rule about the number of times you are allowed to whip your horse while trying to win a race.
He said "Until the rules are resolved I won't be riding. I'd rather retire. I can't ride horses like this. It's like telling Lionel Messi he can't use his left foot."
That's the amount of time that the New Goal Line Technology system has to inform the referee if the ball has crossed the line or not.
The first test phase, due to be carried in the next few months, will be conducted by the Swiss technology research institute EMPA.
"EMPA is a government-funded research institute," project leader Martin Camenzind said. "Our experience with football and Fifa started about 10 or 12 years ago with the quality concept of football testing.Thanks to our experience in football testing and long lasting collaboration we are very happy to be asked to do the goal-line technology project together with Fifa."
The tests will involve three sections to ensure that the systems can accurately and quickly inform the referee whether the ball has fully crossed the line.
Impact boards that will simulate a goalkeeper or defender clearing the ball away, and situations in which players could block the camera will also be recreated. There will also be tests done under floodlights.
The systems will eventually have to inform referees within one second whether the ball has crossed the line. Companies that pass the initial stage of testing will then undergo a second testing stage next year.
If one of the systems is approved, it could be used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The International Football Association Board has laid down four basic requirements that goal-line technology systems have to fulfil:
1. The technology applies solely to the goal line and only to determine whether a goal has been scored or not.
2. The system must be accurate.
3. The indication of whether a goal has been scored must be immediate and automatically confirmed within one second.
4. The indication of whether a goal has been scored will only be communicated to the match officials (via the referee's watch, by vibration and visual signal).
The first World Cup was played in 1930 .That will make it 84 years of World Cup history when Brazil 2014 kicks off.
And FIFA are giving that machine one second to come up with the right decision.
After what will be 84 years of some pretty horrendous human errors.
That sounds fair enough..............!
The new Adidas outfits didn't help Scotland much. David Silva's opening goal came after 41 passes which took tiki taka to a new level. It set a new record for passing in the European Championship qualifying campaign. Spain is sitting pretty on some other impressive stats as well.They have won all their last 23 home games.They are the only team to have not dropped a single point in both the South Africa 2010 and Euro 2012 qualifiers.
And no one can blame Maradona this time. Fernando Amorebieta's 61st-minute header gave Venezuela their first ever win over Argentina.They had previously lost all 18 of their previous matches against Argentina
Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, and Gonzalo Higuain were among the Argentinian team that did the stunned silence thing after the game.
South Africa manager Pitso Mosimane made a bit of history at the weekend by becoming the first manager to lead an entire nation astray. He convinced himself and everyone else in South Africa that the Bafana Bafana needed only a draw against Sierra Leone in order to make it to the finals of the AFCON in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
So they followed the game plan and played out a goalless draw in Nelspruit. After that the players and coaching staff and everyone else did a grand celebration.The players also ran a lap of honour and the state-run African Broadcasting Corporation proclaimed qualification. Except, they hadn't qualified at all.
They actually had needed to win their game against Sierra Leona. He completely forgot about the the head-to-head ruling. Niger went through in the qualifications instead of both South Africa and Sierra Leone. CAF released a statement on Saturday to confirm Niger had qualified instead of South Africa, quoting from the rules that were published before the start of the final round of qualifiers. It said Niger had six points in games against South Africa and Sierra Leone. The other two only collected five in the head-to-head contests.
South Africa are crying "foul" and are appealing the decision but that's a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.
And the video shows them celebrating not realising that the horse had bolted...!
Rooney picked up a red card for this in the last 17 minutes of the no consequence game against Montenegro and thus ended up becoming the second player after Beckham to get 2 reds while playing for England.
Capello had the following to say ..
"You can't understand why. I can't enter into the head of Wayne Rooney when he plays. I can speak to him before the game, and I can substitute him. I can find different solutions. But you cannot understand the reaction of the players during the game, why things happen. Not just Rooney. Here he was not happy because he had missed some control and passes. His reaction was to kick his opponent."
Blackburn Rovers take on Pune FC in a friendly at the Shiv Chatrapati Stadium in Pune making that the first time that an EPL team plays a friendly in India.
Never mind if Blackburn are 19th in the standings.It's still a big game for football fans in India. Local heroes Pune FC will be without two key players - goalkeeper Subrata Paul and Guinean striker Mandjou Keita. Both have been ruled out due to knee injuries.
In reading Ivan Gazidis's recent statements after appearing on a panel at the Leaders in Football conference, one left with the distinct impression that the perpetuation of Arsenal's self sustaining model was of primary concern, not its football. That and the idealization of the financial fair play rules as some sort of magic bullet. City selling the stadium and jersey naming rights for an outlandish amount have shown there are ways to circumvent those future restrictions.
Gazidis was responding to the real fears that Arsenal could miss out of Champions League football for the first time in 14 years after their dismal start this season.
"We would rather qualify for it but we have got a really stable model that could not just cope but do well and compete."
These forums are watering holes where panelists from rival organizations gather to loudly proclaim their unique selling points to set themselves apart. No doubt, Gazidis was influenced by the setting and sallied forth with that bit of bravado.
The Champions League according to Gazidis may not be essential to Arsenal's survival or even well being but the money gained from mere qualification has increased to the point that it can finance a number of transfers. Clubs loaded with operational costs and high wages therefore look to it as a means of conducting business without borrowing additional money.
Arsenal's self sustaining model is predicated at maximizing revenue at every turn. The £25m obtained from beating Udinese to qualify for the CL group stage just paid for Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, and Park Chu Young. Last year's figures were skewed nicely by the one time Highbury real estate venture that generated millions of pounds (£156m to be exact). It vaulted Arsenal to first place over Man Utd in revenue generation and profitability (£56m) in the Premiership. A clearer picture of Arsenal's finances that is considerably less flattering should emerge next year. Those diminished figures will be offset by the £65m in bounty from player transfers that will be hard to match in the near future.
The external debt remains at £136m of which £19m is payable as interest and to that add an approximate £100m wage bill (minus Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy). Arsenal have to generate about £120m to meet just these two requirements. They are relying on three performance driven revenue generators to overcome that number. Last season gate and match-day income (£94m), TV and broadcasting (£85m), and retail (£13m) totaled a little under £200m. A 6% increase in annual ticket prices should inflate that number next year.
A sagging Premiership season with little chance of advancing to the Champions League can depress all three streams. Given the fierce resistance to the rise in ticket prices by season holders and the AST, the continued uninspiring performances could lead to a marked drop off in gate and match day receipts as unhappy fans stay away. No Fabregas and Nasri mean fewer jersey sales with RVP the remaining icon. TV and broadcasting revenue will take a hit once the Champions League no show is factored into the equation.
The potential loss could be mitigated by exploring commercial avenues the way Man Utd have done in the past decade that are now paying off. Utd have capitalized on their success by opening up the market in SE Asia, the ME, SA, and the USA to a huge viewership. They now regularly embark on highly anticipated pre-season tours which prove extremely lucrative. Arsenal too have realized their worth a little belatedly after their Malaysia and China tour proved successful. Given the strong US connections of the Arsenal board, it is surprising that they've failed to market themselves here in any significant way other than a weekly TV digest. All future commercial endeavours however come with a caveat. Arsenal need to maintain their presence in the upper echelons of European football for them to succeed to their fullest. Sponsors might stay away or if they continue might not want to give top dollar to a damaged brand in a tight market.
Gazidis may dismiss the Champions League as immaterial to the club's fortunes because they really don't need the money like others do. If he believes there is a firewall between relinquishing success on the pitch and a self sustaining model then he's gravely mistaken.
"I do believe the effective implementation of some sort of financial fair play system will be good for fans. The country with a model closest to financial fair play is probably Germany and the fan relationships there are good," he said.
There are other ways of assuaging fans. How many coaches has Bayern Munich let go since Wenger joined up in 1996? Nine for 11 dismissals. They've won one CL title and entered the finals twice. On that note they've also won 9 Bundesliga titles and 7 German Cups.
The abuse heaped at Emmanuel Adebayor by Arsenal fans was frankly revolting. Humanity loses when chants wish he too should have died in the Togo national team tragedy in last years ACN. It was a harrowing experience for Adebayor playing as the national captain and it led to Togo pulling out of the competition for which they were punished with a two year suspension. But the video above shows the holier than thou Spurs fans with their racist chants when Adebayor was at Real not half a year ago.
Two wrongs don't make a right and it is good that both clubs came out with a joint statement that condemns this sort of behaviour.
"Both clubs were extremely disappointed to hear the chants from supporters at yesterday's game. Neither club tolerates foul language, racist chanting, homophobic chanting or any anti-social behaviour from its supporters."
"We shall be working closely with each other to identify the individuals involved."
Carlo Ancelotti has been taking time off from the sport. But he makes no bones about a return to coaching in England, now his preferred destination. Arsenal is amongst the clubs he has set his sights on. The other two are Liverpool and Spurs.
" Wenger has had a shaky spell at Arsenal in the last few months, and for the national team Capello will be replaced by an Englishman, which will free up a place at a club."
The last is a dig at his old nemesis and there are rumblings that Harry Redknapp might be in line as national coach if Capello fails to deliver. It's hard to see Kenny Dalglish being replaced at Liverpool.
The Arsenal connection is intriguing. All the soundbites state Wenger is under no threat and the Frenchman has been overbearingly stubborn in his own defense. But he's now indicated that the club cannot realistically contend for a title and faces a struggle to be in the race for a CL spot. Of absolute concern is Arsenal's perplexing defensive brittleness which shows no sign of abating. Ancelotti has an established reputation for enhancing the defensive aspects of the game and his previous tenures at Chelsea and AC Milan showed his predilection for experience.
On the face of it this might not fly with the current Arsenal philosophy. But the Italian has shown to be one of the most intelligent and astute observers of the modern game. He's also without ego and therefore adaptable. If players stop responding to Wenger and the sort of dispiriting results that have become commonplace continue then the Arsenal board will be forced to act. It's possible to meet with Ancelotti halfway without abandoning Wenger's game changing vision and go about rectifying its obvious blindspots that have prevented it coming to fruition.
Eren Derdiyok who is Alexander Frei's heir apparent in the Swiss national team shows off some awesome skill with this improvised bicycle kick. In a showdown between the two corporation owned teams, Bayer Leverkusen under Robin Dutta beat VfL Wolfsburg, 3-1. Immediately after, the Wolfsburg team took loads of aspirin to dull the pain.
The Old Lady's hot start continues and this time their victims were defending champs AC Milan. Claudio Marchisio with his brace was the hero. The new Juventus Stadium is proving to be a lucky charm as Juve sit on top of the Serie with Udinese. AC are in 15th position and Inter are two places behind. Looks like the Serie is on course for a real roller coaster.
The bad news just keeps piling up. Bacary Sagna who had to be stretchered off after his ankle crumpled following a collision with Benoit Assou-Ekotto has been ruled out for three months with a broken fibula of the right leg. This injury further decimates the already decimated back line.
19 year old Carl Jenkinson will see lots of playing time. Wenger can also call on Francis Coquelin for emergency right back duty. With Alex Song pairing up with Per Mertesacker, we could see three holding midfielders on the field.
There are no return dates for Johan Djourou and Sebastian Squillaci. Thomas Vermaelen is expected back end of the month. Abou Diaby should be available next week.
Less than two weeks ago, Arsenal legend George Eastham celebrated his 75th birthday, in comfortable retirement in South Africa. He is best remembered by his peers as a skillful inside forward with an exceptional eye for a pass. Qualities that led to 19 England caps and selection to the 1966 World Cup squad.
Eastham, is however, far better remembered for his singular contribution to the abolition of the maximum wage that paved the way for players receiving the extraordinary wages they now take for granted. Fifty years ago, this was not the case with clubs owning the players like indentured labour. Their wages: £20 a week during the season and £17 in the summer. If the players rebelled by not signing a new contract with the club, the football league would simply refuse to pay him, while retaining his registration.
In effect, the rules chilled all prospects of player mobility. Eastham, playing for Newcastle wanted a move to Arsenal but the club refused. He went 7 months without playing, supporting himself by selling cork till the league finally relented and he moved to Highbury in 1960 for a record transfer fee of £47,500 and better wages (yes, Arsenal was a generous benefactor contrary to modern opinion). In 1961, the maximum wage was abolished.
Eastham did not end his quest there but with the help of the Players Football Association took the matter all the way to the High Court. In his testimony, Eastham argued that the transfer system in its present form constituted an unfair restraint on trade. His logic obviously left quite an impression on Justice Richard Wilberforce and in 1964, the court ruled that the retain and transfer system was unreasonable. A few years later, he refused to play for Arsenal, on the grounds of a wage increase, and the club threatened to transfer him. Due to his reputation and his skills as a player the matter was resolved in his favour. Over the years, the Bosman rule and the Turner clause have added more clout to player's rights, to the extent that clubs are now scrambling to find innovative ways of retaining their stars, including trigger clauses in their contracts.
The former Arsenal midfielder does not begrudge players receiving today's inflated salaries
"They get in a week what I got in a career. So you can see how it's escalated over the years. But everybody's worth what he can get, so long as they play to their ability and give what they've got to give."
I suspect he would have something stronger to say about Carlos Tevez's self centred act of mutiny. Tevez receives £250,000 per week to make him one of the highest paid players in the world. It puts into perspective the decades long struggle waged by players like Eastham to force the clubs and the league to giving them a fair wage and the right to play for whomever they wished. But Eastham accepted this better day also came with responsibilities and the first obligation was to the club. For every Tevez, there are hundreds of players with their livelihood threatened by the inability of clubs teetering on the brink of financial ruin to pay them their salaries. The La Liga and Serie season were delayed as player unions resorted to collective bargaining and strikes to seek assurances that their players would be paid wages owed to them. It's a world still fraught with danger for the less fortunate. Sepp Blatter raised quite a chuckle when he defended Cristiano Ronaldo calling him " a slave" a few years ago. He wasn't so quick on the uptake with Tevez. One of City's redresses could see FIFA getting involved in deciding the Argentinian's fate.
Arsenal were ascendant for about 15 minutes following Alexander Song's brilliant foray down the left flank and equally scintillating cross which led to the Aaron Ramsey equalizer. A commanding midfield performance recycled the attack and the Spurs citadel looked shaky. Any time there would be a follow up to the Ramsey goal. Or so we thought.
Instead it was Kyle Walker's cannonball dipping and swerving to bamboozle Wojciech Szczesny who was having a monstrous game having stopped Adebayor point blank a few minutes before. Spurs once again hurt the Gunners through a long distance bomb against the run of play. It's becoming quite the standard accolade in these derbies. Time for Arsenal to crank up the engine to get an equalizer. Or so we thought.
The last 15 minutes brought up one of the most puzzling and disjointed spectacles as Per Mertesacker was pushed up front as center forward. Did that work out? Because the only way to justify that move was to lug some long balls to him so he could work his 6' 5" frame to advantage. Ramsey could not pass for the love of toffee and Yossi Benayoun fell foul to the same disease. There was no service to the box as Arsenal spend excruciating periods of time dawdling in the backfield trying to back pass their way forward. Spurs proving equally adept at taking away the ball.
The balance of power in the North London derby has inexorably shifted to White Hart. As some wag on the Guardian commented, there may not be a derby to look forward to next year. This was not even a particularly good Spurs display till Sandro's introduction allowed Spurs to correct their midfield imbalance and open up their attack. For Arsenal, Gervinho twisted this way and that way like a headless chicken but the one golden chance he had he wasted. Ramsey looks terribly short of self assurance. The one bright spark was Francis Coquelin who was quite commanding in the first half before he tarnished himself with some sloppy passing late in the second. He had plenty of company in that department.
The international break is on us and once again it comes at a time for us to lick our wounds. At this point, one wonders where Arsenal will end up? The league will be decided by the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea is in strong position to finish third, and Newcastle and Stoke join Liverpool and Spurs in the dogfight for fourth. Arsenal if it continues on this course is looking at a lower table finish. Wenger after the match:
"At the moment, we have to set realistic targets and to get in touch with teams that fight to be in the Champions League positions."
The realistic goal should be to take one match at a time and try and win as many for some upward mobility. It's not the time to get tied to a Champions League spot or look to teams in contention. For Arsenal this is an all too rare predicament of digging deep where improvement is measured by increments.
Wenger also brought up Arsenal lacking confidence but an improvisational choice of Per Mertesacker while leaving Park Chu Young on the bench shows a lack of self belief on the manager's part. There are also questions as to why he chose not to play Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain or Marouane Chamakh. The last thing needed is to bring out a cipher like Stan Kroenke to parrot another series of mindless platitudes.
Half time at White Hart and its a familiar breakdown in defense that gives Spurs the one goal lead.
Emmanuel Adebayor floats the ball into the box. Per Mertesacker gets fronted easily by Rafael Van Der Vaart and Bakary Sagna fails to track back leaving the Dutchman free to control with a hint of a hand before he chests the ball down and finish past Szcezsny. I am now firmly convinced that Arsenal are a learning disabled team. A solid defender like Sagna fails to recognize the danger? What hope for Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou?
Aaron Ramsey continues to show a slide in form. It's been a nightmare to see him struggle with the simplest of passes. There was a beautiful opportunity for Walcott open to shoot from the top of the box and Ramsey flubs a short side pass. Francis Coquelin has been very good though. He looks very assured.
Spurs haven't looked particularly good themselves but we've learned that does not really mean much when it comes to Arsenal. The Gunners have to pull up their socks in the second half.
The virtual owner of Arsenal is at long last wheeled out and gets caught up on the summer and the past three years. But if you were looking for nuggets (a ghastly pun on the NBA team of which he's an owner) of insight you would be sorely disappointed. For an owner of so many sports teams, Stan Kroenke is just a depressing, clueless figurehead. Here is a so called nugget:
"Maybe it is one of those times when we have to work our way through, maybe with some young players. Arsene has been really good at developing these guys, people like Alex [Oxlade-]Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere. There are some really good players that Arsene thinks can be special. Arsene's our man."
Arsenal have been working their way through with young players for seven years now. It's not new. Arsene just about got his hands on Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain, so he really isn't the finished product and nor should he be at the age of 18. Kroenke has been associated with the Arsenal board for about five years now and this is the best he can offer?
It's Arsene this, Arsene that. Little else but platitudes.
Contrast this with John Henry, a very hands on owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool who put his finger on the pulse right away by drawing attention to the the long list of unproductive players swelling the side's payroll. Sure, he may not know the ins and outs of the soccer business or its history but since his ownership of Liverpool, he's done a good job of turning around a dysfunctional ethos. Henry is the owner under whom the BoSox finally lifted the curse of the Bambino, so he knows something about long, long title-less streaks. He put Kenny Dalglish in charge, opened up the purse strings, and Liverpool are finally on the mend. Kroenke came in and bought more shares on the stealth. That's about all he's done.
A four zero thrashing of Blackburn Rovers has helped Mancini take the Tevez saga off the front page.