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Sunday, December 10, 2006

You can't win anything with kids

Well, Arsene almost stole one at the Bridge, but it warn't to be. And truth be told, it never should have been. The Goon Show should feel flattered by the 1-1 scoreline. Its yoof system couldn't quite keep up, despite the splendid Eboue. Indeed, with either Cudicini or Cech in goal, it's doubtful the Gunners would even have gotten one.

There was a winner, of course, in this draw: Sir. Yes, Sir can clack his gum-chewing teeth together in glee as he picks up two more points on the champs. And who knows, we of the Toon may even gain something out of the match, if Drogba is indeed as injured as he looked. He is an incredibly influential player, which makes The Inscrutable One's decision to keep him on for the last 15 minutes of the match, possibly aggravating his knock, more than a little puzzling.

TDH will continue to puzzle over Jose's selection policy. Ballack was again all but absent, save that one slashing shot in the first half. Sheva has plainly lost a step, and he doesn't appear fully fit, either. Too many heavy English meals? And in the turnaround of the year, Fat Frank is positively svelte! He looks about five years younger. Sure, Jose wanted to shake up the Gooners with a physical start, hence Geremi (who always seems to keep the ball simply by bulling into defenders), but can he really afford to keep Rocket Robben on the bench for 65 minutes? Bench Sheva, play Robben. Bench Ballack, try out Young Joe or Obi Mikel from the off.

Finally, for those of us old enough to remember Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, I bring you this musical tribute to one of the hardest men in football management. You wouldn't like to meet him in a dark alley in Hackney, I tell you what....


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

Essien's goal was something special. He, too, is incredibly influential, and just such a bull.

Is YJ injured? why else would they have played Shit Wright-Phillips? Did Jose feel sorry for Arsenal and decide to give them an extra player? I can't remember a single possession he had when he didn't give the ball away. He's terrible now.

Sheva was crap, too. That said, he's still a million miles better than the shower of c**** Milan is playing up front. Inzaghi isn't in form, Gilardino is crap and Oliveira is basically Gollum after a few months in the gym.

8:51 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Yeah, the word is out today that Cole is crocked for a few weeks. See the BBC.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Palms said...

Never mind that AG, we're down to 9 fit players. Its time to ake that call to Roeder offering your services. i know I'm diggin out the old Predators.

9:20 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

casting the mind back to when Palms and I turned out for the same six-a-side football team (Champions in our day, no less), I can confirm that the quality of crossing he offers is a marked improvement over that of babayaro. And though he can't match Dyer's pace, if memory serves, he didn't miss a game, despite having legs about as sturdy as bread sticks. All you need is to track down our midfield dynamo Danny Kent, and you'll be premiership champions in no time.

In fact, I'm tempted to offer my services as a central defender, against whom no tricksy attackers would get any joy, but I fear Milan need my services more.

12:43 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Well, there's no doubt that we need central defenders. Even rather, ahem, short ones. Perhaps you could start by filling in for Carr, though....

Palms, I love it when you call me AG. Reminds me of Andre the Giant from the Finesse Squad. "You should have seen 'em running - the tune I was humming was 'AG is coming!'" was the old lyric ("Yes You May" from "Return of the Funky Man"). Before your time, perhaps.

By the way, Mara, I recently met a girl from Singapore with whom I think you'd fall in love quite quickly. No chance you'll be there soon, I take it?

5:00 PM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

the only Andre the Giant that counts for me is the one who kicked ass and took names in the WWF back in the day. Who can forget the fifteen thousand dollar slam match with Big John Studd?

Unfortunately no plans for Singapore at the moment - next stop is Vic Falls for Christmas. Though a bit more info, by e-mail perhaps, might change my mind...

6:42 PM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

One thing you got dead right up there AG (if that is indeed what we are calling you now, suddenly I can't remember what I ever called you before) is that Drogba is incredibly influential. It was clear from the BBC commentary tonight that Chelsea never looked liked scoring against our brave, patched-up rearguard until he made his entrance. Shevchenko came on around the same time, and immediately faded into obscurity... that is starting to look like the most eye-catching waste of £30 million in Premiership history.

Just a shame Mourinho apparently has another £300 million to throw around at the globe's most-hyped talents until he eventually hits on the right combination. The greatest coach in Europe? Right now I'd be interested to see how he managed with Roeder's injury-ravaged squad. While household names such as Ballack toil to litte discernible effect, there were kids in black-and-white shirts tonight who could still walk down Northumberland Street and remain unrecognised by the average Geordie- and they were playing out of their skins, man...

11:46 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Ah, what a shame it was. Like Palms, I spoke to soon on the topic of an injury - except it was one of theirs. Had Drogba been out as I'd not-so-secretly hoped, our brave band might have held on. Unfortunately it ended up a bit more like Bunker Hill and less like the Treinta y Tres Orientales.

Totally agree on Mourinho as well. Sure, he occasionally makes some good choices with what he's got. Porto's run to the Champions League must say something good about him. And he knows how to handle the media. But after his life in the lap of luxury, I'd like to see him turn West Ham around. Maybe that's it - maybe he needs a new challenge!

And now a serious question - does anyone know a good broker who can sneak me a ticket for Tottenham (h)?

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Palms said...

Surely with our current 48,000 crowds, it shouldn't be a problem getting a ticket. Why the Geordie public has decided Roeder's side is less worthy of their hard earned wedge than Souness's, I don't know.

Is there a reason those who excell in Serie A seem to struggle in the Premier league? I'm sure I'll be corrected but i can only think of Bergkamp and Zola who have really fit in. Of all sides Chelsea seem to play a style that would most suit Italian-bred players.

Personally i'd give Mourinho a bit more credit. He doesn't just change faces, but he'll tinker with formations during games, swapping full-backs with centre halves, strikers with wingers. He is a lot more bold than most other managers.

What a joyless experience it must be to be a Chelsea fan though. To be honest Robben, as odious as he is, is the only player in that side who excites.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous palms said...

Oh, and my father and I have been charged with chaperoning the Newcastle Academy side, when they come out to Hong Kong for the Soccer 6's. I will of course be asking King Pedro Beardsley why he decided short, fat, couldn't-trap-a-bag-of-cement, ginger, South african, Matty Pattinson is considered the creme de la creme of our young prospects. Pedro and kenny Wharton should have smacked him around a bit more I feel.

7:28 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

I think people are forgetting exactly how incredibly brilliant Mourinho was with Porto. Yes, they're a big side in Portugal, but they were a long distance behind Benfica and Sporting before he arrived. He took them through something like 2 1/2 years without losing a home game, went an entire season without losing ANY game, won a treble including the UEFA cup, then went and won the Champions League the next season. In the final of that competition, he completely wrongfooted the media, Deschamps and all the viewers by changing his side around significantly, adding Carlos Alberto, a young, unproven talent at the time, to the starting line-up. Alberto scored the first goal, and Porto completely over-ran Monaco.

Also, don't forget that for all he's spent, his transfers are by value worth only about half what he paid for them. He's paying and Abramovich premium. His purchases, Bollocks and Shitchenko (who will still eventually flourish, look at Drogba and Essient) excepted have not been world-renowned names.

Finally, I watched the first 60 minutes of the game. Michael Essien must be the most versatile player of quality in the Premiership. He's been the best player on the pitch for Chelsea at central midfield, at central midshield, at right back and now at centre-back. what a player.

11:25 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Well, our own Messrs Martins and Belozoglu seem to be adjusting rather well to the Premier League. Was Mancini's brief stay at Leicester the secret?

I think Mourinho can get away with a ton of tinkering because of the quality of his players. Essien is so good, as Mara says, that he'd probably be better than Hilarious in goal. Likewise for Drogba. It hasn't always worked, either - remember Huth the striker? And I still think Eidur was better as a forward.

By the way, Drogba was hardly a no-name when he was signed. He and Kezman were the most exciting players in the UEFA Cup, and among the top scorers in their leagues, before he bought them. Jose's hardly scouting for players in the faraway corners where Wenger routinely finds them.

I do have plenty of respect for what The Special-ish One did with Porto, but I'd like to see him do it again without a billion-pound bankroll.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Palms said...

well according to today we offically won our first European trophy since 1969. yes, The Interto Cup is ours. Well done everyone.

1:39 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

after recovering from the laughter, I'll thank you not to diss the intertoto cup, palms. Looks like Milan will be in it next season. If we're lucky.

12:13 PM  

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