Arsenal 2 – Huddersfield 1 Review

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Jan 302011
 

Huddersfield Town are also known as the Terriers and the played like, well, terriers. The feeling of getting through to the next round of the cup is somewhat marred by the injury suffered by Nasri, and the upcoming suspension of Squillaci after the latter got himself sent off for a professional foul.

After the first twenty minutes I thought that we were going to walk it and that my long-shot punt of 7-0 might even come off. Huddersfield sat back and waited for us to attack, in what seemed to me to be tactical suicide. After a few wayward shots from Arshavin and Bendtner we were soon ahead when the latter took a shot from the edge of the area, and it deflected off Peter Clarke into the net.

But it all changed when in about the 30th minute Nasri chased a ball over the top. He pulled up, and we could all see it was his hamstring that had gone. 3 weeks out, I tweeted. That now look optimistic with the news – albeit unconfirmed – that it’s a bad one. That means it could be about 6 weeks. Fantastic, our best player out for at least one of the two Champions League games against Barça. It’s a real shame for Sammy – just as he was finding some truly scintillating form that would certainly have found him back in his country’s national team, he finds himself out with a serious injury. We’ll miss him badly, I fear. Nonetheless, a chance for young Theo to prove his mettle and push for a permanent spot in the team.

Back to the Huddersfiled game. As so often happens when a player leaves the field with a bad injury, we looked shell-shocked, and Huddersfield could have gone two up before the end of the first half.

And just before the interval, things rapidly went from really bad to much, much worse. Squillaci blocked the impressive run of Jack Hunt, and got his marcfhing orders. When I saw it the first time, I called Mark Clattenburg some pretty terrible things, and won a rebuke from my agent for bad language in front of the Arsenally little one. It didn’t look like the Huddersfield player had the ball under control at all, but the benefit of a replay proved that it was, frankly, deserved. No sooner is he back from injury than the Fritalian defender finds himself suspended. Great.

And so the game rapidly swung in Huddersfield’s favour as they made the extra man count, if you’ll excuse the cliché.

He may be having a bad patch, as is so widely reported, but guess who tracked back to put in a last-ditch tackle to prevent a Huddersfield goal – our little Russian! I was impressed with his work for the team, if not for his finishing.

Huddersfield got their equaliser on the hour when Lee headed home a corner. Cue panic at Arsenally Yours, the tearing up of all my betting slips, etc etc. But I cheered up when I saw el capitano warming up, and was happier still to see him come on to replace the clearly rusty Diaby.

Yet again, he transformed the game. His presence alone seemed to calm the team, and we had chances with Koscielny, Arshavin and Bendtner going close.

As the game came to its close, and I was considering how best to rant about having yet another replay against lower league opposition, Bendtner was hauled down in the centre of the area, about 5 feet from goal, by the last defender. Clattenburg did point to the spot – I suppose we can thank our lucky stars for that – but why no red card? It couldn’t have been a clearer goal-scoring opportunity. Idiot. But I didn’t like seeing our captain trying to get said idiot in black to see sense and send the Terrier’s defender off. There’s just no need.

Up stepped Cesc, and slotted the penalty home. Thank God. Once again he saved our bacon, and we saw out the remaining minutes to win the tie and proceed to the next round. We’ll face Leyton Orient at the Matchroom stadium in the fifth round. Should be a great game, and one the Arsenally grandad would have treasured. The O’s were, if you like, his second team, and he’d also check to see how they got on every Saturday. A mate of mine is a fan, so I may well find myself there.

But that’s not for 3 weeks or so. In the meantime, we face Everton at home after a laughably short rest of 1 day. One day? I know they’re all supposed to be professional athletes, but that’s ridiculous. And, it’s worth pointing out, Everton may not be doing wonders in the league, but they managed to get a draw against Chelski.

Despite the win, it’s all a bit depressing, really. Nasri out for up to 6 weeks, our only reserve defender suspended, and no time to prepare for Everton. But how about this to cheer you up – Fulham 4 Sp*rs 0. That’s much better.

Arsenally Yours,

Will

Man City Preview & Odds

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Jan 052011
 

I’m Arsenally fired up for this one. A win would put us right behind ManUre. We must keep the pressure on them by beating their rivals. Citeh may have the riches, and an enviable list of players – excepting one c*nt, I mean you Adebayor – but we’re at home, we’re playing well, and dammit, I want to kick their arses.

The key to a victory, I reckon, is putting a close leash on Tevez, the ugly munt. He’s been involved in 9 of City’s 12 goals this season, and scored 28 times in 31 league outings. And on the negative side of things, the ref is going to be Clatten-pillock. We’ve lost 5 of the last 7 games we’ve played with him in charge. I hope that’s a freak of statistics.

Kolo’s injured, but his brother Yaya is increasingly running the Man City show. Song, Fabregas, and Denilson must get a handle on his powerful runs forward. While I rate Kompany, I’d like our strikers to exploit the general over-ratedness of Lescott.

We’ll miss Jack the lad’s creativity in midfield (he’s suspended) so it’s imperative that Denilson has a good all-round game. We’ve got to make sure that Barry, de Jong, and Yaya don’t out-muscle us, and that we keep playing the kind of attacking football that saw us defeat Chelski.

Speaking of attacking football, I’d love to see a front three of Arshavin, Chamakh and v Persie, but I fear that we’ll only see one of RvP / Chamakh. I think Chamakh will start as he’s been rested recently, and is hopefully ready to return all guns blazing.

Given their physical strength in midfield, I imagine we’ll see Nasri play further forward with Chamakh and Arshavin, and Denilson added to Song and the captain in midfield. Theo’s a possibility, especially as their defenders are hardly known for their pace. But I reckon AW will be cautious and leave him on the bench.

It’s pretty much anyone’s guess as to the combination at the back, but I think the manager will start with Koscielny and Djorou, with a nod to the form of the Swiss, and the speed of the Frolish.

So I expect:

Fabianksi – Sagna – Koscielny – Djourou – Clichy; Fabregas – Song – Denilson; Arshavin – Chamakh – Nasri

and from Citeh:

Hart – Boateng – Lescott – Kompany – Bridge; de Jong – Barry – Yaya Touré; Tevez – Adebayor – Silva

Having to type that Togolese tw*t’s name is sending me into paroxysms of rage. I hope he gets crushed by his team bus as it arrives at the Grove, and gooners can laugh while they witness the end of his worthless career. A bit harsh? I think not.

As for the odds, as I said, I’m feeling bold and I’m going for 2-0. I was tempted by 3-2 at 28/1 with BlueSquare but I’m plumping for 2-0, 9/1 with Sky Bet. For my long shot 4-0 is available at 40/1 with William Hill.  As for goalscorers, Song to score first at 25/1 with Coral has to be worth a couple of quid, while for the less adventurous, the captain to score first is 8/1 with Stan James. An additional bet I may well place is the thug de Jong to get booked first at 8/1 with Sky Bet.

Some friction within the Citeh camp – between Kolo Touré and The C*nt (who else?) – gives me hope that we can defeat them by class alone, but sadly, the contest isn’t held in terms of who has the best club. We have to beat them on the pitch – win the midfield battle, muzzle Tevez, and please back 5, no mistakes.

COME ON THE ARSENAL!

Arsenally well up for it,

Will