The Good: a 1-0 winner. Arsenal haven’t had a 1-0 win since December 16th when they beat Chelsea at the Grove. Hell, they’ve only had 5, 1-0 wins in all competitions this year! So, to hear the fans proudly get to sing “one-nil-to the Arsenal!” was kind of fun. The defense kept a clean sheet and looked pretty good doing so. Some people will put it down to it being an “end of season game” but Everton was still playing for a UEFA cup spot and I think they wanted at least a point from the match. Other people might point to the fact that Arsenal won because Everton was missing Cahill and Arteta, which would be like if Arsenal were missing Fabregas and Flamini… which they were. So, full credit to the defense for the 1-0 win.
I’d also like to single out Alex Song here; he’s doing a hell of a job deputizing in central defense. He’s playing the role of attacking defender (watch how he’s very aggressive on defense) to a tee and his understanding of how that position works belies his years. But the thing I think I was most impressed with was his forays forward. There was one play where he carried the ball forward, dribbled around the midfield, and then played in a very neat ball. I have to wonder aloud if he’ll be the person to fill Flamini’s shoes? I guess we’ll find out, that will have to be one of the stories of next season won’t it? A 20 year old taking over holding midfielder? That would be a hell of a story.
Jens… At the 70th minute, Wenger subbed out Fabianski and put in Jens Lehmann for his very last appearance for Arsenal. Thanks Jens, you crazy f*cker, I’ll never forget the Champions League run, the unbeaten season, or any of a half dozen crazy antics that you pulled. Hats off to you for all you’ve done. After the match an emotional Jens had this to say
My biggest memory was probably the Real Madrid game at home, when we played 0-0. Then of course the FA Cup Final and then there was the game we became champions at Tottenham. I was together with Sol Campbell we were the only players who felt disappointed in the dressing-room because we didn’t know we were champions by this time. We had conceded a goal just at the end and it finished 2-2. That was a very, very emotional moment for me. But, I said before, there are more memories than only just playing, there is the reception of the supporters. The respectful kindness of the supporters.
Oh hell, you big softie, come here and get a hug.
In the what the hell? Traore was off the hook as left winger. He came on about the same time that Jens did and made an immediate impact on the match. Is this another preview of next season? If that’s the case, Arsene will have Eduardo, Traore, Hleb, Vela, Walcott, Rosicky, Diaby, and Eboue to fill the wing spots. I think buying a winger is right out. Especially if Traore can play like yesterday for a good spell of games. He looked fantastic and was the one who put in the cross that Bendtner lazily headed home. It was a shockingly good display from the left wing. Color me pleasantly surprised.
The Bad: HEY! Why didn’t Cesc play on his birthday? Too damn hungover? Don’t give me that “he’s injured” crap, I got my Fabregas kit out, waited until 8 am to watch the game on tape delay, I wanted to see him play! Damnit. Oh well, happy birthday little buddy, I guess I’ll have to adjust my phrase now and start saying “he’s only 21.”
Theo. It just seems like his teammates don’t look for him. Forget about the fact that he didn’t have a very good game, it wasn’t his best performance. There were several times where Theo would be wide open and his teammates would look for someone else to make the pass to. Maybe he’s not getting himself into the right position to receive the ball, I don’t know. But it looks to me like his teammates are freezing him out and that’s a really worrying sign. I’d hate to lose the kid as I think he’s going to be a real special talent. Hopefully, the off season will get him up to speed and get the team looking for him.
Bendtner had a nice Sunday stroll, sniffed the flowers, sunned himself in the 18 yard box, found a ball and headed it home. Then he needed a nap, the exertion of scoring the goal was too much excitement for him.
The Ugly: Following AC Milan’s triumph over Inter in the Milan derby and subsequent securing of fourth place and thus, Champions League football for next season, Matthieu Flamini fucked off to Milan for a physical and to try some of their famous gelatto. I’ll say good luck for what you delivered in your time at Arsenal but I’ll also say that I hope your replacement gives you a good lump when we meet Milan in the Champions League next season.
Arsenal have successfully drummed it into our heads by now that there isn’t any money for transfers. It’s now looking like £25m… minus any contract renegotiations. With Wenger focused on trying to save Hleb and Gilberto that means one signing, max this summer. This isn’t ugly to me, but I fear that some of the bandwagon Arsenal fans might turn up the heat on Wenger and Arsenal and that might get ugly. I heard some Everton supporter saying that people are calling for Wenger to get fired. That’s a load of Tottenham, that is. I don’t know a single real Arsenal supporter calling for the termination of the greatest manager that Arsenal have had in the modern era. So, let’s put this ugly rumor to bed: Arsene Wenger has a job for life at Arsenal. He has been instrumental not just in football terms (winning 7 major trophies) but in terms of doing what the board need in order to make Arsenal a club that can not just survive but compete against billionaires. Wenger isn’t going anywhere, folks. This crap about him wearing out his welcome is either Tottenham propaganda or spread by people who LITERALLY have Spurs for brains.
So, if you’re one of those people, please stop for Christ’s sake.
See you tomorrow.