Thursday, January 29, 2009

Arsenal vs Everton

"GOAL!!!! EVERTON LEAD!! And it's another Tim Cahill header!! Baines crosses from the left and Cahill leaps high above his marker Clichy to direct his header inside the left-hand post. What a talent."

- eurosport live updates, 61st minute of the Everton - Arsenal match

It's half-time at Goodison Park, and it's 0-0. 

I haven't watched the Arsenal since the 'boro match in mid December. I remember having to scramble from the outskirts of Rome back to the Capitoline to watch that match. I only got back in time for the second half, and it was 45 minutes of such unmitigated hideousness that I wished I'd missed a subway connection or two. 

Back then, Arsenal were in a state of flux. Gallas had been sacked, Cesc was the newly appointed captain, and the team were at the start of a shaky unbeaten run. We were playing badly, but not losing. There was the January transfer window to look forward to, and it looked like things were starting to get better. 

About a month later, we're still on that unbeaten run. But the optimism has long since dissipated. We've lost Cesc to injury, and our board's shown an alarming lack of ambition in the transfer market. We've all got the feeling that the Arsenal are on the slide, and are going to be on the slide for a very long time. 

And against Everton tonight, we're playing hideously. 

I remember something Myles Palmer said a few blogs ago, about how the current Arsenal side lack partnerships. I think he was right. Technically, our players are good - they pass well and can control the ball - but there's not a lot of invention going on. The players aren't moving to receive lay-offs, or to create third man runs. The full-backs aren't making over-lapping runs, our passing is often sideways and ineffective, and it's all a bit jerky. I contrast that with the smooth-flowing moves of Barca and Valencia, and my gooner heart weeps big salty tears. 

What's worse is that, for some inexplicable reason, all the pubs in Galway are showing Hull vs West Ham. No one knows why. Saw this drunk guy sit down on a bench between two bronze statues and start up a conversation. He probably knows as much about it as the rest of us. So I'm stuck with an internet connection which is so fecking crap that the stream doesn't even load half the time. 

And Cahill just scored for Everton. 

Off a header. 

I'm going to go take a shower. I suddenly feel very, very dirty. 


I couldn't walk away. It's like a bad car wreck, I suppose. 1-1 draw, van Persie levelling at the death. At least this means we've still a buffer between us and Everton. We're 5th, and we're fighting for 5th for the rest of the season. 

That's fucking depressing. 

No comments: