Tuesday, May 30, 2006

England vs Hungary

Here we are at the last-but-one chance Svennis has got for one of his England sub-o-rama fiascos. Let's hope that this time he employs some common sense and lets his first choice eleven get a bit of practice, and lets hope we see a team we can believe in.

Come on England!

We're playing 4-1-3-1-1 with Carragher in the holding role and Gerrard trying to do a DB10. Fuck knows if this is a good idea, it's certainly not what I'd have gone for but then I'm not a Swede with a propensity for shagging secretaries [1].

5:00 Where is Gerrard supposed to be playing? Perhaps someone should tell him, he's all over the shop atm.

8:43 Gerrard clipped over just outside the box, no foul given (nor I think committed, he looked to have lost the ball). Sod Rooney, this guy is probably our best player but I wish he'd stop trying to play everywhere, we're hardly in the last couple of minutes of a match that matters...

11:00 AC3 clattered, free kick. Beckham to take, straight back out again.

England are playing fine and are in control but I think we're seeing the "Curse of Svennis" in that no-one knows whether they're in or out so they're tending to play for themselves rather than for the team.

16:00 Hungary would appear to have got their heads round our rather eccentric formation and are now, predictably, crowding us out of midfield. They don't look ludicrously dangerous but then they really don't seem to be trying too hard.

20:00 Corner to Hungary. The England formation is looking increasingly nonsensical and we're coming under some pressure now.

26:00 Nice bit of work by Joe Cole, but it's all individual stuff. There's just no plan. Free kick to England, though, and Beckham to take. Cleared without undue effort.

31:00 This really does need some fresh thought. Beckham and Gerrard are both trying to play central midfield when they really should be somewhere else. Why we can't just play a formation these players are familiar with is beyond me. I'm starting to see the clamour for Rooney in a different light - at least he can score in a brothel.

34:00 Corner to Hungary. Cleared by Beckham.

36:00 There's a worrying arrogance to England's play. A better team than Hungary - and there are plenty - would be a couple of goals up by now.

38:12 Joe Cole hacked down (not for the first time tonight he made the most of it - something he may well have learned from Drogba but which he needs to unlearn by the World Cup if he wants to stay on the pitch), reasonable free kick.

39:55 Penalty to England. Gerrard down (dive, he didn't get caught), though Owen should have scored from the chance that immediately preceded it. Lampard to take... saved, well as it happens. Lampard certainly hoofed it. At the end of the day it was probably the fair result, given the award.

42:00 England are starting to dominate... Joe Cole header off the post, defender clears it off the crossbar. We can consider ourselves unlucky, IMHO. The team's starting to develop a shape, though I don't think it's the one Svennis intended.

45:51 Corner to England. Nothing comes of it, and now it's half-time.

England are flattering to deceive, we surely won't win too many competetive games playing like this. Awful. Good points? Neville's doing his usual fine job (much though it pains me to say it), Beckham's put in a couple of decent balls and Joe Cole looks like he's playing for his life, let alone his place in the team. Otherwise, Gerrard looks like a fish out of water, sadly, and Lampard is being bypassed. Wake up Svennis, let's have Carrick and TW32 and give it a proper English go.

Oh wow, England substitution: Hargreaves for Neville. Fucking hell.

BTW, I sincerely hope I can watch the World Cup games on a channel other than BBC, I really don't think I can take another Motson/Lawrenson evening...

46:13 Goal to England! Gerrard, very nicely placed header.

51:00 Goal to England! Terry from a fine Beckham free-kick.

54:04 Goal for Hungary. Fabulous out-of-the-blue shot, Robinson couldn't get near it. It's fair to say it was against the run of play, England certainly have had the upper hand since the first goal but we're still far from convincing.

60:00 I'd be expecting to see some substitutions now (I'd particularly like to get the injury-prone Owen off the pitch under his own steam) but there's no sign of anything.

64:36 Gerrard and Owen off, Crouch and TW32 on. TW32 now England's youngest-ever full international. Good for him, let's hope this is just the first of many.

69:18 TW32 takes off like a missile on speed, decent cross aimed at Crouch, cleared.

England are starting to look like a team, at least going forward. The midfield still looks rather confused defensively.

75:00 All a bit aimless at the moment.

75:30 Terry off, SC23 on. Hungary bloody nearly scored whilst he was coming on, England had gone to sleep.

76:45 SC23 booked for taking his man out whilst trying to recover from a dire ball to him.

77:26 Fine save by Robinson.

83:03 Looks like a foul on Crouch in the area, but not given.

84:00 Goal for England! Crouch, very fine cross shot (even better in the replays). He seems to be working well with TW32, whose movement has been very good. They played together at Southampton, of course. Perhaps this is the real "Plan B" - Owen looked really out of sorts whilst Crouch and TW32 look not only right up for it but fit, too. Give them a run together on Saturday?

87:56 Shot by TW32, pretty good though the cross-hit effort went wide. No way is this boy out of his depth.

88:54 Beckham booked. Committed challenge, though hardly a nasty one. Do these bookings count for anything?

So there we have it. "Plus-point" performances: Beckham, Joe Cole, Neville, Crouch, Gerrard (if he sticks to a role) and TW32. "OK" performances: pretty much everyone else on the night, though I'm not fully convinced by Ferdinand or Robinson (can't see any real alternative to the latter however). "Oh Dear" performances: Owen. Give up on the man, he's just not up to it at the moment.

[1] Calls for Prezza to be next England manager will, I hope, fall on deaf ears.

The Groovy Chicks Rock Devon

And didn't they just! Cracking day out, wonderful food and very fine company. Margaret Groovy's 75th celebration provided a true invitation to over-indulge that was gratefully accepted by all who attended. Great to see four generations enjoying themselves together, reminds me of the Old Days. Gosh I'm getting old...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Back To The Rooney Saga

Well it's not healed. Not exactly surprising, I'd have thought. It's now "officially" accepted that we won't make the group stages. That being the case I have to say that IMHO taking him at all is lunacy.

There are only three other strikers in the squad atm, one of which is the inexperienced TW32 who really isn't likely to start any games, and another of which is Peter Crouch. The third is Owen and if he survives all of the group games he'll have played more consecutive games than he's probably managed for Newcastle this season.

It's time to give up on Rooney and call in another striker, giving him time to get used to being part of the set up.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Goodbye Bobby

In today's "Oh really?" news, RP7 has signed for Villarreal.

Good luck to him, and thanks - no doubt from us all - for the very fine work he's done for the Arsenal over the last few years. He'll be fondly remembered.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

That's Us Out In The Group Stages, Then

It's been announced that England will have a Victory Parade through London on 11th July to celebrate winning the World Cup. There'll be a national holiday too (somewhat bizarrely also given to the Scots).

Talk about counting chickens... this particular SNAFU comes courtesy of the FA rather than the Home Office, though at the moment it's not too easy to tell them apart...

Welcome, Tomas

We've signed Tomas Rosicky, a fine 25-year old Czech midfielder (old news by now, but I plead illness for failure to write this yesterday).

Fine news. Welcome and good luck.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Rain In England Falls Mainly On Shepton

Well it's raining. That's hardly news here, to be fair. The only "news" of any sort are a few reports that Fenerbache want SC23 and are prepared to pay quite a lot for him (whether as a fee to us or as his pay package isn't clear): good business for us, but possibly nowhere near as good for the player.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

What Fantastic Madness

If our friends over the pond ever need to point to one thing to justify not understanding Europeans the Eurovision song contest would be just that thing. What lunacy! Last night's could well be the best since ABBA won...

The sheer insanity of 37 countries voting for the best song from amongst 24 which mixed national musical quirks with attempted rap, cellos, national dance and that infamous euro-beat was just wonderful to behold. The fact that it was won by a Finnish death-metal band dressed as orcs was just the icing on the cake.

Bring back It's A Knockout...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Four More Years

Fantastic news! TH14 will be leading out the team at the Emirates Stadium next year as we'd all hoped. The love affair goes on...

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Well the general opinion at work - from non-Gooners, to boot - is that the best team lost. I'm not about to argue, I entirely agree. The team can feel justly proud, IMHO, they were fantastic.

I wish we could get the TH14 thing out of the way so we can just get on with the World Cup, but he's always said he'd take his time so I guess we owe it to him to give him it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Champions League Final

OK, here we go. Gosh, I'm more than a little nervous. Geoff's called from the ground, the lads are to the left of the goal at the Arsenal end on the second tier. Perhaps they'll wave. I hope to fuck they're cheering at the end...

Come on you Arsenal!

2:35 Ooooh... Close by TH14, fine chance...

3:05 Fine shot from TH14...

11:52 Ronaldinho free kick's gone wide. Good game so far. Not that I care about quality, I just want the right result...

17:33 In the net from Barca. Goal disallowed, but JL1 sent off for taking down Eto'o outside the area. Technically right? Probably, but rather harsh, why not just let the goal stand? JL1 first man ever sent off in a CL Final. I'm sure he's chuffed about that, I don't think any sane person would fault him for going for the save though. MA24 on, RP7 off. Free kick wide. We're down to 10 men in the CL again. I hope AW wasn't joking when he said we practice for this.

36:10 Free kick to us, right side of their box.

36:50 Goal! 1-0 to the Arsenal! SC23, thumping header!

46:24 MA24 brilliantly pushes Eto'o's fine shot onto the post.

47:43 TH14 on his own... row Z...

Half Time: Barca 0 Arsenal 1. Cracking. I'm really not sure how much longer we can hold out like this, but come on you Arsenal!

And here we go again. Edmilson off, Iniesta on for Barca. No changes for us. Let's face it, we can't now waste subs.

47:51 Deco shoots, held well by MA24.

50:44 Yellow card for TH14 who was chasing back. I have to say the cards, or threat of them, all seem to be going one way.

54:36 Free kick to Barca just outside the area. Fair free kick (we'll ignore the one we didn't get a few seconds earlier) but the card Barca are calling for would have been unfair, and one isn't presented as it happens. Ends up in a goal kick.

57:01 Another good piece of work by MA24. We're under a fair bit of pressure now.

59:30 Corner to Arsenal. Cleared comfortably.

60:20 Larsson on, Van Bommel off for Barca.

62:28 Fine move from Arsenal, ending in a shot wide from AH13.

65:06 Arsenal on the break again, TH14 into the box but the ball slightly over-ran.

66:25 Great break by FL8, corner. Taken by FF15, cleared easily.

69:45 Another chance for TH14, keeper did well. Pretty much immediately followed by a shot from Ronaldinho which went wide.

70:54 Belletti on, Olegurer off for Barca. That's their last sub.

71:57 Dive on the edge of the box from Eto'o. No card, of course.

73:26 Corner to Arsenal. FF15 off, MF16 on. Cleared comfortably.

75:56 Goal to Barca. Eto'o. Bollocks.

Now we're in trouble. Not only are we playing with 10 men but having to bring on MA24 has meant we've only got one sub left. We can't now win this by defending, so let's bring on DB10 :)

80:30 Goal. Barca again. Belletti. We're probably fucked, but, hey, faith is a good thing. Now give us Dennis...

84:21 AH13 off, JAR9 on.

92:11 Oh, he's finally booked a Barca player.

Full Time: Barca 2 Arsenal 1. Very game performance from us, and difficult to say anyone's underperformed under the circumstances. If you play the self-styled "best team in the world" with 10 players you're going to find it difficult. Well done Arsenal, you've done us proud.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


There's yet another bug about and I've got it. I'm not enjoying it, as it happens. Cracking FA Cup Final, well done Liverpool (and Stevie G in particular). Shame anyone had to lose it, as they say.

It's the biggie tomorrow. Come on you Arsenal!

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Silly Season's Just Got Interesting...

I suspect the investigations into "sporting fraud" in Italy's Seria A could well have a significant bearing on what happens in this Summer's transfer merry-go-round. Who'd now want to move to Juve, AC Milan or Lazio? How many of their players may end up available on the cheap?


Warming Up For The FA Cup

I love the FA Cup, I really don't give a toss whether it's trendy or not. The beer's in the fridge, there's spicy chicken stuff to be prepared and I'm ready for the fun.

Whilst I number a fair few 'Pool fans amongst my friends I'm going to support the Hammers tomorrow (a) because every neutral loves an underdog (b) because they're from London and (c) because we owe them one for last Sunday.

I've a feeling that, for once, this one could be a corker...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

After The Lasagne Comes The Humble Pie

A fitting end to the whole S***s with the s***s fiasco would be for the now entirely exonerated Docklands Marriott hotel to sue the WHL scum for defamation. It's highly unlikely to happen, sadly, as I can't see a fairly well-respected hotel group sinking to S***s' puerile level.

UPDATE: It gets stranger by the minute. S***s are now saying that only one player has been shown to have had a virus prior to their stay at the Marriott. This one could run and run, if you'll pardon any pun.

UPDATE: S***s have gone all quiet again. However, Paul Downing, the general manager of the Marriott concerned has at last joined the fun: "I'm not demanding an apology from Spurs but it would be the right thing to do. Nobody should have to go through what my staff and I have been through in the past few days". Too bloody right it would be the right thing to do. So on past performance I guess we can assume they won't do it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

UEFA Cup FInal

Thought I'd try a different approach with this one, with the CL Final in mind...

10:00 A reasonable start from Boro, though Sevilla have had a couple of decent chances. Boro certainly don't look over-awed.

23:00 Pleasant enough to watch but not exactly exciting - both teams are keeping their shape and they're just playing swap-ball in midfield. Sevilla possibly marginally ahead on points, but there's really bugger-all in it atm. One of the Boro defenders keeps slipping over, which makes you wonder about his footwear choice - let's hope this doesn't cause a real problem before they can fix it.

25:59 Goal to Sevilla. Good move, fine (headed) finish. The Zorro-masked Schwarzer stood no chance whatsoever.

HT Boro 0 Sevilla 1 You can't argue with the score, Boro finished the first half very much on the back foot and really do need to up it a lot if they're going to win this. They're starting to look nervy, too...

OK, here comes the second half and Boro have brought on Maccarone. Good luck, chaps!

60:00 One good chance to Boro but despite that, and the fact that Boro are pushing forward, Sevilla still very much have the uppper hand. Boro are also playing a very tiring game so extra-time wouldn't be too good (though better than where they are atm, of course)...

70:00 Well we're not into the two-minute drill but already Boro are out with the Hail Marys. They've got four forwards on now but sadly there's still no real penetration (titter ye not, Mr Howerd).

74:30 Should have been a penalty to Boro for a shove on the Pie Eater, IMHO. Not given though.

77:45 Goal. Another for Sevilla. Good goal, though the keeper was a little unlucky. I suspect the fat lady's getting ready, sadly.

83:34 Goal. She might as well come on now 'cause it's another to Sevilla. Yet another good 'un, even if it took a deflection, but the score's really now not fair to Boro who've had far more of this game than 3-0 suggests. Of course, it's only the score that goes in the books...

88:40 Goal. Blow the whistle, Ref, this is getting unfair on Boro. Sevilla's fourth was from Kanoute, FWIW.

FT Boro 0 Sevilla 4 The right team won, for sure, but I think the final score was a little harsh on a very game Boro side. Let's hope they'll be back before too long.

Toxic Seats - S***s To Blame?

According to the Beeb we've been sitting on cadmium-laced toxic seating for the last few years. Not sure what the symptoms of cadmium poisoning are, but if they include bouts of hysterical laughter every time anyone mentions the current behaviour of the lot from WHL then I'm clearly affected.

I'll be cheering on the 'Boro tonight, I just hope they decide not to give the opposition a three-goal start this time as I'm trying to save up my resistence to heart-related stress for the CL final.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Are We Having Fun?

It's that usual Tuesday afternoon feeling, particularly strong this week as I'm on the late shift. Oh well, it's actually a nice day in Somerset and it's busy enough to pass the time without being silly.

Sven's acid-inspired squad choice has met with pretty much universal approval and has certainly put a smile on the national face. I think there's more of a "we can win it" feeling about now than there was when it was all down to Rooney, though that could just be because the tournament's growning closer.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The England Squad

After years of being Johnny Foreigner Sven has suddenly manifested that most English of things - utter eccentricity. What a squad. Actually, I think it's pretty cool (given that realistically Rooney and, probably, Owen won't make it for the final selection) and the inclusion of Lennon and TW32 could well prove to be a masterstroke.

I'm getting quite excited...

I've Always Been Partial To Lasagne

Well at the end of the day it was a really great send-off for Highbury. An entertaining game, great atmosphere, a hat-trick from TH14 and fourth place secured to boot.

Most excellent.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Sun Always Shines On Someone Else

And today I'm amongst the "someone else". Sadly, in someone else's life, the very brave Hayley Newbery has died. My thoughts and prayers are with those she leaves behind, they could do with the sun shining on them right now.

In other, utterly irrelevant, news Robbie Fowler has got himself another year at the 'Pool. Good for him. Good for the fans, too, I'd wager. I'm convinced that Benitez is developing a scouse accent. Anyone remember Jan Molby?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Citeh Full Time

3-1 to the Arsenal. Good result, fair performance (second half anyway, I missed the first). Good news for England, too, in that AC3 had a pretty fair game (and lasted all of it) and SC23 looked OKer than he has done for a while.

Some Keystone-Cops defending from us, but what the heck it's been that sort of day...

McClaren Named England Manager

Oh well, good luck to the man. He's now in the rather odd position of helping Svennis win the WC whilst hoping he fails so he's not left with an impossible act to follow.

The whole process of selecting the man has been a complete mess and at the end of the day we've ended up with the usual group-think result of choosing the candidate that no none actively didn't want as opposed to one anyone actually did want.

Who would you have gone for?

UPDATE: I've just watched his press conference and I have to say he sounds OK. Mind you, so does Dubya so I'm not going to make too much of that. At least he's used to the wretched British Red Tops...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Here Comes The Silly Season

Thankfully we've got the World Cup this year to divert us from the usual summer transfer speculation, not, of course, that it'll actually stop said speculation. At the moment it would appear that the majority of the Arsenal first team are on their way to Spain. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see AC3 go there (and I'd be more than happy if he did) and I fully expect to see TH14 there but there's bugger all point in worrying about it all, what will be be will and I'm convinced we're going to have a fine team for next season come what may. We could always draft in some of the women's team...

World Cup wise it seems Rooney's injury is worse than at first believed. I wish people would give up on any idiotic ideas of taking him to Germany (see previous World Cups for examples of this sort of folly) and come up with a decent alternative plan. Relying on The Giraffe is not such a plan, IMHO. Take Fowler and be done with it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tuesday Round Up

Another Tuesday and another wet day in Somerset. The gardening project is on indefinite hold, I think the rain's here to stay for a while yet.

Congratulations to the Arsenal Ladies who completed their third double in six years with a 5-0 win over Leeds in the Women's FA Cup Final.

In other news AD2 looks likely to be out for 5 to 6 months following his injury (dislocated and broken ankle) in yesterday's win over Sunderland. A real bloody shame, he was looking good and has worked hard since he joined us. Here's hoping he makes a swift recovery.