Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Looks like you're stuck with the spray-on stuff...

Anyone want a tanning bed at half price? Excessive UV radiation, sadly, is all the legacy that Phil Brown could muster to leave behind at Hull after the latest poor result in a long, long string of truly bad results saw the trap door open on the ever-orange manager. In truth, Hull fought hard for 90 minutes to deny Arsenal the 3 points, but I suppose that when you’re midfield enforcer resorts to gouging out eyes and openly practicing martial arts, your field of play regularly takes on all the attributes of a cow pasture (plus rugby lines), and your offensive linchpin resembles a belfry-dwelling hunchback, your success is not exactly written in the stars. Even if your visiting opponent, with one man up, plays like crap.

That, more than anything, was the most encouraging point on the day for Arsenal fans to take away: we put in a dismal display and won on the road, without the divine intervention of Cesc Fabregas or the midfield muscle of Alex Song. And while Nicklas Bendtner still looks a long way away from being described as an “assassin” in front of goal, you can’t deny his statistics of 6 goals in the last 5 games indicate a player on the rise. What’s more, his athletic reaction to Myhill’s generous clearance could prove to be one of the most vital goals of the season.

So while it may have sounded bizarre at the time, maybe there is some credence to Gael Clichy’s claim that a Premiership trophy for this squad would be even more satisfying than winning with “The Invincibles.” The current squad is certainly not all-conquering by any means: we’ve conceded 10 goals against Man U and Chelsea alone while looking offensively toothless in those games. We’re not exactly seasoned, as most players haven’t even passed their 25th birthday. We’re not particularly physical either, with an average height of something like 5’9” (I’m guesstimating). But we certainly are resilient, having faced crushing defeats and staring across significant gulfs in the Premiership table. Despite all this, we’re in the thick of things, and should we win, you’d like to think that even the bitterest Man U or Chelsea fan would have to acknowledge that we’ve fashioned an admirable, if not heroic comeback.

Having squeaked by our last 3 Premiership opponents, we have a good chance at gaining some momentum by blowing by our opponent this weekend at the Emirates as we face West Ham, who are of course coming off a 4-1 humbling at the hands of the Chavskis. With Cesc possibly coming back into the side and Diaby, Eboue, Nasri and Bendtner all on good form, I feel the boys will finally make good on some of these gilt-edged chances we’ve been spooning over in recent weeks and therefore put in no less than 4 goals. I don’t care if Zola really is “nice,” “good natured,” or unfairly treated by the West Ham back office, I want nothing less than a brutal massacre of a game, replete with cold-hearted finishes as opposing defenders scream and writhe around on the ground pleading for mercy…yes I know it’s grim, but it’s what we need to further harden our young boys’ hearts as they knuckle down for a title run-in which our wizened old war horse Sol Cambpell has warned them will be daunting (I like to think he did this with the dressing room lights out and a flashlight stuck under his chin for effect).

Nick from the Boston Gooners has predicted a 3-0 scoreline, so it looks like we’ll have plenty to pick over on the Arsenal Review USA Podcast in addition to our pre-game talk with George from the Philly Gooners. But before you check out the podcast, be sure to get behind your team this Saturday as they pick up another 3 points!

Up the Arsenal!