Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Sunday October 29 2006
Apologies to those of you of a sensitive disposition, because this is not going to be a match report so much as a long acid tongued rant. Those of you that want a detailed match report should go to the archive and dig up the Villa and Boro reports, because this was really just a carbon copy. Arsenal started brightly, went a goal behind, opposition parked bus, Arsenal squandered a hundred set pieces, grabbed equaliser, Hleb ran socks off to no acclaim, Henry's only contributions were to set the world lazy record.
The captain will bear the first dose of the LD bitter pill. I am only too aware of this man's awesome talent, I am not convinced I have ever witnessed a more naturally gifted player. But talent gets you nothing on its own. Henry will only be too aware of this as you do not rise to his acclaim without significant helpings of elbow grease. But this season he has comfortably been our least industrious player, yestrday encapsulated this only too well. To say he cut a forlorn figure is an understatement. I appreciate that he was marked heavily during the game. However, his overall effort was one of a man who did not care for the team or the result. When dropping off into midfield to collect the ball, he over indulged and refused to chase balls that he lost. There was a point in the first half when van Persie pressed Neville into a corner. With his angles cut off, Neville's ONLY option was to go back to Tim Howard. With Henry standing five yards away from the Everton keeper, was it really too much to ask to close him down? van Persie correctly administered a verbal volley towards Henry, who took the criticism like a five year old girl. Buck your ideas up Mr. Henry. Not just by scoring, but by contributing to your team in terms of effort, you are not too good to work hard.
The second target of my vitriol is the idiotic way in which the BBC interpreted Wenger's post match interview. I managed to catch a smidgen of MOTD this morning (messy evening yesterday). Wenger gave Everton glowing praise for the way in which they defended, and rightly so, they were intelligent and determined. Lescott playing out of position at left back caught the eye in particular. Wenger criticised the time wasting. Now I know that this goes on and everybody does it, but does that mean it is acceptable? What if the same argument were to be applied to diving? Time wasting is cheating, simple as that, it contravenes the laws of the game and as such is deserving of criticism. Of course MOTD conspired to criticise Arsene and dismiss Arsenal for being too attractive! We all know Alan Hansen is a moron, but his comments in response to Arsene were, at best, staltifyingly ill informed and, at worst, idiotic. Nobody is saying teams should lay down their arms at the Grove, it is our responsibility to overcome, but is it really so wrong to ask for the laws of the game to be respected and applied? The BBC's sports broadcasting has taken a huge fall from grace of late. Their lazy tabloid journalism on the 'bung' and Beveren issues were met with widespread derision. Both were irresponsible, lazy and libellous attempts at tabloid journalism. The malaise has spread into a programme that was once considered a footballing institution, and it is a programme I will watch no longer. Goals on Sunday is a much more considered and in depth look at the action. Hansen's monosyllabic and lazy comments, together with Shearer's hypocritical whinings really aren't worth watching.
Mike Riley also is deserving of my consternation. Everton's time wasting was justified and encouraged by Riley. With Howard taking two and a half hours over another goal kicjk, I saw Riley PRETEND to stop his watch. He held his watch up in a motion to suggest he had stopped it, yet when play restarted he did not touch his watch again. His brilliant response to the Toffeemen's clock eating was to send Moyes off in injury time for having the temerity to hold his arm up! Well done idiot. I also must question the motives of those in the South Stand who chose to chant 'Who Are You?' in a mocking fashion towards the Everton fans when they had won a corner! The second this happened, my friend turned to me and said '1-0' instantly. The footballing Gods duly obliged in punishing the sheer arrognace of that chant. It's o.k to have a bit of banter, for example, when you're leading! Did we learn nothing from the Wigan Carling Cup embarassment? As a set of fans, we have a reputation for arrogance. It's hard to deny.
On a positive note, the performance of Tomas Rosicky left me drooling. The all action 'Little Mozart' pulled the strings with industry and composure. How he did not end up with a goal I've no idea, he certainly deserved it. Ultimately, we have to learn to beat teams in these situations.The way to affect this is by working on our set pieces. Chelsea are a side that lack our creativity, but the big difference, and the reason they manage to overcome such tactics is their set piece conversion. Last season over half of their goals arrived this way, a remarkable statistic. If Arsenal converted about three per cent of their corners, they would score a hatful every game. Unfortunately, with injury robbing us of Baptista and Adebayor, plan b could not be put into effect. Anyaways, unlike Everton, I've no time to waste, it was a wise man who once opined, 'as if you could kill time without injuring eternity.' How appropriate that the club continue to refuse the requests for the famous Clock End timepiece, had it have been present yesterday, it would surely have visibly grimaced. LD.
Date:Sunday October 29 2006
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