Thursday, March 3, 2011

L'Arse Strikes Back

photo by gt8073avia PhotoRee

The following notes were found crumpled up and discarded outside of The Emirates this morning.  Realizing their innate worth, I have restored them to their intended glory, as we take a look back at Arsenal's easy 5-nil victory over Leyton Orient in the FA Cup replay, which sets up a 6th round clash at Old Trafford in less than two weeks' time:

  • It was improv night at The Emirates, as Le Professor was forced to shuffle the Gunner lineup once again due to injuries. The Poodle came back -- with RVP and his achy-breaky body in pieces yet again, Arsene Wenger turned to Le Snooded One (aka Marouanne Chamakh) and Niklas ("I'd like to buy a vowel please, Pat") Bendtner for offense last night. Also, fresh off his butter-fingered performance in the Carling Cup final, Wojciech Szczesny found himself huddling under a blanket, on the outside looking in at Manuel Almunia in between the sticks for Arsenal.

  • Le Snood was in the net early last night, scuffing a shot into the corner, which must have come as a big relief to him. You don't stay long in this league as a forward if you score once every three months -- unless your name is Wayne Rooney.
  • Despite the eventual shutout, L'Arse looked a little shaky at the back on more than one occasion, as if their center backs were afraid to really mix it up and dirty their uniforms. Their current inability to impose themselves on the other team and close games out down the stretch may lead to their supporters soiling their own outfits, though of course I'm talking about an altogether  different kind of mess there.
  • Le Great Dane scored on a looping header at the half hour mark for the game's second goal, and added another for good measure just before the interval. The last one solved any lingering doubts over the game's outcome, and both goals looked relatively soft to me: Bendtner outmuscling the Orient defender on the first (with Jamie Jones able only to watch the ball sail gracefully over his head and into the goal's top corner) and shooting from the top of the box to seal the deal, unfettered by any pesky defenders trying to get in his way.
  • Abou Diaby missed the net from close range, the midfielder clear through on goal but ultimately dragging it wide of the mark. Although Arsenal was untroubled by the miss tonight, they seem to miss more open attempts on goal than almost any team I can remember. On the one hand I should be amazed by the Gunners' prowess: they create an awful lot of opportunities, especially against "lesser" sides. On the other hand, games like tonight's easy victory have been few and far between this season, as L'Arse also miss an inordinate amount of their opportunities, and have all season long. One has to look no further back than a couple of weeks ago against Wolves when Arsenal won a closer-than-it-needed-to-be game by only a two goal margin, despite creating chance after chance on the afternoon.
  • Bendtner completed his hat trick from the spot. It makes me happy to see him score, because maybe now Professor Wenger will feel as if he should play the Dane more often. I may not know much, but I do know one thing: Niklas Bendtner is like the schoolyard bully -- he beats up on the small guys, but produces a lot of nothing when it really counts. And you heard it here first (or maybe you didn't, but it felt really good to write that).
Niklas Bendtner as a youth, beating up on the opposition
photo by trix0rvia PhotoRee

This is farlieonfootie for March 3.

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