Saturday, October 16, 2010

Small Town Saturday Night

After yesterdays little Shearer rant, it was interesting to read James Lawtons obituary of Malcolm Allison. It is a shame that we have more Shearers in the game than we do Allisons. Allison was forward thinking long before it was fashionable, and was a bit of a card to boot.

It would be stretching a point to say that Blues were unlucky against the Arses today, as we were thoroughly outplayed, but we did OK. It is no disgrace to be out passed and outmanoeuvred by Arsenal, but I thought we played with a lot of courage, if not much finesse. Plenty of teams go there and get hammered; we avoided that, despite having to play against 12 men. What has Martin Atkinson got against us? I'm sure he must be a Villa fan.

I watched on the  PC (yay for the interweb) and amused myself by tweeting throughout the game. Early on I said that we needed to be braver or we would get stuffed. Just before we  scored. My original comment was justified, I think, because we had got ourselves in a good position, but were too scared to get on the front foot, and as result lost the ball and were lucky not to go behind following a swift counter attack.

Our goal was a good one, a good cross from the unfairly maligned Fahey was met by a good header from the criminally maligned Zigic. Zigic was a plus point. He is a much better footballer than Jerome, if not quite in the same league as an athlete, and should keep his place. He does not offer the same power and athleticism, but he does offer touch and awareness. If I wanted to see a big black bloke running fast with a sulky look on his face, I would go to Birchfield Harriers. I have no interest in seeing such a chap at St Andrews. If we have to rejig the team to suit Zigic, so be it; it will pay dividends.

We played well (ish) throughout. We didn't create much, we never do, so could hardly expect any different at the Emirates, and there were times when the Arses cut through us as effortlessly as Jamie Oliver slices a garlic clove, but we not only held firm, we tried to pass our way out of defence. I cannot stress enough how happy this made me. We have a tendency to hoof it away when we are under pressure, gifting the ball back, but, today, we made the buggers win the ball back. I like that.

We must bear in mind we were missing Gardner and Faddy. This will not mean much to non Blues fans, and may not mean much more to a few actual Blues fans, but they were our most influential players early in the season. We did alright.

Having said that, Carr seems to have become a bit accident prone and Bowyer is not as effective or dynamic as he was……..everything seems to be an effort for him: he  still gives his all though. There won't be much point buying replacements in January, as Eck has a baffling tendency to not trust the players he signs. It makes a bit of a mockery of his "due diligence" mantra.

Aesthetically, the Arses were a disgrace today. If they had been Wolves or Stoke they might have had three sent off. One of them, possibly Arshavin, stuck his knee into Ridgemill, not once, but twice. The first may have been forgivable in the heat of the moment, the second was dealt after he had time to cool down. An innocuous slap about the face would have seen him sent off, so how does he, or anyone else, get away with sticking the boot in?

This was typical of the Arses performance throughout. Spiteful, petulant, and sneaky. Lets not forget the blatant dive by Chamak for the pen either. Not to mention the outrageously dangerous, dirty tackle by Wilshere on Zigic. While we are at it, Song could have been booked at least 3 times. At the risk of sounding like a pathetic victim, our players got booked for very innocuous challenges while the likes of Song and Arshavin got away with murder. I wonder what Wenger would have to say about his team if he had watched as a neutral.

Should be a good game next week at Stans. Cheap tickets for a game against unfashionable Blackpool should draw a crowd, and Blackpool will come to score goals, and may well stuff us, as we never set out to score goals. I would much rather see us play the likes of a very decent Blackpool side, with  both sides going for the win, and with us having a realistic chance of a win, than pay scary prices to see us put 11 men behind the ball against the likes of Chelsea.
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