Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Thoughts on the Mets and Arsenal

This has been one of the worst week's that I have experienced as an Arsenal fan. First they threw away a 2-0 lead to freaking Tottenham, utltimately losing 3-2 and missing out on a golden opportunity to go top of the table. Then yesterday they travelled to Braga needing just one point to clinch qualification for the next round of the Champions League. Braga SUCKED...but sadly, Arsenal sucked worse. Regardless of the fact that the referee also sucked; waving off a clear cut penalty for Carlos Vela and letting Braga commit foul after foul without issuing cards; the Gunners were soft. The defense again was at fault as they were caught out TWICE in the last ten minutes of the game and Arsenal ended up losers. Being so invested emotionally in the team, it's amazing how bummed out you feel after seeing them underachieve so much. However, rather than dwelling on the negatives and ranting about who should be dropped from the team, etc., this being the day before Thanksgiving, I've decided to dwell on the positives:

What I'm Thankful For as an Arsenal Fan:

  • Despite the setbacks, the team is still alive in all competitions.
  • Living in New York I don't have to get as much grief as I would if I lived in the U.K. for the current dip in form (Very few here knows who or what Arsenal is).
  • Arsene Wenger is a legend.
  • Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna, Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere.
  • The amazing Arsenal fans.
  • Past successes.
  • Trophies to win.
  • You Tube clips like this.
What I'm Thankful For as a Mets Fan:

  • The team finally have a new GM and a new Manager and have a new start going in to 2011.
  • Oliver Perez will not pitch another inning for the team.
  • David Wright.
  • Mr. Met (this is actual footage from a real event).
  • Great memories...1986, Mookie Wilson, Rusty Staub, Tom Seaver, Doc and Darryl.
  • I'm not a Yankee fan.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Watch Out Here We Come

Just two points off of the top of the league
Sunday was one of those euphoric days that makes being a sports fan worthwhile.  Arsenal headed to Goodison Park in Liverpool for a meeting with Everton.  While not playing at their best, Arsenal held their own and had a 2-0 lead until the 89th minute when Aussie Tim Cahill got one back for Everton.  The Gunners dug in and held on for an important 2-1 win.  The first goal was a rare but impressive shot in the 36th minute from defender Bacary Sagna, with captain Cesc Fabregas scoring the second just after the restart.

Coming on the heels of Saturday's Manchester United draw with Aston Villa, Arsenal jumped the Mancs and moved to second place, five points behind Chelsea.  Then things just got better.  Sunderland traveled to Stamford Bridge for a meeting with the billionaire boys club known as Chelski.  Assuming the inevitable would happen and that Chelsea would win, I dozed off during the game.  When I awoke it was the 70th minute and the Black Cats had a 2-0 lead.  The next 20 minutes were fun to watch as the Chelsea fans fled the stadium in a mass exodus.  Ashley Cole and the rest of Chelsea looked a mess and when the final whistle blew the 3-0 Sunderland win meant that Arsenal were now just two points off of the top of the table.

While this blog is about Arsenal and the Mets, I do have to give a special mention to the New York Jets who somehow pulled out a victory from nowhere with a winning touchdown run on what was definitely the last play of overtime.  The Jets are 7-2.  Like Mets fans, it's not too often that supporters of the Jets get to gloat.  So today, we finally get the chance.

Adding to the great results of the weekend, the Mets also didn't lose.  Yes, it's a joke it's the off season.  But on a positive note, the Mets are currently interviewing candidates for their manager opening and Mets fans everywhere are optomistic.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pretty In Pink

Lukasz Fabianski is pretty in pink
As a Mets fan the best part of seeing the World Series end is that you can finally take a break from baseball  and all the misery that comes from following the Mets.  While I love the sport and the team, sometimes it's good for your head to just have some time off.  That being said, the Mets have so far made good off season decisions that at least show fans that the top brass are heading in the right direction.  Lowering ticket prices for the 2011 season is a righteous move.  Stealing a line from our local NBC affiliate, "At least next year Mets fans will pay less to have their dreams dashed".

As for Arsenal, sometimes they dominate games so much that you start to believe that this is the year they will finally get back on top of Chelsea, Manchester United and the rest of the pack.  Then they come out and look like a shell of the team that had you believing.  In the past November has proven to be a defining month for Arsenal and this November didn't start out well.  First the team travelled to Donetsk in the boonies of Eastern Ukraine and put in a sub par Champions League display losing 2-1 to a team they had pounded 5-1 back in London.  The only consolation was that former Arsenal man Eduardo scored the winner.  While Arsenal still lead group H, this was a troubling performance.  Then, last Sunday at home, they dropped 3 points to Newcastle, losing 1-0.  Andy Carroll's game winning header was the only true shot on goal the Magpies had and of course it went in.

Yesterday the Gunners finally got back on track, but even then it wasn't overly convincing.  Marouane Chamakh scored in the first and last minute of the game.  The 93 minutes in between were pure torture to watch.  Arsenal were constantly under pressure from a Wolves onslaught.  If not for luck and the excellent individual efforts of Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky the score may not have been so one sided.  Then there was the man of the match...believe it or not, Lukasz Fabianski.  The often maligned goalkeeper, dressed in a Pepto-Bismol colored hot pink goalie kit proved a site for sore eyes in more ways than one.  While the kit was shocking, the saves Fabianski made saved Arsenal. 

Next up is Everton away this weekend.

Random thoughts:              

Monday, November 1, 2010

Moving On Up

Fix this Mess...oops Mets
The last week was nothing but good news for both the Mets and Arsenal.  While the Mets' season ended in a thud, the off season has gotten off to a good start with the announcement that Sandy Alderson has been hired by the Wilpons as the team's new GM.  While Alderson does not have access to a magic wand that will suddenly transform the Mets in to world beaters, he is an experienced and intelligent baseball executive who said the right things and will aim to fix the mess that he is inheriting.  As a fan I am thinking positive and invoking Tug McGraw's old rallying cry, "You Gotta Belive."

As for Arsenal, the team is currently firing on all cylinders.  Following their 3-0 beating of the great pretenders known as Manchester City last Sunday, the Gunners rolled over Newcastle on the road 4-0 in the Carling Cup.  Arsene Wenger fielded the right mix of youth and experience and saw welcome returns from Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner who both got on the score sheet.  The draw for the final eight was kind as well with Arsenal being handed a home match against Wigan.  With Arsenal fans craving a trophy and the media unfairly beating up Wenger, it seems he is taking this year's Carling Cup tournament a bit more seriously.

This past Saturday, Arsenal hosted bottom of the table West Ham at the Emirates.  On paper it should have been an easy Arsenal win.  Instead, despite owning the majority of possession and creating some decent scoring chances, the team was up against a determined West Ham team that played a strong defensive game.  West Ham didn't look like they were going to score, but thinking of a 0-0 draw at home was gut wrenching.  It would have definitely been two points dropped.  Great teams have to win games like this...and so they did.

In the 88th minute Gael Clichy pushed forward and delivered a spot on cross that Alex Song headed straight in to the back of the net.  1-0 to the Arsenal.  Three points won.  Next up is a trip to the Ukraine and a Champions League meeting with Eduardo and Shakhtar Donetsk. 

More great news today as Arsenal announced the long term signing of 19 year old budding superstar Jack Wilshere.

Random thoughts:
  • Loved seeing Manchester City lose to lowly Wolves.
  • Wayne Rooney is an idiot.
  • Great to see American Clint Dempsey score a brace in Fulham's 2-0 victory over Wigan.
Song uses his head (Clive Rose/Getty Images )