Monday, October 17, 2011

Arsenal Get Back to Winning, The Baseball Post Season Heats Up Without the Mets & Thankfully Without the Yankees

The two-week international break couldn't have come at a better time for Arsenal.  After their worst start to a season in more than 50 years and an agonizing defeat to hated Tottenham, both the team and the fans needed a break from the league to regroup and come back ready to get things turned around and moving in the right direction.

The world football pundits have been burying Arsenal over the last few weeks and have actually stated that the balance of power in North London has shifted to the Spuds.  Yes Arsenal have gotten off to a horrific start but to make such inane comments after just 8 games in a season despite years of Arsenal's domination over Tottenham seems a bit exaggerated and extreme.

It's amazing how short everyone's memory is. Liverpool are being talked about in glowing terms this season. The pundits are singing the praises of Kenny Daglish's team and perhaps, rightly so.  However, last year at this time, Liverpool had fewer points than Arsenal currently have.  After 8 games last season, Liverpool had a total of 6 points with 1 win, 2 draws and 5 losses. As late as January 2011 the "relegation" term was being thrown around.  The same negativity that is currently being directed at Arsenal was being hurled at Liverpool. The media spoke of a crisis and possible relegation as they had a field day looking at all the negatives.

As we all know now, the team turned it around and while not finishing in the top 4, Liverpool finished 6th in the table and are looking strong thus far this season.

Captain Robin Van Persie leads by example
Arsenal defeated Sunderland this past weekend with Robin Van Persie scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory. After 8 games Arsenal find themselves in a disapppointing 10th place with 10 points. (Keep in mind Liverpool had just 6 points at the same point last season and turned things around). While I am certainly not pleased with the Gunners' dismal start, the late roster changes, the rash of injuries and the current defensive frailties, Arsenal can and should turn things around.

Arsenal are currently missing a good number of first team players (Vermaelen, Wilshere, Sagna, Diaby) while the new players are still getting used to playing together as a cohesive unit. (Arteta, Benayoun, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Mertesacker and Santos amongst others). Of course the defections of Nasri and Fabregas just as the season started didn't help the team's morale both on and off the pitch.

Van Persie scores the first of his two goals
So, my point is...don't listen to the negative media, idiotic Spuds fans or just plain haters. Be a fan, stick with the team and believe that things will get better. Again, look at where Liverpool were last year at this exact stage in the season.

Here are some of the positives.  Szczesny is proving that he is a top class keeper with loads of confidence.  Alex Song is really taking charge and helping out the still leaky defense while controlling the midfield.  Captain Robin Van Persie is healthy and is proving his class both as a top striker and a team leader. Arteta and Benayoun look sharp overall as they learn the Arsenal system and new defenders Santo and Mertsacker are looking strong early on.  Then there are the promising younger players; Frimpong, Gervinho, Coquelin, Miyaichi and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Vermaelen should be back soon and both Wilshere and Sagna will return this season.  Then there's the January transfer window and Aresene Wenger's funds.

As for the weekend's game...Arsenal again dominated most of the play but still left their fans to sweat it out until the end.  Van Persie's free kick to seal the victory was a thing of beauty as was Sebastian Larsson's free kick that resulted in Sunderland's lone goal. While it wasn't a goalfest for Arsenal, it was a convincing and deserved win that will hopefully give the squad some confidence to build upon moving forward.

Recent British Tabloid Football Stories that made me laugh:

The Ryan Giggs "family affair" was back in the news and more ridiculous than ever.

Dirtbag Wayne Rooney proves once again what an idiot he is as he received red in England's recent Euro 2012 qualifying match.

The Carlos Tevez vs. Roberto Mancini saga is insane and proves that buying up superstars does not make a unified team.  I expect more infighting to come. 

Shameless self promotion: My Bleacher Report article on Arsenal hat tricks in the EPL era.


Baseball's regular season ended a little over two weeks ago and the first two rounds of the playoffs have come and gone. The highlight of the post season for any Mets fans was seeing the hated Yankees and Phillies eliminated in the first round.  Watching the arrogant and elitist fans of our arch rivals eating crow and looking despondent has become an enjoyable part of the post season for Mets fans. I do hope one day to see the Mets actually make the playoffs, but until then, it's always great to see the Evil Empire and the Phreaking Phillies LOSE.

Go ahead and cry Phillies fans
The Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals will be playing for the title.  The Cardinals are the team that beat the Mets in the 2006 ALCS so there is no way that I will support them.  They've won enough.  I am rooting for the Rangers all the way.  The only negative thing that I can say about the Rangers is that George Bush is a fan. Aside from that, original Met and 1969 World Series winner Nolan Ryan is part owner of the Rangers. Plus Endy "The Catch" Chavez is on the Rangers roster as is Ian Kinsler. In honor of all Jewish grandmothers in Brooklyn, it's nice to see "a nice Jewish boy" in the World Series, especially one that is actually a great athlete.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mets, Arsenal and Total Exasperation

After witnessing the North London Derby today, I realized that I was out of words to describe the current state of Arsenal.  It has been a terrible start to the new season and it dates back to February and the team's inexcusable loss to Birmingham City in the Carling Cup Final.  Since then the team has been out of sorts and to be honest, a complete mess.

Also annoying the crap out of me this last week was the fact that Jose Reyes of the Mets has taken so much abuse for the way he won the National League batting title.  For whatever reason, Jose Reyes has become the whipping boy despite having an amazing season and legitimately ending the season with the league's highest batting average.

Rob Kirkpatick of The Huffington Post is spot on with his defense of Reyes and the idiotic comments of the critics and naysayers.  As he says in the final line of his article, "he (Reyes) earned the 2011 National League batting title, fair and square.

So, since I am exasperated and at a loss for words, I took a sampling of some of the comments from Twitter regarding Arsenal and Jose Reyes and decided to use them to show some of the thoughts of those in the Twitterverse.

Up first is reaction to Arsenal's 2-1 loss to bitter rivals Tottenham:

As an #Arsenal fan abroad, really pains me that Fox has started broadcasting games in the US in HD during a most abysmal start to our season

Arsenal lost again... I guess its really a difficult time for us... We will survive

Last thing I'm saying on #afc is that times are rough, I'm gutted and not happy. But these things go in cycles. They'll all get theirs too

Footballs just depressing me now another weekend ruined. Hurts to say but fact were not good enough

We need big changes in January- this is now a 'Damage Limitation' project- Top 4 is a distant Target but a target nonetheless #AFC

being an arsenal fan is so stressful.

Spuds, you may have won the battle, but you'll never win the war. #NorthLondondIsRed #61neveragain

Arsene Wenger's frustration at Arsenal's extremely disappointing start to the season shows no sign of going away.

Negatives : Jenkinson is way out of his depth , Ramsey gave away possession too often , Arteta ineffective and was Walcott playing today ?

Players/ team sad but we must except it... Spend or pay or we will be well and truly fucked,that's how the game as moved on AW must act...

We are def a cursed club at the min #goonerfamily

As if losing to Sp*rs was not enough, our best defender fractured his fibula. Nothing more to say now, i'm off

All we can do is get behind the team and manager 110%. Nothing will change until January at the earliest. We need to ignore the fake fans.

Its never nice to lose to the scum... But onwards and upwards I say#keepthefaith#coyg #northlondonisred

Nevertheless i'll always be Gooner 'Till The End! #NorthLondonIsRed

Wenger also looks like a beaten man who had no idea anymore. #shame

At least Song had the better of Adebwhore today...surely didn't want that friggin' clown to score. #GoonerFamily #Arsenal #AFC

Depressed as fuck, so taking a time out. #Arsenal forever.

As for the Reyes situation here's a sampling of the vitriol from the haters and the support from fans:

I'm still tripping over the jose Reyes bunting and walking out the game for the Mets last week!

Sure, Jose Reyes may have won the batting title, but Ryan Braun was actually good enough to help his team to the #PostSeason. #beastmode

Dear Jose Reyes, I saved my 3-for-4 for when it counts, during the playoffs. Enjoy your trophy at home. /s/ Braun #BrewCrew

I'm not a #brewers fan, but the way Jose Reyes "won" the batting title was shameful. #mets #MLB

Ryan Braun is a class act, Jose Reyes takes the easy way out and Braun takes it like a professional. Give him the batting title, not Reyes.

In Today's State The Obvious: Jose Reyes Is No Ted Williams -

Braun, 2nd in batting tie to the wussy Jose Reyes, is 3-4 today. Good hitter.

Braun got his 3 for 4, one game too late. Hope jose Reyes is enjoying the show (at home)

Everyone hating on Jose Reyes.. Fuck them

Congrats to Jose Reyes on the batting title - skills and smarts.

Congrats to the NL Batting Champ Jose #Reyes - Let's hope Sandy and staff work out a solid deal #mets

if you talk shit about Jose Reyes #YouNeedToShutUp

Just in case I didn't make it clear enough: 2011, final stats. Jose Reyes, BA .337 . Jimmy Rollins BA .268 .

Hey @AmyKNelson, Can you ask Jimmy Rollins why he's so concerned about Jose Reyes and the Mets (like normal) rather than the Cardinals?

Seems Like Jose Reyes Is Forever On Jimmy Rollins Mind; Does Jimmy Have An Inferiority Complex?

So, congrats to Jose Reyes for being the first New York Mets to win the National League batting championship and I hope the Mets do the right thing and re-sign him.  For now the Mets' season is over and it's time to root for the Yankees, Phillies and Cardinals to lose in the playoffs.

As for Arsenal, the season is young and I really believe that they can turn things around.  Everyone seems to forget Liverpool's start last season where everyone was talking crisis and relegation.  They turned things around and shut the critics up.  Arsenal needs to do the same.  As for the fans, they need to do that, remain fans.