Sunday, March 4, 2012

North London is Red

North London is Red (so is the scoreboard)
Less than two weeks ago all the talk surrounding Arsenal was negative. The sports writers and pundits were speaking of the demise of the club and the possibility that Arsene Wenger's job might be in jeopardy.

To be fair, when Arsenal got humiliated by AC Milan at the San Siro and followed that up with a 2-0 defeat to Sunderland in the FA Cup, there were plenty of negatives to focus on.  However, with 3 months still to play in the EPL season it was beyond maddening to hear the "experts" talk of Arsenal's certain fall from the top 4 and Tottenham's ascendancy as the top team in North London.

So here we are just a few weeks later and my how things have changed. With two consecutive come from behind victories over sides that were picked to defeat Arsenal, the Gunners are now sitting in the much coveted fourth place position. With Chelsea losing to West Brom, Arsenal have opened a three point gap between the two clubs in the fight for the last Champions League spot. It doesn't stop there, however, as Arsenal have closed the gap on their "noisy neighbors" to just four points following their defeat to Man United.

Rosicky ran riot through the Spuds
The "North London is White" proclamations have slowed down as those who call White Hart Lane home are currently very nervous. It was looking like this might be the year without the holiday known as St. Totteringham's Day...but we may be celebrating it this year after all.

Arsenal's comeback from a two goal deficit to Tottenham may just be the spark that gives this team the confidence it needed to prove all their critics wrong.  It was fantastic to re-watch the game and see those smug Spurs fans that were taunting Arsenal in the first half, looking crestfallen and shocked after their team was mauled by Robin van Persie, Bacary Sagna, Theo Walcott and a resurgent Tomas Rosicky. 0-2 became 5-2 and you could feel that rightful order was being restored in North London.

The doubt still lingered in the minds of all the pundits as Arsenal traveled north  to Anfield for a meeting with Liverpool.  Liverpool have had their own troubles this season but the talk going in to this match was the high that Liverpool must be on from winning the Carling Cup last weekend. No disrespect is intended but it took Liverpool extra time and penalties to defeat lower league Cardiff City. Not the type of an achievement that would leave rivals quaking in their boots.

RVP gets goal number one at Anfield
Listening to Ian Darke & Steve McManaman call the game on ESPN was beyond irritating. Macca's blatant rooting for his old team was over the top. When the pair announced that Arsenal would be happy with a draw and one point with ten minutes left in the game I knew that Arsenal would make them eat their words....sure enough Robin van Persie broke the home fans' hearts and shut the critics up (at least for now).

Reading all the glowing reviews of the game and the adoration being bestowed upon the Gunners from those that were just trashing them is quite satisfying.

As I said earlier, there is still a lot of the season left and things may change again. However, it's nice to see that old adage don't count your chickens until they're hatched ring true.

RVP finishes off Liverpool

As an addendum it looks as if one of my favorite websites will have to stop running as there is no longer a need for it. Check out Has Andre Villas-Boas Been Sacked Yet?


Spring Training is here and the Mets are in Port St. Lucie preparing for the new season. While it's hard to get overly excited based on the low expectations for the team and with the Wilpons still in control, it's always great when baseball returns. 

Sadly for the Mets, the biggest news out of Florida is that first baseman Ike Davis is being treated for some ailment called "Valley Fever". If any team could have a player come down with some bizarre rare affliction, it's the Mets.  As we saw last season, Ike's absence from the lineup is a huge loss. Let's hope valley fever passes quickly.

Hopefully Ike hasn't given Jason Bay valley fever.  What is valley fever?