Sunday, September 22, 2013

Super Sunday For Arsenal and the Mets and even the Red Bulls and Jets

It was a super Sunday in my sports world this weekend. In fact it was near perfect. The only blemishes on my perfect sports weekend were wins by Chelsea and Tottenham. But, who cares. Arsenal are top of the table, Manchester United and RVP were humiliated by the oil barons of Man City, the Mets won, the Red Bulls Won, the Jets won (yes it's true the Jets and Mets actually won on the same day!) Adding to the feel good factor is that the Yankees lost and their playoff hopes are almost all but gone.

Sunday, September 22, 2013 8:30AM EST Arsenal vs. Stoke

Things are looking good these days for Arsenal and the mood heading in to this match with the cavemen of Stoke was extremely positive. With Aaron Ramsey having a great start to the season, many Gooners were hoping that Ramsey would be able to have a bit of revenge at the expense of Ryan Shawcross and his cave mates. Despite the fact that Shawcross could have ended Ramsey's career with his horrific leg breaking tackle, Ramsey is still the object of hate from fans of the cavemen. Here are some pre-match tweets:

Well what do you know, Ramsey opened the scoring for Arsenal and after a bit of a let up, the Gunners walked away with a 3-1 victory. Despite not playing at their best, Arsenal were comfortable winners. Mesut Ozil was the provider of three assists from set pieces resulting in Ramsey's goal as well as headers from defenders Mertesacker and Sagna.

While he did not play, Mikel Arteta was part of the bench for the match and it looks as if he's almost back from injury.

Once Cazorla and Podolski are back in the fold, this Arsenal squad will be solid up front and in midfield. Questions still remain about the Gunners' defense but hopefully these shortcomings will be addressed in January and the team's solid midfield will help ease the pressure on the defense.

With Liverpool's loss to Southampton, Arsenal are now at the top of the EPL table ahead of Spuds on goal differential. As one Gooner on Twitter put it, even when Tottenham get off to a great start, they are still looking up at Arsenal.

Twitter was buzzing with happy Gooners and the immensely annoying Arsenal supporter and CNN mouthpiece, Piers  Morgan, rightly received a ton of abuse. For ages he had been shouting for Aaron Ramsey to be dumped and earlier this season he was blatantly demanding that Arsene Wenger be relieved of his duties.

Another highlight of this Super Sunday took place in the North of England. It seems that most fans of the EPL were enjoying Manchester United's embarrassing loss at the hands of Manchester City. With Judas van Persie on the bench due to injury, all he could do was watch on as his team were made to look like crap. Adding to the humor was the way RVP was dressed. To me it looked like he was wearing a Catholic School uniform. Perhaps that "little boy" he had been speaking of last season, really does live inside of him.

A month ago Arsenal were in "crisis" and now they are top of the table. I think that David Moyes and Manchester United can now take the "crisis club" tag and run with it.

While the Mets' season has pretty much been over since July, it was nice to see the youngsters and David Wright sweep the Phillies. The once arrogant and cocky Phillies, led by the big mouth Jimmy Rollins, now have the same identical record as the Mets, 71-84. All that's left to play for now is finishing the season above them.

On the positive side, the future is looking bright for the Mets with a slew of young players getting valuable Major League experience this season.

On the other side of town, it was wonderful to see the Yankees pretty much end their season with a whimper. On Mariano Rivera day, there was no fairy tale ending for Yankee fans. It was pretty funny to see the Yankees play like the Mets. With runners on second and third with no outs in the eighth, the Yankees somehow failed to score a run. Terrible base running was the cause and the Giants walked away 2-1 winners. It seems that the Evil Empire is finally crumbling.

The Red Bulls won at home and are now in first place in their division. Even the Jets won. Yes, you read that right, the Jets won. Granted they were playing the Buffalo Bills, but they all count. I have no dislike for the Giants, but for once it's nice to see the Jets doing better than Eli and the Giants. In fact, the Giants are 0-3 and got slaughtered by the Panthers today.

The stars don't often align like this in sports, so today is definitely a Super Sunday.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

From Crisis to Top of the Table In Less Than a Month

Saturday, September 14, 2013 10AM EST Arsenal at Sunderland

After a long two week International break which saw the arrival of Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil to Arsenal it was finally time to get back to football. Photos of Ozil training with the rest of the Arsenal first team circulated and Ozil announced himself as a Gunner during a pre-match press conference.

Despite having to have the indignity of playing his first ever EPL match in Sunderland, Ozil made his impact felt immediately. Within 11 minutes Ozil set up Giroud for an exquisite goal and a 1-0 Arsenal lead. Ozil set up a number of other chances and despite being ill, just back from International break and not yet knowing his teammates, he made a real impact on the game.

Koscielny made another rash challenge which led to a Sunderland penalty kick at the start of the second half. At least this time he didn't see red.

Aaron Ramsey cleaned up the mess with two outstanding goals to give Arsenal the 1-3 victory.

It's early days, but three games after the media was declaring Arsenal's demise and crisis here's a look at the current EPL table:

From crisis to Top of the Table. Chelsea losing to Everton and Manchester City with an ugly scoreless draw at Stoke, weeks after a humiliating loss to newly promoted Cardiff added to the new found confidence of Arsenal and Arsenal fans. Add to that Manchester United only winning due to diving and phantom penalties and Arsenal's defeat of Spuds in the first North London Derby. A lot of the haters have gone quiet. It's looking good.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Put the 2013 Mets Out To Pasture....Ozil is a Gunner

Wheeler leaves with no run support
I knew the Mets were going nowhere this year even before the season began. But, I'm a Mets fan and there's always hope. As is always the case with the Mets there were many bad moments and tough losses.

This season, however, also proved that the future for the Mets looks bright. Young arms including Matt Harvey, Dan Wheeler, Noah Snydergaard and Jenrry Mejia along with prospects Travis d'Arnaud, Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares got valuable Major League experience.

Unfortunately, the Mets were hit with the injury bug and have been without the face of the franchise, David Wright, for the past month. They then gave their only other power hitter, Marlon Byrd, a get out of jail free card by sending him to the contending Pittsburgh Pirates.

How did Dice-K end up on the Mets?
Offense was a problem when those guys were around. Now it's just a given that if a Mets pitcher gives up more than two runs in a game, it will be a loss. In the first 11 games of September, the Mets have scored three or fewer runs in seven of them. Through 145 games, the total games with three or fewer runs is 73. That's 50% of the time that the Mets don't give their pitchers run support.

Mercifully there are just 17 games left to watch the Mets pitchers pick up losses.

Speaking of Mets pitchers; I follow this team religiously and in the last few weeks have been shocked to see Dice K and then Aaron Harang make their "debut start" with the Mets seemingly out of the blue. How the hell these guys ended up on the Mets is beyond me. These pitchers were beasts in their prime. The fact that they're pitching mop up duty for the Mets in September only speaks to how far they've fallen.


As for Arsenal, the Mesut Ozil era begins this Saturday. After his big money move from Real Madrid Ozil will make his debut against Sunderland. Why Real Madrid let a player of his caliber go at just the age of 24 is baffling. But that's their loss and our gain. Love his latest quotes:

Mesut Özil: I can inspire Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League title again

Monday, September 2, 2013

Arsene Wenger Gets The Last Laugh - Ozil is a Gunner

Monday, September 2, 2013 Deadline Day

Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have been getting abused for weeks as the club had yet to spend cash in the transfer window. While Spuds were spending like drunken sailors and other clubs were making moves, all Arsenal had to show heading in to deadline day were the free transfers for Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was apparently trying to be cheeky and hold up the official sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in an effort to keep Arsenal from signing any players from Madrid. The vitriol was flowing on Twitter for the club and manager:

Well guess who's laughing now? Arsene Wenger went from zero to hero with the biggest signing of the entire transfer window in the EPL. The capture of the world class midfielderr Mesut Ozil has proven to all the haters and even the #WengerOut brigade that Wenger is capable of signing top talent. In fact Ozil turned down a bigger offer from PSG after speaking with Wenger. Funny how all the #WengerOut folks have gone quiet. Great to see the story on Arsenal's website.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

North London Is...and Always Has Been....Red - Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0

Heading in to just the third EPL game of the season Arsenal fans have been subjected to all sorts of negativity being directed at their club...some from even the club's own fans. In addition to media claims of a "crisis" at the club, fans have listened to pundits declaring the rise of Tottenham in North London after spending millions on new recruits while predicting the demise of Arsenal due to Arsene Wenger's lack of spending in the transfer market.

I of course would like to see Arsenal strengthened, but what seems to be lost on everyone predicting the changing of the guard in North London is the fact that money and new faces don't win matches. Rather, what does get results is a well run team of players that can perform well together and get results on the pitch.

Tottenham fans were cocky and buzzing heading in to the match as based on some of the evidence on Twitter:

Proving once again that money doesn't automatically buy success and happiness, Arsenal defeated Tottenham with a solid and confident 1-0 victory. Olivier Giroud scored a beautiful goal with an assist from Theo Walcott and the defense looked solid and held tight. An added bonus was that Szczesny put in a great shift in goal.

Adding to the collective "in your face" reaction of happy Gooners everywhere is the fact that following this victory Arsenal are ahead of both Manchester United and Tottenham in the table. Plus just two weeks after being labeled a club in "crisis" Arsenal sit in fourth place. Deservedly, Arsenal fans were in rare form on Twitter following the victory:

It was also nice to see some of the pissed off and deflated Spuds fans venting their frustration on Twitter as well.

One win certainly does not make the season and three games is just a fraction of the schedule. However, if the media is going to declare a "crisis" after one game, then Arsenal fans have every right to celebrate and shove it back in to the faces of all the haters and doomsayers after a big win. Plus, this just proves once again that North London is Red.

One other highlight of today was seeing Manchester United and David Moyes being put in their place by Liverpool. Robin "Judas" van Pursestrings was shut out and a lot of the ManU arroganace seems to have left the pitch.