Thursday, September 14, 2006

Arsenal 2 - FC Hamburger 0

My beloved Arsenal beat Hamburg, Germany in Germany last night. It was with anxiousness that I viewed the match as Sentanta sports channel has not shown an Arsenal match in 4 weeks! So, for a month, I have been forced to study Arsenal's opposition in the English Premiere League.

Arsenal has had their problems as of late and I hoping a tough matc
h for them would snap them out of it. They have tons of talent on their side, most of young and international.

As noted previously, Thierry Henry did not and in his stead R
obin Van Persie, an enterprising 23 year old fDutchman, started. Within ten minutes, the whole match turned on its head as foul was called on the Hamburg goal-tender as Van Persie attempted to chase an errant ball through the box. Not only did a penalty shot get awarded but the goaltender was red-carded which means he was kicked out and thusly, Hamburg would have to play the rest of the match with only ten men.

Arsenal took advantage of the penalty shot by scoring on the foot of their Brazilian defender Gilberto. Upon viewing of the replay a few times I don’t blame the referee for making the call that he did but I’d call van Persie’s action a definite dive. See for yourself here. The sad thing was the shot of the grief stricken German goaltender who stood in the runway after getting sent off.

I sure hope I don’t see anything as disgusting as that in the Premiership, World Cup and UEFA soccer is enough. Ironically, I think van Persie hurt Arsenal. What Arsenal needed was a real struggle, possibly even a loss to snap them out of their funk. They have tons of talent but they diddle and daddle trying to make the perfect play.

What is needed is no-nonsense, direct attacking. Instead, van Persie arranged for an easy night which Arsenal almost managed to screw up with lax and indecisive play for the balance of 80 minutes. On Saturday, Arsenal meets Manchester United. I hope van Persie is well rested.

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