Overly long writings about West Ham United FC. This is the kind of thing you might like, if you like this kind of thing.

Monday, October 01, 2007

West Ham 0 - 1 Arsenal (And Other Ramblings)

1. You Thin Bastard!

Curse you Freddie Ljungberg, and your svelte physique. If only you had a bigger arse we'd have drawn this game!

2. Atmospheric Pressure

Best atmosphere of the season so far? You bet. Of course when your previous games have been against Man City, Wigan and Boro then the bar isn't set particularly high, but either way there was a satisfying hum about the place on Saturday.

The Arsenal fans seemed to enjoy themselves, celebrating this win like it was significant, bless 'em, which is probably an example of how difficult they have found it to win here recently. The Gooners also didn't sit down all game, quite possibly because they don't approve of seats without cushions, or log fires, or in built DVD players or whatever the hell it is they have down at The Emirates.

They also sang "You've Only Got One Song". I am going to be the bigger man and assume that they were being ironic.

3. The Statistics

Erm, yeah, okay, it might have seemed like we did pretty well in this game and I'd have to say that we actually did play pretty well, but truthfully there is no statistical evidence for that conclusion.

The visitors had 17 (seventeen) shots at goal, with 12 on target and a tremendously unproductive 14 corner kicks. By contrast, we managed just 4 strikes on target and 3 corners, despite the fact that at times we did play some nice football.

We also conceded a headed goal to Robin van Persie, a feat so rare, that the British Museum have enquired about exhibiting it next to the Elgin Marbles.

4. The Opposition

Let it be known that Arsenal don't like it up 'em. Now I simply don't agree with taking tactical advice from Captain Mainwaring, but there is an element of truth to that particular cliche. Our, ahem, physical approach to things did ensure that Arsenal never really got going, although that same commitment to getting in their faces also meant that our own attacking ambitions were stymied somewhat.

My favourite Gooner, Kolo Toure, was outstanding again, making a mockery of the notion that John Terry is the best defender in the Premiership. It's interesting that Dean Ashton was lauded for his performance when I thought the three most impressive players on the pitch were the Arsenal defence. I do not include Philippe Senderos in this group as he is essentially a shop floor mannequin with wheels.

Whilst the visitors enjoyed a greater share of the play in the first period, they did allow us back into the game after the break. Wenger's curious decision to revert to a 4-5-1 system for the last twenty minutes ceded us the late advantage, and subsequently Ashton really should have scored from a free header whilst Senderos was off wandering around the East End somewhere.

5. The Opposition Tailor

Manuel Almunia sported a goalkeeping jersey that could best be desribed as "prison chic", given that it appears to have been modelled on Lex Luthor's costume in "Superman II".

It did not go well with blonde peroxide hair.

6. The Referee

It must be a nightmare officiating Arsenal. They are always going to have the majority of the ball, and will move it about in such a way that they invite lots of challenges from the opposition. In addition, should you have to make any decision at all you will be required to run it through Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas before you do so. Alan Wiley had to deal with all of this on Saturday and didn't do too badly.

The two worst tackles of the day came from Noble and Flamini, and both earned yellow cards. Senderos didn't get one for a late scythe on Ashton, but I rather felt that the entire stadium knowingly nodded and said "Ah, but it's Senderos - that's not dirty, it's just the best he can do".
Freddie Ljungberg had a late "equaliser" ruled out on the grounds of a phantom offside call. It's tough to blame the referee for this when he's only going off the guidance of his linesman. Truthfully, ours wasn't even the most stupid offside decision of the weekend as Wigan recieved a doozy against Liverpool. Unsurprisingly both instances saw the "Big 4" team profit at the expense of the smaller club.

And the balance of the Universe is restored.

7. Neill Down

I'm worried people. My love affair with Lucas Neill is flickering and dying in the wind. I'm thinking of having an affair with George McCartney, who at the very least has punched Keith Gillespie recently.

Neill's start to the season hasn't been particularly effective, and I can't decide whether he is knackered as a result of playing some games for Australia in Japan, or Indonesia or the Moon or wherever that dumbass Kirin Cup thing was, or if he is simply not match fit and needs more games.

If only we had some sort of person at the club who was responsible for the fitness of our players and could make that decision? Maybe Batman, or a scientist of some sort?

(Somewhere in the distance our "medical" team are yelling "Curse you Science, we're going with magic beans!").

Anyway, being outjumped by Robin van Persie suggests to me that you have no working muscles in your legs. This is not something I view as a positive for our Captain.

8. The Power Of Positive Thinking

Nice to hear Curbishley's uber-positive response to our goal being disallowed. It went something along the lines of "Oh well, we probably wouldn't have held on to the point anyway".

There are times that even manic depressives must look at Curbishley and wonder.

9. Note To Self

Not a great weekend to have a fantasy team with a defence comprised of: The Portsmouth goalkeeper, an Aston Villa full back, a tottenham centre half and not one, but two Reading defenders.

A mere 26 goals conceded there, then.

10. Where Have You Been All My Life?

Has anyone else found that since Saturday they cannot walk past any kind of woodwork without some Arsenal fans crawling out for a chat?

I'm just saying - did they really need this result to mock us? Like last season didn't have enough mockability.....


  1. Anonymous11:39 AM

    Please tell me the tottenham player in your defence is Michael Dawson...

  2. Ah Big "Daws"! Outside he's masquerading, but inside his hope is fading. Oooh yeah.

    My abject incompetence at picking a Fantasy side this year did not veer over into the insanity of picking Mahogony Mick for my defence.

    No, it's Younes Kaboul, whom I mistook for an average centre half when in fact he is an oddly shaped electron.

    You lose some, you draw some.

  3. Consider yourself lucky. The year that Fulham decides they're going to score more goals than anyone else bar the league leaders is ALSO the year they decide to let in just as many goals, for the sole purposes of being easy on the fans heart rate. So who do I have to pick? Healy? Kamara? Dempsey? Nope: Chris Fucking Baird. Bramble would've been a better choice...