The Papers Don't Know Anything & the Weekend Roundup

First off, apologies for the delay in Friday's post, there were some technical difficulties. As in, Kurt was in Virginia, which is technically not in civilization, and I was running around all day, so we got it linked up later than expected. Hopefully some of you got a chance to give it a read.

Another weekend in the books, and more shocks along the way. It's been bumpy so far, but for no one more than the football "experts" out there. These people have been changing direction such that they've dropped the transmission on their collective opinions. Burnley beat United, and Man U are done. Then they hang 5 on Wigan and they're the greatest team in the world again. Which is it? Neither, obviously. United have some holes, obviously, but they're still a top side, although it's irrational to start picking them as favorites.

And it's nothing compared to the complete and utter shit these airheads have been writing about Arsenal. It was all doom and gloom from the talking heads before the season, because obviously, since the Gunners didn't flash the cash this summer, they'll drop out of the top 4 and eventually, out of the Premier League. Now, since Arsenal have exposed these comments as foolhardy, scoring 10 goals in 2 league matches, and 12 goals in 3, all the papers can say is that it's a crisis as only one of those has been scored by a striker. Just because it bears repeating, there's a crisis at Arsenal because too many goals are being scored, not enough by the strikers. Frankly, if we keep scoring in bunches and winning convincingly, I doubt anyone but fantasy owners will care a lick that Van Persie and Arshavin haven't scored. Cesc is right... it's all about the trophies.

There were plenty of surprise results this time out, again, and it wouldn't be a Roundup without taking a look at my predictions compared with the results, so let's have at it then. By the way, if you're placing bets based on my predictions, you should know I am not responsible for your losses.

Birmingham v Stoke
Prediction: Birmingham 1-1 Stoke; Reality: Brum 0-0 Stoke

Well this one was a snoozer, no goals at all. A reeeeeeal Munson. Not much to say about a scoreless draw between teams who don't look like challenging for anything, so I'm done with this one.

Hull v Bolton
Prediction: Hull 1-1 Bolton; Reality: Hull 1-0 Wanderererers

This could certainly have matched my prediction, were Bolton able to finish worth a damn. The "highlights" of this one included some comically bad misses by Johan Elmander (who is proving to be Bolton's Carl Pavano) and Kevin Davies. Nothing was really happening until Phil Brown took a moment away from his spray-tan application to insert Jozy Altidore into the mix, and the young American striker wasted no time, setting up what proved to be the winning goal by Ghilas with a brilliant flick-on into the box, and nearly scoring on a few occasions himself. Brown would do well to play Jozy every week, he looks perfect for the Premier League: big, fast, good nose for the ball. The pity is he's with Hull.

Man City where they cut your hands off for stealing v Wolves

Prediction: Citybank 2-1 Wolves; Reality: Shity 1-0 Wolves

Wolves certainly showed up to play in this one. The only goal came in the first half, when Adebayor scored near-post at a very tight angle, the type of shot he would miss 10 times in 10 for Arsenal, which makes me believe that a) Adebayor has actually put in some work on his finishing; b) he got damned lucky again; or c) Man City's owners have poured some of that limitless petroleum money into technology that will allow behind the scenes types to control the trajectory of shots. I'm leaning toward c., but b. isn't as out of the question as a. is. Tough luck for Wolves, who created a good number of chances but couldn't convert.

Sunderland v Blackburn
Prediction: Boredom. And Sunderland 2-1 Rovers, sure, whatever. Reality: I got one!!!

Nailed it on the head, although from the match highlights, this wasn't as boring as a match featuring a Sam Allardyce team tends to suggest. Sunderland got a pair of lovely goals from Kenwyne Jones, who looked as good as I've seen him for Sunderland, who took the well-earned points.

Wigan v The Overpaid Fucktards who Lost to Burnley

Prediction: Wigan 1-3 United; Reality: Wigan 0-5 Uni-'tards

This was an old-fashioned ass-kicking, at least in the second half. 0-0 at half-time is the type of scoreline I was beginning to expect from United, but unfortunately for fans with a soul (and Chelsea supporters), they broke out the goal-scoring boots in the second. Rooney scored his 100th goal for United, and Michael Owen opened his Red Antichrists account. Which means that every English sportswriter is back down on Fergie's knob.

West Ham v 'Arry Redknapp's Twitch
Prediction: Hammers 2-1 Spurs, followed by mass vandalism in East London and many screenings of Green Street Hooligans. Reality: Hammers 1-2 Spuds, followed but mass vandalism in East London and the release of a Sp*rs commemorative DVD for winning their third straight.

Difficult loss for West Ham. Cole opened the scoring, followed shortly after by a Defoe equalizer for Sp*rs. An Aaron Lennon winner in the 79th broke the Irons' backs. Additionally I understand Cole has an injury problem, and a thinner strike force is the last thing Zola needs, with Dean Ashton about to retire due to injuries.

Burnley v Everton
Prediction: Burnley 2-0 Everton; Reality: Holy fuck, Burnley 1-0 Everton!

A nightmare beginning for David Moyes' boyes. Everton have had two league matches, but I don't think anyone woke the players for either. Word is that Lescott is on his way to Manchester City for 24 million pounds, which, based on his performances thus far, is about 23,999,999 pounds more than he's worth. Not only that, but I haven't seen a man with a more disturbing hairline than Lescott since this guy. Anyway, there's one more whore for City to add to their collection. the good thing is, when that dressing room explodes from all the massive egos contained within, it's going to be a sight to see.

Fulham v Chelsea

Prediction: Fulham 2-1 Chelsea; Reality: Fool-ham 0-2 Dirty Cossack Bastards

Yes, my prediction was wishful thinking, but it certainly wasn't helped with Andy Johnson missing this one through injury (and that one's going to hurt the Cottagers a good deal more if he's out for an extended period). Chelsea looked efficient in attack and capitalized on several mistakes by the Fulham defense, which appeared much less frequently last season. Could be along season for Team America. Bee tee dubs, if Roman wants his team to play more entertaining football, why would he bring in an Italian manager?

Liverpool v Aston Villa
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Villa

These two square off today, so I can't be proved wrong or right yet. I was just thinking, it seems that Liverpool play a lot of Weekday matches, more than other clubs anyway. But I suppose when only 2.8% of your fans are gainfully employed, that's not a real problem.

Arsenal v Pompey
Prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Pompey (hey, I'm going to predict 2-2 draws for Arsenal until they lose, man); Reality: Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth

Another brilliant attacking display by Arsenal saw a troubled Pompey side well and truly put away. About Diaby scored two lovely goals, opening the scoring in the 18th minute. The first was a fine example of Arsenal football, set up when Eduardo faked and ran right by the defender on the left side of the box and crossed to the advancing Diaby, who put a fantastic strike into the top-right corner. Eduardo started the second as well, hitting a long pass into the path of Eboue, streaking up the right. The much-maligned Ivorian controlled well and sprinted forward, then slid the ball into the box, into Diaby's path again, who cooly finished lower-left. Arsenal seemed to relax a bit after the second, despite continuing to create chances. Portsmouth took advantage of a corner and on the ensuing play saw a cross into the box headed in by former Tottenscum defender Kaboul. Almunia pleaded for a free kick as he felt Kaboul may have impeded him, but to no avail, and the goal stood. On the replay, he may have had a case, but I feel the 'keeper should still have claimed the ball. The Gunners continued to attack, Van Persie was unlucky several times to be denied by David James, once on a beautiful curling free-kick that was punched out, and the halftime score was 2-1 to the Arsenal.

At halftime, Cesc Fabregas came off for a hamstring complaint, replaced by Aaron Ramsey... No word yet on whether el Capitan will be ready for Celtic (he should be rested anyway), or more importantly, United away on Saturday. Arsenal's attack did not abate, eventually winning a free kick, taken by Arshavin. The ball into the box was headed by Van Persie, hit towards goal by the sliding Vermaelen, which ricocheted off Gallas' boot and knocked into the net by what I can only think was his nose. Gallas may be the only Gunner to have scored with his penis, ass, and nose, although I can't be ceratin of this due to the dearth of video evidence from before the 1960's.

The final goal was a beauty, but likely would not have gone against a better side. Pompey's back four played a run by Aaron Ramsey onside, and Van Persie's through ball was perfectly placed, hitting the young Welshman in stride, who finished coolly past James for his first Premier League goal, so congratulations to him and let's hope this is the first of many. 4-1 was the final score, although Arsenal could have had double that if it weren't for the stalwart efforts of David James, who left shortly after the Ramsey goal with an injury; hopefully he'll be all right.

Pompey manager Paul Hart made some comments after the match that Gallas should have been sent off for a challenge on Utaka closing in on goal, and Utaka told the Sun that Gallas "admitted" it was a foul. This, taken with the Sun's history of reporting baldfaced lies, makes me feel that each copy of their paper should be prefaced "Based on a true story." Utaka, on the replay, clearly tripped over his own feet, so keeping that fiction going is Phil-Brown-esque. The bottom line is, Arsenal were clearly a much better team than Pompey, who have now lost all three league matches and are well on their way to the Championship, unless they are sold and have some investment is made in the team before it's too late. The Gunners showed a lowly Portsmouth side How to Slap a Man.

Not much in the way of news... Arsene Wenger doesn't rule out a move to bring back Patrick Vieira, and I think it would be a good move for a few reasons. First, Wenger admits there is more demand than supply for defensive midfielders, and Vieira can still do that job. Second, Alex Song (clearly our best option in the holding role in the 4-3-3) will be gone for at least all of January for the African Nations Cup (and holding that tourney every year is completely unnecessary and fucking stupid), and we have zero cover in that role at the moment. Third, all of our midfielders can learn a good deal from Paddy both on and off the pitch. Finally, while he may not be the box-to-box player he once was, we won't need him to be. In our formation, he'll be playing the Gilberto role: take ball from opponent, pass forward. That's it. And he can damn well do that well enough, even now.

There's a new bit of heartbreak for Gooners, as former Arsenal man Sylvinho has signed with Man City. I imagine that even at 35, he's still an upgrade over Wayne Bridge at fullback. I would wish him best of luck, but I really want to see City get buried this season, so acknowledging all he did for the Arsenal will have to do.

On a non-football note, Guy Ritchie's "Rocknrolla" is playing on Cinemax this month, and I highly recommend you give it a look. It clearly demonstrates that talent never truly leaves a person, it only takes a powder when Madonna's around. Thankfully he dumped that troll (who should be lurking under a bridge or in children's closets scaring the bejeezus out of them. More on Friday, and if you're lucky, an update after Arsenal's home match against Celtic. Until next time, you stay classy, Gooner nation...

- B, a Gooner.