The Gooner Review

The Gooner Review is an 85-minute film made by Gooners for Gooners on the 2008 - 2009 season which was released on DVD on Saturday 1st August.

The film is a perfect companion to Arsenal FC's official season review. Whereas the official season review has all the goals and interviews with current players, The Gooner Review analyses the top ten most significant moments of the season from an independent supporter's viewpoint. The film features interviews with Nick Hornby, Bob Wilson, Perry Groves, Joe and Clive Swift, Peter Marinello, Tom Watt, Judge Jules and many others. So you can find out what they made of the season including the unbeaten run, the captaincy issue, the semi-finals, Arsene's performance as manager and many other key issues.

100% of all profits from The Gooner Review 2008 - 2009 will go to Bob Wilson's charity The Willow Foundation.

Check out The Gooner Review
or purchase your copy here

Weekend Roundup: The Returnination, Cooking with Vito, & Let's All Laugh at Chelsea

After a week's layoff, we welcome you to WEEKEND ROUNDUP: THE RETURNINATION. Which seemingly makes me the Returninator. Which is not to be confused with the Burninator. Anyway, for the rest of this post, please read on with the Schwarzeneggerian accent.

Not a bad weekend for the football. Arsenal ground out an away win over Fulham despite getting no outstanding performances except the one turned in by Vito "Veto" Mannone. Jeebus, was he awesome or what? I don't know where this kid's been hiding, and it's far too early to suggest he take the # 1 shirt, but if he's capable of this sort of outing on a regular basis, I think Almunia should feel nervous. Hell, with the way Almunia's played so far, he should be nervous anyway.

Arsenal walked away with all three points thanks to a lovely bit of play between Fabregas and van Persie, Cesc chipping over the defense into Robin's path, with the Dutch Master settling the ball and striking home cool and low into the left corner with his Chocolate leg past SCHWARZER! See, reading his name with the Austrian accent is MUCH more fun than just reading it. See what you're missing by not cooperating?

Otherwise, this was the dullest match Arsenal have played this season, helped along of course by the anti-football tactics of Woy Hodgson. Christ, even Allardyce's teams don't play 10 defenders when they're at home. These are tactics rarely seen outside of Italy (on a related note, I walked through the spot at Nevada's where the Inter supporters had been watching the match on Sat., and it still smelled like a week-old Italian hoagie... *shudder*), and I'd vote they stay there. Still, Arsenal were unable to break down the defense, largely due to Diaby giving the ball away every time he touched it, and Arshavin being mostly invisible. The entire lefthand side of the Arsenal lineup looked flat, and to Fulham's credit, they exploited it. I personally cannot wait until Rosicky is fit enough to play a full 90, as the offense really started to come to life once he came on for Diaby. And more Rosicky means less Diaby. And less Diaby is awesome like puppies, ice cream, beer and boobies.

But while we will likely be raked across the papers as dull and uninspiring, a hard-fought, maybe undeserved win is just what United get praise for. It's what championship teams do, win when they're not at their very best. I remember Joe Torre's '98 Yankee team talking about "grinding out" wins, and love, hate or indifference for them, they knew a thing about winning games. It's been said everywhere else, so I'll conform: I'd rather have an ugly win than a beautiful draw.

Otherwise, Chelsea got stomped by Wigan to the tune of 3-1. I've been saying all season that this Chelsea team aren't that good and that their point total has been flattered with some last-second wins against lower-tier teams. So now that they've been found out, I assume we'll all be seeing fewer Chelsea shirts and more Man City shirts, although the people within them will be the same. New Plastic Fans, only from Mattell.

Our visiting pick 'em guest on Friday was Andy Baldwin, straight outta the mean streets of Essex. Let's look at how he made out...

Portsmouth v Everton
Prediction: Pompey 0-2 Everton; Reality: Pompey 0-1 Everton
Everton with another lackluster performance, but they get the win versus the most lackluster side in the league.

Birmingham v Bolton
Prediction: Birmingham 1-1 Bolton; Reality: Birmingham 1-2 Bolton
Bolton get a late winner from Korean international Kee-Sun-Yong or something. What am I, and interpreter? Look it up yourself.

Blackburn v Aston Villa
Prediction: Blackburn 1-2 Villa; Reality: Blackburn 2-1 Villa
This was a bit of a stunner... Villa looked flat out there from what I saw, and unless we're all mistaken, Blackburn aren't that good, even at home. Should ring some alarm bells for Martin O'Neill's men.

Liverpool v Hull City
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Hull; Reality: Liverpool 6-1 Hull
An even bigger ass-kicking than Andy had anticipated. Torres shows his class while Phil Brown remains without any.

Stoke City v Man Utd
Prediction: Stoke 0-2 Man U; Reality: Stoke 0-2 Man U (DINGDINGDINGDING!)
Andy's right on the nose with this one. I don't think anyone besides Gareth and the most dedicated Stoke supporters could've seen this one going another way. Man U aren't as good as they were, but they're still more than a match for the likes of the Potters.

Tottenham v Burnley
Prediction: Spurs 3-1 Burnley; Reality: Spurs 5-0 Burnley
Spurs pick on another of the league's lesser lights. Booooooooooo.

Wigan v Chelsea
Prediction: Wigan 0-2 Chelsea; Reality: Wigan 3-1 Chelsea
Seriously though, hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Sunderland v Wolves
Prediction: Sunderland 3-1 Wolves; Reality: Sunderland 5-2 Wolves
Honestly, is there a worse Premiership manager than Mick McCarthy? I know he got them promoted, but he's done that feat before. I say Wolves should can him so Newcastle can hire him, and fire him once they're promoted. And rinse and repeat.

Man City v West Ham
Prediction: Man City 2-0 Hammers; Reality: Playing today...
Obviously nothing decided yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a piece of the International Space Station to fall from the sky and crush Mark Hughes and Adebayor. I don't think I'm being unreasonable.

So Andy went 6-3, with the City/Hammers show kicking off later today. Not a bad showing so far. Over .500, anyway.

Arsenal are now in 5th place, 3 points behind Tottenham and Liverpool but with a match in hand on both of them. Chelsea lose their 100% record and fall below United, and I really can't see either of them lasting forever up at the top, same as we certainly won't see Tottenham in the top 4 at season's end. I just really can't wait until we beat United--and we WILL beat United--at home this season. No more robberies, no more biased refereeing. On a neutral pitch, Arsenal is a better team than Manchester United, and if the squads are full-strength I can't conceive of us losing to them at the Grove. And there's one United fan at Nevada's in particular that I can't wait to stick that in the face of. And it's not anyone I like, it's the cockbag that was singing their crap Vieira song on Sat. ON HIS OWN, ON HIS OWN, ON HIS OWN...

Liverpool may be getting sold off to a Saudi billionaire or group of them, which would make yet another club owned by oil money. I really can't wait for electric cars to become common and affordable.

Lastly, we have more Champions League action midweek, with Arsenal taking on Olympiakos. Some fresh injury news as Bendtner will not be in the squad as he was just in a car accident. The faithful can fear not (and the haters can suck it), as he's apparrently just bruised up, so a little rest will do the big Dane some good. The tie also comes a bit early for Theo to make his return, which I'm sure we're all waiting for, so I wouldn't be surprised if Vela makes the bench at least. I think we'd all like to see him back in action for the first team. Hopefully Arsene can select a side that shows a bit more life than the one that nearly Carusoe'd against Liege.

That's all I've got for now, marshmallow peeps... Join us again on Friday when we talk all things Arsenal and hopefully recap the strange occurrence of a piece from the International Space Station plummetting to earth and crushing Mark Hughes and Emmanuel Adebayor, the fishfuckers that they are. Until then, as always, you stay classy, Gooner nation.

- B, a Gooner.

Weekend Preview: Arsenal Back to Winning Ways, & Andy the Answer-Man

What up playas? So I'm checking in from vacation because I love you all so much. Now, if some of you are wondering "Well, if he loves us so much, then why didn't he write up a Weekend Roundup this week and totally ruin my Monday, forcing me into an alcoholic haze from which I awoke shivering in the doorway of an A&P liquor store, waiting impatiently for it to open so that I could procure more of that sweet, sweet, life-giving booze?" And to that I would reply, because I love alcohol more than I love you. That's also why this post will probably be on the short side.

And I love football, and most importantly Arsenal football. After a full-throttle savaging of Wigan on Saturday (4-0), including a brace from the ever-impressive Thomas Vermaelen, the Arsenal kids took on West Bromwich Albion (maybe the most English-sounding team there is) in the Carling Cup. I, like almost all of you, was unable to watch this match because Sky wouldn't release the rights, so I find them Guilty of being assholes.

Unfortunately we're all left with poring over firsthand accounts from the lucky bastards who went to the match. So, Arsenal won 2-0, goals from Sanchez Watt and Carlos Vela, who was making his season debut. By all accounts, the match was even until former Gunner Jerome Thomas did something to Jack Wilshere. Depending on what you read, he slapped, elbowed, punched or mushed Jack in the face, immediately seeing red. I'm going to say that due to the Arsenal media bias, that Jerome Thomas struck him in the face with a fistful of brass knuckles, and that it was covered up by well-placed Baggies supporters.

After that, and after Vela's introduction on the hour, the game was up. Watt put away a deflected Vela shot, and Vela later getting one back on his own. I think every Gooner out there is happy to see Vela return, adding great pace and finishing to our attack, as well as the versatility to play up front and on the wings. I really think the 4-3-3 suits him, and we can all look forward to seeing what more he can add this season.

On to less important things (and by that of course I mean anything not directly relating to Arsenal), Pompey are fucked. No, I'm not referring to their bottom of the table position. They're not getting up from that this season without a large injection of cash. Which isn't likely, seeing as they need 6 million pounds in two-to-three weeks just to stay afloat. This week, new Portsmouth owner Sulaiman al-Fahim retracted his statement of Sept. 14 that the club will have money to spend in the transfer window. Which is probably a good idea. You wouldn't want to bankrupt your club just to sign Bobby Zamora.

A lot of action coming up this weekend. I'll not have time to go over Barney Stinson's picks from last week, but we do have a new, real-life guest star to pick the matches on tap this weekend, Essex boy and fellow Gooner, Andy Bennett. Andy?

Portsmouth v Everton
Pompey have financial problems that are as bad as their on-field problems, which is saying something. Everton have had a rocky start, but are simply a superior side.
Pompey 0-2 Everton

Birmingham v Bolton
Neither team is all that impressive, and Birmingham should get a bit of a boost being at home.
Prediction: Birmingham 1-1 Bolton

Blackburn v Aston Villa
Blackburn are at home, and will most likely kick the crap out of Villa, being an Allardyce side. Villa should still nick a result, but could very well pick up some injuries with the points.
Prediction: Blackburn 1-2 Villa

Liverpool v Hull City
Hull just signed Geovanni to a 2-year extension. Congratulations. They can comfort themselves with that while they're getting mauled at Anfield.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Hull

Stoke City v Man Utd
Stoke's main attack is still the Rory Delap throw-in. United are coming off a 4-3 win in the Manchester Derby. Sorry, Tony Pulis.
Prediction: Stoke 0-2 Man U

Tottenham v Burnley
Much as it pains him to say it, Andy feels Sp*rs have too much for Burnley. Personally, I might pick differently if Burnley were home. But they're not.
Prediction: Spurs 3-1 Burnley

Wigan v Chelsea
Wigan just got stomped by Arsenal last weekend, Chelsea pulled off a 3-0 defeat of Spurs on Sunday. Personally, I think this will be another late escape for the Chavs, but these are Andy's picks.
Prediction: Wigan 0-2 Chelsea

Sunderland v Wolves
Wolves' nightmare start continues as they travel to a very good Sunderland side. Darren Bent is scoring for fun, and Wolves' top striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blakes-Rodhams-Clintons just can't seem to get started.
Prediction: Sunderland 3-1 Wolves

Man City v West Ham
Craig Bellamy marks his return to his former club. One of his former clubs, anyway. City will be missing Adebayor, that c*ntrag, and lest we forget why he's out, here's a reminder. City should still have plenty more than West Ham can contend with.
Prediction: Man City 2-0 Hammers

Finally, we come to a fixture that caused a great many Gooners a great deal of pain, Fulham v Arsenal. Arsene Wenger leads his club and a great contingent of his Red & White Army to Craven Cottage to avenge last season's 1-0 defeat. On the back of wins in the Champions League and the Premier League, Arsenal appear to have sorted much of went wrong in consecutive defeats: 1) They're no longer in Manchester, and 2) no more Mike Dean nor Mark Clattenburg. Fulham have wins against Pompey and Everton, and are still looking to get on the sort of roll that saw them into Europa League this season. A win over Arsenal would certainly do wonders for their confidence, and would seem to be rather damaging to Arsenal as well. Based on current performance, however, Arsenal look as though they have too much for this Fulham side to contend with.

Last season, Arsenal went into this fixture without Cesc Fabregas and many other assorted players due to injuries, and just looked flat. This time around, many Arsenal players who were not available for selection, specifically Andrey Arshavin (fresh from injury) and the inspiring Tomas Rosicky will be back. And let's not forget Eduardo, who was still on the road to recovery during this time last year, but now appears to be fully fit. Wenger has also remarked that Theo could make the squad. All these things considered, this points to an Arsenal win. My prediction: Fulham 0-2 Arsenal.

Plenty to enjoy this weekend, and I hope you do. Kurt says he will have the Gooner shirts with him at Nevada's this Sat., so if you haven't made your orders, give a look at them here and make it happen. I've seen them, and they do look great. You won't regret it. As always, until next time, you stay classy, Gooner nation...

- B, a Gooner.

Weekend Preview: Curing the Adebayhangover & Arsenal Flirt with Lady Luck

I don't know about the rest of you, but frankly I'm pretty damn sick of hearing about and from Emmanuel Adebayor. I just went over my last two posts, and they are almost entirely about the same scumbag. That being said, what do we open with this time but the same lanky Togolese dirtbag.

The FA handed down a three-match ban to the man we all love to hate but would love even more to push into the path of an oncoming train, and the ban was accepted by him and his classless club, for his stomp of Robin van Persie. Apparently, if Adebay'dliketokillyouyoufucker had continued with his appeal, the ban would have been even greater. The news is worse for City fans, as their club will be missing their big signing for their most important match, the Manchester Derby against United. What I would like to point out to City fans is that this is your first taste of the selfishness of Adebayor, but it won't be the last. He had his own agenda last weekend and followed through regardless of the consequences. Enjoy, you're beginning to reap what your Arab patrons' money has sown. The FA will also be reviewing his goal celebration, which incited the Arsenal fans and resulted in a number of underpaid stewards being injured. I doubt we'll see another match tacked on, but I'm still hopeful.

And that's all I have to say about the cunt. I'm Ade'd-out. No more to say about him until we host City on April 24th, although I'm planning to be at the Emirates for that, so the blog may go begging for that post. Or longer if I manage to get my hands on Ade himself and get myself a ticket to the pokey, the hoosegow, the clink, the crowbar hotel. Hopefully before then, we'll see him at least on the receiving end of this.

On to more pleasant subjects, such as Arsenal's midweek Champions League match at Standard Liege. Okay, maybe pleasant isn't the right word. I have rarely watched an Arsenal team play such poor football, and even fewer times have they won such a match. It appeared that once again this Arsenal team had felt that merely showing up would be enough to win. We've seen such performances backfire in misery in displays like those against Fulham, Hull and Stoke last season.

Taking nothing away from Standard Liege, who were Exceptional Liege for about three-quarters of the match, but Arsenal were bad, consistently let down by poor passes and touches on the ball. They looked like Tottenham out there for fucksake. Cesc, Song, Gallas, Clichy, Eduardo and especially Diaby had rather poor games individually, while conversely Bendtner, Rosicky and my man of the match Vermaelen worked hard and played quite well. The Belgians scored twice in the first few minutes, the first coming when Eduardo decided to try a backheel to Fabregas at the edge of the Arsenal box instead of just clearing the ball. It was obviously intercepted, and the raw Arsenal 'keeper Mannone was beaten at his near post. Am I being hard on the Italian? Perhaps, but a more seasoned keeper would have positioned himself better, so ultimately the fault lies with Arsene for not having sufficient cover in goal.

The second was a penalty given when Gallas apparently breathed a bit hard on the Liege striker Jovanovic, who flopped to the ground like a marionette whose strings had been cut. He converted, and Arsenal were down 2-0. Things looked bleaker and bleaker, until on the stroke of halftime Diaby pulled his head out of his ass long enough to find Bendtner in the box, who finished coolly. A fine goal to keep hope alive. I do hope haters of the Dane will give him a little less stick going forward. He's a special player, no matter what color his footwear.

Arsenal nearly bungled another into their own net to begin the second half, but escaped. After that, Standard began to be pushed back and Arsenal started to control the ball, although mistakes were still rampant and they did little in the final third of the pitch. Finally, the Gunners got a break from their recently-cold mistress, Lady Luck. Cesc played a ball into the box, which was basically caught by the offside Song and rolled forward, finally pushed into the net by Tom Vermaelen to equalize.

After that, Arsenal smelled blood and continued to press for a winner, which came shortly after from Eduardo, who nudged in Cesc's corner. There were a few scares at the end, but just as many near misses for Arsenal, and the final was Standard 2-3 Arsenal. I think the result was best summed up by Gilberto Silver of Gunnerblog:

We fell behind due to some defensive sloppiness, our midfield were outfought and often outplayed, and our front three looked as toothless as Robin van Persie could have been if Emmanuel Adebayor’s foot-eye coordination was a little better. And yet we won. Is this how Man United fans feel most weeks?

As promised, due to my own personal laziness and importance placed on drinking and screwing around, we at TMR continue with our commitment to letting others do our work for us. So, here to complete our latest edition of Celebrity Pick 'Em is one of the stars of the hit sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, The Sultan of Saudi O'Labia, Mr. Barney Stinson!

Thanks Ted. What. Up. Tired of your average celebrity picks letting you down? Cheer up, Broseph of Aramathea, because Barney's here to spread some Chicksmas cheer. My foolproof method will pick only winners because that's what I am and it's what I do. But don't ask me, just view this short film detailing my awesomeness in all its glory.

Burnley v Sunderland
Now, I know what you're thinking, "Barney, they named an English team after you and intentionally misspelled." You would be correct. The Barneys host Sunderland, who have been known to poison their opponents before a match, and THAT, my friends, is the ONLY REASON that the Burnley Barneys have ever lost a match. Look it up.
Prediction: Barneys 1-2 Sunderland

Aston Villa v Portsmouth
It's a difficult call to make. On the one hand, Aston Villa sounds like Aston Martin, and if there's one thing apart from a fine suit that makes the ladies melt, it's a fine automobile. On the Bro-ther hand, everyone loves a good mouth. But ports = sailors = diseases. Stick with the car, A-Bro-ham Lincoln.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-0 Portsmouth

Bolton v Stoke City
Bolton, as we all know, is in Brazil, and Brazilians are amazing soccer [He means football - Ed.] players. Which reminds me of a story... Plus 'Stoked' is such a bad eighties term. Not good-bad, like the DeLorean, or Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, to whom I have a shrine in my home; just bad-bad, like big hair and giant earrings on the ladies. It's a synonym for flaccid.
Prediction: Bolton 1-0 Stoked City

Hull City v Birmingham
This Hull City manager, Mr. Phil Brown, has zero sense of style. Orange skin, the cheap suit. This is a man who obviously has never made love to a woman. And Birmingham, as we know from geography, is in Alabama, a place full of ugly women and racists. AND BARNEY STINSON DOES NOT DRINK WITH RACISTS!!! Or ugly women.
Prediction: Hull City 1-1 Birmingham

West Ham v Liverpool
Liverpool is where the Beatles came from, and until The Barney, no man made women scream in pleasure before meeting him, like they did. They have their own Rock Band game. They were gods among men, like The Barney. Ham sandwiches are nice, but they hardly compare.
Prediction: West Ham 0-2 Liverpool

Man United v Man City
Man United, it brings images of hope [Not me - Ed.] When we work together, we can accomplish just about anything. Plus, Man City just sounds like a city full of men. And that's just icky.
Prediction: United 2-1 City of No Chicks

Wolves v Fulham
Is this over yet? Ted, it's clearly time to suit up, find some ladies of the pole and get some drinks. What, I only said my method was foolproof, I never said I like doing it more than I like having adventures with the ladies, Bro bro bro your boat.
Prediction: Wolves 0-1 Fulham

Everton v Blackurn
Seriously Ted, we need to get you, in a suit, drink in one hand and a girl in the other, it's gonna be LEGEN...
* My name is Brett, Barn--
*Oh forget it man, go suit up, I'll finish the picks and meet you in the bar.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Blackburn

Chelsea v Tottenham
Chelsea meet a top opponent for the first time this seas---PFFFHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... hahaha... *sigh*. Couldn't get through that with a straight face. Tottenham, top... hahaha... Tottenham are shit, which means Chelsea will probably need a 93rd minute goal to beat them. Seriously though, there is one area where Tottenham rivals Chelsea, and that is at being a pack of complete and utter cunts.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham

Finally, Arsenal host Wigan, and praise jeebus for that. I can't deal with more trips to Manchester and bloody Belgium. No, a home match against Wigan is just what we need to shake off two controversial defeats in Manchester and an ugly-ass win over Standard. Arsenal now begin a stretch in the league where we face, in order: Wigan, Fulham, Blackburn, Birmingham, West Ham, Tottenham and Wolves. If life were xbox, we'd simulate these matches and be done with them. Except Spurs and perhaps Birmingham. The good news for the Gunners (apart from playing Wigan at home) is that Robin van Persie is likely to be back. In not so good news, Denilson remains sidelined with a back complaint and Almunia with some kind of chest infection, possibly alien in origin. Vito "Ayyyyyyy Vito!" Mannone will step in between the sticks again, hoping for a better defensive effort than the back 4 gave him last time. Arshavin will likely not return yet however, so others will need to step up.

Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Wigan

That's all I've got, and my head is pounding from this Adebayhangover. I think I'm going to drown in in spirits tonight and in Arsenal tomorrow. Until next time, you stay classy, Gooner nation.

- B, a Gooner.

Weekend Roundup: Bring Me the Head of Adebayor!

I have never had so much hate for a person I have never and likely will never meet.

Emmanuel Adebayor has done the impossible. He has made Arsenal supporters everywhere forget all about Ashley Cole. With a number of fell swoops, the Togonian bastard has undone any and all credit he may have had left with the red side of north London. Let me count the ways...

Pre-match, Ade thought it would be a good idea to give an interview, in which he claimed that City's fans are "true fans" and that Arsenal's are not, because they are American and Jamaican. I don't know where to begin... 1) City's fans are English because they've been shit for so long, no one outside of Manchester ever took notice; 2) Now that City have pumped uncounted millions into club signings, City will soon have the same international, and as they're brand new, completely plastic, Chelsea-style fan-base; 3) I've been supporting Arsenal since 1998, long before that lanky twat was plucked by Wenger out of obscurity on the bench at Metz. On behalf of Arsenal supporters, English, American, Jamaican and otherwise, here you go, Ade.

And that was BEFORE the match. My god, I already wanted to see this guy gang beaten. Several incidents, and three in particular, have warranted post-match investigation by the FA. These I'll go over one at a time before going into the match action properly. Early going in the first half, Cesc and Adebayor were challenging for a ball, when he stomped on Cesc's ankle.
Now, I'm a reasonable man. It was early, both players were going for the ball, it may not have been intentional or it may have been. But whether it was or wasn't, it was a rash challenge, it was dangerous, and should have been a booking. Instead, referee Mark Clattenburg had a quick word with Ade, and allowed play to continue. Arsenal were very lucky to escape without a serious injury to El Capitan, because it could very well have happened due to ade's action.

The second act was certainly the ugliest and most classless act I have ever seen on a football pitch, and I've seen Roy Keane play. Robin van Persie made a sliding tackle to knock the ball away from Adebayor's feet, and I'll let the video itself explain the rest, so as not to further bias anyone who has not yet seen it. All respect to Robin for playing on afterward.

Now I have seen that clip perhaps over 50 times as of this writing, and have yet to see any way in which that could be anything but an intentional act meant to injure another player. Whatever may have gone on between those two players while at Arsenal, they are both professionals, and this should never have occurred. This, taken along with the stomp on Cesc and going back to head-butting Niklas Bendtner during a match while they were teammates at Arsenal, points to a pattern of behavior. Ade has never been called on this sort of action before, and, to the complete discredit of referee Mark Clattenburg, he was not disciplined on this occasion. There was no red card, no yellow card, not even a whistle, and for this, I may be expressing a personal bias, but Clattenburg should be censured. He allowed for several dangerous plays during the course of the match, so that by halftime I couldn't tell if Arsenal had mistakenly shown up to a rugby match.

Adebayor should have been sent off for his stamping of RvP, but was not. The outcome might have been different if he had been. One thing is for certain, Adebayor would not have scored, and would not have had the opportunity to run the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the travelling Arsenal supporters, nearly inciting a riot, which finally earned him a yellow card. A classless act from a classless man. It appears his insecurity is a sufficient enough excuse to attempt to incite the travelling fans (who, unlike some of the home supporters, were always supportive of him in his time at Arsenal) to the point that people could have been seriously hurt.

An aside right here: you can't see it on this video, but some of those fans threw bananas at Adebayor. This is sickening to me as an Arsenal supporter. It was racist and despicable. I am ashamed of those fans, and every one of them ought to be ashamed of themselves.

It appears Ade is facing action from the FA over these actions, but what comes of them remains to be seen. I've said before I'll be shocked if the FA come through with any kind of ban, as they're more than likely to hide behind the "referee's decision" mantra, as is their usual objection to video evidence. I hope I'm wrong.

As for the game action, Man City took the lead midway through the first half, from a header from a seemingly offside Micah Richards that Almunia swatted at, which subsequently clanged off the post, off Almunia's head and in, for an OG. Almunia seems to be quite susceptible to errors of this kind. In this case, my feeling is that he didn't fully stretch for the ball, wary of the post, which affected his attempted save. Without anyone pushing him for playing time (and even if Fabianski were healthy, that's not really the case), we're probably going to see more of this than less.

The rest of the first half showed City playing like a bunch of gorrillas, but Arsenal were still unable to find any rhythm. It wasn't until the second half, after Little Mozart Tom Rosicky was introduced that we saw Arsenal sustain any attacks, and an equalizer. Robin van Persie hit a low shot into the left corner past Given, a brilliant goal with his "chocolate leg," and things were looking up for the Gunners. Shortly after came the Ade stamp, which seemed to take the wind out of the Arsenal sails, followed by Song's booking for a seemingly retaliatory tackle of Adebayor. That Clattenburg reached into his pocket for Song but not Ade speaks volumes about his quality as a referee.

Then the wheels fell off. Clichy and Diaby were both absent from their posts at the back, Song (who otherwise had another very good match) was beaten on the dribble and a pass in to Bellamy saw the Angry Welshman finish cleanly past the overmatched Almunia to give City back the lead. City quickly added 2 more, the first a cross in to Adebayor who headed in well then decided to run 90 yards to do the equivalent of yelling FIRE in a crowded theater, and finally Shawn Phillips (I'm keeping the Wright part) chipping over Almunia to make it 4-1.

Arsenal waited until 3 goals down to play with any sense of urgency, and in the last 10 minutes or so, created about 10-15 chances. Van Persie was unlucky to strike the post on a wonderful curling free kick, Gallas had a fine header saved by Given, and Adebayor cleared one of the line. The most egregious was an obvious handball in the box by Gareth Barry, which was a clear penalty, but no call was made. Rosicky did manage to claw one back with a brilliant goal set up by Cesc, and we're all glad to have him back on the scoresheet.

So, 4-2 the final, a tough loss for the Gunners. But you'll have to indulge my Arsenal bias here for a moment. Adebayor should clearly have been sent off, which would take one goal off the City score, making it 3-2. Additionally, Barry's handball in the box should've been a penalty, and Given or no, RvP finishes those in his sleep. 3-3. Finally, Adebayor cleared what would've been another Arsenal goal off the line. Now my mom always said that life isn't fair. If it were, Arsenal win this one, 4-3.

Well I don't know about you, but I can't wait to stop talking about this match already. So let's take a look at Vinnie Jones' Celebrity Pick 'Em results, shall we?

Blackburn v. Wolves
PREDICTION: Blackburn win, dey's a bunch o' dirty buggas. Oy loike dat.
REALITY: Blackburn 3-1 Wolves. Also reality: both of these teams suck balls.

Liverpool v Burnley
PREDICTION: Scouse c*nts 3-0 Burnley
REALITY: Scouse c*nts 4-0 Burnley
Liverpool find an opponent they can handle in Burnley.

Portsmouth v Bolton
PREDICTION: Portsmouth 1-2 Bolton
REALITY: Portsmouth 2-3 Bolton

Stoke City v Chelsea
PREDICTION: Stoke 0-2 Chelsea
REALITY: Stoke 1-2 Chelsea
Chelsea get another lucky late winner against a team they should be crushing. Can't wait til they play a non-minnow.

Sunderland v Hull City
PREDICTION: Sunderland 2-1 Hull, and maybe some noice broken bones.
REALITY: Sunderland 4-1 Hull... no broken bones, however.
Sunderland are a better team than people think, and you've got to respect the job that Steve Bruce is doing with a team that Roy Keane quit on.

Wigan v West Ham
PREDICTION: Wigan 1-1 West Ham
REALITY: Wigan 1-0 West Ham
Another tough one for the Hammers, who couldn't get much of anything going in this match. My preseason pick for them looks increasingly inaccurate with each passing week.

Tottenham v Man U
PREDICTION: Tottenham 1-1 Man U
REALITY: Tottenham 1-3 Man U
Man U are the first team to knock off spurs this season, but based on the way this one went, they sure won't be the last.

Birmingham v Villa
PREDICTION: Brum 1-2 Villa
REALITY: Brum 0-1 Villa
Villa grind out a result in the Midlands Derby... they're on a bit of a roll now, which has got to make Martin O'Neill happy. Or drink. Whatever, what am I, his mom?

Fulham v Everton
PREDICTION: Fulham 1-1 Everton
REALITY: Fulham 2-1 Everton
Fool-ham pull off a nice win over a decent Everton side, and Phil Neville gets injured. Hooray. Side note: I turned this off at Fulham 0-1 Everton to play a quick game of FIFA, and Fulham had scored twice when I got back. Maybe their own fans should stay home and play FIFA. There might be some connection. I say go with it.

Arsenal open up the Champions League group stages on Wed. against Standard Liege away. The only shame is that they're not playing In Bruges. Arsenal have a nice run of softer opponents coming up and no further trips to Manchester, so we'll hopefully see the Gunners put together a string of wins. It's time for Arsenal to go on a Squishy Bender of wins.

I'm frankly exhausted from this weekend, but I'll have more on Friday. So until then, as always, you stay classy, Gooner Nation. And, Go fuck yourself, Manchester City.

- B, A Gooner.

Gooner Shirts: $20






* Global shipping is $7.95. So contact me first.
I will squeeze as many as I can into an envelope.

Weekend Preview: The Wild, The Innocent, and the Ad-E Street Shuffle

Well, we've finally come to the end of yet another seemingly interminable Interlull (TM Arseblog). God, they never get any easier, do they? I suppose it really comes down to what kind of football fan you are. My friend Matt is a Fulham fan, but really enjoys the international breaks because he's a fanatic about the USA team. Personally, I do support the USA team, but if they ever played Arsenal, I'd be screaming at them like the bloodthirstiest Mexico supporter at the Azteca.

But we can finally put all that behind us, and not a moment too soon, either. Arsenal have another big date in Manchester this weekend, and this time it's with City, who may actually be a better team than United this year. At least, based on results so far this season, they have been, although Arsenal represent their first real test. Sneaking by Wolves and Blackburn isn't the most impressive thing in the world.

As is traditional, Arsenal suffered a key injury over the break. Former Chelsea manager and current Russia manager Guus-step Hiddink decided it was a good idea to play Arshavin, who had just limped off the field against Man United after scoring the goal of the season so far, against Wales. You know, because Wales is a dominant force in international football, they type of team you risk the health of your best players to beat. When I think of great teams in world football, I think Brazil, Argentina, and Wales, and not in that order. Potato-headed Dutch dick Hiddink. International managers are a blight on football. They're like a brother-in-law, who you don't really like, but you know, you have an obligation, who borrows your lawn mower, uses it to mow his gravel driveway, returns it with a broken blade and no gas, and once you fix it, asks to borrow it again so he can mow the weeds at the bottom of his lake. Fuck Guus Hiddink. I wouldn't be surprised if Abramovich told him he had to play Arshavin and run him into the ground or he'd stop funding the Russian national team.

So Arshavin will miss Arsenal's trip to the Middle Eastlands, as well as at least their first Champions League match, although luckily that's against Standard Liege. Who are okay, but not as good as Exceptional Liege. They're exceptional.

Good news for the Gunners is that they will get back el Capitan Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott (who luckily did not play for England or he'd surely be in a full body cast), and Little Mozart, Tom Rosicky, who played 60 minutes for Czech Republic this week and miraculously didn't do this. In addition, Citeh will be without Broke-eh Santa Claus and el Capitan Caveman Carlos Tevez , meaning they will only have 37 strikers to play on Saturday. It also means that Adebuyor will definitely start. And that is something I cannot wait to see.

It has been my duty to make predictions for the Premier League action in previous Weekend Previews here on TMR, but with Awesome-O 5000 taking the reins last week, it really freed me up to do other things. Like drink. Which I really like. And so it's my great pleasure to announce that going forward we will be featuring Celebrity Pick 'Em. And I thought that the perfect guest to kick this off this new feature is former "footballer" and professional celluloid tough guy, Vinnie Jones. Take it away, Vin!

Oi, lissen 'ere, eh? Da Vin's only makin these fockin' picks for Brett 'cause 'e's the one who showed me da most effective way to incapacitate a bloke . Oy do dat on weekends and such now, just for kicks .

Blackburn v. Wolves
Wot da fock do oy care about deez two piles of excrement? Wot, you a Wolves fan or summin? Fock off, the lot of ya.
PREDICTION: Blackburn win, dey's a bunch o' dirty buggas. Oy loike dat.

Liverpool v Burnley
Burnley? Burnley? Dey still 'ave a football team? And travelling to Merseyside? Woah, that team bus'll be stripped down and burnt out by halftime, and the football team won't fare much better. Bloody scouse bastards.
PREDICTION: Scouse cunts 3-0 Burnley

Portsmouth v Bolton
Oy bloody love watching dis 'ere Bolton team. Not too skilled, mind, but you can bet somebody's gonna get hurt when dey play. I'd 'ave captained dees boys. Love em.
PREDICTION: Portsmouth 1-2 Bolton

Stoke City v Chelsea
Oy don' care if dey do 'ave Rory De-focking-Lap, Stoke stand as much a chance as Kurtis' skinny ass in a fight wif me. An' oy did love playin' wif Chelsea. Oy killed noine men whilst oy was there.
PREDICTION: Stoke 0-2 Chelsea

Sunderland v Hull City
Sunderland may be a buncha cunts from da North, but dey do have my favorite playa, Lorik Cana. Neva liked dat minge Ronaldo. And Hull may be a bunch of Norvern cunts too, but... well, yeah. Dey got dat orange cunt wif da headgear and dat prison-pussy round 'is mouf.
PREDICTION: Sunderland 2-1 Hull, and maybe some noice broken bones.

Wigan v West Ham
I'd 'ave loved for West Ham fans to have stormed da pitch when oy played, dem poofs only bring knives, whilst oy would always bring moy friend, mistah Desert Eagle .50 onto the pitch wif me every match.
PREDICTION: Wigan 1-1 West Ham

Tottenham v Man U
Spurs are a pack o' little fairies. Much as oy like Man U, dat Rooney bloke looks loike he ate all da pies in Manchestah. He could benefit from Attack Cardio wif me, Vinnie Jones.
PREDICTION: Tottenham 1-1 Man U

Birmingham v Villa
Dat Martin Taylor is a roight piece of shit. You don't make a career-ending tackle on a playa loike 'e did wif Eduardo and let 'im come back so 'e can score against fockin' England and all dat. Tough li'l buggah dat Eduardo. Villa play loike li'l girls.
PREDICTION: Brum 1-2 Villa

Fulham v Everton
Oy always laugh when I 'ear Roy Hodgson's speech impediment. It takes me back to da day I gave it to 'im. See, he refused to buy me a ninth pint, so punched him so hard that moy fist caved in da roof of 'is mouf. Good times. Everton are a bunch of Mary's.
PREDICTION: Fulham 1-1 Everton

I'm afraid that's all Vinnie had time for, he had to run to make shooting of the sequel to his 2006 movie, She's The Man. Football's Hard Man my ass.

There's been a lot of fallout from the Chelsea transfer ban of late, mainly with UEFA collectively saber-rattling with threats to keep young players from moving, an idea which is as patently ridiculous as it is illegal according to EU law. Yesterday both Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger spoke on behalf of Chelsea. Fergie paused his gum-chewing long enough to point out the EU regulations, stating, "The EU allows players to move. That’s a fact. You can’t stop a boy, once he has left school, moving from his country. So, that’s not an issue. We are well within the regulations." And he's right. It is a matter of law, and the last I checked, UEFA are not a lawmaking body, as much as that curly-headed fuck Platini wants them to be.

Arsene was a bit more elegant in his defense of the current set-up:

"If a player goes to Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, it’s all clean and he gets a good education. That’s why I am very sharp on cases like that. We have to respect the rules that are in place. You have always to look if you make one decision, what kind of alternative there is. If your players cannot move to the best clubs, I believe they will not improve.

"What I’m fighting against, if you take for example Lens in this case, where did Lens find the player [Kakuta]? In a smaller club. Where did the smaller club take the player from? A smaller club? At the end of the day, to be a top-level player is to be with the best."

Also factual. But the two are defending current practice for different reasons. At Chelsea, Liverpool and Man U, there are no real and true academies. Chelsea have not developed a youngster on their own since John "Cunt" Terry, Liverpool for longer than that, and Man U have had little to speak of since the Beckham-Giggs generation of the 90's, and they're nearly done. And so, these clubs are forced to poach young players from other clubs. Meanwhile, Arsenal's reserve side is full of young English talent that they have trained up as footballers, from as young as 8 years old. This is a claim that cannot be made by any other club in England. But Arsenal do have some foreign-born players coming through the ranks as well, so UEFA would intend to punish all clubs for the sins of a few, which is simply not right. Sure, Barca have plenty of young Spaniards in their youth system, but it is just as full, or more so, with young Argentineans and Brazilians. It's not just English clubs this would affect, but all of Europe, and football (and many youngsters from developing nations) would be the poorer for it.

And we close with what is arguably the biggest match of the weekend, Manchester City v Arsenal. We know both clubs have started off hot. We know all about the money that City have spent and the players they've purchased with it. We know that Kolo has been given the captain's armband for City after they sold Dunne to Villa. And we know Ade is going to actually be ready for this match for a change. Perhaps if he'd worked so hard for us, the fans would have cheered him and he wouldn't have felt so betrayed as to spend his days drying his tears on big piles of money.

It's a fact that Adebayor has already scored some fine goals for City, and he will most likely score plenty this season (he'll also miss a fair number of chances, but we all knew that). And he'll be hell-bent on scoring against Arsenal as a big Togonian middle finger (or two fingers, depending on where you're from) to the Arsenal fans, from whom he felt he didn't receive adoration proper for a footballer who goes long stretches without making any discernable effort, broken up by flashes of brilliance that make him all the more frustrating. Arsenal fans can rely on the exceptional form this season of Gallas and Vermaelen as evidence that they can hold Ade off the scoresheet, and with Cesc back in the fold, Arsenal have a better chance at controlling possession and keeping the ball away from the City strikers.

Ade will be motivated. Kolo will be motivated. Mark Hughes will want his whole squad up for the challenge, since this will be their first opportunity to show everyone that his sky blues have arrived. But this is also Arsenal's first opportunity to knock them down a peg, and you had better believe the Gunners will be up for it. From every interview the players have given so far, the Arsenal dressing room was glad to see the back of Adebayor, and he's certain to be treated with no more than a casual "how are you?" followed by an equally casual kick in the ass.

PREDICTION: Man City 1-2 Arsenal

That's all I've got for this preview. Enjoy the real football this week, it should be a good one.

He's five foot four,
He's five foot four,
We've got Arshavin,

Until next time, you stay classy, Gooner nation...

- B, a Gooner

Weekend Preview: What the Hell Do I Have to Write About?

Ugh... This is bound to be a shorter entry for a few reasons. Primarily, I'm off work today, so I'm naturally less likely to want to actually accomplish anything. And secondly, this is supposed to be the Weekend Preview... what the hell is there to preview? There's no football happening, unless you count the internationals, or throwball (American football), and neither of those truly makes makes up, in my mind, for no Arsenal. I'm sure many of you feel the same when it comes to Chelsea or Liverpool or Fulham, etc. Even though I personally feel that each of those teams (with the possible exception of Fulham) are individually wrapped packages of cuntitude.

So what've we got to speak on? Well, we've just got beyond the deadest transfer window I can remember. Nobody really went anywhere on deadline day, did they? Not unless you count Hull City signing former Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink of Anaheim, who has the most complicated name since Sylvan Ebanks-Blakes-Rodham-Clinton. It seems to me that Hull are dead-set on signing every mediocre striker available, so I'm sure we'll see them making offers in January for the likes of Bobby Zamora. Oh wait... well, then let's say they'll make another offer for Bobby Zamora.

UEFA have gone ahead with their decision to enforce a two-match ban for Eduardo over his dive, discovered after the fact on video review. UEFA dismissed Arsenal's evidence when presented and leveled an unprecedented ban on a player, using video evidence. Technically, Eduardo is being charged with "Intent to deceive the referee," which covers more than merely diving. This can include acts like pulling on a player's shirt to slow them down, the patented Alan Shearer-Kevin Davies elbow swings, and anything that would intentionally make the ref look this goofy. It really is ridiculous when you hear things like "UEFA has decided not to apply the 'Eduardo' standard to all cases," which is no less than I expected. As I've said, I don't think a single Arsenal player or fan would feel too upset if the Eduardo decision was at least applied to all obvious dives going forward. But as I expected, this whole thing has been a media-fueled debacle, hijacked by the likes of Platini, whose battle to lower the level of English clubs and keep them out of the Champions League is well-documented. It's beyond me how this curly-headed f*ck can rage against English clubs for operating at stratospheric debt levels (which does not include Arsenal, I have to add) but then wait until after Madrid have finished spending far more money than they actually have to level criticism against that policy. Maybe he just really likes Ronaldo. The bottom line is, I can't respect anyone who refers to Roman Abramovich as a "good football person." Twat.

Finally, on a related note, let's all laugh at Chelsea. FIFA have handed down a ban on the Chavs registering new players for the next two transfer windows, so no new players in January this season, nor in the summer following the season. If it sticks, it will mean that Chelsea, a club where the majority of its key players are on the wrong side of 30, will be unable to bring in any new faces. Suddenly my cracks about the number of broken hips in the Chelski squad aren't so funny? No, wait, they're actually hilarious now. Chelsea will be forced to rely on their youth program, which consists of waiting for other teams to train up players and then throwing a boatload of cash at them. Which can only mean further bans. Which could keep Chelsea out of the transfer market indefinitely, which means it's only a short while before they field a squad entirely of criminals out of desperation. Which means the Chavs are in deep shit. And that makes me smile. Of course the whole thing will be overturned on appeal, but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

So once again, we're staring into the abyss that is the Interlull (patented by Arseblogger). If you're like me, you'll put on a brave face, and try to go on with life, saying that there are other things that matter, like family and friends and your health. Don't lie. You'll be crawling the walls, scouring the intarwebs for something, anything to give you your football fix. It will be maddening. But we're gonna make it through this. And for Arsenal, we come right out of the international hell to face Mancuntster Cunty and their squad of mercenaries like Lescunt, Cuntbinho, Tevcuntez, and Craig Bellamy. Not to mention Cuntebaycuntor. And it's a chance at redemption after the loss we suffered there. It's also a chance for Tom Vermaelen, the Belgianator, to put Cuntebaycuntor on his lazy ass. And that's a good thing.

Keep the faith, and, until next time, you stay classy, Gooner nation.
- B, a Gooner