Weekend Roundup: Evil, Wicked, Dirty Foreigner Samir Nasri Cheats Hull Out of Win, Arsenal Back in the Race

A lovely weekend passes, and after Arsenal's stumble against Burnley in midweek, we were kindly granted a reprieve by the football gods as United were dismantled by the Cottagers and Chelsea couldn't top the Hammers. We're back to being just 6 points behind leaders Chelsea with a match in hand (against Bolton). Oh, and we beat the piss out of Phil Brown's equally orange cuntfest of a team, despite missing our Catalan Capitan Fantastico.

Let's be clear: whatever that orange, fake-tanned, headset-wearing cuntmuppet of an Allardyce-acolyte (Brown of course) has to say needs be taken with a grain of shit and flushed. Far more calls went Hull's way in that match, including a phantom penalty they received early in the second half and couldn't convert, as well as getting away with a clear handball in the box, and we still came out 3-0 winners. The bottom line is, we showed up and played football, while Hull did as their manager does, whinging and bleating about the unfairness of the world while doing their best to make sure no actual football was played.

And they did their job throughout the first half, denying our quick passing game when it came to the final third, playing tenaciously in midfield and breaking up our attacks although never really threatening with an attack of their own. They played their game and that was that. Although one must note that excessively rough challenges and intentional interference with the goalkeeper seemed to be an integral part of "their game," embodied by part-time hard man, full-time gypsy Stephen Hunt. The prick was all over the pitch attempting to rough up our players, and nowhere was he more noticeable than in our 18-yard box, attempting to goad Almunia; on one occasion he nearly succeeded, as Almunia forgot to use his brain and intentionally rolled a ball right past Hunt to an Arsenal player, and were (c)Hunt paying attention and been an actual footballer, he could have taken advantage of Almunia's brainfart.

Arsenal persisted in playing football, no matter how often they were frustrated. Nasri acquitted himself well in a more floating role, putting himself about well, hustling to defend and set up attacks, missing an early chance when his shot was deflected and rolled, tamely, at the Hull 'keeper Myhill. The majority of the Arsenal side looked up for it, despite the lack of goals through nealry 45 minutes. Then, all hell broke loose.

Arshavin was taken down at the edge of the box by Geovanni, and with tempers already running high, the tempo rose to, if you'll pardon my expression, a fever pitch when Nasri, for whatever reason, strode over to Hull's Richard Garcia and stepped on his foot. Garcia crumpled to the pitch as though he'd been shot (or "Drogba'd," if you will), and Nasri was immediately surrounded by Hull players who wanted blood, most notably the usual suspect Stephen C. Hunt, and Nicky Barmby. Hunt had a shove at Nasri's chest while Barmby shoved him in the head before Silvestre could separate them. All of this seemed to happen within 2 feet of referee Steve Bennett, who seemed completely oblivious until it had turned into a virtual battle royale. Hunt appeared to throw a punch at Nasri with as much accuracy as he shoots, as Fagan got all up in Sammi's grill. It went nearly unnoticed when my new hero Alex Song had (c)Hunt around the neck. Love that guy.

When all parties were separated and order was grudgingly restored, Nasri and Hunt were booked, and rightly so, but Barmby, Fagan and Song were spared because Steve Bennett is deaf, and perhaps blind as well. Now all the talk is about Nasri being banned by the FA for attempting to injure Garcia. What a load of bollocks. In all honesty, I disapprove of the actions taken by both sides (although I'm biased, so I disapprove more of Hull's actions, of course). What Nasri did was thoughtless and stupid. But if you're going to do something like that where you know you could be red-carded, you had better make it count, none of this toe-tapping business. Garcia ought to have been disciplined for his overacting. I can't get behind cheating as Nasri did, particularly because it was sneaky, but feigning injury like Garcia did is worse, in my book.

One must wonder though: if Nasri were English, would the press be making as big a deal of this as they are? Actually, no one has to wonder that. Of course they wouldn't.

When play resumed, Arsenal won a free kick when Diaby was fouled a few yards outside the box; Denilson was the surprise taker. And boy did the Brazilian make it count, hitting a beautiful, curving ball over the wall that landed in the bottom left corner, past the outstretched arms of the diving Myhill. Arsenal had drawn first blood, and that coming on a free kick, not our usual area of expertise, and we went into halftime 1-0 up.

We started quickly in the second half, Arshavin setting up Eduardo to go one-on-one with the 'keeper, only to make a mess of a brilliant chance, shooting left of the post. The chance of the day so far had been wasted, and Eduardo's season continued on a downward trend.

Hull had their best chance arrive when Fagan tripped over himself in the box and successfully lobbied for a penalty, Bennett pointing to the spot and declaring that Silvestre had pulled the Hull "man" down by his shirt. The video evidence would later exonerate Silvestre and clearly show Bennett to be a complete tit, but Hull got themselves a penalty all the same. Geovanni strode up and shot lower left, blocked by the resurgent Almunia, and the rebound was headed out by our hero, (c)Hunt. And we all had a hearty laugh at Hull's continued failings as a football team.

We went and opened the gap further when some nice interplay between Song and Diaby in the box ended with Diaby (who had his best match in recent memory) sliding a pass across the 6 yard box to find Eduardo who scored despite looking like doing everything he could to miss. Vintage Arsenal football, a 2-0 scoreline, and a goal that will no doubt go a long way to restoring Eddie's confidence.

The third was pure class by Diaby, as the lanky Frenchman split defenders coming from the left and dished to Arshavin, who gave it back to Diaby as he continued his run. Abu made space from the defender and thundered a right-footed shot past Myhill. 3-0 to the Arsenal, and the match was well and truly won. Should have been 4-0 as well, as substitute Theo Walcott frustrated everyone again, going one-on-one with Myhill and chipping well wide to the left of the post. But a win by three goals and a clean sheet is never anything to sneeze at, so we'll take the points and be happy.

At the end of the day, it was some of the more unsung Arsenal players who rose to the occasion, with Diaby, Denilson, Almunia and the out-of-form Eduardo taking center stage. Denilson, apart from his injury woes, has been consistently improved this season, and we all know the class of Eduardo when he's in-form, so hopefully onward and upward for these two. I won't rain on Diaby and Manuel's parade, but I will say that if either or both can find consistency, we'll be in great shape. If not, this match will be one of many that make a lot of us scratch our heads about these two. Lastly, a virtual round of applause for Mikael Silvestre, who had his best match in an Arsenal shirt. He was solid in defense and attacked the left wing just like an Arsenal fullback should. Well done, Sylvester. OHHHHHHH BABAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!

As mentioned, other results played a key part in our fortunes this weekend, so this is how things all shook out:

Portsmouth v Liverpool
Prediction: Portsmouth 1-2 Liverpool; Reality: Pompey 2-0 Liverpool
The Scousers fortunes continue to sink, dropping all three points to the bottom-most team in the league. Rafa benitez continues to place the blame on everyone but himself and his players, who all looked like mailing this one in. Everyone's expecting a managerial change at Merseyside, but what seems most eveident is the need for a shift in attitude at that club.

Aston Villa v Stoke City
Prediction: Villa 2-0 Stoke; Reality: Villa 1-0 Stoke
Villa face a rather more stiff fight from Stoke in this match than most anticipated. They were in the end liberated by a lovely cross from Ashley Young that was smashed in for a nice goal by Big John Carew.

Blackburn v Tottenham
Prediction: Rovers 1-3 Spuds; Reality: Rovers 0-2 Spuds
Not much suspense in this one, really. Rovers are a relegation-battling club this season, and sp*rs couldn't afford to let another one of those slip, like they did when they lost to Wolves. At home.

Fulham v Man Utd
Prediction: Fulham 0-1 Man Utd; Reality: Fulham 3-0 Man U
Wow. Wow. Can't say I saw that one coming. One would expect Fulham to put up a good fight at home against a team like United, but they totally dominated this match. United will point to their decimated back line as the reason, and they'll get as much sympathy as we got from them when dominated with similar injury circumstances last spring.

Man City v Sunderland
Prediction: City 1-1 Sunderland; Reality: City 4-3 Sunderland
City turn on the style and turn off the defense as they stick 4 past Sunderland, who reverted to their red-card per match custom. Impressive youngster Jordan Henderson made a nice showing for Sunderland in a losing effort. In spite of the win, Mark Hughes got the sack shortly after the match ended, as the classy City owners already had Roberto Mancini in-house, ready to announce as their new hire. I'm sure their next kit will be equally classy; I picture all velvet, and gold leaf on EVERYTHING. While I can't agree with the way they treated Mark Hughes, Fuck Mark Hughes. He's a real shit and the game is better off without him. Hopefully Mancini will fall flat on his face; he appears to have a small-scale mutiny among the players of Hughes-devotees looking to jump ship now that that knob is out of the picture. I couldn't care less about Man City. Bunch of drama queens.

Wolves v Burnley
Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Burnley; Reality: Wolves 2-0 Burnley
Wolves take advantage of home field and drop a tough, scrappy opponent, after resting 10 of 11 regulars midweek against United. Mick McCarthy's Mensa application is denied yet again.

Everton v Birmingham
Prediction: Scouser Blue 2-2 Birmingham; Reality: Everton 1-1 Brum
I think we can safely look at both of these teams as top-half clubs, but no further. They're well-matched, and a draw seems a fair result.

West Ham v Chelsea
Prediction: West Ham 0-4 Chelsea; Reality: Hammers 1-1 Chelsea
Two goals, one for each side, and both arising from questionable penalty decisions. Both sides had very good opportunities to win the match outright, but neither could grab the reins. But to be fair, the Hammers were the only side that looked like trying to win over the last half hour or so. And Mike Dean puts his name back into consideration as worst referee in England. Mr. Dean, the fact is that you're an ugly man; please stop making questionable decisions so the cameras will steer clear of you and we'll all be that much happier for it. Thanks guy!

Wigan v Bolton
Prediction: Wigan 0-0 Bolton; Reality: PPD
Bolton will eventually have a season in which every match is postponed, and at season's end, they'll be 92 points behind the leaders but with 38 matches in hand.

I want to take this moment to thank everyone who came out and celebrated the Arsenal Hulliday party with us at Nevada Smith's. It was a great success, we all had a blast and there was great spirit throughout the match and afterward, despite the wintery weather making its presence felt. Everyone got enough pizza, so Kurt and I were lucky that we had brought enough to feed everyone, and the baked goods, courtesy of our own Ashley Hannan and Kurt's wife Heidi, were a big hit as well. Special thanks to the two douchebag United supporters who stuck around after getting their ASSES HANDED TO THEM just to sing back at us and unite our crowd. Nothing better than a couple of tools embarassing their entire fan base (apart from the other assholes) to bring an rival together, so for all of the Arsenal fans at Nevada's, we thank you.

Anyway, next season's party will be much more organized, I promise. The idea for a party at all was one that came to me on Tuesday afternoon, so thanks again to everyone for making an effort and making it a success. Bravo y'all, can't wait to do it again. Special shout out to the Charm City Gooners who were in attendance at Nevada's on Saturday, we're glad you could make it out, and hope you all made it home safe and sound.

No midweek matches for a change, but we do have Aston Villa on Sun., 12/27. They're the hottest team in the league at the moment and the best defensive team, so it certainly won't be easy. Hopefully our boys are up to the task... more to come on Friday. As always, you stay classy, Gooners of the world.

- B, a Gooner.