Thoughts on Liverpool, and Where Is Our Keeper?

Morning all. As I'm sure you're all aware, yesterday Emmanuel Frimpong suffered torn cruciate ligaments in his knee, and will be out for 6-9 months, effectively ending his season. It was the emergence of Frimpong in preseason that Arsene Wenger said kept him from buying a defensive midfielder to back up Alex Song, and this late in the window it would be foolish to think we will sign someone in that position now (whether we will sign anyone at all is open to debate). It is a massive blow to Arsenal, but more than anything to Emmanuel himself, as he looked primed to make the jump from youth team to senior squad member. Good luck to you Manny, we're all pulling for you.

And with that bit of bad news out of the way, on to more bad news. With Laurent Koscielny picking up a joke of a second yellow card on Sunday, he will of course be banned from playing Saturday against Blackpool. Rumor is that Johan Djourou is fit again and would presumably step into the side in Kos' place. However, once Johan gets hurt again (and it's not an "if" anymore but a virtual certainty), we are down to Havard Nordtveidt and then drafting in midfielders to play center half. And since we now only have one proper defensive midfielder (Alex Song) who's currently still out injured, this is a frightening prospect indeed. More rumors have been circulating that we have a bid in for Sevilla's Italian-sounding French defender Sebastien Squillaci, but I take these with a grain of salt. I currently have zero faith in our player personnel department getting anything resolved on the transfer fund. Perhaps Ivan Gazidis should stop worrying about the naming of the stands at Emirates (which as a bowl doesn't have true "stands" anyway) and concern himself with signing up a keeper and defender immediately. Especially after our bidding for Mark Schwarzer has apparently gone like this:

"I'll offer you 2 million for Mark Schwarzer."

"I'm sorry, but that's not enough."

"Very Well. How about 2 million then?"

"... No."

"You drive a hard bargain. Okay, 2 million, and that's my final offer!"

"Get out of my office."

Arsenal, logical as always. As for the match we have so far played, like everyone else, if you had offered me beforehand that we'd pull a point out of the match away at Anfield on Hodgson's debut, I'd have bitten your hand off. However, being that you would have omitted that we'd play like a pub team for most of the second half and that Liverpool would be with 10 men for that entire 45 minutes, I'd have bitten your other hand off as well for being a lying, jerk-faced jerk. Ya jerk.

There were a few positives to take from the match: Samir Nasri played brilliantly yet again, before leaving with an injury; Laurent Koscielny looked lively and effective in his debut before leaving with an injury (although he did return); Andrey Arshavin's subpar performance was put down to him carrying an injury, etc. Seems there's a theme developing. Anyway, we got a very good performance out of Tom Rosicky as a substitute, and Robin van Persie was fit enough to come on late as well. Another debutant, Marouane Chamakh, had a fair match, but did come through when we needed him, attacking an aerial ball into the box that the despicable Peepee (ha, I called him Peepee... it's funny because his name is really Pepe) Reina bobbled into his own net for the equalizer. It was all that the dirty bastard deserved after his role in trying to squeeze a clearly embarrassed Cesc into a Barca shirt post-word cup. So we earned a point late on, but for all the celebrating we did in the pub, it still felt a bit empty.

Okay, we've proven that this continues to be a team with a flair for the dramatic, seeming to relish waiting until the last minute to score an equalizer or winner. In this case however, it was embarrassing. Liverpool had so much of the second half possession that it was us who looked like we had 10 men. Our passing was awful, our runs were mistimed, our defense was sloppy; in short, everything we did on the pitch after haltime was done pretty poorly.

But what's done is done. Our opponents in our home opener, Blackpool, shocked the world by dismantling Wigan. Okay, it's not as though Wigan are worldbeaters themselves, but one must remember that Blackpool were projected by many to be as poor in the Premier League this season as Derby County were in 2007-2008. A 4-0 win wasn't exactly on the cards for them against anyone. We've got to hope that their win was more to do with Wigan being piss-poor than it does with Ian Holloway finding a performance-enhancing drug that grants the user not only strength and stamina but footballing ability. As mad as that man is (and he's quite mad, I assure you), it's not an impossibility. I'm actually afraid that I might have given him an idea to pursue... rats. Additionally, Arsenal will be without Samir Nasri, who underwent minor surgery on his knee that will put him out for a month. It's a bad blow to us, but it could be worse. After all, we have 2 pretty good replacements in substitutes like Tom Rosicky and Cesc Fabregas. I'm sad for Sammy, but not nearly as worried about this as I am about our defense.

The big news around Arsenal--relax, it's not a new signing--is the unveiling of the Highbury Clock inside Emirates Stadium. Many are saying they don't approve of this, which I don't understand. It's hearkening back to Arsenal's roots, continuing the "Arsenalisation" of the stadium, and in my opinion that is a good thing. Per my earlier comments, I do think we should focus some more of the club's resources in other areas *COUGHONTHEPITCHCOUGHCOUGH*, but this is done and should be celebrated. Well done.

Speaking of celebrating, we can all rejoice that our players will no longer come out to the dreaded "The Wonder of You" by Elvis, which has been roundly jeered by anyone with taste since its inception. Elvis has, indeed, left the building. Instead, this is being replaced by Fatboy Slim's "Right Here, Right Now," and I must say I approve. We used to use it sometimes at Highbury, and that album was out at a time when things were very good for Arsenal. Not that it matters what replaced Elvis; the important thing was stopping that song before it became an embarassing tradition. Like cheering for sp*rs.

And, speaking of the scum, William Gallas seems to have found another home where his own fans will hate him. Gallas is reportedly having a medical at Shite Hart Lane today, meaning that he'll pull off a rare trifecta of being hated by every team he's played for: Chelsea fans hate him for coming to Arsenal, Arsenal fans hate him for going to the scum, and for sitting down in a sulk at Birmingham, and for being a shit captain, and for constantly mouthing off in the press, and for constantly being hurt, and for many other reasons, and tottnumb supporters will hate him because he's come from Arsenal. The rarely seen triple-FAIL. Well done, William. Break a leg out there. Your own.

Arsenal (what's left of us) host Blackpool on Saturday morning. It remains to be seen how many Gooners are at Blind Pig for a match against a lacklustre opponent; nonetheless you are all expected to sing, and anyone who doesn't, Kurt is going to taser, so you have all been given fair warning. I, unfortunately, will be driving down to North Carolina's Outer Banks to lounge on the beach, fish, drink grain alcohol, and probably blow things up, so I will be incommunicado, and will have to watch a replay of the match on Sunday. Fingers crossed it's Almunia for us again, because even if he gets beaten near-post, it's still better than Fabianski chucking the ball into our net and falling over. I don't know... let's hear it in the comments section, who would you rather have in there? Remember, this is from who's available, no wishful thinking or "Joe Hart" answers.

Until next time, you stay classy, mon arsamis.