Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool: Deeper Problems than One Idiot Ivorian Fullback

Fact # 1: Emmanuel Eboue is an idiot, a moron, a total fucking mong.
Fact # 2: Emmanuel Eboue is, at times, a footballer capable of brilliant things.
Fact # 3: Emmanuel Eboue embodies Fact # 1 a FUCK of a lot more than he does Fact # 2.
Fact # 4: This result was not just Emmanuel Eboue's fault.

All of that said, is there not a single person in this world who encapsulates the many vagaries of Arsenal Football Club than the aforementioned Idiot Ivorian Fullback? Many times during this match, his direct running and all-too-rare-on-this-team drive to actually DO SOMETHING gave the Liverpool defense all sorts of problems. Then, he turns around and theatrically falls to feign an injury, giving the opposition acres of space to rampage down the flank in. Last week, he cuts inside and lashes a rasping shot into the top of the net. This week, he concedes one of the most brain-dead penalties in Arsenal history to drive the last nail into the coffin of the club's sixth season without a trophy.

If your blood pressure isn't already launched into orbit like the fucking Voyager, then consider that we were seconds away from being four points behind United instead of six. Beat them, and we're one point away...they draw one game, all of a sudden they're in a world of trouble. Now, we're six behind. Beat them, and they can still afford a draw and be quite comfortable.

In light of that, I suppose it'd be a dick move to mention Sunderland, Blackburn, Newcastle, West Brom, West Brom again, the League Cup Final, all three piss-poor results against lower league sides in the FA Cup, Braga, Shaktar, Tottenham and the season opener at Anfield, eh?

If you had told any Arsenal fan, anyone involved with the club, that our main rivals would be United on 69 measly points at this stage of the season...if you told them that we'd get into the League Cup final against BIRMINGHAM FUCKING CITY, they would tell you that the Double would be the only acceptable outcome in those circumstances. Never mind getting jobbed out the Champions League - that was a FIFA directive and you can't tell me otherwise. Never mind losing in the FA Cup at Old Trafford - there's no shame in a reverse when you travel there. But the League...the League Cup...this season is going to haunt my dreams for fucking years.

And in the midst of all this, we have our manager making a spectacle of himself, berating Kenny Dalglish for...err...I'm not sure what, exactly. We have our manager blaming the referee, Lucas diving and god knows what else when a much more suitable target can be seen in any reflective surface.

What a fucking miserable season.

Make no mistake - this game should have been killed off long before anyone took a shot from 12 yards. We were faced with a team with not much to play for, starting a fetus at right back (and another at left back when Fabio Aurelio was taken off injured), who later lost a key defender to a horrible injury (best of luck to Jamie Carragher for a speedy recovery) and who furthermore didn't have their captain and talisman.

All that, and we didn't beat this lot. At home. Are you fucking kidding me?

To their credit, Liverpool defended well when they had to. It's not like the Arsenal stretched them that often, though. Either it was the same old tippy-tappy crap that gave Liverpool time to pack the defenders in that ended with a badly-struck through-ball, or it was crosses for the smallish Robin van Persie that were easily repelled by the giant Scouser center-halves. Still, Laurent Koscielny was unlucky to hit the bar with a fabulous open header, and RVP absolutely should have scored towards the end of normal time when he was one-on-one with Jose Reina.

As for our opponents, they offered nothing going forward. A point would do them just fine, and in their shoes I would sit back and hope that Andy Carroll or Luis Suarez could nick something as well. Unfortunately for them, our center-halves corralled the former and the latter was absolute gash on the afternoon.

So the game ambled on, and once again the substitutions were cause for concern. Theo Walcott was below-par once again, but Wenger did not pull the trigger on the substitution until 72 minutes had elapsed. Why wait so long? Why give the substitute so little time to make an impact, and why waste precious minutes keeping the below-par player on the field? That was the sort of performance where he should have been off at halftime, although I suppose Andrei Arshavin's ephemeral afternoon makes it all a moot point. Next, Abou Diaby was taken off for Alex Song, which I didn't get at all. By this point, Carroll had been taken off the field for the anonymous Jonjo Shelvey, meaning their entire attack was an out-of-form Suarez on his own. What the fuck do we need a holding midfielder for in this scenario? Oh, and lest we forget, the perfectly OK Jack Wilshere was taken off at the same time as Walcott, with Nicklas Bendtner on in his place. At first, I thought: "Great, we're going 4-4-2 and we're going for it!". Instead, he was out on the wing (say it with me: NOT A FUCKING WINGER!), with crosses continuing to come in for the guy who isn't a tall center-forward. I just don't understand it.

It looked like 0-0 was nailed on, but the extra time from Carragher's injury saw Arsenal win what I frankly thought was a fairly dubious penalty. I don't think Fabregas dived, and I do think Spearing made some contact. I just don't think there was that much in it, but you can file it under "seen them given". Anyway, RVP stepped up and absolutely hammered an unstoppable spot-kick into the lower corner of the net, kicking off wild celebrations in the Pig. Surely, all three points were Arsenal's.

But, as ever, this team can find a way to drop points in unique and increasingly-soul-destroying ways. We all know what happened - some time was added on for the goal and RVP's celebration, and in that time Song committed a needless foul on the edge of our area. It took ages to get the wall back, and then once the kick was taken the danger was initially cleared. Lucas had his back to goal and was running away from it. Literally, the only thing Eboue had to do in this situation was NOTHING. Just don't move. Fucking stand there.

The fact of the matter was that Andre Marriner was gagging to give Liverpool a makeup call, and while Lucas' dive was risible and disgraceful, while there wasn't much in the way of contact at all, Eboue gave Marriner the excuse he needed. That was ALWAYS going to be called.

Credit to Dirk Kuyt - his penalty was well-taken. Credit also to Liverpool for showing the kind of fight and spirit that is just a rumor in the N5 these days...a sepia-toned museum piece that for some reason doesn't fit into this iteration of the club.

But, as I mentioned, this could have been done and dusted long before. Shit, the title should have been done and dusted by now. A few positives to end with, though. Wojciech Szezcsny made a successful return to the side, and is showing the kind of attitude that is sorely needed around these parts. Koscielny did well partnered with the returning Johan Djourou. And...umm...Wilshere was OK. That's what I've got.

The downsides: Everything else. Fabregas looked like he had Catalonia on his mind. Clichy was toilet once again. Nasri, Walcott and Arshavin were invisible. Our tall bloke was shunted off to the wing again.

Fuck this season. Hammering our overrated neighbors wouldn't make up for everything, but it'd be a bloody brilliant start.

The Modern Gooner Player Ratings:

Szezcsny 7, Clichy 5, Djourou 7, Koscielny 7 (MOTM), Eboue 5, Nasri 6, Wilshere 7 (Bendtner 6), Diaby 6 (Song 5), Fabregas 6, Walcott 5 (Arshavin 6), van Persie 6

On a lighter note, The Modern Gooner competition is still going on through Wednesday.

The Modern Gooner is running a competition sponsored by Classic Football Shirts, purveyors of excellent retro, vintage football shirts from throughout history for nearly as many teams as there are out there (and some that don’t even exist anymore, like Wimbledon). There are of course lots of sweet Arsenal tops if you look around the site.

All you have to do is provide the correct answer to the following question:

In the 1998-1999 season, Arsenal played in the Champions League for the first time. What was significant about their home matches?

Email your response to

The name of the winner will be drawn at random on Friday, the 22nd of April, and posted on the site, and that lucky Gooner will receive a £100 ($163) credit to Classic Football Shirts, which in this market is equivalent to something like $4000, so get your entries in (limit one per person). And of course, whether you win or not check out their site, their gear is really first-rate. Good luck, and may Dennis be with you.