April 24, 2005

Match of the Season.: So it comes down to this. EPL leaders Chelsea kicked the ball firmly into 2nd-placed Arsenal's court with yesterday's 3-1 London derby defeat of Fulham. Tomorrow's Arsenal v Spurs match (another London derby) may very well decide the championship, with three full weeks of matches remaining. If Arsenal fail to win. Who's going to watch this live, if, like me, this match is in the middle of your workday? With Henry and Ljungberg out, doesn't it look more likely Spurs can at least pull off a draw, and gift Chelsea their first EPL title? Who will you be rooting for?

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 07:13 PM - 21 comments

I'll be rooting for Arsenal, if only to keep Chelsea on their toes, and distracted from their Champions League semis with Liverpool. Also, I have to figure out if there's a Brit pub close to work where I can get a live feed and some lunch. I have an English colleague who's a Gunners fan, so I may be in luck. Otherwise, it'll be live text commentary via Guardian.com or Soccernet, while I scarf down cafe food in my cube.

posted by worldcup2002 at 07:17 PM on April 24, 2005

I'm more pissed about the Chelsea-Liverpool match happening at lunch time and my boss not being a fan of telecommuting.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:43 PM on April 24, 2005

I'll be watching down our local, but then it's in the evening for me. Some of my best mates are Arsenal fans, so I'll be supporting the Gooners.

posted by squealy at 07:09 AM on April 25, 2005

I don't guess it will suprise anyone who I'll be pulling for this afternoon. Go Gunners! (If only to make Chelsea win it themselves.)

posted by trox at 08:08 AM on April 25, 2005

I won't be watching today's match till the rebroadcast at 7pm Central... So i won't be visiting Sportsfilter during that time... I hope Arsenal win 9-0...

posted by StarFucker at 08:27 AM on April 25, 2005

ARSENAL! May not have a real chance at top of the table, but second has its benefits, and keeping ManU out of second is nice too.

posted by scully at 09:04 AM on April 25, 2005

keeping ManU out of second is nice too. Ah yes, yes indeed.

posted by worldcup2002 at 10:14 AM on April 25, 2005

I really have to see if I can weasel a 2 hour lunch Wednesday to see this game...

posted by sauril at 01:52 PM on April 25, 2005

It was a good game. I'll say no more though for those of you watching delayed coverage.

posted by squealy at 05:46 PM on April 25, 2005

Reyes is awesome...

posted by StarFucker at 04:13 PM on April 26, 2005

Reyes has quality but he play acts like a little bitch. He obviously idolizes Pires. "There go Arsenal....ALWAYS CHEATING!"

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 04:27 PM on April 26, 2005

What are you talking about?

posted by StarFucker at 07:30 PM on April 26, 2005

If you're asking me the question, I'm talking about Arsenal...Pires, Reyes, Ljungberg and sometimes Cole...I could go on...are the whiniest diving cheaters in the Premier League...and Wenger never sees any of it. He's always scratching his ass or complaining how rough the pitches are to see anything. As for the "There go Arsenal....ALWAYS CHEATING!"...that's probably the most popular chant in England. They played well against Tottenham and didn't resort to too much flopping around like a fish to win the game. It's actually refreshing to see them stand up and play because they're a good team and don't need to jump for cover whenever an opponent farts.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 08:47 PM on April 26, 2005

I wouldn't put Reyes in that category at all... But i agree about Pires and Cole... Its a shame such talented players resort to shit like that...

posted by StarFucker at 08:34 AM on April 27, 2005

That's fair enough. I have a friend in Houston who has tried to shove Arsenal down my throat for 5 years and it's become nearly impossible for me to watch them objectively now. He's tried to convert me from being a 30+ year United fan (IT'S GEORGE BEST'S FAULT!!!) and all he's accomplished is me despising his gooners. Anyway...oh...in this comment "They played well against Tottenham and didn't resort to too much flopping around" I forgot about Viera going down in the box without being touched. Typical. See? I can't be objective!

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 09:11 AM on April 27, 2005

Colour me amused at a United fan pointing fingers, well, anywhere when it comes to diving. As a team that boasts both Ronaldho's frail sense of balance and the horse-faced cheat himself, RvN, United and their fans are, sadly, prohibited from comment. Having said which, if Fergie could continue to call referees "weak" when they send off two of his players I'd appreciate it, as I need the laugh. In other news, the chant is actually, "Same old Arsenal... Always cheating."

posted by Mr Bismarck at 09:16 AM on April 29, 2005

Thanks for the correction on the chant, Mr. Bismark. It's a bit hard to hear it clearly on the television. I hope your Ipswich get their promotion. I've always like Joe Royle and I actually saw Ipswich play Blackpool (I think) in the summer of '74 when I was touring England with a Texas team. I believe they were playing a summer friendly...a warm-up to the season maybe? We also saw the Charity Shield at Wembley that year between Liverpool and Leeds...the game Billy Bremner and Kevin Keegan got red-carded for a little toe-to-toe. What an experience...what an atmosphere!

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 09:29 PM on April 29, 2005

No problem - it's hard to work out chants when the TV stations seem to "fuzz" the sound a bit, so that you aren't drenched in the obscenties that a lot of the songs contain. The "Same old Arsenal..." thing is a bit cheap too, but had to be knocked up in a hurry when "boring, boring Arsenal" didn't really fit any more, on a team with Henry, Pires, Ljungberg, Bergkamp...

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:21 AM on May 01, 2005

Yes, I knew about the "boring, boring Arsenal" chant along with 1 nil to the Arsenal (that wasn't a chant though, was it?) but no, they can't be called boring anymore. Which brings up another question: who thinks Chelsea is boring? Personally, I do. They remind me of the Liverpool teams of the last few years except they're more athletic and have a much better goalkeeper. What is it they have...23 clean sheets in the league? Amazing. But to me, they're football just isn't very easy on the eyes. Last year's Arsenal, as much as I depise them, were an amazing team to watch and United's treble winners from '99 weren't hard to watch either...totally different styles but you knew when you tuned in you were going to see football the way it's meant to be played.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 09:31 AM on May 01, 2005

Mourinho has only had one season to work with the team though - breathtaking attacking play comes from a mixture of talent and understanding, which is why you see it in bursts from Cheslea (see the second leg against Barcelona). Jose has taken a team that doesn't have much experience together and won the title with them in his first year. You can't do that by trying to score one more than the opposition and ignoring defence. Mourinho says that Claude Makelele is his player of the season and it's with good reason if you watch them play. Makelele's reading of the game is outstanding and, playing just in front of the back four, he acts as an excellent shield, not just in front of the defence but also, importantly, by dropping in behind defenders too. Madrid made a crucial mistake when they let Makelele go. With five playing pretty flat at the back, in front of an at-times outstanding goalkeeper, you're going to get the impression that Chelsea are dull, or "boring", when, in fact, they've scored 67 goals so far, in 35 games. A ratio that's comparable to Arsenal, (74/34), and much in excess of Man U (50/34). This despite indifferent showings from Didier Drogba, a different role for Eidur Godjohnsen and not much else from any other striker. I think the apparent ease with which they've won the title, combined with Jose's, shall we say, different attitude, (when compared with Messrs Wenger and Ferguson), has left the press, and others, looking for stories and all there is to say is "Ahh, well, they didn't score much, early on." Maybe when Jose's had another off-season with the team and another root about in the Chelsea purse for new toys, (hello Rio, Steevie, Michael and others), we could see a really scary Chelsea team.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:12 AM on May 01, 2005

The interesting thing to me about the Blues this season is the lack of an identifiable star striker. There are only four listed by the EPL Fantasy site: Drogba (missed a chunk of games injured), Gudjohnsen (love him but he isn't at the top of anyone's list), Kezman (such a disappointment he's almost out the door back to PSV) and Forsell (on loan/injured the entire season). Robben and Cole generally play on the attack but neither has reached double digits in goals. So given that Mourinho claims Makalele is his MVP, Lampard the leading scorer and offensive driver, and that they have even more good ones, Scott Parker aside (Sounness wants him?), I'm curious as to why the top acquisition target is someone for central midfield. Forget the Steven Gerrard speculation, apparently they're spending GBP10M to acquire a 22 year old from River Plate. Although I do see today's papers are running rumors of presumably linked transactions: Eto'o to Chelsea for GBP30M and Thierry Henry to Barca for the same sum.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:49 PM on May 01, 2005

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