Monday, April 6, 2009

Arsenal and the Yellow Submarine

Can't wait to get back to Champion's League action against Villareal in Spain tomorrow.
A win would put us comfortably in the driver's seat for the return at the Emirates next week.
We're still missing Van Persie and Eduardo to injuries and Arshavin isn't allowed to play because he already appeared in the tournament with Zenit.
But Fabregas and Adebayor are clearly back and Nasri should be good to go as well.

I took my three-and-a half-year-old son to the local pub to watch the return of Fabregas on Saturday morning. Before you go and dial Child Protective Services, it's a respectable Irish establishment and they even have a kid's menu. I thought we might get a half out of it, because it's hard to keep a three-year-old interested in anything for more than twenty minutes, but we stayed for the entire hour and a half (if you're wondering, the secret ingredient is crayons). I have to say It's really refreshing to actually sit and watch on a proper screen in English, instead of constantly scrambling to find a working video stream on the laptop.

It was truly a remarkable return for both Fabregas and Adebayor–with Fabregas feeding Adebayor for both goals in a 2-0 victory over Man City. I don't remember either of them looking this good before they went down. It doesn't hurt that the supporting cast is finally hitting their stride. Denilson, Song, and Toure are all looking much sturdier, adding to the always reliable Sagna and surprisingly cool Gallas. 

And I have to say it, we need Adebayor more now, than ever. I've given the guy lots of flack this season, but he more than earned his keep Saturday. Perhaps Bendtner's hard work will pay off after all, in the form of a hungry Adebayor.

It was a rough day for Walcott–he was kicked about like a rag doll and ended the day with a huge ice pack on his knee. At one point I leaped out of my seat and screamed "They're going to kill him!" and my son dropped his crayons and hid beneath the table (just kidding). But it was that kind of day for poor Theo. I hope he can stay healthy long enough to find the goal again. The good news is, he's apparently well enough to play tomorrow.

Tomorrow–Champion's League.
It's like a big chummy reunion, the return of some old friends–former Arsenal squad man Pascal Cygan, who I honestly never paid much mind to, and more notably the great Robert Pires. No true Arsenal fan can dislike Pires. The Pires and Henry show was one of the greatest in football, treating us along the way to an entire undefeated season–that's 38 matches without a single loss. And what do they do for an encore? The team goes all the way to the Champion's League Finals in Paris.

That was over three years ago.
Arsenal was still at Highbury and my son was banging around our house (and shins) in his little walker.

To get to Paris, Arsenal first had to get by Villareal in the semi-finals.
Crazy Jens Lehman saved a penalty kick in the last minutes of the game to sink the submarine and advance Arsenal to the Championship game against Barcelona where, in a trademark moment of madness, he would single-handedly undo all his good work by getting himself thrown out of the game after only 18 minutes of play. Forced into a tactical move, Arsene sacrificed Pires to bring on Almunia, and Pires never forgave him for it.

That was it.
That's the Pires backstabbing backstory–an extra dash of drama behind the scenes tomorrow as we face off against our old friend.
You can't miss him, he'll be wearing bright yellow.

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