Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal: Chelsea’s high line ripped to shreds in amazingly open game

October 29, 2011

“Chelsea had a clear weakness coming into the game – their defence plays high up the pitch and are prone to pace in behind – and Arsenal exploited it to great effect. Andre Villas-Boas brought Branislav Ivanovic into the side for David Luiz, who was poor at QPR. Jon Obi Mikel played rather than Raul Meireles in the holding role – the rest of the side was as expected. Arsene Wenger continued with Johan Djourou at right-back and Thomas Vermaelen was fit only for the bench. This was a game with plenty of chances and some terrible defending – Arsenal were better at exploiting the weaknesses of their opponent.” Zonal Marking

Gervinho comes into form to fit nicely into Arsène Wenger’s grand plan
“Arsenal fans have a lot to look forward too if Gervinho’s first man-of-the-match in the 3-1 win over Stoke City is anything to go by. Daniel Jeandupeux, the man responsible for bringing Gervinho to Ligue 1 at Le Mans, tells Sabotage Times that “if he continues to improve, he could become one of the very best players in the world — like Messi.” It’s certainly a bold statement to make but Gervinho has the capability to be explosive. Fans complaining about a lack of high-profile signings in the summer cannot but be moved to stand in anticipation when Gervinho runs with the ball – he’s the type of player who gets bums off seats. His goal and two assists come at the right time; he’s effectively where he should have been three games ago were he not suspended in his first game at the club. But he’s slowly adjusting and his improvement can help take the growing reliance off Robin van Persie.” Arsenal Column

Chelsea 3 – 5 Arsenal
“John Terry and Chelsea’s nightmare week was complete as his slip and a Robin van Persie hat-trick handed Arsenal an amazing victory in an absolute classic at Stamford Bridge. Terry looked set to enjoy some respite from the Football Association and police probes into allegations he racially abused QPR’s Anton Ferdinand when he gave the Blues a 2-1 half-time lead. But the Gunners staged a sensational second-half comeback to turn the game on its head and, though Juan Mata equalised at 3-3, Terry’s mistake allowed Van Persie to make it 4-3 before the Dutchman completed his treble in stoppage time.” ESPN

The Legend of Arsene Wenger
“If Arsene Wenger’s career was a kung fu movie, we would be in the part where the search is on for the villain who poisoned Arsene’s rice. Taking cues from the charismatic Frenchman, all eyes would be on the usual suspects, the media, referees, disloyal players, Roy Keane, Sam Allardyce, and the most obvious targets, those pin-stripe-suited figures throwing around Scrooge McDuck money for fun. But this film’s twist is that Arsene may have stubbornly poisoned his own rice.” Run of Play

Levante pulls off the impossible

October 29, 2011

“Raimon is the groundsman at Levante, a man who practically lives in the Ciutat de Valencia stadium and does everything from cut the grass to sweep the steps and paint the lines on the pitch. In a room under the stand he has, over the 24 years he has been at the club, constructed a mini-museum of all things Levante — including press cuttings and posters, shirts and photographs going back years. That is not all he does: under the stand he also collects old farm equipment — his other passion — and cooks. When Levante has a team meal, it sometimes hold it down there with the groundsman as chef.” SI

Homosexuality remains a taboo subject in German soccer circles

October 29, 2011

“Michael Sternkopf became the latest in an ever growing list of soccer personalities to go public with a very private matter this Tuesday. Not long ago, the 41-year-old general manager of Kickers Offenbach would probably have done anything in his powers to keep his secret out of the limelight. But German soccer’s attitude has changed to the point that the former Bayern Munich midfielder felt able to talk to the biggest tabloid Bild openly about his condition: he has checked into a clinic for treatment of burnout syndrome. ‘I’m not able to do my job at the moment,’ he told the newspaper.” SI