The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

A decent Sunday

I haven’t posted much over the last few weeks, as I’ve been some combination of ridiculously busy and ridiculously lazy. Also, the recent play of Arsenal and the Montreal Canadiens has been thoroughly depressing. Brendan has covered the Arsenal situation at length, and the Canadiens’ struggles have been inexplicable (other than the horrific thought that they’ve just quit on Carbonneau).

With that in mind, Sunday was a good day in that both teams ended the day with the odd occurrence of having placed the object into the opponent’s net on more occasions than it entered theirs. What a fucking concept.

Arsenal’s win was easily the prettier of the two. They were matched in the 5th round of the FA Cup against a game Burnley side, who sportingly tried to play football against us. My first thought was that they would have unfortunately been better off parking the bus against us, but they don’t really have the personnel to. Like WBA last season, they are the 1st Division version of a pass-and-move side. I hope they go up, but then again they’d probably just have the season that WBA are having right now. Sad, sad, sad. The fact that sides like that get punished for trying while Bolton and Stoke survive proves that the Football Gods have a sick sense of humor.

Anyway, it was a little dodgy in the early going, but Carlos Vela’s exquisite nutmeg of Clark Carlisle (a very good 1st Division defender) and even more audacious chip over Jensen (who was excellent, and didn’t deserve to concede three) opened the floodgates. Eduardo decided to play Can You Top This? by latching on to the wonderful up-and-over by Alex Song – who was the Man of the Match in this humble scribe’s opinion – and hammering it into the top corner with a ridiculous volley with the outside of his foot. No one on earth was stopping that.

And then…and then Song backheeled to EMMANUEL EBOUE, who fired home a scorcher into the bottom corner. In other news, the Hell Hockey League has now begun operations.

So, 3-0 it was then, and it could have been more were it not for some wasteful finishing. Still, I’ll take it, and a winnable Quarterfinal tie against Hull City should take us through to the semifinals against Chelsea. It seems like a tough semi on paper, but I would MUCH rather see them than Manchester United at this stage – anything can happen at Wembley, but I’d prefer that maxim to hold true with an Everton upset to give us a better chance of actually winning the thing. The only way we beat United in the final – if that occurs – is if they decide to take it less seriously due to Champions League commitments. Their first 11 will likely sweep us aside on current form, but if they fuck around with Welbeck and that other fetus they had play the last one, we’ll murder them.

Anyway, I digress. The Canadiens had a much uglier time of it, surviving a penalty-marred affair (just call it The Wrath of Kerry Fraser) to beat the red-hot Stars 3-1 in Dallas. Given how poor the Habs have been lately, and the fact that Ribiero kills us along with Steve Begin having something to prove, I feared an ass-kicking of the highest order. However, Carey Price was spectacular for the second straight game, and the PK showed up to play…good thing too, as there were multiple 5-on-3s to kill off. Die in a fire, Fraser.

Still, I am much more willing to believe that Sunday was not a false dawn for Arsenal than I am for the Canadiens. The returns of Eduardo, Walcott and most importantly Fabregas – combined with some consistently-good performances from Song lately – married with a weak upcoming schedule gives me some measure of hope. No, we won’t win the title…but I am going on record by saying that 4th is easily doable, and a strong run could see us seriously worry Liverpool for 3rd. Sadly, Guus Hiddink’s arrival takes 2nd out of play, but I think that’s the only reason Chelsea will stay there.

On the other hand, the Habs only seem to win lately when the goalies steal one. Price and Jaro Halak have been wonderful in the last two weeks or so, but they can only do so much. When a professional hockey team only has FIVE HITS in an entire game against a bunch of bottom feeders like Atlanta, that tells you all you need to know, doesn’t it? This team is fucking soft. S-O-F-T. Please don’t interpret that as me channeling Don Cherry – actually some of the Euro guys like Tommy Plekanec and Saku Koivu are the ones who are actually trying. When a guy like Mike Komisarek, who is built like a Sherman tank, goes through an entire stretch of games with ZERO HITS…something is wrong. Very, very wrong. The fact that Patrice Brisebois logs serious minutes on the blueline…the fact that we have a coach who puts out a plugger like Glen Metropolit on a 5-on-3 PP, the fact that we’ve depended on a 39-year old Mathieu Schneider to revitalize the PP, the fact that we blow defensive coverages as I’ve ranted about before…like I said, first-round playoff victim. New Jersey or Philadelphia is going to rape-and-pillage us…Happy Centennial!

Sigh. Now I’ve managed to depress myself…should have just enjoyed the win while I could.

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March 9, 2009 - Posted by | Montreal Canadiens, The Arsenal

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