All Balls Don’t Bounce

Completely Random Sports Non Sequiturs From A Completely Random Hip Hop Head

Posts Tagged ‘portsmouth’

Two Games, Ten Goals, Six Points

Posted by hiphopmama on August 23, 2009

arsenal-portsmouth

Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth
1-0 Diaby, 18′
2-0 Diaby, 21′
2-1 Kaboul, 37′
3-1 Gallas, 51′
4-1 Ramsey, 68′

That’s a pretty good return on the first two matches of the season, no? Arsene shuffled the line-up a bit, but the result was essentially the same. Sagna and Clichy were replaced by Eboue and Gibbs at left and right back, respectively, and Abou Diaby started in place of Alex Song in the midfield. Eduardo also joined the front line instead of Nicklas Bendtner, who did see a few minutes as a sub. The formation wasn’t as clear a 4-3-3 as it was in the previous games, seeming to slip into more of the 4-4-2 we’re used to seeing, but the movement always looked good and everything was fluid so it doesn’t really matter.

Diaby played somewhat of a rangy role, popping up here and there and making himself very dangerous for the Portsmouth defense. He scored back-to-back goals in the span of a few minutes to put Arsenal 2-0 up, the first on a beautiful move by Eduardo to get past his defender before playing the square ball back to Diaby. Fabregas and Eboue provided the set-up for his second coming down the right flank instead of the left this time. Kaboul’s header pulled Portsmouth within a goal, and Pompey made it a rather nervy affair for a while, raising old questions about Arsenal’s back line. Luckily, Gallas showed up for another goal off a fortuitous bounce to restore the two-goal advantage. An Arshavin free kick pinballed its way around the box before banging off Gallas not once, but twice, and heading for the back of the net. Second-half substitute Aaron Ramsey got in on the action as well, getting in behind the Portsmouth defense and poking one past David James for the Gunners’ fourth.

This was a slightly more unsettling match than the scoreline indicates, at least in parts. After Portsmouth got their goal, Arsenal looked like they might crack and allow Pompey to even the match. Fortunately, they played just tight enough to keep out another goal and then allowed their lovely possession football to salt away the match. I was a tad concerned when Fabregas didn’t start the second half, presumably because of a lingering hamstring issue and also perhaps in preparation for the midweek game against Celtic. It was nothing to worry about in this game, because Ramsey filled in nicely, not only with the goal but also in creative link-up play through the midfield. He’s nowhere near the level of his captain, but at 18 he has plenty of time to work up to that high standard. And what can you say about Gallas? Three goals in three games for the center back? ‘Tis better to be lucky than good, I suppose, although Gallas has looked both this season: good at the back, and lucky in front of goal. I’ll take the combination any day.

One of the more refreshing aspects of this win was the continued high quality of play with the different line-up. There weren’t any wholesale changes, but with four new players in the starting 11 I wondered whether or not the free-flowing chemistry would be the same. It was, and the goals came just as easily. I still have some concerns about the occasional shakiness of the defense, but as long as they can keep the goals pouring in, the possession game should help in that respect. Arshavin is right, though, that squad depth will be important if Arsenal want to contend for the title. Because as amazing as they’ve looked so far – easily as good or better than any other team in the Prem – their continued success comes with a big “if” pertaining to their ability to remain healthy. The season is long and arduous, so it’s not really a question of “if” as “when” the injuries will come. How the team deals with them will determine its fate, and at the moment there isn’t exactly a wealth of riches on the bench, especially backing up the defensive portion of the pitch. But with just a week left till the transfer window closes and the team rolling, I don’t foresee any new additions to the squad. So fingers crossed all around that this group can stay healthy and continue to get the job done.

Of course, as I write this, I’m reading about Fabregas’ hamstring injury possibly keeping him out for the next three weeks, effectively ruling him out for the Manchester United match next weekend. I’m not even going to comment. Just get well, Cesc.

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Em’s Bits and Bites

Posted by hiphopmama on April 22, 2009

Too lazy to write a real post (or form a full sentence, apparently), so I’m going with bullet points. Feel free to appreciate my intellect at an appropriately discounted rate.

  • Surprise, surprise: Derrick Rose was named Rookie of the Year for the 2008/09 season. Not that anyone didn’t see this coming, but the official word is always nice. He was a shoe-in, to be honest, mostly because of the composure he showed at the toughest position in basketball – point guard. OJ Mayo had a great year as a pure scorer at the two-guard spot, but that doesn’t come close to measuring up to the load Rose had to shoulder in running his team’s offense and managing the flow of the game. Plus he just looks so cool out there doing what he does. He’s got the less pompous version of Phil Jackson’s expressionless face. Through the good, bad, and ugly, Rose is unfazed, at least outwardly, which must give the team that follows his lead an assured sense of confidence in tight situations. Case in point games one and two of the Boston series. To quote my loquacious husband on that one: Die Celtics die.
  • In another far from shocking decision, the Mavs’ Jason Terry was named Sixth Man of the Year. As usual with this award, it was handed out to a player who could just as easily be classified as a starter, but Cro-Magnon Man (AKA Mark Cuban) isn’t complaining. Terry is a great firebrand off the bench – when he actually starts the game there – and had a good season, averaging 19.6 points. Another almost-starter who could have been in consideration is the Lakers’ own Lamar Odom, but he started more than the eleven games Terry did due to Bynum’s injury. 
  • Lil Wayne is picking the Lakers to win it all this year. On his blog for ESPN, he also divulged that he’ll be rooting for the purple and gold in their quest for the title, and that “‘Bron Bron” has already been informed of his allegiances. Aww, how nice. ‘Bron Bron must appreciate his honesty. 
  • WTF is wrong with everyone but Manchester United in the Premier League? Does no one else really want to challenge for this thing? Fair enough, Liverpool and Chelsea were taking on class opposition in Arsenal and Everton, but all either could manage was a draw. Chelsea are much guiltier of letting one go in their 0-0 draw at home against Everton, where they really should have found a way to break the deadlock and stay on the pace. Liverpool at least gave a valiant effort against an inspired Arsenal side in a thrilling 4-4 draw at Anfield, but with Manyoo’s win against Portsmouth, United are now three points clear with that dreaded game in hand. They will need to fumble it away in order for Liverpool to catch them now. Boo.
  • Why didn’t GolTV show the Barcelona-Sevilla match today?? I had reminders everywhere to make sure I set it up to record, but the damn thing wasn’t even on. I need a Setanta channel for La Liga and Serie A. Can someone make this happen for me? Pretty please? I don’t waste enough time watching sports yet.
  • There is some great hip hop coming out right now. Aceyalone’s “The Lonely Ones,” The Grouch & Eligh’s “Say G&E!”, Cunninlynguists’ “Strange Journey Volume One,” Mr. Lif’s “I Heard It Today”… If you take it back a little further, you get Brother Ali’s “The Truth Is Here,” k’naan’s “Troubadour,” Drake’s “So Far Gone”… And we’re still waiting on new Busta Rhymes, Freeway, and (gulp) Eminem. I’m not expecting anything from that last one, but one or two good songs would be appreciated. Thank god we’re out of the first quarter of the year, when almost all hip hop life ceases. I can’t live without new music. Fuck MIMS – music is MY savior.

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Wednesday EPL Results

Posted by hiphopmama on October 30, 2008

Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham

  • 0-1 David Bentley, 13′
  • 1-1 Mikael Silvestre, 37′
  • 2-1 William Gallas, 46′
  • 3-1 Emmanuel Adebayor, 64′
  • 3-2 Darren Bent, 67′
  • 4-2 Robin Van Persie, 68′
  • 4-3 Jermaine Jenas, 89′
  • 4-4 Aaron Lennon, 90′

I didn’t get to see the match – along with devalued currency, one of the perils of living in the U.S. – but I can certainly say that it’s a disappointing result for the Gunners. There were plenty of storylines here, not the least of which was Harry Redknapp’s second game at the helm for Spurs, and he proved himself yet again with a high-stakes draw secured at the last second (almost literally) when Aaron Lennon put the ball in off the rebound after Modric’s shot bounced off the post. Plenty of yellow cards, mostly for Spurs (Diaby did get one at the very end), and hotly contested throughout. Or so I heard.

Hull 0-3 Chelsea

  • 0-1 Frank Lampard, 3′
  • 0-2 Nicolas Anelka, 50′
  • 0-3 Florent Malouda, 75′

Chelsea got back on the bandwagon after the loss against Liverpool over the weekend broke their undefeated streak at Stamford Bridge. The Blues burst Hull’s bubble, bringing the recently promoted team back down to earth and reminding them how hard it is to compete against this level of competition for a whole season. Hull were tied with Chelsea on points (behind in goal differential) going into the game, but Chelsea were light years ahead of them on the pitch. Lampard’s 3rd minute chip shot set the tone, and Chelsea never really let up. Hull got themselves some good chances to equalize, but the next score came from Anelka in the 50th minute as the half drew to a close. Malouda added the third in the 75th to seal the deal. Chelsea remain in second place, three points behind LIverpool, and Hull drop to fifth, tied at 20 points with Aston Villa and Man Utd.

Man Utd 2-0 West Ham

  • 1-0 Cristiano Ronaldo, 14′
  • 2-0 Cristiano Ronaldo, 30′

Liverpool 1-0 Portsmouth

  • 1-0 Steven Gerrard, 75′ pen

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Carling Cup Surprises

Posted by hiphopmama on September 25, 2008

The biggies are all still alive (Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool), but Tuesday’s Carling Cup action saw a couple of big upsets, the most startling being Man City’s penalty shootout loss to League One team Brighton. All the goals came late in the game, with Fernandes Gelson netting the first in the 64th minute and Stephen Ireland scoring the last to tie it up in the 108th minute. Brighton ended up winning 5-3 on penalties when goalkeeper Michel Kuipers stopped Michael Ball’s spot kick and Matthew Richards nailed one past Kasper Schmeichel. 

Aston Villa were ousted by Championship side Queens Park Rangers (QPR) 1-0. Villa had a number of good chances, many off of play by the continual bright spot which is Ashley Young, but they were unable to convert, allowing QPR to secure victory on a 58th minute goal by Damion Stewart.

Elsewhere, Tottenham edged Newcastle 1-2, essentially kicking them while they were down, and Chelsea routed Portsmouth 0-4, handing Pompey its second wipeout defeat in as many games. Everton also got the boot at the hands of Blackburn, 1-0, as Martin Olsson and Robbie Fowler combined nicely, leading to Olsson’s first goal for Rovers.

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