Month: April 2012

Jinxes and Fairy Tails

Last week Nadal ended his 10 month long trophy drought and a 7 match losing streak to Djokovic to win the Monte Carlo masters title. But more on that later.

When Chelsea beat Barcelona 1-0 in the first leg, a thought popped into my head that made me giggle uncontrollably. What if both Barcelona and Real Madrid don’t reach the finals?.. Ha Ha Ha .. right? Except that is exactly what ended up happening and what’s more … its even more funny in reality.

Everybody expected the Madrid-Bayern to be a close affair but most would have fancied Madrid pulling through to the final. But nobody fancied Chelsea fighting out a draw at Camp Nou. Atleast not the way they did it. It was a lot like a fairy tail.. it had all the ingredients.. an insurmountable task, made more difficult midway, a fighting climax and thrilling finish. And a fair amount of stupidity thrown in.

It was a very important tie and the cunt that is Terry felt that he should contribute something extra so he went ahead and kneed Sanchez without provocation or need or thought and hence got himself sent off, much to his dismay, Chelsea fans disbelief and the neutral observers amusement. Then he made a bigger joke of himself saying he just did it in self defense against whatever threat he imagined himself in. So Chelsea get reduced to 10 men and then 2 goals down.

Then Ramires scored a stunning goal which I thought was very stunning made all the more stunning by the way he scored and the conditions in which he scored. Needless to say that the Barca kids very really stunned and try hard as they did, they couldn’t manage another goal. And then Torres stepped up and justified his 50 Mil $ price tag and scored.. except he didn’t. The goal came in the 92nd minute by which time the game was truly over and the goal didn’t make any difference.

The world was so stunned after this match, that after Bayern Munich beat Madrid, nobody seemed surprised. It was a match at a level deserving a Champions League Semi-Final, both teams played very well and Bayern were deserving winners and will play the final at home.

A Chelsea very different from the Barca beating one visited us midweek and took a point home. It was a drab affair in which they played deep and sort off practiced at Emirates what they eventually did successfully at Camp Nou. Then we visited Stoke on the weekend and though we played better, the result was the same. I may have been disappointed at this but Newcastle, who are our closest rivals, lost to Wigan 4-0 so we have some gap over the next placed team.

At this point of time, as an Arsenal fan, I expect 3 things from the players. The need to finish third doesn’t need explaining, apart from that, I want Arsenal to score more that the 68 points that we managed last season and van Persie to take his premier league goals tally to 31 from 28 that he is at currently. 31 is the record for the most goals scored in a 38 game season by Ronaldo for Man U and some other chap for some other team. And I want our captain to beat that record. 3 goals in 2 games.. easy right?

So Nadal won the Monte Carlo masters 8th time in a row. People say it is impossible for anyone to score 100 centuries like Sachin or win 16 Major titles like Federer.. but how about 8 consecutive masters titles. I don’t think anyone will be able to match that either. The hallmark of Legendary sports-persons is that they have such insurmountable achievements attached to their names that make the common man wonder in amazement.. how the fuck did he do that?

Then almost as an afterthought, Nadal went ahead to win the Barcelona 500 series title for the 7th time. So the champ has retained 2 of the 3 titles he won last year with just the French open left. Djokovic pounced on the rest of the titles last year and that will make it extremely interesting this year because he would be under pressure to defend his titles and his ranking in the next few tournaments. It will be exciting to see if he is able to do that. Go Nadal!

Breaks

We lost to Wigan 2-1 yesterday. The number of parallels that can be drawn from the QPR game are disturbing. They played well, we played badly.. net result? We drop 3 points in the crucial race to the top 3. We are still 5 points clear of Tottenham but they have a game in hand. With 4 games to go, this is going to be tight.

We play Chelsea this Saturday. They play Barcelona on Wednesday and will be pretty stretched and leggy by the time they get to play us. But that doesn’t mean that we can relax and bank on their fatigue to make things easier for us. We need to react they way we did after losing to QPR.. by beating Chelsea soundly.

Arteta got himself injured yesterday and that is a big blow to our team as is an important part of our midfield. Wilshere has been ruled out for the season as well. These final 4 games are going to be tough for us.. we need to hang on and finish our season in style.

The Shanghai grand prix was won by Rosberg with Alonso finishing 9th and Massa still being out of points. So with 4 races gone, Alonso sits 3rd with 37 points trailing leader Hamilton by 8 points and Ferrari are 3rd in the table.. some 50 points behind McLaren.

Nadal will start the Monte Carlo masters campaign against Nieminen tomorrow.

5 to go..

Arsenal beat Wolves 3-0 on Wednesday and moved further clear of Tottenham in 3rd place. The match was effectively over in the 12th minute when Walcott scored the second goal but Benayuon really finished it off with a goal in the 69th minute. I can’t analyze the game much as I couldn’t see it live but it seemed to be a relaxed performance against the bottom placed team in the league.

With yesterdays goal, Walcott has scored 11 and provided assists for 12 this season. I think that is probably the most Walcott has scored in any one season. Encouraging signs I would say. Man City and Man U have scored 79 and 78 goals this season respectively and we managed 66. It’s 5 games to go so we can add another 10 to that total and say a team needs to score atleast 80 goals in the league to push for the title. It may not be enough but lets say we need 80 goals to win the league next season. 27 of the 66 we have scored so far in the league have come from van Persie and that is a fantastic statistic, but I don’t think van Persie could be burdened to score so many the next season too. Let’s say he scores 25 next season. We need another 55 to come from the rest of the team. Where do they come from?

Let’s say 15 come from all the defenders scoring from set pieces and counter’s and with a fit Andre Santos all season, it can be managed. Arteta has scored 4 this season and Song 2 if I am not mistaken. Supposing the midfielders including Ramsey, Arteta, Song, Ox, and Rosisky score 20 among them. That make a total of 60. We need 20 from the wingers. Who’s to score them? Gervinho has played well in patches this season but he hasn’t really pitched in with goals. We need him to put balls in the net for us to compete for various trophies. If Walcott and Gervinho can score 20 amongst them, we would be a terrific attacking force. Goals scored by any new striker we sign (Like Podolski- and I think this is a done deal if Goal.com is to be believed) will be a big help and really help us end our miserable dry run when it comes to trophies.

Interesting statistic: Man U has scored 78 goals and have accumulated 79 points this season. Man City scored 79 and their total points come to 74. We have scored 66 goals and are at 64 points, Tottenham scored 57 and are at 59 points, Chelsea scored 57 and have 56 points, Fulham have scored 43 and have 43 points, and at the other end of the table, Wigan have scored 31 goals and are at 31 points. There seems to be a direct correlation between the number of goals scored and total points on the table. Doesn’t say much.. just thought it was interesting.

That’s enough of football for one post. In other news, Nadal is playing the Clay court season opener at Monte Carlo and seems  to be physically fit at present. Good news is that Federer is not playing this tournament for reasons I don’t give a rat’s ass about, but the bad news is that Nadal will have to win this tournament to avoid dropping further points. He has already won Monte Carlo Masters 7 consecutive times and that in itself is a record. I am keeping my fingers crossed for this tournament as the results here may come to define the clay and grass court tournament that are coming up in the next 3 months.

Last but not the least: IPL. A match is probably going on as I type this but I haven’t bothered myself following these matches. I saw the Bangalore- Chennai tie yesterday and it was a great match but I don’t think I will be supporting any one team this IPL. That’s it for now.. obviously as you have come to the end of the post and don’t see a lot of lines below this. You are probably an idiot if you’ haven’t stopped reading this page and moved on to other things. Seriously.. get a life man… or women whoever you are. Just stop. Right NOW.

Resulto Vantastico!

We came up with  a fantastic performance on Sunday to beat Man City and go up 2 points clear of Tottenham. It was a game we dominated and won in the midfield although we had to wait till the 87th minute to grab the winning goal.

We pressured them throughout the match and missed some chances in the first half. I felt that Kompany and Lescott had a terrific game for Man City as they dealt with wave after wave of Arsenal pressure with calmness and confidence. Van Persie and Walcott were a little quiet in the game but Rosicky and Arteta played very well and dominated the midfield.

Tottenham drew their match against some team on Saturday and then lost to Norwich in comical fashion on Monday so that means we are 2 points on them with a game in hand. Chelsea drew another match which means they are pretty much out of the Championship spots race. We have Wolves and Wigan next who sit last and second last in the table so we should back ourselves to win these games. Then we play Chelsea at home which is our toughest remaining match. Luckily for us, Chelsea have a nightmarish schedule ahead in with they will play Tottenham in F.A Cup semi-final and then Barcelona before and after Arsenal so they will be stretched pretty tight.

Provided things carry on as they are, we should end the season in 3rd position and make things easier for ourselves when it will come to pre-season just after the Euro’s.

1 Year on..

It was this time last year that I started writing this blog. It had a different name then.. and a different purpose. A lot has happened this last year. Lots of changes took place and I think they are reflected in this blog.. in a way.

Prominent changes? Difficult to put into words. I was in campus then.. idling away time, doing zero productive work and still being content with life. The 3 months in Mangalore were amazing. The introduction of a schedule in my life really spurned me into striving to organize my time and do something productive. I feel as if I have done more in this 1 year than what I could do in 4.5 years in campus.

The other day I was sitting and trying to come up with the collage for Budh’s experiences. There are so few memories I have of that one year.. I don’t understand what i did that whole year. Or the subsequent 4 years. You forget things after 5 years of-course.. but still.. I feel that my life in campus went with the flow. I never made an attempt to force anything into my routine.. I was content to sit back and let the timeline flow.

Sometimes I look upon my campus life with regret. There were so many things I could have done. I had the potential and the resources. What was lacking was Motivation or perhaps I was just too lazy. But then I feel some other things too. These past few months I have started to miss the life in campus. I didn’t think I would miss that life at all. But I do. And that surprises me.

I could go on writing about this but I’d end up writing nothing at all. As I said.. difficult to put into words. One thing hasn’t changed though. Arsenal’s position.

I wrote a post on 11th Apr 2011. We were in second position back then but trailing Man U by 7 points with 7 games to go. Our next game was with Liverpool that we drew.. thanks to a goal by some dick in the 97th minute. And from then on we just collapsed and ended up finishing 4th. We find ourselves in pretty much the same position now.. in third place with 7 games to go. I sincerely hope we don’t finish our season the way we did last year.

Buzz Kill!

The recent euphoria and positivity over the 7 game winning streak spiraled out yesterday with the defeat at the hands of QPR. It was going to be a tough match for us but we needlessly made it tougher for ourselves. I thought both goals resulted from defensive mistakes, but I have to give credit to QPR, they played well in the midfield. We had most of the possession but they scored on the chances they got and were content to sit back when we pressed them.

It looked as if tactically we were a bit off to play Ramsey in winger position as he was playing in the midfield most of the time and wasn’t able to contribute up front. Vermaelen, our most consistent defender had a bad day yesterday. So we are still 3 points above Spurs but they have a game in hand and with Chelsea winning yesterday, they are breathing down our neck right now. A very tough game awaits us next Sunday when we take on Man City at home and a bad result there will break our momentum badly, and that is the last thing we need right now.

It was disappointment in Tennis too as Nadal retired from his semifinal match against Murray due to knee injury. He hates retiring from matches, which means that the injury is serious. He has said that he will look to participate in Monte Carlo and Barcelona but 2 weeks is a small duration and he needs to recover quickly if he intends to defend his Monte Carlo title.

Djokovic and Murray will be playing the final. I’m not really sure who I want to win this title. I’m increasingly becoming impressed by Djokovic these last few months and I would want him to retain the title, but I wouldn’t mind if he loses and drops some points and gives Nadal a chance for top ranking.