About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

More Soviet than Samba

Disappointing night at the Emirates yesterday where much fancied Shaktar Donetsk flattered to deceive.  The Ukrainian club with its origins in the mining industry have pretensions to join the European elite, with a new stadium set to host the Euro 2012 final and a host of Brazilian imports.  Following their UEFA Cup win in 2009, they seem to have eclipsed their main rivals Dynamo Kiev, and with an impressive run of form behind them this game was touted as one to decide the group.
Unfortunately Donetsk's performance owed more to the inefficiencies of the old Soviet regime that used to govern the Ukraine than the silky soccer samba skills of most of their players.  They started with a clear plan to frustrate Arsenal with the outcome of playing football in and around their penalty area then knocking long balls into the right and left channels in an attempt to exploit the space behind the Gunners' full backs who had been sucked into the attack.  This was in contrast to their performance at Craven Cottage earlier in the year when they played Fulham off the park at times.
This may have worked as Arsenal found it hard to create an opening until the Donetsk goalkeeper dropped the ball on the line at the feet of Alex Song.  This forced Donetsk on the attack, and Arsenal took advantage to double their lead through Sami Nasri before half time.  In the second half the game was soon all over following a mysterious penalty converted by Cesc Fabregas, a virtuoso goal from the young player of the season so far Jack Wilshere, and a fifth from an offside looking Marouane Chamakh.  Only then did the Ukrainian side show glimpses of their flair, the end product being a fine goal from ex Gunner Eduardo.

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