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.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The raw and the cooked

Arsenal edged a third successive win last night, beating Olympiakos 2-1 in an entertaining open game. With Arsenal fielding what could almost pass for a Carling Cup XI, such were their injury problems, this was quite predictable although the opening ten minutes suggested a smooth ride for the Gunners.
Mikel Arteta in particular was given the freedom of the midfield from the kick off and it was no surprise when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who already looks set to eclipse Theo Walcott, scored the opening goal. This delighted the person sitting next to me who must have been related to Harry Enfield's Arsenal loving kebab seller Stavros. The night was initially punctuated by his shouts of "come on Alex my boy" in a strong southern European accent, which soon became overshadowed with his interjections of "bloody hell Arsenal" as Olympiakos fought their way back into the game. Still after Arteta had cleared off the line, Andre Santos doubled the lead. 

The Greeks soon pulled one back when they exploited Arsenal's achilles heel, the set piece, David Fuster heading home from a short corner. The goal, coupled with some great fist pumping action from the away fans, was all the encouragement Olympiakos needed to go in search of an equaliser. They went close on more than one occasion and throughout the second half it seemed another goal for either team was likely but there was no further score.
For Arsenal three important points towards qualification for the knockout stages and some valuable experience for raw youngsters like Chamberlain and Frimpong. I'm yet to be convinced by any of the deadline day signings with Santos particularly disappointing from a defensive viewpoint, Dani Alves he ain't. Add in the likes of Tomas Rosicky, Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin all off their game to some degree and its clear that the Arsenal recovery has a long way to go yet.


Lenny Baryea said...

"Dani Alves he ain't"

You say that as if it's a bad thing. Dani Alves is loathsome; a compulsive cheat.

Steve said...

I was linking Santos to his compatriot's ability to play as winger and full back simultaneously. Like Kieran Gibbs the week before Santos looked good going forward but found wanting in his defensive role.