пятница, 29 июля 2016 г.

SCORE: Robin's last laugh as Rovers shame game

He's Persie crower
From Martin Samuel at Millennium Stadium
JUSTICE was done in Cardiff.
That Arsenal's Robin van Persie should score two delightful goals in the last 10 minutes before ending the game with his mouth distorted and his shirt stained with blood just about summed it up.
Andy Todd was the worst offender as Blackburn showcased a vibrant repertoire of football's darkest arts, systematically fouling Arsenal as if by rote while praying on the ineptitude of referee Steve Dunn, who missed at least three serious assaults, including the final attempt at crude dentistry which shamed Rovers and their respected manager Mark Hughes.
By the end, there were four Blackburn players in Dunn's book — Garry Flitcroft, David Thompson, Aaron Mokoena and Lucas Neill — while Paul Dickov, Robbie Savage and certainly Todd can be considered highly fortunate.
Dunn committed the most infuriating sin of the modern official, punishing the menial, while missing the criminal.
So he spotted Ashley Cole kicking the ball away, and duly recorded his name, but did not see late and high tackles by Dickov and Savage or Todd's forearm smash.
Fortunately, no lasting harm was done and Arsenal's progress to a fourth FA Cup final in five years is to be celebrated even if Blackburn's performance was so depressingly negative it left a stain on the afternoon.
The club is the only one of four semi-finalists not to sell its ticket allocation — the Millennium Stadium was a disappointing 20,000 below capacity yesterday — and the way Hughes sent his team out might explain why.
Who would want to watch this every week?
Certainly nobody in thrall to the beautiful game.
Any eye candy was the work of Arsenal, and more specifically Van Persie, whose appearance as a late substitute increased the margin of victory to a level that properly reflected the distance between the teams.
It would have been a travesty had Arsenal won by a first-half goal from Robert Pires, considering Jens Lehmann barely had a save to make, while Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel remained a strong contender for man of the match, whatever the margin of defeat.
So when Van Persie arrived to lift the match above the mundane — this was hardly vintage Arsenal and a more ambitious team than Blackburn might have given them a better game, with Thierry Henry and Sol Campbell missing — nobody begrudged the young man his glory. Except Todd.
After Van Persie had scored his second, a fantastic first-time shot from a cross by Pires, Todd continued to track back in his wake, despite the ball already finding the net.
As the Dutchman wheeled away to celebrate, Todd bent his arm and smashed an elbow into his face.
His claim that this was an accidental collision was not supported by TV evidence, which showed him jumping into the moment of contact as if to garner extra force.
It was a horrible incident, the worst of many.
History is hardly on Todd's side, either.
This is a player ditched by Bolton for an attack on coach Phil Brown and by Charlton after a fight with his team-mate Dean Kiely.
How Hughes can be bothered to defend his captain, let alone give him the honour of leading his team, is a mystery.
Having said that, how Hughes condoned the football Blackburn played yesterday is also one for the sages.
It seemed to parade all of his most confrontational traits as a player, minus the extraordinary talent that made the extremes palatable.
Also, Hughes was always more kicked against than kicking.
If he occasionally gave a defender one back, he could invariably show a leg full of bruises as mitigation.
Yesterday, Blackburn started it, finished it and touched all bases in between.
Since Manchester United knocked Arsenal out of their stride by getting physical earlier in the season, the word has clearly gone out that Arsene Wenger's men can be intimidated.
Unfortunately, Blackburn had United's iron fist but not their velvet glove, trying to bully Arsenal into submission, yet lacking the wit to beat them.
Arsenal have lost just one FA Cup tie in four seasons and this never looked likely to be the second.
Without Friedel, the game would have been over before half-time.
He made an outstanding save from Jose Reyes in the 38th minute, before frustrating Pires from the rebound.
It was a short stay of execution though and, four minutes later, Arsenal went ahead.
Patrick Vieira, the prime target for Blackburn's bruisers in the first half, found Kolo Toure and he teased the ball niftily before squaring a perfect pass for
Pires to tap into the net at the far post.
The onslaught continued after half-time, Pires and Vieira combining before Friedel produced another great save to thwart Gilberto in the 53rd minute.
He was equal to a low strike from Cesc Fabregas, too, even if Dunn undersold his fingertip contribution by awarding a goal-kick, not a corner.
Then, with eight minutes remaining, Wenger introduced Van Persie and Arsenal got the margin of victory they deserved.
In the 86th minute, he seized on a pass from fellow substitute Jeremie Aliadiere — his first touch, actually — rounding Blackburn defenders Todd and Lucas Neill before placing the ball smartly past Friedel.
Perhaps that humiliation contributed to what Todd did next — even so, it offers no justification.
If Blackburn thought a conservative game-plan — the dreaded 4-5-1 formation — and brute force was the way to subdue Arsenal, they were wrong.
If Todd thinks physical assault is payback for Van Persie's audacious talent, he must be dissuaded. Lovers of football should this morning be anticipating two things: Seeing much more of Arsenal in May and a whole lot less of thugs like Todd.

четверг, 28 июля 2016 г.

Почитатель таланта Майкла Мура

Я не большой почитатель таланта Майкла Мура, но тут он все очень недурно разложил.
Признаюсь, мне стало очень интересно, как воспримет "трамп-прививку" Америка. Накануне брекзита мне неоднократно думалось о том, как было бы любопытно, если бы британцы попробовали выскочить из ЕС. Печальные последствия были очевидны, но это как в детстве смотреть на открытую рану, не отводя глаз: больно, но насколько же больно?
Теперь мне так же интересно, что будет происходить с Америкой, реши она проголосовать за Трампа. И особенно два аспекта любопытны: первый - алгоритмы поведения американцев в ответ на изменяющуюся реальность; и второй - алгоритмы поведения мировых политической и общественной элит.