1. The best things come in small packages – Arsenal’s transformation back into Arsenal continued as they breezed passed Porto to reach the European Cup Quarter Finals, making them the 413th English team to do so in the last 5 years. Nicklas Bendtner exorcized his demons from the weekend by skillfully converting two tap ins and a penalty to strike fear into the heart of Europe and repair his dented confidence – but probably not alter his slightly dopey expression. Looking more like someone who should be called Dean from Guilford, Bendtner’s salvo was overshadowed however by a positively Messi-esque goal from Samir Nasri. Despite Porto’s defence doing their very best impersonation of a line of traffic cones, Nasri’s goal was somewhat of a wonder one, skipping passed 4 players – one of them at least 3 times – before rifling in a shot off the 2nd post, as Ron Atkinson used to bafflingly call it. Nasri’s performance was the cherry on the cake for Arsenal, bettering a good performance from Andrei Arshavin – finally conclusively outed as someone who cuts his own hair – who despite having a hand in most of Arsenal’s most effective play, was also incredibly prone to lazily loosing possession, almost as if he was under the impression he was playing a line of traffic cones. His timing to release Eboue for Arsenal’s 4th was perfection though, confirming the suspicion that the best things at the Emirates come in small, badly groomed packages.
2. Lost in Translation – Dean from Guilford’s magnificent hat trick was insightfully declared the first scored by an Arsenal player since Thierry Henry by commentator Martin Tyler, despite Carlos Vela scoring one in 2008. Tyler was in an odd mood, attempting as he was to pronounce all of the Porto player’s names in a Portuguese accent. This sounded terrible, as English people trying to pronounce foreign names in their correct way always does, though it’s certainly more commendable than mangling them in a “Oi Pablo, I’ll have a serbezza and chips pear par vory mate, O brigade oh” sort of a way. Which is the kind of thing someone called Dean from Guilford would probably do. All this managed to highlight for me was how much Porto’s Cristian Rodrigeuz (or Crishtian Rodriguesshhh) didn’t look like someone called Crishtian Rodrigeusshhh, and should’ve been called Dave from Accounts. At many times during the game, the camera cut to Porto’s coach Jesualdo Ferreira, who throughout the entire proceedings had looked like a man who’s divorce papers had just come through, which stipulated his wife got everything, leaving him with just a big padded bomber jacket and a spoon. When Arsenal’s 5th went in and the camera cut back to him, Tyler encouraged us to “look at his face” as it apparently “told the whole story”, which it didn’t, because it had looked just like that for the entirety of the game, and most likely, the entirety of his life as well.
3. The way of the Gum – As the camera tore its self away from revealing the whole story of Jesualdo’s face to follow Bendtner off the pitch, I couldn’t help but notice that he was chewing gum. This led me to ponder the only two possible circumstances of this. One – That he’d been chewing it for a good 45 minutes and that it was surely now completely rank, hard and tasteless, and two – That if not, he must have been keeping it in his pants for the half, ready to retrieve it when he felt in the mood for a chew. Neither of these things struck me as very pleasant.
4. A Pirates life for me – Theo Walcott’s progress is coming along nicely. I’d give it only one more season before he’s fully accepted into the Gary Neville School of beard growing inability. However, given Theo’s age, he has a long way to go before he can truly claim to be rubbish at growing a beard, an art Neville has been perfecting well into his 30s. His attempt at a sort of Pirate theme shouldn’t go uncommended though. It’s a sterling effort. Good work young fella me lad, Arrrgh.
5. Armed Robben-ry – Quickly touching on the Bayern – Fiorentina game and Arjen Robben did his best to better Nasri’s effort with a storming winning goal that probably just edges it considering Porto’s woeful attempts at defending. Thankfully shorn of the dreadful refereeing decisions which marred the first leg, it looked like a cracking game from the highlights I saw, and on reflection, I wished I’d watched it instead. Although taking my flatmate’s reaction to it into consideration, had I done so I’d almost certainly have spent the whole match trying to convince him that Robben was indeed only 26. Winning arguments is so much harder when the Internet’s down. How on earth did people manage it before?
You can follow Oscar on Twitter here; http://twitter.com/oscarpyejeary, where you can tell him that his colour scheme is garish and that no ones cares what he’s done to his hair.