MaCinJay’s Musings

another case of inverse vandalism

Champions League: Liverpool v Arsenal (second leg)

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Halftime and it’s one-all yet again. Arsenal started strongly with Diaby scoring early on. Regrettably I missed the goal as a result of the satellite feed breaking up, but Rena looked at fault from the replay. After that Arsenal continued to dominate but were undone after thirty minutes when they conceded yet another goal from a corner kick after Hyypia lost his marker – the hapless Senderos – and sent his header soaring into the top-right of Almunia’s net. Sad to say, Arsenal just aren’t as solid in defence (especially against set-pieces) as the team of old. Anyway, the second half is about to start…

We were robbed! All Arsenal needed was to draw and score more away goals than Liverpool. So all was not lost when Torres scored with about twenty minutes to go. After that Wenger threw on Walcott and Von Persie for Diaby and Eboue in a desperate bid to turn the tie around. For a wonderful moment it looked like it had worked after Walcott ran past the entire Liverpool defence to lay on a goal for Adebayor with full-time approaching. Within a minute of the restart though joy turned to despair after Liverpool were awarded a very dubious penalty, which Gerrard duly dispatched to the back of Almunia’s net. Markus Babel scored again in the closing seconds of the match to make it safe for Liverpool, almost every Arsenal player having been thrown forward in a frantic attempt to level matters yet again.

So 4-2 to Liverpool on the night, though it could so easily have gone the other way. Wenger will have to take stock now that Arsenal’s one realistic chance of winning a trophy has gone; it will take a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Arsenal to win the Premier League from their current position. I’m sure that he regrets not strengthening the side during the last transfer window. Tonight the team was let down by poor defending by Senderos, who in my judgement was responsible for Liverpool’s first two goals. So we desperately need a quality centre-back, as well as a decent holding player in midfield. As for the attack, Henry’s departure was almost a blessing because it encouraged the younger players to take more responsibility. But in big games like this you need players of his sort. Wenger will need to persuade the Arsenal board to put up the money for one.

Written by macinjay

April 8, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Posted in General

English Premier League: Arsenal 1 – Liverpool 1

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I missed most of the fast half of this game. When I finally managed to tune in Arsenal were 1-0 down to a well-taken goal by Peter Crouch.

Arsenal outplayed Liverpool in the second half but, sadly, goals have become scarce for them in recent weeks. They did manage to equalise though, Bendtner heading home from a corner kick set-piece after beating the towering Crouch to the ball. Thereafter the Gunners dominated most of the possession but had nothing to show for it.

So, yet another draw for Arsenal. Benetiz will be happier than Wenger with the point gained; even if Everton win their game in hand they will still be three points adrift of their local rivals in the race for the fourth spot. As for Wenger, his team desperately needs to put a string of wins together to have any chance of winning the tile.

Written by macinjay

April 6, 2008 at 8:22 am

Champions League: Arsenal 1 – Liverpool 1

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It seems that Arsenal fare better these days against European opposition than domestic rivals. The only victory they have managed since the win at the San Siro was against the hapless Bolton, who incredibly threw away a two-goal lead with a one-man advantage after Diaby was sent off following a challenge he made similar to the one that brought Eduardo’s season to a premature end. (Thankfully Steinsson, the Bolton player on the receiving end of Diaby’s challenge, was not seriously injured.)

The first leg of the Champions League 1/4 Final against Liverpool started brightly enough when Adebayor scored a headed goal from a corner early in the first half, only for Kuyt to equalise a few minutes after Gerrard penetrated Arsenal’s box with one of his trademark runs. There were no more goals scored in the match although there were opportunities for both sides. Arsenal also had a penalty appeal turned down in the second half after Hleb appeared to be manhandled by Kuyt. Then, bizarrely, Bendtner doubled as a Liverpool defender by blocking a Fabregas shot destined for the net. 

I fancy that Liverpool will be happy to go to Anfield with the away goal under their belt. It is not quite the fortress of old for them perhaps but it will still be an uphill battle for the Gunners in the second leg. Before that though they will have to face Liverpool again on Saturday at the Emirates stadium for a crucial Premier League game. Arsenal have to win to keep alive any challenge they might still have for the title. Similarly Liverpool need a victory to help secure the all-important fourth place to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Talk about make-or-break!

Written by macinjay

April 4, 2008 at 7:58 am

Checkmate: AC Milan 0 – Arsenal 2

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It hasn’t been an easy time for Arsenal supporters. Two indifferent performances in the Premier League have seen the team’s lead whittled down to just one point. The game against Birmingham City was overshadowed by the horrendous injury early in the match to striker Eduardo, as the result of the sort of lunging, studs-first challenge that is all too common in the English game. Martin Taylor, the offending player, was rightfully sent off but Arsenal contrived to draw the game 2-2 after a lapse in concentration from Gaël Clichy gifted Birmingham a penalty in the dying moments of the match. After that came another draw against Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium when Arsenal were lucky to score their only goal of the game deep in injury time.

So one would have expected a demoralised side to turn out against European Champions AC Milan at the San Siro.

Instead we were treated to a truly dominating performance from the Gunners, who completely outplayed their illustrious opponents – at one stage in the second half a stat was shown indicating that possession was 60-40 in Arsenal’s favour! Besides a spell early in the game when Milan caused problems for Arsenal’s defence with crosses from open play and set-pieces, and another in the second half when it looked like the Italian side were getting a foothold in the game, the Italians could do nothing but lay on a grim defence in the face of the Gunner’s irresistible passing game. As the match wore on it looked like that they had done enough to stymie the English side after weathering early threats from Adebayor (fingertip save by Kalac) and the sublime Fabregas (hit the crossbar), as well as a series of missed opportunities from the likes of Senderos and Walcott.

Then with seven minutes of normal time left Fabregas picked up the ball deep in Milan’s half, ghosted through their midfield and fired a long-range shot into the bottom-left corner of Kalac’s net. After that it was virtually game over, as Milan needed two goals to win the tie with time running out due to the away-goals rule. In fact it was Arsenal who scored again in injury time when Walcott made amends for his earlier profligacy by beating a tiring Milan defender to the ball and laying on a cross for Adebayor to score his first Champions League goal for the club – a fitting end to a great night of European football for Arsenal.

Hopefully this will be the fillip they need for their two-prong assault on the English Premier and Champions League titles!

Mac OS X Leopard: Time Machine

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In October last year I related how I inadvertently blew my iMac’s logic board. Reluctant to pay the steep repair bill I decided instead to buy a MacBook Pro to replace it. I never regretted this decision but the one drawback was that I had to make do without the data stored on the iMac until such time as C3 (the repair shop I took the unit to) finally got around to extracting its hard drive for installation into an external enclosure. Eventually I got my data back last Friday, which I proceeded to migrate to my MacBook Pro.

This left me with a 250 GB external hard drive to try out Time Machine, Leopard’s new back-up utility. I’ll be honest, like many others I find backing up data to be a tedious chore. As a result my efforts were patchy to say the least. (Fortunately however I used an online back-up service called Mozy to back up my most essential data a few weeks before my iMac crashed.) With Time Machine though Apple has not only taken the tedium out of the process, it has actually made it fun.

It’s also easy to use – as soon as you plug in your your external hard drive Time Machine will give you the option to use it to back up your data. After I began the process it took several hours to back up the sixty or so gigabytes of data from my MacBook Pro using a USB 2 connection. In the meantime though I was able to carry on using my Mac normally.

The fun part comes once the back-up is finished and you can start playing with the Time Machine interface. (Regrettably I wasn’t able to take a screen-shot as Apple’s Grab application doesn’t work in Time Machine mode.) In keeping with its the sci-fi connotations, Time Machine has a very futuristic feel about it. When you activate the utility it transitions away from the normal OS X desktop environment into a 3D representation of the cosmos, with the active Finder window in the foreground. Behind it are numerous other Finder windows – select one of these and, voila, you are transported back in time to the Finder window as it would have appeared and a particular point in time. (A timescale on the right of the screen lets you keep track of the exact time and date.) If you want to restore a previously-deleted file merely select it and click on the gear icon in the Finder toolbar and click again on the relevant option. (Alternatively you can also delete all back-ups of the file.) You also an option to restore the entire system by clicking a button at the bottom right of the screen. Time Machine also works with Apple’s Mail application – very handy if you need to retrieve that vital email that you stupidly deleted.

Detractors have criticised Time Machine for using too much eye-candy. No doubt that Apple could have designed it to resemble your average run-of-the-mill back-up utility. But what would the point be in that? For me Time Machine succeeds in part because it delivers that ooh-ah factor that Apple is renowned for. It also makes backing-up an easy exercise for people like me who didn’t have the inclination or discipline to do proper back-ups in the past!

Written by macinjay

March 4, 2008 at 9:32 pm

Stalemate: Arsenal 0 – AC Milan 0

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After the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of old foes Manchester United in the FA Cup, Arsenal needed to raise their game in their home tie against AC Milan in the Champions League last night. It is a credit to the character of this young side that they were able to do this, and were indeed far more enterprising than the Italian giants.

Regrettably though they were unable to turn their dominance into a win, spurning several clear goal-scoring opportunities, although Adebayor came agonisingly close to stealing it in the dying moments of the game when he headed substitute Theo Walcott’s cross-ball onto the bar.

On the bright side Arsenal didn’t concede an away goal with Jens Lehman having a very quiet game. This means that Milan will have to win the next leg at the San Siro to go through; in the event of a draw the Gunners will progress if they manage to score at least one goal. It won’t be easy of course as Milan will be a different proposition playing at home. Hopefully they will be more charitable defensively than they were at the Emirates; Arsenal certainly have the resources to exploit any gaps left by Milan players pressing forward.

It should be a fascinating game to watch!

Written by macinjay

February 21, 2008 at 11:36 pm

Mac OS 10.5.2 update released

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Back in December I picked up on a rumour that Apple would make changes to Stacks. Sure enough, Apple has responded to criticism by adding a list view option as part of the 10.5.2 update released earlier this week, making it possible to navigate the contents of stacks placed in the Dock using hierarchical menus. There is also an option to display stacks as folders; many (including myself) found the appearance of stacks in the Dock to be confusing. For instance, the Downloads stack would (depending on your preferences) show the most recently downloaded file, making it difficult to distinguish from other stacks in the Dock.

A lot of people also took a dislike to the transparent menu bar in Leopard. It is  now possible to turn this feature off.

Full details about the update can be found on Apple’s website. The sheer length of the list of bug-fixes there certainly adds credence to the theory that Leopard was rushed out of the door to avoid further delays to its release date.

Written by macinjay

February 13, 2008 at 9:08 am

Posted in Apple Mac

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