Monthly Archives: October 2013

Team must bounce back with three points against Palace

MarouaneChamakhTonyPulisIanHolloway

Morning all,

Happy Friday it is indeed! So, we had a disappointing week in the Champions League. It really was a hard ride back down to earth after that defeat, considering we’ve been on such decent form of late. But, it’s important as well for a few reasons. The lads can’t get too carried away with this early season form. We’ve got a difficult November coming up and the Gunners are famous for losing the plot around that period. Secondly, we weren’t actually that bad in the game on paper. I think we could’ve and should’ve earned a draw from the game against Dortmund, but alas it wasn’t to be. Now we have to beat or get a point at Dortmund and the same applies to a tricky visit to Napoli. Still, remain confident that we will progress to the next round. We’ve got Marseille at home and we should hopefully get three points against them, leaving us in a wonderful position to qualify. Fingers crossed.

Onto this weekend, and it’s a visit to Crystal Palace. My, it could’ve been an interesting game if Nicklas Bendtner had joined them in the summer, but instead they opted for the abysmal Marouane Chamakh. Despite my low opinion of the Moroccan, he’s having a decent season for Palace and now that Tony Pulis looks set to take charge, you can expect the team to play a more defensive and negative style of football. What we need to do is take it to them very early on. We need to push forward Ozil and get in and around their box so that Giroud can continue his good goalscoring form. I’d also like to see Arteta get involved, he’s had a few good games lately and  with all the extra competition in the team he needs to push forward to stay a crucial member of the team.

After the Palace game, I’ve already said this, but we will know even more about our title credentials. A trip across London is never easy but we need to get the points against the negative and lower down the table teams. Palace are desperate to win some points here and Chamakh has something to prove – so we need to make sure we continue to keep up the good work and not let them get near our defence.

Elsewhere in the news, Cesc Fabregas has been outspoken and said that he left Arsenal to help out Aaron Ramsey’s career progression. I don’t really buy that, everyone knew he wanted to return to Barca someday and nobody expected Ramsey to ever start scoring goals – my how things change. On top of that, Fabregas also suggested that he would like to return to Arsenal one day. The way I see it is I do miss Fabregas, but we don’t want a 30 year old Cesc back at the Emirates. His best years will be with Barca, anything but that and he’s not good enough for the Arsenal shirt. We love you Cesc, but please don’t come back unless you’re 28 and half the price we sold you for.

There has also been some news from Italy that Llorente is considering a move to Arsenal in January on loan from Juventus. If it’s true, that would be lovely. We need some backup in the striking department desperately.

Anyway, that’s all from the Sensei. Have a good Friday folks.

Gunners romp to 4-1 victory over Norwich

He scores when he wants

Morning everyone! Happy Monday.

Well, what a weekend that was. If the performance against Norwich is anything to go by, I think we are really genuine title contenders.

Across the pitch we looked solid at all times. I was particularly impressed with the performance of Jack Wilshere, he really knows how to bite at the legs of rival midfielders. We lost Mathieu Flamini to injury in the first half and Aaron Ramsey came in to take his place. We all know how well Ramsey has done this season and Arsene Wenger would have been hoping not to use the Welshman; he needs a rest, but he called upon him anyway. And boy, is the kid delivering.

It all started well as Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere combined to score one of the all time great team goals. The Frenchman and the midfielder combined with five one touch passes before Wilshere took one touch to slot it past Ruddy in the Norwich net. I can’t remember a better team goal than that, seriously good.

It got even better later on as Ozil scored with a cheeky header from a Giroud cross. The Frenchman grabbed two assists on the day, and Ozil scored his first Premier League goal. Lovely stuff.

Then, Norwich would grab a goal back through Howson. Squeaky bum time. Arsenal wrapped up the points thanks to a wonderful goal from substitute Aaron Ramsey, who turned two Norwich defenders and then cutting inside to slip past Ruddy in goal. 3-1 and game over.

Finally, Ozil would score his second goal with a pretty simple tap in from a Ramsey cross. Lovely.

All in all, that was one heck of a performance from the lads. What I like the most about this Arsenal team is the way that we seem not to be in top gear yet and we’re still turning over teams. We’ve got a trip to Crystal Palace next (will be interesting to see Marouane Chamakh again!), and you’ve got to be confident of three points there but Selhurst Park is no easy ride for sure.

If all goes well, we can then extend our lead at the top of the league. Speaking of top of the league, Manchester United are currently eight points off of us after they dropped two against Southampton at Old Trafford at the weekend. Love it! Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool and Spurs all put in good performances so we’re in no way going clear at the top yet. We’ve got to keep up the good form until November. As you will all know, November is a notoriously difficult month for us – so we need to be at our best for that.

Next up is Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League at the Emirates. I expect that if we can get a win in this game, we should be into the next round (fingers crossed and touching wood simultaneously!). If we can play against Dortmund like we did against Napoli, anything is possible. This is the litmus test for our season as well. If we can beat Dortmund, who came 2nd in the Champions League last year to a very good Bayern Munich team, then we can show we can compete with the best.

Long may this good form continue. Have a good day, champs!

England on course for qualification with win next week

Mesut Ozil

So, looks like Arsenal have got through day 1 of the international break relatively unscathed with no players picking up an injury. England were pretty impressive with the 4-1 rout of Montenegro and I had to admit I was pretty amazed with the performance of Andros Townsend. At times against us earlier in the season he looked like a pretty average player and seemed to fancy a shot every time he was near the goal. For England he looked to have a nice turn of pace, a bit extra going forward and a decent shot.

In terms of Arsenal news today on this crisp Sunday morning, not much that I can find about. It looks like Man Utd are going to be busy in the January window with Ashley Young being told he can leave on a loan transfer, whilst Porto DM Fernando has also been linked with a move to United. I wouldn’t be surprised if Moyes spends big in January. He knows that anything less than retaining the title will be a dismal season for United.

Gunners legend Emmanuel Petit has told reporters that the signing of Mesut Ozil is enough to win the Premier League title. I have to say I am a massive fan of both Ozil (and Petit) but I still feel we are a bit short in the attacking department to make a full push for the league title. I hope Wenger will address this in January and add a striker like Demba Ba to his squad.

Speaking of Arsene Wenger, there is talk that the Frenchman has agreed a deal in principle to extend his stay at the Emirates for a further two seasons. It’s a great time for le boss and he is a smart businessman. He knows right now, with Arsenal flying high in the league, his stock value is high and he will take advantage of it. It has been reported that Wenger will also earn a 20% increase on his current contract to take charge of the club.

That’s all for now, have a good Sunday

I hate the interlull! Fingers crossed there’s no injuries

England

When you’re on good form, there’s nothing worse than an international break. There’s three reasons why it’s annoying, firstly we don’t get to see our beloved Arsenal in action in the first place. Secondly, we’re actually having a decent season so far – if there’s one club where you get back less players from duty than you actually sent, it’s Arsenal. Thirdly, it’s the injuries.

I read this morning that Cashley Cole has pulled out of the England squad for the games against Ukraine and Poland and Kieran Gibbs has gone to replace him. Sincerely hope that Gibbs comes back in one piece, he has been a rock at the back so far this year and the last thing we need is a defensive crisis to go with our midfield and attacking ones.

In terms of the England game itself, I really have less and less interest in the performance of the team every game that goes by. In my opinion, qualification should have been wrapped up already. When you rely on two wins against the mighty Montenegro and Poland, you know you’ve not done the job well enough already. Still, it’s in England’s hands, which isn’t all a bad thing. Until of course they fuck it up on the day.

Some positives of course is that for the players are that already injured, there will be more time to rest and heal. A couple of players that we expect to return after the international break include Santi Cazorla. I’m already frothing at the mouth thinking about the combination of Santi and Ozil in the same team. That’s true championship winning class.

So, at the weekend the famous 12th win in a row didn’t happen which was a bit of a bummer. But I liked the look and fight of the Arsenal side at the weekend. We gave it all we had despite having a patched up squad. Again Aaron Ramsey on the wing just doesn’t work. He needs to be playing through the middle. Jack Wilshere, despite smokegate, seemed to put in a decent enough performance even though he lost the ball far too often. For me, our best player was Mertesacker. Cool, calm and composed in the centre of defence. When the crosses come in I love knowing that the BFG is there in the middle of the box. Granted, their goal did come from a setpiece in typical Arsenal defensive fashion, but on the whole the German can be happy with his display. Laurent Koscielny was strangely anonymous for most of the game. I think that Flamini didn’t do so well covering, this is partially because WBA seemed to be playing a very attacking formation, Berahino and Anelka proved to be a constant threat. We were lucky to come away with the point, Anelka really should have put away that shot after all.

Elsewhere, not much else to report on in the world of Arsenal. We’ve been linked with a move for Alexander Milosevic who is seemingly being tracked by every single Premier League club going. I don’t know much about him but having some more defensive cover would be nice.

That’s all for now, have a decent day Gooners!

Gunners looking for 3 points at Hawthorns to return to top of the table

Mikel Arteta WBA

So, yesterday Liverpool managed a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace. I have to say, I wasn’t that impressed with Liverpool. Sure they have a very gifted front duo in Sturridge and Suarez but the rest of the team looks a bit rough around the edges. The Liverpool fans who are already saying they are genuine title contenders need to take a good look at their squad and admit, a January departure for Suarez to Real Madrid or an injury to any other of their key players will do their challenge some serious damage. Their squad is weak and Brendan Rodgers has a habit of speaking a bit too much in front of reporters. Whenever I hear the Northern Irish manager on TV he’s always bleating on about how good his squad is or how he thinks his squad can stay in the race for the title. He reminds me a bit of Andre Villas-Boas a few years ago. Always in front of the camera, always speaking too much and not keeping mum when it comes to the future of his players. That’s what Wenger is incredibly good at. He keeps his transfer activity quiet and the future of any of his players will never be discussed in front of an audience. Villas-Boas has been a bit better at this in recent months to be fair, but Rodgers seems to make a habit of it.

So regarding today’s game, I really fancy us to get our record breaking 11th win. We’re on a good run and we have an international break coming up. I can’t work out if that’s a good or bad thing right now, but when we’ve got momentum we’d definitely want to keep the games coming fast. However, international breaks can do wonders for some players and also those who don’t get a chance to represent their country get a much needed rest. This will include the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Serge Gnabry and Kieran Gibbs; the rest will probably be getting game time. Anyway, fingers crossed there’s no injuries there. For the West Brom game, I heard that Jack Wilshere might play on the flank. I really hope there’s no truth in that. Sure he got caught having a ciggie outside of a nightclub, but he’s been made an example of and wrote on Twitter that he’s not a smoker, that should be it. But putting him on the wing sounds like a dodgy plan to me Arsene.

I’d like to see Rosicky play on the wing and let Jack and Aaron alongside Flamini and Ozil do the work in midfield. That’s quality in the middle and should be enough for us to win three points.

If we do win, I really do believe in our title credentials. What do you think the score will be today? I reckon we’re looking at a 3-1 victory with Ozil to grab his first Premier League goal.

Come on Arsenal – let’s break that record!

WBA victory would guarantee 11 wins in a row; Napoli win proof of Flamini’s importance

Arsenal Southampton

Happy Friday folks

A win against West Brom this weekend would not only re-assert our top placed position in the league, but there is also an extra twist to the tale. An 11th win on the spin would also break our consecutive winning streak of the “Invicibles” in 2003-2004. Back then, Arsenal went 10 games in a row without drawing or losing a game. A Premier League victory on Sunday would be our 11th in a row thus breaking our record.

I’m feeling pretty positive about it. Last season we traveled to the Hawthorns with a much weaker and less experienced side and battled away to earn three points, Tomas Rosicky grabbing both the goals and ultimately turning Champions League qualification in our favour. If I was Wenger, I’d be looking to play Rosicky again. He was tremendous last season against WBA and I’m sure putting him out on the field adds that bit of extra experience we are going to need for a tricky away game.

Ozil’s goal against Napoli and his general performance was simply outstanding. He’s really started to show that the 50 million odd Euros we spent on him wasn’t overpriced but a bargain. You don’t get quality like that for anything less than 50 million Euros these days. I’d expect to see the German take control of the game this weekend in the same fashion that he did against Napoli.

Whilst all the credit for the Napoli victory went to Ozil, nobody should ignore the quality performance that Mathieu Flamini put in. Charging after every ball, getting stuck in to tackles, giving the likes of Aaron Ramsey freedom to roam; this guy is what we’ve been missing for so long. Arsene Wenger, why’d it take you so long to re-sign him? I love the fact Flim Flam told reporters that he has unfinished business with Arsenal.

Elsewhere, last night Tottenham kept up their decent early season form with a 2-0 win away in Russia against Anzhi. Couple of things about that. I like the fact that they’ve had to make a tricky visit to Russia on a Thursday night, that’ll tire them out ahead of their game against the Hammers. Seeing them drop some more points would do some good for our early season progress.

Sunderland are also hosting Man Utd, you have to fancy David Moyes to throw the kitchen sink at the Black Cats; but Sunderland will need to get some points on the board at some point – this is going to be an interesting game and I predict goals aplenty.

Anyway, that’s all for now – come on you Arsenal!