Monthly Archives: November 2013

Under-hyped Southampton game gives Arsenal chance to extend lead at top

Arsenal Southampton

The game this weekend against the Saints represents a huge challenge for the Gunners. One thing I can’t work out is why a game between 1st place and 3rd place in the league isn’t receiving the media attention that it rightly deserves. I think part of the reason is the pasting that Arsenal gave Southampton last season, but this year they look a completely different outfit. I’m really impressed with the way Mauricio Pochettino has taken chargeat St. Mary’s. He’s spent money pretty wisely and most importantly he has sorted out that leaky defence. At the heart of that, they have the impressive Dejan Lovren, who is teaching the English youngsters there just how to control a backline. Take Luke Shaw for example. He’s a real prospect and a future international. Alongside the Croatian Lovren, he’s becoming a real candidate for a World Cup spot. Artur Boruc in goal is one of the most experienced shot stoppers in Europe and Southampton’s defensive record is officially second to none. Expect a very difficult game for us and we need to take the game by the scruff of the neck from the off. I don’t think this is an easy game for us. I actually predicted that this would be a draw, with Southampton playing some counter attacking football alongside neat defending, whilst we would go out in a very aggressive attacking manner. I’d like to see Wenger have some caution, but we need to tire the other team out. They’re a good team but they also lack some experience, so what we need to do is show our fitness levels and run them off the pitch. The return of Theo Walcott is a huge bonus for us. It’s against his old club so I’m sure he will be keen to put in a good performance.

I really fancy the Saints to take the lead and us to score a late leveller. I just think Wenger will fuck up his tactics for this game. That being said, the draw won’t be a particularly bad result, it’s just going to dent our chances of a huge lead in the league at Christmas time, which is a huge psychological advantage for any team heading into the second half of the season.

It seems that Arsenal are taking the January transfer window very seriously. Nicklas Bendtner will be sold, to one of either Crystal Palace or Hull City, and we’ll be buying a new striker to give Ollie Giroud a bit of a rest. Who that might be, I don’t know. Turns out our efforts to sign Llorente have failed as the Spaniard wants to stay at Turin, but there are plenty of names out there who’ve been linked with a transfer to the Emirates. One I saw today is Diego Forlan, who is available for a nominal fee from Internacional. West Ham are the team supposedly interested. Why not Arsenal? Sign him up for six months until the World Cup, give him the first team exposure he needs ahead of that tournament and with it guarantee goals. Ok, he didn’t do the job at United but that was years ago and he has unfinished business in England. What a good signing that would be, even at 34.

So… it really is a big weekend. Let’s hope the Gunners do the job. Come on Arsenal!

Mesut Ozil to take a rest vs. England, The Ox has injury setback?

THE OX

Happy Mondays guys

So not much of note this morning to talk about, but Mesut Ozil has been told he will be rested for the game against England. This is good news for Arsenal indeed, and Joachim Loew has laughed off speculation that he is not taking this game seriously because he’s fielding reserves. Who gives a monkeys? If Ozil is rested this is good news for our championship push as the player hasn’t had enough rest since joining us.

In other news, Theo Walcott is all set to make his long awaited return to the first team against his former club Southampton at the weekend. That means we could even decide to rest Giroud, depending on how long he plays against Ukraine this week. I know everyone wants Arsenal to sign a new striker but I don’t think we need to. We’ve got Walcott who wants to play more as an out and out striker and Podolski can do a job as a backup for Giroud. We don’t need to sign a striker even though it would be very nice to have.

In other news, it appears Alex Oxlade Chamberlain has had a major setback in his recovery from injury. That’s truly bad news and it seems that he won’t be back in the first team until New Year at the very earliest. The England international will be eager to get back up and playing against top opposition, especially with the World Cup coming up.

With Laurent Koscielny suspended for the France-Ukraine game, that’s a nice bit of news for Arsenal fans as well. He will need a break too.

So our major concerns will be Per Mertesacker, who is likely to play some part in the game against England, whilst Olivier Giroud has to be our biggest concern. He has been absolutely knackered in the games I’ve seen him this year and you have to wonder if France slump out of the qualifiers how that will make a difference to the striker mentally.

Fingers crossed he doesn’t play and they decide to play Karim Benzema instead. I was very surprised with Deschamps’ choice of players against Ukraine anyway and they will need all the goals they can get, so it might even work for them to play both Benzema and Giroud. Regardless of what happens, let’s hope he doesn’t get an injury too… we’ve so far escaped relatively unscathed.

Until tomorrow!
The Sensei

After the international break Arsenal need to pick up where they left off

LaurentKoscielnyredcard

Happy Sunday folks – so the international results this week have been very interesting indeed. The most interesting of all has to be France slumping to 2-0 defeat to Ukraine in the World Cup qualification playoff. In my opinion, this could be one of the biggest upsets in qualification history… it’s going to be difficult for the French to come back. I was having a look at their team and I was very surprised by Didier Deschamps’ starting lineup choices. For example, how can you leave out Bacary Sagna and play Mathieu Debuchy instead? Even stranger, why on earth would you pull in an out of form Nasri ahead of someone like Valbuena? Very interesting. Anyway, we expect changes for the next leg. I’d not doubt France coming back into the tie, and Ukraine need to make sure that they defend strong for the whole game otherwise they could find themselves well out of the picture.

As for other games, well not much to say really. Chile absolutely spanked England at Wembley and even more proof that Roy Hodgson is just not the man to carry this team forward for the future. I was immediately surprised just how bad England were, but then again if you persist in your team selection that includes the likes of Frank Lampard then you’re destined for trouble. Expect a very rapid exit from the tournament in Brazil, don’t forget England are not even seeded.

As for Arsenal news, not much in the way of gossip today actually. Blaise Matuidi’s contract at PSG is expiring next summer and it seems that Chelsea and City are leading the way. I’d actually not discount us from the race to sign the midfielder. Mathieu Flamini is a great player but can we expect another season of quality out of him? Hard to say. Matuidi is what we need. He has drive, power and an excellent stopper of the ball… and he’s French. I’d say we’re in the race.

Elsewhere, Bendtner has been bleating on about his future again. I’d expect to see the Great Dane disappear out the exit door come January as we pursue our next striking transfer target.

In other news, we’ve also been linked with a transfer for Kurt Zouma again. This really excites me. He’s the best defender in Ligue 1 and he’s young, let’s say we actually do let Vermaelen leave you aren’t going to find a better backup for Mertescielny. Speaking of which, Laurent Koscielny also picked up a red card in the international game, which rules him out for the return leg in France . The centre back loves to get a red card or four every season, can’t doubt his commitment. At least he’s got another one for the national side and not domestic and that means one less player that won’t be on the injury table after the international period.

Anyway – have an excellent weekend guys and thanks for reading!

Would a Man Utd win ensure the greatest week of results in our history?

mertescielny

Morning folks. I’ve woken up with one heck of a hangover today so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

So it’s Manchester United away on Sunday in what will probably be our toughest game of the season so far. On the back of a win in Dortmund and a great three points against Liverpool last weekend, I am sure the vast majority of Arsenal fans are happy enough with just the two wins out of three… but my oh my a win would be one heck of a way to wrap up a tricky week.

With that in mind, I thought a bit more about the last 15 years of Arsenal history and whether or not we’d ever had a week of such good results, I couldn’t remember one. Sure there were great weeks such as the ones when we were winning league titles, FA Cup’s, and so on… but I can’t remember a tougher three games in a week and to top it all off… we’re so close to winning all 3. So in my opinion, a win would wrap up the greatest week I can remember, in terms of results at least.

The team will probably be very similar to the one that we fielded against Dortmund. That’ll be Mertescielny in the middle with Sagna and Gibbs either side, and a diamond quintet of Arteta, Ramsey and Rosicky with Ozil, Cazorla and Giroud the forward threat. I’d like to highlight the performance of Rosicky against his former club this week – simply outstanding. For a player who suffered so much through injuries so far in his career, the veteran is starting to prove a very useful player for us. I’d actually prefer to play Rosicky instead of Wilshere against United, simply for the way Rosicky brings the ball out of midfield. We need to be rapid in our counter attacks in this game.

One player we will sorely miss is Flamini. We’d ideally like that defensive strength but Arteta can keep up a good week in place of the Frenchman.

I had a good look through the fixture list and the only other game I thought would be interesting this weekend is West Ham vs. Norwich. I really fancy a Hammers win and I’m not sure Chris Hughton can stay in the job if they drop more points – expect some busy headlines this weekend.

Anyway, have a good day Gooners!

Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Liverpool puts Gunners 5 points clear

SantiCazorla2013ARSENAL

What. a. result. I don’t know about you but the Liverpool win was probably one of my favourite Arsenal moments in the last 5-6 years. From start to finish we were simply outstanding. Up front, you had Giroud who was bouncing around all over the pitch, picking up the ball in the air and bringing others into play. In the middle, Santi Cazorla was outstanding, picking up the ball and driving forward. Rosicky was sublime. I love the way the 33 year old is coming back as an important player even though he’s into his mid 30′s, long may it continue. Ozil had a quiet game but made all the difference with an assist. Aaron Ramsey. Absolute class. Mikel Arteta, one of his best games for the club…. then finally the entire defence: BEAUTIFUL!

This was one of the best Arsenal performances I’ve seen for a long time and puts us in good track for the Borussia Dortmund game on Wednesday.

We started off the game in great fashion, this was as Mesut Ozil put on Twitter ‘Formula 1 football’. The first goal by Cazorla was great. A cross from Bacary Sagna met the head of the Spaniard, which bounced back off the post, only to fall back into his own path to spank the ball into the roof of the net. 1-0

Aaron Ramsey is having the season of his life and took his tally to 10 when he spanked home a glorious volley over the head of Simon Mignolet and into the top of the net – 2-0.

What more can you say? That defence held their own for the whole game. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are simply a superb duo. All that needs to happen is for Per to clear the last bits of dodginess in his game whilst Koscielny needs to stop giving away bad penalties and we can really make a go of it this year.

So, onto Germany we go. If we can get a win that would be simply outstanding and go a long way to guaranteeing qualification for the next round.