Monthly Archives: December 2013

Arsenal 1-1 Everton – close but no cigar

Per Mertesacker James MCCarthy Everton

So, before the game there was a huge possibility that Arsenal would go 7 points clear at the top of the table. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t to be yesterday. A spirited Everton display kept Arsenal out for the vast majority of the game, and the Toffees actually controlled the first half. The Gunners were on the back foot for most of the game. I was very impressed with the performance of Ross Barkley, he looks a class act. After the game the press praised the midfielder and suggested that Barkley would be a better prospect for England’s World Cup than Jack Wilshere, I would say they are two completely different players. If we have room, we should think about playing both together in Brazil – anyway it gives the national side plenty of options.

The game was an interesting one indeed. Gary Neville is one of the most annoying commentators in the history of the game. For most of the first half he slated the Gunners and their tactics and referred to the importance of Everton’s dominance in possession. To be honest, we looked a bit under pressure but our defence seemed to have the game under control for most of the half. Into the second half, and we looked to have bucked our ideas up a bit. Then came Wenger’s last throw of the dice. A triple substitution introducing Flamini, Walcott and Rosicky – I can’t remember ever seeing Arsene Wenger substitute three players at once? Anyway, it seemed to work as in the 80th minute Mesut Ozil spanked home from a Walcott cross. The Gunners arguably weren’t the best team in this game and Everton were behind. Almost immediately, Deulofeu scored a leveller, well deserved to be fair. He looks one heck of a player and Barcelona will be lucky to have him, let’s see how long it is until he makes barca’s first team.┬áSpeaking of performances, Aaron Ramsey was absolutely below average yesterday – he needs a rest. Let’s hope he gets a chance soon before we knacker him out.

Overall, it wasn’t the best of performances. I think this Everton side are the real deal and could challenge for honours this year. It’s a realistic achievement that they can one day win the FA Cup or even challenge for Champions League qualification. Roberto Martinez is an excellent manager – possible Wenger replacement in a few years time? possibly.

Now we have a visit to Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday in what is a very crucial game. We just need to not lose by 3 goals to ensure that we will win the game. After that, it’s a trip to Man City on Saturday… very nerve racking indeed. Anyway, after seeing Everton win at Old Trafford last week I think the most of us would’ve taken a point yesterday. On to Wednesday it is, then.

Rival trio drop points, Arsenal can take 7 point lead


Frantically refreshing the BBC football page, I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw not just Manchester United slip up in a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle earlier in Saturday, but then Chelsea slump to defeat against Stoke City courtesy of a last minute goal and then Manuel Pellegrini’s City side only manage a draw away at Southampton. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Is this season really going to be that geared up for an Arsenal title win?

Despite all that, this is an amazing opportunity ahead of us today – we’ve got to win. If we do win, that’s 7 points ahead of everyone else at the top of the table and sees us sitting pretty ahead of what is going to be a particularly difficult Christmas period.

I’m really excited about today’s game. Arsene Wenger knows exactly what he needs to do to beat Everton. Run at them. The Toffees have an excellent team but they are physically not as good as the teams at the top of the league. I’ve always been a fan of Phil Jagielka, but he cannot handle the pace. I’m also a fan of Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines, but the latter is missing and the former doesn’t ever play his best against the top teams. What we have to do today is to run at their defence and give Romelu Lukaku no room. In my opinion, the Belgian striker is already well on his way to becoming one of the best players in Europe. He must be given no space otherwise he will score. Mertesacker will have to be at his best today.

Anyway, on to the game we go. Can’t wait for this one, it’s going to be a massive game. Here’s to a hopeful 7 point lead and a very early christmas present #comeonyouGunners

Onward we march – Arsenal prepare for tricky Everton tie

Roberto Martinez Arsene Wenger

It’s the weekend and that can only be one thing, time for the Arsenal! Having beaten Hull City in midweek (courtesy of a very rare Nicklas Bendtner goal and a stunning Mesut Ozil performance), we’re four points clear at the top of the league and all is looking very rosy. Next up is the visit of Everton to the Emirates. The Toffees are in pretty good form right now, having just beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time in 21 years. I have to say, one of the most amazing stories coming out of that tale is the fact that David Moyes never managed to achieve that and Roberto Martinez did it on his first effort. I really like Martinez, he seems to have tactical wisdom whilst also focusing on good quality football. Should the day come that Arsene Wenger decides to step down, Martinez would be a quality addition. This weekend’s game should see the return of Olivier Giroud back into the first team and I think you might even see Theo Walcott make his first start since returning from injury. Mesut Ozil will need a rest soon and I challenge Wenger to give him the first 60 minutes on the bench. Will be very interesting to see how we line up. If we do win, we should keep our four point lead ahead of Chelsea at the top of the league. Chelsea have a pretty tricky looking visit to Stoke City on Saturday, I wouldn’t expect there to be too many goals in that game, so fingers crossed the likes of Robert Huth and Scowcross can do us a favour and keep a cleansheet. City travel to Southampton and I wouldn’t expect Pellegrini’s side to drop points there, Southampton’s early season form appears to be waning and Victor Wanyama also is out of this game.

I’d like to see Ozil rested, Walcott playing alongside Giroud up front and in the middle, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla and Arteta. The rest given to Sagna and Gibbs should mean they are called up to the squad as well.

Elsewhere, it appears that Arsene Wenger has been offered a new three year deal and that he is very close to accepting it. Fingers crossed on this one. I’ve been worried that Arsene has been delaying for far too long to put pen to paper but it appears he’s been persuaded to stay by the board and his focus on signing young players and watching them grow up appears to be the catalyst for keeping him at the club. With a new deal for Wenger, you have to always be thinking ahead for the next few years and what might be possible with this cracking set of young players. He’s had his ups and downs, but he actually might well be on the verge of something special this season.

Also, the World Cup draw has been completed – another farce from FIFA as always. How on earth is Switzerland seeded?! In one group you have the mighty Greeks, Japan, Colombia and the Ivory Coast; in another, Germany, Portugal, USA and Ghana. This to me is an absolute farce. What is the point of having seeding if the same old boys are the ones deciding who gets seeded? Any chance that the fact FIFA are based in Switzerland has anything to do with it? Or the fact that Mr. Blatter is Swiss?! Regardless, England have been drawn Costa Rica, Italy and Uruguay. That is a tough group. But as many have already said, to be the best you need to beat the best. Oh well, we’re not the best – so at least we won’t have to face the agony of another penalty shoot out.

Anyway, that’s all from the Sensei for now – enjoy the game and come on you rip roaring Gooners!!!!

Aaron Ramsey continues his good form as Gunners thump Cardiff 3-0

Aaron Ramsey Cardiff

Hope you’ve had a good weekend folks

What a good weekend it was for the Arsenal fans – as the Gunners romped to a 3-0 win over Cardiff City and a couple of our title chasing rivals also dropped points along the way. As for our competitors, Liverpool were beaten 3-1 by Hull City at the Tigers’ home ground; the first time they’ve ever beaten the Reds. Elsewhere, Tottenham and Man Utd played out a cracking 2-2 draw with Rooney grabbing a brace. This was particularly enjoyable to watch, edge of the seat kind of stuff. Even better, Andre Villas-Boas’ reign at Spurs could soon be coming to a close if the reports are to be believed. Their form has nose dived since they’ve sold Gareth Bale, who has incidentally gone on to grab his first hattrick for Real Madrid over the weekend.

As for Arsenal, well the 3-0 is a little flattering, but we really weren’t tested that much apart from one super save that Szcz had to made. Arsenal took the lead through Aaron Ramsey, who scored the first with a cheeky header from a Mesut Ozil cross against his old club. The Welshman has an incredible friendship with the Cardiff home fans, despite him only player a few years in the Welsh capital. A belter from Mathieu Flamini doubled the score and ended the game as a contest, before Ramsey grabbed his second and Arsenal’s third. An “ayotollah” celebration ensued from the midfielder, who refused to celebrate despite his excellent double.

Overall, we weren’t tested. What I’m most pleased about is that Cardiff are no pushovers this year against the major teams. United slipped up against them last week, and again United slipped up this weekend against Spurs, leaving them 10 points off of us. The players are starting to show true fighting spirit and are continuously improving, really good to see.

We’ve got a big game coming up against Hull City on Wednesday at the Emirates. We need three points in this one. If we can keep picking up the wins, particularly at home, we will be heading into the New Year in a very strong position indeed. Following Hull City we have a tricky looking home game against Roberto Martinez’s Everton, who are also in excellent form.

Elsewhere in the news, it appears we are still in the market for a striker in the January transfer window – who would you buy? I’m personally hoping we can get rid of Bendtner and bring in a young forward to challenge Giroud… it’s going to be an interesting month indeed.