Category Archives: laurent koscielny

Liverpool next – can Arsenal show their form?

Arsenal Palace

After a hard fought 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, now it is time for Arsenal to take on Liverpool this weekend. With two wins out of two, Brendan Rodgers’ team look good value for a top four spot this year. Benteke is proving to be dangerous and continues to prove why he is one of Europe’s best strikers. On the other hand, Arsenal’s defence has been weak so far this season despite the sterling efforts of Laurent Koscielny against Palace last week. If we are to reproduce the success of last season against Liverpool, we are going to need to be powerful going forward and strong at the back.

There’s not much news on the transfer market so far, you have to feel that with the signing of Petr Cech, Arsenal are pretty happy with their current squad of players. Arsene Wenger had been expected to spend big this season but with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil expected to do big things this year, you feel our boss won’t be spending much left for the remainder of the window, which finishes at the end of August.

The Telegraph says that we’ve had a bid for Karim Benzema accepted by Real Madrid, but I hear that there’s no truth in the rumours and Arsene has given up on his fellow countryman.

Meanwhile, Joel Campbell had been set for a move to Palermo, but it appears Arsene Wenger is looking for at least 7 million euros before he sells the Costa Rican striker.

That’s all for now, have a good one!

Alexis Sanchez does it again

alexis

Well, well, well! Morning Gooners, how was yesterday for you? I was really impressed by the way we played against Stoke City and none more so than the performance of Alexis Sanchez. He really is one special player. If you didn’t see the game yet, Sanchez made an assist for our first goal, for Laurent Koscielny, he then scored a wonder goal having beaten three defenders and tucking in the ball at the front post of Asmir Begovic, then finishing up with a free kick under the wall. The game could’ve easily been 8-0, not 3-0, but for the excellent shot stopping of Begovic. That’s one keeper I wish we’d have signed a few years back….

So, I said yesterday that I think our run and our season starts here. I truly believe that. Yes I know we have Man City coming up, but with the returning Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil; we’ve got a decent squad to choose from. The downside of yesterday was yet another injury to Mathieu Debuchy. He’ll be out for a month or longer with dislocated shoulder. But to be honest, I think we have cover for him in Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin. Who would I go for? Bellerin… of course. He looks the part and deserves playing time.

The other impressive performance from yesterday was that of Coquelin. Out of nowhere he’s come back to Arsenal after a few spells on loan and is now an important member of the first team. Just goes to show you….

Anyway, we now need to focus all of our efforts on a big win against Man City next weekend. I believe we can do it – do you?

Arsenal suffer embarrassing defeat to Stoke City

Arsenal Community Shield

Well, well, well. On the back of three straight wins, you kind of felt that we might be heading into a rich spell of form; but then Arsene Wenger’s not so mighty Arsenal slumped to a 3-2 defeat to Stoke City, in the most embarrassing of ways. After slipping to a 3-0 deficit before the half time whistle, we had to go all in for the second half. Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla both grabbed goals but ultimately it wasn’t enough for us.
What’s most frustrating is that it’s clearly obvious we were missing Laurent Koscielny at the back. We don’t have a backup defender and the January transfer window is too late, we should have had backup for Vermaelen a long time ago. Also, the midfield does not have a solid defensive asset. Mathieu Flamini is done at the highest level. We need a better player than him.
I don’t like to say this, but it looks as if our chances of Champions League success are still on, but it’s not enough for us. We should be growing on the success of the FA Cup victory last season and building on it.
All that matters now is that we’ve got another game against Hull City in the FA Cup, that’s definitely one we can win again and we’ll be happy it’s a home draw. After that, we need to start reversing our dismal league form.
Tomorrow we take on Galatasaray in the Champions League. Arsene must use this chance to play his reserves as our squad is very short. I am curious to see what kind of team Wenger puts out, especially as we all know the benefit of a victory in the CL group stage, another 1 million pounds in the bank. So what is it Arsene, money over another injury crisis? We’ve all seen this before. After we take on Gala, we play Newcastle at home, a game we need to be winning. Arsenal have a decent record against the Toon Army at home and I fully expect for that to continue there.
For now, we’ve got to bounce back before it’s too late.

Important WBA win; we must buy a defensive midfielder

Danny Welbeck Olivier Giroud

That was a big win for us yesterday. WBA made it difficult for Arsenal at the end, but a goal from Welbz was enough to secure an important 3 points and push us a little further up the Premier League table. All in all, that was a pretty good week. A 2-0 home win against Borussia Dortmund was of course the highlight. However, we’ve had the additional setback of further injuries. Jack Wilshere had to have surgery and will miss three months of action. Mikel Arteta picked up a knock. Yesterday, Nacho Monreal had to come off for Gibbs and also it is possible the Ox might miss a game or two. I know many people are questioning our medical team and training, but I think it’s really bad luck. I think a lot of it is to do with the types of players Arsene Wenger recruits. Buying players like Yaya Sanogo, Thomas Eisfeld and Abou Diaby, young players with certain question marks over their fitness, shows Arsene Wenger tends to take a bit of a risk when purchasing players.
Anyway, we now move on to our next game. Six points from our last two games is a big boost for the team.
In terms of yesterday’s performance against West Brom, it was crucial having Laurent Koscielny back in the side. He and Per Mertesacker really complement each other well at the back and it’s good to have our two recognised players back at the heart of defence. I know people were asking why we sold Thomas Vermaelen, but I think it is obvious that Calum Chambers could end up being a centre back and the Belgian’s replacement. By the way, Vermaelen is out until April next year through injury and hasn’t yet played a game for Barca…
Aaron Ramsey is having a worrying spell of form recently. I know I’m not the only one who transferred him out of their fantasy team more than a month ago. Yesterday was the same. He’s not making his usua runs into the box and he doesn’t track back efficiently enough. Good performances on the whole came from Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud did his thing pretty well, Santi Cazorla got stuck in to continue his great performance after the Dortmund game and at the back pretty good too. Martinez seems a decent backup for us in goal, but I can’t imagine he’ll keep the number 1 jersey for long. I want to see Ospina in between the sticks as soon as possible.
On to the January transfer window. One thing I’ve noticed from all top European sides such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich is that their formation seems to all have a similar setup.
Take Bayern for example: Lewandowski up front, has three men behind him at all times. Robben, Ribery and Muller. Goetze can sit behind those four. Bayern then sit an anchorman behind those 5. Xabi Alonso. Or even Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Real Madrid have Benzema up top, Ronaldo playing loose behind him; Rodriguez and Bale on the flanks. Behind that, Toni Kroos sits in the middle of midfield. Behind him? an anchorman. Sami Khedira.

Let’s look at Arsenal’s formation. You can easily put Olivier Giroud up front and he’ll do a job. On the flanks, you can choose your pick between Welbeck, Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski, Sanchez. Behind him, I’d like to see us play Ramsey in that Kroos/Goetze role. But where is our anchorman? We’re currently playing Arteta alongside a Ramsey/Wilshere combo. That’s not really doing the job. Arteta tries to play the water carrier alongside those players, but he’s not quick enough, not strong enough and not a defensive midfielder. I think in January Arsene Wenger needs to buy a central defensive midfielder. Who would I like to see? It’s difficult to say because I don’t know who is on the market. Who do I like? Well, Matic at Chelsea is the type of player I think we need. We could’ve had Luiz Gustavo, we turned him down. We chased Xabi Alonso for years, he’s at Bayern now. We’re apparently chasing Sami Khedira. Not sure he’ll join us, though.
Personally, I think Arturo Vidal is the best in the world. Maybe with the Chilean connection of Alexis Sanchez at the club, we have a chance?
In terms of market availability, it is clear there is one man who Arsenal should sign. He’s French, he plays at Southampton, with whom we have an excellent relationship… Morgan Schneiderlin.
But the price wouldn’t come cheap… but he did want to leave for Spurs last summer, so maybe we have a chance.

Lack of preparation undoes Arsenal; Chelsea win 2-0

Gibbs Ivanovic

Arsenal¬†yesterday slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, to keep up Jose Mourinho’s impeccable run against Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman has still yet to win a game against a Mourinho side.

What was most disappointing about yesterday’s game, was the fact that when we had the ball, we seemed to just get lost in midfield everytime. Jack Wilshere was decent, but Ozil was weak and seemed to be confused as to how to play in this Arsenal side. Cazorla was equally as bad and I’m not sure why Wenger continues to play Ozil on the flank, in a less than favourite position.¬†Fair enough, Chelsea were playing well at the back, to their credit. But Arsenal were toothless in attack. Welbeck lost the ball far too often, but I do not blame him; he barely had anyone around him supporting.

At the back, I thought we did OK. The goals to concede were both disappointing, of course, but I thought Calum Chambers put in an assured performance and Koscielny and Mertesacker still played pretty well together. Gibbs did make some OK runs forward, but everytime he was tracked by the impressive Ivanovic.

So what to make out of this mess? Well it’s still clearly obvious Arsene Wenger isn’t getting something right. I heard rumours that every other top team is now using top of the range technology to analyse games and Arsenal still do this stuff manually. That’s just ridiculous in my opinion. If we need to copy what the best are doing to win games, we just need to do it. Let’s get the people in to monitor and analyse performances.

Secondly, Wenger’s playing people out of position. When Cazorla came to Arsenal I thought he was a winger, and when Ozil came I thought he was a central midfielder. Why are we playing them both in each other’s positions? Similarly in the case of Chambers, why has he had a spell playing at centre back; we should have just played him in his preferred full back position. By the way, he’s had a call up to England to replace Stones, well done to him.

So, now we have a bit of a better run of games. Hull City at home next which is a good chance to fight back. We might be 9 points off the pace but it’s a long season and I’m still sure we can make something out of the 2014/15 title race.

 

FA Cup winners 2014 – come on you Gooners

FA Cup Winners 2014

So, that’s the end to another long and hard season. What a wonderful finish it was indeed – and our 9 year long spell without a trophy ends.

The game itself was a cracker and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one shitting themselves after Hull went 2-0 up after just 10 minutes. It was the same kind of goal that has haunted us for many years, but not so much this season. A ball in from a corner or free kick and one of the centre backs getting a head on it. We seemed to have got that out of our game over the past few seasons but in the FA Cup final of all games, it came back to haunt us.

What came next was a rapid fire response from Santi Cazorla. He’s been a crucial player for us over the past two seasons and he proved it yet again with a stunning free kick from range to put us back in the game in the 21st minute. From there onwards, Hull were never able to really get back into the tie.

The 71st minute then saw us find our equaliser, as Laurent Koscielny got himself in the right place at the right time to spank the ball home past McGregor in the Hull goal. Game on.

Kieran Gibbs missed an absolute pearl of a chance as he hoofed the ball over the bar in the 87th with the goal at his mercy… finally the game ended and went into extra time.

From there, we finally found the winner as our hero of the season, Aaron Ramsey, scored the winner with the outside of his boot. Our barren run would be over!

What a season it’s been.. now we must grow on this success. We need to improve the playing squad and find talent that is capable of building on this victory. As Lukas Podolski said, the monkey is off the back now.

Rampant Arsenal take down Sunderland

Per Mertesacker Laurent Koscielny

A convincing display by Arsenal ensured that we stay near the top of the table and continue our good form and stay in touch with league leaders Chelsea. Apart from our win, Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool all picked up wins, with only Tottenham dropping points in a 1-0 defeat to Norwich. For bragging rights, that feels pretty good, but in terms of the title chase it really is still going down to the wire with just 11 games remaining.

So I read yesterday that we have another international game coming up for England, with a game against Denmark on the radar. It’s such a frustrating time for an international game as the focus should remain on domestic as opposed to pointless national side games.

In terms of the Sunderland game, overall, a pretty good performance. Giroud grabbed a brace whilst Koscielny and Rosicky also scored. Despite winning 4-1, you can’t help but feel the Black Cats have one eye on their upcoming League Cup final with Chelsea and so didn’t put on the most ferocious of displays. Despite that, I thought we were pretty good. Dynamic and up for the challenge all over the park. Giaccherini grabbed a late consolation and so we did not get the clean sheet unfortunately. For me, Rosicky was the man of the match. He was all over the park and getting stuck in. I think he has to play against Bayern if we are to have any chance of qualification. Mesut Ozil was left out and I think that would do him some good. He is under immense pressure and struggling for form; it’s better to leave him to get his head together and come back to his best.

Up next on the 1st of March is a tricky away visit to Stoke City, so I’m sure Arsene will be getting his boys ready for that crucial tie.

Have a good week!