Category Archives: premier league

All good things must come to an end…

Alexis Sanchez Arsenal

Arsenal were playing the same squad for the longest consecutive period of games in a row since 1994 and slumped to their first defeat in 11 league games. All good things must indeed come to an end.

What has been most refreshing about Arsenal’s recent upturn in form is the way that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have finally established a starting 11 that can push us on to title success next season.
Chelsea, are of course the Champions, and it is now possible that we don’t finish second. But it has been a great second half of the season for us regardless.

The Gunners have allowed the trio of David Ospina, Francis Coquelin and Hector Bellerin to rescue our season and it has paid off handsomely. We’re heading to the FA Cup Final and although yesterday’s defeat to Swansea City leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, we’ve a lot to look forward to for 2015/16.

In terms of the game itself, Arsenal were of course dominant throughout but Swansea City and their manager Garry Monk outsmarted us. That six man midfield proved a problem for us for the entire evening. I indeed hope that Tim Sherwood doesn’t learn anything from that performance by the Swans.

Arsenal need to now regroup and finish on the best possible note for the last two league games of the season. Wenger will need to rotate to keep his freshest legs fresh for the FA Cup Final.

Next up Aston Villa, Sanchez out

Theo Walcott

Morning everyone,
The transfer window will head into its final crazy few days and it appears that Arsenal are finished with their business. That’s not stopped the press from linking us with 238 defensive midfielders, but I am sure we are done for this month.
Gabriel Paulista is a good signing for us and Arsene Wenger has claimed that Paulista ticked all the right boxes and also hinted that the Gunners statisticians spotted Paulista before he did. Bielik probably isn’t one for the first team for some time, but it is good to see us already thinking about the future with that one.
If I were to predict who will be busiest over the next couple of days, it is Hull, Tottenham and probably United. Chelsea will sign Cuadrado and probably sell either Schurrle or Salah. Liverpool also desperately need a forward but the returning Sturridge will ease the burden.
In to our next game, today at Aston Villa, it’s likely Ozil will start and Walcott might also get a chance. Alexis Sanchez is missing with a hamstring injury and Paulista could also make an appearance, depending on the score at the end of the game.
I can see us getting a big win this afternoon and as I said before, we’re on a good run which I see us going all the way to the end of the season with. Was good to see City and Chelsea drop points yesterday as well.
Enjoy the game and see you in the comments!

Arsenal victory over Man City the start of a revolution?

Coquelin

I had a funny feeling we would get something out of the Man City game, but I didn’t expect us to ever play quite that well. For me, Santi Cazorla was out of this world, but the real difference was made by Francis Coquelin. What a reversal of fortunes for him. One minute you’re out on loan at Charlton Athletic, the next you’re putting in a match winning performance against the champions of England. I really hope he keeps this form up. I can’t see him being dislodged from the first team until the end of the campaign now. I heard that Flamini and Diaby are free to leave the Emirates and I think the emergence of Coquelin ensures that.

Next up we have a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup. I think this is a tricky game for us. It’s imperative that we keep up our good form in the cup competitions but I expect to see Walcott, Flamini, Ozil and Campbell all get some playing time. We should beat them even with a rotated squad.

Elsewhere, we’ve signed our first player of the January transfer window, that Bielik chap from Poland – I don’t know anything about him but I think it’s a typical Wenger addition. Young with bags of potential. Hopefully he can push for a first team place in the next couple of years.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Enjoy revelling in the victory!

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.

Tricky Everton game coming up; mixed start to season

ArsenalBesiktas

Hello Gooners,

It’s been a topsy turvy start to the new season. With a last gasp 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on the back up a 3-0 win over City in the Shield, we traveled to Turkey on Tuesday night for the first leg of our Champions League qualifier with Besiktas. It wasn’t the best of performances and I felt we were lucky to come home with the draw. Despite that, we’re still in a good position to qualify and we need to be at our best at home to see of the Turkish club. Demba Ba looked particularly dangerous and we need to nullify that thread in the home return tie. Finally, with Aaron Ramsey missing after his red card, we need to bring Ozil back for the return leg. His creativity will be important going forward.

Now we move on to a big weekend game against Everton. I wonder if Per Mertesacker, Podolski and Ozil are ready for a return? Wenger will be tempted but Calum Chambers has been impeccable at the back and also of course Ramsey has been shifted further forward since Ozil has been left out of the side. I expect us to go for it. We need to be winning games away at the top clubs and Everton are in that bracket now. They are able to sign the likes of Lukaku on permanent deals, so they can back their progress last season with financial brevity as well.

I do fancy us to get three points this weekend. Martinez is a great manager. I really like him and I think he is a candidate for replacing Wenger eventually. But I think this is going to be a tricky season for him.¬†What we need to do is attack right away from the off. Everton’s defence is older now and we have the pace to get stuck in.

In transfer news I hear that Sami Khedira has turned down a Real Madrid contract – this is big – we need to bring a defensive midfielder of that calibre before the transfer window shuts – god forbid Chelsea should sign him as well.

That’s all for now – thanks for visiting!

Final day victory for Gunners

MesutOzilNorwich

Well, what a season it’s been. Up and down that’s for sure… but I can’t help but feel most Arsenal fans will be thinking what could have been.

Arsene Wenger went out and spent big at the beginning of the season, at the last minute of course. Mesut Ozil was the player who came in for a big money fee. Initially, and for the first four months of the season, the German was first class. After January though, he looked to be tired and short of fitness. This, as has been in the past, was the story of Arsenal’s decade. A short squad, lacking the players needed to make a title challenge.

The first few months, in and around the Emirates, it felt like we supported a different team. The fans were more friendly, the atmosphere was buzzing; people felt like Arsenal could go on and win some trophies this season. We looked like we could do it and Wenger had finally got it right.

Then the injuries started coming, as they usually do. What we need to look at desperately is firstly our team of physios and also the training that Wenger is adopting. It seems to tire out our players and makes it easier for them to pick up injuries during the big games. Think about this, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was missing this year, Mesut Ozil for a lengthy spell, we lost Lukas Podolski for a while; Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky picked up an injury for a short time, Kieron Gibbs picked up his annual niggle too. There were many. Why does this happen to us at all important times of the season?

Into January, the injury to Theo Walcott against Tottenham was the final nail in the coffin. Even though we were top of the league then and flying high, we were short of pace on the flanks, all important in the modern game. Look at any other title chasing team, Liverpool have Raheem Sterling; Chelsea have Schurrle, Salah; Man City have David Silva and Jesus Navas. Arsenal did have Serge Gnabry on the bench, but he didn’t have a go, not really sure why Wenger didn’t put much faith in him. I expect to see Gnabry play a more important role at Arsenal next year. If he’s not guaranteed a chance, then please send him out on loan somewhere Arsene.

Then, everything went downhill into the last 10 games of the season. Psychologically, Arsenal took a battering with the 6-0 defeat against Chelsea. That’s when it was all over. We still continue to show that we can’t compete against the best top teams, that really does hurt. We need to change that if we’re going to compete next year, that means we need a class defensive midfielder, someone like Fernandinho; also a good replacement for Bacary Sagna. We also need to keep Lukas Podolski and think about bringing in yet another striker. We don’t have enough forwards to challenge for the title. I wonder if some of our promising wonderkid’s will have a go next season?

As for the final day for Arsenal, it was a victory and a comfortable one as well. Aaron Ramsey scored a wonderful goal, Marco van Basten-esque in fact. Then Carl Jenkinson also got on the scoresheet as well with an impressive goal. Finding some room in front of goal and spanking home in decent fashion. I wonder if he’ll be brought in to replace Bacary Sagna next year as a straight swap? So very ironic that his first goal for the club comes in Sagna’s last game…

So it’s on to the FA Cup Final against Hull City next week and then it’s job done and on to the World Cup for the majority of our players. We have had a brilliant little spell of form recently, it’s just a shame we couldn’t hold up against the top teams this season and it might’ve been different indeed.

We’ve also got the all important and expected contract signing of Mr. Wenger coming up soon. When will that be announced? How long will he sign for? Is he doing a Sir Alex and will he retire at the end of the season unannounced? Very unlikely, but it is peculiar that Arsene is keeping his cards close to his chest. I expect he’ll sign a two year contract and that he’ll not be spending much money at all this summer. He really doesn’t think he needs to. What he should be doing though is bringing in some experienced heads to join his coaching team. Dennis Bergkamp is doing a wonderful job at Ajax as Frank De Boer’s assistant, how about bringing him onto the coaching team? What about the medical team? Can we bring in some experience from a rival club there? How about the backroom team? In the age of big data, do we have quality people who are analysing our opponents? Can we add some knowledge here… I’m sure most of our rivals do.

Anyway, it’s a final day win and congratulations to Man City. To be honest, of all the teams at the top I was personally happier that City won the league… can you imagine if Liverpool won with that average squad? What about Jose Mourinho with his negatron tactics?

Let’s learn from this season, lift the FA Cup and spend big in the summer. It’s been a mixed season indeed… onward and upward.

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.

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!

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!

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