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Has Koscielny missed training?? Comedy of errors gift Chelsea!!

September 30, 2012

And in my opinion, that is it. Two set pieces, two defensive howlers and two goals….! 

Koscielny, in for Mertesacker, played a part in both and the way he performed yesterday made me wonder if he had been skipping training!! That was not the kind of kind of performance we are used to seeing from him!!

Just recently, Arsene Wenger had talked about the difference between:

‘The Premier League games and the big games”.

He said that yesterdays fixture was definitely one of the latter and yes he was right. It was a huge game between the two top London clubs in the league and the same two who will be fighting it out for the Premier League title come May.

Well, on yesterdays showing, I don’t think we will be causing the other league contenders too much bother, do you?

Team in full: Mannone, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla, Ramsey, Gervinho, Podolski.

Subs: Martinez, Santos, Mertesacker, Djourou, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud.

Santi Cazorla had our first chance but his shot went flying over the bar and Diaby saw a chance hit Cech straight in the midriff. That was pretty much it for the tall Frenchman, just after quarter of an hour he went off injured, replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain. Ramsey moved in central whilst Chamberlain filled the wide role.

Soon after the change, we went 1-0 down. A free-kick given away in a dangerous area which Mata took, and drifted it in towards Torres.

He and Kosceinly had a bit of a tug of war; Torres poked a foot out and found the back of the net. Mannone was nowhere to be seen!

Sloppy!

Santi Cazorla felt he’d been fouled in the penalty area when Mikel caught in him the head but Atkinson was having none of it. Straight after, Chelsea had their own shout for a penalty turned down when Torres kicked Koscielny and the Spaniard went over like he’d been shot!! 

We had lost our composure, Chelsea were closing us down well, getting away with naughty tackles/fouls at times and we couldn’t get a grip of the game.

Just before half-time though we struck an equaliser and what a super goal it was too.

The ball went our wide to Chamberlain who played a low cross into the area which found Gervinho. One touch, a quick swivel followed by a high shot which blasted into the back of the net.

Oscar and Torres then missed chances to take the away side into the break with a lead.

As the second half started, Podolski burst into the penalty area but his cross hit Gervinho, feel to Cazorla but the Spaniard blasted wide.

Up popped set-piece number two for the afternoon, and goal number two. Vermaelen was at fault for conceding this free kick after he caught Torres. Mata again took the resulting free-kick which missed every player in the box including Koscielny and a helpless/hopeless Mannone who just stood flat-footed on the line.

He didn’t bother to come for the cross, he didn’t really seem to bother to stop the ball going in either.

Shame the referee didn’t see Ivanovich flatten Gibbs as the ball was crossed eh?

We had a few chances to grab an equaliser before the end, in fact had we been able to shoot on target, we may have even got a winner but reality is, we didn’t have our shooting boots on yesterday.

Podolski saw a fine header just saved by Cech and Ramsey fired the rebound wide.

Wenger then made the last two changes, with Giroud and Walcott coming on for Podolski and Ramsey. Giroud went close but Cech was equal to his shot and Koscielny went close from a Cazorla free kick, but his header hit the post.

Chelsea had chances of their own in between ours; Mata from a free kick, which the defensive wall actually managed to block for once, and Moses blasted his chance over the bar.

Cazorla saw another chance go begging before the final whistle blew as his side-footed shot went over the bar and then our big Frenchman looked almost certain to score to salvage a point.

After some good play between Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud was sent clear.

With what would be our final chance of the match, and having beaten Cech, he left himself too much of an angle – his shot blasted into the side-netting….

The game was over and we were brought back to earth with a bang, and bad news about Diaby followed as Wenger confirmed he will now be out for at least three weeks with a thigh strain……

Hardly the way to make The Emirates our fortress was it?

Here are the match stats to end with, supplied by emma:

Top Passers: Arteta: 59/63 – 94% Cazorla: 53/56 – 95% Mata: 47/51 – 92% Terry: 41/44 – 93%

Santi Cazorla & Oxlade Chamberlain created FOUR chances each yesterday for us, but we couldn’t make them count.

Arsenal

Team Statistics

Chelsea

1

Goals

2

1

1st Half Goals

1

4

Shots on Target

3

10

Shots off Target

5

3

Blocked Shots

2

6

Corners

5

14

Fouls

14

4

Offsides

3

2

Yellow Cards

3

0

Red Cards

0

88.1

Passing Success

83.8

31

Tackles

26

77.4

Tackles Success

88.5

51.4

Possession

48.6

57.6

Territorial Advantage

42.4

469

Total Passes

458

35

Total Crosses

15

137

Lost Balls

144

62

Recoveries

59

46.2

1st Half Poss.

53.8

55.7

2nd Half Poss.

44.3

That’s it for today…..

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Top two sides go head to head – who will come out on top??

September 29, 2012

Morning Gooners,

Chelsea take a short trip across London to face the meanest defence in the league today, a record equalled only by themselves so far this season.

Old Lille club-mates, Gervinho and Hazard will be up against each other rather than in the same team and after the final whistle, who will come out on and take a few bragging rights with them?

Hopefully it will be Gervinho!

Chelsea sit pretty at the top of the Premier League but you would expect them to be, apart from Newcastle, they haven’t faced any of the so called ‘top clubs’. We however, have faced both Liverpool and Manchester City away from home and earned two good results at both, especially at Anfield.

We match Chelsea on both goals scored and goals conceded, so today really should be a close affair and the meanest defence will surely come out on top. We may not be second in the league but can anyone deny that we are playing some of the best football the league has witnessed so far this season? Once we start finding the back of the net a bit more often, we’ll be even better!

Last season Chelsea came to The Emirates for a point and they got it but with their all singing, all dancing, new look attacking side, I doubt we will witness such tactics, they will want to win.

We just need to want win more and if we do, we will. It’s that simple.

Chelsea maybe league leaders and unbeaten in six but they struggled against QPR, managing only a point, they also threw away a two-goal lead at home to Juventus in the Champions League and but for a very late Cashley goal, Stoke would have shared the points in their last league fixture.

Both clubs managed to bag six goals against lower league opponents in the Capital One Cup during the week but Chelsea played a few of their ‘big players’ – whereas we rested most of ours.

Not only is there the little battle between Gervinho and Hazard today, there is also a little battle between the two tricky, talented and ‘great on the eye’ players. Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata – two little Spanish matadors who can side-step, spin and create fantasy football all on their own.

Can’t wait!

Captain Vermaelen is back today, having recovered from his virus and there are no other injuries to report from midweek. Mannone, who Wenger says he nearly sold in the summer, should continue in goal as Szczesny remains 2/3 weeks away from a return.

Selection problems for Arsene Wenger?

No, not according to him, he says he has selection solutions as the squad gets stronger and stronger as players return to fitness.

On paper, today’s fixture should be one of the best the Premier League will see this season.

Let’s go and play our part, just play it better than Chelsea….

Do that and three points will be ours…..

COYG’s

Have a good day all…..


Iron out the little problems Arsene…..

September 28, 2012

Morning Gooners,

We seem to be posed with questions about some of our players who are not entirely happy with ‘their lot’ and some who may be feeling the strain of being pressured.

We are in an enviable position at the moment,  the squad are responding to what looks like the Bould experiment and we seem to be doing very well.

Lets not get to complacent though as we all know things can build up and start to unhinge all the good that has gone before. Let’s not run before we can walk as we still have a few things that need sorting out. Theo for one, Bacary another.

We all know by now that Theo is not entirely happy with being played out wide and after the victory over Coventry, the manager has reiterated that he will get his chance centrally but he has to stay patient. In the meantime, the player has to make up his mind whether to sign a new contract or not.

What we have to consider is that Theo has just seen two new players signed who play primarily up front so it could be he see that chance to play central slipping away. Also there is the emergence of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho although neither are not the finished article yet, but it has to be said, they look good.

Theo is in a quandary. Should he put pen to paper, will he just remain as an impact sub who comes on to give Gervinho or Oxlade-Chamberlain a rest, and still be asked to play on the wing a position he is not entirely happy? Or does he sit tight and pressurise the Manager and hope that Wenger will give him his promised chance?

Personally I wonder if Theo has what it takes to be an out and out centre forward but credit where it’s due, he has waited patiently and I feel he at least deserves a few games in his favoured position.

Should Theo hang out till the end of his contract he will undoubtedly leave on a free with a very good signing on fee, and of course a chance to play his preferred position.

Bacary Sagna – Some supporters suggest that his recent comments have surprised them and now the same supporters are saying ‘well let him leave if his not happy’ as we have Jenkinson who has played well to date filled and Yennaris behind him.

I am a huge fan of Jenkinson but there is no question in my mind that before Sagna got injured, he was one of the best right backs in the Premier League. I feel that whatever is in Bacary’s mind about his future, it has to be sorted out sooner rather than later. Good fullbacks are not that easy to come across and Sagna has been the mainstay in our side for quite sometime now and will be in the future.

If we are to finally win silverware, we need both Sagna and Jenkinson.

Although Arsene Wenger is a great manager, he does have his faults, one being that he is not very open with information and I suspect that none of the players were aware of his plans to bring in new summer signings.

Cesc Fabregas left for Barcelona as he must have felt that Arsenal had stagnated and with the constant signing of ‘unknowns’, he must have believed that life with us was always going to be an uphill struggle. Nasri saw Fabregas depart and he must have felt the same way and I can understand that. Clichy no doubt felt the same and with Arsenals wage structure it’s quite understandable.

Although I felt betrayed by them, I now see why they moved on.

Robin van Persie was coming up to 30, he had just had a great injury free season and his contract was up for renewal. I am sure Robin must have thought he was at the right club for him but as negotiations started he must have been quite shocked at what was probably offered to him. At 30 years old and with Arsenals policy, he would probably only been offered a one year contract and had he signed that contract and his form dropped, the chance of another year at the end of it would probably not have materialised and who else would want a washed up centre forward of 30 odd years old?

I am not one who believes that Arsenal polices should be changed for the sake of one individual, but my heart fluttered when he left for United, but at the end of the day Robin would have only of had his family and future earnings on his mind. I wish him well, but not against us.

As I said before, Wenger holds things very close to his chest, his briefings tell us very little and I guess the players are told even less. His dealings in the transfer window would have surprised the players as much as it did us.

They couldn’t have expected to be in the position they are in now after Van the man went, I certainly didn’t, but Wenger again has worked his magic and the players have belief.

We have just played the Premier League Champions of last year on their own turf, a fixture that last year we wouldn’t have been looking forward to. We went there this season with one thought in our minds and that was to win and we almost did. We didn’t sit back like we did with Montpelier, we went all out and outplayed them for most of the game and we were unlucky not to win. They certainly wont relish the return.

Saturday is a home fixture against Chelsea, another Big Gun in the Premier League and I doubt they will be looking forward to this one. They are top of the league at the moment but they know in their hearts that may not be for long.

Both sides have had midweek cup games and players were rested but the big guns will be back for this fixture. Both will be desperate to win tomorrow, it could very well play a big part in who finishes top of the league come May.

That could very well be us but we have to sort our little problems out soon before they become a long-term problem.

Come on you mighty Gunners.

Written by Steve Palmer.


Finally we can beat Barcelona! Chamakh looked sharp, Giroud off the mark and a tricky next round fixture….

September 27, 2012

Morning Gooners,

No doubt you have all seen the goals from last nights 6-1 victory over Coventry, so there is no need for me to describe them.

Coventry put up a decent resistance in the first half, keeping the score respectable and credit to them for not parking the bus. They came to The Emirates and played the right way.

Giroud worked hard throughout the game and thoroughly deserved his goal, the one which will hopefully see him go on and score many more.

Arshavin too had a very good game and Yennaris worked hard in midfield but I personally prefer him at right-back.

1-0 at half-time.

Coventry began the 2nd half really well but it wasn’t long before Arshavin was fouled in the box, penalty!

Two idiots decided to run onto the pitch which delayed, and possibly prevented Giroud from grabbing his second of the night. All the same, he hit a good low shot right into the corner, only to see the Coventry goalkeeper make a great save.

Yes it was a save, not a miss!!

We didn’t have to wait too long though for the second, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain smashed in a wonderful goal and with it came the Coventry collapse.

From then on it was a case of how many and that is not being disrespectful to the opposition.

I honestly believe that Arsenal could have scored as many as 9 goals, but I’ll settle for 6.

Arshavin grabbed himself a goal, Walcott got 2 and Miquel popped up with a smart header to get in on the act.

That’s 12 goals in successive home games for the Gunners.

Chamakh looked sharp when he came on (yes really!) whilst Frimpong looked understandably rusty, but got the loudest cheer when he came…

For me, the highlight was seeing Serge Gnabry for the final 15 or so minutes, he only made a few runs and subtle moves, but that kid oozes quality. Believe me, he is going to excite us all in the years ahead…

I also thought that Martinez looked assured in goal, He has a very safe pair of hands and could do little about Coventry’s goal.

Good job done……..

Now to smash Reading in the next round….

Finally, a mention for Arsenal Ladies. They were in Spain yesterday for their Champions League first leg against Barcelona. They battered them 3-0 thanks to goals from Jennifer Beattie, Jordan Nobbs and Katie Chapman.

Barring a catastrophe in the second leg in London, they will be through to the next round.

Great night all round for The Arsenal…..

Written by Allezkev


The League Cup can throw a few surprises, let’s not have one tonight….

September 26, 2012

Morning Gooners,

Coventry City roll into town today, for a 3rd Round tie in the much maligned creation of the late Alan Hardaker O.B.E.

Hardaker was the Secretary of The Football League back in the days of Division’s One to Four, and during the 1960′s, was the main architect of The Football League Cup. His remit was to create a competitor to the all-powerful F.A. Cup.

Those were the days when The Football League and The Football Association were in competition for the running of the professional game in England. The F.A. of course, won out in the end thanks to the creation of the Premier League.

The rest, as ‘they’ say, is history…

The League Cup has been an ‘item’ in the English football calendar, in many different guise’s.

The Milk Cup, The Rumbelows Cup, The Littlewood’s Cup, The Carling Cup and this season, The Capital One Cup but I tend to refer to it as The League Cup, the name that Hardaker intended for it.

The League Cup provided me, as a very young boy, with my first two visit’s to Wembley, vs Leeds United in 1968 and more painfully the infamous mud heap that was the final vs Swindon Town in 1969.

In 1969, because of the turnstile fiddling that went on at Wembley at that time, my Father and I were unable to get to our places on the upper tier terraces. My Father made a fuss and a senior steward, sensing an embarrassing situation that could have exposed their little money-making scam, placated my Dad, by leading us down the tunnel and squeezed us into a large group of fans from Wiltshire… Swindon fans…

My memories of the game are not strong, but I recall a very large women from Wiltshire, fainting after Swindon took the lead.

I also recall Bobby Gould’s equaliser, my first Arsenal goal at Wembley but I mostly recall the exhausted and haunted faces of the Arsenal players as they left the pitch at half-time. The result of a debilitating flu virus that spread throughout the team prior to that final.

Leaving Wembley disappointed twice in a row is not a happy experience but it left me with an affection for The League Cup, and a desire to see my club win it…

I have been fortunate to see The Gunners lift The League Cup twice, 1987, thanks to Charlie Nicholas and 1993, thanks to Paul Merson and Steve Morrow but it rankles with me that Arsenal have not won it for 19 seasons now…

And Birmingham City in 2011 was a very very painful experience…..

Whilst fully understanding Arsenal’s policy to this trophy, a policy I agree with. I would love to see The Gunners lift it, if only to exorcise that awful cock-up between Koscielny and Szczesny, which gifted Alex McLeish’s team the trophy two season’s ago…

My team for tonight would look like this:

Martinez

Yennaris  Djourou  Squillaci  Santos

Coquelin  Eastmond (If he hasn’t left us for Colchester)

Eisfeld Arshavin  Gnabry

Chamakh

Subs:  Miquel, Olsson, Akpom, Ebecilio, Angha, Watt, Shea…

I doubt much is known about Coventry by many of us and that is not being disrespectful so here are a few statistics to bore you all:

Head-to-head

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last eight home meetings with Coventry in all competitions since a 3-0 defeat in August 1993.

Arsenal

  • Arsenal won the League Cup in 1987 and 1993 and have been runners-up on five occasions.
  • They have qualified for at least the quarter-finals in each of the last nine seasons.
  • The Gunners were last knocked out by a non-Premier League club in December 2008, when Championship club Burnley defeated them 2-0 at Turf Moor in the fifth round.
  • Their last League Cup defeat by a third-tier side came in November 1983, when Walsall won a fourth-round tie 3-1 at Highbury.

Coventry

  • Coventry have not beaten Premier League opposition in the League Cup since knocking out Manchester United five years ago.
  • That is the only occasion they have qualified for the fourth round in 11 seasons.
  • The 2-0 victory at Old Trafford was the last time they played in the third round.

Coventry have been going through a tough time of it, the were relegated last season and results haven’t been good so far this campaign. They have not long appointed a new manager in Mark Robins and he’ll be after a good performance form his side.

Robins knows what it’s like to beat Arsenal on their own turf, Robins scored twice on his Norwich debut on the opening day of the inaugural Premier League season in 1992 as the Canaries came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 at Highbury!

Coventry knocked Man Utd out at this stage five years ago at Old Trafford, that was a surprise back then.

We don’t need another tonight.

Written by Allezkev 


The Legend that could be Theo Walcott! Who will solve the ‘goals for’ problem?

September 25, 2012

Morning Gooners,

Five games into the Premier League season and we have conceded two goals, this time last year we had conceded fourteen!

Yes, fourteen and we went on to conceded another thirty-four before the season ended, something which most Gooners said needed to be rectified this season.

Well Sunday we faced the Premier League’s side which on paper, contains some of the best and most entertaining footballers in the league, but they couldn’t score more than just once against us!

They couldn’t stop us from scoring either, in fact this season they have already conceded seven goals and to be fair, that figure could be a lot worse had we taken our chances.

So far so good it seems and if things stay as solid at the back, we won’t be heading the goals conceded league come May 2013.

At present, we have the meanest defence in the league, equal with Chelsea, in fact we match them on goals scored and conceded so this coming weekends fixture should be an interesting battle, in more ways than one.

But as we witnessed on Sunday, converting our chances was again our downfall, as three points were really missed out on, so how do we fix it?

Is Theo Walcott the answer?

Throughout my time on Highbury House, there has been a common theme from a majority of fans and that is should Theo Walcott be playing through the middle as a striker.

It’s been suggested that Walcott, in fact, was used as a striker at Southampton before his transfer to Arsenal in 2006. At what level that was at, I’m not sure, be it Youth, Reserves or 1st team.

Harry Redknapp recently claimed that he had used Walcott as a striker and had actually given him his debut in that position, the same season Harry took the Saints down a division. Something all his chums in the Press conveniently forget, just as they routinely forget everything that doesn’t suit their warped agenda.

Snippets of Theo that I saw on Television prior to him joining Arsenal, seemed to show him playing out wide!

So I’m not convinced about this Theo the Southampton striker tale, but he wants that central role and he wants to stay too.

It’s a slow process, my last contract took over six months to happen. Hopefully it can be sorted out.

I’ve never said I wanted to go, I’ve always wanted to stay. I want to be an Arsenal legend. Thierry joined the club when he was 22 and I want to become an Arsenal legend like him, playing up front as well, which is a big factor for me. I’ve played on the right wing and had the opportunity to play up front a bit more so I think it’s about time.

That speculation on the money side of it has never been me. That’s not me. I’m not the sort of person who’s influenced by money. I always make my decisions based on football and only football. Hopefully something can be sorted out. I’ll just wait for the club to get back to us now and go from there.

It’s one of those things that happens in the game. If it comes to it, if the club had to sell me, I’d be disappointed but, like I said, hopefully something can be sorted.

Theo might get that chance in the Capital One Cup fixture tomorrow night and if he does he really needs to make it count, as does Giroud if he starts. Maybe both will start up front together and we’ll see a deadly pairing?

In the meantime of course, the concern about the lack of striking depth at Arsenal by many of the Gooner faithful will continue, although it has to be said that it’s 50% stronger than 12 months ago when we had one decent striker…

So whilst on the subject of Walcott and putting Chamakh to one side (many fans would like to see that permanently) there might be an answer in situ.

That answer is Gervinho…

Yes, I know he can appear flakey, with arms and legs going all over the place but that’s when he is on the wing, maybe a permanent switch inside could be the making of him?

Initially as an emergency to solve our goal scoring problem but if Giroud get’s off the mark and goes onto have a great first season, then the panic will be over.

But he is an interesting option, one that worked against Southampton when he caused mayhem for their defence.

They didn’t have a clue how stop him, and he could do that to many more defences.

So Theo or Gervinho is the question…..

Written by Allezkev


Unbeaten run goes on as Koscielny’s ‘penalty’ secures a point…..

September 24, 2012

The starting line up was a little bit different then usual due to TV05 having flu, while Ramsey played instead of Giroud.

The team was:

Mannone, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Ramsey, Diaby, Arteta (Captain), Cazorla, Gervinho, Podolski.

Subs: Martinez, Andre Santos, Giroud, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Djourou, Coquelin.

We kicked off the game equal on points with City but with a better goal difference.

Contrary to what was suspected, and that is Cazorla being pushed out on the right, it was Ramsey who played out wide, being placed there to give a better balance to midfield and allow Cazorla to work his magic behind Podolski and Gervinho. However there was nothing to stop the forward players from interchanging positions whenever they wanted.

The first few minutes saw a lot of Arsenal possession but the City players kept nipping in to dispossess the players in red. Whenever City had the ball the Gunners usually dropped back until they retrieved the ball and that was when they usually opened up.

Cazorla was usually at the hub of action in the attacking half, always being positive, always trying things, always trying to be innovative and it was he who stretched Hart first, however his shot did not have that enough power.

Statistics have shown that in this year’s EPL, Arsenal have been the team who have made the most tackles and with a high success rate too. During the first ten minutes, that reputation was enhanced as even the attack was pressing and tackling and this was shown mostly by Gervinho who neatly dispossessed Lescott before passing to Gibbs. Cazorla, with his giant frame of 5ft 6 ins managed to down the slightly built Yaya Toure and was even clever enough to make it seem as if he was fouled.

This teams attitude was shown all around and it helped in Mannone not being called into action before the 14th minute when he was equally good to a stinging shot from Sergio Aguero.

Arsenal continued to press mainly from the right and the 23rd minute saw Jenkinson get behind the City defence before squaring a cross to Podolski who fired high. Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey were finding a good amount of spaces in between City’s midfield and defence while Gervinho spurned arguably the best chance of the game for Arsenal.

City was playing a very solid 4-4-2 system with two banks of players whenever AFC players had the ball. However they quickly switched to attack whenever they were in possession and every now and then, they threatened the AFC defence near the box.

The Gunners had their moments especially from the wings. However if one was to consider the sum total of play it was evident that Arsenal were the more positive of both sides and always tried to play the ball forward at every opportunity instead of the crab like sideways passing we had grown accustomed to previous years.

Cazorla slipped Gervinho on the right and only a last gasp challenge from Clichy stopped him getting away. Moments later Podolski over cooked his pass to Diaby. Had it been a good pass Diaby would have been in on goal. Arsenal were in charge of the midfield battle and Mancini was clearly upset about it and he was constantly berating his players to close down the spaces.

However for all their good and positive play, Arsenal’s good play was undone by just one simple set piece. From a corner delivered to the far post, Lescott jumped the highest to steer home a power header.

Arsenal, conceded the goal at the worst possible moment! Just before half time and they were the more positive of two teams.

Zonal marking should be slightly questionable, however lack of communication in both the concession of the corner (when AFC defenders should have told Gibbs that the ball was going out) and in the marking of Lescott contributed to Arsenal finding themselves down at half-time.

Arsenal had been impressive both defensively and offensively, however at set pieces they have not looked good enough. Their zonal marking in open play was very good however during set pieces zonal marking meant that City’s players who were also tall could get a run at the ball. Podolski should have stopped Lescott but he allowed him to drift in while his mind drifted elsewhere.

Moments later Mannone made a great save when he chipped a shot by Aguero over the bar for a corner.

The half time whistle went and AFC players trudged off to get a warm drink safe in the knowledge that no hair-dryer treatment was awaiting them. Rather a few tactical points and a motivational speech.

If Arsenal could stay positive and keep calm, it was possible that they would get something from the game.

And by the way, contrary to what many have said recently, Ramsey was having a very good game. He was tackling, he was making runs and was very much in the game. He was not bullied by the aging Toure and that was the best half we have seen him play in a long time. Jenkinson and Gibbs were also impressive.

The second half saw City being more the dominant side, having switched to 4-2-3-1, with Toure given licence to go forward while Garcia and Rodwell stayed in the defensive positions. Twice Aguero had a sniff at goal, especially when Diaby faffed possession on the half way line. However nothing came of them.

City continued to dominate possession and Arsenal were going through a torrid time, barely being able to implement their passing game in City’s half. This situation was getting to Podolski’s nerves and he made his presence felt when he tackled Zabaleta with a very strong challenge, followed by an equally impressive Germanesque stare towards the referee. The yellow stayed in the pocket.

Arsenal started to build patiently and slowly began to increase their possession stats. There was no panic from them and slowly began finding space behind the City defence, courtesy of Gibbs and Jenkinson, yet the final ball was always lacking and Hart was rarely seen during the first twenty minutes of the second half.

Tevez came on for Dzeko in a tactical change which meant that City now had three quick small players up front who could interchange positions at will. This meant that the AFC defence had to be on the look out more now as the front three were a dynamic lot compared to the one-dimensional Dzeko who always goes through the centre.

Then Arsene Wenger made a change. He bought on Giroud for Diaby and Theo on for Podolski. Both had a good game having run themselves to the ground. Neither looked too pleased but both had given a good account of themselves for the benefit of the team.

Within a minute of coming on Giroud had a shot on the turn, however it was cleared by Lescott for a corner. The ball was played in again and Hart had to scramble to reach the ball before Arteta, after the whole City defence stood still for an offside whistle which never materialised.

City broke quickly and Yaya Toure galloped nearly the whole length of the pitch before Mannone produced a fine save from Aguero.

Cazorla replied with a wonderful strike to which Hart was equal to.

From the resulting corner, Kosceinly struck a wonderful penalty. Well it was not a penalty in the actual sense but it was bang on the penalty spot. That was a tremendous strike from our free scoring centre-back who has now scored two in his last two games. A few minutes later Mannone made a superb save after Kozzer went from a hero to zero when he allowed a city player the time to perfect a scissor kick.

Catch me if you can…..

Arsenal looked to win it in the last five minutes and began putting in a lot of pressure. Gervinho was everywhere and he was harrying the City defence, culminating in him and Ramsey sandwiching the small frame of Yaya Toure between them.

Every Arsenal player seemed as if he wanted to play in this game and this kind of attitude is what stands the team in good stead as contrary to past years, players seem to demand the ball, full of belief that each and everyone could contribute something to the cause.

Coquelin came on for Gervinho, who received a standing ovation from me while typing this article. Well sort of.

Garcia received a yellow card for downing Jenkinson who was through on the right. Arteta lined up to take the free kick but nothing came of it.

The game went into added time over added time, but the whistle soon went.

They did…….

Arsenal are still unbeaten.

Next up ….. the Chavs.

Written by DevilGunner.


Are Arsene Wenger’s Strongest Ever Squad Ready to Stand Up?

September 23, 2012

Morning Gooners,

A few words from ‘Mad Jens’ throughout today’s post:

We once played Inter Milan and nearly got knocked out of the Champions League. We knew we had to get a result and all of a sudden this team really stood up. We beat them 5-1 in Milan, and so it showed us at the time how great we were as a team. The team spirit was vital to achieve such things.

Prior to this campaign, when did we last see the team spirit that Jens experienced?

Maybe in the odd game or two is my answer.

Certain players have stood up, but seldom have Arsenal stood tall together as a team, with each and every one giving their all to ensure we secure a victory or hang on to a crucial point.

Of course many of you will no doubt say, what about this game, or that game and of course you will all be right, but the team spirit Jens refers to was witnessed from beginning to end of the 2003-2004 Premier League season.

When you see Robin van Persie, a player who wants to leave for money and probably because he thinks that somewhere else it is easier to win, you have to let him go.

The bad apples are no longer with us and ‘our bunch’ is no longer being spoiled.

Apart from the little saga with Theo Walcott, every player wants to be at Arsenal and that is what most of us have been asking for, for many seasons. The age of the more experienced players is right, the younger ones, well most of them are Gooners or like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, they have reiterated their own desire to be at the club for years.

We have togetherness and judging from what we have seen so far, we could finally see the team spirit that we witnessed back in the days of Mad Jens.

This could be the season that ‘things’ really start to tick and it’s fixtures like today’s that will show us how far we have come and how deep the team are prepared to dig in order to get a result.

‘I said pull yourself together Gerv’ not…….

Man City haven’t lost a game at home since December 2010 which is why I suspect that no footballing fan, other than Arsenal ones of course, expect us to get anything from the game today but what do they know eh?

The future will tell us, along with what will come into place next year with the introduction of Uefa’s financial fair play rules. Then we will see how these rules actually come into play for clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City. It could turn out that clubs like Arsenal are all of a sudden far ahead of their rivals. 

Why wait until then?

We have a strong squad, Wenger suggests it’s his strongest ever squad:

It is true that the squad has maybe more strength than I have had ­before. At centre-back, yes, but also in midfield.

City may have all the money and all the super stars, but what we have is worth more. We have stability, a group of players who look happy and we certainly have no ‘off-field’ arguments rumbling on. We even have players on the bench who have the ability to come on and change games, something we haven’t had for a few seasons now.

So are they ready to stand up and show that later today?

We’ll soon know the answer…….

That’s it for another day, hope it’s a great one.


Striker-less up front & No Focal Point in our Attack. That’s what we do best….

September 22, 2012

Morning Gooners.

Over the years under Wenger’s reign as Arsenal boss we’ve had the privilege of witnessing some sublime football from our team. This has been made possible by the fluidity of our attacking unit and there has been two main dominant types of forwards at our club during that period.

We’ve had the lightning quick forwards with great technique to boot in the form of Anelka/Henry. We’ve also had the purely technical type of forward in Rvp/DB10. We’ve also had forwards somewhere in between the two in the mold of Ade/Kanu. The Invincibles had both technique and pace in the attack and coupled with the mobility of Pires/Ljunberg we were able to capture the eye of the neutrals with some breathtaking football.

When the Invincibles were dismantled we had Ade/Rvp as the focal point in the attack. In 07/08 we were a delight to watch since we had pace and technique with Rosicky/Fab/Hleb being willing off the ball runners. However, our wide men did not score enough goals as compared to Pires/Freddy.

When Ade left Rvp became the main man and he was all about technique up front and we lost one of the hallmarks of our attack under Arsene Wenger – pace.

This past summer the aforementioned Manc scum left and we bought Giroud/Podolski.

We all thought that they were replacing ‘the little boy’ that left but it seems Arsene Wenger had another player in mind, Gervinho.

During our Asian tour Gervinho played his fair share of games up front to varying degrees of success. Wenger in this past season had compared him to Henry in terms of movement on the pitch. Hazard said he was the best player he had ever played with and said he makes some ‘interesting runs’.

Combine his movement and his dribbling ability, playing him in the middle makes sense.

On the wing he tends to do too much by trying to beat so many players in limited amount of space. However, in the middle he can use his ‘tunnel vision’ to beat players with a shorter route to goal. The only question marks are regarding his decision-making and finishing.

Last weekend when we played Southampton he was brilliant in that role. He popped up pretty much everywhere in the attacking third to attack pockets of space in defense. In addition to Gervinho, Poldi/Ox/Santi/Gibbs made excellent off the ball runs into the box like a hungry pack of wolves every time we broke forward at pace and Southampton couldn’t cope. We had no focal point in the attack and we played a system that can be best described as strikerless.

The Invincibles played like that.

The Mancs were sensational to watch when they played this system some few years ago, a system which led them to several PL titles, a CL and other cup finals.

Granted it was only Southampton, but the game showed that if there are willing off the ball runners when we attack constantly swapping positions it is very difficult to defend against.

Last weekend our pace and 1 / 2 touch football was sensational at times and we can now begin to see why Wenger seems to fancy playing Gervinho there. Against Montpellier Gervinho scored a goal that showed he is fancying that role too, the way he dribbled past his marker, laid off the ball and burst into the box to score at the end of a cross, was the type of goal we have rarely seen from our front man.

I’m not saying he is already there but it is fascinating to see how he develops in that role. With City/Chelsea games coming up it will be a good test to see if that strikerless system can work effectively against stronger teams.

Where does this leave Giroud?

The strikerless system always places emphasis on the ball constantly moving but in some games you’ll need a plan B. Our possession game so far in that system hasn’t been dominant and we end up being on the back foot at least 50% of the game time.

Having a player like Giroud can help when we need to hold up the ball in the opposition final 3rd allowing the likes of Poldi/Ox/Santi space to operate in and play tiki taka. This has worked pretty well in the games against Liverpool and Montpellier whereby Giroud’s movement and presence acted as a decoy allowing Gervinho/Poldi to score in those games. Giroud can pin opposition CB’s back to give us more space to work with.

We can therefore see that we have 2 different systems that we can use depending on the opposition. The strikerless system may also offer Theo the chance he craves for to play centrally by allowing him just to run and finish.

We are still working on perfecting both systems which will allow us to no longer rely on a single goal scoring threat.

The City/Chelsea games will show us just how well these two systems will work for us.

I hope I did not bore you all with my own theory/view, next up is the midfield if you are interested ;)

Written by K-TR7


The ‘Next Wilshere’ signs on! The Real One is back as is Frimpong & and just four left in the sick bay….

September 21, 2012

Morning Gooners, it’s all good news today.

Firstly, 17 year old Academy scholar Jack Jebb, a young player who is expected to take the Jack Wilshere path rather than the David Bentley one, has signed professional terms with the Club.

He’s a London born and bred player who is described as a technically-gifted central midfielder who joined Arsenal’s academy a year early and has reaped the rewards, making his breakthrough into the under-18 side last season.  He’s also represented England at both under-16 and under-17 level.

The real Jack Wilshere, well finally he is back in full training, as is Emmanuel Frimpong!

The boys are back….

That truly is a wonderful sight!

It’s been a long time since we have seen both of of those two young men playing the game they love and I strongly suspect that both are as thrilled to be back, as we are to see them.

Another photograph from the official site speaks volumes in my mind.

Happy Chappies??

Theo Walcott really looks happy alongside Jack and Alex doesn’t he, maybe the return of his mate Jack will make him see sense and finally realise that money doesn’t always bring happiness.

We are a club on the up, a club that can give him trophies in the future, a club that will give him all he needs in football, he just needs to wake up and realise that and sign his new contract.

The return of Frimpong is equally as important as Wilshere, especially after the recent comments that Francis Coquelin has made. Frimpong loves our club, he wants to play only for our club and there is no way he will be saying any time soon that if he’s not played, he will think about moving on.

So if Le Coq thinks he needs to be playing, then he either needs to start performing when he gets the chance and prove himself, or standby and watch Frimpong push him out – because in my opinion, he will.

Things were already looking good, but after yesterday, they are looking even better. The return of the two young men means that now we have only four players left needing treatment and all four are very close to a return, although the extent of Szczesny’s injury is yet to be confirmed as is the injury to Fabianski.

Both Tomas Rosicky and Bacary Sagna are 2/3 weeks away from a return.

Just how strong will we be then?

That’s it for another day, have a good one all…..


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