There is not a lot you can add to the title of this post, it’s an absolute must for us to bring home maximum points later on this afternoon. Last three weeks have not been great for us, infact we only managed a draw at home against Sunderland which to me was certainly opportunity missed to get even closer to the Mancs.
No point to dwell on those disappointments now, I suppose, time to move on we can still challenge for the Premier League tittle so let’s give it our best shot. Injuries are piling up again Abou Diaby will now miss the game with a groin strain which he probably sustained during training, they reckon it’s only short term and it’s a matter of days. Diaby is definitely not having a good season, he failed to impress so far and is out injured again. So it looks like Denilson will play alongside Wilshere. Denilson in definitely not a defensive midfielder we all know that but he hasn’t played a lot of games this season so let’s get behind him even though he hasn’t been that great, perhaps he needs playing time to improve, he certainly doesn’t look like the player from last season. We will definitely miss our backbone of Cesc, Song, Djourou and Walcott but I honestly belive that we have enough in the tank to beat The Baggies and make up for what happened at The Emirates earlier in the season.
I would like for Nasri to start in the middle this time around, he seems less effective on the left, Bendtner out wide with Van Persie in the middle and Arshavin on the right. With this selection Wilshere and Denilson behind Nasri. With Djourou out Squilliaci will pair Koscienly at the center of our defence so it looks like a complete French outlet there with Sanga and Clichy on the flanks.
Baggies will try their best to gain points themselves they are certainly not safe yet, there are two points away from relegation zone, so they will give us a game no doubt. I’m confident though that with our quality we can take all three points and keep our title run very much alive. We know we can go level on points with Man U and hopefully for a change we can take this opportinty and use it to our advantage.
We need to dig deep, no room for error and complacancy, every Priemier Lague game becomes a Cup game now. I would like to sit down later on tonight with a smile on my face, knowing that we are still strongly in the title race. I’m sure the away fans will get behind whoever runs out onto that pitch in few hours time as always they have been really great this season, hats off to them. I’ll be doing my bit from home, so let’s get beihind them all and hope for we can bring those prercious three points back home.
COME ON YOU REDS…!!!
In Gooner terms, to describe the last month as very very bad, would be a desperate understatement. Defeat to Birmingham, Barca and United saw us crash out of three major trophies, not to mention a disappointing draw at home to Sunderland in the league. On top of all this we have taken injury blows to Djourou, Szezny, Walcott, Song and of course our captain, Cesc. Calls in to 5 live have been requesting Arsene to leave as if we have finished in the bottom half of the table, from the outset it seems that the Gooner’s season has been turned upside down. And I think it’s fair to say we’ve hit what one would call ‘a mid-season crisis.’ But in this article I would like to explain why this little crisis shouldn’t, actually, can’t continue to overshadow our season.
Right where to start, ah yes I almost forgot. 15 years ago, Arsenal were the Aston Villa of the Premier league, in ’94 we finished 12th, in ’95 we finished 5th, as Alan Hansen would say ‘It was a mixed bag.’ Our stadium was a 40,000 seater and our fan base barely stretched over the English border. 15 years later, Arsenal are in a very very different place. We finish in the top 4 every year, our stadium capacity has increased by 20,000 and we are the most popular European club in Africa. In finances, Our yearly turnover is near that of Real Madrid and we are emerging from a huge shadow of debt faster than anyone predicted. Now I don’t think there is one person who can tell me that the grass is much greener than it was 15 years ago. To me, this has all been implemented by the success of one man, Arsene Wenger. It was he who came to us in ’96 and picked up our unsettled team from the despotic hands of Bruce Rioche. It was he who brought us the Premier league 3 times and FA Cup 4 times. Mr Wenger transformed Arsenal from top to bottom, inside out, he is behind the youth system, the team philosophy and of course the success. Arsenal is his project, creation almost, and it would be entirely foolish to sweep it out of his control.
The main subject of our criticism over the last month has been our centre midfield, or lack of. Abou Diaby and Denilson have had a fair crack of the whip, but neither of them have made any effect in games against Barca and United. With injuries to Song and Fabregas, we supposedly have a problem in the area. The answer lies with one man/boy: Aaron Ramsey. Ramsey showed us what he’s got in the latter end of last season and after recovering from injury is the perfect man for the job. Ramsey posses strength, pace, vision and determination, by the time he was savagely put out of action by Stoke last season, he was already a well established team member. If that isn’t enough to suggest that he is the obvious alternative to Diaby, Ramsey is known to improve when partnered up with Jack Wilshere who will be starting as many games as possible from now until May. In fact, the pair have already been hailed as the Gooner’s midfield future. Wilshere’s ability to retain possession and use the width of the pitch, mixed with Ramsey’s magic first touch and ability to create something out of nothing make them an irresistible duo. However, while Wilshere shows sure signs of becoming one of the best in the world, there is a small chance that Ramsey will pick up ‘Eduardo Syndrome’ and fail to return to the form which he was on before his terrible injury. This is unlikely as Ramsey has had two loan spells at Cardiff and Nottingham Forest where he has shown the same ability as previously. Ramsey and Wilshere seem like the perfect duo to rush to aid our endangered season, and if deployed, I believe they could be pivotal in the conclusion of our season
Now in terms of tactics, If we are to prevail over every opponent from now until the end of the season I believe Arsene should enforce a strict set of rules regarding selection. One starting XI should be set in concrete, by Saturday Arsene should have found the midfield combination which he wants to stick with until the return of Song and Fabregas. As fixture congestion will not be an issue there will be no need to rest anyone and the team should remain fairly similar from now until May. The team should be heavily disciplined, the victory is not stable until a 4 goal margin. Away games will be key, this weekend we play West Brom in an enormous fixture, I believe we should play away games with a far more defensive and conservative mentality than in the past, score line is utterly irrelevant, what matters is if we concede. Conceding will drain our moral and we must do everything we can to prevent it.
In terms of depth and selection we have only a slight problem, at least two players contest each outfield position, every player in our squad is top quality. I believe we can beat United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa with the players available to us, as far off as that may seem in the current moment. Aside from tactics, I believe our main barrier is Mentality. Mentally we have cracked over the past month, the fixture congestion and pressure of big matches became too great a burden causing us to give below par performances. The rest given from only being in one competition should do us a world of good. Not only can the boss revise his strategies for upcoming matches, but the players can have time realise the clear and vital mission which they must complete to define the season. The most important thing is that our players are in positive mindset, from there, given the ability of our players, and without sounding too corny, anything is possible.
Champions League tonight has finally arrived and I’m looking for a much improved performance from the team all around, if it was just a blip or whatever you want to call it, then tonight is perfect opportunity to lift the spirits ahead of the game on Sunday. We all know by now that Almunia got injured against WBA on Saturday when he made the penalty and didn’t make the trip to Serbia, below par performance from Diaby also didn’t include him in the squad, or maybe he is injured again, who knows Arsene didn’t say anything regarding him during his Press Conference. This means Lukasz Fabianski will feature in goal against Partizan Belgrade this evening with most of fans already grinding their teeth at the thought of the Pole between the sticks. I have my own doubts to be honest with you I’m Polish myself and it pains to say this but whenever Lukasz gets a chance he always manages to fuck it up big time, sometimes I wonder when will he learn to stop making such simple yet costly mistakes, so far he has not impressed me with his performances. Asrene obviously has confidence in him and said:
“I want him to show how good he is,” said Wenger. “He gets another opportunity to show how good he is.
“There is only one way to show confidence in a player and that is to put him on the pitch and give him his chance. I have confidence in him.
“As a manager you can give a chance to a player who is good enough – I believe in his talent.
“It is another big chance but you want a goalkeeper or any player to grab the chance when you get it.”
I agree with those points made above, however he made so many costly errors every time he got his chance I’m starting to think he must be running out of these now, how many more chances is Arsene willing to give him? Maybe I’m being too harsh on him, perhaps I’m a bit but that is because I want him to succeed in every way, I want him to show us he’s good enough and that he’s a talented keeper. To prove himself to the fans and show the others he’s a worthy Arsenal goalie. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and I sincerely hope he will have a good game tonight, come on Lukasz no fucking about this time please!
Wojtek Szczesny has also been included in the squad and I think this is due to his latest outburst, he clearly wants to play and if he doesn’t then he may be looking elsewhere to do just that. I was rather surprised he wasn’t sent out on loan, so it seems Wenger has got other plans for him this coming season. Wojtek had a really good spell at Brentford last season but this obviously doesn’t mean he will preform on the same level in the Premier League. I still think there is massive potential there and he should bide his time for now. If Almunia and Fabianski will keep on making blunders left, right and center I can guarantee we’ll see Wojtek in goal sooner rather than later.
Speaking about the keepers, one brave Partizan Belgrade keeper Vladimir Stojkovic thinks we are weak without Cesc Fabregas, speaking to The Sun he said:
“We’ve watched Arsenal’s last few matches and they really have changed,”
“They have problems in defence and in goal.
“But their biggest problem is the absence of Fabregas. He’s a basic element in their team and they miss him.
“So I would rather face Arsenal now than in two months’ time when he has recovered from his hamstring trouble.
“They are in a bad spell right now and we need to profit from this.”
One word of advice to you Vladimir, just watch that space between you and your posts tonight my friend you never know when Jack is going to hit you, just concentrate on your own team for now. Perhaps he’s right in a way but I refuse to take such nonsense from someone like him and I believe our squad is strong enough to beat Partizan on their home turf. Enough about keepers for now please, all I hear from last Saturday is keeper this, keeper that and it’s driving me up the wall.
Glad to hear Song wants to make amends and is looking to improve things from last weekend, we are probably going to see our left back Gibbs taking over from Clichy and I was really happy to hear that he made it in time. Don’t get me wrong here I think Clichy is a really talented left back but it seems he has not made any progress recently, on the other hand to me Gibbs is already on the same level if not in front already. A bit of competition can only be good for them both either way.
That’s about all you will get from me today. Let’s forget about what happened on Saturday and get behind the team even if it means supporting Fabianski in goal, after all he’s an Arsenal player right? Decent performance will only give him more confidence and if he has a point to prove tonight then I’m behind him all the way, same goes for the others an improvement is a must if we want to bring home three precious points. A win in Belgrade will put us on a high just as well before we meet the Chavs, if you would like to put your money where your mouth is then look at SkyBet 3-1 to The Arsenal at 16/1 not bad at all. Have a good evening everyone get behind the lads and enjoy the game.
Come on you Riproaring Almighty Reds…!!!
Weekends come and go, we all look forward to the game at the weekend and before you know it it’s Monday morningand you have to be at work, witha hangover for some of us. It was a good weekend for me, it all started with Everton taking on Man U at midday, I watched the game and thought it would nice for Everton to beat Man U but then the score line looked 1:3 and I changed the channel. Without knowing the final outcome of the game I prepared my self to watch us take on dirty Bolton and dirty they were don’t you think?
First half was a bit nervous I would say, we scored first with a bit of a mix-up in the box Jack crossed the ball in and Koscielny made it 1:0 with a simple tap in but only for him to make a mistake at the other end with some sloppy passing, by that time we should have been at least 4:0 up where Arshavin had a chance after chance unfortunately it wasn’t his day, as much as he tried there was no end product there. I do have to say he worked his socks off so I will let him off here. Fisrt half ended in 1:1 and I felt we needed to improve after the break.
Second half saw a much improved and goal hungry Arsenal side, the game became more physical at that moment and Bolton reverted to some nasty challenges and in the 64th minute Gary Cahill was sent off for a tackle from behind on the man who scored moments later. Chamakh’s header put us in front again after Cesccrossed the ball into the six yard box, Alex Song withsome clever ball control and a brilliant flick got the third few minutes later. I did go for a 3:1 correct score line withthe bookies but Cesc with a brilliant through ball found Carlos Vela who smashed a low shot and made it 4:1 ultimately making my profit go down the drain. Never mind as I enjoyed this ride very much and three points are more important than anything else.
Bolton should have had another red card or even two, Kevin Davies on purpose clashed heads with Koscielny but referee Stuart Atwell waved it off, that would of been his second yellow and he should have joined Cahill in the dressing room. What happened later was a complete disgrace, Paul Robinson should have seen a straight red after his malicious leg braking tackle on Abou Diaby, for me the linesman had a clear view of the incident and should have done something about it. How on earth the FA allow a Phantom Goal referee in the Priemier League is just beyond a joke. Diaby replaced Jack and only lasted few minutes and was replaced by Denilson, after the tackle Diaby wasn’t happy one bit and I fully stand by him on that one, I would definitely do the same thing. This tackle could have ended his footballing career and Atwell should be dropped to Sunday league games, his atrocious mistakes should be punished and should never be allowed in top league games. I only hope and wish Diaby a speedy recovery to his best!
We saw some good individual performances on Saturday no doubt and it looks like our Captain is on his way back, he got three assists and should have probably scored himself. It’s nice to see him coming back to his best. Everyone had a really good game, hopefully Arshavinwill start scoring soon and with Chamakh up front we have definitely an aerial threat we haven’t had in ages. After checking the results after the games it was a nice suprise to see that Everton came back to 3:3 and made my Saturday afternoon even better.
Champions League here we come, till next time everyone.
I wasn’t going to post anything until after the game against Blackpool on Saturday at The Emirates as I’ve been trying to revive my blog from a virus damage but it seems I have lost most of my posts so I’m starting let’s say from scratch.
I just got back from a long break and haven’t really followed all the transfer gossip, however I still believe we are at least two players short. We all know where we need to strengthen so I’m not going to repeat myself as this has been the main subject of all Arsenal blogs for the past two months at least. With the transfer window soon closing we haven’t got a lot of time to buy those additional players, yet I hope Arsene will pull them out from somewhere. I’m not expecting miracles here but at least good enough backs up just in case as injuries are still very much popular amongst our players. I don’t know what it is but I sense a injury curse hanging over our club.
Sammy is out for a month after a minor surgery to his knee , Frimpong has damaged his cruciate knee ligaments in training and will be out for up to nine months (whole season I expect), I can still add Super Nick to the list as Denilson, Djourou, Song , Van Persie and Cesc should all be available as per Wenger’s pre-match interview:
“All are available – at different levels [of fitness],”
“I need to make up my mind who I integrate in the squad. But there is no major problem for anybody really.
“Denilson has not played since 14th April and not played one minute of a game [in pre-season]. He still needs to work. All the others are quite available, at least to be on the bench.
“But at the same time we do not want to rush it. To have a good season you need a good preparation so we want to especially build up Cesc and Van Persie well.
“They came back on 5th August and you need three to four weeks’ preparation if you want to do well in the Premier League.”
We are officially being linked with a Sevilla’s Sébastien Squillaci, watching today’s pre-match interview Arsene was asked where are we with this transfer. He just said that nothing is 100% and it’s way too early to confirm that he will join us. I’m a little concerned here because we have just let Gallas and Sol Campbell go and suddenly we are bidding for a veteran with no Premier League experience. It may sound a little harsh, however this is a complete and utter nonsense, don’t get me wrong I’m not judging Squillaci here, I just think we should go for a player who has at least 5 years left in him and to me Michael Ciani looks already like a better option, for now let’s wait and see.
The future still does look bright let’s not forget this is not a sprint it’s a marathon and whatever we do make sure we get behind our lads all the way, there is a job that needs to be done and shooting down Orange it will be come Saturday afternoon. Blackpool will definitely be up for it and will be on a high after spanking Wigan last weekend so 100% effort and commitment is required from us to show them we mean business. We don’t want any of that Hull City home game repeat do we now?
Till next time
Having just watched the game I have mixed feeling about the tie, number one was the Ref. He gave all the free kicks to Barca to my liking in the first half it never looked we were going to win this one anyway we made some tackles and the German Referee has always seen the bad boys in our squad. I have not been counting but we must have got at least two yellows in the first 45 minutes.
There are plenty of things to talk about, there is no doubt that Barca were the better side after we scored our first goal….the pass from Walcott was sloppy but Bendy managed to get himself up in time and convert his chance. Few second later we had yet another brilliant scoring opportunity to be 2 nil up, but it wasn’t meant to be, Diaby took the wrong option and since that we were pretty much spineless. Nasri was not there at all I thought he would be up to the job for me. Diaby had the best game of his life, then again people like Rosicky and Nasri have let him down with poor positioning. Don’t get me wrong I think both of them tried and tried but Barce is Barca, good game plan, best player in the world and here we are, what esle could we do?
We allowed them to read us and we thought we could out fox them after the first goal we pushed higher up the pitch and Messi did the damage in the first half, I did think there was a way of coming back, however Guardiola got his tactics 100% spot on on the night. They never gave it full on counter to destroy us, however I think our lads should have done the same tonight, it’s easier said than done I know that especially with 7 main squad players missing. I honestly thing Barca would be an avarage team if it wasn’t for Messi.
Having said what has happened on the pitch I think the Ref and His Almighty Linesman did their job really well, they didn’t flatter at booking us and they seemed to have a real flavour at Barca coming through tonight, Rosicky played one of a beauty pass to Bendtner who was onside but the linesman flagged it offside…even Mr Gray which is very rare disagreed.
It does hurt tonight, we all hurt tonight, I wish we could have a go at them with our full time squad, I wonder how they would respond then. It was certainly a footballing lesson and I’m sure the lads and Arsene will learn from this. Don’t get your head down people we still have a glimmer of hope for the Priemier League, starting with a visit to Three Point Lane and I’m sure we’ll be back in the Champions League next year.
Arsenal for life!