A day for the forgotten, and team news update ahead of Sunday.

Has it ever happened to you when some chaps get mentioned and you go like, who? Well, meet forgotten member number 1, Stan Kroenke. The Arsenal owner has finally stepped out from his American shell, and gave an interview.

Some of the things mentioned has been about how Arsene Wenger is a good manager, and that he is the man for Arsenal. No doubt about that 5 years ago, pretty doubtful now with the drought we been going through.

Nonetheless, it is nice to hear the owner finally speaking up and outlining his plans for the club. Le Boss appreciated the vote of confidence, but really, to be given the guarantee of a job could work as a double edge sword. For one, Arsene could focus more on tactics instead of worrying about his job. Yet, a little pressure would do well to bring out the best in Arsene as well, as he might go that extra mile to ensure his job is secure.

Another forgotten man, Almunia has finally found a new club, albeit on loan. West Ham have signed the Spaniard for one month as back up after Rob Green got himself injured. The keeper is reportedly on a 90 000 pounds per week contract, and not playing of late, has incurred the wrath of fans questioning why are we having such a liability on the books.

So, good deal maybe, in getting rid of him. However, West Ham financial woes probably means that only partial amount of the wages shall be paid, and this loan is only for a month as well. Best of luck to Almunia while he is there still anyway.

Ahead of the match, Arsene has played down the rivalry between the two teams, claiming he doesn’t care whether we are home or away, as long as we are winning. True, and good point as well. But, when we play away and win at the scrums home ground makes it all the sweeter you know. Just saying.

There were also some team updates, with Koscielny set to miss out, whereas Vermaelen return has been delayed. This means Arsene has a decision to make in whether to retain Song at the centre back position, or to draft in Squilaci who is lacking match fitness.

Song’s performance in midweek speaks for itself. He had an outstanding performance against Olympiakos. I have not made a decision yet on what I will do, but he will be one of the solutions.

As in yesterday’s player rating, Song was my man of the match. He played quite well in that position, but his passing has developed much this season, and it would seem such a waste to put our best holding midfielder in the back four. However, injuries just seems to undermine Arsenal, and refuse to allow us to put out our best possible starting eleven.

Walcott and Gervinho are set for late test as well. For Walcott’s place, Oxlade-Chamberlain has clamoured for a starting place against the scrums, The OX may have made an impression in the match against Olympiakos and Shrewsbury, but throwing him into a high pressure game might not be the best idea. Let’s all not forget that the OX was still playing in the League One this time last year.

With all the injuries mentioned above, it is surely yet another poor PR display by Gazidis to inform the fans of Arsenal that we are still strong financially. If that was the case, why were we priced out in terms of offering Juan Mata better wages? If as what Nasri claims, why was Arsene being restricted in his spending power?

Much emphasis has been placed on Financial Fair play, but if rich sheiks are going to throw their money around and sponsor a team with a subsidiary group, I don’t see what in the world will the fair play do. If so, why can’t we just spend the money now, and worry about the rules later when it does come into effect.

I agree that self sustaining is vital, and absolutely better than seeing oil money killing the game. However, I also believe that the extra profit could be better spent. There is no denying that we could use another player or two in the squad. Too late for that anyhow now, until January that is.

I only hope that it is not too late by then to rectify our problems….

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Arsenal 2-1 Olympiakos, No natural leader. Players rating, and Arsenal loan watch for the week.

If you watched the match yesterday, you would have realised that it was a real surprise the scoreline stayed as it was after the second half began. Goals from both Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andre Santos ensured that 3 points was secured, and two very happy new players. For match highlights go to http://player.arsenal.com/player/968-olympiacos-h-bitesize the free videos provided by Arsenal. Or you could skip the video and go to the match report.

Arsene rested several players, with one eye on the weekend’s fixture against the scrums. However, he persisted with a 4-4-3, explaining it is the best system for our players. Chamakh came in for RVP, the Ox for Walcott and etc.

Arsenal pulled out of the blocks rather quickly, with some luck in the ball ricocheting back to the Ox, and the youngster made a quality finish to score his first goal in Europe. Shortly after, it should have been 1-1 but Arteta managed to clear off the line. Tellingly, the chance came from a corner, and was a sign of how unstable our zonal system was.

Andre Santos doubled the lead in the 27th minute, as Arsenal was under some pressure from Olympiakos. Again, some luck was involved as Santos crossed was cut out and the rebound came back to him, but the Brazilian showed his composure and managed to beat what-his-name at his near post. 2-0 Arsenal.

Yet again, Arsenal conceded another goal from a set piece. Olympiakos took a quick corner and played a 1-2 before crossing the ball into the box. No one was near the ball, and Torrijos reacted quickly to flick one past Szczesny. Our Polish keeper was livid with the marking, and seriously, questions have to be asked of this zonal system. The players seem confused as to when to challenge for the ball, and maybe going back to the man-marking system might be more effective for now.

From there on, it was a nervy ride, as Olympiakos hit the cross bar once, while Arsenal were unable to extend their lead despite dominating much of the second half proceedings. An interview by Tony Adams has stated that RVP has no back up as captain and that is seriously undermining the team. I would have to agree on this occasion.

Yesterday’s captain for the team was Rosicky, given that RVP was rested, and Vermaelen was out. Rosicky may be the captain for the Czech national team, but he was no leader. The squad yesterday looked bereft of composure after they conceded, and couldn’t string the passes that encompassed Arsenal previously.

It was up to the leader on the pitch to try and calm the players, and assure them that all was still within control. Unfortunately, the lack of a natural captain meant that we were found wanting in skippers, and nobody was there to compose the team.

Fortunately, Arsenal hung on and managed to come out in the second half slightly more assured. However, it highlighted more shortcomings of this Arsenal team. The fact is, we have many young and inexperienced players. We need the mature and experience players to keep the team together when they are under pressure, and most of these senior players were unable to assert any influence yesterday. Rosicky failed badly, as epitomised by his reckless challenge at the edge of the penalty box, giving away a dangerous freekick, and earning himself a booking.

RVP may have been rested yesterday, but seriously, as a calming figure, I don’t think he would have been the one. RVP speaks more to me as an galvanising symbol, someone whom you can look to for hope and inspiration. A leader who can lead you by example. Back to what Adams said, RVP needs a deputy, someone who can provide that calming ability. However, one look at this team, and we are all spoilt for choices really. I mean look, there’s Szczesny, oh wait, he’s only 19…… Yeap.

Given our poor record so far, having had 3 players red-carded, I would say the need for someone to step up and be that calming influence is imperative. However, there is nobody in the squad who can do that at the moment, either them being too young or passive to be the vocal calming leader.

So against Tottenham, a relatively stronger team than Olympiakos, there is a real need to instill self-belief into the team. Arsene has to let the team know they can’t perform as they did yesterday, putting on a rather nervy show after conceding once. Players would also do well to learn from their mistakes, such as Gervinho has.

One player singled out for mention should be Alex Song. Song and Mertesacker were assured at the back, jumping into tackles and interceptions as Arsenal gave away possession. Should Kosieclny not recover in time, Song  would haveg to stay at centre back. However, his performance yesterday wouldn’t make me very worried anyway.

Song has also mentioned that he is ready for the Scrums, and warned of Cashdebayor. Seriously, no need to worry about the cash whore, all you have to do is throw a dollar on the pitch and Cashdebayor would run lapping after the cash.

So, that’s about it today. Will end of with a rating of players, and these are purely my own views, followed by loan watch for the week. Scroll down for more! Remember to subscribe for new posts as well! Cheers.

Player ratings:

Szczesny – Composed, made a few good save, but could have done better perhaps in making the save for the goal conceded. 7

Sagna – Uncharacteristically nervous yesterday. Gave the ball away needlessly, and had trouble containing whoever was on the left flank. 6

Santos – Scored a goal, made brilliant forays down the left wing. Did well in tracking his player, making timely interceptions and worked hard. 7.5

Mertesacker – Immense at the back, making interceptions and headers. Held the backline well, and helped ensure that chances by Olympiakos were at the minimal. 7

Song – Composed, and looked at ease in the centre back position, despite playing out of position. Made a few timely tackles to deny Olympiakos any decent chances. Provided the pass to Ox for our opening goal. My man of the match in my opinion. 8

Arteta – Couldn’t venture out much, playing as a holding midfielder. Tried to make things work but couldn’t somehow. 6.5

Frimpong – An abundance of energy, putting in a few tackles to win the ball back. Made little mistakes and is developing well as a player. 7

Rosicky – Quite poor truth be told. Couldn’t do much despite trying. Earned a silly yellow card and conceding a dangerous free kick at the edge of the box. 5.5

Arshavin – One moment blowing hot, one moment cold. The Russian was found wanting some times, and frustratingly so. Despite having a shot on goal, was poor. Did not help track back, and give Santos much help. 5.5

Chamakh – Worked hard, pressing the ball from up front. Missed a decent chance to score after being put through. 6.5

Oxlade-Chamberlain – Lively, and managed to score a goal. Directness served him well at times, but saw him losing the ball as well sometimes. Decent delivery, not yet the finished article, but definitely one for the furture. 7.5

The subs are unrated because I felt they had too little time to do much, and so probably would give them all 6 for efforts.

On to loan watch of the week.

Henri Lansbury continued with his fine form for West Ham, playing 90 minutes and earning a penalty for the Hammers, helping them to a 1-0 win.

Nicklas Bendtner started for Sunderland, and played the full 90 minutes. The Dane tried but despite many chances, was thwarted by Ruddy, and unable to prevent the Black Cats from going down 2-1. Still waiting to break his duck, oh poor Mickey.

Joel Campbell came off as a substitute in the last 15 minutes of Lorient’s 1-1 draw with Lille. Campbell struggled according to reports, and was unable to conjure much, and nearly got booked following a poor tackle towards the end.

Carlos Vela started in Real Sociedad’s 2-1 defeat to Real Mallorca. Again, not being Spanish, what google translation says of report is that the Mexican won a couple of free kicks and was withdrawn after 57 minutes.

Samuel Galindo made his first start of the season for Gimnastic as they lost 3-1 to Huesca. However, he only managed 45 minutes before coming off with yet another injury.

Arsenal vs Olympiakos, match preview, Communication is key.

My stupid laptop has been attacked by virus, rendering me unable to post anything for the past few days, and might continue to for the next few days. For now, the simple Macbook of Mrs Bystander would have to suffice, provided she doesn’t have any use for it, which is rare.

Later on sees Arsenal taking on Olympiakos at the Emirates, with the biggest smallest squad ever.

Why so? Because injuries are in the season it seems, as Gervinho, Walcott, and Koscielny joins Jack Wilshere on the treatment table. Though it seems the worst of the lot has to be Jack Wilshere as the youngster has undergone surgery, and might return at the earliest in February. Le Boss hasclarified that the injury was incurred during international duty, blasted international games.

Being the home team, and possessing one of the most in-form striker right now, Arsenal should win this game. However, this Arsenal team tonight might have a weakness, in the form of having too many new players starting.

Injuries have resulted in Arsenal being short on all fronts.The way i see it, Song would be dropped back into centre back, whereas Coquelin or Frimpong might start in midfield. In attack, Walcott and Gervinho absence could see Oxlade Chamberlain starting.

Should Arsene intend to replace our injured players with like-for-like replacements, we would most probably see a team like this:

Szczesny, Sagna, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Song, Ramsey, Coquelin, Arteta, Arshavin, Van Persie, OX-Chamberlain”

As such, today’s game means that we still have a team trying to gel, up against a squad who has the same team which won the Greek championship last season. Football may be an universal game, however, being familiar with playing style is still critical for attacks and defense to be work.

The danger of this line up, is that the players are unfamiliar with each other. If you noticed, Mertesacker, Coquelin, Arteta and Chamberlain are all only playing in their first season for Arsenal. GIbbs could also be included in this category, as he was injured too often last season, and have been unable to play for a substantial time in the first team. That would make it 5 players who are still trying to click with team.

The backline for starters, sees 3 changes from our backline last season. Mertesacker is expected to co-ordinate his line with the others, even though their playing time together has probably been less than 5 games. In midfield, Arteta is still trying to find his feet, as his partners have been rotating due to the endless injuries and suspension. Same goes for up front, as Van Persie has to contend with changing striker partners too.

Without playing together for long, the players are unable to know when to stay up high when defending, or to make runs into the box to receive passes. All these things comes with longer playing time together, as players grow familiar with each others style of plays and runs.

Communication is the key tonight. The players have to talk, and understand what each individual wants. The lack of communication might see Szczesny coming to claim a ball which Mertesacker proceeds to head, and could potentially result in goals conceded. Talk, and the goals will come, talk, and the back line would work seamlessly.

Barring any unpleasant surprises, and if any squad Arsene puts out tonight is able to communicate, the Gunners should be able to come away with a 2-0 win.

update: Click for stream sop://broker.sopcast.com:3912/106723 Bloodzeed HQ Sopcast

Why Van Persie should be captain.

So 3 points, 2 goals from Robin Van Persie, and 1 clean sheet. A good game was played, a good win was won.

The match certainly had plenty of talking point, early on Szczesny brilliant save, Van Persie’s first goal, followed by his second, with Walcott the provider, and also Walcott intelligent run which saw him got tugged softly, and resulted in David Wheater being somewhat harshly sent off, and climaxing with a good finish by Alex Song to give Arsenal an emphatic 3-0 win.

However, the game was marred by an injury to Walcott, who by all means, was one of our most dangerous players of the night. The youngster was performing well, and did almost everything I i was screaming at my television for, and that is to run forward regardless of whether he is going to receive the ball or not. The more frequent he does that, the more space will open up as defenders grow unclear whether to mark him tightly or leave him be to spring the offside trap.

Special mention should go to Van Persie, who the Boss lauded, and rightfully so. Our captain has now scored 100 goals for Arsenal,  and has to date scored 26 goals in 31 appearances in the year 2011.

Robin van Persie, the Centurion.

We all have always known Van Persie could score goals, the only problem was his ability to stay injury free and enjoy a long run in the team. No, what should be noticed that is Van Persie seems to have relished being made skipper, and doesn’t seem to be affected by the pressure and responsibility.

Many are still skeptical of Van Persie as skipper, and rightly so. Few strikers have ever led the team and became successful, We have seen how Henry floundered somewhat when made skipper, seeming to drift in and out of games.

However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Van Persie. Our flying Dutchman shows his maturity in sticking up for his players, and coolness when being confronted by a pack of Trotter cunts. Van Persie has shown he is willing to give the stick to players who perform badly, and not shy from his responsibility as captain.  Testament to his ability to maintain his standards are the 5 goals in 8 games so far.

Focus seems to be the name of his game as well, with Van Persie acknowledging his amazing feat, but refusing to dwell on it. The skipper instead wants to focus on the next match, and bring another victory to Arsenal. Sure, this is all just speeches, but its nice to hear of players knowing that the next game is as important as the last. Remainders now and then do not go astray, and are nice to hear in my opinions.

Furthermore, Van Persie also happens to be one of the longest serving first team player left. He knows what it is like to play for Arsenal, what is Arsenal, what embodies Arsenal. He may not be English, but he damn well is Arsenal through and through.

There are fears that Van Persie contract is set to expire in two years, and that he might not sign an extension, meaning we might have to sell away our  talismanic skipper next season. The striker himself has deepen that fear by establishing that he is not concern about renewing his contract at the moment, understandably due to Arsenal’s hectic schedule.

So while it is a little unsettling to know that we have not secure our flying Dutchman for long term, it is good to know he is still not only an Arsenal player, but also the Captain of Arsenal Football club, for now.

Onto other news today, Wenger has raved about our global appeal, as we have multiple nationalities in the squad.

I believe Arsenal has become, through these players, a worldwide club that is admired everywhere.”

That’s all good and well sir, but it doesn’t count for shit if we going to end up selling those players to Barcelona and Man Cunteh eventually. Just saying.

Andre Santos has signaled his intention to push Gibbs for a first team spot, and I wouldn’t think that would be too difficult given Gibbs’ injury record. Good to know that we have competition in all positions right now though. The Brazilian believes he has an advantage having possess attacking qualities.

That’s definitely one of my strong points – coming up to help the attack and creating chances for them or for myself. But I don’t forget that the first thing a left-back needs to do is defend, especially in a tough league like this.

Defending, such is the fragile state of our defense that every clean sheet has to be glorised. Mertesacker has said he believes that training is starting to pay off dividend, and Bystander says to put a run of clean sheets before talking about any results. It’s funny how things work, just when Wenger was saying how our defense has improved and Koscielny is immense, Arsenal proceed to fuck it all up conceding 4 goals to Blackburn. So mums the word really, until the end of season comes, and we have a decent record for defending to show.

So that’s really about it for today. Apologies for missing yesterday’s post as I had some mates visiting and had to entertain them the whole day, not to mention some bad hangover. Would be doing a loan watch tomorrow as Bendtner is yet to play until tonight, so remember to either check back, or subscribe so that you can have some information on how the young Gunners are performing while on loan! Cheers.

Arsenal 3-0 Bolton Goals and highlights

Goals by Arsenalist, click on the links below for the goals. For the latest news and posts, remember to check at my homepage!

1-0, Goal by Van the Man.

http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xla9vb
bolton105688 by arsenalist

2-0 by Van the Man again,

http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xlaa8z
bolton205636 by arsenalist

3-0 Alex Song

http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xlaasb
bolton30r4y75 by arsenalist

Arsenal vs Bolton: Match preview, tough but winnable.

The day starts with very bad news, for those hoping for a quick return for Jacky Wilshere, be disappointed, as the club and player has confirmed that Jack would require surgery, and only return after the new year. Hopefully, Ramsey can step up and make Jack’s absence less noticeable. That said, Ramsey aka Rambo has been performing relatively well.

However, there is a balance by some form of good news, as ahead of a summer where we could potentially see more free transfers depart, Wenger has moved swiftly to assure fans that he is doing his best to sign the players onto longer term contracts. The sooner the better I guess.

So, Arsenal takes on Bolton after the worst start ever in the Premier League. What does that tell you? Bollocks. Liverpool was being trumpeted after their 2-0 win over Arsenal, but followed that up with losses to Stoke and Spurs.

So what’s the moral of the story? Unless you lose or win many games a row, there is nothing certain. What is certain is Nasri is a cunt and Man Cunteh, well the name tells you already what they are.

Rosicky has recovered from his strain, and is in the squad the match later. Some of the fans over the net have been claiming that the Czech skipper has been dropped from the team, and wasn’t suffering from any injury. I don’t know about that but if Le Boss says he doesn’t play any player who is unfit, I would trust him I guess. Anyhow, the midfielder seems to have put his injury woes behind him, and a good run in the team should seen him gain form. Hopefully.

Today’s game only sees the return of Sagna and Rosicky, whereas Benayoun and Djourou joins the party at the hospital where they can drink and make merry.

Bolton seems to have a full squad, and under Owen Coyle have played some nice football, but ultimately they are a physical side, and would look to their evergreen striker, Kevin Davies, to lead the line, and try to bulldoze his way through our defense.

Bolton has never been an easy side to face, and the squad is currently low on confidence, after contriving to lose despite scoring 3 goals last weekend.  Kevin Davies pack a physical presence up front, and plenty of crosses should be expected to the targetman, who can hold off our defenders and lay the ball off to players like Martin Petrov, Ivan Klasnic.

This Bolton side is also pacey, with Chelsea’s loanee Gael Kakuta in the side. The winger is tricky, and a real live-wire with ball at his feet. Former gunner Fabrice Muamba also returns, and is a decent anchorman, who could stop our attacks.

The team line up for Arsenal should be fairly predictable, considering our injury predicament, and lack of alternatives. My prediction is we should see something like this:

Szczesny, Sagna, Santos, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Gervinho, Van Persie, Arshavin.

I do think Arshavin’s creativity would be useful here, as Bolton would look to pack their own half as much as possible. At the back, Koscielny would most likely be targeted by Kevin Davies, and the former needs to make sure he  doesn’t  get intimidated by the striker.

We have shown in recent weeks that we can score goals, but the ability to create chances have somewhat diminished, given we lost two of our creative force in Fabregas and Nasri. Hence, Arsenal must kill off any chance it gets, and learn to hold the lead.

Bolton is also famous for their set-pieces, and the aerial ability of Davies, Zat Knight, Gary Cahill needs to be reduced with good attacking of the ball when defending set pieces.

The boss has been under pressure somewhat, which may have seen him snapping at reporters. Arsenal needs this win for many reasons, but more than anything else, Arsene needs to regain some confidence in his squad. A manager under immense pressure is surely pressed hard to do his job well, and could make numerous mistakes in team’s selection and tactics. The more breathing space Arsene has, the better it is for Arsenal. The season has started with cries for sacking of the manager, and it doesn’t help the team, and the instability it causes could be detrimental to Arsenal instead.

Hence, I would stick my head out, and say that a reaction from the lads are forthcoming, and we would win 4-1 today. Otherwise, I would gladly take a 2-0 win. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!

Update: Stream can be found sop://218.106.52.252:3912/116665 with Sopcast!

Backline getting decimated by the days, as another casualty joins the injury list.

Ahead of tomorrow’s match, Arsene has given his pre-match conference, and gave the updates on injuries.

The only good news yesterday was that Vermaelen and Diaby are slated for a return in about two to three weeks, but the medical team has been getting our dates wrong so often I would be inclined to be skeptical. As for Sagna, he has recovered from his injury, and should be in the team tomorrow. That’s the only return we can expect.

As is with Arsenal of late, when one player returns, a few gets injured. So joins Djourou to the list as well. The big Swiss suffered muscular injuries and is out for tomorrow’s match. At this rate, it would means that the only senior player fit for the centre back position is …… Alex Song. Yes, a midfielder.

I guess some of you might be complaining that we should have gotten both Gary Cahill and Mertesacker, but we didn’t and that is a fact. No point dwelling on the lack of cover for our centre backs, and fingers crossed that none of our centre backs get injured prior or during tomorrow’s match. I guess Djourou injury would mean that Ignasi Miquel would have a place on bench tomorrow to provide some cover.

Wenger has also emphasised that defense is not solely the back four’s responsibility, and rather the team’s as a whole. He is right, we have seen last season, against Chelsea, when you hassle and press as a team, you make life easier for the back four by stealing possession, and reducing the chances opponent might have. I don’t understand why we can do it for one match, and not be able to maintain that discipline for the other games, against less illustrious opponents.

Ahead of tomorrow’s match, Theo Walcott has called on the Gunners to erase the hurt of our recent defeat, and win to start a run. That is all well and good, but unless you match what you say, well, there’s no point in saying anything further. I am of the opinion Walcott has been doing too much talking of late, and should concentrate more on his game. The youngster simply has a tendency to switch off in games, and doesn’t provide Arsenal with any contribution. I have stated many times, that this is due to his lack of service, which means he has no crosses or passes to run for.

However, it is my belief that if he simply runs around the pitch, with his pace, there would be one time someone would give him that through pass he so desires. If it doesn’t, at least he would be providing headaches for defenders who have to decide whether to mark him and open up spaces, or cause a lapse of concentration.

Arsenal Chairman has shot down rumours of a director of football. Apparently there were calls for a director to help ease Arsene workload, but what in the world would Arsene need from a director? Senseless demands really if these were true, and I haven’t heard of any club which had a director of football doing well at all.

In the last piece of news today, Kolo Toure has implied that Arsene made him who he was today, and he is grateful for it. I have always liked Toure, and fairly consistent he was, until he went for the African Cups and came back a shitty player.Despite that, we received good money from Man Cunteh for the Ivorian, and it’s a shame the drug scandal caused him to miss a good chunk of last season.

Right, that’s yer lot for today! Remember to check back tomorrow for the match preview, and any team’s updates! Cheerio.