Arsenal 0-1 Man City | Good display, pity about the loss and Frimster’s shirt.

Work’s been a bitch, hence the lack of posts. But after yesterday’s display, the youngsters really deserve some commendation, so here’s some time out to praise those who deserve some praise.

As the squad walked out of the tunnel, it became obvious that there was a huge difference in strength. It was billionaires toy vs Arsene’s kids.

Kick-off it was, and did we give the billionaires a ride for their money. Oxlade-Chamberlain was impressive, working really hard, and his direct approach was proving effective. The Ox could even have nicked himself a goal if not for brilliant goalkeeping by Costel Pantilimon. In terms of pickability, I would chuck Arshavin aside and tell him to buck up. Not playing enough games is a poor excuse. Ox has been playing mainly reserve games, which occurs as frequently as Arshavin starting a game. If the OX can show some worth despite lacking games, why can’t the older and more experienced player do it too.

Another one who deserve a shout out is Frimpong. He hasn’t been playing much recently either, but on the pitch his energy was abundant. He hassled, and bossed the midfield like a, like a boss! If rumours about him going out in January on loan are true, then I say we can prepare to see the Frimster challenging for a first team spot next season.

I like how the picture above is so misleading that it seems that Frimster is showing Nasri “Bench” . SIT ON THE BENCH AND ROT $AMIR NA$RI.

Anyway, we were performing so well, when we were dealt a sucker punch. Out of nowhere, from attacking a corner, it was cleared, Man Cunteh broke away, Aguero was passed the ball, and made a fine finish. The pace of the ball was too much and Fabianski couldn’t get a hand to it. So there you go, a remainder of no matter how we display, as long as we don’t take our chances, and defend stoutly, we can lose.

So there, 0-1 it was. All in all I am stuck in between feeling relieved and sad. We are starting to find momentum in the league, and fatigue was fairly obvious in last week’s game against Fulham. So maybe an exit would probably be for the best, as the further we go, the more likely Arsene would play our strongest team. Yet, this competition represented our best chance of a trophy, and to see it slip away is somewhat depressing. Hopefully, we shall prevail in other competitions. For now, well done young gunners, and screw you Nasri and Toys.

Norwich 1-2 Arsenal: No Van do without Robin

Hello again, my post has been a long time coming, what with a hectic work schedule, and the dearth of news during the international break. It was a sad moment when I had to forfeit watching a televised game for the first time this season, as I was on the road yesterday. The 7 hours flight was sure bumpy, and the promised live text on board from BBC wasn’t even updating the scores at all. Stupid airplanes.

Anyway, to my delight, when I finally managed to check the score, the Arsenal has prevailed yet again, after recovering from a Mertesacker mistake to coast to a 5th straight victory, and back-to-back victories on the road. As of now, Arsenal is 6th, sharing the same points with Chelsea and Sp*rs, who has 2 games in hand. I am looking forward to Aston Villa dumping some misery on the pretenders from London, oh boy yes I am.

Anyway, I won’t be doing my customary players ratings, because I haven’t watched the match. What we can all say, is the usual BS. Ostensibly, we are still prone to that lapse in concentration while defending, and always concede a poor goal. However, we are yet again rescued by the brilliance of a Van Persie. What yesterday’s game has shown is simple. Our success hinges on the shoulders, or rather his legs, of Van Persie.

I am not dismissing the others players for a lack of effort. Highlights showed that everyone tried and much chances were created. As long as we won the game no one would remember those missed chances. I for one can’t name any easy miss yesterday. Oh wait Gervinho’s dallying……. never mind what I said. To be fair, I watched highlights, it’s totally different from watching a live game.

So it continues, a good win, on the road. The resurgence of Arsenal continues, with a heavily in-form Van Persie leading the way. His 2 goals plunder yesterday takes his tally to 10 goals in his last 5 games, a ratio of 1:2. Highly impressive, and close to overtaking Bergkamp in my heart. ARRRRRRRRRGH, Sorry for I have blasphemer-ed, of course Bergkamp is still the king in my heart.

As it stands, there is no way but up now, because we have Robin, because we Van.

Quarter season review: We are better, but we have not turn the corner yet.

Damn these international breaks, no one really gives a hoot anymore. The only time the Euros or World Cup actually piques my interest is when the actual finals are taking place. The qualifiers far often seems to be a spanking ground for the lesser quality opponents, and is something of a farce. Arsene agrees, and fears that the interest in international fixtures is waning. He is right there, give me back my Arsenal, and leave the weekends be. It is bad enough that we have to suffer 2 months of droughts in the summer because league ends. Furthermore international breaks far more often than not means one of our players get injured for a long period of time.

Since there is no football over the weekend, we have the ample opportunity to scrutinise our season far. A quarter actually is more or less 12 or 13 games, but let’s make do with 11 league games so far. So, here goes.

At the start of the season, we were really in the doldrums. Key players were lost and not adequately replaced in the earlier part of the summer. In Fabregas and Nasri were two of our most creative players. It was not surprising that we were struggling at the start of the season. The draw with Newcastle followed by the loss to Liverpool was to be bested by a spanking by Manchester United. Fans grew frustrated, I cried murder, Arsene signed 5 players.

In came Arteta, Benayoun, Park, Mertesacker and Santos. The match against Swansea saw several of the newcomers featuring, yet they made little impact, as Arsenal still struggled creatively, and defensively were still unstable. The cracks in that Arsenal side were accentuated in the game against Blackburn, where we contrived to leak in 4 goals and lose despite scoring 3 goals.

A win over Bolton next went some way in allaying fears, but we flattered to deceived and failed at our first real hurdle against Spurs. In truth, it was a game we should not have lost, but a certain cunt handball and poor defending costed us. We failed to show our consistency in winning against less mediocre opponent ( STILL MEDIOCRE TEAM).

However, since then, the team seems to have improved, and slowly gelled together to be a formidable opponent.Wins over Sunderland, Stoke followed, and this Arsenal team showed glimpses of its potential to run over opponents with its seamless and flowing passing game. Our next big test against Chelsea was passed, with slightly good grades, having scored 5 goals at Stamford Bridge, and winning.

After the win against Chelsea, the thought struck me whether we have truly turned the corner. We beaten a top 4 competitor, and have won 3 on the trot. Dare I believe it? When we won against Manchester United last season, I was confident that the lads would do well in the run in to the end and achieve 3rd or 2nd. Alas, we managed an astounding 4th spot. So you can imagine that my faith was slightly shaken, and I still have my doubts whether Arsenal have truly return from the dead and are soaring.

This doubts were slightly put to bed with the routine win against West Brom last week. It was as though we were treated to a show of the Arsenal of old. Dominating possession, passing the ball around with ease, scoring and winning.

Yet, you can’t help but still feel that Arsenal have not truly made a comeback yet. First off, most of our wins have been achieved at the Emirates. Apart from the win at the Bridge, the other victories were all at home games. Understand I am looking strictly at the league form, and not adding in the games in the CL and CC into my analysis. If we are to truly say that Arsenal is on the rise again, then we need to show that Arsenal is capable of winning, both at home and away. There was a season when we were unbeaten at home for the longest time ever, but all we won was, well nothing.

Next, the defense still needs to be sorted out. The defending at set pieces are atrocious to say the least, and should be stamped out if Arsenal wishes to continue its climb up the table. The weakness at defending set pieces is costly, and many teams have been looking to exploit at our inability to head the ball away from goal. Just look at the game against Chelsea, the first goal came from a corner. If we could defend set pieces most composedly, we wouldn’t find ourselves pegged on the back foot most of the time.

There is also the lack of cover for RVP, at the moment. We are still reliant on our skipper for goals. The forwards like Walcott and Gervinho have to share the responsibility, and relieve RVP of  the burden of having to score bucket loads of the goal. However, that said, it is still early days, and the last few games have shown that the aforementioned players are capable of scoring a goal now and then.

So, Arsenal are on a run, and a winning streak at that. However, until we have won more games, both away and at home, and improve our defense further, there is a real danger of Arsenal dropping into the abyss. Again.

 

Jack’s in for life.

A gunner since young, still a gunner now, gunner till forever?

In an age whereby all sense of loyalty is thrown into the dumpster, it is somewhat relieving and heart-warming to hear Jack Wilshere pledging everlasting loyalty to the Arsenal. Any players can say it, and most of the time we all know the badge kissing antics was probably just a show to win over the fans. A certain Torres said he would never play for another club in England besides Liverpool, and right now he is languishing at Chelsea, scoring a grand total of 3 league goals so far. Karma is a bitch, and it will bite right back at you.

When such a statement comes from a player who has been at the club since a tender age, you can’t help that there is really a sense of attachment to the club, and that player is not bullshiting you when he says he wants to stay for life. Sure, Wilshere is still young, and might grow disillusioned with the lack of trophies as he ages. Yet, if the club is continuously improved, and newer players are brought in to complement the likes of Van Persie and Wilshere, then I don’t see why we should not be challenging for silverware in the years to come.

Even now, the players bought during the summer has been paying dividends already. Mertesacker, may not have solved our set pieces woes, but he has brought depth to the team. We can now afford to rotate our players and keep them fresh for games. The giant’s performance may not be superb, but he has been trying and I believe will be a cornerstone of our defense when he finally adapts to the team.

Arteta too, has proved to be the clog in the midfield engine room. He is no Fabregas, but he has been growing over the past few games. Keeping the ball, spreading the ball out to players, ensuring possession is kept. His work is so under-rated, as some people expect him to produce the assists and goals that Fab did for us. People should watch games properly, and realise that Arteta works really hard to win the ball back, and pass the ball around. I will admit, I for one was disappointed with his lack of attacking intent, but his movements in the past few weeks has been convincing me that he does a far more important task at the moment. Arsene himself has admitted Arteta’s importance in retaining possession, so I am not sprouting rubbish.

There is still Park Chu Young, Santos, Benayoun, Chamberlain. All these players have showed glimpse of their abilities, and emphasises the point that players like them would help the team in challenging for honours, and convince Wilshere that there is no reason to leave. Now that we have our, if not a star already, future star in the making on board till he retires, let’s make sure that the lad has a team he can be proud to play for.

With Wilshere on board, all that’s left at the moment is for Van Persie to sign on the dotted line. I will be waiting patiently for the good news.

Arsenal 3-0 West Brom | A routine win we have been missing + Players rating

A fairly routine win it was, and one which have been missing from our game for the past 8 months. Arseblog has the full match report, while 7amkickoff provides us with some interesting and eye-pleasing statistics from yesterday’s match.

It was a good match on show yesterday, with Arsenal dominating possession and probing West Brom’s defense at ease. The first goal came courtesy of Rambo’s awesome through pass, which found Walcott. Walcott attempted a shot at goal, which was palmed away into Van Persie’s path, and our skipper duly obliged by turning in the ball towards goal to continue his phenomenal scoring rate in the year 2011. Please listen to Van Basten and sign the new contract please!

Contrary to previous games, where we seem to slip up easily after scoring a goal, we were as good as West Brom was poor, and managed to reduce the opportunities West Brom could have to zero. Instead, Arsenal took the initiative, and played fast flowing football to try and further the lead. Another goal was in the offing, and it came duly, with Vermaelen being the scorer. A corner was cleared out from West Brom’s box, and Song got the ball back and made a delightful cross to RVP at the far right of the penalty box. RVP caught the ball down, and cut it back into the 5 yards box. It seems to gain a flick off from Gervinho, and Vermaelen who was still attacking in the box from the aforementioned corner was on hand to ram the ball past Foster. In truth, it was poor keeping by Foster, as the ball was almost straight at him, just a little to his right. However, his poor reaction and reflexes were to Arsenal benefit, so boo-hoo-hoo, 2-0 to the Arsenal!

The second half started with a bit more urgency from West Brom, but Arsenal were irrepressible with our confidence flowing. Delightful passes were made, chances were created, defense was resolute, and Szczesny was almost a bystander. I almost wanted to cry out to Arsene to take off RVP to give Park a chance, and give RVP a well-deserved rest. However, he didn’t do neither.

Fortunately, an impotent performance from West Brom contributed to Arsenal’s advantage, and Arteta scored a beautiful Arsenal goal to kill off the game completely and not bring about a repeat of what happened at Wigan last season. Rosicky played a ball to RVP, who in turn passed it to Arteta and from the edge of the box, Arteta unleashed a shot into the bottom left corner of goal. 3-0 it was.

After the match, Artetainsisted that we still can improve. We can, and we have to, not in the aspect of scoring goals or defending, but rather in general, consistency in performances. We know we are capable of winning games, but to do it on a frequent basis is another point altogether.

All in all, it was a good win, and a good clean sheet. It’s such a shame that while being on a tremendous unbeaten streak that the games have to be halted for the international break. Continuity is of essence, and we can only hope that the players would return and be able to continue with their brilliant performances so far. It feels good to be a gunner now doesn’t it?

Players ratings as I opinionated!

Szczesny – Calm and composed. Was alert when it came to challenging for balls. Nothing much to do the whole afternoon. 7 / 10

Santos – Decent by all standards, though his positioning is slightly off sometimes. Still learning. 6.5 / 10

Jenkinson – Quality crossing from him all afternoon. Is raw, and pushed off the ball easily at times. Positioning is a question too, but really at his age, this problem should be rectified with games. Will be one to look out for in the future. 7 / 10

Koscielny – Commanding presence. Tracked back at times to help Jenkinson, and simply gave West Brom little chances. 7.5 / 10

Vermaelen – It’s good to be back. The Verminator returns to show his eye for goal, which was seen in his first season. Liked the way he marshalled our defense. Really helps to bring an aura of calmness to the backline. 8 / 10

Song – Strong in getting ball back, good passes and crosses too. 7 / 10

Arteta – He gave what I expected to see from him. Good control of the midfield, made passes to get out of trouble. Got forward when needed, and was rewarded with a good goal. 7.5 / 10

Ramsey / Rambo – You can see he is developing well. It was another good performance from him, with his passes and runs. Was all over the place, right left center. Could turn out to be our Fabregas in the making if he keeps it up. 7.5 / 10

Walcott – Decent from the youngster, using his pace to good effect. 7 / 10

Gervinho – Was pure live-wire, running with the ball at defenders, giving them hell. Would be missing his directness when he leaves for the ACN. Could have scored a goal if not for Foster denying him with a good save. 7 / 10

RVP – Showed good awareness and positioning to be in place and react to the save of Foster. Carried on with his goal scoring streak in 2011. Assisted Arteta with our 3rd goal as well. As one of the banner’s said, “We don’t need Batman, we have Robin. 7.5 / 10

Arsenal Vs West Brom | Match preview + team news

Our road to recovery continues with another match today against West Brom before another bout of international break hits us once more, and tries to deprive us of our players through some horrendous yet innocuous tackle. Such is the life of an Arsenal player.

So, first up, team news! Gibbs and Chamakh remains injured. Particularly more worrying for the former. He was mooted as our potential first choice left back following Clichy’s departure, however his spate of injuries have seen him unable to turn out on a regular basis. We all seen how complacency was an issue with Clichy, when he had no competition at all. This could very well be the same case with Santos. Fingers crossed that Gibbs find some miraculous cure for his ailments soon, or Wenger HAS to go out and get a new left back to compete with Santos. Apart from these two, the squad is relatively okay other than the long term absentees.

Chamakh’s injury is not as damaging as Gibbs’, for firstly, the striker is out of form and confidence. Secondly, Arsene has already stated his belief that we have a plethora of strikers to choose from, such as Walcott.

Jenkinson should be starting at right back, and the youngster seems to be progressing rather well. Here’s his reflection over the past few months since he has been at Arsenal.

West Brom are a different side under Hodgson, playing with pace and creativity. Similarly, you can expect them to attack our weak points, namely set pieces. For this, Arsene is absolutely right in saying thedefense has to improve further, and not be complacent just because it is West Brom.It would be interesting to  see who turns out today, with Vermaelen fit again. I would give Vermaelen and Koscielny a chance, as Mertesacker has played almost every week since arriving at the club. A rest might do him some good. Furthermore both Vermaelen and Koscielny have pace to deal with dangerous players like Odemwingie.

It would be hard to see Song not playing today, but maybe a rest is due for him too. Arteta should start, as he doesn’t usually play during the international break. Either Ramsey or Benayoun would be my choice to start alongside them both.

Up front, RVP is again inclined to start, but I fear for overplaying him, and our over reliance on him is distressing too. Walcott and Gervinho are most likely to flank our skipper as well.

So my prediction for the line up is:

Szczesny, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, RVP, Gervinho.

It has been fairly typical of Arsenal to win against a strong team and then falter in the next game. Points being Barcelona win, then losing to Brimingham in the CC. Winning Manchester United, then going on a winless streak to drop to 4th place. We need to maintain our pace, and carry on winning, especially against weaker teams like West Brom. It won’t be easy, but we are the Arsenal, aren’t we? So I predict a 2-0 win, because i think we are good enough to win this game comfortably, and I would love a clean sheet. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!