Monthly Archives: February 2012

Podolski ‘Set To Join’ Us | Santos Back in 2 Weeks | News Round Up.

Top of the morning to you wherever you’re reading this from, or should I say Hi 5-2 you all?. Well then, straight to the post shall we.

News broke yesterday and twittermania ensued that we’ve agreed terms with Lukasz Podolski to join us in the summer with the only thing remaining now is a deal with the club. I wanted to doubt it seeing as its season ticket renewal time but from what we heard, we agreed a couple of deals in January but agreeing with their respective clubs was the problem.

If this is true(which I believe it is) then that’s a good move and he’s NOT going to be a replacement for RVP. He’s very versatile and can play on the left of a 4-2-3-1(4-3-3) formation or behind the main striker or alone upfront as he’s done for Cologne thus far. So that’s one down, hopefully 3 more signings to come(a DM, AM, Winger).

Four players might not be enough but its a good start, because if you look at the players leaving us this summer(Arshavin,Bendtner,Chamakh,Squillaci,Denilson,Diaby(50:50),Benayoun(back to Chelsea) ) we should replace at least 3 of them and then promote from within. And don’t tell me about how signing established players will hinder growth, instead it only helps(look at United, Bayern & Barca to name a few). M’vila, Gotze, Hoiliet maybe? And then move Walcott forward? Let’s wait and see.

PLAYER NEWS

Andre Santos…….
The defender tweeted with his account yesterday that he’s back in 2 weeks and to me that’s great news as we all know Gibbs can’t play back to back games without a knock. So that’s very great news as we now have 2 LB’s and 2 RB’s(Sagna & Jenkinson) and won’t have to play anyone out of position again.

Someone asked me on twitter yesterday if I see Wenger buying a defender and I said NO. Why you ask? Well by beginning of next season, we’ll have Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Santos, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Mertesacker in the first team, that’s Seven defenders and I didn’t include Miquel, Bartley, Djourou.

Maraoune Chamakh…….

Fiorentina are rumored to be interested in taking the forward off our books permanently and I say we should jump at whatever offer as I’m sure he’s ready to leave. Will it leave us short when he, Park & Bendtner leave in the summer? Maybe. But if we can get the aforementioned players and with the attackers we have already, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Van Persie has been talking of late about his love for the club and the papers reported it this morning that he told the dutch coach he sees his future at Arsenal. Its simple, give him the salary he wants, if its 150k/w or 130k/w with a lot of add-ons and a huge signing off fee. He’ll stay because he loves the love club, he just wants to sit with the gaffer come end of season, know what the clubs plans are and then hopefully sign the extension/new deal.

No club football this midweek as its International week and a lot of our players will be in action. One game to look out for is England-Holland. I hope Van Persie is rested to keep him fresh. From wherever you are, have a solid day. Cheers.

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Walcott Stars As Arsenal Destroy Spurs : The Player Ratings.

I’m way way too excited to give a brief preview. Wenger spun a surprise by starting Rosicky & Benayoun together and dropping Gervinho & Oxlade Chamberlain. Little did we know Wenger had dreamt this game up the night before. 5 goals after falling 2 goals behind. Below are the player ratings.

Szczesny- 5
Something needs to be done about Szczesny. A personal coach maybe, nothing he could have done about the first goal, but the 2nd goal, despite it being a foul, he should have come out for that ball.

Koscielny 6
Was in 6’s and 7’s with Vermaelen in the opening half but grew in confidence as the game wore on.

Vermaelen 6
His partnership with Kozzer is dwindling, we keep conceding goals, but he did ok and was rarely troubled in the second 45.

Sagna6
Should get a lower rating for going missing for all of Spurs attacks in the first half but he started the comeback with a brilliant header.

Gibbs6.5
I will get slack for this but I thought he was our best defender, for someone just coming back he did well, yes he lost the ball that led to the first goal but he was always the last defender at the back. Nothing he could have done against Bale for the penalty.

Arteta8
Arteta, Rosicky & Benayoun were all brilliant & excellent today. Not the most talented of players but their industry & hardworking play saw us through this game.

Song8
Very sloppy in the first half, and did little defending but his mazy run started the second goal & his lovely over the top assist for Theo was glorious.

Benayoun8
Wasn’t directly responsible for any of the goals, but my God was he brilliant today, together with Rosicky & Arteta. His defending was top notch. Best display for us so far.

Walcott10
Yes. Yes. I’ll give him 10. Perfect rating. He’s gotten a lot of stick of recent which is well deserved but I had a feeling this would be his day. A lot of twitter folk insulted him & made jokes & wanted him off for Oxlade but I said he must stay on & Wenger must have seen my tweet(yes he’s on twitter & following me too). Two goals was the outcome. Lovely goals I might add. Given a rousing ovation as he went off.

Rosicky9
Tomas Rosicky you darling beauty. How I love you. Another much maligned player but of late has been consistent & doing well. Marvelous performance from him & his first goal in two years was a welcome relief.

Van Persie8
Its often rare for RVP to be on the scoresheet & then bag an assist and not be the man of the match. His goal was topdraw and his hold up play was nice.

SUBSTITUTES

JenkinsonN/A

OxladeN/A

GervinhoN/A

Wenger10
Great selection for the second PL game running.

Man Of The MatchArteta, Benayoun & Rosicky are my men of the match, they played well today & each contributed in ways that led to goals.

For the 2nd premier league game running, Wenger’s selection paid off, picking passing & team work over pace by dropping Oxlade & Gervinho. Result? 5 goals, the second time we’ve scored 5 this season against a London team. Let’s hear what you have to say in the comments.

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Arshavin Leaves Arsenal + North London Derby Preview

YES, the little Russian has finally left our club, we’ve been calling for his head all season and that reached new heights at the game against United when along with Wenger he was made scape goat. YES he showed no heart, hunger & desire and was more of a pedestrian on the pitch most times. BUT why doesn’t this move feel good in the end, why aren’t we rejoicing seeing as its what’s we wanted? Are we happy to see him leave NOW? NO!, NO!!, NO!!!

For someone that provided the goal that took us to 4th and expected to start or at least be involved at the San Siro, he not only had no hand in the game, he also didn’t play in the subsequent game.

If the transfer window was open and he left with a replacement coming in, we would all be glad, but this is a very stupid and ill thought out move by Wenger. He never really played Arshavin in his preferred position and relegating him to play for the reserves must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for Andrey.

So what happens if any of Walcott, Gervinho or AOC gets injured? We started the season with 5 wide players and now we have just 3 with one seriously under performing. SMH.

North London Derby Preview……
Small matter of the derby on sunday. We’ll beat them right? We always have. Forever in our shadows Tottenham. Right?

We welcome our small brothers 10 points behind them and an inferior goal difference. This season, they’re playing like Arsenal(without the comical defending) and we are playing like Sp*rs. As much as I want to credit them for a solid season so far, they’ve not had the misfortune other clubs competing with them have had this season.

Gibbs is fit again(I think we should adopt what Spurs do with Ledley king & make him train just once a week), Koscielny is back but Andre Santos, Wilshere and Diaby are still out with Mertesacker out for the season. This is what I expect the team to line up like :

Szczesny-Sagna-Koscielny-Vermaelen-Gibbs-Song-Arteta-Rosicky-Gervinho-Walcott-RVP

Kroenke is going to be at the game for the first time in 9months, good to see its only when there’s crisis our majority shareholder comes out. Call me crazy but I’m confident about this game, we can get away with a 2-1 victory so long we remain disciplined and the subs come in when they should.

A win would lift the mood around the Emirates and remind Spurs that despite being ahead, its just temporary & they’ll always be in our shadows. #COYG!!!

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Kroenke Says No To Usmanov| ‘Hands’ Wenger £100M Warchest | No AOC For England

First off sorry we’ve been missing for the past few days, different commitments have taken us away from you but we’re back. So here’s the latest news concerning our beloved club.

Usmanov & Kroenke
Our 2 sugar daddies have different plans for the club with the same goal in mind, to return us to greatness. Usmanov is having to do it the hard way as the board won’t give him a seat. He’s gathering shares faster than Kroenke did in a bid to get to the 30% mark which is the lucky number needed to look into our books and get a seat on the board.

And he got a further 16 shares which he purchased from Rangers owner Craig Whyte to put him within touching distance of the 30%.

BUT, Kroenke and the rest are determined not to let that happen and the American is expected in London for talks today with the board and the following are expected to be discussed.

    *Full support for Arsene Wenger to remain in charge till 2035.

    *New Contracts for Van Persie & Walcott.

    *£100M for Wenger to use on transfers(and possibly Wages) in the Summer.

    *No Usmanov on the board because he’ll make the club better on the sporting front and we don’t want that.

I for one I’m not buying the £100M story, seeing as its time to renew season tickets & its come at a convenient period where fans are angry &seeking answers. If it were Usmanov that said it, I’d believe afterall he’s way wealthier than Kroenke.

Team News
The derby is a few days away and no news yet on Koscielny, Squillaci, Ramsey are out after picking up knocks against Sunderland, leaving Djourou & Vermaellen as our only fit CB’s.

Jenkinson is back & played 45mins for the reserves without setbacks. Talking about reserves, a host of first team players also played & shone with Arshavin grabbing 2, Park & Benayoun as well on the scoresheet.

The england team to face holland has been announced and AOC after impressing in recent weeks has been left out, yet Frazier Campell gets called up. SMH I’m not pleased but at the same time I’m happy, let him stay grounded and continue to play for us, England is not going anywhere.

That’s all for now, we’ll be back to give you the Spurs preview, till then, have a great day.

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February Curse Strikes Again : Race For 4th Place Starts Now

Tried to put a little spin on the headline so as not to appear overly gloomy but who am I kidding right? Going by history and the past 4 years, this month marks the beginning of the end for us. Our february form? Drawn one, won two and lost two. The two we lost came back to back.

Wenger shuffled his pack, brought in Gervinho, Coquelin & AOC for Koscielny, Gibbs and Walcott. And surprise surprise, Coq gets injured less than 20mins into the game, surely now an exorcism is needed for that left back position.

Sunderland started the game better than we did and wanted it more and it showed, we were again sloppy with our passes and not being direct enough. Our first chance came after sunderland had 3 already, RVP slipped a pass for Gervinho whose shot had to be saved & the resulting corner wasted.

The sunderland goal came in typical fashion, a set piece wasn’t cleared well and Richardson arrowed in a shot via a Squillaci deflection. 1-0 , nothing to worry about, we can do it. We did it here last week.

No repeat of such must have been O’neill’s halftime team talk because Sunderland left off where they finished the half, outplaying us, winning every 50:50 challenge and it didn’t take long for the second goal. Oxo lost the ball & chased after his attacker, Larsson shot the ball against the post, it hit Oxo and went back into the net. There was still time left for Sessegnon to pull out the party tricks on our confused & utterly shit backline. 2-0. Out of the FA Cup & out of the champions league.

REACTION……

Arsene Wenger is the chief culprit for this decline that happens every year, our squad is loaded with very poor players who know nothing about giving their all for the club while the decent ones like Ramsey & Walcott are not being coached well. They continue to churn out pathetic performances and no one is doing anything about it.

All this could have been avoided, he had the summer and january to rectify all but he chose against it. He said you can’t lose Nasri & Cesc and convince people that you’re a serious contender and what happened not only did he lose them, he failed to replace them.

Wenger’s failings are well documented, handing out large contracts to useless players, banking on average ones to rescue us when times are hard and failing to make any sense or headway in the transfer market. Our first choice left back can’t play back to back games and yet he’s first choice, Ramsey has been poor but can’t be benched because those behind him are worse off. Who’s fault? And please don’t blame injuries.

Part of his failings is the lack of a plan B and how poor the plan A we have is. Yesterday he could have gone with 4-4-2 and used players that haven’t seen game time in a while, the likes of Arshavin, Benayoun, Oxlade but he went with a fatigued squad to play a team that had the week off and expected to get a result.

This is the worst Arsenal as a club has been in a long time. Seven years as head in any occupation without results will get you the boot, as Fabregas said last year, Wenger would have been fired if he was at another club(league). Wenger’s position has to be reviewed come end of season.

Either he’s told to move on seeing as he can’t motivate his team anymore or move upstairs into the board or move to another club(afterall PSG & Madrid still want him). Its only a matter of time before Red & White Holdings make a statement with all the shares acquisition they’ve been doing and expect a turbulent summer especially if we don’t make champions league. I for one want the entire board gone especially that moron Gazidis & Kroenke, usher Usmanov in and watch changes happen.

No one man is bigger than any club irrespective of his achievements and its time to go for Arsene. Quality players and an owner that’s interested in the club and is actually a fan not one that’s a collector of clubs(franchises). Get rid of Squillaci, Djourou, Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh, Park and buy M’vila, Hazard, Gotze and Edison Cavani ( :| ) . Its not impossible, if wenger had acted, 2 of the four I just mentioned should be at our club already.

We’re still a top club and can still attract quality players, we just need an overhaul of personnel and ideas on ground already. Let’s know how you feel in the comments.

Arsenal Fighting For Season vs Sunderland : FA CUP Preview

We’re here again. This same spot, where according to history, our season comes to an end on all fronts. We’re a leg and a half out of the Champions league and the FA Cup along with Champions league qualification for next season is all we have left to fight for. Should be easy right? Never. With Arsenal. Never.

The players must come out and give the fans temporary respite with a convincing performance this saturday. But with our opponents being Sunderland, the task is more daunting than it is on paper. We can do it. We must do it.

Word is, Wenger ripped into the players after the abject performance midweek with a foul mouthed tirade that shocked the players. Imagine if the players had a mindset knowing they’ll get a barracking if they played rubbish. Drop a lot of them and play hungry people with a lot to prove. On to team news.

TEAM NEWS……
Mertesacker is out for the season…ouch, Koscielny took a knock but is going to be available for the North London derby. Santos & Jenkinson(back on monday) are still out, so too Wilshere & Diaby. Le Boss is going to rotate the team and drop some players and afford RVP some much needed rest.

Predicted LineUp: Fabianski-Sagna-Djourou-Vermaelen-Miquel-Coquelin-Arteta-Benayoun-AOC-Gervinho-Chamakh

I put miquel in because I don’t see Gibbs starting seeing as we had Milan on tuesday, Arshavin might come in but I’d expect him to come off the bench if we need ammunition. This is a patchy line up and I expect something completely different but this is how I would line up.

A goal fest would go a long way in helping soothe some really frayed nerves. Testing times at the Emirates within and around the club as a lot of fans are losing(have lost) patience with the club as a whole and with Usmanov silently gathering shares, expect a stormy summer. Till then, one game at a time starting at 17:15 GMT today. COYG.

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Milan Hit Four Past ” Pathetic” Arsenal + Player Ratings

We all saw the game so this is going to be a rather brief post. No one said it was going to be an easy tie, but no one expected the horror show that we the fans were put through by both the coach & the players. Everyone is culpable for what happened to be our heaviest European defeat EVER.

AW tinkered with his formation and put up a five-man midfield to combat the Milan side, a formation we haven’t used in a long time. Even if it was the right formation, it was deployed with the wrong personnel.

Ramsey’s cameo at Sunderland deceived him & thus he handed the Welshman a start in the middle with Rosicky shunted out wide. Then there was Gibbs in for his first game in three months in place of Mertesacker.

Milan before then had damaged both wide areas of the pitch in an effort to fight our speedy wingers, a tactic which worked to perfection as a result of lazy play by our ‘speedy’ winger.

The game was a dull affair and we had no rhythm and no pace, it was like all the players were playing with blindfolds. The first goal was typical, a cross into the box for KP-Boateng which left Vermaelen (his marker) for dead before rifling a magnificent strike into the top corner.

Robinho got himself a brace either side of half time to put the game beyond us on the night;the first of those coming from a Ibrahimovic cross after poor defending from Sagna.

And to cap a nightmarish display, Djourou; on for Koscielny no thanks to a knock, couldn’t resist holding on to the Swede who deservedly dispatched the resultant penalty and put the tie as a whole beyond us. Be kind to yourself and not hope for a miracle at the Ems.

CULPRITS : Szczesny & Vermaelen.

PLAYER RATINGS

Szczesny- 5

Koscielny 6

Vermaelen 3

Sagna3

Gibbs5

Arteta5

Song4

Ramsey0

Walcott0

Rosicky4

Van Persie6

SUBSTITUTES

Djourou0

Henry5

AOC5

When the final whistle went, I was more than happy, we as fans are used to Arsenal ripping out hearts but at least they would play well or fight to the end, but this was different. A lot of poor individual performances, no cohesion, no heart & drive from the players.

All that made even more disheartening with the fact that the defeat marked Henry’s ‘farewell’ from the Ems. It’s february, the month where we always drop out of every competition every year. How long is this decline going to continue?!

AC Milan vs Arsenal : Champions League Preview

Good day to you wherever you’re reading from, hope you painted the town red yesterday as the occasion called for it? Or did you spend it alone at home and pretend to be having an amazing time? Well if you did the latter, today presents you with the chance to do the former(get it?).

MATCH PREVIEW……

The Champions league is back and in full effect and like they say, this is where it gets real and where champions are made. We travel to Italy to play Milan in a stadium where we boast a 100% record, two wins, 7 goals scored and 1 goal conceded so on paper we should expect another win right? Let’s go on and get it.

Arsene Wenger has issued a rallying call that we must get away goalS not just one as it will put us firmly in the driving seat to progress. Even Ramsey says we should shoot on sight and who can blame him? He did that with his first touch on Saturday and he found the net besides Abbiati(milan GK) is the Italian Almunia/De Gea. I fancy an Arteta goal (so long its not from a dead ball situation) and the pace of Walcott & Oxlade to trouble their full backs.

AC Milan are not to be taken lightly, do so and suffer, they sit atop the Serie A and are in good form despite the loss to Lazio a few weeks back and its going to take a lot to leave the San Siro with the perfect result. Like Arsenal, they came back from a goal down to win against Udinese so trust me, on our toes is how we must be the entire 90.

TEAM NEWS……

ARSENAL
Arsenal are going to be unchanged from the squad that went to sunderland with the only changes coming to the first XI, the game comes too soon for Gervinho but Gibbs is likely to return. Mertesacker is out for a month if you believe reports and Ramsey or Arshavin might themselves starting after the impact they had off the bench. This is how I would line up….

Szczesny-Sagna-Vermaelen-Koscielny-Gibbs-Song-Arteta-Arshavin-Oxlade-Walcott-RVP

Strange right? You were expecting to see Ramsey/Rosicky but for once I’d love to see Arshavin start in the hole behind RVP not out on the wings and he can regularly switch with Oxlade/Theo.

MILAN
They welcome Boateng & Pato back into the team after early reports that they would miss out through injury, Ibrahimovich should start as his ban is a domestic one. So expect a full strength milan side.

Prediction : Milan 1 – 2 Arsenal

Well there you have it, see you back here tomorrow and hopefully we’ll have great news to share. COYG.

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King Henry Saves The Day : The Sunderland Player Ratings

It was never going to be an easy game especially with the opponents on the day going through a mini revival. Arsene made only one change with Sagna replacing Coquelin.

The game in itself was rather dull and as it looked like it was heading for a stalemate, Mertesacker gifted Sunderland the lead when he picked up an injury in possession. Wenger threw on Ramsey, Arshavin & Henry & Boom boom, two goals and 3 points followed for us. Below are the player ratings.

Szczesny- 6
Made some good saves and was erratic with his distribution. Should have done better with the goal he conceded.

Koscielny 7
The best of the bunch at the back along with Sagna. Won most of his tackles and defended bravely. Played a silly back pass to Ji but it didn’t prove costly.

Vermaelen 6
Still not happy that he continues to play at Left back as we haven’t kept a clean sheet since he was moved there.

Mertesacker5
LOL. This German will finally get it right someday and have a performance without blemish. It wasn’t today however, he was brilliant but all it takes is one mistake and that led to Sunderland’s opener. If his injury is serious as it looks, then TV5 will return to CB(everyone shout Hallelujah)

Sagna7
Nothing to report here. Solid going forward, solid at the back. Typical.

Arteta6
Conducted himself brilliantly in the middle of the park. Should have done a lot better against a tired midfield.

Song4
Oh my God. Is this the real Song? Or was last week a mirage? Very poor. Lost the ball repeatedly and no surprise the 2 goals came after he moved to CB

Oxlade-Chamberlain5
Not a good game from the lad at all but no complaints here. All part of a learning curve.

Walcott4
Tied with Song as the worst player on the pitch. A bit harsh following his heroics last weekend but its the truth.

Rosicky6
Nothing spectacular, given a free role he should have done better. Might not start the next game given ramsey’s heroics off the bench.

Van Persie6
Average game for someone of his standards even though great credit must go to the sunderland rearguard.

SUBSTITUTES

Ramsey – 7:Came and got a goal within 3 minutes. Added creativity to the midfield. Wonderful cameo.

Arshavin- 6: Had less than 5 touches, but still managed a peach of an assist! I’ve said this over and again, no matter the form, his class is unquestionable.

Henry- 8: When you need a goal, you need Thierry Henry. Granted, the assist was quite good, but his finish was even better! He came through when we needed him the most. His last EPL goal returns us to the top 4. How fitting?

Arsene Wenger- 10: 3 subs, 2 get the goals, one with an assist. Nuff said!

There you have it. We went a goal down but showed enough strength to turn things around.

Any comments? Share the below!

No new Henry deal, Sunderland Preview + Injury Updates

Good day from wherever good place you’re reading this. After just a point from four league games ended with an emphatic win last weekend, the lads will be looking to build on that performance in their trip to face Sunderland. First to some somewhat bad news.

King Henry will not be extending his loan spell, according to New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe. It’s no secret Arsene wants him to stay for 2 more weeks, but Bulls coach has indicated that Titi will return to the States on 17th February as originally planned. Said he:

“When I spoke to him [Henry], he told me that he was 100 per cent coming back on February 17,” said Backe. “What I know, it’s only rumours. I haven’t heard anything from them about extending the loan.”

The news will definitely come as a sucker punch to Wenger’s plans and will leave most gooners very sad. Tit has been wonderful for us in his short spell, we can only thank NYRB for giving him up in the first place and wish him luck.

Now to the game this weekend. The Black Cats have most usually proved a stubborn opposition for us. We only edged this season’s reverse fixture; Seb Larsson’s free-kick remains stunning, and now, with Martin O’Neil at the helm, Saturday’s match at the Stadium of Light may just be as tough.

O’Neil will however be without a host of injured absentees including Lee Cattermole, David Vaughan and Titus Bramble along with Craig Gordon, Matthew Kilgallon and Wes Brown who are out on the long-term. Oh, our dear on loan top marksman Nicklas Bendtner’s out as well.

Then there’s the bit of getting his team ready for us days after needing extra time to edge local rivals Middesbrough and set up a Fifth Round date with us next weekend in the FA Cup. All that’s the good part for us for on the flip side there’s the presence of Larsson, Stephan Sessegnon and Frazier Campbell to deal with along with the fact that we have not won at Sunderland since October 2007 when Robin van Persie bagged a double in a 3-2 victory.

Speaking of, van Persie has 22 goals already and talks of etching his name on the records have started brewing but as the captain rightly would, we’ll focus on the match instead.

Alongside him, Alex Song and Mikel Arteta are sure to start. I’d like to see Bacary Sagna start this one too as well as Tomas Rosicky in midfield though gut feeling says we may see the return of Ramsey.

Possible XI: Szczesny. Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen. Arteta, Song, Ramsey. AOC, Walcott, van Persie.

The manager says Chamakh’s at “normal fitness” level and could make the bench for this, sorry Park. And on the injury front, Kieran Gibbs is not far from full fitness as well as Carl Jenkinson. Good to have a near fully fit squad to pick from with games in the Cup and Chmpions League coming up.

Wenger has also praised African duo Song and Gervinho, the former for his marked improvement in the passing department and attacking mentality which has seen him provide seven assists in all competitions so far; second behind Walcott with eight assists.

Gervinho gets le Boss’ praise after his great solo effort proved enough for Ivory Coast to reach the Africa Nations Cup final. Wenger was partucularly pleased with Eddy’s composure in finishing and hopes it boosts his confidence playing for club and country.

A win this Saturday will further boost our confidence as well, especially so coming on away grounds against an organised team as Sunderland. I’m thinking 1-0 to the Cannon.

What do you think? See you in the comments…

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