Author Archives: edetosagie

We’re Going To Wembley, YES WE ARE!

Gibbsy
Like many gooners worldwide, I have no doubt in the outcome of the game later tonight. Confidence is sky high and the players know a lot is on the line. The added incentive of winning a silverware for the first time since 2005. But wait, do we really want this? If our performance in the first leg was anything to go by then our opponents seem to know what’s at stake more than us. I’ll just call that game a ‘bad day at the office’.

Okay, we seem to have put our poor run of form behind us, emphasis on the seem, but again you would have bet your house on easy wins against Leeds (1st leg) and Ipswich as well. But now we find ourselves needing to run the latter of the green grass of our stadium. Ah well it could have been worse, I do remember that they could have been two up in that game. Yet this game is actually easier to lose than the 1st leg, because its no longer even ground seeing as the away goals rule counts and they are one up.

Now do you see Ipswich not scoring? Well with the tactic they are sure to use (long balls) no, especially if we’re crazy enough to play a high line in defence. If we’re to concede at all, I’ll prefer we do so very early so we can roll over them but its a cup competition, no easy games here. A clean sheet is essential for our progress. Wigan 2006 anyone???

Another thing which concerns me as regards this game, is what the team selection will be. I have no reason to believe that these people shall be in the line up. I mean Samir, Cesc, RVP,Song Theo; you get my drift? Need I mention that all our goals at Elland road came from our usual starters, but If Arsene decides a rest is needed by at least 3 of these above mentioned names,we might be in for a long night.

They will definitely park the bus, yes, the same one Man Shitty brought with them to the Emirates, albeit a less expensive one. That being said, we should have enough to move their vehicle out of our space and throw it where it belongs. Yes, you geddit, we throw it out!

As such we’ll need our wingers dearly this evening because what we should do is stretch their back four and move them out of place which should make movement easier down the middle; a fast paced game will also be just what the doctor ordered cue Mr. Walcott and Mr. Nasri maybe even the enigmatic Russian. My ideal line-up looks something like this:

    Chezzney

    Sagna JD Koscly Gibbs

    Denilson Wilshere Nasri

    Bendtner Chammy Arshavin

This way have Cesc, RVP and Theo on the bench in case things go out of hand. It’s been rumoured that Ignasi Miquel might get the nod ahead of JD just to rest him and Eboue might come in for Sagna, I say we leave Sagna on seeing how in his absence the Ivorian got some games. I’m looking forward to this game as I believe can be the turnaround of Arshavin’s slump and fancy Chamakh to nab a brace.

We hope Arsene gets his tactics spot on for all gooners the world over will stand behind me when I say, we need a trophy, BADLY!!!

From wherever you choose to watch,have fun and I’m sure we’ll all be rejoicing come the end of 90 minutes.

Ita!

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Easy and expected win, but we need everyone on top form.

Van P against West Ham

So I decided to hold my views until after Saturday’s game against West-Ham to test whether some theories I have are correct, beginning with our game against Leeds. I looked at our lineup which included the likes of Denilson, Rosicky, Bendtner, Eboue; generally our second string players and despite having my reservations I still felt it was a good enough line up to put them away. Apparently I was wrong as we needed a last gasp goal from our captain, a substitute, to force a replay.

After this, I was immediately interested in knowing whether or not Le Boss would tweak things for our League Cup semi-final against Ipswich whom incidentally had been pummeled by Chelsea. Wow they picked a relegation threatened championship team with a more important game in mind to show they could score goals and win games, aren’t they just the classiest club?

Well Arsene did, just a little and the outcome was…well….we all saw it. It’s not that the team on paper shouldn’t have steamrollered Ipswich; they should have without the gaffer having to tweak anything. So it’s quite obvious the gaffer had/has a few problems on his hands.

Now make no mistake about it, Le boss knows his starting eleven and I think it’s absolutely fantastic that Le Boss has selected them based on their form and not based on name, evidence of this is Walcott being put before our misfiring Russian or little Wilshere replacing Denilson or Diaby. Now this automatically means that players whose positions have been taken are going to start the cup games, save for the Champions league, they start these games because of our obvious need for a trophy, bearing in mind our trophy drought will run into its 6 year should we fail to get one this season.

Arsene realizes this and has therefore taken these competitions more seriously. Anyway I digress; these players start because the starting eleven cannot conveniently play in all four competitions. The problem is, some of the bench players are just not up to the task.

Denilson: He isn’t the kind of player you can rely on for a whole game, his positioning is suspect, his one on one tackling is…well…what got us into trouble in the Leeds game, his decision making is questionable. He is the kind of player that you bring in when we’re well up which is what was done in the West-Ham game.

Rosicky: I think is still a good player, he actually does understand what it is to put the team first. Agreed, he’s not what he was when he first signed for us but he knows his role and when he’s playing these games you can’t really point at many faults. His faults are only glaring when he plays with the starting eleven as he’s not quite on the same wavelength with most of them.

Bendtner: I have always stood by him but now I’m really beginning to question whether he’s actually ever going to be ‘that’ good. I mean I know he’s come off a long spell on the sidelines but the progress he seemed to be making last season before the injury seems to have stalled and I’m sure even Arsene’s getting a bit tired. We only need him to be 70% of the player he thinks he is and we will complain no more.

Eboue: As a right midfielder, he’s a bit mediocre, just above average as a right back, his defensive positioning is woeful. We are spoilt for choice in every attacking midfield position, so we have to make do with him as second choice right back. Now, this is the scary part, isn’t he meant to fill in at this same position for the first leg of the Barcelona games? And even if not, what if something happens to Sagna? Can you actually imagine being stuck with Eboue at right back for say a month? We might as well walk into every game with a red dot on our head!

There has already been a post on Arshavin, so I won’t bore you with that.

Fast forward to the West-Ham game. Our best eleven, bar Vermaelen and Sagna, and a tame West Ham team means probably our least stressful game all season. We didn’t even have to hit top gear! Now the dilemma is simple but not easy to solve. Does Le Boss try again inserting some starters into the game, risking injury and further fatigue, or does he just give the bench players another chance to redeem their images?

Now with regards to the game played over the weekend, I really don’t think there is anything to talk about; it was more or less a training ground session in my opinion. That’s the Arsenal we want to see, the one which puts bottom teams to the sword and gives no chance of an upset. Do the same to Leeds and Ipswich and we’ll be ecstatic!

Have fun wherever you are reading this from.
It’s Ita!

Arsenal Vs Wigan, The Pre-match Preview

With our recent home troubles one would wonder why I’m so optimistic at our chances of making the Semi-finals of the carling cup. Well even I can’t answer that to be honest because we are this evening facing a team that is in the same league as The Baggies or The Jordies.

However, I just have that feeling that the team would come out with a point to prove but then again its the same thing I said in the pre-match to our last home humiliation to the old enemy, who again showed their seeming come back prowess against Liverpool (okay maybe Liverpool’s shite but still)

Anyhoo, on to team news apparently RVP’s billed to make his 1st start for the club in about 12weeks which is fantastic actually, it enables the gaffer give a much needed rest to Chammy who has admitted that he is still trying to adapt to the physical nature of the Premier League.

What I’d like to see is the supporting cast and how they’ll play around him now as its going to have to be an almost different game plan than with Chammy. Eboue’s fit, AMAZINGLY!!!. Cesc isn’t but we all knew that already, TV5 still absent, Almunia as well…everybody else seems to be a-ok.

My guess is Scezney will have a run in the side,hopefully another good performance and a semi-final ticket shall follow. I shall miss the 1st half (curses!) Due to work but you don’t have to now do you?

Possible Line-Up Scezney-Eboue-Djorou-Kozzer-Gibbs-Wilshere-Denilson-Nasri-Theo-RVP-NikkyB

Arsenal 3:1 Wigan

From where ever you watch this,do have a blast.

Ita says so

And yes, I purposely failed to mention anything on the Barcelona game yesterday….I mean,what’s the point really?

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Just the small matter of the North-London Derby!!!

So this weekend there are a few things at stake. There’s the chance to go top of the league, for a few hours (barring any more Chelski theatrics) that, for me, should be incentive enough as we’ve seen ourselves hash a number of such opportunities this season already. We also have, at stake, the opportunity to put those blithering hot-spuds back in their place for a few more months, a prospect that’s got every true Arsenal fan foaming at the mouth.
On the injury front, the squad seems to be pretty complete, Jackie picked up a back strain before the international break and  has been passed fit to start, our favourite waiter is to resume full training soon,yes I can see that look of despair on your face,its on mine too, but he faces a fight to wrestle the starting spot from ‘HappyAndski’. RVP played 45 mins for Holland as was agreed, and came through unscathed and so did everyone else. Rosicky and Arsh arrived a little late and may have to settle for places on the bench.

This match will be no easy test regardless it is taking place at the Emirates. This same Tottenham side were able to score three goals at the San-Siro and defeat the defending champions Inter Milan at White Hart Lane which is no easy feat whatsoever. Let’s take a look at our Arsenal side, we were the only team out of the original “top four” that got all 3 points last weekend,with Man.U & Liverpool dropping points and Chelski loosing 0-3 to Sunderland at Stamford Bridge (I still can’t get enough of the Gyan Skank). Fabianski is doing so much better than we all expected in goal

“I just feel happy to be playing regularly every three days. I’m enjoying that and I just want to keep working hard and keep playing as best as I can” Fabianski admitted to the club’s official website.

In defence, Djorou and Squillaci have been in good form in the absence of Koscielny as he is set to make a return after his 2 match ban. In mid field, Fabregas may have found his scoring boots with his impressive strike against Everton, Nasri still averaging 7.0 ratings since the start of the season, Song is slowly becoming a cult hero at the Emirates with his ability to score goals when needed, steal balls in the middle of the park & still co-ordinate the back four (I still think its something in the hair)

RVP has described Hot-Spuds as a top side,despite the fact that they are a few points worse off than last season, but I understand his point. We will have to be at the top of our game because they can hurt you from anywhere the wings,with that demon they call Bale, and then through the middle FAN-DE-FART,who RVP’s claimed tried to get the Gaffer to sign and then they can stab in the long balls with that Peter Crotch….oops I meant Crouch!!!!!. There’s also Modric to contend with,well when he’s not injured. Now since we do not know how to stiffle anyone’s game,we will be attempting to out play them…yes that will be the plan,luckily they actually think they can play us so they won’t try to stiffle our game either. Even luckier still is the fact that we are going up against a team that has not kept a clean sheet since the 1st day of the season…that makes me smile.

How we’ll play? I think we’ll do a 4-2-3-1 with Theo, Cesc and Nasri being our three, and Song and Denilson/Jackie, I don’t think RVP will start, not sure the gaffer’s seen enough of him yet but he did say he felt he was sharp in the Holland game. Our back 5 will be as the same,I personally, am looking forward to the battle between the two ugliest players that will be on the pitch, yes Sagna and Bale, apparently so is Sagna as he indicated in his interview for Arsenal.com. Song will have to stay back a little bit more than he seems to in this game cause there’s bags of pace in this side though, so for me I hope Denilson starts just incase Song doesn’t read this before he gets on the pitch,Little Jackie is more creative but I don’t have any doubt that his creativity won’t be missed,our three always tend to step up in our home derby games. And this is also Chamakh’s first North London Derby.

There’s the extra spice in this particular derby as ex skipper and player and bad boy Willi Gallas returns and as we all know is Nasri’s number 1 enemy as he revealed after Gallas left. knowing Nasri he’ll be doing everything possible to wind him up and hopefully Gallas feels the heat enough to do awn goal. in AW’s usual fashion he has pleaded with the fans not to boo him as he served the club well, i disagree Le Boss, i hope his every touch is booed.
It will be a bit to early for me to be drinking at E-bar by the time the games on…..so I’ll just be drinking at home. I think we’re going to smash them though pretty much like we did in the Carling Cup. Whichever way u can expect all the fire,drama and fantastic football that comes with a North-London derby, so please enjoy it from wherever you watch it.

From wherever you are reading, have fun.

Ita says so, Faf too

Another must-win game

Arsenal-Everton

As if there is a game we should be glad to lose…

So, in my usual drunken fashion I shall be at E-bar with a bottle or do I say bottles of vodka and barbeque posted around the pool table area hoping, No! scrap that, praying for a repeat of the scoreline in last season’s corresponding fixture.

It is amazingly unlikely though. Why? Last season’s fixture was the season opener and Everton are notoriously slow starters. Also, we had our full strength team, now, well we do have a number of people still on the treatment table and, well, suspended.

For instance, TV5 is still out and the gaffer is clueless as to when he’ll be back. Our favourite waiter, Almunia has not got any mention of late and has been out for a stretch now. Koscly’s ban is effective from today’s game and RVP is unlikely to start. Diaby’s back though, so is Gibbs and Bendtner who rather ridiculously claims he will leave if he does not start more often. Go ahead then Nikky, and murder your fledgling career! Like you are actually going to get the nod ahead of Chamakh, a better player in my opinion.

Anyhow,everyone seems to be in order so a 4-4-3/4-5-1 is what you’re likely to see. I do hope Theo gets the nod because he WILL give what is a rather slow team, with the exception of Pienaar and Saha a hard time. All in all if we exploit them with our wide men well and our speed, my guess is we will be fine.

Everton like to play a compact game because of the fact that they are rather slow, so if we stretch them with our width and pace, we should cause them all sorts of problems. Hopefully Cesc and Nasri will do what they do best; wreck havoc and Chamakh will pick up from where he left off. Fellaini and Osman will not feature which is good news as far as I’m concerned.

I will stick my neck out and say we’ll have this one, even though I know we could also come out with a draw. Whichever way I must be very light-headed come the end of the game so I guess wouldn’t be too depressed if we do drop points until I’m conscious again.

That being said, from wherever you’re watching, have a ball.
Ita will!

Patience always pays off: Late West Ham thoughts.

Nasri vs West Ham

Never did I think I would shower praises on an Arsenal team for what I consider a crappy performance. But then we won a game I pretty sure we’d have drawn or lost last season. As at the 70th minute I felt so sure that there would be some freak goal or another especially when the Hammers, no, Robert Green (who by the way gave a World Cup winning performance) seemed determined to set a record! We showed grit, maturity, patience and stuck to our game plan. It finally paid off.

And even after the goal came I felt something like the defence would panic and someone would do a Darren Bent on us. What I did see however, was rather encouraging. A calm Arsenal defence when we were just that solitary goal up…in injury time? I mean it was shocking enough that Clichy used his right foot to deliver such an inch perfect cross which brought the goal to begin with. Maybe we are maturing after all but it was the team’s fight, the refusal to give in and the maintenance of composure that was most gladdening for me.

Now, we really have to find a way to get rid of these teams who come to the Emirates and park the proverbial bus with ease. That being said, credit has to be given to the Hammers; they had a plan, and they stuck to it. I mean just how many times have we all witnessed games like this over the course of this new Arsenal era? We need to quit leaving it late, a lot of Gooners, me inclusive, think that a very large factor in losing the title last year was our leaving it late, ensuring that we burnt out early.

On the positives, Fabianski had another assured performance, the centre backs were wonderful and our full backs were simply magnificent. Song was my man of match, dominating everywhere, from the defence, midfield to attack and showed great awareness to pop in at the far post for the header. Cesc did not have the best of games but his presence still counted. Walcott needed just 10 minutes to show his influence on our game. One good thing I noticed was our strength in attack on the bench, we had Rosicky, Walcott and Vela, Nikky B on the bench! That something I don’t think any other side in the league can boast of.

One may also say yesterday’s performance was due to over-confidence thinking that all we needed to do was turn up,especially after our recent displays; and I mean there is a point in this: 3 unreplied goals against Citeh away can get anyone carried away. I just hope this is a slight blip in performance otherwise fellow gooners, prepare for another season of needlessly dropped points. Don’t mind me, I’m sometimes unnecessarily pessimistic.

That being said, we can now focus on a tricky trip to Donetsk. An annihilation on the cards peeps?

From wherever you are reading, have fun.
Ita says so!

Let’s prove our point tomorrow!

Adebarndoor

So, the plan for this weekend is to run away from work on Sunday so I can watch Arsenal slump to their 3rd defeat of the season?!?! It does not really sound like a good plan, does it? Well,considering the fact that I will probably get a few shots of vodka in my system and a few barbecued drumsticks too,you will have to forgive me for thinking its a fair trade.

Anyways,forgive me for sounding so pessimistic about our chances this weekend but Man-Shitty’s line-up has looked more and more impressive over the years; and,would you believe it, this period has marked our regressive run of results there.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, I mean we welcome back the likes of Captain Cesc, Theo, and erm…the world’s best striker, Nikky B. Koscielny is a no show, same for TV5 and our favourite waiter (thank goodness). Sagna is back though, so our squad has been bolstered a bit save for the loss of Lil Jackie.

In truth, if we play like we did against Chelski and we manage to shackle Tevez and Silva, we do stand a chance. Let us hope Fabianski has a good game, no flappy hands. We cannot afford any slip-ups at the back because we’ll be duly punished. The midfield will have to bring its A-game because that is where this game will be won or lost. A midfield of Cesc, Song and Abou (simply for the physical nature of this game) will do the trick. Chamakh is a definite starter upfront and Nasri should flank him on the right. I’m undecided on who to choose, Rosicky or Arsha. We’ll have very few opportunities tomorrow, and Arsha is an asset in such matches. But Rosicky has been in inspired form of late, so I’m okay with any of them. A bench of Denilson, Theo, Eboue, Vela, and Nikky B will be just fine.

I do hope we come away from this encounter without anymore broken bones what with ‘drop kick’ De Jong. Whichever way though, this should make for a pretty good game, and I can’t wait for it to get started.

Yes if you do drink, I suggest you stock up from today, such that by the time the game ends,you’ll be too drunk to decipher red and white from sky blue and white. I hear Adebarndoor might get a chance to play us after getting a hattrick against some shite team over the week. Great news if he plays as it only reduce our number of worries up front. I’m on the look for how many offsides he’ll have accumulated before half time.

So, after a week dominated by silly Wazza’s transfer that never was, this will be a welcome doze of actual soccer. Man City have got money…in abundance, but we’ve got style and finesse in excess.

C’mon peeps, WE ARE THE ARSENAL, let’s show those silly billionaires our new steez!

From wherever you’ll watch and evening, just enjoy yourself.
Ita says so!

Arsene-’I didn’t recognise my team today’. Neither did we Le Boss!

Nasri vs WBA '10

I believe that today’s game was an exception – until today we had very, very good games. I didn’t recognize my team today and we have to sit down together to analyze what happened. Something is unexplainable in such a poor performance. It is always difficult to [sense it before the game] but something was not right and it is unusual to see a team as flat as we were today”.

Those were Arsene’s words in his press conference after the disaster of a result we got on Saturday. We lost to West Brom at home, our first home loss since January I think. We conceded 3 goals in total to Liverpool, Blackburn and Sunderland, yet we conceded 3 goals to West Brom in a single home game. Funny stats eh? While I am not one of those fickle fans who start raining abuses on the team and the manager after every loss, it’s only fair that I criticize and praise them when necessary.

Almunia had a game to forget, conceding 3 goals from 5 shots, including a penalty at his goal. This is an awful record for any goalie at any level. Yes, he saved a penalty, but he would not have had to do that had he not felled Odemwingie in the box. He saved a weak penalty and redeemed himself, fair enough. The first goal was not his fault but his role in the other two goals left a lot to be desired. He spilled a shot in his near post for the second goal and misjudged the speed of the ball by rushing out and not getting to the ball before the West Brom attacker. Almunia is a good goalkeeper but whether he’s good enough for Arsenal is another issue entirely.

Arsenal’s three man midfield is such that Song is the out and out defensive midfielder, Cesc is the creative forward going on with the least defensive duties of the three if you will, and the guy in the middle is the one who sort of balances the team, he helps fly into tackles and also helps in the ball distribution. So far this season, that has been Wilshere and he has done a fantastic job. I mean he comes back and retrieves the ball from Song or the back four and finds our captain who pushes much further forward preventing him from having to track back so deep. Now, in this game Song played his usual role and Nasri was meant to play Cesc’s role with Diaby playing Wilshere’s. MISTAKE!

For starters, Diaby does not have half the vision that Wilshere has, which is why he holds the ball so much till he can see the pass that has at that point become too obvious. He also cannot match Wilshere’s usual hustling on the pitch, trying to win balls and such, for some odd reason, was not there. The implication? Nasri has to come all the way back to get the ball and in the alternative, Song has to push up more than normal. The defence suffers as there’s no proper cover for our CBs and no proper distributor for the attack, which means Sagna and Clichy have to move forward just a little bit than they’ve had to this season. This is why West Brom’s goals came from the wings; the third maybe because we were 2 goals down and needed to push up obviously. It gets worse because the fact that Diaby is on the pitch means he is getting in the way of other players. He occupies so much space but he’s still ineffective.

Only reason Chamakh didn’t have such a bad game is because he comes to the midfield to try and collect the ball anyway, he doesn’t really wait to be “fed”. Eboue also had a rather below par game but look at what happened as soon as Wilshere and Rosicky came on, Nasri was free to fly, to devastating effect and then create the missing link, Arshavin was duly supported, Rosicky also played his part. But there are a few questions for me; why did Wenger not make those changes sooner? I understand he probably wanted to rotate and give Wilshere a rest, especially after our game with those Hot-Suds…whoopsh!!! Spurs, same with Rosicky but obviously, it wasn’t working out, so why wait till the game is dead before doing the right thing?

Is this the team we plan to take to Stamford Bridge next weekend? Let’s just hope I sincerely have to be at work, because it’s going to be a mauling if we go to Chelsea with the same attitude. However, stranger things have occurred in football, and unless we can do the unexpected by grabbing a win to make up for the unexpected loss to West Brom, we are effectively 7 points adrift.

Is that the League trophy I see sailing further away? It’s still early days anyways. I wonder what team we’ll be putting out for the Champions League tomorrow.

Keep the faith gooners, that’s what we are fans for, right? Let’s start with the annihilation of Partizan tomorrow.

From wherever you are reading, have fun.
Ita says so!

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