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1/10: The most important 3 points in the run-in?

Robin Van Persie

I’m feeling pretty off this morning as the UEFA Champions League draws were made and names like Shakhtar, Schalke, and Spurs popped up. No disrespect to either Shaktar or Schalke but it could have easily been us in that position, had we not been complacent enough to place second in the easiest group of all; giving us the toughest possible draw.

But our moaning period is over, we are out of 3 competitions but we still have the League to play for. We win all our remaining games and the trophy follows us back to N5. But it’s not that easy as it seems. We begin a run of 10 games which includes visits to Shite Hart Lane and Stoke, and home games to Liverpool and Man United. But of this lot, the most important game is tomorrow’s trip to West Brom. The Baggies are in good form, unbeaten in their last 4 League games, their best run of results in 5 months. But they face an Arsenal side that has no lost in 11 League games, since the defeat at Old Trafford in December. We have also not lost a league game in the month of March since a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in 2008, but our record against the newly promoted sides this term has been quite poor with our only win coming at home against Blackpool.

Tomorrow’s line up virtually picks itself. Almunia remains in goal, backed by Mad Jens on the bench. We get another feel of the Squillaci-Koscielny combo flanked by Sagna and Clichy. We will probably see a midfield trio of Denilson, Wilshere and Ramsey. It will be interesting to see how well the Welshman performs on his first Arsenal start since THAT injury. A forward triad of Nasri, RVP and Arshavin completes a depleted Arsenal side. We can bring on Rosicky, Chamakh and Nikky B from the bench if need be. But it should be noted that despite our injuries, we should still have enough quality to see off WBA.

The International break could not have come at a better time because after this fixture, a two-week hiatus follows and then our next League fixture against Blackburn Rovers. A fully fit Arsenal team will beat any team in the League any day but we are not afforded that luxury at the moment. Our injury list is ever growing, with Alex Song (knee), Diaby (groin), Szczesny (finger), Fabianski (shoulder), Djourou (shoulder), Fabregas (hamstring), Walcott (ankle) all out. While Szczesny, Djourou and Fabianksi will probably miss the rest of the season, the other injured players should be fit in two to three weeks.

Under normal circumstances, we should have most of our players back for that fixture, rested and ready to fire through the rest of the campaign. We are just 3 points behind United, they are having a lot of issues at the moment, with injuries, SAF’s ban, and we should not be dropping any points now. The return of the injured players should give us enough momentum to get 3 points in most if our remaining 9 games. Let’s just get maximum points from tomorrow’s game and we will be in pole position after the break to complete the season on a high.

We have put too much into this season to finish without any trophy, let’s get our acts together and make this a season to remember. We can start by claiming 3 points against West Brom tomorrow.

Let’s do this!

From wherever you are reading, hope for the best!
9jabred says so!

Vermaelen set for Reserves return + How Deep is the Psychological Damage?

TV5

Sorry for the lack of post this past week, we were really tied up with school work and just could not make out time to relate with the rest of the Arsenal world. Straight to the news; as Arsene Wenger shed some light on the injury to Thomas Vermaelen by suggesting that the Belgian will make his comeback in the Reserves before returning to the first team.

TV5 has not played since early September when he picked up an Achilles injury on international duty but is now set to return within a month. Though Vermaelen is nearing the end of his rehabilitation Wenger is planning a few outings for the second string before considering him for selection. Said Arsene:

“When he [Vermaelen] is fit certainly we’ll play him in the Reserve team, but not before two or three weeks. You never know until he is completely fit to play again but we are hopeful he is progressing well. He feels he is over the problem but he played his last game in September and we are in February so it will take some time to come back to match fitness.”

Just a quick preview of today’s game and I guess we all have recovered from our collapse at St James’ last weekend and are hoping it does not repeat itself. I’m hoping the same too but as Arsene rightly pointed out after the game, the lads have been damaged psychologically. And with Wolves coming on the back of a shocking win over Man United, the exact extent of this damage will be evident today.

Which Arsenal team will we see? The one which struggled to string two passes together against West Brom or the one which dismantled Newcastle in the first half hour of a game, or is it the Arsenal that capitulated in the final half hour of the same game and gave up a 4-goal lead?

Cesc, Song and Robin were not involved in the Internationals, so no excuse of fatigue for them. We got our best news of the season in the shape of Djourou’s injury. He’s back in contention for this weekend and so is Denilson. But Rosicky misses out (groin) and Diaby too (groin and suspension). The lads need to forget what happened seven days ago(as hard as that is), and focus on the getting 3 points against Wolves. With the Manc derby coming earlier today, we have another opportunity to close or maintain the gap from United as the case maybe. A draw will be the perfect result for us though.

Let’s put this game to bed early and rest our legs for the futbol fantastico scheduled at the Emirates on Wednesday. Yes, we are playing almighty Barcelona, who are unbeaten, scored 1000 goals and conceded none this season!

Meanwhile, let’s tame the Wolves first before we concern ourselves with the midweek fiesta. I have a gut feeling we’ll see the Arsenal that ripped Blackpool to shreds earlier in the season. This is to hoping I’m not high on some kind of banned substance…

Thoughts?

Have fun, because today, we close the gap to one two points or even less.

9jabred!

Let’s put all these behind us quickly!

Le Boss

It’s the last day the year, and believe you me, it's been an emotion-filled year for me as a gooner.

Okay, we screwed up at Wigan; we had them for the taking and we bottled it. We had the lead at half time; we just lacked the initiative to take that giant and most important step to secure victory. But that’s all in the past now, we have Birmingham next and need I remind y’all that the Brum is never an easy place to go…not for Chelsea, United, or us.

It’s no use crying over spilt milk, all we need to do is get our acts together and give the kind of performance we gave against Chelski. Against Wigan a lot of things went wrong: we defended awfully as usual, we did not take the few chances we had, the senior players, Rosicky especially, failed to lead by example, our midfield three did not impose themselves on the game and the referee had a bad day at office.

We can still turn this around, Man United drew, Chelsea still have some work to do before they can start threatening again. We just need to beat B’Ham and Man City in our upcoming matches. A win against Man City will give us an advantage over them and put them behind us for good.

Since most of the performers against Chelsea were rested for the Wigan game, we should have them at full strength tomorrow. Cesc is also back from suspension but Diaby is out for 3 weeks with a groin injury.
So I expect Wenger to recall Djourou, Clichy, Cesc, RVP, Theo, Song, Nasri and Jackie to the starting lineup.

It’s a tough one to predict, our last two visits have ended in draws, with last minute equalizers from Birmingham in games we totally dominated. But I expect us to nick this one, a 2-0 victory to the Arsenal. And yes, we’ll keep a clean sheet tomorrow. Tough one, eh?

It’s on lads, let’s get in there and show our rivals that we can succeed where they have failed. Let’s show everyone that we still have a say in where the title goes come May! C’mon you smoking gunners!

Keep the faith peeps and from us at MG, a happy new year in advance.

9jabred says so!

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Don’t we just love the hard way?

Arsene

So we move from being the most in-form, record breaking team in the Champions League two weeks ago to a team whose qualification hangs in the balance…in just 3 weeks. Only in Arsenal eh?

Following the horrible result last weekend, one would expect a ground breaking performance from a team with lots of promise. Actually, we have not been good on our travels to Portugal, but one would expect a change in tide, consequential of the happenings the previous weekend. I’m really not in the mood to do anything, not even to write this post. I’m so sad because I can just see our season falling apart. You think I’m jumping the gun right?

The team that lined up was above average, Nikky B, Gibbs, Eboue, Djourou, and Wilshere didn’t take any part against the Spuds and they were given a chance to shine. They barely took it. I will not bore you with the details of what was an uneventful game (at least Arsenal wise), and if I told I know exactly what went wrong last night, I would be telling a lie. I can guess though.

The easiest thing to say is that the boys were down following that huge loss. But is that a reasonable explanation? I don’t think so. These men are professionals, paid very highly for their skills and services and should not blame anybody except themselves for a defeat. We need to develop a winning attitude even if things are not going too well. At no point did we look like scoring last night, but an Arsenal team is always liable to conceding goals. We conceded two last night and now we are in danger of not qualifying for the knock out phase.

Nikky B for all his noise did nothing worthy; his control is still poor, needs to work on his body balance. This is not a good way to account for all the talk about wanting to start every game. Wilshere performed admirably considering his age and the people around him. Djourou faired better than his partner at the back and when Theo wasn’t running down blind alleys, he was running into opponents. Pathetic performance from him.

To add salt to injury, Cesc tweaked his hamstring again and will now miss 2 to 3 weeks.

I still don’t know why we love doing things the hard way. We get an easy chance to do something, but instead we skip that chance and go the longer route. A win on Saturday would have seen us go top of the table, did we get it? Merely taking a half time lead against West Brom and Newcastle would have surely given us 3 points in each of those games. Did we manage that? A draw against Braga last night would have seen us qualify for the knock out stages. How did that go?

We have Villa next and yesterday’s game will be quickly forgotten if we can get a win over there. It should see us maintain our two point gap from the top, or better still move up should United or Chelsea drop points. I long for us to return to winning ways.

It’s been a bad week gooners, but it could have been worse!

Wait! Could it?

Let us know in the comments

From wherever you are reading, keep the faith.
Once a gooner, forever a gooner!

It’s either tonight or probably next season, again.

A repeat performance, maybe?

The game at the Molineux tonight is probably our most important match of the season…this tag changes as the season progresses, mind you. Tonight is all about getting our season back on track and proving our doubters wrong. We have been going through a bad patch of late…Birmingham, West Ham, Shakhtar, Newcastle. It is time we turned the corner and respond to all criticisms.

Against the big teams this season, we have not done too bad, a draw at Anfield, a loss at the Bridge and a win at Man City, yes City are a big team now. But winning the league is not all about winning the top sides, we need to consistently churn out results against the mid table and bottom teams. We need to go to places like Stoke, Blackburn and Sunderland with full confidence of getting a result.

Tonight, we’ll be up against a Wolves team on form, a team that narrowly lost to United at Old Trafford last weekend. They are on a good run of form now and it will take a lot to stop that. We will need to be patient in our build up, make our football do the talking, and most importantly be decisive in the final third. No more Chamakh dilly-dallying on the ball in the box. You are a striker mate, get your shooting boots on, we have enough passers already.

Koscly is out through suspension, so Djourou should normally come in for him, Arshavin is in line to start, so is Van Persie and we can really do with their presence, directness and experience. We need the Cesc of old, not the lost fella we saw over the weekend. Nasri’s injury isn’t too serious, so he should start. I expect Nari and Arshavin on both wings with Chamakh in the middle. I won’t mind Van Persie though. Theo, Rosicky, Nikky B, and Vela will be on the bench in case we need more men up front.

Talking serious injuries, Wenger provided bad injury news ahead of tonight’s game. Vermaelen is still having issues with his Achilles hence no return date can be set. Wenger also said Diaby will undergo more tests today or tomorrow and will visit a new specialist if pain persists. More bad news in midfield with Abou Diaby set to undergo more tests today or tomorrow and will visit a new specialist if pain persists. TV5 has been out of action since August and since I know he’s no crock, the injury must be really serious. I do hope he comes back soon to shore up our defence. The same can really be said of a certain Frenchman, can it?

If we do not get maximum points tonight, we will be further pegged behind because Chelsea will most likely beat Fulham, 7 or more points behind the Chavs is not what we need at this stage of the season. We also need to capitalize on the result of the Manchester derby. It sounds weird but see a City win in the offing. It’s not our problem though, let’s get into the battle with the Wolves and show why we are the gunners.

I see a 2 nil win, Arshavin and any other person, and yes a clean sheet! What do you see? Let us know in the comments section.
C’mon boys, let’s do this!

9jabred says so!

The new dimension to our play.

We want more of this

During the off-season, gooners worldwide clamoured for new additions to bolster our rearguard and forward line. This was heeded by the club with the arrival of Chamakh on a free,the relatively unknown Koscielny from FC Lorient and the veteran Squillaci from Sevilla. Not exactly the signings you need to win the league, everyone thought; seeing as our rivals boasted the likes of Drogba-Lampard-Terry (Chelski) and Vidic-Scholes-Rooney (United). But we had no choice than to settle down, as it was obvious that none of the 50+ defenders, strikers and goalkeepers were going to be wearing the red and white of Arsenal this season.

The fans stuck to the old but popular saying, ‘Arsene Knows’ and hoped for Koscly to do a Vermaelen and Chamakh to be our 20+ goals-a-season striker. Then today, it struck me that we missed out on something, our midfielders have grown, not only in performances, but in experience and stature and they are now getting the recognition. Though relatively young, our midfielders have spent at least 3 seasons playing together, the combination of Fabregas-Denilson-Song-Diaby are less than 25 years old but they can boast of well over 500 games for Arsenal among them, and I stress the “well over”.

Every time we hear Arsene say at the beginning of the season how playing together as a unit has helped the players grow and that they will be mentally stronger and better from past experiences. Is this finally becoming a reality? I should think so.

Arsenal repeatedly get the stick for how soft our core is and how opponents roughen us up each time we play. It looked as though that routine will continue this season, but against opposition like Bolton and Blackburn we have more than held our own, dominating both games, scoring 6 goals and conceding 2. Not bad eh? It’s funny how many times the midfield has been changed this season and how it has hardly caused any disruption to our play. Are we losing the ‘soft core’ tag or is that we have we found a way around these teams? It’s a bit of both, I think.

Our early season form and good fortune is mostly down to the efforts of our midfileders. Take a cue from key games such as the City away, Shakhtar at home, Braga away, and the League Cup game against Spurs. Earlier in the millennium, we used to be feared for how efficiently we “shared” our goals. Midfielders like Pires, Ljungberg, Vieira and Parlour put in more than their share of goals but as the years went by, it all dried up…Hleb et al.

But these crop of midfield players are determined to change that, contributing over 42% of our total goals. Nasri, 23 is enjoying his most productive start to any league season with seven goals scored already and quite some assists. Arsene says he’s beginning to show his “inner Pires” and I cannot agree more. His range of passing has improved vastly and so has the ability to cut in from both flanks, deliver a killer pass or end a good run with a goal. He’s got this mixture of confidence and arrogance, and his maturity on and off the pitch coupled with his leadership qualities has been a joy to behold. He showed utmost composure to bury 2 penalties against Spurs on their turf. His versatility, playing comfortably on either wings, attacking midfield and even in defensive midfield has prompted Wenger to add that he is becoming a complete midfielder.

Another who has matured in bounds this season is Alexandre Song. Would you believe that someone who had just 3 shots on target the whole of last season has already put in 4 goals in October. That’s more than Arsharvin and Cesc, including the extremely important winner against West Ham, which brought chants of ‘We’ve only got one Song’ from the fans.

Truth be said, Song had a shaky start to the season, picking up stupid bookings and getting caught out of position. Maybe it was the World Cup hangover or adapting to the new hairstyle(hilarious eh?). But his transformation has been nothing short of fantastic as he ventures forward more and is always lurking around the penalty box. He’s become the all action box-to-box midfielder we crave and as his transition from defence to attack is mesmerizing. Can the hunger to win titles be at its peak among this crop of players?

It would be serious injustice if I omitted Wilshere from this. The young midfielder at 18, is fast becoming a main stay in the Arsenal midfield. Given the opportunity due to Cesc’s absence, he has grabbed it with both hands giving mature and inspired displays that bely his age, scoring a goal in Europe and and also adding assists. A red card has shown that he has this edge to his game, he loves getting stuck and won’t be pushed around. Against top teams, he did not hide behind the older players and always demanded the ball. You can see it in his eyes, he’s got this winning mentality.

But for the injuries to Ramsey(another one of them) and Cesc he might have found himself farmed out on loan again. He has made a name and endeared himself to the fans. A Man-Of-Match performance against Spurs in the League Cup, more than staed a case for his emergence on the world stage. Just yesterday, he was rewarded with a new long term contract rumoured to have tripled his pay. Wilshere, to me is the future captain of Arsenal…at least he’s got Arsenal DNA!

Honourable mentions must also go to Fabregas, Denilson and Diaby for their performances so far. Cesc yet to hit top form has a couple of goals and some assists. One thing about his game he’s that even when he’s not playing to his usual standards, his presence gives the others a lift. Denilson has also put in solid shifts each time he’s been called upon. Some may point to his somewhat poor display over the weekend, but this is the only player who featured in all 3 games last week; art least he played the most minutes.

If we do win the League come May, let these guys not be forgotten because it would not be because of Van Persie’s magic goals, or Bendtner’s now-refined finishing, or Chamakh’s work rate and the penalties he’ll win, or even Vela’s chipped goals. It will be because the boys in the middle picked up the mantle when the forward guys were could not deliver.

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

Can we play “European” teams every weekend?

Shakhtar rout

11 shots, 7 on target and 5 good goals, that what you get when we come up against teams “who ‘play’, are used to dominating their domestic championship and do not defend all the time”. The weird thing about last night’s game is that it could not have been tagged too easy, neither could it have been too difficult. I’ll simply try to describe what we saw last night as what happens when a very good team plays a better team with most of its players back from injury. You call this one of the finest defensive units in Europe and you make me wish we played “European” teams every weekend. Yeah, premiership teams are in England, a European country. But we don’t play the likes of Blackburn, Stoke and Bolton in Europe, do we? So you get my point.

Last night we had more options in the squad than we’ve had all season and it was evident in the performance. We put out a very strong team and yet we had a bench comprising the likes of Arshavin, Nikky B, Theo, Denilson and Diaby. Scaring prospect innit? We went into the game on a high following our win over the weekend and we did just what we wanted, close the game early, move closer to the knockout round, and rest our legs for the Citeh game.

It was a perfect game with everyone contributing their bit, Fabianski had a great game, the defenders led from the back, and a midfield of Cesc, Jackie and Song did their job really well. A cheeky Song effort, a wonderful Nasri shot, a fantastic Cesc penalty, a sublime Wilshere chip and a well-taken Chamakh goal were all we needed to confirm our dominance in the group. A lot of positives from this one, the return of Cesc and the other lads, a huge win, one leg in the knockout stages and a new goalscoring record in the Champions League.

One major highlight of the night was Dudu’s goal. If we ever had to concede, every gooner would have loved it to come from his boots. And yes it did. He received the ball outside our box, floated a lovely ball into the path of D Costa. The Brazilian drilled a cross which missed almost everyone in the box and out it came to Dudu. He took his time and guided the ball past Fabianski when most strikers would have gone for power. The stadium announcer acted as if it was an Arsenal goal and most fans cheered the goal. Majority of the players even congratulated him after the game. What a class act he is? I wonder what the response would have been if it was a goal that leveled matters or even gave Shakhtar the lead.

Anyways, I’m done ranting, so satisfied with everything that went down last night. It rained this morning and I posted this from my bed (school’s on break, mind you). I really need something to send me out of bed; maybe news concerning Rooney now having a medical at Arsenal, with an eye on a January transfer will do the trick. Who wouldn’t want that lad eh? There’s some rumour of Vermaelen not coming back from injury this year. Let’s hope it’s nothing but a rumour.

For now, it’s simply about enjoying the rest of my day, and week anywhere and anyway I can. We have Citeh up next and what stops us from giving a repeat performance when we travel up north.

Bring it on, you foolish billionaires!

From wherever you are reading, have fun too.
9jabred says so!

What Arsenal team will show up against Partizan?

Wenger thinks of what to do

Okay, I am done sulking and making noise simply because we lost over the weekend. Yes, we lost to West Brom, yes, Odemwingie ripped into our defence, yes we conceded 3 goals, so what? Even Barcelona lost at home to Hercules and still bounced back in style in the next game. So who says we won’t win the league because we dropped 3 points in week 6? There are still 32 odd games to go and the faster we got this behind us, the better.

We travel to Serbia on tomorrow (Tuesday) to face Partizan Belgrade. They lost on Matchday 1 to Shakhtar Donetsk so they will be desperate to impress in front of their home crowd. The squad list was released some hours ago and some names were notable absentees.

Arsenal squad to face Partizan Belgrade:

21. Lukasz Fabianski
53. Wojciech Szczesny
3. Bacary Sagna
22. Gael Clichy
6. Laurent Koscielny
7. Tomas Rosicky
8. Samir Nasri
11. Carlos Vela
15. Denilson
17. Alex Song
18. Sebastien Squillaci
19. Jack Wilshere
20. Johan Djourou
27. Emmanuel Eboue
23. Andrey Arshavin
29. Marouane Chamakh
28. Kieran Gibbs
46. Henri Lansbury

Diaby and Almunia are the most notable names missing from the squad travelling to Serbia. Almunia reportedly has an elbow injury and will be out for some time, while Diaby has been dropped from the squad after his dismal showing over the weekend. He was obviously not fit against West Brom and made us pay for his lack of fitness.

So, Fabianski is poised to replace the injured Almunia, Gibbs also makes the squad following a return from the foot injury sustained against the Spuds. Lansbury is rewarded for an outstanding performance against Spurs as he also travels with the team. It should be noted that we are still without Fabregas, Robin, Theo, Bendtner and Vermaelen, although Cesc and TV5 may make the team for the crunch tie over the weekend. Partizan Belgrade are back in the Champions League after a 7 year absence and will be out to show what they have learnt during that time. Arsene recognizes the importance of bouncing back with an assured performance.

It is important to get a good result against Partizan Belgrade. First of all, it gives us a good opportunity to qualify if we can then win our home game afterwards. As well, it is important before going to Chelsea that we have a good performance”.

We need the sort of response the boys gave at Shite Hart lane after the Sunderland game.This is to hoping our boys can put up a classy performance, play beautiful football, score goals and most importantly get our season back on track. We need a big boost before the game against Chelski this weekend, and a huge win will go a long way in lifting the spirits around the club.

Keep the faith gooners, it just might be one of those magic European nights for us. It’s me again, back from my three-month break, doing my thing for Memoirs of a Gooner.

C’mon you Reds, let’s do this!

From wherever you are reading, have fun.
Faf 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!

Gunners expertly dispatch Trotters.

Koscly goal

Arsenal once again banished memories of past games against Bolton with an efficient display on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Going into the game, we had many injury concerns, with Theo Walcott getting injured on international duty and Robin extending his time out. We were definitely short up front; with Nikky B and Nasri not up for a start, I eagerly awaited what kind of attack we were going to line out with.

When the team sheet was released, I heaved a sigh of relief as we were still strong in attack, with Arshavin and Rosciky on either side of Chamakh. Changes were also made to the back four: Gibbs and Eboue came in for the rested duo of Clchy and Sagna respectively; Squillaci also came in for the slightly injured Vermaelen to Koscly at the heart of the defence. It was a joy to see Wilshere start alongside Cesc and Song in midfield; Arsene definitely had the midweek Champions League fixture on his mind.

The game in itself was virtually all Arsenal. In the opening 45 minutes, Cesc and Rosicky pulled the strings, moving the ball around quite well and attempting the most delicate of passes. Quite a number of these passes made their way to Arshavin and he wasted them, chances that he would normally bury on a normal day. This is a worrying sight as on other days and against better teams, we might have paid dearly for those missed chances.

In the 23rd minute however, a Wilshere cross from the right was met on the far post by Cesc who squared in across goal to Koscly who managed to nudge it into the net. He was understandably happy with himself. I guess his happiness went into his head as he misjudged a long ball from deep in the Bolton half and tamely headed back when a clearance would have been more appropriate. His header only made its way to an unmarked opposing player in our box and Bolton drew level. It was unimaginable given the fact that we dominated the entire game. Arsenal pressed for a goal before the break but Bolton were very glad going into half time on par.

In the second half, Arsenal picked up from where they left off and continued the search of that goal. Their efforts were rewarded on the hour as Chamakh steered home a header from a Cesc cross. We had the advantage now and needed to get more to kill off any hopes of a comeback. We were celebrating again when Alex Song finished off a lovely passing move involving Cesc and Arshavin. He beat his man and chipped the ball delightfully above the goalie with the ball strolling over the line. 3 – 1, in the 78th minute with most of the possession, you did not see a way back for Bolton in this one. All we had to now was pass the ball around and exploit any other chances.

The Grove was raised to its roof with the last goal. Vela who was on as a substitute got on the end of a 24-pass move and slotted past the keeper. It was undoubtedly the goal of the weekend. Arsenal at their imperious best, and Vela contributing his own share of goals.

Final whistle, game over, mission accomplished. We just defeated our one time bogey team and in style too. There were a few positives to take from this game, the wonderful debut from new boy Squillaci, the goal by Koscly, Cesc’s performance, Chamakh and Vela’s goals. The major negative in this match is the injury to Diaby. Another injury? Oh please! How do we end all these worries. It’s becoming a norm and a bad habit at that.

We have the Champions League next. It feels so good to be participating in Europe’s number one competition once again. We have a relatively easy group, and with the way injuries have dealt with us, more rotation is needed. So I expect to see some “new faces” in the midweek.

That’s it gooners, we are second, we have beating Blackburn and Bolton and drawn away to Liverpool. Not a really bad position to be in, is it?

Thoughts?

From wherever you are reading, have fun.
9jabred says so!

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