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Liverpool vs Arsenal Preview : Team News & How To Win

“Thats why you mad? cuz im scoring all the goals?”

Arsenal kick off at lunch time tomorrow against Liverpool in high spirits and who can blame us? After last week’s mauling of Sp*rs. Sp*rs beat Liverpool 4-0 and we beat Sp*rs 5-2 so technically we should beat Liverpool by at least 5 goals right? I apologize for using the word Sh*t….sorry Sp*rs four times in one paragraph. :( . Well then, straight to the post.

PREVIEW…..
Arsenal vs Liverpool(especially at Anfield) is a tie that is known to cough up goals irrespective of whether its a league or cup game, remember Arshavin’s quadruple in the 4-4 at Anfield and the Baptista’s in the 6-3 in the League Cup a few years back.

The reverse fixture ended in a 2-0 win for the scousers with the goals coming after an ijury ridden Arsenal team had frimpong sent off and then an own goal with a Suarez goal settled the day. In truth, they were poor but the lack of cutting edge on our side also cost us the match. Of course this was pre Arteta-Mertesacker-Santos-Benayoun & Gervinho Song were also missing via bans.

The Liverpool team will be buoyed by their Carlin Cup win which brought an end to their six year trophy wait but Arsene reckons it will have no impact on the game. I hope it doesn’t.

The form book on this one is a swinging pendulum. Liverpool have only won once in 9meetings against us and have never done a league double over us. Advantage Arsenal. Liverpool are unbeaten at home and conceded the second fewest home goals this season. Advantage Liverpool. Arsenal have conceded more goals at Anfield in the Premier league than at any other ground while Liverpool have won just 2 of their last 9 league games. Tie.

TEAM NEWS…..
Daniel Agger misses out through injury and Gerrard is almost certain to miss out. I really don’t care for Gerrard, its not like he’s playing well, its Agger’s absence that delights me, meaning a makeshift defense for King Kenny. No news on Johnson but might be fit.

Arsenal have no new worries from the international break, RVP is fit and ready, Ramsey is out for a further 2 weeks(so too Santos). Djourou has a knock & Coquelin is out for four weeks.

HOW TO WIN…….
Liverpool have been very erratic this season, and the forms of both full backs have been a problem, Enrique started well but has struggled in recent times. Theo Walcott & Gervinho(or AOC or Benayoun, whoever Wenger goes with) would have to be on top form and I’d love to see Theo run into the channels through the middle.

Rosicky needs to be brilliant again like last week & prove it wasn’t a one off with another masterful display and we need to keep a tight unit at the back as the trickery of Suarez is going to be a problem.

Predicted Line-Up & Scoreline : Szczesny-Sagna-Vermaelen-Koscielny-Gibbs-Gervinho-Walcott-Song-Arteta-Rosicky-RVP

Liverpool 1:3 Arsenal

Win at Liverpool and pray Chelsea slip up at Bolton and it will be a great weekend. Let’s know what you think in the comments. Have a great day. Cheers.

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

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.

Escobar

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

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.

Escobar

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Oxo For England | Theo To Hit 25 | Mega Tour Lined Up For Summer

Some of us are still replaying all 7 goals from the game against Blackburn while some are just happy about certain individual performances. I’m part of both parties.

Word in the press is that Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to be included in the England squad for the friendly against Holland coming up soon and if I must say, he’s earned it even if its a short time. Its not like the other left sided wingers in the country have done better than him, infact the only legit two(Ashley Young & Downing) are not fit & misfiring respectively so why not.

For all of Oxo’s dazzling displays and being put alongside household names such as Rooney & RVP when they were 18, the latter has warned for the fans not to over expect a lot from the lad and just continue to praise him whenever he performs. We don’t want a burn out & another Wilshere surely.

One thing I’m looking forward to is when Gervinho returns, will Oxo get dropped or will he be paired with Gervinho with Walcott coming off the bench with pace to burn against tiring full backs?

THEO WALCOTT
Arsenal skipper reckons that soon enough Walcott is going to add a lot of goals to his repertoire saying missed chances which he’s often blamed for is all part of his game and if he, Messi & Cristiano can conjure up misses then surely Theo is part of the bunch.

I agree with RVP but for now let’s keep Theo on the wings, he won’t always shine all the time but on his day, not one defender can stop him(Barcelona and the entire San Siro, Maldini included can testify to that) besides he’s still only 22, let’s remember that.

SUMMER TOURS
When it was revealed yesterday by the Guardian that Arsenal are planning money-spinning tours to play games in Seoul, Hong Kong & Beijing to add to that of the tour in Nigeria, it became all to clear the only reason why we bought Chu Yung Park. One would have expected him to come off the bench during the game as we had won but instead he remained on the bench. Will he ever start a league game for Arsenal? Will he ever come off the bench for more than 5 minutes? At this rate, no. His agent has come out to say if he doesn’t play he’ll seek a move in the summer which means we’re likely to lose him & Chamakh. Great.

If something new comes up during the week before our next game, rest assured we’ll report it to you, till then its goodbye & have a lovely week. Cheers.

Escobar

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Artetea’s England ambitions|Gervinho highly unlikely for Leeds|Theo needs more goals

The football gods gave us a reason to smile in the new year as we witnessed the 3-0 thumping of Man United at the Sports Direct Arena last night. And while I was pleased with the result and the kind of game that was served up, I feel a sense of frustration, knowing that we could have closed the gap had we won at Fulham. That game is in the past now and we can only look forward.

We do not play again until Monday, Leeds in the FA Cup and with the winter Transfer window in full swing, some stories have caught my attention.

Not much has happened for us on the transfer front so I start with the revelation that Mikel Arteta nearly decided to play for England, only for an intervention by FIFA to prevent him. Mikel arrived in the country in 2005 when he joined Everton and developed a liking for the culture. But he realized he was not qualified represent England because he had represented his native Spain at Under-16 level, and he didn’t have a British passport at the time.

Seeing how England has performed on the big stage in the past 8 years, and looking at how the Gerrard-Lampard combination has fialed miserably, they would have benefited from having someone like Arteta, who actually knows how to “play” football, in their ranks. With England out of the way, what’s yo say he cannot get into the Spanish national side. I know it’s a tall order, but with consitent performances in the EPL and Champions League, he may just get lucky.

So Theo reckons he needs to get more goals in 2012 and I agree with him. I mean for someone who constantly talks about wanting to play as a striker, he does not get enough goals; not even that, he does not make enough of the chances he gets. The squandered chance against QPR quickly comes to mind and one can see why he has not been among the goals. Said he,

“This season I think I need to get in among the goals a bit more maybe – I only have four. But I’m happy if the team’s winning and I’m getting assists for the main man up front”

No doubt he’s been up there with the asissts, I just feel he should, or he has the ability to help with a few more goals. That will help ease the burden of scoring off RVP.

Apparently, Ivory Coast coach Francois Zahoui has rejected Manchester City’s request to play Yaya and Kolo Toure in Sunday’s Manchester derby in the FA Cup. The coach insists both of them report for a meeting in Paris on Saturday before flying out with the rest of the squad to Abu Dhabi for a two-week training camp.

This definitely rules out any chance of seeing Gervinho on the pitch against Leeds. If Titi’s move becomes official before then, we may see him on the left of the front 3. Not a bad replacement, you say?

By the way, Sagna is expected to start kicking a ball today; great news if you ask me! How we have missed him! Vito Mannone has rejoined Hull City on loan, we wish him the best of luck, and hope he returns to give Sz13 a run for his money. World’s best player Nicky Bendtner was arrested following an early hours brawl at a luxury hotel, for the second time in two months! He doesn’t learn that fella!

That’s about it from me today. I hear Gazidis is in France at the moment, I can only pray he’s there to do business and not on holiday. What players do you think we should sign and why? Let me know in the comments!

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Have a good day wherever you read this from!

Fulham vs Arsenal : Player Ratings

Szczesny 6
Reckless at times when coming for the ball, maybe its boredom from never having much to do. Partly at fault for the equalizer as he was caught in no man’s land.

Djourou 5
Mixed performance, not convincing at all. Gave away a stupid foul, got booked then minutes later got sent off.

Mertesacker 4
For a tall CB he’s pretty useless at times, rarely jumps, fails to dominate and at fault for Djouorou’s sending off, thinkihng he was Messi by dribbling out of his own box.

Kozzer 6.5
Soiled his solid performance by being caught ball watching as Sidwell equalized. Otherwise very solid

Coquelin 7.5 Man Of The Match
Awesome game from the young frenchman, he was strong, fast and aware of all around him. Mr Utility.

Arteta 5
Very average game. was the worst of the midfield trio

Ramsey 7
Very good first half from the welsh captain, got tired in the 2nd half. We need Wilshere back asap ***Just as i type this, Squillaci nods the ball into Zamora’s path and he wins it for them Totally undeserved but we’re to blame.

Song 6
Was dominant in the first 45 like Ramsey but lost control of the entire midfield like his partners. 2 games in two days can do that to you,

Gervino 5
Woeful, poor, silly. I’m so pissed. He should leave for the AFCON already. if he had buried all his chances, the result would be different.

Walcott 4
Disgusting game from him

RVP 6
He shouldn’t have started, he lacked the usual sharpness and went for goal a couple of times when he should have passed.

SUBSTITUTES

Rosicky 5

Benayoun N/A

Squillaci 0-Stupid Clown
Came on and we conceded two goals one of which he passed he ball to Zamora with his head.

How we lost this game is really beyond me. Oh wait, its not, poor finishing and lack of concentration when it mattered the most killed us. Walcott and Gervinho need to sit down and let other people shine e.g Oxlade and anyone else. What a distasteful way to start the new year. back to the drawing board it is.

Arsenal fail to take advantage: The Player Ratings

Szczesny (6): Had nothing to do the entire game. Could not do much about the goal.

Djourou (6.5):Did OK. Put in a few good tackles, but we still need Sagna back ASAP.

Kos/Mertesacker (8):The pair performed admirably. Granted they didn’t see the ball a lot, but the few balls they were faced with, they handle properly.

Vermaelen (8): Another good game. Did all we could expect, bar score a goal which isn’t his duty really.

Alex Billong (7): He put in a fairly good performance, can do way better though. He’s a professional and should cut out such rash challenges.

Benayoun (6.5): First 20mins, he was everywhere, but he faded as the game wore on. Nice through pass to Gervinho for the goal

Arteta (8): Went about his job quietly as usual. He was everywhere and put in a good shift.

Rosicky (7.5): Started amazingly for the first half hour, and went down one gear for the rest of the game. Probed for an opening and could have got an assist.

Gervinho (7.5): He was frustrating and brilliant at the same time. The talent is there for all to see, his delivery/execution is appalling though. Well taken goal.

RvP (7):The record was evidently on his mind, as he made some unusual decisions. He squandered some chances he would normally score. The few chances he put on goal, he met an inspired goalkeeper.

SUBSTITUTES

Ramsey (6): Came on for Alex Billong and rightly so. But he did not add much to the game. Could have had an assist.

Chamakh (4): Came on, almost gave RVP a concussion and bled through his head.

Arshavin (6): Showed some signs of improvement. Got into some nice positions but his decision making had the mark of a player short on confidence.

Wolves at home and we still fail to take advantage of slip-ups by City, L’pool and Chelsea. That’s sad, really.

Van Persie did not fire on all cylinders today and we struggled to get a goal.

If this does not convince Wenger that we need another striker, a potent one, I do not know what will.

Any comments or thoughts? Please share them below.

AW Mulls Henry Return, Cahill’s a No No and More

Seasons Greetings from us here, eight wins in our last 10 league matches makes the holidays a cheerful one for the club. A quick one while we await the Premier League encounter against Wolverhampton Wanderers then….

Seems the boss is strongly considering bringing in legend Thierry Henry on loan, stating he’ll spend the last days of 2011 mulling on whether to take up that option or otherwise.

It’s barely a month since his statue was unveiled at the Ems and while a good number would be elated to have Titi back in Arsenal colours on the field of play, there are a few who hold their reservation to such a deal coming through.

Meanwhile Wenger has in essence ruled out signing Bolton Wanderers’ Gary Cahill after stating he won’t be in the market for centre backs during the January transfer window. The manager however will explore the option of bringing in a full back on loan to cover for our injured full backs.

Wenger ruled out getting a full back in on a permanent basis despite Kieran Gibbs’ injury absence being extended by a month with Wenger saying “Long term, I am sticking to Santos and Gibbs… I love both of them because they have a quality I like, which is to attack.”

That said, the French tactician denied enquiring about the availability of Manchester Shitty’s Wayne Bridge; whom Shitty manager Roberto Mancini recently was quoted to say spends his Saturdays playing golf.

In all, Arsenal will be in the market come January. With Gervinho and Chamakh off for the Nations Cup and four full backs injured, we certainly will be in the market. We also will see more of Ju Young Park; even if it’s mostly on the bench. Hopefully, we’ll rid of Andrey Arshavin while at it.

Again, best wishes from us at Gooner Memoirs. Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs.

Wigan vs Arsenal Ratings : 4 To The One Man Team, 0 To The Team With 11 Men

Are we still a one man team? I doubt so, with Ramsey bagging 95% completed passes, Vermaelen grabbing a goal and an assist, Gervinho & Walcott with a goal & assist respectively BUT the star of the team & on the day Van Persie shone brightest. Today’s ratings is by a guest writer Tosin Alao ( @clownytee )

Szczesny- 7.5
Revelation of the century did not have much to do,but was at the top of his game when he was called to action.

Vermaelen 8.5
Yet again arguably one of the best defenders in the EPL and even in Europe. 3goals in 4games for the Belgian,simply outstanding.

Mertesacker 8
Impressed by the German today. Always said the giant is a very intelligent defender and he made a very important tackle,cutting out an attack for wigan

Koscielny7
Do we have a new right back?because I could not tell the difference. Great display today and will be a sin if he doesn’t start for France come EURO 2012

Santos7
Was a bit uncomfortable with him early in the game,but he had a solid game overall. He has to cut out holding on to the ball for too long when he can save the defence and clear the ball out. Overall, solid display from the Brazilian.

Arteta8.5
WOW!!!!Solid display from the spaniard, pity spain have so many quality players playing in the same position. Cracking goal from him”dirty stinking Goal as I would say”. Faces his former club next week,let’s hope he can break Evertonian hearts

Song8
Great defensive display from Alex,had to limp off at the final minutes of the game,let’s hope it is nothing serious. And yes we have him in January as Cameroun did not qualify for the African Cup of Nations.

Ramsey7.5
Great display,was obvious he wanted to get a goal in respect of Gary Speed(RIP),hard worker and went into tackles. Better display than that from last week. keep it up RAMBO

Walcott7.5
Walcott!Walcott!!Walcott!!!,keeps impressing this season,was a problem for d wigan full backs and he created the goal for Robin. Hope he stays injury free.

Gervinho7.5
Forehead, as he is popularly called leaves us in January and has stated he will love to win the 3 remaining games he has to play in before he leaves to join Ivory coast. Had a great game and rounded it off with a goal.

Van Persie9
Captain Fantastic!!! Arsenal have been criticised of late to be a one man team because of the goal scoring form of this man. We forget players who create the goal for him and today we proved them wrong by having three other goal scorers and van persie assisting some of them. He bagged the fourth goal thanks to an impressive run and composure from walcott. Great season so far for the Dutch wizard.

SUBSTITUTES

Arshavin-

Nothing much to say about the russian,had little time but was still sluggish in his display.

Coquelin
Came in as a sub and got into a tackle that was not needed and got himself a yellow.

Benayoun
Missed a chance he should have buried,I still think he deserves more games.

3 points in the bag and another solid display and Van persie show. Have a great day.

Tosin Alao

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