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Wolves Preview + Club News & Clowny FA Decisions

Good day wherever you read from. Last night was proof that the established routine can be broken when ten-man Liverpool actually managed a win, more so shocking that the winning goal came courtesy of Andy should-rather-runway-model Carroll.

It’s the sort of scenario Wolverhampton Wanderers will (however absurd it may seem to the world) hope for, to break the established routine when we visit Molineux tonight in a Premier League encounter.

I’m always wary of stats when they’re in our favour and the ones for this fixture is an avalanche that’s heaped pitifully on Wolves. Just a point won in the seven matches manager Terry Connor has overseen so far to add to the club losing the last five matches at home to Arsenal in all competitions.

And while we have kept a clean sheet in three of our last four matches, our hosts have failed to keep one in 15 home matches. Then there’s our run of eight wins in nine league matches compared to Wolves’ quite appaling run of six consecutive league losses; the worst such run in the top flight in three decades.

Without the rest of the overwhelming stats, we should win this outright, yes? Sure. Same way the three points looked assured going into the QPR encounter. Coupled with the fact that Wolves held us to a 1-1 draw t the Ems earlier in the reverse fixture only makes tonight’s encounter potential banana skin for Arsenal.

In light of this, Wenger said “Believe me, they don’t know much better than you or me and the result of every game is just a consequence of your performance on the day.” adding that, “Nobody can really predict that (team performance) because your performance on the day depends on you, but also depends on the other team as well.”

Therefore the team must avoid complacency in our quest to open a five point cushion between us and the chasing pack in the race for the lucrative Champions League places, for which we occupy the final automatic qualifying spot.

Boss Arsène Wenger therefore cannot afford to toy about with the starting line-up though some changes will inevitably be made from the team that started against Man. City.

Possible line-up
Szczesny. Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos. Arteta, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Ox/Ramsey, van Persie.

Johan Djourou will start thanks to Koscielny’s two-match ban for receiving his 10th yellow card against City, while Gibbs will likely make way for Santos after picking a slight knock on Sunday. And in attack, it is obvious we’d prefer the Ox started but… you just never know with the boss, could even start Gervinho for all we know after the ‘Eddy’ didn’t even make the bench on Sunday.

Club News
With Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin still on course in their recoveries, the big surprise is the big f**king German Mert4 apparently coming back from his ankle injury sooner than expected, much sooner that he’s expected to resume training later this week.

And in the reserves’ league, our January arrival from Borussia Dortmund Thomas Eisfeld yesterday evening scored the lone goal; his first for the club, as the Arsenal Reserves defeated the Newcastle Reserves in its penultimate match of the season.

Finally, the English FA, that just always have a way of reinventing themselves in the black book of world football following its acutely contrasting decisions on incidents involving Ivanovic, Wigan’s and Mario Balotelli, with the latter to only serve a ban for his red card without the addition of being charged and banned for his stamp on Alex Song’s knee on Sunday.

Consolation is in Song being available anyway and here’s to going a step closer to sealing third spot in the league with a much needed win tonight.

COYG!!!

Ajax confirm Vertonghen move|Agent rubbishes Poldi rumours + Other stories

Morning gooners. I apologize for the lack of action on the blog in the past few days. It’s due to educational engagements. Exams are drawing nearer and work’s piling up. Sincere apologies. Straight to the stories making rounds then.

Ajax have already started preparing for life after Jan Vertonghen. Ajax scouts have been spotted watching FC Twente’s Douglas in the past couple of weeks and manager Frank De Boer confirmed the move. Said He:

“It is correct that we are keeping tabs on Douglas as a potential replacement for Vertonghen.”

With the 24 year old Belgian defender having made his intentions known, only one destination seems likely.

The tables have changed slightly from last summer though; it’s no longer a question of whether Vertonghen wants to play for Arsenal (because he does), it’s a question of whether Arsenal want him.

Do we need another defender to add to those we’ve got? I doubt, except he’ll be willing to play as back-up. Since he can play anywhere across the back line, we could move Gibbs on. This leaves Andre Santos to slug it out with Vert for the LB slot.

Hey, I’m not calling for us to sell Gibbs right away, it’s only an option. I wouldn’t bet my money on us signing him though.

One player I’d bet my pension on him joining Arsenal is Podolski. A deal seems to have been struck but the journos were getting too excited when they said he had done a medical. His agent, Kon Schramm refuted the story completely.

“He was at no medical, neither in London or anywhere else.”

That was the same thing I said when the stories came up. This doesn’t mean we are less likely to sign him, the media are just getting ahead of themselves by completing the deal in the papers.

But both clubs are sensible enough to know that it’s a huge season for each. It only makes sense for each club to focus on football until the season is over.

Do I think he’ll sign? Absolutely!

So to some bad news. Per, the “Big F*ckin’ German” seems to have ended his own season according the manager. Mert4 got injured at Sunderland and he was ruled out for the long term.

He’s been penciled down to return in 6 weeks but with the season ending in about 10 weeks, Wenger does not believe he’ll be sharp enough to get fit, train and join the first team in a month.

Terrible news you say? Le Boss however laced it with some ‘feel-good’ pills. Andre Santos, Jack Wilshere, Coquelin and Diaby will be returning for the run-in.

I’m super excited to see all these players getting fit and they’ll only make our push for 3rd place stronger.

That’s it from me today. I have to get back to the books. It’s been a great few weeks on the Arsenal front.

Yes, I know we won’t be winning any trophies this season because Wenger didn’t do his bit over the summer.

But if you’re not excited about what’s going on in the club at the moment, I doubt you can ever be.

Keep Van Persie, add a couple of top signings and we’ll be pushing United off their “f*ckin’ perch!”

Have a good day ahead fellas!

See you 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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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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Van Persie with Another Double : Arsenal vs Dortmund Player Ratings

Remember last and upper week when I said I’m going to run out of words for Van Persie, well I have, now I think he needs to take a break or I need to learn Dutch adjectives synonymous with brilliant and on fire. Two goals in the second half won the game for us.

Arsene stuck with the same line up for the first time since January 2010. Below are the player ratings.

RATINGS

Szczesny- 7
Passenger the entire match. Djourou had to come on and ruin the clean sheet for him.

Jenkinson 7
With 3 interceptions, you’d think he was born a right back. Has settled into the role although his presence there limits our attacking play on that wing.

Vermaelen 7
Another solid performance form the Belgian, the defence seems better when he’s there. Claimed the assist for the second goal that all but sealed the win

Mertesacker6.5
Just like Vermaelen, rarely had much defensive work to do as the threat of one frontman was easily nullified

Santos7
The pace at which the brazilian is endearing himself to the Emirates faithful is lovely to see. He was rarely troubled and at times had more attacking to do than defending.

Song9
YES!!! He deserves every mark. An absolute beast in the middle of the park and a Messi-esque run from him to set up the opener for his 5th assist this season. Defensive midfielder you say? Don’t think so

Arteta7
Near flawless performance from the Spaniard, he reminds me of Petit-Gilberto, battles hard in the midfield, plays the simple and easy passes and never puts us in trouble.

Ramsey7
Not for poor finishing from the likes of Theo & Gervinho, he would have claimed 2 assists on the night. He continues to grow with every match.

Walcott6.5
Should have done better with the chances provided in both halves. He defended superbly well which is good to see.

Gervinho6
This guy right here, is on course to be the worst finisher in Arsenal’s history. He stammers each time he’s put through and I’ve seen females that finish better. Needs a goal quick.

Van Persie8.5
god!!!!!! is the new word I came up with for Van Persie, looked like it was going to be a barren night and from no where Boom!! 2 goals. Owes the first to Song’s brilliant run and the other to Vermaelen’s flick.

SUBSTITUTES

Benayoun5

Djourou3
Gave away the ball that led to Dortmund’s goal even though he was played into trouble by Song.

DiabyN/A

Another double for RVP and another 3 points that has sealed our qualification to the next round and has probably earned him rest for the last group match. Do have a lovely night.

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Dutch Delight As Robin Brace Downs Norwich : The Player Ratings

RED HOT ROBIN!!!!, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC!!! , one day I’ll get tired and start repeating superlatives in describing Robin Van Persie. The Dutchman is scoring goals like its out of fashion and proved match winner again today. 31 goals in 2011, 13th on the Arsenal all time scorers list and looking likely to bag the player of the month again.

Arsene was forced to make a change as Jenkinson was ruled out through injury. Mertesacker came in and Kozzer moved to RB. We conceded the first goal due to stupid defending from the flagpole German but RVP hit back with two goals in each half to seal all 3 points. Below are the ratings.

PLAYER RATINGS

Szczesny- 7
Seems to never have anything serious to do in the game but continues to have his copybook blotted by silly defending. Composed & confident throughout

Kozzer 6
Playing at RB and looked confident, had a lot of interceptions and cleared his lines well. Tried to play a lot of ambitious passes. Cut that out son.

Mertesacker 4.5
Tempted to give him a lower rating, just because you’re slow doesn’t mean you have to be sluggish. Poor for the opening goal for someone of his status.

Vermaelen8
If RVP had a twin that played at CB and was on fire like him, its Thomas Vermaelen, another excellent game and he rescued Mertesacker over and over again. Brilliant man.

Santos6.5
Probably his best defensive showing since joining us. Marauding performance going forward and good at the back. Had an easy game in the second 45.

Arteta5.5
After receiving such high praise in the previous week he comes up with a very lackluster performance. Was good in the first half but very sad to watch in the second half.

Song7
Had a contrasting game to Arteta, gave away passes in the first half and lost almost all his tackles but came out roaring in the second half and laid the aassist for the winner

Ramsey6
Playing for Wales midweek must have dulled his game but still was hardworking throughout, always available for passes and willing to attack.

Walcott8
All he lacked today was a goal. Absolutely barnstorming game from the English man. Assisted the first goal, saw a shot cleared off line and saw another bounce off the upright.

Gervinho6
This man right here continues to remind me that we miss Nasri at times with his poor finishing. Twice he was free on goal and fluffed his lines. Every other aspect of his game is faultless

Van Persie9
Looked like he was heading for a frustrating afternoon after spurning 3 clear chances. But he stuck to it and was rewarded with two goals.

SUBSTITUTES
BenayounN/A

MAN OF THE MATCH : Van Persie

Honorable Mention : Theo Walcott

Another win, another dutch brilliance on show, it can only get better as we slowly but surely continue to climb up the table. See you in the comments.

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Chamakh Staying | Joel Campbell Scores Against Spain | Transfer & Player News

Thanks to the International games, there’s little to report bar the Arsenal players that are on duty for their respective clubs. Robin Van Persie was rested as requested by Arsene Wenger while Theo Walcott saw 57 minutes of action at Wembley against Sweden as the three lions won 1-0. Mertesacker came on for Germany in their 3-0 win over a Dutch side shorn of Van Persie and Van Der Vaart. For a full report on the players on duty, check the official website.

Chamakh

The best forward at Arsenal Maroune ‘better than everybody’ Chamakh has reportedly been ignoring all the overtures of his former club Bordeaux as they try to bring him back to the club, but his love for Arsenal and the manager and his place in the hearts of the Arsenal faithful wont let him leave us. Great, now all he needs is to make Robin Van Persie act the same way and sign a new contract. Bordeaux president said he’s left over 4 messages for both the player and AW but it seems their BIS(Blackberry Internet Service) is out so they did not get any message. Liar Liar Jean Louis Triaud

Jenkinson

The young English-Finnish defender says he cant wrap his head around his meteoric rise, from playing Blue Square football to getting sent off against Man United and making his champions league bow infront of the team he has supported all his life. What a lad. i personally like him and he’s gone from strength to strength since his arrival, and if he keeps crossing the ball the way he does, he might have a Fabregas season from the back.

Joel Campbell

The young Costa-Rican forward netted what many are calling a henry-esque goal against the world champions Spain yesterday. he was also reported to have been a thorn in Puyol’s side the entire night. He’s going to be an amazing player for us once he’s legible. You can watch the goal here 

Transfer Rumors

Just a quick one, word coming out of France is AW is ready to take a gamble on Yoan Gourcuff who could be available for about 8M to beef up the midfield. Other sources mostly by Martin Lipton of Daily Mirror says despite the rumors of Marco Reus, Goetze is still AW’s number one transfer target and doesn’t mind the hefty fee on him. remember he almost joined in the summer so i won’t completely rule it out.

Looks like we wont be getting a defender as we have more than enough bodies there, a midfielder looks a certainty then two attackers to help cover for the loss of Gervinho and Chamakh who leave in January for the ACN. Goetze and Podolski? or who would you rather have? Let us know in the comments. Do have a lovely day.

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Arsenal vs Marseille : Post Match Thoughts + Ratings

For only the third game this season, Arsenal shot blanks and failed to find the back of the net. The scoreline did not reflect the nature of the game as we could have won by at least 3 goals with poor finishing & lack of sharpness to blame.

Arsene Wenger chose to rest RVP and Koscielny for Vermaelen & Park with Jenkinson also coming in for Djourou, those were the only changes. The game started off slowly, we kept giving away possession and Marseille spent the better part of the first 10 minutes in our half with nothing to show.

We gained a foothold just after that, with Ramsey and Gervinho posing serious threats with their pace & passing. Ramsey had the chance to put us ahead but held back on the pass to Park and ended up wasting it. Walcott was also set free by Gervinho and Marseille had the goalkeeper to thank after turning it round the post. The half time whistle came and just before that, Gervinho shot at the goalkeeper.

For all of the speed carried by the oppositions attackers they couldn’t make it count. Santos was having a mixed game, poor at the back, excellent going forward. Gervinho full of energy, Arteta ever so careful. The back four rarely untroubled and Vermaelen looked solid, Jenko too. Despite making changes and introducing RVP, Rosicky & Arshavin, we still lacked sharpness but credit to Marseille, they got what they came for.

On the plus side, coming away with the draw meant we still top the group and are on course to qualify and the unbeaten run is still on.

Positives
Good to see Vermaelen back, he did not look out of place, won his tackles, defended well and organized the defence.

Jenkinson defended well and Song had a solid game. Gervinho is beginning to settle well and improving his range of passing.

Walcott might be on-and-off offensively, but in the past few games, his defensive input has been solid, the highlight was when Santos lost the ball on the left and Marseille broke with speed, Theo sped back all of 70yards to cover for him. Great stuff.

RATINGS

Szczesny- 6

Jenkinson 6.5

Mertesacker 6.5

Vermaelen7

Santos6

Arteta6

Song7

Ramsey6.5

Walcott6

Gervinho7

Park4

SUBSTITUTES

RVP5

Rosicky5

Arshavin5

Do have a great day. Cheers

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Van Persie Hits Hattrick : AR5S3NAL vs CH3L5EA Ratings

MARRY ME VAN PERSIE came the tweet at the end of the final 90. Another masterful performance from the new darling of the Arsenal faithful. What can we do without him? I don’t want to find out. He must stay fit.

In a game where despite being on top, our defence had other ideas and threatened to spoil it all. But the likes of Arteta, Song, Ramsey, Walcott, RVP stood tall and took matters into their own hands. Santos also bagged his second goal, Arteta his first assist and Gervinho his fourth. Below are the player ratings.

Szczesny- 6
Nothing he could do about the three goals. He was shaky and at the same time very solid.

Djourou 6
Had a tough game against Mata and Torres but did ok for someone playing out of position.

Koscielny 8
Oh boy, oh boy, I’m falling in love with this boy right now. The last 5 games he’s been an absolute beast and is surely guaranteed a spot when Vermaelen returned.

Mertesacker6.5
Continues to have a Jekyll and Hyde season. Started well then became poor but recovered well and won all aerial balls in the 2nd half. He’s better suited to the European game.

SantosFirst Half 5Second Half 7
At fault for the opening goal for not preventing the cross and looked unfit in the opening 45. But came out looking solid and grabbed the equalizer. Good game

Arteta7
Controlled performance from the spaniard, nothing risky, completed his passes and defended well. For someone so timid he bagged his first assist for the club with a slide rule pass for the 5th & final goal.

Song7
I thought he played very well, a bit careless in the opening half but he protected his defence well and almost got in a block to prevent Mata’s thunderbolt

Ramsey7
Very matured performance from the Welsh skipper. Full of energy and invention. Did enough against Lampard and co and on another day would have bagged an assist and a goal.

Walcott8
The way he started the game, you’d think he had a vendetta against Ashley Cole, presented a chance which Gervinho messed up. His goal was brilliant as he picked himself up after being tripped, bamboozled two chelsea players and blasted it beyond Cech. *Babanla Goal

Gervinho7
Shamed himself after missing an easy goal but put in an action packed performance and was a thorn in Bosingwa’s side the entire game. Assisted Van Persie again. Budding on-pitch romance between those two.

Van Persie100
Five star performance. I’m fast running out of adjectives to describe Van Persie. Not in recent memory has a captain led by his performances the way he has this season. Magnificent hattrick. Each goal beautiful in its own way.

SUBSTITUTES

Jenkinson5

Rosicky5

Vermaelen5

Credit must go to Arsene wenger, whatever he said to the lads at half time worked like a charm as the players upped the ante and defended better and got all the three points. Great weekend to be a gooner.

Man Of The MatchVan Persie

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Arsenal vs Stoke : The Player Ratings As Van Persie Destroys Stoke

Below are the player ratings for the Stoke game.

Szczesny- 7
Conceded a goal he shouldn’t have but he conceded it the Arsenal way so no harm done.

Djourou 6
Not his natural position, dulled the game as he couldn’t carry the ball out well. But he tried

Mertesacker 7
Met the brutes of English football and made a good account of himself. Was good help at the back for the team.

Koscielny8.5
WOW! He gets better with every passing game, with the body of a ballet dancer and the defensive skills of a beast. Call it high praise but he deserves it. Can’t wait to have him with TV5

Santos6
No harm, no good. Consistent careful display from the Brazilian still finding his feet at the club.

Arteta7
Probably his finest game in an Arsenal shirt, distributed the ball well and helped cover the defence well.

Song7
Seems to have picked form just after I criticized his game play. We need him at his finest throughout the season.

Ramsey7.5
4th assist of the season, he’s no Fabregas but he’s making a name for himself. So far the best and most creative midfielder for us this season.

Walcott3
No comment.

Gervinho9
Oh Gerv!!! You bullet-fore-headed player. His best game since Cologne during pre season. Was a constant thorn in the stoke side and took his goal well before laying down 2 assists for RVP. Joint Man Of The Match

Chamakh4
SMH! No comment.

SUBSTITUTES

Van Persie 9
ROBIN VAN PERSIE!!!! MARRY ME!!!, this is his team, and he’s showing that, came off the bench and in 16minutes won man of the match by bagging two goals(the first being the 200th goal at the Emirates) Joint Man Of The Match

Arshavin 6
Came on looking real hungry and aided the third goal albeit indirectly.

Frimpong N/A

Van Persie comes to the rescue again by saving us. Another 3 points in which I rightly predicted the scoreline. This weekend was lovely as Man Utd got raped at home. Good weekend to be a gooner right?

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