Monthly Archives: January 2011
It has been an eventful week at Arsenal with news, team selection, squad role and transfers been the major talking point. At the press conference on Friday , Arsene Wenger had a lot to tell the members of the press present.
First off was the news of returning players from injury with the likes of Squillaci Diaby and Almunia coming back to take their places in the squad for the FA Cup clash. And speaking of Almunia, Le Boss has challenged him to win his place back in the team and this was after dropping the news that Szczesny is now our number one choice between the sticks. Not in his dreams did the boy think his rise at Arsenal would be of meteoric proportions but take nothing away from his performances, he’s been great and his huge frame does our defenders a lot of good and they seem to play with ease and comfort knowing they have a solid pair of gloves behind them.
We all know Almunia’s time is up and come summer, he’ll probably be shipped away to some dead beat club. Then came the news of Carlos Vela moving on loan to West Brom for the rest of the season. This is one move I support strongly seeing as I had been praying he would go on loan when he joined us 3 years ago, and my preferred destination for him then was West Brom. It didn’t happen then but am glad it has now.
He’s too good to be on the bench and maybe a relegation threatened team might be the ideal tonic for him. I foresee a great combo of him and Nigerian Odemwinge. If only we could loan Denilson and make sure its a permanent loan away from the club. Oh well.
Moving on to the matter at hand, our opponents tomorrow, Huddersfield are third in League One and gunning for promotion under Lee Clark. They have lost only once in their last seven games and won’t be fazed by the visit to the Emirates. After all its a cup tie famous for its upsets and they’ll be hoping to get one.
Unfortunately for them, they meet an Arsenal team high on confidence and boasting an impeccable record this January. Despite playing an all time high, 8 games in January, in those eight games we have conceded just three times (all in cup competitions) and have scored 16 goals, including three in each of their last four games. So on paper, it should be a walkover for us. Yes!
Irrespective of the team we send out there, I expect a demolition job and fancy Bendtner or Chamakh to nab a brace or hat trick. This is what the team might look like.
Eboue, Squillaci, Miquel, Gibbs
Denilson, Diaby, Wilshere
Bendtner, Chammy29, Arshavin
Prediction : Arsenal 4-0 Huddersfield
So, the 5th round awaits us so long we avoid any nasty surprises and I’m glad Benik Afobe(Arsenal player on loan at Huddersfield) is ineligible to play. Don’t want him hitting the back of the net or causing us any problems.
From wherever you’re reading, have fun and make sure you keep an eye on Oxlade Chamberlain against Manure. I hope he scores the goal that sends them crashing out.
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Rumours of a new face at the Emirates this January seem to have been quashed by the man in the middle of it all.
At a press conference yesterday, Arsene dispelled stories that the club is close to signing a new defender, and while names such as Bougherra, Sahko, Cahill, Jagielka have come forward in recent weeks, Arsene knows exactly where he stands concerning a new signing.
This will surely infuriate a lot of gooners who have been hoping the boss would sign someone as cover in case of another injury. Thomas Vermaelen has barely played this season, and Squillaci does not seem to be quite popular amongst gooners.
Arsene isn’t perturbed by this as he believes he can make do with the current set up of players. It is a risk, he knows but one’s he’s ever willing to take.
“Transfer-wise there is no news and I would be surprised if there is any,”
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey has been loaned out to former club Cardiff City until the end of February. This is a welcome development as I do not see a place for him in the team at the moment, considering he just returned from injury. He needs to get his match fitness back and quickly too, and playing at a Championship side where the pressure is less will do him a world of good.
“If going out on loan again for a month to get a few more games helps me get back into shape quicker and into the Arsenal team then I will do that,” Ramsey said ahead of his move. I just want to get back to playing regularly and get back into the Arsenal team as quickly as I can.”
I cannot seem to get enough of the highlights from last night’s game. I was close to tears after Mike Halsey blew the final whistle as I could finally sense the end of my wait for an Arsenal trophy. The players shared my sentiments too, evident in the lap of honour after the game. You could see what this win meant to the fans in the stadium. We finally have a chance to get those haters off our backs.
The first leg was an extremely poor performance from us and as such we had the task of overturning a lone goal deficit. This would have to come against a team who had no intention of attacking us in the second leg. We needed a big, big performance from the lads, one capable of taking us into our first final in 4 years, and boy what did we get?
Just three changes to the side that destroyed Wigan, Arshavin, Denilson and Nikky B coming in for Nasri, Song and Walcott respectively. These changes surprised me but they obviously paid lots of dividends.
The game in itself was one way traffic. Ipswich rarely ventured into our half not to talk of our box but one of their trademark long balls left Sagna with concussion and he had to be replaced with Eboue. That did not affect our play though as we set to rip them apart right from the first minute. I guess we were a bit too eager to score atimes and it was clear in the way we finished our chances in the first half. A little more calmness would have seen us lead at half time. But the writers of this particular script had other things in mind.
We picked up in the second half where we had left off earlier. But we just did not have the composure in the final third. I had been on the edge of my seat up till this point and I think I speak for majority of gooners if I say my heart was beating real hard when I saw 60 minutes on the clock but no Arsenal goal. How long did we have to wait? Just a minute, fellas! It was Nikky B’s voice!
His goal was pure class and this is the sort of attribute Bendtner believes will make him a world beater. That goal had composure written all over it, from the control, to the movement into the box, to the finish. I celebrated it as if we had won the Cup itself. You know why? It’s because, a goal was all this Arsenal team needed to get it firing. It would only be a matter of time before they got the other goals, I thought to myself.
The second and third goals came in the space of 15 minutes and I could breathe easy again. I could actually smell silver in the pub I saw the game. It wasn’t from the cutlery or anything in the pub or nearby, I bet it was all the way from Wembley!
In David Hytner’s words,
“The players have vowed to end the wait this season and, in the second half, the sheer force of their collective eventually wore Ipswich Town down and propelled Arsenal to their first final since 2007.”
A few positives before I close the post, Lil Jackie was astonishing last night. I was actually praying they passed the ball to him in midfield every time as he seemed to do something definitive with it each time my prayers were answered. He’s already stamped his authority on his position in this team and Arsene would be crazy to drop him for Diaby or anyone else for that matter. The performances of Arshavin and Bendtner were also encouraging as it showed that our bench players can deliver the goods. Arshavin, albeit a quiet performance, delivered two quality assists while Nikky got the goal of the night.
If you were looking for a perfect night, last night will surely fit that definition. The only blot was Man United’s win against Blackpool after going two goals down. There’s talk of Blackpool being denied a stone wall penalty early in the second half but I do not wish to be drawn into that. We all know how these things work, don’t we? And it will definitely take something special to beat them, won’t it? But hey, we are special!
It’s a bright day gooners, we have one trophy already IMO, and it would be an abomination if we did not destroy either of West Ham or Birmingham in the final. We are second in the League, with the leaders still to play Chelsea twice, and Man Citeh. They won’t win all of those, believe me. It is our duty to take advantage when they finally slip up. We are in the Champions League, and contrary to popular opinion, we are not out yet, irrespective of who the opposition is.
We have the FA Cup this weekend with Huddersfield paying us a visit. It’s a chance for some players to also show what they can bring to this team. Don’t expect anything other than an annihilation!
Oh to be a gooner!
From wherever you are reading this, it’s happening this season!
9jabred says so!
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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:
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.
Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs
A very short and concise piece but we all need to be in a right frame of mind going into this weekend.
I guess everyone must be in high spirits now, still reveling in the outstanding performance the team put up against Leeds. Yes, it was a great performance but we must not get carried away. We have another important game coming up this weekend. It’s Wigan visiting the Emirates on Saturday and I do not expect a walk in the park for us.
We don’t need a seer to suggest to us that an early goal will win us this game, let’s rip into them quite early and we’ll have a chance to claim all 3 points. I mean, it worked well against Leeds as Arshavin suggested.
“Ahead of the game, Arsene instructed us to start the game in such a way so that it wouldn’t even cross our opponents’ minds that they can beat us. It reminded us about the accidents in the previous games, so we quickly began to carry out the assignment of our coach. In general, everything was turning out fine, we had several attacks”.
Our games at home this season have shown that if we do not score in the first half against a spirited side, we will struggle to break them down in the second. An early goal puts a hole in their plans and they are forced to “come out” in search of an equalizer. Need I tell you, that’s what we all want to see.
The team virtually picks itself; I expect Cesc, RVP, Clichy, and Theo back in the starting line up. So, Denilson, Arshavin, Chammy29 and Nikky will have to return to the bench. I guess Fabianski is still out, so Chesney starts again, behind the impressive pairing of Djourou and Koscly.
On the whole, anything short of a win will be a very bad result and even a worse one should our rivals win their games. A win meanwhile will put considerable amount of pressure on Citeh and United.
That’s it gooners, let’s continue this impressive run in the League. Our last loss in the League was at Old Trafford and we have to keep that for as long as possible if we are to stand any chance of bringing the title back to N5. Plus, we were unlucky to draw at Wigan, this is our time to take revenge and make things right.
Meanwhile The Metro suggests that we have moved closer to the signing of Bolton defender Gary Cahill. This belief stems mainly from the fact that Bolton recently signed David Wheater from Boro. He is seen as a replacement for Cahill, who is believed to be Le Boss’ main target.
But Arsene’s response to questions concerning the state of our defence suggest otherwise. I honestly feel no one will be coming in this month. I really hope I’m wrong though.
Get in there and support whoever plays tomorrow. Yes, whoever, as long as they wear the colours of this great club. I see a battering in the offing.
See you in the comments!
Have fun wherever you are reading from.
9jabred takes his bow!
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.