Monthly Archives: February 2011

Arsenal vs B’ham : Carling Cup Final Preview

Its here fans, the final we’ve waited and dreamed for the last five years. Oh wait, we’ve been to two different finals in that time and came up short on both. Pardon me, its been a while since we tasted silverware other than the annual Emirates Cup. From being the platform to raise youngsters and future first teamers to an all to important trophy for the players, coach and fans world wide. Carlin Cup final is the event, Wembley is the stage and the opponents, Birmingham.

From the first match we played this season in the competition, it was obvious the pressure on the coach to deliver something this year, and I for one am glad we changed our approach to it. And the benefit is a final appearance and here’s hoping Wenger’s drought in this competition can end, for those that don’t know, this is the only domestic trophy to have eluded Le Boss. He’ll have to that without his influential skipper Fabregas and Walcott, both who picked up injuries at the win against Stoke. Its a huge blow to both players but should be no excuse as the current crop can’t and must not fail to bring home the trophy.

This final win might just be the catalyst the players need to galvanise themselves and move forward and win more trophies. We would all agree if I said one trophy win could do serious help to the team. On to team news, Le Boss has appointed Van P skipper on the day and Wilshere has been handed the torch to play the Fabregas role. Diaby and Kozzer are set to return in what is likely to be a slightly changed team to that against Stoke.

For majority of the players, this would be their first final as Arsenal players and there’s the incentive to break their ducks and bring smiles to faces of frustrated fans. I’m looking forward to the battle with Brum as they certainly would be no pushovers, the constant pumping of balls to giant front man Zigic and their tireless midfielders. We won both duels in the league but this is a different ball game and they’ll definitely fancy their chances.

For inspiration let’s look no further than Samir Nasri who’s art and craft is going to be essential, for creativity and orchestration, Wilshere holds that and for precise and deadly finishing, RVP steps into the shoes. Our rearguard action has to be top notch for us to win. An early goal and two before half time would put the tie to bed. Let’s hope the players are shorn of any complacency and are as pumped as the fans.

POSSIBLE FORMATION

    Chezzer

Sagna Djourou Kozzer Clichy

    Diaby Song

Nasri Wilshere Arshavin

      RVP

Let’s go out there and end the trophy wait, its been long coming and deserved. I hope the players remember this when they take to the field.

Your thoughts?

Escobar

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Breaking: Fabregas out of Cup Final, Walcott out for longer.

Cesc

Our worst fears have been confirmed, our captain fantastic Cesc Fabregas is out of the Carling Cup Final. But there is more disturbing news that just the captain’s absence.

The Spaniard hobbled off in the early stages of the win over Stoke on Wednesday night with a hamstring problem and, immediately, fears were raised about his involvement in Sunday’s showpiece at Wembley.

Speaking exclusively to TV Online on this evening evening, Arsène Wenger confirmed the bad news. But, thankfully, his absence is not expected to be long. While the manager was clear on the captain’s involvement this weekend, He would not be drawn on the chances of Fabregas being fit for Barcelona on March 8.

It is a very small injury but certainly Cesc will be out for Sunday,” said the Frenchman. “For how long [beyond that] I don’t know but definitely for Sunday. He is disappointed. We all feel sorry and sad for him. The only way we help him now is to win the Carling Cup as he contributed a lot in this competition. It is very difficult to give a deadline,” said Wenger. “It is impossible.”

Theo Walcott will also miss the Carling Cup Final after being stretchered off in the same game. Again, the problem may be relatively short term.
Said Wenger:

I saw him this morning, he has a classic ankle sprain. We don’t think there is any more damage to it. But it is still a sprain. We are sad for him too. He is out for Sunday and maybe one or two more weeks more.”

I still feel we should be able to overcome Birmingham without Cesc and Walcott but whether we can match Barcelona without Walcott’s pace and Cesc’s genius is an issue for another day.

Meanwhile, today is a special day for us on this blog as it’s exactly a year since we started this little special thing. It’s not been a bed of roses but here we are, still doing what we do best.

125 posts, 491 comments, 28,877 views! Come 365 days, let’s do this again!

9jabred says so!

One Nil To The Arsenal : The Stoke Player Ratings

One Goal Two injuries and Three Points. Not a vintage performance performance by any means but definitely as a classic one as we showed mettle to bag a vital win. Here are the player ratings.

Szczesny7
He’s got to be the most untested goal keeper in the premier league. Another uneventful game.

Sagna 7
Ran the rule on the right wing and was barely tested, took a knock for his troubles in the second half.

Djourou 7
Strong, committed and disciplined at the back. Handled the threat of Carew with ease

Squillaci7.5
Another win for the combo of Squillaci & JD as tonight makes it 5 wins when the duo have started. Scored his first goal for the club which proved the winner

Clichy7
Gave Pennant a run for the money as he had more time to attack than defend. Very assured performance.

Wilshere7.5
Started the game brightly and did well to boss the midfield when Fab went off with a hamstring. He’s growing in strength with each game.

Song7
Defended a lot more than usual especially after Fab went off, won a lot of tackles and was rarely caught in possession.

FabregasN/A
Hard to rate someone that lasted a little above 10 minutes. We all wish him speedy recovery ahead of the Wembley showdown.

Walcott6
Bright start, causing all sorts of problems but faded as the game went on. Spurned a good chance in the second half.

Nasri7.5
He wasn’t his spectacular best but he was solid enough. Dropped deep after Fab went off and dovetailed with Wilshere to dictate the tempo of the game.

Nikky B6.5
Got an assist. That was as eventful as his night got. He should have worked harder and stayed in the opposition box more than often. Still a good showing.

SUBSTITUTES

Arshavin7
Added some creative spark after coming on. worked hard throughout the game as well.

Denilson6
Added an extra body in the middle of the park and thank God he didn’t give away the ball although he gave away a needless foul.

Chammy5
Not enough time to make an impact.

So there you have it, three vital points which came at some cost with the ankle sprain to Theo who’s expected to now miss the Carling Cup final and the hamstring to Fabregas who would be assessed tomorrow. The return of Ramsey all the more important now.

From wherever you’re reading, have a great night.

Escobar.

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RVP & Koscielny Missing As Gunners Tackle Stoke

From Barcelona to Lleyton Orient, the game against Stoke is just as important this season, dare I say more important than any game we’ve played so far this season. One, its our game in hand over the likes of Citeh and Spu*s and two, it gives us the opportunity to close the gap on United till they play their outstanding match. Standing in our way is the pesky side known as Stoke. Oh the horror.

We welcome one of the most physical teams in the league to our yard and according to the form book we should be confident seeing as we haven’t lost a game this year but stoke are not that bad either. The only blot on the team news is the absence of red hot striker Robin Van Persie and in form defender Kozzer. As much as this might look as a blow I think rvp needs the rest more than anyone, let’s just hope its not worse than feared as they should be back to tackle Brum on sunday in the Carling Cup final.

Djourou is back after shaking off the back injury that kept him out of the draw at the weekend. All the rested players will return with my only fear being the presence of Squillaci in the back four, hopefully it won’t spell doom. This is a chance for Bendtner or Chamakh to provide Wenger with some selection headache in the absence of RVP, and I hope they grab the chance with both hands. I hope Nikky B gets the nod ahead of Chammy.

This is already a win for us on paper as the odds and facts are heavily stacked against Stoke who have lost the last three Premier League meetings between the two teams and will have to go back to 1981 for their last win at Arsenal. Also Stoke have lost all four of their away league games in 2011, conceding seven goals and scoring just once. So let’s go out there and avoid another Lleyton Orient as a slip up MUST be avoided at all costs.

Possible Formation

        Chezzer

    Sagna Squillaci Djourou Clichy

      Wilshere Song Fabregas
      Walcott Bendtner Nasri

Prediction : Arsenal 3~1 Stoke

***UPDATE*** Aaron Ramsey has been recalled from his loan spell at Cardiff with Arsene insisting he’s ready to play again for Arsenal. The midfielder scored the second goal in Cardiff’s 2-0 win against Leicester yesterday. I for one am happy about this especially as it should spell doom for Denilson’s playing time and seeing as we play five games in the next 14 days and would need to rotate, his return is a welcome boost. He’s pencilled in to play in the FA Cup replay next wednesday.

Your thoughts……

Escobar

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

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Don’t we just love replays? Player Ratings + Amazing injury news.

Leyton - Arsenal

I was already writing a post on a win but then the tables turned when we had a ‘Tiote Moment’ with a well taken strike from the French man Tehoué. Last minute breakdown and lack of communication was the cause. Wenger used no substitutes at all as he wanted to rest the players considering a week of premiership football & Carling Cup final.

Just when we were anticipating a mouth watering clash with Manchester United at OT, Leyton equalized and we will now have to hold on a bit longer to finish the job (hopefully) at the Emirates.

Almunia: wasn’t really bothered as the orient strike team didn’t pose much of a threat. Could have done better to keep out the goal as the ball went through his legs. 6

Sagna: Composed as always the first choice right back. Available on offense and defense when needed. Could do a bit better with his crossing though. 7

Squllaci: Had to display some level co-ordination in defense playing with someone 12 years younger. Was on hand to make make a block with his face after a well played Orient attack. 7

Miquel: The young 18-year old was shaky at first but settled into the game. Not a bad debut from the Spanish defender snatched up from Barcelona. The next Pique perhaps? Time will tell. 7

Gibbs: Quiet outing for him as he wasn’t really challenged on the flanks by the Orient side. 6

Rosicky (C): Started as captain,hopefully it with affect his overall game play. Started in the middle of the park and spread the ball when needed. Was on hand to score a goal with a well placed header in the 52nd minute for his first goal in an arsenal shirt in over a year. 7.5

Song: Played his defensive role well, was always on hand to bully the Orient midfield when needed. 7

Denilson: A bit sloppy in the middle of the park. Couple of incomplete passes from the Brazilian almost put him in trouble. There’s always room for improvement, though. 6.5

Bendtner: Full of confidence in the early minutes, taking shots at will, something we wish Chamakh did. Fizzled out out later, as his touch became really awful. His major highlight was his cross to Rosicky which led to the goal. 6.5

Chamakh: The Moroccan frontman had something to prove. He cut a frustrated figure atimes and had a couple of chances he didn’t make the best of. Really needs to find that spark he had earlier in the season. 6

Arshavin– Drifted in & out of the game most times. Looked our best bet for a goal and had a chance to score in the 38th minute but couldn’t really wrap his foot on the shot. Lovely run in the 86th minute but was denied by the post. 7.5

Not the best of outings for the Gunners as this was a game we could have easily wrapped up. You would be forgiven to think that Leyton Orient had won the tie judging by their celebrations. All the same, we welcome Leyton Orient with open arms to Emirates. We all know how that’s going to play out but it’s the stress of going through yet another FA Cup replay that annoys me.

It’s all good though, at least we are still in the competition, a team on the West of London will die to be where we are at the the moment.

Oh to be a Gooner!

P.S: ***Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes could be out for up to six weeks after suffering knee injury in training. The keeper is likely to need surgery, meaning that Jose Pinto will be required to deputize during a crucial spell of Barca’s season.***

From wherever your reading this, have an amazing week ahead.

Faf says so!.

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Let’s get our senses back/Chamberlain deal close?

Leyton Orient chairman

I know a lot of us gooners will still be in cloud 6 (most people left cloud 9 the next day); blown away by our win against arguably the best team in the history of the game. We did not just get a scrappy win, we won after going a goal down with all odds against us. We played the game of our lives and delivered a 2-1 win only a few will begrudge of us. But that’s where it all ends, we have a tougher second leg game in 3 weeks and an equally important game tomorrow.

We visit Leyton Orient tomorrow in the 5th round of the F.A Cup and we’ll definitely be in the highest of spirits following Wednesday’s game. But if we think this is going to be one easy ride into the next round, then we are in for a shocker. Leyton have won their last three games, scoring 10 goals in the process, and undefeated in 11 in all competitions. They have not lost since Brighton’s 5-0 hammering at the Withdean on New Years’ Day and are looking for a 15th home game without loss, having not suffered defeat at Brisbane Road since September.

They are really brimming with confidence and will definitely fancy their chances against an inevitably over-confident Arsenal side. How we manage this is what determines what we leave the game with.

An intriguing part of this tie is what Arsenal team lines up. Will we see most of our regulars rested for the League game against Stoke in midweek? Or will Arsene stick to his words, and give it a go on all four fronts? Personally, I feel Szczesny, Van Persie, and Wilshere should get some rest. Nasri just got back from injury, so this game might just help with his recovery process. Djourou is suffering with a back problem and should not be rushed; Sagna is back from suspension but Walcott has a hamstring problem.We definitely need Cesc to “keep us ticking” and Song to give us some grit, Almunia can return in goal for this one, just to make sure he’s not bored at the club.

Whatever team we line up, they must have it at the back of their minds that we are just 3 games away from another final. Let’s get past them and see what kind of draw we get. My bet is something reminiscent of our Carling Cup run.

Meanwhile, our move for Southampton teenage sensation, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may just have been resuscitated with news that our young goalkeeper just signed for The Saints on loan for a month. It does not add up for us to give out a player on loan to a club that recently denied us the services of one of their players. The only sense I can make out of this is that new events have emerged, and the Shea loan is just a way of solidifying the “friendship” between both clubs. This means we may be getting our man after all. I hope he’s as good as the hype surrounding him.

So we escape the media ballyhoo for a few days and unless we beat them by a very wide margin, we might not make headlines on Monday. This is good for the boys as I think it will make them get away from all the Barcelona hype.

It should be an extremely tough encounter, like the Ipswich one but do not bet against us making the front pages of all papers in England come Monday morning, and for the positive reasons too. We are on a good run, a quarterfinal slot is at stake.Let’s grab this with both hands.

C-O-Y-S-G!

Have fun and enjoy the game wherever you are.

P.S: In a few hours, I’ll be playing competitive soccer with my mates in the school League, so please wish me luck!
9jabred!

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Second Half Rally Stuns Barcelona + Player Ratings

Arshavin after bagging the winner

Arshavin after bagging the winner

February 16 2011, no gooner in the world is going to forget this date for years to come, its the date where this Arsenal team of so called spine less youngsters, who to us are some of the best in the business, beat the juggernaut that is Barcelona supposedly the best team in the world. Second half goals from RVP and Arshavin proved were enough to settle the tie.

Let it be remembered that we here at MG predicted that no matter what, we won’t lose at the Emirates, and we went a step further by saying we would defeat Barca at their own game. Le Boss sent out what has become our strongest and best eleven this season, and he thrust Nasri into the game knowing quite well it could backfire but that’s to show how much was on the line yesterday. Barca made one change with Maxwell coming in for the injured Puyol.

As always the game started at usual pace, with Arsenal throwing caution to the wind and attacking Barca, and it ruffled the Catalans as they struggled to string passes, the first chance went begging as RVP collected a lobbed pass from Cesc but Valdes was equal to it. Warning shot fired. We threatened again, this time a solo run from Theo that came to nothing as his pass found no one. The Emirates was buzzing knowing the players could smell blood. It was Barca’s turn to attack as a Xavi pass found Messi who escaped the attentions of Song only to be clipped by the Camerounian who got a booking for his troubles. A 6th minute booking for our DM wasn’t a good sign.

Messi at the centre of most attacks again was released through on goal and with Chezzer at his mercy dinked the ball over the young pole only to see it trickle past the post. Hearts-in-mouths moment for all Arsenal fans. But it didn’t take long for the first goal to come and it came after Abidal had beaten Van Persie to a header only for Barca to counter and Messi released David Villa who was played onside by Clichy and he coolly slotted home. There was still time for Chezzer to block a back heel attempt from Pedro. You’d be forgiven for thinking we were going to get a spanking. Messi had the ball in the net moments later only to be adjudged offside. Half Time

The second half saw us on the front foot as early as possible as the team showed more bite and hunger going forward, Nasri after a slow start came into the game and Fab started to find Theo more and his pace caused problems for Maxwell only to see his cross elude everyone. The next chance fell to us with Wilshere shooting straight at Valdes. Barca had another chance to extend their lead, after Messi again found space behind Eboue only for his shot to hit the side netting. David Villa was substituted as he was getting no love from Kozzer and JD and keita came on in his place.

This was the turning point in the game as AW pulled off a master stroke, he took out Song and introduced Arshavin and had all of his attacking players on the field at once. Arshavin had a hand in the goal as he swapped passes with Clichy before the latter lifted a sweet pass over Dani Alves for RVP, perhaps expecting a cross from him Valdes left his near post open as RVP capitalised and rifled in a shot home from a tight angle. The Emirates exploded. It was to get better five minutes later as we conjured up a superb counter-attacking goal, Samir Nasri racing onto Cesc Fabregas’s fine 50 yard pass and checking back before picking out the onrushing Arshavin, who curled home an exquisite shot. The celebration from the players said it all, we have just defeated the best team in the world even though they were still 10 minutes left to play, in which Chezzer still had to block a messi shot, and a Dani Alves shot and Bendtner could have grabbed a third.

In the end it was a great win for us, and like most fans and players pointed out, the battle has been won, but the war remains. Below are the player ratings.

PLAYER RATINGS

Chezzer7
Showed no nerves whatsoever on his Champions league debut. Nothing he could have done about the goal, but stuck to his task well

Eboue6
Rarely troubled as most of the attacks were through the middle and from the left. Culprit at times in the 2nd half

JD7
Had a good game as he and Kozzer shackled the threat of Villa and Pedro.

Kozzer8.5
His best game in an Arsenal shirt so far, wait, we’ve said this before right? Oh well, he was solid as he put himself on the line repeatedly, tackled well and hurried the barca forwards into surrendering possession. *Joint MOTM*

Clichy7
Played David Villa onside for the goal, after that he was great throughout and his assist for the opener more than made up for his error

Wilshere9
This lad, he is just way to special and too good to be true. In the midst of Fifa’s1-2-3(Messi,Xavi,Iniesta) he more than held his own and proved he’s ready and able to mix it with the big boys. 10 out of 11 passes completed with a 91% success rate. What more could you ask for? A goal maybe?? *Joint MOTM*

Song5
Early booking didn’t help his cause and his rash play and getting caught out of position almost cost us dearly. On another day he could have gotten sent off. Hooked off when we needed a goal.

Fabregas8
Showed what he can do in the first 10 minutes and then he fizzled out, but came alive in the second half and he had a hand in the winner. Calmed the nerves of his team when tempers seemed to boil over. Sign of a good leader.

Walcott7
Not involved as much as he would have loved to be but when given the ball, kept the barca defence pegged back.

Nasri8
Slow start, strong finish. He ended the game on a high, after he moved to a more central position, his pace took him past the Barca defence and his pass for Arshavin was top notch.

RVP8
Profligate in the first five minutes as he alone squandered three chances but his goal was nothing short of a player riding a confidence wave. Good show from the dutchman.

SUBS

Arshavin7
Changed the outcome of the game. Much maligned, booed this season, called lazy but proved Arsenal’s saviour on the night. Beautiful goal as he had 3 bodies in front of him but still managed to pick his spot and score

Nikky B5

Its not over yet but we have the advantage, knowing barca would be without their first team Centre backs and we should have a complete team barring any injuries is a good sign. But we’ll need a disciplined display if we’re to oust them from the tournament. Till then let’s just savour the moment. Up next for us is Lleyton orient in the FA Cup 5th round. Mauling?

From wherever you’re reading, have a fantastic day

Escobar

Your thoughts?

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

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Arsenal Vs Barcelona : Match Preview

The Champions league resumes with the knockout stage that sees us pitted against the best team in the world according to popular and widespread beliefs, Barcelona. But are they really that mighty? On paper and in La Liga they are, but we all know the champions league is a different ball game entirely.

No point crying over spilt milk as we could have avoided this fixture at this stage if only we had topped our group, but as Le Boss is always quick to point out “To be the best, you gotta beat the best”. I love our coach, if only I shared his enthusiasm at times.

Looking to banish memories of last years deflating loss and eventual exit at their hands the lads are rearing to go and confidence within the camp can’t be any higher and as if that’s not enough good news, we only have one major absentee through injury and that’s TV5. After disposing of Wolves without hitting top gear and watching Barca held by a brave Sporting Gijon side, you’d fancy our chances especially with Puyol set to miss the first leg.

When we were drawn against the Catalans last season, I stood alone in saying we won’t lose at the Emirates no matter the situation and final outcome and I’m glad to report that this season am not alone with those thoughts. For some reason, gooners worldwide are calm about this tie and I’ll tell you why.

    For starters, we’re not missing that many players and we don’t have anyone carrying knocks at the moment. Last season, we had Rvp out injured Fab and Arsh both half fit etc

    The team is stronger than it was at this stage last year and the emergence of key players like Jack wilshere, Samir Nasri and Johan Djourou has provided the fans with some cheer.

    If you think Messi is in form then RVP is form, banging in goals with his head, left leg and right leg.

I’ll get back to the 101 reasons why we can beat Barca but for now let’s look at team news ahead of the show down. Le Boss is most likely to stick to the same team that defeated Wolves at the weekend with the only real headache is whether to start Nasri(who has recovered from the hamstring injury earlier than expected) or play him from the bench. One enforced changed is the introduction of Eboue for Sagna with the latter suspended from the group stages. A healthy Arsenal squad will beat any team in the world any day to me.

Much attention has been paid to Paul Merson’s comments about the Arsenal players that would make the Barca team. I don’t have the exact comment but he implied that only Cesc, Nasri and RVP would enter the current Barca squad…….. as substitutes. Imagine that??? What rubbish. Is he trying to say Busquets is better than Song or Wilshere, or Maxwell and Adriano better than Clichy, or the trio of Iniesta-Xavi-Pedro beats that of Cesc-Nasri-Theo? In my own books, this is what a combined team of Arse-Barca would look like today and am sure most of you would agree.

    Valdes

    Alves Vermaelen Puyol Clichy

    Fabregas Song Xavi

    Messi RVP Villa

The bench would definately have more Arsenal players than Barca, a different formation would see Nasri and or Iniesta in the line up. But the matter on hand is how to stop barca, or how to make sure our game surpasses theirs. We need to take the game to them early, and focus on our own game rather than on individual battles, keeping possession for long spells during the game is also essential. This would make Barca chase the ball which they aren’t used to and we could capitalise on that. But this is easier said than done. Xavi would be looking to do what he does best and so too will Messi, but if we can keep one quiet then I foresee an advantage.

Personally I’d love to see Wilshere stick to Messi throughout the game, not necessarily as a man marking strategy but just to harry him each time he touches the ball, kinda like Tiote did Fabregas in the 2nd half of the 4-4 game at the Emirates. No matter the team that is sent out there, I expect nothing less than 100% from them, my only worry is the fact that Eboue gets to start, let’s just pray Barca continue their habit of repeatedly attacking from the right.

We will cause them problems as I expect Alves’ attacking instincts to be curbed and Pique won’t have it easy against the Red hot RVP, and with Wilshere and Song enforcing behind Fabregas our attacks would be devastating. Even they would need to be careful as to how they attack us knowing they have full backs not known for their defensive strengths and Walcott agaisnt Maxwell is already giving me goose pimples. Our defence needs to be on their toes, they’re used to playing against physical strikers and winning aerial balls and this might pose a problem as Barca forwards don’t require any of that and like to let their feet(which by the way are some of the quickest in world football) do the damage.

Irrespective of what happens come the end of 90 mins, football would be the winner as both teams have mastered the art of entertainment, winning or losing they’re always pleasing to watch and let’s hope we’re the one’s with the loudest noise come end of the game. I repeat I don’t see us losing at the Emirates, it won’t happen.

Possible Formation : Chezzer-Eboue-Kozzer-JD-Clichy-Song-Wilshere-Fabregas-Walcott-Arshavin-RVP.

Your thoughts?

Escobar

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Gunners Tame Wolves : The Player Ratings

Song

With the team that defeated Manure the previous week visiting the Emirates, the lads had to be on their toes to avoid any slip ups. Le Boss resisted the urge to rest anyone and sent out the team most likely to play Barcelona midweek. It was most likely to be a walk in the park. Below are our ratings.

Szczesny6
Slow afternoon for the Polish man who also kept a clean sheet for his country midweek. Wolves didn’t have a shot on target all evening so he wasn’t really bothered.

Sagna 7
Routine outing for the French full back who was also on International duty mid week. Didn’t show any sign of fatigue as he was on hand to provide width in attack when needed and also falling back needed.

Djourou 7.5
Almost scored a goal similar to that at Newcastle after an Arshavin free-kick. Calm at the back as his combination with Koscielny kept the wolves front men quiet throughout.

Koscielny7.5
Another good outing. Good to know we can keep a clean sheet. Looking forward to see who Le’Boss pairs with Vermaelen when he’s fully fit.

Clichy7
Played so much better defensively today as he was on hand to put in some crucial tackles when needed. Always shines when playing with weaker opponents. (Tongue out)

Wilshere8.5
The commentary team had nothing but praise for him. Lovely display from the young English man in the middle of the park. Stole the show from Fabregas today waltzing his way through the wolves defence & dishing out passes with so much ease. Taken off in the 76th minute to get some rest.

Song7.5
Did good in the middle of the park with the perfect blend of defence & attack. Good to have him back after the injury scare. Would be a huge plus for the team later this week.

Fabregas7.5
His combination with Wilshere is starting to look like a match made in heaven as both of them are capable to find that killer pass with only an inch of space. His magic touch would really be needed mid-week. Provided the assist that led to the first goal.

Walcott7.5
Switched wings with Arshavin early in the game. Was able to break out and dish the ball to RVP for his second goal. Commentators said the lines man couldn’t keep up with his speed to tell whether the pass was offside or not. Unfortunate not to get a goal.

Arshavin6
Missed a couple of sitters, was always looking to dish the ball out when needed. Not a bad outing for him. Substituted for Chamakh in the 71st minute.

Van Persie8.5* (MOTM) On hand to put the ball at the back of the net with the first real move. Sublime finish. Scored the second with a well taken shot after a routine counter attack from the team. Man of the match performance as he provided the only goals for the game.

SUBSTITUTES

Bendtner5
Made some rash decisions when he came on. Had some chances to dish the ball but went for glory

ChamakhN/A
DenilsonN/A

So 2-0 against Wolves Home & Away this season. We should have scored more goals as there were countless chances but all that mattered is that we got the 3points and the race is still on with Manure. Its Champs League football on Wednesday at the Emirates, we play defending champions Barcelona & that’s a match the whole world is looking forward to. Here’s hoping for the best *Fingers Crossed*

From wherever you’re reading this,
Have a good evening.

Faf

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

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!