Monthly Archives: February 2011
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.
“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!
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.
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.
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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.
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!
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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.
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.
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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…
Have fun, because today, we close the gap to one two points or even less.