Monthly Archives: March 2011

No Arsenal games…only some really interesting news.

Jackie

Despite the fact that Arsenal has caused me untold suffering this past few weeks, I feel even sadder when I don’t have the opportunity of watching us play. The International break is on us and I have mixed feelings about waiting almost 11 days before our next fixture. I will have to endure two weeks of abuse, two weeks of teasing from my Arsenal-hating pals on my team’s dismal performances. However, the break also gives most of our injured players enough time to recover. There are 14 gunners representing their countries in different parts of the world and you trust us to bring us any news concerning them.

So I came across this news article about a player we could have signed. Not that it’s the first episode of a “players Arsenal almost signed” series which features the likes of C. Ronaldo, Essien, Drogba, and Ibrahimovic; but I’m miffed as this particular player would have arguably made a difference in any Arsenal side. Chelsea’s current number one, Petr Cech revealed yesterday that we missed the chance to sign him in 2002 because the Arsenal scouts though he was not good enough for the Premier League.

“Before I went to Rennes I was watched by Arsenal but… at the last minute I think the person who was the chief scout at Arsenal didn’t think I was good enough for the English league. So in the end it didn’t happen”

You would wonder what the scouts were thinking when they recommended jokers, Almunia and Fabianski as “good enough” for the League while a world class guardian did not make the grades.

Meanwhile, Van Persie seems to share my belief that for all of Barcelona’s artistry and efficiency, their attitude towards opponents stinks. This current Barcelona team are a beauty to watch, probably to ever play the game, but the way they react to defeats, tackles or referee decisions against them is disappointing. In RVP’s words,

“…the Barcelona players tend to nag about everything that happens on the pitch. I was a bit disappointed with that…Barcelona are still a fantastic team, but they should really stop nagging and complaining that much. That’s becoming extremely annoying on the pitch.”

One only needs to look at their part in Van Persie’s sending off during our game at the Camp Nou, or the defeat at home against Inter Milan for evidence of this.

Just when we thought we could heave a sigh of relief over our injury worries, Nikky Bendtner has reportedly sustained an ankle injury in training. Let’s hope it’s not something that will put him out for more than a week.

Talking injuries, it feels good to have Aaron Ramsey back in the side and he could have made the best of comebacks had he managed to convert his chance against WBA. He feels like a new signing, a lot better than Denilson, more mature and slightly better than Wilshere in my opinion and a possible replacement for Cesc when the latter decides to go “home”. He’ll be involved in the game between Wales and England and it will be interesting to see how far he’s gone with his recovery and how he performs when he comes up against Wilshere.

Most gooners seem to believe that we have an easier run in than Man United and as such we should win the title, but need I remind you that last season, we had our easiest run in in years. Our next 9 games this term are: Blackburn (H), Blackpool (A), L’pool (H), Spuds (A), Bolton (A), Man United (H), Stoke (A), Villa (H), Fulham (A). Without any doubt, we played relatively smaller teams last season, but we all know how that went.

We need to take this games one at a time and see how far that takes us. This team hasn’t been playing the best football of late and it will take quite some character to put the disappointments of this campaign behind us and wrestle the title back to North London.

We can win the title, definitely, but even though I’m as optimistic as gooners come, I just have this doubt we’ll choke AGAIN. I hope and pray I’m wrong. 2nd place in the League is an improvement from last season though, that’s if we ignore what might have been.

However, to all Chelsea fans thinking we’ll finish below them, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN… at least not this season.

Enjoy the Interlull gooners, we have a week and a half before the pressure returns.

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

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1/10: The most important 3 points in the run-in?

Robin Van Persie

I’m feeling pretty off this morning as the UEFA Champions League draws were made and names like Shakhtar, Schalke, and Spurs popped up. No disrespect to either Shaktar or Schalke but it could have easily been us in that position, had we not been complacent enough to place second in the easiest group of all; giving us the toughest possible draw.

But our moaning period is over, we are out of 3 competitions but we still have the League to play for. We win all our remaining games and the trophy follows us back to N5. But it’s not that easy as it seems. We begin a run of 10 games which includes visits to Shite Hart Lane and Stoke, and home games to Liverpool and Man United. But of this lot, the most important game is tomorrow’s trip to West Brom. The Baggies are in good form, unbeaten in their last 4 League games, their best run of results in 5 months. But they face an Arsenal side that has no lost in 11 League games, since the defeat at Old Trafford in December. We have also not lost a league game in the month of March since a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in 2008, but our record against the newly promoted sides this term has been quite poor with our only win coming at home against Blackpool.

Tomorrow’s line up virtually picks itself. Almunia remains in goal, backed by Mad Jens on the bench. We get another feel of the Squillaci-Koscielny combo flanked by Sagna and Clichy. We will probably see a midfield trio of Denilson, Wilshere and Ramsey. It will be interesting to see how well the Welshman performs on his first Arsenal start since THAT injury. A forward triad of Nasri, RVP and Arshavin completes a depleted Arsenal side. We can bring on Rosicky, Chamakh and Nikky B from the bench if need be. But it should be noted that despite our injuries, we should still have enough quality to see off WBA.

The International break could not have come at a better time because after this fixture, a two-week hiatus follows and then our next League fixture against Blackburn Rovers. A fully fit Arsenal team will beat any team in the League any day but we are not afforded that luxury at the moment. Our injury list is ever growing, with Alex Song (knee), Diaby (groin), Szczesny (finger), Fabianski (shoulder), Djourou (shoulder), Fabregas (hamstring), Walcott (ankle) all out. While Szczesny, Djourou and Fabianksi will probably miss the rest of the season, the other injured players should be fit in two to three weeks.

Under normal circumstances, we should have most of our players back for that fixture, rested and ready to fire through the rest of the campaign. We are just 3 points behind United, they are having a lot of issues at the moment, with injuries, SAF’s ban, and we should not be dropping any points now. The return of the injured players should give us enough momentum to get 3 points in most if our remaining 9 games. Let’s just get maximum points from tomorrow’s game and we will be in pole position after the break to complete the season on a high.

We have put too much into this season to finish without any trophy, let’s get our acts together and make this a season to remember. We can start by claiming 3 points against West Brom tomorrow.

Let’s do this!

From wherever you are reading, hope for the best!
9jabred says so!

BREAKING : DJOUROU BACK IN 11 DAYS + Mad Jens Returns.

Best possible news and the most positive one we’ve gotten in days. After making the headlines for the wrong reasons and the morale deflating loss to a patched up United side that had seven defenders in the starting eleven, compounded by the loss of Djourou in the same game. Now after being ruled out for the season initially, news reaching us from the Swiss FA is that after further tests, he’ll definitely be fit for the title run in. To those already dreading Squillaci’s return, you can rest easily now as that is only for a while.

From great news to surprising news, after seeing injuries to Chezzer, Fabianski, and Mannone, Arsene has moved swiftly to re-sign free agent and formal Arsenal gloves man, Jens Lehmann. Mad Jens as he is popularly called by fans had been in London for a few weeks now trying to complete his UEFA coaching badges, and after talks with the boss, he’s back on board.
He’s a fantastic goalkeeper in my opinion and despite his eccentricity and erratic behaviour, he’s a welcome boost as he’s old and comes with a lot of experience and hopefully can shout and talk some sense into some of the younger players in the same manner Sol Campbell did last season.

This begs the question as to why Arsene didn’t just make a loan move for Shay Given in January as he would have been a better alternative. Our injuries are coming fast and thick and coming at the worst possible time, seeing as rivals are getting their own injured players back and fit. We need them to recover early because our fixtures are not as easy as they look which is why the likes of Song Walcott & Fabregas need to be fit after the international break.

Speaking of International breaks, England Boss, Capello has earmarked young Wilshere(who in my opinion should be a contender for BOTH PFA player of the year and young player of the year due to his stellar performances this season) as a future England Captain. He had this to say about Jack,

    “I monitored him during the game in
    Barcelona, against the most difficult team, one of the best teams of all, he played the same game, with the same confidence that he did in the first leg in London. Then Arsenal won. The second time it was more difficult. He will be England captain one day,’ Capello added. ‘Jack Wilshere needs more caps but he is a real leader.”

.

Best possible praise a burgeoning midfielder can receive. We all wish him the best. No game till Saturday so we’ll bring you news as they get to us before then.

From wherever you’re reading, Keep the faith.

Your thoughts?

Escobar

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We choked again! Man Utd – Arsenal Player Ratings

Wonderful Jack

Almunia: Great game from the Spaniard. Not at fault for any of the goals and even kept the scoreline respectable. We don’t have any major worries if he can keep this sort of form. A big IF! 8

Sagna: Defended quite well and could have got at least 3 assists with some dangerous crosses he put into the box. Not a bad outing by any standard. 7

Djourou + Koscielny: The pair could have done a bit better as both goals we conceded were just cheap goals. They need to do some work on their positioning…oh pardon me, Djourou is apparently out for the rest of the season, that means we got Squillaci and Koscielny for the run in***great news*** 6

Gibbs: Could have defended better at times. He was more efficient going forward, and should have put in more balls into the box for Chammy and RVP to feed on. 6

Diaby: It’s Diaby…nuff said! 4

Denilson:Someone said he’s trying his best to be like Man United super-flop, Kleberson. I think he’s going to be worse. He did not make one threatening forward pass all game, did not close down Valencia early for the second goal. So much for special talent! 3

Wilshere: EVERY Arsenal player needs to take a look at this lad to see what it really means to wear the red shirt (or the yellow one, as the case may be). He was full of running, tackling and dribbling. He played like the oldest head in the midfield. A future captain for sure. 8
Arshavin: He’s had better days. He put in effort but his end product left a lot to desire. He got into some promising positions but could not utilize the opportunities. 6

Nasri: Just like Wilshere, he had a good game and looked our best bet for a goal. We looked to him to lead the team and he did not really disappoint. 7

Robin Van Persie: Could not do much, he tried his best when he got the ball but he was usually crowded out upfront. 6.5

SUBSTITUTES:

Chamakh: Give Nikky B the same chances he had, and you bet we would have celebrated at least one goal. He seems lost at the moment and he has this annoying habit of passing the ball back every time, even in our half! 5

Rosicky: Not a bad outing, tested Van der Saar with a ferocious albeit straight shot. 5.5
Ramsey:So good to see him back. Came on for Diaby and ultimately had to play the final 10mins at center back. 5

So, we lose 3 trophies in the space of 3 weeks…familiar scenes, eh?

Keep the faith lads, at least we still have a say in where the League title goes come May. If I were you though, I won’t raise my hopes too high.

From wherever you are watching, keep believing. It’s the least you can do.
9jabred says so!

Man Utd Vs Arsenal : FA Cup Quarter Final Preview

You don’t know how glad I am that there’s finally a game to play, and its one between the two most successful sides in the FA Cup history. The fallout and noise and accusations and charges that flew around after the Barca game was getting too much. Its this simple, Barca taught us a footballing lesson. Why? We sold out our footballing values. And it was compounded by RVP’s sending off at a vital point. We all know how the rest of the story goes. Its saturday and we have our season to fight for. So too does United.

Unlike previous encounters in the cup, this one is probably the most important to us both since the 2005 final(I’d give anything for the same outcome today with us progressing) seeing as failure for us to progress leaves us with just the league to focus on while United would want to avoid what everyone is calling a ‘mini meltdown’. None of these teams likes to play weakened teams against each other but United would be keeping an eye on the UCL game on tuesday and I say they have the advantage on us seeing as they haven’t kicked ball in seven days, but neither have we kicked ball since Saturday(seeing as all we did at the Camp Nou was chase the ball for 90 mins)

To team news, like we’re used to, important players always pick up knocks around this time and they haven’t failed to deliver, Fabregas(hamstring), Song(Knee), Walcott(ankle), Chezzer(finger), Vermaelen(some mysterious ancient injury that has no cure) are all missing for us meaning we should still have a solid first 11 but a mediocre bench. Good times. We can take comfort in the fact that manure have their share of absentees, Nani, Park(our tormentor), Ferdinand, Valencia won’t feature.

I’m hoping SAF does us favour by starting say, Obertan, Brown, Gibson, then we can re-enact the murder at Anfield last week. Simply put, we have to win this game, by any means, yes its at OT, so what? Its not Nou Camp and they’re not Barca but neither were Sunderland when we drew blanks. We can afford that, drawing blanks that is, but I’d rather play this tie once and avoid a replay. We need to win something this season and even though most people want the league I want the league and cup double and a win today keeps that dream alive

Possible Formation

      Almunia

Sagna Kozzer Djourou Gibbs

    Wilshere Diaby

Bendtner Nasri Arshavin

      RVP

Well let’s hope for a great spectacle today shorn of moronic refereeing decisions and horrific injuries. Hopefully get an early goal and see Rambo come on for the last fifteen minutes to grab the winner.

Your thoughts?

Escobar

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Two Down, Two To Go. Are We Going To Fold?

You’ll have to pardon what may seem like incoherence in this post, but I still haven’t been able to fully assemble my thoughts. I do honestly hate to say I’m not surprised about yesterday’s result but here’s the thing, I’m not surprised.

Granted we went to the Nou Camp with a game plan and I was shocked because it seemed to be working what was the game plan? To stop, or try to stop, Barcelona from playing and then in typical Arsenal like fashion(not being able to keep concentration for long periods of time), there was a moment of madness from the captain, a midfielder aided by our left back. I refer to it as a moment of madness because, I mean what else would u call a back pass in and around your own box 18 with the pitch full of world class talent like Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Villa all of whom would be expected to be in the very area where the ‘assist’ was given and as you would expect, our resistance was broken.

So what did we have to do? Attack, and it seemed like we would do just that as well in the opening minutes of the 2nd half (hence the goal) then Massimo Bussaca Just had to intervene, how u give a SECOND yellow to a striker who shot when the whistle had been blown in a stadium of well over 90,000 screaming fans is completely beyond me, that was enough to bury any flicker of hope left in the team, which is why we conceded so soon afterwards. I mean going against Barcelona’s hard enough with eleven isn’t it? But 10 against 12?!?

Don’t get me wrong, The Arsenal’s over all display was a disgrace but maybe that was so because, as regards the 1st half, they were trying something we never had seen them try before, to play defensive football and then other than this let’s not forget that there was enough pressure from us, with 11men to score a goal despite the fact that w couldn’t seem to keep or control the ball to save our lives! So with 11 men, there was always a chance that we’d get another but then the red card to the one person who has consistently pulled a rabbit out of the hat for us since December, this becomes all the more painful when one considers that moment where Bendtner could have eliminated Barcelona if Van Persie was on the end of that inch perfect Wilshere cross. Credit to Almunia and Wilshere, the only players who seemed to do us proud yesterday and maybe Nasri as well, we need more players like them on a day when our leader failed us.

And I have not even addressed the penalty, or lack of but do I really need to? But before I go, I’d just like to blame Arsene Wenger and only Arsene Wenger. Why? Next time, make topping your champions league group a priority instead of resting players after the third game. Result? We’re out of the tournament while Shaktar who topped their group, easily brushed aside a poor Roma side. That could have been us.

All this being said, I’m sure you have figured why I named this article as thus. Now I’m off to something more important, I don’t feel like being a gooner today, I smell darker days ahead, beginning with the FA Cup! I’d like to be wrong on that.

From wherever you’re reading, have a swell day. Your thoughts?

Ita

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Song Out For Barca Tie, Fabregas Returns

***UPDATE*** The post had to be tweaked a little to bring you news that just reached us from Arsenal which is Fabregas is 90% fit to face Barca while Alex Song is definitely out ouf the tie, which might see Diaby deputise for him.

Morning to all you readers out there, what a weekend. First we blow the chance to eat well into Manure’s lead and then Lady luck favours us as Manure were ‘Kuyt Napping’ at Anfield. Get the joke? Oh well unto the tie which Arsene Wenger blamed as being a distraction for the players against S’land. Its Barca at the Nou Camp.

Ever since the first leg was concluded, the odds slightly shifted in our favour to progress at their expense but in that period we’ve lost the Carling Cup to B’ham, defeated Orient by 5 goals and found Sunderland impossible to beat not to mention the injuries to key players RVP(in the form of his life), Fabregas(who is fit to start on tuesday) and Song(already ruled out by some media outlets).

I really hope we won’t have to point to their absence as an excuse should we not progress after all they have problems of their own with their first choice centre back pair (Puyol and Pique) missing through injury and suspension. Barca have never been known for their defensive prowess so it might not bother them a lot but I sense it will depending on the forward who plays for us. Should we go with Bendtner who flattered to deceive on Saturday after bagging a hat-trick against Orient, or go with the more seasoned Chamakh who looks to be returning to full fitness? Whoever gets the nod must play like Tevez or Ji Sun Park come that night.

Another scare was avoided after Wilshere picked up a knock only for him to assure Arsenal fans via his twitter account that he’s fit. Whew. Thank God for that. The midfield is where the game would be won. We don’t want to speculate on team news for now till Arsene gives his press conference but am guessing at least two enforced changes would be made with Sagna returning from a suspension, and Arshavin for the injured Theo.

Whatever the team, whoever plays must give 150% on the pitch and if there must, ‘Let there be blood‘ Fabregas for the inspiration, Nasri for the spark and creativity, Wilshere for the hardwork and doggedness and the defence for a mission impossible, which is to keep Barca from scoring. If we score first, we’ll be home and dry that I know of.

Your thoughts?

Escobar

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Arsenal Choke…. AGAIN : Sunderland Player Ratings

We’ve seen it happen over and over again. Arsenal FC’s fetish with De Ja Vu’s is really appalling. How can you continue to blow away chance after chance to either win the title or close the gap on the leaders? Are we cursed as a club or is winning a trophy, any trophy unattainable heights for Arsenal or are our players werewolves and vampires (allergic to silverware)? On a day when polished performance by certain players is going to be overlooked due to failure to bag the 3 points. Below are the ratings.

Szczesny8
One superb save in the opening 15 minutes followed up by another superb one in the closing stages. Showed no after effects of the Wembley loss.

Sagna 7
The only Arsenal defender shorn of mistakes the season. Another solid outing.

Djourou 7
Relatively untroubled asides from being on the receiving end of Muntari’s fingers n elbow.

Koscielny6
Sloppy, shaky, erratic with his passing. Needs to up his game asap before the game at Nou Camp.

Clichy6
Had trouble dealing with Sessegnon early on in the game but recovered in the second 45.

Wilshere8
Asked to play the fabregas role in the first 45 and would have been rewarded with two assists if not for profligate finishing from the forwards.

Diabyminus 0.00000001
Relatively useless, continually incurred the wrath of the Arsenal faithful by ruining counters and losing the ball. Shocking game.

Denilsonminus 10
Was he even on the field?? Oh yes he was, he was tackled poorly twice. Five years in the first team and no improvement whatsoever. Sad

Arshavin6
Should have done better with the two chances he had, he can point to Bramble’s push for skewing that chance but a player of his quality should have scored.

Bendtner6
Barring the excellent snap shot he had in the first half which the keeper did well to stop, he was a shadow of his former self. Still looking for his first PL goal in 2011.

Nasri7
Played very well in the second half, unlucky to be surrounded by the likes of Diaby and denilson, showed real drive and promise. Should have scored from a set piece. Unlucky.

SUBSTITUTES

Chamakh6
Hit the post with a header when it was easier to score.

Rosicky0
Over 15 minutes and no notable contribution. How he recovered from the knock against Orient surprises me.

Sunderland

Mignolet9
I had to rate the lad, he was the difference between both sides, excellent showing, save after save. Take the plaudits son. Good game.

Referee & Linesman100
Both men receive the award for ‘Men of the match’ for excellent and error free performance from both of them. We need more referee’s like them.

Well, like we always say, keep the faith, we still have the game in hand and hopefully the scousers can do us one hell of a favour tomorrow against Manure. Your thoughts?

Escobar

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Five Star Arsenal Spank Orient : The Player Ratings.

Almunia7
Virtually untested throughout the match.

Eboue 7
Going forward and defending he did very ok, was caught out of position a few times but it did not cost us.

Squillaci 7
Decent, protected the goalie well with Miquel by his side

Miquel7
Rewarded the boss with a strong showing in defence. Needs to add body mass to his arsenal though.

Gibbs8
Solid showing from the english man, two assists, one directly and the other by winning a penalty.

Denilson7
Clean and comfortable in possession, no hurried passing and mistakes. Good to see that

Diaby8
Best midfielder on show, completed 47 of his 47 passes in the first half alone, and ventured forward when allowed. Hooked off in the 2nd half

Rosicky7.5
Started brightly and provided the assist for the opening goal. Unlucky to be withdrawn due to injury.

Henderson7.5
Highly impressed with how the young man handled himself. His first appearance for the senior team, out of position but his industry and passing was pleasing to the eye.

Chamakh7.5
Asides from grabbing the opener it was a typical Chamakh performance, laboured and always looking to pass instead of leading from the front.

Bendtner9 **MOTM**
65 minute hat-trick, Absolute class act tonight, way above his fellow striker. Started out on the right but scored all his goals when he switched to the centre or the left. He was virtually unplayable, maybe he wasn’t pleased to have been benched for the Carling Cup final. Great way to make a statement.

SUBSTITUTES

Clichy7
Came on and scored a belter of a goal for his second Arsenal goal.

Nasri6
Came on with the game won, had a few openings to extend the lead which he spurned.

Wilshere6
Same as Nasri, thrown on to stretch his legs.

There you have it folks, we’re into the FA cup quarter finals and United at Old trafford awaits us. Let’s get them. From wherever you’re reading have a great night. Cheers.

Escobar

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Its NOT Just The Carling Cup + Lleyton Orient Preview

Where to start from is the question I find myself battling with as I write this post. Three days ago, we ‘had’ won the Carling Cup before even playing a minute in the final, fastforward to now, and we find ourselves in similar positions, bottled it when it mattered, injuries to key players, comedic defending that has become the norm these days and oh yeah, we lost the Carling Cup in the most irritating of ways.

Much ado has been made from how much ado was made about the Carling Cup final. Stories like its just the Carling Cup, our season is still finely poised to win a trophy, Fabregas was missing and a lot of gibberish nonsense. Its either some fans are as un ambitious as the board of directors(who had the nerve to still remind us of how rich we are as a club on the after math of the loss) or we’ve been cursed as a club not to win trophies.

We all watched the match and its been 3 days so there’s no point giving a recap of what happened. But I’ll remind you this, ITS NOT JUST THE CARLING CUP, remember when United almost went three years without any silverware, they changed their fortunes by bagging the Carlin Cup first and look how it propelled them to win three league titles in a row. When will Arsenal learn???

Unto team news for tonight’s Fa Cup replay against Orient at home, in typical fashion after players err, Chezzer and Kozzer have both been dropped for the game and to me that’s unnecessary seeing as you need them to move on quickly and what better game to that than against lower league opposition? Maybe he sees Sunderland at the weekend as a better option, who knows. Like that isn’t bad enough, Robin ‘hardly fit’ Van Persie has been ruled out for three weeks with a knee injury, ruling him out of important ties such as the return leg against Barca, the FA cup tie against United if we get there. Does anyone still think we don’t need a World Class forward come summer or is anyone of the opinion, Nikky B and Chammy can fill his shoes? Maybe, maybe not.

There has been no word yet on whether Aaron Ramsey is back at the club, barring that, the midfield is likely to remain unchanged as I doubt if Fabregas would be allowed to take part in the game. Do we go 4-4-2 with Chammy n Nikky B upfront or play just one of them to prevent injuries, one thing for certain would be Miquel who gets to keep his place from the first leg, I’m not convinced about the young man but hopefully he can do a solid job.

Pick yourselves up, dust yourselves and move on quick is the only message I can pass across to the lads and I hope they heed it, after all its just the Carling Cup, we’re gunning for bigger fish in the league and Champs league.

From wherever you’re reading, see you in the quarter final at Old Trafford. Your thoughts?

Escobar

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