Monthly Archives: March 2011
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.
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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!
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.
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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
Sagna Kozzer Djourou Gibbs
- Wilshere Diaby
Bendtner Nasri Arshavin
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.
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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?
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***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.
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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?
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