Monthly Archives: May 2011

Six Years Going On Seven… What needs to change?

Arsene

As at the time the final whistle went at Craven Cottage, we have gone over half a decade without a change to our trophy cabinet. Not that we have not challenged in those 6 years, we have come close to ending this drought a few times but for one reason or another we have come up short.

The closest we came to winning a trophy since 2005 was in the Carling Cup final against Birmingham earlier this year. We came up against a side in the other half of the table and yet we fluffed our lines and gifted them the trophy in the dying minutes of that game. I have had a lot of bad moments as an Arsenal fan, but this was a new low. I actually wept, not because we lost to Birmingham, but because of the manner in which we lost the game. I thought the club was under some kind of spell.

We have had a lot of sad moments this season but on a lighter mood we were actually involved in a lot of classics. I mean, which top club can draw a game after going into half time four (4) goals up at Newcastle, or lose at home to Spurs after going 2 goals up, or draw a game after taking a 95th minute lead (Liverpool)? This is not the Arsenal we all are used to, so what needs to change?

I’m not one of those people who think Wenger is god, he’s definitely human and obviously fallible as well. But I doubt I’ll be comfortable with this club in the hands of someone else. I think about the games we’ve had this season and I am quickly reminded that this is the same manager who took us through an entire season unbeaten. Yes, this is history, but it only points to the fact that with the right players, he’ll get things right again.

One of the main problems we have with the team is a winning mentality; Arsene has identified this for the first time last week and he has “promised” to get players with experience of winning trophies, I say let’s see what he has in mind. I mean, we’ve endured 6 seasons, one more season of experimenting and probable success won’t kill anyone, will it?

Our ability to score goals has never been in doubt, even Van Persie who started his season fully in January has over 20 goals already. But keeping the opponent from getting goals against s has been our Achilles’ heel. Even when we are cruising to victory, we still manage to concede the odd goal. Take a look at last week’s game for example, we would have won that game had we not conceded two avoidable goals in quick succession. The same thing can be noticed in games like Stoke away, WBA home and away, and the away game at the Reebok. Anytime we had momentum, we get pegged back by conceding a goal. How do we solve a problem like this?

There’s really nothing wrong with Sczezsny in goal, all we need is a defensive leader. Someone to lead the team from the back, someone to help out when defending set pieces; hence the cry for Sakho,Cahill or Samba. Knowing prudent Mr. Arsene, he’ll probably go for Samba which would annoy me seeing how we could have had him in January. Clichy is still stalling at the moment which has led to reports of a ‘sign or be sold‘ ultimatum from Arsene, an able replacement must be signed because Gibbs is not ready in my opinion

Further up the pitch, the injection of direct pace and steel is needed and Scott Parker has been touted with Hazard rumoured as well(don’t hold your breath, Arsene won’t pay 20 million, so expect some unknown or Nzogbia whom I fancy). No word yet on whether Fabregas & Nasri would stay. Even if they stay, we need to sign two new midfielders and then replace Bendtner who looks to be on his way out.

The cry for big names and big fees to be spent is at an all time high. So here’s my suggestion based on Arsenal’s prudent ways.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN:

IN : Scott Parker, Samba, Grameiro (in the absence of an accomplished finisher), Nzogbia(some unknown instead of the electric Hazard that can play anywhere in the middle and behind the striker) and maybe Baines

OUT : Denilson, Bendtner, Arshavin, Eboue, Vela, Clichy(maybe)

WHAT FANS(ok maybe just me) REALLY WANT:

IN : Scott Parker, Benzema, Baines, Cahill, Hazard.

Simply put, leader at the back, leader in the middle of the pitch and goalscorer who can deliver on his own and compliment Van Persie, who at the moment has over 20 goals since January. If only we had two of him, one from August – December, the other from January – May.

No one is asking for expensive signings, just the right players in the right position and maybe a tactical shift and change in the backroom staff and just maybe we can win something.

It was a season that promised a lot but delivered nothing, nothing but heartbreak, sadness and a feeling of emptiness. Inspite of all this, the fact that we put up this post and you read it, and that we’ll still be gooners come next season just shows how much we love this club. We were there during the glory days, we want to be there when those days finally return.

The transfer window opens in less than two weeks, trust us to keep you up to speed on anything concerning Arsenal.

From the MG team, do have a befitting season end, next season may just be “that season”!

Cheers.

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Stoke vs Arsenal : Match Preview

With little or nothing to play for again in the season than securing 3rd place, with the day already shadowed by the super sunday game between United and Chelsea we travel to the Brittania stadium to meet Stoke City. Only the hardest fans would say mathematically we could still win the title, but I don’t share their optimism.

As Expected, a lot has been made of this fixture because it marks the return of Aaron Ramsey to the place where he got his ankle broken by Ryan Shawcross & ultimately ruled out for 8 months. This led to a series of back & forth between both club managers which spilled to the Arsenal fans who continue to boo Shawcross each time both teams meet. Its reported that Ramsey still hasn’t returned any of his assailants calls or messages. Oh well.

On to team news for the day, Captain Cesc is still ruled out and he’s joined on the sidelines by Nasri, Diaby and Djourou who is carrying a knock. That means Ramsey is set to keep his place and Arshavin should come in for Nasri. Thomas Vermaelen has also been pencilled in for a return to the line up in Djourou/Kozzer’s place. With nothing much left to fight for, it would be nice to win our remaining games just to end the season on a high.

Possible Formation : Chezzer-Sagna-Djourou-Vermaelen-Clichy-Wilshere-Song-Ramsey-Walcott-Arshavin-RVP.

Prediction : 1-3

From wherever you’re reading, have a lovely day.

Escobar

Vermaelen ready for Stoke test, Wenger “apologizes”?

RVPNew Kit
Arsene Wenger gave a pre-match media briefing this afternoon and some interesting issues came up. He gave an insight into the weekend’s trip to the Brittania stadium, home of Stoke City. One of the things he talked about is the injury situation at the club.

Thomas Vermaelen could make a surprise return to the team just as the season comes to an end. The 25-year-old has had a season to forget in which he missed most of the campaign due to an Achilles injury. He was thought to only be out for a short while, but as with many other Arsenal players, weeks turned into months. Last week, he made a return to the reserves, playing his first 90 minutes of football in 8 months in a reserves game against Manchester United. Had this come earlier in the season, we might be rejoicing, but considering how our season has panned out, the best we can hope for is a good pre-season for him and readiness to start next term.

Another man who may be making a dramatic return to the Brittania is Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman has started only three games since breaking a leg at Stoke in last February. He stepped in to replace captain Cesc Fabregas against Manchester United last weekend and did so with distinction, scoring the lone goal of the game. Cesc picked up a thigh injury last week and has yet to return to full training and it is as though Arsene has decided to stick with Ramsey for the tough trip.

Someone has been benefiting from these injuries and that person is none other than new number 1, Wojciech Szczesny. The lad has had a lot of playing time mainly due to injuries to Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski and he took time out to talk about his experience as Arsenal’s number one. He stressed on the importance of having a father figure in Jens Lehmann around him.

It’s very interesting actually – after every game he talks to me in great detail. He also takes me to one side at training, or when we’re doing some stretching, and gives me a lot of advice about little aspects of my game”.

Wenger also took time out to “apologize” for his refusal to bring in another defender over the winter break. In January, we were firing on all cylinders and we could have done with an enforcer at the back. Apparently, he expected Vermaelen to be back earlier, but the Belgian suffered a couple of setbacks. Thanks to hindsight, we know how our vulnerability at the back has contributed to a 6th successive trophy-less season.

So it is as though, Jack Wilshere has decided to represent his country in this summer’s U-21 Championships. I really do not understand why a lot of fans are giving him stick. The lad has played his heart out for us, if he wants to represent his country, why should we not let him? The last thing we want on our hands is an unhappy Wilshere disrupting our start to next season. So, from us at Memoirs of A Gooner, we wish him the best of luck.

Tomorrow’s post should put you in the right frame of mind for Sunday’s game.

From wherever you are reading, have fun.

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Ramsey Dents United’s Title Bid : The Player Ratings

On a sun kissed afternoon with little to play for but our pride, we delivered a solid performance at the back and in attack. You could blame United’s abject play on fatigue but who cares??? The referee and his assistants did their best to ‘assist’ United but were foiled by a lone goal from Ramsey.

Szczesny7.5
The big man was rarely troubled in goal today, and made two big saves in the second half. Let’s end the argument of a new keeper because he’s here to stay.

Sagna 7
Solid at back and dangerous going forward even though none of his crosses found a man which can’t be blamed on him. Good outing

Djourou 8
How many times will Djourou’s commanding presence be the difference for us this season? I’ve lost count. Won all tussles with Rooney and then made the goal happy Chicharito look like Emile Heskey. Shoe in for MOTM

Koscielny8
Won all aerial balls he contested and shackled Rooney. Solid all through and confident enough to go on marauding runs on more than one occasion.

Clichy7.5
Not in a long time have I seen so much passion, desire and grit from Clichy. Bar the Fabio opportunity, he gave Nani no joy whatsoever and he assisted in attack when called upon.

Wilshere7
The young man should have scored two today for his poor finishing. Needs to work on that, asides that, along with Song he shielded the back, got forward when necessary and his interplay with Ramsey in the second 45 was a joy to behold.

Song7.5
He was so dirty and so clean and had me shouting at the top of my voice with his niggly fouls but he was an absolute beast in the first 45. Frustrated Rooney to the point of handbags. The booking the only blot on his copy book

Ramsey8.5
WOW!!! Just wow from the Welsh firebrand. Absolutely everywhere in the game. In the first half he completed more attacking passes than anyone(29), he defended well and showed heart and energy throughout the second half. What ankle injury??? ***MOTM***

Walcott7
His start to every game is always so bright and effervescent, had the beating of Evra in the opening stages and put in great crosses.

Nasri6
Not his best game in an Arsenal shirt. Wasn’t given as much freedom as he would have liked and picked up an injury which prevented him from appearing for the 2nd half.

Van Persie7.5
Played the roles of play maker, target man and shadow marker throughout the game. Dazzling footwork to create the chance for Ramsey who buried it without hesitating.

SUBSTITUTES

Arshavin6.5
Defended more than he attacked as evidenced by his 4 interceptions and the shot he blocked. Won some tackles as well.

Squillaci6
Slotted in nicely into the heart of defence and made no mistakes.

Eboue5
Came on with the game virtually won.

Well there you have it, another twist in the title race and the result for once favours us. If only we had avoided those silly draws, we’ll be closer to the title than the others.

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

Escobar

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