Author Archives: Emi Michael

Arsenal Consolidate 3rd Spot With Wolves Win + Player Ratings

Good night for the Gunners this as goals from RvP from the spot and Walcott soon after put us on our way to a 3-0 win at bottom club Wolves, Yossi Benayoun wrapping up the night for us at Molineux.

That puts us five ahead of the Sillywhites and Newcastle as third place looks assured with five matches left to play and nine wins in 10 matches is a good run to carry into the run-in.

Straight to the ratings then:

Another relatively quiet match for the Pole but showed great awareness with two top draw saves early and late in the second half. The former to deny Doyle’s header was classic.

Good game and good work rate from him. Got replaced late on by Jenkinsom.

Solid performance from him. Hope he keeps it up when Wigan visit. Wigan by the way beat Man. United and added a good twist to the title race.

An assured perfomance, as almost always from him.

I’m not sure why he bothered. Attacked much but his defending was suspect a lot of times.

Quietly anchored the midfield superbly.

Complemented Arteta well, and bagged an assist yet again… this time for Benayoun rather than you know who.

Oh dear. Hesitated when he should’ve taken a first time shot at goal. Had a clear penalty shout waved away but generally lived down to expectations.

Gets a 7 only because he got a goal and won us the penalty that saw Sebastien Bassong get sent off, otherwise wasn’t exceptional.

Good work rate yet again and got himself a well taken goal from the edge of the box.

You’d think some confidence would’ve drained from him after going four matches without scoring… then he does that from the penalty spot. He scores when he wants and apparently, how he wants. Vintage stuff.



So next up for us is the red devils’ unlikely conquerors Wigan Athletic on Monday and from what we’ve seen the Latics play in their last two matches, it’s safe to say we have a cracking encounter coming up.

Do tell a gooner to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs, see you Monday night.

Wolves Preview + Club News & Clowny FA Decisions

Good day wherever you read from. Last night was proof that the established routine can be broken when ten-man Liverpool actually managed a win, more so shocking that the winning goal came courtesy of Andy should-rather-runway-model Carroll.

It’s the sort of scenario Wolverhampton Wanderers will (however absurd it may seem to the world) hope for, to break the established routine when we visit Molineux tonight in a Premier League encounter.

I’m always wary of stats when they’re in our favour and the ones for this fixture is an avalanche that’s heaped pitifully on Wolves. Just a point won in the seven matches manager Terry Connor has overseen so far to add to the club losing the last five matches at home to Arsenal in all competitions.

And while we have kept a clean sheet in three of our last four matches, our hosts have failed to keep one in 15 home matches. Then there’s our run of eight wins in nine league matches compared to Wolves’ quite appaling run of six consecutive league losses; the worst such run in the top flight in three decades.

Without the rest of the overwhelming stats, we should win this outright, yes? Sure. Same way the three points looked assured going into the QPR encounter. Coupled with the fact that Wolves held us to a 1-1 draw t the Ems earlier in the reverse fixture only makes tonight’s encounter potential banana skin for Arsenal.

In light of this, Wenger said “Believe me, they don’t know much better than you or me and the result of every game is just a consequence of your performance on the day.” adding that, “Nobody can really predict that (team performance) because your performance on the day depends on you, but also depends on the other team as well.”

Therefore the team must avoid complacency in our quest to open a five point cushion between us and the chasing pack in the race for the lucrative Champions League places, for which we occupy the final automatic qualifying spot.

Boss Arsène Wenger therefore cannot afford to toy about with the starting line-up though some changes will inevitably be made from the team that started against Man. City.

Possible line-up
Szczesny. Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos. Arteta, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Ox/Ramsey, van Persie.

Johan Djourou will start thanks to Koscielny’s two-match ban for receiving his 10th yellow card against City, while Gibbs will likely make way for Santos after picking a slight knock on Sunday. And in attack, it is obvious we’d prefer the Ox started but… you just never know with the boss, could even start Gervinho for all we know after the ‘Eddy’ didn’t even make the bench on Sunday.

Club News
With Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin still on course in their recoveries, the big surprise is the big f**king German Mert4 apparently coming back from his ankle injury sooner than expected, much sooner that he’s expected to resume training later this week.

And in the reserves’ league, our January arrival from Borussia Dortmund Thomas Eisfeld yesterday evening scored the lone goal; his first for the club, as the Arsenal Reserves defeated the Newcastle Reserves in its penultimate match of the season.

Finally, the English FA, that just always have a way of reinventing themselves in the black book of world football following its acutely contrasting decisions on incidents involving Ivanovic, Wigan’s and Mario Balotelli, with the latter to only serve a ban for his red card without the addition of being charged and banned for his stamp on Alex Song’s knee on Sunday.

Consolation is in Song being available anyway and here’s to going a step closer to sealing third spot in the league with a much needed win tonight.


Arteta Earns Vital Win for Arsenal; Player Ratings

We deserved the win and for a long time it looked like we’d punish ourselves but Mikel Arteta’s long range beauty earned us a vital victory. Straight to the ratings then, where we’ve incorporated the highlights of the match that saw Balotelli get sent off.

Szczesny – 8
Had relatively little to do but was much assured in goal, tipping over a goal bound header and rushing out to clear when Balotelli was through on goal, the latter proving most crucial. Solid game.

Sagna – 7
Impressive defensive display from the Frenchman, handled Balotelli whenever the Italian ventured down our right side.

Vermaelen – 7.5
Very solid defending from the Verminator, making interceptions and going forward with the ball at times. Unfortunate to have kept out Robin van Persie’s goal bound header in the first half.

Koscielny – 7
Good game from the Frenchman too.

Gibbs – 4
Uncharacteristically poor today, didn’t impose himself and his substitution was inevitable.

Song – 6
Good game. Saw one of his trademark lobs to van Persie end up bouncing away from Man. City’s post. It did seem then we were destined to somehow not win this.

Arteta – 7.5
Cracking long range goal from the Spaniard when someone needed to take the bull by the horn. It was that or we’d rue all our missed chances.

Rosicky – 6
I feel he didn’t pull the strings as well as we know he could. He did get better as the game wore on.

Benayoun – 6
Great work rate shown by the Israeli, compensating for a somewhat flat performance.

Walcott – 3
The Theo we hate to see came out today. Clueless for 80 minutes though could have got a goal in the frenzied moment his shot came off the post (only for Vermaelen to miscue the rebound and Beayoun see his effort somehow cleared off the line by Lescott.)

Van Persie – 7
No goals in four games now though he had one (rightly) ruled out for offside and his two headers denied by Vermaelen and the post. He scores when he wants, do score soon enough RvP.

Santos – 6
Imposed his presence soon as he came on and added some bite to our attack.

Ramsey – 3
He could have squared to RvP in stoppage time but decided to try curl it in, wrong move.

Ox-Chamberlain – N/A

Most importantly, we’ve got the much needed win and put ourselves back in third on 61 points, two ahead of the sillywhites and five of Chelski and Newcastle United. For City, we’ve in essence ended their title hopes; you’re welcome Old Trafford.

Man. City Preview + Club News

The utmost importance of us winning Sunday’s match against the billionaire boys club kicks off tonight at Wales where fifth placed Newcastle United are guests of Swansea City with the Magpies looking to boost their previously unlikely push for a finish in a Champions League spot.

And by the time the match of the weekend kicks off at the Ems, Sp*** could be three points ahead and Chelsea could be two points behind us (along with Newcastle) so in that sense, I believe Arsenal needs the win more than City do unlike the boss who believes otherwise (mind games I presume).

Team News
Nothing exceptional to report here as the boss stated that the crunch encounter comes a bit too early for glass feet Abou Diaby as well as youngster Francis Coquelin though he is confident both will start full training next week.

As for Jack Wilshere, Wenger stated the England international is recovering slowly and the club would rather not rush his comeback. Other than these, we have a full squad to choose from and it will be interesting to see who le boss starts this weekend.

Predicted line-up: Szczesny. Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs. Arteta, Song, Rosicky. Gervinho/Ox, Walcott, RvP.

A hint of complacency and doubting feet from Thomas cost us dearly last time out and I believe Wenger would resist the urge to start Aaron Ramsey this time. And while he may start the Ox; whose love for Drake’s music is now general knowledge, I think Wenger would go for the Ivorian headband (wearer).

Other News

The manager has hinted at a busy summer for us in the transfer market saying “Things are starting now [in terms of transfers]” while equally stressing that focus is needed in the season’s run in.

“At the moment we are so focused on finishing the season well, though, because what we have done over the past two months is absolutely exceptional.”

As you know, the deal to bring Lukas Podolski to the Emirates isn’t wrapped up officially as Wenger would readily tell anyone, while Yann M’Vila and Jan Vertonghen have been strongly linked to us this year.

Wenger meanwhile has praised Theo Walcott’s overall improvement as a player as proven by the 23 year old’s 10 goals and 13 assists this season; the second consecutive season Theo’s scored double figures.

“He is getting to where you want him to be now. I feel that he has made a step forward this season.” were Wenger’s words for Walcott, further stating that he now expects our Usain Bolt to now ship in the double figures every season.

For now however, he along with the rest of the team have a Champions League berth to fight for. Hopefully, Walcott along with the rest of the starting XI continue the ‘marked improvement’ on Sunday and personally, Robin van Persie can want to end his run of games firing blanks!


Why Wilshere comeback was delayed|Wenger fancies Sigurðsson|Thoughts on ‘new kit’.

The initial excitement that greeted news of Jack Wilshere being set to feature in a closed door reserves match got quelled when the team sheet came out and the 20 year old’s name was missing.

Word is, he has suffered a very minor setback in his quest to recovery, which one must state is a normal occurence; however annoying it can be, and thus couldn’t be part of the fixture.

At this moment though, it is anyone’s wild guess as to when we’ll have Jack back and with the reserves team having just two matches left to play this season we may well not see him play competitive football for Arsenal this season.

In lieu of that, it is being reported that a series of closed door friendly matches are being arranged for the reserves to help with his path to full fitness and ultimately give him a chance to make the Euros.

Starting to seem too gloomy there, so some bit of transfer news. This time, Swansea’s on loan midfield star Gylfi Sigurðsson has reportedly (The Sun) caught the eye of Le boss.

The Scandinavian, on loan from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, has only been named the Premier League’s player of the month following a string of good performances for Swansea City and will reportedly cost £6m to prize from Hoffenheim.

In order words, feel free to add Sigurðsson to the shopping cart of midfielders linked to Arsenal that includes Sochaux’s Marvin Martin, Montpellier’s Younes Belhanda, Eden Hazard, Junior Hoilett… Ricardo Montolivo… Yann M’Vila… Shing… I’ll let it rest now.

Finally, some injury news from the Etihad has it that their top scorer Sergio Kun Aguero likely to face us come Sunday after declaring himself fit for the trip to the Ems via Twitter. England defender Joleon Lescott looks likely to be fit for the crunch encounter this Sunday.

That’s a must win for us, made all the more exciting by the fact that it also is a must win for them though I’m honestly hoping Man United get a win on Saturday against QPR to further discourage the City players.

If you remeber clearly, a few weeks ago we brought you a picture of what we think will be our home kit for next season. No one paid attention then; however those pictures are in circulation once again. People are showing a lot more concern this time around and for different reasons.

What do I think of the kit? I see it as change just for the sake of the word; it does not look well designed and it is not one of those that mark a historic period at the club. Let’s hope this is not our new kit or at least that the real thing looks better than the picture.

That’s all for now folks. I think I gave it my best shot conisdering the lack of ‘proper’ news. I’ll have another go at it tomorrow; just before a preview to Sunday’s visit of City.

To our Christian readers who celebrate Easter in the coming days, enjoy yourselves and remember our darling Arsenal in your prayers. We could do with some divine help in the run-in.

To those not celebrating Easter, have fun doing whatever it is you choose, as long as it’s not serial killing or dining with Spuds.

I’d love to read what you guys think of the new kit design. I think it’s however safe to assume that it may turn out to be a fake, one deliberately leaked to spur debate.

Don’t forget to tell a gooner to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs.

Till we meet tomorrow!

Wilshere to Play Today, Pep to Succeed Wenger + Transfer News

He hasn’t played football since the Emirates Cup last year and we have missed his impact on the field through the season.

So it is with great delight we learned through Arseblog that Jack Wilshere’s recovery takes a big step forward when he’ll feature in a close door encounter against Birmingham Reserves this morning.

Here’s hoping he comes through unscathed and on his way to perhaps feature in the last couple of matches for Arsenal in the Premier League this season as we look to finish third and earn automatic qualification to next season’s Champions League.

Meanwhile following UEFA’s €40,000 reprimand for basically having a word with referee Damir Skomina after the 3-0 win over Milan, it’s like one can’t get on Wenger’s nerves hard enough.

Word steaming around indicates that Marouane Chamakh’s sisha episode may have truly pissed Le boss off; enough to actually be determined to show the Moroccan the way out of the club. A narrow eyed Asian will certainly follow this development with some slight pleasure.

As for Chamakh, he’s already linked with a £5m ‘finally he’s going!!’ move to Paris St. Germaine, same side that is reportedly tussling with us for the service of Beninoise midfielder Stephane Sessegnon.

The Sunderland maestro had his name trigger the transfer rumour mill after Black Cats manager Martin O’Neill revealed it would be difficult to keep him at the end of this season.

So of course, why not add Sessegnon to the list that includes Bilbao’s Susaeta, Yann M’Vila of Rennes, Ricardo Montolivo and Eden Hazard among others (to be linked inevitably).

Biggest rumour though comes from Marca of Spain. Apparently a source of theirs believes Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola will succeed Wenger though when that will happen remains a mystery.

Personally, I’d rather have any one of O’Neill, France boss Laurent Blanc (here’s me forgetting he was a Man. United defe… ) and, till he was appointed over at the bridge, Villas-Boas, to succeed our emeritus in economics.

All I can make of this round of Wenger’s successor is… Pep to Arsenal would mean a return to the Ems by Francesc? Sums the nature of this rumour.

Onto some real happenings now as we await Sunday’s cracker against Citeh, the Ox fancies getting into the England squad for Euro 2012 though will focus on putting in good performances for Arsenal.

“My main focus is to see the end of the season out with Arsenal and help us do as well as we can.” said the 18 year old, adding that “We have a long way to go to get a Champions League spot and hopefully top three as well. It would be very nice, but one step at a time is the way to go.”

Good head on that lad I tell you.

That’s all for now guys! It’s a cold morning in Lagos today, and I struggled to get out of bed to put this post together. I can clearly hear my bed calling for a repeat episode of last night’s sleep.

Remember to tell a gooner to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs.

Have yourselves a great day!

Any thoughts? Share them below.

Keep from Derailing; Aftermath of QPR Loss

Good day from wherever you read this from. Steadily, the tense, edge of seat moment of the league has come upon pretty much all the teams in the Premier League with QPR helping their cause at avoiding relegation last time out at the expense of our Gunners.

The boss could’ve blamed a lot of other factors such as the pitch but it’s refreshing that he laid it on the team for a performance that wasn’t “up to scratch”. Alas, it hopefully serves as a silver lining of sorts in our quest to end the season in third to thus bag a group stage ticket at next season’s (lucrative) Champions League.

Adel Taarabt’s “rinsing” of the Verminator for the first along with the below par performance of him and Koscielny on the day should be a “get your sh** together” call to the duo and indeed the rest of the team going into the final seven games of the season, starting with Man. $hitty’s visit this Sunday.

“At the end of the day the result does not lie. The focus was missing a little bit” said Wenger of the QPR loss, adding that :

    “We have been consistent recently and you have to give credit to the team. But in this game we were poor and we were not good enough.”

So yes, it was a blip after going nine matches unbeaten but it being a blip can only be proven with a decisive victory this Sunday and after watching what Sunderland nearly pulled off at the Etihad honestly, we can get those three points and effectively hand the Red Devils their record making 20th league crown.

In all the above, I’ve not conveniently left out the fact that we have three teams right behind us; Newcastle United being the only one worthy mention, but purposely done so.

Other News……

In some other bit of news, eccentric goalie Jens Lehmann believes the Prince of Köln Lukas Podolski would synch in nicely at Arsenal though highlighted that Poldi will have to adapt to the pace of the Premier League along with expectations of winning.

Over at Spain meanwhile, Carlos Vela continues to invoke smirks from me after netting yet again in Sociedad’s 4-0 thumping of Rayo Vallecano. Not that he’s been prolific but you just wonder if he’d make a better option on the bench than, say… Chamakh?!

I’ll let it rest at this point and avoid going on a rant that would wind down to an abyss of pointlessness. Do share your thoughts in the comments though and have a fulfilling April ahead.

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

“We’re Going All Out!” says Wenger – the Milan Preview

Media about AC Milan’s Champions League visit to the Emirates on the back of a solid 4-0 first leg lead has been waxing mostly on famous comebacks in Europe and it just so happens that AC Milan features in most episodes, the defeat to Deportivo la Coruna in 2004 being the pick of the pack along with Liverpool’s triumph a season after.

That said, Arsenal go into the tie on a bit of a high with comeback wins over Sp*rs and Liverpool and… I’m thinking to myself, are we practising for a comeback against the Rossoneri? Huge task.

The task is even more so with the boss ruling Mikel Arteta out of tonight’s encounter, “Arteta has no major problem but he has to rest for a week (no thanks to Henderson’s rush of blood moment) so he will be available against Newcastle but not Milan.”

And with Diaby right back with the medical team where he holds a starting shirt down, Benayoun out with illness, Ramsey still a week from fitness and Rosicky a doubt with a minor groin injury, wonder how the midfield will be.

Predicted line-up: Szczesny. Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Yennaris. Song, Ox, Rosicky/Gervinho. Walcott, Chamakh/Park, RvP.

Pretty make shift yes and we’ve also got Coquelin out as well as Kieran Gibbs. That leaves Song as our only fully fit first team midfielder at the moment… only at Arsenal *sigh*. Still hoping for a comeback? Don’t mind me, miracles happen.

Finally on the issue of resting players seeing as a third place finish is now realistic and particularly on the issue of having a go at overturning the four goal deficit, the boss had this to say, “Yes. I would not be very credible telling you we want to score five goals and then I leave Robin van Persie out”.

So there you have it, the team’s going for the seemingly impossible and we here are going to be with them through the entire 90 tonight, or an extra half hour as the case may turn out to be.


RVP & Szczesny Steal Win for Us + Player Ratings

Yet again we come from behind to snatch all three points, this time at Carling Cup holders Liverpool in a match we failed to get a bearing for long periods as well as finish without winning even a corner kick.

Liverpool were industrious and a bit over the top with their challenges for the ball, one of which has cost us Arteta who was stretched off concussed. Hopefully he’ll be out too briefly.

In summary, Laurent Koscielny gave Liverpool the lead with a flying side footed own goal *smh* minutes after Szczesny saved Dirk Kuyt’s penalty off a non-existent foul.

Captain vantastic equalised with his first headed goal of the campaign off a sterling Sagna cross. And when it seemed we’ll gift the lone walkers the match, Song comes out of an appaling phase with a neat chip over the defence for Robin who lashed home with that left foot!

Unless Chelsea wins by a two-goal margin or more we stay in fourth place, and now we’re just four points off the neighbours who host the Red Devils tomorrow.

For now… the player ratings…

Szczesny – 8
Charismatic goalkeepers of old will be proud of this young man here. Saved penalty, and the rebound too. Made the 18 yard his own and really deserved a clean sheet though Kozzer had his ideas.

Sagna – 7
Wonderful cross to find RvP for the first. Still needs to work on tracking back though that is coupled with the winger ahead of him not helping out.

Gibbs – 7
I feel he had a good game. Got some neat tackles in, wasn’t so adventuruous yet went about his duties well enough.

Koscielny & Vermaelen – 6
Poor goal to own and had some trouble dealing with Suarez at times, Vermaelen too. Vermaelen on his part improved in the second half but both need to do much better in coming matches.

Arteta – 6
Quiet game overall before getting knocked out by that ******* ****** Henderson. Any guesses what words have been censored off, be my guest!

Song – 6.5
Error ridden game for this man until the ‘otu’ (poor footballer) makes way for the Song we’ve come to love this season and create a fantastic stoppage time assist for the captain who in return kissed the man’s boot. Vintage stuff.

Rosicky – 5
Not the best of days for little Mozart but he wasn’t poor.

Benayoun – 4
Yossi must’ve got in the Sp*rs bus that left the Ems after that win because the man wasn’t at Anfield today.

Walcott – 6
Lively when called upon though his finishing today lacked precision and confidence behind them.

RvP – 9
This man here, hardworking and all. Very well taken goals both at the tail end of both halves. He’s the sort of character that should be leading and here’s me hoping he will be next season along with a few new and assured names in. Surely, he’ll account for half or more of the league’s goals of the season…


Diaby – 5
Cursed. Just cursed Vassiriki. Came on for Arteta and got replaced under half an hour after. He did play well in his cameo, even brought a save out of Reina.

Ox – 6
He better start against Milan, we’ve got nothing to lose that day so I don’t see why he shouldn’t. Too much energy oozing off this lad, well worth every pound of the Queen’s currency.

Gervais Headband – 5
Still seeking confidence from his penalty miss at AFCON Wenger? Oh well, we’ve been alright so far with him coming from he bench lately. He too should start against Milan.

Consecutive wins against tough oppositions is something to be very proud of. This win pleases me more so as we won ‘dirty’ as have been demanded time and again in the past. More of the same Gunners!

No new Henry deal, Sunderland Preview + Injury Updates

Good day from wherever good place you’re reading this. After just a point from four league games ended with an emphatic win last weekend, the lads will be looking to build on that performance in their trip to face Sunderland. First to some somewhat bad news.

King Henry will not be extending his loan spell, according to New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe. It’s no secret Arsene wants him to stay for 2 more weeks, but Bulls coach has indicated that Titi will return to the States on 17th February as originally planned. Said he:

“When I spoke to him [Henry], he told me that he was 100 per cent coming back on February 17,” said Backe. “What I know, it’s only rumours. I haven’t heard anything from them about extending the loan.”

The news will definitely come as a sucker punch to Wenger’s plans and will leave most gooners very sad. Tit has been wonderful for us in his short spell, we can only thank NYRB for giving him up in the first place and wish him luck.

Now to the game this weekend. The Black Cats have most usually proved a stubborn opposition for us. We only edged this season’s reverse fixture; Seb Larsson’s free-kick remains stunning, and now, with Martin O’Neil at the helm, Saturday’s match at the Stadium of Light may just be as tough.

O’Neil will however be without a host of injured absentees including Lee Cattermole, David Vaughan and Titus Bramble along with Craig Gordon, Matthew Kilgallon and Wes Brown who are out on the long-term. Oh, our dear on loan top marksman Nicklas Bendtner’s out as well.

Then there’s the bit of getting his team ready for us days after needing extra time to edge local rivals Middesbrough and set up a Fifth Round date with us next weekend in the FA Cup. All that’s the good part for us for on the flip side there’s the presence of Larsson, Stephan Sessegnon and Frazier Campbell to deal with along with the fact that we have not won at Sunderland since October 2007 when Robin van Persie bagged a double in a 3-2 victory.

Speaking of, van Persie has 22 goals already and talks of etching his name on the records have started brewing but as the captain rightly would, we’ll focus on the match instead.

Alongside him, Alex Song and Mikel Arteta are sure to start. I’d like to see Bacary Sagna start this one too as well as Tomas Rosicky in midfield though gut feeling says we may see the return of Ramsey.

Possible XI: Szczesny. Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen. Arteta, Song, Ramsey. AOC, Walcott, van Persie.

The manager says Chamakh’s at “normal fitness” level and could make the bench for this, sorry Park. And on the injury front, Kieran Gibbs is not far from full fitness as well as Carl Jenkinson. Good to have a near fully fit squad to pick from with games in the Cup and Chmpions League coming up.

Wenger has also praised African duo Song and Gervinho, the former for his marked improvement in the passing department and attacking mentality which has seen him provide seven assists in all competitions so far; second behind Walcott with eight assists.

Gervinho gets le Boss’ praise after his great solo effort proved enough for Ivory Coast to reach the Africa Nations Cup final. Wenger was partucularly pleased with Eddy’s composure in finishing and hopes it boosts his confidence playing for club and country.

A win this Saturday will further boost our confidence as well, especially so coming on away grounds against an organised team as Sunderland. I’m thinking 1-0 to the Cannon.

What do you think? See you in the comments…