Blog Archives

Let’s get this done…no drama!

Training to destroy

I guess it is only fair to say everyone had a very good weekend Arsenally (yeah, that’s a new word from me), considering the fact that we got all three points on the same day Manchester United and Chelsea dropped two each. I wish I had something to say about Liverpool but apparently they have more games than points which is rather sad for a club of their pedigree. But that is not why I’m writing this, so I won’t get all emotional over their plight. I’m simply trying to put you in the right frame of mind, going into our Champions League Match against Shakhtar Donetsk tonight.

First let’s take a look at the facts, Arsenal have won three of their four Champions League home games against Ukrainian opposition, the exception being a 1-1 draw with Dynamo Kiev played at Wembley Stadium in 1998. Arsenal and Shakhtar were drawn against each other in the 2000-01 Champions League Group Stage and the Gunners came back from 0-2 down to win 3-2 thanks to two late Martin Keown goals; remember his celebration?

We have only lost two of our last 35 Champions league home matches and those were both against English opposition.Also, Arsenal have only lost two of their last 35 Champions League home matches and those were both against English opposition(United and Chelsea, I guess). The Ukrainian champions also have 6 points from two games so the boys should not assume this would be a walkover. It is like a battle for the top spot!

There is a man in the middle of all these, a certain Crozilian, Eduardo Da Silva and he might play a part in Shakhtar Donetsk attack. In his press conference,Eduardo got very emotional and touched on a few things.
Said he,

“I don’t think I’ll celebrate if I score. I had great moments there and I have respect for the supporters, for Mr Wenger and the club”.

WE HAVE A LOT OF RESPECT AND LOTS OF LOVE FOR YOU TOO DUDU!!!

Seven of Dudu’s eleven appearances for the Ukrainian champions have come from the bench and he also has four goals to his name. Not a bad start, you say?

Arsenal are set to welcome back inspirational captain Cesc Fabregas as he has returned to the squad over the weekend although a starting place is not guaranteed, with Arsene Wenger saying on the club’s official website that he did not know whether or not to start him. My guess is we’ll see the same team that started on Saturday with maybe the exception of Theo on the right. Cesc and Nikky B should be on the bench. Everyone is rooting for Theo to play and work some of that “Usain Bolt magic” .

So, we need to get this game behind us and focus on the Citeh game. We started the engine well against Birmingham, so we should have enough to finish off this game early and rest some of our best legs for the cracker against the Northern Chavs. I’m looking forward to a huge win, reminiscent of those great European nights at the Grove, 3-0 , 4-0, 5-0 perhaps; or will we be stunned again? I really hope not because I’m not in the mood for any drama whatsoever.

Probable Starting XI: Fabianski; Eboue, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy; Nasri, Song, Wilshere; Walcott, Chamakh, Arshavin.

We are the Arsenal, let’s do this!

From wherever you are reading, have fun still. It may be an unforgettable night.
Faf says so!

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Gunners expertly dispatch Trotters.

Koscly goal

Arsenal once again banished memories of past games against Bolton with an efficient display on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Going into the game, we had many injury concerns, with Theo Walcott getting injured on international duty and Robin extending his time out. We were definitely short up front; with Nikky B and Nasri not up for a start, I eagerly awaited what kind of attack we were going to line out with.

When the team sheet was released, I heaved a sigh of relief as we were still strong in attack, with Arshavin and Rosciky on either side of Chamakh. Changes were also made to the back four: Gibbs and Eboue came in for the rested duo of Clchy and Sagna respectively; Squillaci also came in for the slightly injured Vermaelen to Koscly at the heart of the defence. It was a joy to see Wilshere start alongside Cesc and Song in midfield; Arsene definitely had the midweek Champions League fixture on his mind.

The game in itself was virtually all Arsenal. In the opening 45 minutes, Cesc and Rosicky pulled the strings, moving the ball around quite well and attempting the most delicate of passes. Quite a number of these passes made their way to Arshavin and he wasted them, chances that he would normally bury on a normal day. This is a worrying sight as on other days and against better teams, we might have paid dearly for those missed chances.

In the 23rd minute however, a Wilshere cross from the right was met on the far post by Cesc who squared in across goal to Koscly who managed to nudge it into the net. He was understandably happy with himself. I guess his happiness went into his head as he misjudged a long ball from deep in the Bolton half and tamely headed back when a clearance would have been more appropriate. His header only made its way to an unmarked opposing player in our box and Bolton drew level. It was unimaginable given the fact that we dominated the entire game. Arsenal pressed for a goal before the break but Bolton were very glad going into half time on par.

In the second half, Arsenal picked up from where they left off and continued the search of that goal. Their efforts were rewarded on the hour as Chamakh steered home a header from a Cesc cross. We had the advantage now and needed to get more to kill off any hopes of a comeback. We were celebrating again when Alex Song finished off a lovely passing move involving Cesc and Arshavin. He beat his man and chipped the ball delightfully above the goalie with the ball strolling over the line. 3 – 1, in the 78th minute with most of the possession, you did not see a way back for Bolton in this one. All we had to now was pass the ball around and exploit any other chances.

The Grove was raised to its roof with the last goal. Vela who was on as a substitute got on the end of a 24-pass move and slotted past the keeper. It was undoubtedly the goal of the weekend. Arsenal at their imperious best, and Vela contributing his own share of goals.

Final whistle, game over, mission accomplished. We just defeated our one time bogey team and in style too. There were a few positives to take from this game, the wonderful debut from new boy Squillaci, the goal by Koscly, Cesc’s performance, Chamakh and Vela’s goals. The major negative in this match is the injury to Diaby. Another injury? Oh please! How do we end all these worries. It’s becoming a norm and a bad habit at that.

We have the Champions League next. It feels so good to be participating in Europe’s number one competition once again. We have a relatively easy group, and with the way injuries have dealt with us, more rotation is needed. So I expect to see some “new faces” in the midweek.

That’s it gooners, we are second, we have beating Blackburn and Bolton and drawn away to Liverpool. Not a really bad position to be in, is it?

Thoughts?

From wherever you are reading, have fun.
9jabred says so!

HERO TO ZERO IN BARELY 10 MINUTES: THE REINA SHOW.

Reina horror

Everyone related to the Arsenal should be grateful to Pepe Reina for the one point we came out with from today’s game. After making probably the save of the weekend just a few minutes earlier from a brilliant Rosicky shot. The Czech captain exchanged passes with RVP, danced around a few challenges in the box and let it fly. I already stood up for what I thought was a sure goal, but funny enough the net was not rattled. How on earth did that not score? On replay, Reina actually had a hand to it, raising it just over the cross bar.

A seemingly harmless Rosicky cross saw the Spaniard clearly ridiculed after vying for the ball with Marouane which the Moroccan knocked against the post. The ball then fell to Reina, who fumbled it and actually threw it into the net himself. Handing one of your rivals a goal at the death, when a win would have boosted morale at Anfield? You simply had to feel sorry for him.

On second thought though, I think it’s just a case of fate paying Pepe back in his own currency. The bald Spaniard was at the centre of the Fabregas Barcelona shirt controversy. He actually made the announcement and clearly ridiculed Arsenal and us fans.

The match in itself was quite a tensed spectacle in which two debutants for both sides saw red. First was Joe Cole who was given his marching orders on the verge of half time for a scathing challenge on Laurent Koscielny near the byline. It looked quite nasty and “committed” as the English press would describe it but the decision on what colour of card to issue was the referee’s. Ironically, the same man who was fouled for Cole’s dismissal would follow suit after handling the ball in the 90th minute. He had been booked a minute before for a bad tackle to Kuyt’s groin. It was only normal for him to get sent off after committing a somewhat deliberate handball.

We had most of the ball, with the home team prepared to wait and hit us on the counter. Bar a TV5 shot which Reina did well to parry away, our possession amounted to nothing in the first half. The second half though saw both sides trying to take the initiative. Liverpool drew first blood when Kuyt intercepted a sloppy pass from Jackie and fed Ngog. The young Frenchman rifled a shot from a difficult angle through Almunia’s near post. Anfield went mad!!! Maybe, just maybe Al could have done a bit better; TV5 also sholdn’t have given him that sort of space. Our late equalizer came courtesy of the Reina show, and in a week when rumours are rife about us signing a new keeper, Al did little to build Arsene’s confidence in him.

I need to touch on the few positives I took from this game. While there is definitely room for improvement, Koscielny did not look out place against the big boys. He looked confident and his touches were assured. The red card aside, he had a good game. Another good thing was a great game from Rosicky. Mozart, as he’s fondly called changed our approach completely and seemed to bring life into our attack.

Some negatives though, Nasri bottled up AGAIN. He’s really inconsistent and needs to step up in big games. He seemed to play with the handbrakes and was sometimes too careful to open up the Liverpool defence. A complete opposite of Rosicky! Arsha also looked disinterested in the whole show. His passes were wayward and tired. He generally looked unfit. Theo still needs to improve his crossing. Yeah, it was just one chance, but we need to make these chances count. Our bench was a funny one with no natural centre back present. What would Arsene have done had Koscly gone down under the Cole challenge? Bring on a half fit Song? Lastly, if we think Diaby is our back up for Song in the defensive midfield position, then we are not serious about winning the title.

So, by and large, our first weekend ends in a draw, a lucky one for that matter but it’s all good. You can not rate a draw at Anfield as a disaster, can you? Forget the Chelsea win and an almost certain Man United win, it’s just the beginning of the race. As the Nigerian will say, NO SHAKING!!!

From wherever you are reading, have fun.
9jabred says so!

Arsenal’s 3rd signing and Anfield here we come again!!!

Anfield, here we come.

Hallo gooners world over. Since the 2009/10 season ended in May, we waited for the moment our dear team will get another shot at the Premier League crown once again and our wait is finally over. Our season starts tomorrow afternoon and on familiar territory too. We open our season for two consecutive seasons at the Merseyside. Last season’s opener saw us visit Everton and did we give them a good drubbing. I can only dream of an identical result tomorrow, one that will send a message to all our rivals.

As usual we have our injury worries; with Ramsey and Nikky B still long term cases, Diaby, Denilson and Song carry niggles and are doubtful for the encounter. Cesc and RVP are also due to be rested following their involvement in the World Cup final. That means Nasri is going to be at the centre of everything we do tomorrow. He needs to be decisive tomorrow and I think he’s going to have a blinder…he’s actually due one.

As such,we do not quite have our best team going to Anfield but with Andrei Arshavin in the side, we can be sure of another good showing. The diminutive Russian has an amazing record against the Scousers, getting 5 goals from 6 shots on goal in just two matches. And barring the unusual, we should also get to see new signings Marouane and Koscly in the starting eleven. It will be great to see how well they have settled into their new surrounding and a visit to Liverpool is definitely not the best place for that.

Talking of new signings, we made our 3rd signing of the summer and what an unusual one it is. It’s a great one though, as Le Boss this morning signed a three-year contract extension to 2014. This is to set an example for the players, as it will be out of place for a man who has only a year left on his own contract clamouring for others to commit themselves. Arsene has steered Arsenal to seven major trophies – including the league title in the famous unbeaten season – in his 14 years since succeeding Bruce Rioch in September 1996.

Let’s hope we can celebrate Le Boss’ new contract with a good result at Anfield. By a good result, I mean all three points coming back to N5 and even with our shaky defence, it is possible…afterall, we’ve got the Russian assassin.

Enjoy your Sunday fellas and then we watch our team teach those dirty scousers what football is really about.

C’mon you smokin’ Gunners.

From wherever you are reading, have fun.
9jabred says so!!!

Silly season in full flow…who was he referring to?

Le Boss

So it seems we are approaching that moment of the year when the rumours have started flying again. These stories as silly as they might be can be interesting to read atimes. Due to the fact that we’ve suffered another trophyless season, the media believe that we must purchase every available player, from goalkeepers to strikers…every department. But Wenger has come out to say He believes in his team but if he can make an addition-two or three maximum, he’ll do so.

Now notice the highlighted phrases, they sound familiar don’t they? That’s the same stuff we heard last summer when we clearly needed more than a centre-back. The same lines he used during the winter when it was obvious we would struggle without another striker to replace the injured Robin. Now the season is over for us in terms of trophies that is, and I think I’m right to say we missed a few experienced heads in there. We all saw the difference an experienced head can bring into this team. Campbell anyone???

Now for Arsene to think this team, without any good additions will win anything next season is simply ridiculous. Yes, we will win the Emirates Cup, destroy the pub clubs in Austria and Poland in pre-season but when the real action starts, we’ll be found wanting again. I hope this is not the case though. We should get Chamakh in the summer as it seems Arsenal are just waiting for his contract to officially run out before making an announcement.

Of all the names being thrown around, only a few interest me and those that will do a good job in the team. Joe Hart will be an extremely good addition with both Big Al and Fabianski putting in unconvincing shifts. I wouldn’t mind one of those ‘hardcore’ centre backs like Hangeland and Mexes to partner TV5 next term. I really do not think Willie will be renewing his contract next season, and I pray Fish head will be allowed to leave and “sin no more”. So one of those plus TV5 with Sol (hopefully) and Johan as back up wouldn’t be a bad idea I suppose.

So Mourinho beat Barcelona last night, he was visibly and understandably ecstatic; describing the moment as the best in his career but what caught my attention was a comment about his team. Said he,

Inter haven’t played a Champions League final for 38 years – this is something that we were all waiting for. This isn’t a squad of children who can wait 15 years to play a final”.

Something in me tells me convincingly that Jose was referring to none other than the Arsenal youngsters and this is a sucker punch coming from the Portuguese tactician. He’s definitely no admirer of our youth project and can point to his victory of Barca as evidence of something children couldn’t manage.

Finally, Arsene says he’s disappointed in stories that have been circulating about Andrei’s wish to play for Barcelona. He believes the lad must have been misinterpreted by journalists who want to sell their papers and I think I agree with Le Boss. But what if those comments were actually made by Arsha? Well that’s an issue for another day…

Your thoughts?

From wherever you are reading, have fun.

9jabred says so!