As much as I’d have loved to move on, it is only fitting that one talks about the game we saw last night. Terry gets sent off, Chelsea qualify knock out Barccelona, and the most surpirsing of all, Torres gets a goal.
Crazy, crazy game if you ask me. Chelsea really rode their luck yesterday, I doubt Messi would have lost that penalty if it was Arsenal. That’s how unlucky we are.
It was good to see an English side go through to the final again, sad to see the arguably the best team in the history of the game lose out in such manner, and disgusting to see the reactions of some Arsenal fans.
We complain when ex-players talk about Arsenal, yet we find it difficult to keep our noses out of their business. That reeks of hypocrisy if you ask me.
So Chelsea are in the final and they have a shot at the title which is what really gets to me. Apart from the fact that they may be the first London side to win the Champions League, Chelsea’s result in the final may decide whether or not we play in the Champions League next year.
A bit of research on the EPL’s official website, and this is what I found out:
“No extra domestic place can be gained by winning the UEFA Champions League, therefore the team finishing fourth drops to the UEFA Europa League.”
This means if we somehow manage to lose our 3rd spot to N’castle or Spurs, and Chelsea somehow win the UCL, there will be no Champions League football for us next season. Our last 3 games include visits to Stoke and West Brom, grounds we have struggled in recently and we will need to dig deep to get 6 points from both games.
It is possible of course. We only need to banish the spirits that reared their heads against QPR and Wigan.
It looks like our favourite Brazilian, Denilson will be returning next season. His lawyer has apparently been in London this week, with the hope of securing an extension to Denilson’s loan deal with Sao Paulo but the club have denied him permission. It looks like Wenger wants him back in time for pre-season.
And with some reports stating Arsenal will look to wrap up M’villa deal before the start of Euro 2012, questions are raised over Denilson’s role in the team. Gut feeling tells me we just want him to return so we can ship him off, permanently this time. He’s in the same ship with Bendtner and Vela – those we may be looking to give away this summer.
Vela has been in good form in Spain. It can be argued that he is only scoring goals because the league is easier (for strikers), and that the pressure at Arsenal was too much for him. Flip the coin and you have an amazing talent who was rarely given a chance to impress (5-minute cameos when we are losing do not count). One can only hope Wenger does the right thing.
Which is exactly what he did when he ruled out Wilshere for the season and from participating in any summer tournament. But Stuart ‘The Pyscho’ Pearce has chosen to act out his nickname. Pearce has stated that Wenger cannot stop him from including Wilshere in his Great Britain squad for the Olympics this summer.
That’s his opinion. I can’t change his opinion, and it’s not of great concern to me. Will any manager get a veto over who I select? Of course not.
It is safe to assume that Pearce will ignore what is best for Jack who is still recovering from a year out of the game and pick him for the Olympics. Granted he may need some football to get him started for next season, but playing at the Olympics can equally make his injury worse.
We surely do not want him ruled out for most of next season again, do we? Time will tell whether or not Pearce allows that nickname to get into his head.
The players have been vocal, Rosicky talking about a 3-second system he’s trying to perfect with Song and Arteta, Sagna and Koscielny talking about how far they’ve come, and Szczesny staying grounded. You may want to look at this piece on RVP’s year in numbers. Interesting stuff.
So that’s all from me today, Chelsea’s win yesterday just raised my hunger for a trophy. They can do a double this year! They can also end up with nothing like us, so we should not be quick to curse our luck. Plus we did not have to spend 50 million quid on a player who scores once in 2 blue moons.
Podolski looks like a done deal, a creative midfielder will be in order. I expect Chamakh and Park to leave. I’m thinking do Bendtner and Vela deserve another chance at Arsenal or should we just farm them off?
Share your thoughts with me in the comments.
Have an amazing day wherever you read this from.
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It was an overly dull London derby as Arsenal played out a goalless draw with Chelsea, a result fans of the Blues will be happier with but one that may well have ended their Champions League ambition from the Premier League point of view.
As for us, we were absent for much of the first half against a second string Chelsea. Captain van Persie hit the post (yet again) and the highly impressive Koscielny was denied by the crossbar.
Below is the player ratings…
Szczesny – 7
Assured performance from the Pole on his 50th Premier League appearance for us.
Sagna – 6
Good game as well on his century of matches for Arsenal.
Vermaelen – 7
When RvP hit the post off Walcott’s freekick, Vermaelen was next to him ready to pounce. Turn the 5 upside down and add a line where necessary… you have a makeshift 9. And he defends very well too, that we all know.
Koscielny – 8.5
Sterling performance from the Frenchman, especially in the second half. Unfortunate to have the bar deny him after losing his marker well.
Gibbs – 6.5
Good game from him.
Song – 7.5
A rock in midfield. Delivered some good balls and dispossessed the visitors on a number of occasions.
Ramsey – 3
He did throw a cool long ball for RvP in the second half. He however lost possession too many times, lingering on the ball when his job was to keep the game going.
Keep the faith here gooners…
Rosicky – 7
Was at a loss when he was substituted, then got word that he’s been ill recently. Good game from him nonetheless, felt he could have played a bit longer.
Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5
Not the Ox we’ve come to love. Troubled the Chelsea back with his agility at times but brought little to the match.
Walcott – 5
Went off with a hamstring injury, hopefully not a serious one. Had an average game.
Van Persie – 5
Let’s be honest here, our captain vantastic hasn’t been the Robin that had us no longer needing a Batman lately. Now, he’s gone over 11 hours without a goal from open play, that’s not right!
Gervinho – 5
Diaby – 5
Thankfully, he saw this through unlike when he came on at Liverpool.
Santos – N/A
Summarily, we go six points clear with three games to play but Sp*ds and Newcastle now have two games more to play. When you do the math, today’s point is actually valuable. We just would’ve preferred three.
Do share your thoughts about the outcome and its implications below.
Arsenal will look to complete a Premier League double and also get a third successive win over Chelsea when the Blues visit the Emirates in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Roberto di Matteo’s side will be without David Luiz and suspended Branislav Ivanovic while according to a tweet by @BornGooner, Didier Drogba will miss the encounter as well, after picking a knee injury in the lone goal win over Barcelona on Wednesday.
Arsenal will be without Mikel Arteta who is out for 6-8 weeks with a sprained ankle that thankfully does not require surgery, while Yossi Benayoun is ineligible as part of the loan deal from Stamford Bridge.
Serial cold table patient Abou Diaby will likely be in the squad as a result of the above absentees while Laurent Koscielny returns from his two-match suspension, relegating Djourou to the bench and Squillaci to gunner-oblivion.
Szczesny. Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Santos. Ramsey, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Ox/Gervinho. Van Persie.
With Diaby playing a half of the lone goal win over Oman’s Olympic team during the week, he won’t be ready to play from the onset. Fellow Frenchman Francis Coquelin is back to full training as well but will miss the match due to match fitness.
A win for us is crucial for, other than local bragging rights, getting closer to sealing third spot in the league and a place at next season’s Champions League group stage.
With Chelsea (boldly) harbouring hopes of making next season’s Champions League through winning this season’s, fourth place in the league would become a ticket to the Europa League in the (un)likely event of that.
It either way keeps alive hopes of finishing third for the Sp*ds and Newcastle United; both on 59 points from 33 matches, in fourth and fifth respectively, consequently serving a good incentive for both to put pressure on Arsenal with 64 points from 34 matches played.
Former Arsenal forward Tony Woodcock has joined the queue of voices imploring on captain Robin van Persie to remain at the club beyond the end of his current contract.
According to Woodcock, “With somebody like Robin, it cannot be a financial thing at this stage in his career. Players want to win things and he is not far from doing so at Arsenal”.
The forward who spent four seasons with the club in the 1980s stated further that Arsenal is close to ending the trophy drought and though finishing third should be considered a success in lieu of our start to the season, the fans do want to see the club winning trophies again.
Elsewhere on a lighter note, captain of the Arsenal Ladies Faye White has called time on her international career while also contemplating her future at the club after revealing she is expecting her first child, due October.
White has spent 15 seasons at the Ladies with 27 honours to show for her long service and according to her, would wait for the feeling (for football) to “switch off” in her head before deciding to retire from the club as well.
We extend our best wishes to her, just as we hope a repeat of last season’s 3-1 win last time Chelsea visited occurs. Share your thoughts ahead of the encounter below and have a great weekend.
Good day wherever you’re reading this from. Tonight we come up against Wigan Athletic with a chance to open an eight point gap on the Spuds and Newcastle United.
Both teams were not involved in league action over the weekend due to the FA Cup semi finals in Wembley. The weekend proved that the FA Cup still has its magic. I mean…Carroll scored a winner, how often does that happen?
It was also fun to see Chelsea thump our noisy neighbours 5-1. This season they have conceded 5 goals to City, Chelsea and Arsenal. Big club mentality, you say?
Quite funny how Harry Redknapp is still the “top candidate” for the England manager’s job.
There were mentions of cheating from Chelsea and the win (despite the margin) was tagged controversial by ESPN. The Sp*ds lost and that’s what matters.
Talking about cheats, Le Boss claims divers should be hit with a 3-match ban. Who can blame him, considering how many cases of simulation we’ve witnessed in the past week. Said Arsene:
“I must say the English players learn quickly. If an obvious dive is punished by a 3-match ban, then players wouldn’t do it anymore. I would support it”
Ashley Young alone won 2 penalties in 2 games, both undeserved and set United on the way to claiming maximum points from both games. Whether they would still have won those games without those penalties is open to debate.
Onto Arsenal news, Wigan visit the Emirates brimming with commendable pride after being ‘overlooked’ to get at least a point at Chelsea before deservedly defeating league leaders Man. United in midweek.
It therefore doesn’t look to be the easy 3-0 win we got over them here last season, a notion Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky stresses:
“Wigan beat Manchester United on Wednesday, so that’s an indication that it will be a tough test for us.”
Even Fergie thinks they can win if they manage to nick a goal against us, and that’s saying a lot.
Coupled with the fact that the Latics are fighting against the drop, the importance of this match is not lost on Rosicky.
“People might not usually regard a match against Wigan as such a big one, but they are still battling relegation, so there is a lot at stake for both of us.”
Rosicky is likely to return for this tie after being rested for the win at Wolves last Wednesday while Gervinho is in contention as he’s recovering from an ankle injury. Gibbs has a 50-50 chance, and following Santos’ horror defensive showing at Wolves, the Englishman should return to LB if fit. Djourou will partner Vermaelen again at the back with Koscielny serving the last of his two-match suspension.
Szczesny. Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos. Arteta, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Benayoun/Ox, van Persie.
We all would love for Oxlade-Chamberlain to get some starts but Benayoun has played well in the last two games while we all know Walcott (somehow) remains an ‘integral’ part of Le Professeur’s plans *sigh*.
If we go into this in the business like manner we did last time out at Molineux, I fancy us picking a win. And having in mind that while Arsenal have won nine of the last 10 in the league, Wigan have lost just once in its last six.
Final word on this post goes to Piermario Morosini, who suffered a heart attack on the pitch in Italy and died over the weekend. Our condolences extend to his family and friends in this trying period. These events put football in a different perspective.
That’s all from me for now, enjoy the game wherever you watch from. I’m putting my money on a 3-0 win, to the good guys of course!
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
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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).
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).
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!
MARRY ME VAN PERSIE came the tweet at the end of the final 90. Another masterful performance from the new darling of the Arsenal faithful. What can we do without him? I don’t want to find out. He must stay fit.
In a game where despite being on top, our defence had other ideas and threatened to spoil it all. But the likes of Arteta, Song, Ramsey, Walcott, RVP stood tall and took matters into their own hands. Santos also bagged his second goal, Arteta his first assist and Gervinho his fourth. Below are the player ratings.
Nothing he could do about the three goals. He was shaky and at the same time very solid.
Had a tough game against Mata and Torres but did ok for someone playing out of position.
Oh boy, oh boy, I’m falling in love with this boy right now. The last 5 games he’s been an absolute beast and is surely guaranteed a spot when Vermaelen returned.
Mertesacker – 6.5
Continues to have a Jekyll and Hyde season. Started well then became poor but recovered well and won all aerial balls in the 2nd half. He’s better suited to the European game.
Santos – First Half 5Second Half 7
At fault for the opening goal for not preventing the cross and looked unfit in the opening 45. But came out looking solid and grabbed the equalizer. Good game
Arteta – 7
Controlled performance from the spaniard, nothing risky, completed his passes and defended well. For someone so timid he bagged his first assist for the club with a slide rule pass for the 5th & final goal.
Song – 7
I thought he played very well, a bit careless in the opening half but he protected his defence well and almost got in a block to prevent Mata’s thunderbolt
Ramsey – 7
Very matured performance from the Welsh skipper. Full of energy and invention. Did enough against Lampard and co and on another day would have bagged an assist and a goal.
Walcott – 8
The way he started the game, you’d think he had a vendetta against Ashley Cole, presented a chance which Gervinho messed up. His goal was brilliant as he picked himself up after being tripped, bamboozled two chelsea players and blasted it beyond Cech. *Babanla Goal
Gervinho – 7
Shamed himself after missing an easy goal but put in an action packed performance and was a thorn in Bosingwa’s side the entire game. Assisted Van Persie again. Budding on-pitch romance between those two.
Van Persie – 100
Five star performance. I’m fast running out of adjectives to describe Van Persie. Not in recent memory has a captain led by his performances the way he has this season. Magnificent hattrick. Each goal beautiful in its own way.
Jenkinson – 5
Rosicky – 5
Vermaelen – 5
Credit must go to Arsene wenger, whatever he said to the lads at half time worked like a charm as the players upped the ante and defended better and got all the three points. Great weekend to be a gooner.
Man Of The Match – Van Persie
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After coming through 80+ minutes in the Carling Cup on tuesday and coming off with small cramp, The Verminator has been passed fit to take on Chelsea. Although Wenger is yet to confirm if he’ll start, he’s in the squad and that in itself is a welcome boost to the squad ahead of the trip to the neighbors.
Not only that, Carl Jenkinson is facing a race to be fit for the game and would need to pass a late fitness test. The young Finnish-English lad hasn’t played since going off against Marseille two weeks ago.
Finally, the injuries are beginning to ease on us and in no time, we’ll have all our players fit with the exception of Jack Wilshere who is ruled out till the new year and what better time for that to happen than when the team is on the ascendancy. Diaby & Gibbs are still out, with no set date placed on the return of the latter, but we should see them soon.
The Annual General meeting held yesterday at the club and due to different obstacles I couldn’t make it in person to attend and apparently someone asked for PHW to step down and bring David Dein back to the club. To read on all that went down, (open the link in blue) check out Le Grove I also heard Wenger gave a rousing speech. Good man.
That’s all for now, I’ll be here to give you the match preview early tomorrow morning. Don’t miss it. Do have a swell day.
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