@bosunescobar said “Arsenal will chop two, just watch” and we did. But I damn well am glad we gave West Brom three to chop… and Kieran Gibbs must surely have a place in Heaven after that aptly executed stoppage time tackle. Trepidation ‘whelms me at the thought of “had that gone wrong… “.
Francis Coquelin turned 19 on the day, Yossi Benayoun performed well for us again in what likely is his last game for us, anxiety got the better of monsieur Wenger and who better to cling on than Pat Rice, lifted by the players after the final whistle to an ovation from the visiting fans; in tribute to the end of his long service to the club.
It was a tense way to wrap up our season, Arsenal somehow always ensures of the drama. After Fulop flopped to let Yossi give us the lead after four minutes, two goals in four minutes meant we had work to do.
How the first wasn’t chalked off for offside leaves my being perplexed. How the second was scored left my emotions numb at our defensive movement, with Graham Dorrans making light work of Kozzer and TV5 there.
All that happened in the opening 15 minutes and our ‘noisy’ neighbours were at the time, ahead against Fulham by a lone Emmanuel Adebayor goal.
It wasn’t the ideal scenario for a week 38 fixture as far as any gooner was bothered. Any form of goal was craved and Andre the boss Santos duly obliged to get our gays back on level terms just after the half hour mark.
A tinny bit of skill before lashing one into the bottom corner and the Brazilian ensured we’d go into the break at 2-2 with the Sillywhites still leading by Adebayor’s goal i.e. they = 69 and us = 68… *shudders*
We showed some urgency at the start of the second half. Rosicky got replaced by Theo Walcott at half time, leaving Yossi with the task of pulling the midfield strings.
Jermaine Defoe doubled the Tiny Tots’ advantage just past the hour mark and we were on our way to 1) another nervy affair in the Champions League final qualifying round or 2) the Europa Leag… God forbideth!!
Marton Fulop obliged yet again. Making to punch away a van Persie corner but jumping into his (better placed to clear) defender and fumbling his attempted clearance instead, gifting Laurent Koscielny the goal to scramble in the ball.
No amount of goals scored at the Shite Fart Lane could help them now. Ramsey came on for Santos and Benayoun returned to the left wing after Gervinho went off for Kieran Gibbs.
Inspired substitution, the latter, thanks to that tackle I mentioned earlier. Made Gibbs my man of the match, along with the industrious Yossi while van Persie came a close third.
And though he did say in his pre-match note that he’d trade all his goals for a win at the Hawthorns, finishing dead on 30, just one behind the record number 31, had me feel a tad bit of “damn” for captain vantastic.
Nonetheless, he’s the PFA and FWA Player of the Season, Arsenal.com’s Player of the Season (yet to be polled but really, it’s not a contest) and the league’s ‘golden boot’ as well as Europe’s bronze boot behind “Angel” Messi and the oiled one, Ronaldo.
Summarily, it was a bipolar season for the Gunners. A good season thanks to going from fourth bottom to third from top in Wenger’s 900th league match for us. A bad season no thanks to making it seven years without a trophy… take the figurine out of Arsenal’s abode already -__-.
We missed Jack Wilshere gravely. Alas, Mikel Arteta would likely not be a gunner now if Jack wasn’t injured. A silver lining to carry into our campaign next season.
Lukas Podolski is a gunner, most imperatively alongside van Persie. Would be interesting to see if we adapt to a 4-4-2 formation or play the German from the left wing. Certainly hope he’s not a ‘replacement killer’ for you-know-who.
And finally, two more arrivals and no departure of players other than the Squillacis and Shishas will have us being real title contenders next season. M’Vila? Vertonghen? Biglia? Belhanda? Time will tell.
Congratulations to Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and (from some corner of my heart) Samir Nasri along with their title winning mates at Manchester City. Thoroughly deserve to be champions and what a breathless way to pip the Red Devils to it.
Take a cue Tiny Tots, that’s what you call a noisy neighbour!
Top of the morning to you wherever you’re reading this from, or should I say Hi 5-2 you all?. Well then, straight to the post shall we.
News broke yesterday and twittermania ensued that we’ve agreed terms with Lukasz Podolski to join us in the summer with the only thing remaining now is a deal with the club. I wanted to doubt it seeing as its season ticket renewal time but from what we heard, we agreed a couple of deals in January but agreeing with their respective clubs was the problem.
If this is true(which I believe it is) then that’s a good move and he’s NOT going to be a replacement for RVP. He’s very versatile and can play on the left of a 4-2-3-1(4-3-3) formation or behind the main striker or alone upfront as he’s done for Cologne thus far. So that’s one down, hopefully 3 more signings to come(a DM, AM, Winger).
Four players might not be enough but its a good start, because if you look at the players leaving us this summer(Arshavin,Bendtner,Chamakh,Squillaci,Denilson,Diaby(50:50),Benayoun(back to Chelsea) ) we should replace at least 3 of them and then promote from within. And don’t tell me about how signing established players will hinder growth, instead it only helps(look at United, Bayern & Barca to name a few). M’vila, Gotze, Hoiliet maybe? And then move Walcott forward? Let’s wait and see.
The defender tweeted with his account yesterday that he’s back in 2 weeks and to me that’s great news as we all know Gibbs can’t play back to back games without a knock. So that’s very great news as we now have 2 LB’s and 2 RB’s(Sagna & Jenkinson) and won’t have to play anyone out of position again.
Someone asked me on twitter yesterday if I see Wenger buying a defender and I said NO. Why you ask? Well by beginning of next season, we’ll have Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Santos, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Mertesacker in the first team, that’s Seven defenders and I didn’t include Miquel, Bartley, Djourou.
Fiorentina are rumored to be interested in taking the forward off our books permanently and I say we should jump at whatever offer as I’m sure he’s ready to leave. Will it leave us short when he, Park & Bendtner leave in the summer? Maybe. But if we can get the aforementioned players and with the attackers we have already, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Van Persie has been talking of late about his love for the club and the papers reported it this morning that he told the dutch coach he sees his future at Arsenal. Its simple, give him the salary he wants, if its 150k/w or 130k/w with a lot of add-ons and a huge signing off fee. He’ll stay because he loves the love club, he just wants to sit with the gaffer come end of season, know what the clubs plans are and then hopefully sign the extension/new deal.
No club football this midweek as its International week and a lot of our players will be in action. One game to look out for is England-Holland. I hope Van Persie is rested to keep him fresh. From wherever you are, have a solid day. Cheers.
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Arsenal yesterday honored three Club legends by unveiling three statues outside Emirates Stadium on Friday afternoon. The first stage of the club’s 125th anniversary was witnessed by many, with quite a number of other legends in attendance. Herbert Chapman, the legendary manager, Mr Arsenal – Tony Adams, and the king, Thierry Henry were immortalized at prominent points around the Ems.
Having taken roughly 625 hours to create and weighing roughly 200kg each, the statues were lifted into place on Wednesday, ahead of Friday’s ceremony. And of the 3 legends, only Thierry was present; Herbert Chapman is dead obviously but one begins to wonder why Tony Admas was not in attendance. A visibly teary-eyed Henry gave an emotional speech, repeating the same line he had been on since he left, “once a gunner, always a gunner”. It is definitely an achievement he will cherish all his life.
SANTOS + TRANSFERS
Away from the celebration, Arsene revealed the latest team news ahead of the Everton game on Saturday. Andre Santos’ ankle injury rules him out of this weekend’s tie and possibly till the end of the year. It was originally thought that Andre will miss 3 weeks of footie, but Arsene has said the Brazilian will be out for longer. He is scheduled to see a specialist in the coming days.
It’s so frustrating to know that he picked up this injury in the dead-rubber tie in Greece, a game he did not need to play in. Arsene is not too disturbed though and reckons Vermaelen can do a good job at left back.
When quizzed about what defenders he plans to bring into the fold, seeing as Sagna, Jenko, Gibbs and now Andre Santos are out, Arsene replied: “We will not be on the market for any centre-back, I can assure you.”
Does this mean that we are in the market for a player who plays in another position? Attacking midfield, or even another strker, gaffer? Only time will tell, but I just have this feeling that if Wenger was not looking to do any business in January, he would not have specified what players he won’t buy.
This is going to be quick, I can’t remember the last time we lost to Everton at home in the league, so on paper its almost a done deal, but like the proverbial dark horses of international tournaments, Everton have assumed that mantle as they tend to never read the script so don’t rule out a draw but don’t expect a loss.
Vermaelen is expected to move to LB to cover for Santos and the senior players that were rested are going to return, meaning the squad is expected to look like this.
There you have it, let’s hope the players can round off the celebrations with 3 points and if possible 3 goals too. COYG!!!!!
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Would seem one’s complacent by writing off Fulham’s chance before the teams file out for Saturday’s evening kick-off at the Emirates and below is why.
Robin van Persie has a strike ratio of 0.88 goals per game this calendar year for club and country, that is 44 goals in 50 games so far in 2011. A stat bettered only by Cristiano Ronaldo with Lionel Messi in third. Then there’s the 13 league goals he’s scored so far, more than what the entire Fulham team has scored. Only Les Ferdinand with 14 goals after 12 games has a better record in Premier League history.
That’s not all but I’d stop there with the captain and highlight that(largely thanks to his goals) Arsenal have won its last five league matches and 11 of the last 13 matches in all competitions. With Tomas Rosicky likely to return from the thigh strain that kept him from the midweek win over Dortmund, it’s likely for that run to continue. It also gives a pleasant feel knowing we have some real depth in the squad now, and that’s with Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere on the sidelines.
Fulham on their part will be without Steve Sidwell, Stephen Kelly and Damien Duff for the match though with Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy, the Cottagers can prove a bit stubborn still.
Possible line-up : Szczesny-Koscielny-Mertesacker-Vermaelen-Santos-Arteta,-Song-Ramsey-Gervinho-Walcott-van Persie (c).
I mean, why change a winning team? Coming midweek, we’ve got Etihad boys Manchester City visiting in a League Cup quarter final match and it’s arguable that we should rest the first team regulars. However, I’d like to see the strength of our squad depth in the likes of Park, Arshavin, AOC, Fabianski and co against a City side whose bench is more than capable of being another first team.
As for this weekend, I’m going for a 4-1 win. Got this feeling any of Theo, foreheaded one or Arteta would be among the scorers, also fancy Mertesacker to score his first Arsenal goal. Finally and interestingly, Liverpool host City on Sunday while Newcastle visit Old Trafford. With us just three points off third place, any outcome from these matches would favour us and I’d like to see City lose. Hopefully to start the kind of run dear Chelsea’s going through now. Have a splendid weekend wherever you are, see you in the comments.
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Almost 24 hours after and I’m still struggling to come to terms with the events of yesterday. Most gooners would have accepted a draw going into the game but the guy who wrote that script had other ideas.
I won’t say I was too surprised when Chelsea drew first blood, I was only pained it had come after we missed two great chances. Lampard capitalized on a Mert4 misjudgment to power a header past Sz13. We had a lot of time to grab our goal and I hoped it would be an equalizer rather than a consolation.
A spell of good possession and Ramsey ripped the Chelski defence to put Gerv through on goal, the winger showed great awareness to pass to Robin who had the simplest of tap-ins. We were back on level terms but it didn’t last.
Just before half-time, Terry got in front of Mert4 to somehow put the ball in the net. A lot of people were quick to blame the big man, but that ball shouldn’t have got that far in the first place. We trailed at half-time and it was really difficult to see how.
Chelsea’s Chief Executive, Bruce Buck was expecting “Chelsea to beat the crap out of Arsenal”. I really do not care what did the magic, whether it was Wenger’s team talk or the thought of Buck saying “I told you so” after the game.
What I know is that the Arsenal that emerged from the dressing room for 2nd half wasn’t the same team that went in at half time, in terms of mentality at least.
We played with much more precision and spirit, and got our equalizer within 5 minutes. Andre Santos latched onto a pass on the left and shot through Cech’s legs to claim his 2nd for the season.
Clichy managed just 2 in how many years again? Santos’ celebration was top notch too [in yer face Ramires!].
We were in the ascendancy, doing the simple things well and keeping the Chelski strikers in check. Walcott, who had been having a great game decided to do something different.
He ran at the Chelsea defence, lost the ball, won it back, beat two defenders with a simple skill and speed, and finished excellently. I went bonkers! The comeback was complete, and the 3 points were within sight.
Trust Arsenal though, the kings of dramatic endings, Mata’s long ranger [after a foul by Lukaku on Santos] leveled the scores and set up an amazing final 10 minutes. I feared the worst and hoped we could hang on for a point.
But the thing is when you are the good guy, you get lucky a few times. “Luck” is Malouda playing a poor backward pass when a forward pass seemed easier. “Luck” is Terry slipping on his backside and letting the ball pass, “Luck” is the ball falling to none other than Van Persie.
The look on the faces of Chelski fans as VP faced Cech is absolutely priceless! He confirmed their fears, rounded Cech and passed into a waiting net.
We were back on top, Chelsea were rocked! They threw everything they had forward but created nothing really. It even cost them as we broke on the counter, got the ball to RVP who rifled a shot past the helpless Cech to grab his hat-trick. 5-3 and we were truly going back home with maximum points. One could see from the celebrations what those points meant to the lads.
It was a pulsating encounter and in recent years, we would normally come out of games like this ruing our luck. This time around, the lads gave their all, kept their focus and were duly rewarded. No need to wax lyrical about RVP, we all know he is going to heaven!
Koscielny was a monster yesterday, and of the 8 defenders that lined up for both sides, he looked like the only one who had a clue what he was doing in the first half. If he keeps developing at this rate, he’ll be unplayable in the not too distant future! Andre Santos had a poor first 45, but a commendable 2nd. I particularly like the way he wins one-on-ones. His goal scoring ability is a breath of fresh air too.
Walcott showed us what good decision making can do to his game, Arteta played with more freedom, Gervinho’s unpredictability and dribbling really helped, Song was colossal and worked his socks off, and Ramsey was superb again.
Our defending still needs to be worked on though. TV5 returning is great news and I expect us to be much better. I’d love to see a back four of Kos-Mert4-TV5-Santos!
After 7 wins in 8 games, I was hesitant to say we had turned the corner probably because 6 of those 7 were at home. With yesterday’s win, I’m pretty confident we have.
Are we back to our best though? As much as the game showed how awesome we can be, it also exposed our faults. We should expect to get punished if we keep missing clear chances and defending atrociously. Gervinho especially needs to work on his finishing, we were not so luck against the Sp*ds!
Below are some of the funniest tweets that went around yesterday after we ran riot at the bridge.
Its Marseille on tuesday at the Emirates, let’s win and seal qualification. Cheers. See you in the comments
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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