Blog Archives

Marseille At The Emirates. Can We Pick Up Where We Left Off?

Just a quick one!

Gooners the world over are still basking in the Euphoria of what has been our most impressive victory of the season so far. I mean even for our ‘more accomplished’ rivals coming back from a goal down twice at the bridge is no mean feat. Now we’re braced up for Marseille.

In my opinion, this is the true test, for if we’re going by the trend set in recent seasons, then we will drop points in this game. If we do not, then I shall be impressed and feel like the team has made headway. That being said, on to injury news. There are fresh injuries with Marouane Chamakh being the most notable of all, a knee injury, so shall not feature at all. The Verminator and C.Jenks are both fit enough to play, but may not be fit enough to start according to Le Boss. Other than that all is well.

I feel there may be some rotation and I personally hope R.V.P’s rested as he is sure to be on the end of some ‘special treatment’ from Marseille but then again as Marouane is on the treatment table, I doubt he shall be rested. I’d love to see Park get a run in though, but who knows better than Le Boss right? I think we can take this one, slim margin, but we just must concentrate.

Predicted Starting XI: Sz13; Jenko, TV5, Kos, Santos; Arteta, Ramsey, Song; Arshavin, Park, Gervinho.

Marseille isn’t a slow side so our backline must be just that little bit more careful during our attacks or we may be badly exposed on the counter. If we can clinch this, then we’re guaranteed a place in the knock out stages, not necessarily a group win though but an assured place in the knock out stages will be good return at the end of this day.

That’s it for now, I’ll be back with the match ratings and a review of another win, I hope.

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game.

Have fun wherever you watch from!

Ita.

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Match Preview – Wenger Calls for Consistency as Arsenal Visit Blackburn

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to face bottom side Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, manager Arsène Wenger has called for consistency from the team as Arsenal looks to continue a revival of its season with a win up north.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of the Premier League match, Wenger felt the club’s fortune is gradually improving saying (just as his assistant Pat Rice did after the trip to Dortmund) that
“we have turned the corner but we will be judged by the consistency of our results.”

The French tactician also spoke on the atmosphere in and around the team,
“skepticism around us will only change if we are consistent with our results… the team will be under pressure at Rovers as it was at Swansea”. He further stated that “we have to show performances, consistency, attitude and quality. That makes us respected.”

Arsenal ideally should get all three points from Ewood Park with the home side on a low ebb being bottom of the table following three defeats and a draw as well as having to deal with a threatened thousand-man strong protest calling for Rovers’ manager Steve Kean’s sack just before the match.

That aside, the Gunners did have the league’s best away record last season with four losses in 19 trips and Wenger tried to stress this fact, “consider that last year we were the best away team in the league and Old Trafford was a one-off result.”

Team News

Aaron Ramsey has a small chance of being available for selection for the match though he’s recovered from the injury he picked up at training on Monday. Other than him, Wilshere remains far from selection while Thomas Vermaelen will be back after the next international break. Otherwise, it’s a full strength squad to make selection from for Wenger.

Gervinho and Song return from suspension and should go into the team directly, everyone else should keep their spot. RVP’s record against Blackburn must be taken into consideration with 10 goals in his last 10 starts against them so let’s hope he continues this weekend.

Possible Line-Up : Szczesny-Sagna-Mertesacker-Koscielny-Gibbs-Arteta-Song-Benayou-Arshavin-Gervinho-RVP

So will we be able to prove the loss at Old Trafford really was a one-off or are we looking at a struggle on the road? Do share your thoughts ahead of the encounter.

Punkenstein

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Seventh Year

Arsenal

It has been quite a summer for Arsenal with the Gunners without doubt being the champions of transfer speculations all through. Can Arsène Wenger and his charges end a run of seasons without a competitive trophy at the seventh attempt?

An answer to that largely depends on the club’s mental approach going into matches and this is in two aspects. Firstly, we must kill games when leading and in the inability to do so, be able to hold onto such advantage till after the final whistle as evident from both legs of last season’s north London derby and home matches against Liverpool, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and West Bromwich-Albion as well as the infamous implosion at Newcastle where we ironically open this season’s campaign.

The other aspect of our mental approach to games is how we fare in the months of February and March, months that have proved the Achilles Heel in the leap towards a trophy in the last four seasons.

Last season’s episode proved the most painful, we suffered defeat to Birmingham City (now of the Championship) in the League Cup final on the last day of February, before enduring a mediocre run of form in March that pretty much ended all other title ambitions on other fronts.

And there’s the additional mental jabs dealt the team now no thanks to speculations surrounding the future of Samir Nasri & Fabregas who has reportedly agreed to a deal to return to his boyhood club. Which means a new era is about to start, one without the club’s best player. But no one man or player is greater than the club.

Meanwhile the latter is once more reportedly close to completing a £22m move to oil rich Manchester City, some reports even suggesting he may do so before the protracted tug for Fàbregas finally ends.

Arsenal’s hopes of ending the trophy drought will now rest on 20 year old Jack Wilshere(albeit not solely) as it was the English international who flourished – when Fàbregas was mostly half fit or out injured last season – with consistent and assured performances. While possessing admirable mental and physical strength, the rest of the team will determine just how much impact Wilshere will have this season.

With Laurent Koscielny apparently being the notable addition to the team last season, the Gunners actually did well until those dreaded months. This term, Ivorian forward Gervinho has joined and impressed so far with his quick feet and good composure.

Other than him, Wenger has (annoyingly) kept to his policy with a roll call of highly rated youngsters such as Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi. The transfer window however is still over a fortnight from closing so some much needed experienced players may yet arrive at the Emirates.

While awaiting those, Gooners will be banking on Robin van Persie to pick up from the fiery form of the second half of last season that saw the Dutchman finally show us his potential with a high return on goals per game. Having him fit for a whole season on such form leaves the heights attainable by the team optimistically imagined.

In the event of him being out injured as he is sadly prone to, Theo Walcott gets my nod to spearhead the front ahead of the overly disappointing Marouane Chamakh and the England international has publicly stated his desire to play upfront rather than on the wings.

Last season, he posed a real threat to defences with his raw speed that was, unlike previous seasons, complemented with much technique. This sort of form gives promise of this season being perhaps a breakthrough season for the 21 year old.

Those other than the above players that could contribute to a successful league campaign, and perhaps success in any of the other competitions, are Thomas Vermaelen, Andrei Arshavin, Koscielny and goalkeepers Lukasz Fabianski and Woijcech Sczeszny just as I’m personally looking forward to how Aaron Ramsey fares with Abou Diaby’s injury presenting the Welsh midfielder a chance to impress.

Vermaelen on his part was out virtually all of last season injured and Squillaci failed woefully as partner to Koscielny. Consequently, the efficiency of our physios this season actually comes in just behind the team’s mental maturity as deciding factors on how this season will pan out.

Arsenal’s campaign begins at St. James’ Park in Saturday’s evening kick-off having survived getting postponed due to the violent scenes that besieged streets in London and Birmingham.

That match is then followed in quick sequence by games against title rivals Liverpool and Manchester United, with the Champions League qualifier against Italian side Udinese buttered between those red encounters.

In all honesty, Arsenal are strong contenders for the title and hopefully we avoid burning out at those times aforementioned!

That said, enjoy the season ahead, it’s great to finally be getting underway!

C’mon You Smokin’ Gunners!!!