RSS

Manchester United 1 Arsenal 1 – Point Secured!

28C9090900000578-3085329-image-a-32_1431877887576 28C986E800000578-3085329-image-a-77_1431881361855

Manchester United 1 (Herrera) – Arsenal 1 (Blackett 82 (O.G))

Man of the Match – Ashley Young (Manchester United)

Arsenal secured an important point at a place they have struggled in recent years, Old Trafford. Having won 8 games on the bounce, the Gunners drew 0-0 to Chelsea, who look set to seal the title soon, and lost 1-0 at home to Swansea. Manchester United, who were knocked out by the Gunners in the FA Cup, recovered from that loss in style, beating Sp*rs 3-0, Liverpool 1-2, at Anfield, Aston Villa 3-1, Manchester City 4-2, before falling into a slump. They lost 1-0 to Chelsea, thanks to an Eden Hazard goal, before capitulating 3-0 against Everton at Goodison Park, and a 1-0 home loss to West Brom. Last weekend, they recovered some form, as they beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park.

Arsene Wenger went into the game with an unchanged lineup for the 7th game in a row, something which has not been done since the George Graham years, in late 1993, till early 1994. For Manchester United, Colombian striker Radamel Falcao was the surprise name in the starting lineup, with Wayne Rooney injured, and Robin van Persie on the bench. Luke Shaw too was injured, which meant a start at left-back for Argentine Marcos Rojo.

Arsenal knew they had to start brightly, after the sluggish loss to Swansea, but they failed to do so. Manchester United were quicker, and more efficient in the opening exchanges of the game. Olivier Giroud was up against United’s centre back pairing of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, the latter of whom had to head the ball rather awkwardly, when still on the ground, and trying to find his feet, when Giroud seemed to have gotten control of a ball. Phil Jones wasn’t having a very confident outing, and his poor back pass had to be rushingly cleared by David de Gea.

Arsenal were passing the ball around, but Manchester United looked more likely to score in the first half. And score they did, on 29 minutes. It was eerily similar to the goal conceded against Reading in the FA Cup semi-final and Swansea, recently in the league. A cross coming in and a goal being conceded at the far post. Ashley Young, was giving Hector Bellerin a tough time, and he skinned the Spaniard, and he played it to an onrushing Ander Herrera, who had a rather simple finish past Ospina. United were leading 1-0.

This seemed to have ignited the confidence of the home side, who whizzed the ball around in midfield, even as Arsenal still looked to get into the game. Cazorla was stifled out, and Ozil and Sanchez, often had no one to pass to. The Gunners were forced to do something they were not used to, playing long balls, and Olivier Giroud had a hard game toiling up front. In a really poor first half performance, Arsenal failed to register a single shot on target.

Manchester United closed the half with two chances. First, Spain international Juan Mata’s run and cross wasn’t well spotted by his national teammate Nacho Monreal, and it resulted in the labouring Falcao pushing Laurent Koscielny on the line. After that, a low shot from Daley Blind which could have gone in, was blocked by his own teammate Chris Smalling. Arsenal were rather lucky the score was only 1-0.

Arsenal had to be sprightly in the second half, and they certainly did, in the opening stages. Spanish full-backs Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal found new found space on the overlap, and soon the first chances came, as Alexis Sanchez’s volley was lashed over, having been set up well by Giroud. The French striker, then smartly beat Smalling, but couldn’t capitalize on it. A Cazorla volley was easily saved by David de Gea, and Marcos Rojo’s brilliant defending repelled Aaron Ramsey twice.

Sensing Arsenal’s better second half performance, Arsene Wenger sent on England duo Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott in place of Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin. This meant Francis Coquelin moved to right-back. David de Gea was forced off due to an injury, and was replaced by countryman Victor Valdes. Tyler Blackett replaced Marcos Rojo at left-back.

Arsenal then found the goal they were looking for. Theo Walcott looked bright since he had come on, making a couple of darting runs. He got third time lucky, as he made his way past Blackett, before crossing into the box. The ball flicked off Blackett’s foot and landed into the back of the net, leaving Victor Valdes with no chance to make a save. It was 1-1.

And Arsenal could have left Old Trafford with all 3 points, had Olivier Giroud converted his opportunities. He first hit the side netting from point blank range and then his shot deflected off a defender with Valdes rooted to his spot. Mathieu Flamini came on for Alexis Sanchez, as Arsenal closed down on an important point.

This was the Gunners’ first point at Old Trafford in 6 years, and a 3rd place finish looks in sight. Arsenal face Sunderland and West Brom, both at home, next.

Jai Arsenal :)

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 19, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Arsenal 0 Swansea 1 – Gunners’ Run Halted!

28912A4300000578-3077355-image-m-88_1431382042994 28912FFA00000578-3077355-image-a-89_1431382085719

Arsenal 0 – Swansea 1 (Gomis 85)

Man of the Match – Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea)

Arsenal’s 10 game unbeaten run came to an end, with a narrow loss to Swansea, at home. It was the most unlikeliest of results, and if someone were to pick a side that would beat the Gunners in the run-in, the Swans would have had very few takers.

There were no changes made to the squad, for the 5th game running. Aaron Ramsey recovered in time to start, having gone off in the 67th minute against Hull. Swansea have had a mixed run-in to the game. Having lost to Sp*rs 3-2 and Liverpool 0-1, they beat Aston Villa 0-1, and Hull 3-1, drew 1-1 with Everton, lost 2-0 to Leicester,and then beat Newcastle 2-3, and Stoke 2-0.

Aaron Ramsey created the first chance of the game, when his cross for Olivier Giroud, saw the Frenchman clipping it just over the bar. David Ospina had to be alert too, to stop a shot from creeping in, and then to head one far away, with Nathan Dyer almost set up for a tap-in. Per Mertesacker couldn’t make much of a Mesut Ozil free-kick, and then Giroud lost the ball to former Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who was crowded out by Arsenal’s defenders.

Swansea were compact and gave Arsenal little time and space to work in the final third. Arsenal were forced to aimlessly pass in midfield, with Swansea happy to let the home side keep the ball. Jonjo Shelvey picked up a yellow card for a foul on Alexis, who definitely must be the most harassed man in the Premier League. Arsenal then carved out a chance, but Santi Cazorla’s shot was blocked inside the area.

Olivier Giroud got a rare chance in the 43rd minute, but it went wide. Lukasz Fabianski had to be alert, as Aaron Ramsey was about to capitalize on another long range pass, like he had against Hull. The former Arsenal keeper was enjoying a solid night, on his return to the Emirates Stadium. Swansea’s dangerous Ecuadorian winger was giving Hector Bellerin a reasonably tough time, but his shot, just before the half time whistle, went wide.

The second half was pretty much the same, with Arsenal keeping lots of possession, but getting little to do with it. There was some neat passing, and it could have been an useful lesson for young kids wanting to excel at the game. There were some careless moments though.

Eventually, Arsenal managed to create a chance. Mesut Ozil played in Olivier Giroud, who flicked it to an onrushing Alexis, but the Chilean could only find the side netting after it struck the foot of a Swansea defender. Fabianski then kept out an effort by Giroud after the French striker was set up by Ozil. Aaron Ramsey then found the side netting, but this time it was closer.

Fabianski had to be alert, as he saved a Cazorla shot, with Alexis lurking for the rebound. The Pole collected it. The manager decided to field the adventurous Jack Wilshere and took off Francis Coquelin. This allowed for a change in the system, with Wilshere moving towards the right, and Ramsey getting a more central role. Arsene Wenger then bought on Theo Walcott in place of Olivier Giroud.

Arsenal looked to be going for the kill, by now. Cazorla’s shot deflected wide, Walcott couldn’t connect to a low Bellerin cross. Alexis then spotted Nacho Monreal on the overlap, and played a fine pass but the Spain left-back was crowded out, and his shot under pressure was saved by Fabianski. Aaron Ramsey took a shot from distance, but Fabianski thwarted the Welshman again.

The Pole came to Swansea’s rescue again, when Ramsey played in Alexis, who hit his shot straight at the keeper. The rebound came to Walcott, and he should have scored, but met with the same end result. Cazorla’s effort was then saved by Fabianski.

Just when it seemed like the game was destined for a draw, Swansea managed to put the ball in the back of the net, completely against the run of play. A cross came in from Jefferson Montero, and Bafetimbi Gomis managed to prod the ball past the line, with Ospina managing to save it, but it was too late. Arsenal huffed and puffed, but Lukasz Fabianski intended to keep his shop shut all day, as Arsenal slumped to their 7th league defeat of the season!

Jai Arsenal!

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 19, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Hull City 1 Arsenal 3 – Gunners mark 500th post with a win!

284F356000000578-3067754-image-a-35_1430769904527 284F3D1C00000578-3067754-image-a-25_1430769836941 284F462100000578-3067754-image-a-33_1430769874116 284F8B0700000578-3067754-image-a-75_1430773640068

Hull City 1 (Quinn 56) – Arsenal 3 (Sanchez 28, Ramsey 33, Sanchez 45)

Man of the Match – Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

The momentous occassion has arrived. Blazing Cannons has reached the 500 post mark, and it has taken little over 3 and a half years to achieve it. Yes, the blog has had cobwebs removed it more often than not, and at times visitors were greeted with a report from a loss in November, when actually the team were in the middle of a purple patch in late February; but I have somehow managed to keep the blog alive.

I have realised, over the course of my short blogging career, and these 500 posts, that it requires determination and patience to keep a blog running, everyday. And, my hats off to the bloggers, who manage to do that. As for me, I cannot promise the same levels of determination and patience. There’s always next season though.

What better way than an Arsenal win to mark the 500th post on this blog. An away day at Hull City, on a Monday night. Little did these folks know they were going down in the annals of blogging history. Arsenal, came into this game on the back of 8 consecutive wins and a draw against Chelsea, and with Manchester City creeping up, it was vital to restart the winning streak.

There were no changes to the squad that drew Chelsea last week. Only Tomas Rosicky came in for the injured Danny Welbeck on the bench. Arsenal got off to a brilliant start and sprayed the ball around sprightly, as the Tigers failed to prowl anywhere close. There were some slick moves, some silky and some brilliant. However, when they did give the ball away, Hull threatened.

Nigerian forward Sone Aluko missed a header from a dangerous position, but it wasn’t too late before Arsenal capitalized on their possession to score the opening goal of the night. Former Sp*rs midfielder Tom Huddlestone lost the ball to Mesut Ozil, who played it into Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean was taken down by former Sp*rs midfielder Jake Livermore (who would hit headlines in few days time over his drug addiction, mostly due to his depression that lingers, of having played at Sp*rs). And, from the free-kick that resulted, former Sp*rs defender Michael Dawson’s deflection had to play a small role in Alexis’ shot that sailed past Steve Harper.

5 minutes later, Arsenal were sailing. A brilliant long pass from Santi Cazorla spotted the run of Aaron Ramsey. However, the Welshman had to pivot, under pressure from a Hull defender, and smash the ball, via a deflection, past Steve Harper. It was a brilliant goal, and Cazorla’s long pass was simply delicious.

Arsenal were rampant, and at times the football was simply mesmerising. Yes, the opposition were Hull, a side battling for survival in the Premier League, but the Gunners showed great confidence in their abilities, in the first half. Cazorla, Ozil and Alexis were all denied a 3rd goal, and Steve Harper had to be smart enough to keep a cheeky Alexis chip out.

The 3rd goal was as easy as they come, and looked like a goal I would score in FIFA 2005. Ozil and Ramsey exchanged passes between Hull’s confused mid-fielders, before Alexis was released. He rounded off Harper with one move, and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net. It was his 24th goal of the season, and also Arsenal’s 100th. That means, the Chilean had scored almost a quarter of all Arsenal goals.

The half time whistle came soon, and Steve Bruce’s side were greeted to boos from the Humberside faithful, as the players trudged off the field. The second half was a different story, as Hull came out a determined side, and even pulled one back, in the 55th minute, under rather controversial circumstances.

Republic of Ireland international David Meyler, who was headbutted by Alan Pardew, not too long ago, took down Laurent Koscielny, and while Arsenal players hoped play would be stopped, Hull crossed, and Stephen Quinn put the ball into the back of the net. This obviously angered the visiting side and the manager, who couldn’t hide his feelings from the assistant referee.

Arsenal had their feathers ruffled, but kept their calm, and continued to ooze brilliance and style in attack. A deft flick from Ozil played in Sanchez, who set up the German, but Steve Harper was alert, and averted the danger. Aaron Ramsey was having the thick of the action, and was the beneficiary of Ozil’s vision, but the Welshman couldn’t add to his goal tally, wasting a couple of chances. He was replaced by Jack Wilshere on 67 minutes.

Wilshere then went on a mazy run, beating 3 perplexed Hull defenders, before being bought down illegally. Alexis could only put the ball over the crossbar this time. Cazorla, Bellerin, Wilshere and Sanchez, all had chances to extend the lead, but failed to do so. Walcott came on for Giroud, and he put an effort wide from just 8 yards, and then Sanchez too couldn’t convert a rather easy chance.

Arsenal landed the 3 points, and also marked St. Totteringham’s Day with ease. To more blog posts on Blazing Cannons!

Jai Arsenal :)

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 19, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0 – Blues edge closer to title!

280704C900000578-3056215-image-m-125_1430065835168 280771E300000578-3056215-image-m-178_1430068324041 28076F8300000578-3056215-image-m-166_1430067904472

Arsenal 0 – Chelsea 0

Man of the Match – John Terry (Chelsea)

Chelsea edged closer to the Premier League title, with a rather insipid draw against Arsenal, who were looking for their 9th consective win. Having beaten Leciester, Crystal Palace, Everton, QPR, West Ham, Newcastle, Liverpool and Burnley, and having plundered 18 goals in the process, Arsenal’s attackers found it a particularly tough afternoon against Chelsea’s well marshalled defense.

There were 3 changes to the side that beat Reading in the FA Cup semi-final last weekend, with David Ospina returning in goal instead of Wojciech Szczesny, Hector Bellerin in place of Mathieu Debuchy, and Nacho Monreal in place of Kieran Gibbs. Chelsea were devoid of strikers. Both Diego Costa and Loic Remy were injured, and Arsenal’s tormentor in the past, Didier Drogba started from the bench. A rather strange formation saw Oscar and Eden Hazard upfront, as Francesc Fabregas returned to the Emirates Stadium, where he plied his trade for 7 seasons; for the first time since his move to Chelsea from Barcelona in the summer.

Chelsea’s intentions were pretty clear. To leave the Emirates unscathed. And they did that by crowding the midfield. Oscar went down tumbling, rather too easily from a Hector Bellerin challenge. The last time Branislav Ivanovic attempted a meaty tackly at Alexis Sanchez, it sparked a pitchside clash between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. There was none of that this time, as the Serbian cut his way into the Chilean, with referee Michael Oliver opting not to make a booking.

Fabregas, who was greeted with mild boo’s everytime he got the ball, created the first real chance of the game, when he played in Oscar, who only had Ospina to beat. He rounded the keeper, and even as the ball destined to go in, an aware Hector Bellerin managed to clear it around the post.

Oscar was in the thick of the action again, when he was taken down by Ospina, making Mourinho hysterical. Again nothing given. A laughable moment came, some minutes later, when Fabregas tumbled down under a challenge from fellow Spanish international teammate Santi Cazorla. As he rose up, he was funnily shown a yellow card for simulation.

Arsenal were struggling to muster anything going forward, with Gary Cahill and John Terry looking impregnable. Yeah, John Terry and impregnable in the same sentence. You can laugh about it. Olivier Giroud’s shot went over the bar, while a dangerous cross whipped in by Nacho Monreal had to be hacked away to safety by John Terry. Then, in the 34th minute, Cahill handled the ball in the penalty area, but the referee waived to play on, as the England defender making away from the scene of crime sheepishly.

Chelsea had another chance to take the lead, when Brazilian international midfielder Ramires was set free, but David Ospina was equal to it. Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla then combined to set up Alexis, but he could only drag his shot wide. Hector Bellerin and Mesut Ozil had a go at goal, but Chelsea looked solid at the back.

Jose Mourinho bought on Didier Drogba, in the hope that his strength and physical presence would cause problems for Arsenal’s backline. The second half turned out to be cagier than the first, with both teams looking more keen to avoid defeat. Arsenal looked sluggish in attack, while Chelsea were happy to keep the ball. Arsenal failed to create any real chances that could have won the game.

Another dangerous cross in the 64th minute from Monreal, had Terry scampering it away, under real pressure from Alexis. At the other end, a weak effort from Didier Drogba was easily saved by David Ospina. Per Mertesacker, of all people could have caused the difference between the two sides, but he dragged a partially cleared free kick wide.

Laurent Koscielny then did his trademark interception and gallop forward to set up Cazorla, but the Spaniard’s effort went wide. Arsene Wenger rung in the changes, going in for pace with Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott coming on, in place of Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud.

It turned out to be of little effect, as Chelsea closed down the game effectively. Fabregas went off to a warm applause from the crowd, and was replaced by centre-back Kurt Zouma. Arsenal had a great chance at the end, when a Nacho Monreal cross came in, prodded a bit in the penalty box, before Mesut Ozil applied a touch, missing at the near post, but no man in a red shirt managed to get a final touch on the ball.

At the final whistle, Chelsea’s players, John Terry, in particular celebrated as they came closer to securing the league title. For Arsenal, however, there is a FA Cup final against Aston Villa to look forward to.

Jai Arsenal :)

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 19, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Reading 1 Arsenal 2 – Gunners sneak into another Wembley Final!

27B56A0600000578-0-image-a-25_1429376845566 27B5AF9300000578-0-image-a-45_1429379144337 27B5F96100000578-3044993-image-a-62_1429381869248 27B6249600000578-3044993-image-a-5_1429385213985 27B60E1F00000578-3044993-image-m-69_1429382405889

Reading 1 (McCleary 54) – Arsenal 2 (Sanchez 39, 106)

Man of the Match – Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

It was a sneaky evening as Arsenal sneaked past Championship side Reading to sneak into their second successive FA Cup Final in really sneaky fashion. With pundits and fans alike predicting a runaway win for in-form Arsenal, Reading put up an impressive fight, akin to Wigan last season. But, Arsenal managed to win the game in extra time, rather than take it to penalties, where we all know, it’s a lottery.

Arsene Wenger rung in the changes, with Wojciech Szczesny returning in place of David Ospina, Kieran Gibbs reclaiming his left-back spot from Nacho Monreal, Danny Welbeck in place of Olivier Giroud, and the returning Mathieu Debuchy instead of Hector Bellerin. Debuchy, who returns after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, since he was banjaxed intentionally by Stoke City’s Marko Arnautovic.

Reading, surprisingly had the brighter start of the two, with Arsenal coming into their flow a few minutes in. Danny Welbeck raced on to a loose ball, after a defender failed to clear it, but the England striker couldn’t latch on to it. In the 7th minute, came Arsenal’s first real chance. Per Mertesacker’s header on to the near post from a Mesut Ozil corner, required Australian international keeper Adam Federici to be at his best to deny the German.

Reading winger Jordan Obita then forced Szczesny into a save, before a shot deflected off Mertesacker following a free kick. In the 18th minute, Danny Welbeck was fouled, and Mesut Ozil’s resultant free-kick went just wide. Welbeck then set up Santi Cazorla, but the Spaniard’s effort went over. Mathieu Debuchy, who showed some signs of rustiness, put in a cross for Alexis, but the Chilean’s header was weak and easily saved by Federici. He was set up again, this time by Cazorla, but couldn’t poke the ball past an onrushing Federici.

Reading managed to score, but it was rightly called back for offside, following a Szczesny save, which saw Koscielny go down injured. Reading’s compact defending and general work rate made it hard for Arsenal to break down their opponents. However, in the 40th minute, Arsenal found the goal they were looking for. Mesut Ozil spotted Alexis darting into the box, and played it perfectly into him. Alexis took a touch, cut into a defender, and dispatched the ball into the net, from under Federici’s legs. Sneaky.

Arsenal went into the break with a sneaky 1-0 advantage. And there were no changes sneaked in by either side at half time. Arsenal created the first chance after the break, when a Cazorla free kick struck Mertesacker on his back and drifted narrowly wide. After that chance, Reading seemed like a completely different side, as they started dominating possession, and even created some dangerous chances.

And, in the 54th minute, Arsenal became Arsenal. A cross came in from Mathieu Debuchy’s flank, and Arsenal’s defenders just let it get to Reading winger Garath McCleary, whose effort deflected off Kieran Gibbs on it’s way to cross the line. Szczesny managed to hold it, but Reading were already celebrating. He could have probably saved, hadn’t the deflection come in from Gibbs.

Arsenal were forced into a change, when Per Mertesacker had to be replaced by Gabriel Paulista, following a nasty challenge. Reading could have had a penalty, when the ball struck the arm of Debuchy, but the referee refused to give it. Arsenal had a narrow escape. Reading were defending with full vigor, and Arsenal were struggling to find that moment of magic to break down their Championship opponents.

Federici was keeping the Gunners at bay, and a header from Gabriel, which seemed destined to be going in, was somehow palmed away. Arsene Wenger decided to replace Danny Welbeck, with Olivier Giroud. Gabriel got another chance to score again, when an Ozil free kick came right at the Brazilian’s head, but the effort was wayward, and went over the bar.

Both sides were now looking for the winner, when it began to look like the next goal would win the game. Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak and Mesut Ozil, both had chances, but failed to score. Szczesny had a tougher afternoon than the one he had expected, as he was called off to make two vital saves. Arsenal had a massive chance, in the 84th minute, with Aaron Ramsey being released through on goal, but his first effort was blocked and his second effort struck the post with little angle to work from.

Arsenal fans had their hearts in their mouths, when Pogrebnyak completely wasted a one-on-one chance. And, further misses from Ramsey and Giroud meant that there would be more football to seperate the two sides. A Cazorla effort went over the bar, with Reading looking to provide as little space and time to Arsenal, as possible. The Royals clearly wanted to take the game to penalties.

This forced the manager to bring on the pace of Theo Walcott on, for the solidity and composure of Francis Coquelin. In the 103rd minute, an Aaron Ramsey shot came in low at Federici, and it struck the keeper, before creeping up over the bar. The Australian, however, couldn’t stop Arsenal from going into the lead just seconds later.

The Gunners crafted a move on their left, and the ball fell to Alexis, whose effort sneaked in from inside Federici’s grasp, through his legs, to end up in the back of the net. It was heartbreaking for the keeper, but Arsenal fans didn’t care, as pandemonium erupted among the Gunners’ faithful.

Reading were now looking for an equalizer, and Jamie Mackie shot over the bar, before Mesut Ozil’s shot went wide. Szczesny then made a vital punch from a freekick, and then Olivier Giroud too struck the post in the 112th minute. Reading tried their best, but Arsenal held out and sneaked into the FA Cup final for a second successive season.

It was not a great performance, nor was it a good performance, against a side, struggling in the Championship. But, Arsenal managed to cross over the line and seal a spot for the May 30th final at Wembley! That should keep us going for a while.

Jai Arsenal :)

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 19, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews

 

Tags: , ,

Burnley 0 Arsenal 1 – 8 in a Row!

277769A300000578-3035022-image-a-96_1428775512845

Burnley 0 – Arsenal 1 (Ramsey 12)

Man of the Match – Francis Coquelin (Arsenal)

Arsenal edged Burnely to complete their 8th win in a row, in a closely contested game at Turf Moor! Having trounced Liverpool 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium last week, it was a contrasting display at the home of struggling Burnley. The Premier League may be far away, but Arsenal seem to be close to sealing a top 3 finish, vital to starting the next season afresh.

Burnley are known to be a team that battles hard. They may be low on quality, but they make it up with their work ethic. Unfortunately, that alone cannot guarantee survival in the toughest league in the world. Burnley had a mixed February and March. They managed to stun defending champions Manchester City 1-0, but lost 4 out of their last 8 games, 2-0 losses to Southampton and Liverpool, a 3-1 loss to Manchester United, and creditable draws against West Brom, Chelsea and Sp*rs.

Arsene Wenger made no changes to the starting 11, while Wojciech Szczesny, who missed the Liverpool clash with a rib injury replaced Matt Macey on the bench. The first real chance fell to the home side when Welsh striker Sam Vokes drove in from the left into the box, but Ospina smothered the ball. Mesut Ozil set up Alexis Sanchez, inside the box, but the Chilean’s effort went over.

Arsenal took the lead in the 12th minute, after some sustained pressure. Jason Shackell lost the ball to Francis Coquelin, who played it to Alexis, who saw his shot from outside the box blocked by a Burnley defender. It fell to Mesut Ozil, who advanced from the left inside the box, but Burnley keeper Tom Heaton managed to pull off a save. It fell to Spaniard Santi Cazorla, whose shot was blocked as well. It fell kindly to Aaron Ramsey, who made no mistake in smashing the ball to the top corner.

Burnley won a free kick outside the area just after Arsenal’s goal. It struck the wall and then another free kick from Kieran Tripper in a similar situation required Ospina to be at his best. This was after a Ashley Barnes run into the box was thwarted. Santi Cazorla had a free kick too, and it required Tom Heaton to scramble across, but the ball went out anyway.

Ben Mee and Michael Duff picked up yellow cards in quick succession, as Burnley played in their typically combative style. The rest of the half was played out in midfield, with both keepers having little or no action. Burnley committed several fouls, giving Arsenal free kicks, but the visitors were unable to take any real advantage out of them.

Burnley came out in the second half in earnest. The first opportunity fell to Ashley Barnes, and again Ospina came to Arsenal’s rescue. Burnley pressed hard, and didn’t allow Arsenal much room to attack. Alexis’ low shot was saved by Heaton after being set up by Ozil. Aaron Ramsey had another go at goal, but his effort was blocked.

Burnley’s best chance fell to George Boyd in the 69th minute, after Ben Mee crossed, having beaten Hector Bellerin. He completely scuffed his shot, when he should at least made the keeper work. Fellow striker Danny Ings fared better, when his overhead effort deflected, but Ospina managed to avert the danger.

Arsene Wenger bought on Danny Welbeck for the quiet Giroud, and he was immediately played in by Ozil. It went out for a corner. Alexis then played in Bellerin, but the Spaniard’s shot was blocked. Danny Ings managed to scamper his way through Arsenal’s defence, but Arsenal held on for 3 more vital points, and their 8th consecutive win in the league.

Jai Arsenal :)

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 7, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Arsenal 4 Liverpool 1 – Gunners exact Reds Revenge!

27472DD500000578-3025492-image-a-36_1428151491112 27472BC000000578-3025492-image-a-24_1428151316777 27472FC900000578-3025492-image-a-21_1428151272784 2747720D00000578-3025492-image-a-100_1428155054298

Arsenal 4 (Bellerin 37, Ozil 40, Sanchez 45, Giroud 90) – Liverpool 1 (Henderson 76 (pen))

Man of the Match – Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

About 14 months ago, Liverpool made complete mockery of Arsenal’s then position at the top of the league, by thumping a beleaguered Gunners side 5-1 on a cloudy afternoon at Anfield. Liverpool, at the time, were slowly rising as real contenders for the title. A season without European football had left their team fresh, and with a strike force of the explosive Uruguyan Luis Suarez and in-form Daniel Sturridge, supported ably by youngster Raheem Sterling, Liverpool were demolishing teams in the final few months of the season.

Of course, it would all end in agony, as a costly slip from iconic captain Steven Gerrard, handed Chelsea a 2-0 win at Anfield, which would eventually end Liverpool’s chances, as Manchester City clinched the title. But, Liverpool seemed unstoppable at some point. Fast forward a year, and how things have changed. Liverpool hesitantly sold off Luis Suarez to Barcelona for a whopping £75 million, and have replaced him with a series of flops. They signed Southampton duo Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana for a combined £29 million, midfielder Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen for £10 million, Serbian winger Lazar Markovic from Benfica for £20 million, Belgian striker Divock Origi from Lille for £10 million (he was loaned back), left-back Alberto Moreno for £12 million from Sevilla, and finally Mario Balotelli from AC Milan for £16 million.

The biggest disappointment probably has been Balotelli, who has scored a meagre 4 goals all season, 1 in the league, the winner in a 3-2 win over Sp*rs. To be fair, the Reds have fallen considerably after the highs of last season. Liverpool had a mixed March, starting off with a fine 2-1 over Manchester City, and followed it up with successive wins over Burnley and Swansea, with a 0-0 draw against Blackburn in the FA Cup sandwiched in between. The ended the month with a 2-1 loss at home to eternal rivals Manchester United.

Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil returned to the first team, with Wojciech Szczesny missing out through a rib injury, which gave a place on the bench for rookie keeper Matt Macey. Liverpool were missing both Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel, both serving 3 match suspensions for their actions in the feisty clash with Manchester United. Former Arsenal defender Kolo Toure started.

Arsenal got off to a brisk start, creating the first opportunity, after just 30 seconds, Alexis shot going wide. Santi Cazorla then tested Belgian international keeper Simon Mignolet, but he was up to the challenge. Arsenal created a chance of real danger in the 5th minute, when Aaron Ramsey was put through, but his weak left-footed effort struck the post, and Liverpool managed to clear the danger before Cazorla could pounce upon the loose ball.

Arsenal’s brisk start was slowly being nullified, as Liverpool slowly drifted into the game, but Arsenal still seemed to have the upper hand. Up until, the Reds created a chance of real danger. Markovic got in behind Arsenal’s defence, and his cross was too heavy for Sterling to tap it in. He could have taken the chance himself, as he had only Ospina to beat.

Brazilian midfielder Coutinho’s shot went narrowly wide, with Ospina stretching, and Sterling nearly capitalized on a mispass from Cazorla, as he could only find the side netting. Liverpool managed to create another chance, when Sterling found Henderson, who had to beat the keeper, but the cross had too much weight in it. When it looked like Liverpool were getting the upper hand, Arsenal scored.

It began when Ozil played in Ramsey on the right, who played it to the speedy Bellerin. The young Spaniard raced into the box, easily rode a challenge and neatly tucked home a curling left footed finish past a stunned Liverpool defence. It was a brilliant finish for a young right-back, playing in his first full season.

And, before Liverpool could recover, Arsenal had begun their rampage. Mesut Ozil was fouled by centre-back Mamadou Sakho right outside the box. The German took the free kick, and he curled the ball expertly into the far corner, the side which Mignolet was positioned.

By now, Arsenal were on fire, and Liverpool struggling to douse that very fire. Bellerin played in Ramsey, who took the ball from a roving defender, played in Alexis, who stepped inside of Kolo Toure way too easily, to smash one past Mignolet, to score his 20th goal of the season. It was a whirlwind finish to the half from Arsenal, and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers bought on Daniel Sturridge for the ineffective Lazar Markovic.

Arsenal made a change early in the second half, Gabriel Paulista coming in for Laurent Koscielny, who had to go off with a groin problem. Arsenal began the second half with the same verve as they had ended up the first. Ramsey and Cazorla combined to set up Giroud, who tested Mignolet. And Mignolet denied Arsenal their 4th goal in the 55th minute, when an Ozil cross was dangerously heading towards the goal.

David Ospina had to be alert, too. A shot from Emre Can threatened to go in, but the Colombian was equal to it. Arsene Wenger decided to bring off Aaron Ramsey for the defensive minded Mathieu Flamini, as the manager looked to shut shop. This gave Liverpool more space to exploit, and Coutinho’s shot dragged just wide, as Arsenal looked non-committal.

Emre Can shot over the post, as Liverpool enjoyed possession, but didn’t really make use of it. Danny Welbeck came in for Mesut Ozil in the 74th minute, and 2 minutes later, Liverpool were awarded a penalty when Hector Bellerin, who had managed to keep Raheem Sterling quiet all afternoon, bought the England man down in the penalty box with a rash challenge. Jordan Henderson stepped up and scored, despite Ospina getting a hand on it.

Welbeck forced Mignolet into a save, before he was fouled rashly by Emre Can, and the Liverpool midfielder was sent off for his second yellow card. Giroud then had a chance to connect to a volley, but Kolo Toure managed to avert the danger for Liverpool. Cazorla struck the post, having been set up by the trio of Alexis, Welbeck and Nacho Monreal.

When it seemed like the game would end at 3-1, Arsenal scored yet again, in injury time. Alexis played in Giroud, who had Welbeck and Cazorla for support, but decided to go for it himself, cutting inside and unleashing a shot past Mignolet, to make it 4-1.

A fine with that strengthens Arsenal’s position in the top 4, and a 7th consecutive win in the league. Good omens for FA Cup success, surely.

Jai Arsenal :)

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons

And do like, the Facebook page as well.

Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 7, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: