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Category Archives: 2014-2015

Arsenal 4 Aston Villa 0 – The Cup is ours to keep!

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Arsenal 4 (Walcott 40, Sanchez 50, Mertesacker 62, Giroud 90) – Aston Villa 0

Man of the Match –Β Santi CazorlaΒ (Arsenal)

It was a glorious day at Wembley again. 12 months after some emotionally palpable scenes when Arsenal nicked Hull City 3-2 to win their first piece of silverware in nearly a decade, they repeated the trick again. This time, more emphatically, in a game devoid of drama. Arsenal steamrollered their opposition into submission as they became the most successful club with their 12th triumph in the oldest association football tournament in the world.

Aston Villa, who have a creditable 7 FA Cups to their name, haven’t won the competition since 1956-1957, and were seeking their first piece of silverware since 1995-1996 when they won back to back League Cups. But, it just wasn’t meant to be their day.

With build up to the big game surrounding Arsene Wenger’s team selection issues over whether to choose David Ospina, who has played most of the Premier League games in the second half of the season or Wojciech Szczesny, who has kept in the cup games and whether to choose Theo Walcott, who fired a hat-trick against West Brom last weekend or Olivier Giroud, who has chalked up 18 goals this season. The manager decided to choose Szczesny in goal, and Walcott up front, in an otherwise settled squad.

Aston Villa, who had impressively beaten Liverpool 2-1 in the semi-final, had their manager Tim Sherwood mulling over his own team selection dilemma’s. Belgian striker Christian Benteke, who scored important goals, key to Villa’s survival in the Premier League, led the line, while Charles N’Zogbia was chosen ahead of Gabriel Agbonlahor, who has been a handful in the past for Arsenal defences. Young revelation, Jack Grealish, who has impressed with his performances for Aston Villa this season, started on the wing.

Arsenal knew they couldn’t afford the mistakes that saw them conceding two early goals in the opening 8 minutes, in last season’s final against Hull. The opening minutes were calm and composed as Arsenal dominated possession, sprinkling the ball around confidently. In the 8th minute, Arsenal had the first real sight of goal, when Cazorla was in some space inside the box, but failed to spot Walcott at the far post. Moments later, Laurent Koscielny had a free header, but he really should have done better than putting it over.

The Frenchman had another chance in the 15th minute, when he met an Alexis cross, but Shay Given managed to save it, as he was too close to the defender. Hector Bellerin then found Aaron Ramsey at the near post, but the Welshman couldn’t convert this chance. He was found again, this time by Mesut Ozil. He controlled the ball well, but his effort went over the bar, having struck a Villa defender on it’s way.

Arsenal were continuing to dominate the game, and after some neat interplay between Monreal, Cazorla and Ozil, Walcott was presented with an open chance, but was only denied by a desperate goal line lunge by left back Kieran Richardson. Walcott didn’t have to wait much longer, however, to send the Arsenal section of Wembley into raptures.

By now Walcott had moved wide left, with Alexis playing more central. Francis Coquelin plaed a lovely cross field pass to Walcott, who fed Monreal on the overlap, and crossed into Alexis, who managed to put the ball into some space behind Villa’s defenders. Walcott was quickest to react and his left footed volley crashed into the back of the net, past Shay Given. Arsenal were leading 1-0, and it was relief to eyes after all the profligacy of the first half.

Aston Villa didn’t seem to have any kind of change in pattern of play, as Arsenal continued to boss their fellow Premier League finalists. Mesut Ozil, and especially, Santi Cazorla were having a field day, dictating the terms of play. And, 5 minutes into the second half, Alexis Sanchez did what he has been doing all season. Scoring goals. Spectacular ones.

He collected the ball from 25 yards out, created some space, and unleashed an unstoppable shot, grazing the top post, Β leaving Shay Given with absolutely no chance to save. It definitely was one of the bets goals to be scored in the FA Cup Final. Arsenal didn’t rest after this, and created more chances, keeping Republic of Ireland international keeper Shay Given a very busy man. Walcott, Cazorla and Ramsey, all drew saves from the keeper.

12 minutes after Alexis’ wonder strike, Arsenal were handed the easiest of all goals. After Walcott failed to finish, having been put through by Ozil, earning a corner. Mertesacker shouldered this home, cheekily celebrating his strike, as the German had nearly sealed a successive FA Cup triumph. Villa had 30 minutes to muster a response of any sort, but Arsenal’s midfield, marshalled by Francis Coquelin was having none of it, as the Midlands side struggled to keep pace with the Gunners.

Walcott was sent clear once more, but skewed his effort wide, as Arsene Wenger rolled in the changes, removing Walcott and Ozil, and replacing them with Giroud and Wilshere. In the final 10 minutes, Aston Villa had two appeals for a penalty, both of which were turned down. First, Agbonlahor was taken down by Francis Coquelin, as he seemed to make his way towards goal. Jack Grealish, who had a quiet afternoon, was then bought down by Hector Bellerin, after he turned the Spaniard at the edge of the box. Both penalties were close calls, but it just wasn’t Aston Villa’s day.

Arsenal quadrupled the lead, when Olivier Giroud netted from close range off an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cross. It was a well deserved victory, and while last season’s FA Cup win was extremely dramatic, this season’s was a walk in the park.

Two FA Cups in 12 seasons, and it seems like the Wengerball is set to roll again! Let’s definitely hope so!

Jai Arsenal πŸ™‚

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”

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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews

 

Arsenal 4 West Bromwich Albion 1 – Walcott fires Arsenal to 3rd spot!

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Arsenal 4 (Walcott 4, 14, Wilshere 17, Walcott 37) – West Bromwich Albion (McAuley 57)

Man of the Match –Β Theo WalcottΒ (Arsenal)

Arsenal ended their Premier League campaign on a high note, and gave a warning signal to their fellow FA Cup finalist Aston Villa, by drubbing their Birmingham neighbours West Bromwich Albion 4-1, in a first-half glut of goals. Arsene Wenger made changes to the squad that drew 0-0 with Sunderland at home, bringing in Theo Walcott in place of Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin in place of Aaron Ramsey and Gabriel Paulista in place of Laurent Koscielny.

Arsenal were off to a flying start, when Wilshere, playing on the right, combined with Walcott, to draw a save from West Brom keeper Boaz Myhill. However, in the 4th minute, Arsenal took the lead. Some fine build up play involving Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, saw the Spaniard playing the final ball to Walcott, who received it on his right side, before making some space, and shooting emphatically into the top corner, leaving Myhill with no chance.

Some more intricate build-up play, saw Alexis release a low shot, but this time, Myhill was equal to it. Before he knew it, Arsenal added a second goal in the 14th minute. It began with Ozil and Wilshere working their way into the box, before the ball was snatched from Ozil, only to fall to the feet of Walcott, who evaded a challenge, before netting home the second goal of the evening.

And Arsenal were running away with the game, as 3 minutes later, Jack Wilshere unleashed a thumping effort. After a corner was cleared, Gabriel collected the ball, and played it to the Englishman, who struck the ball with venom on the volley. There was no chance any keeper was stopping that.

Both Wilshere and Walcott were having a field day, as they continued to drill attempts into West Brom’s goal. First, Walcott saw Myhill saving a good chance, before Wilshere combined with Alexis, only to shoot straight at Myhill. The Welsh keeper was kept busy as he kept out a header from Per Mertesacker off a Mesut Ozil freekick.

Then came a flurry of attempts from Arsenal. First, a Cazorla effort went wide, before Alexis’ shot was blocked, having been set up by Walcott, and then the Englishman had his chance, but he couldn’t get the power behind the shot. He, however, would be celebrating his hat-trick on 37 minutes. Alexis and Wilshere combined well, as the Englishman drove into the box, and set up Cazorla, whose pass across goal, was bundled home by Walcott. It was the striker’s first hattrick since scoring thrice in a 7-3 win over Newcastle in December 2012.

West Brom got a rare chance before the break, when a deflected effort seemed to go in, but Ospina managed to claim the ball, as Arsenal went into the final half-time break of the season with a resounding 4 goal advantage. West Brom made some changes early in the second half bringing on former Everton striker Victor Anichebe and Craig Gardner in place of Sweden international Jonas Olsson and Calum McManaman.

Myhill was called into action again to save a Cazorla curler, before West Brom managed to pull one back through Northern Ireland international Gareth McAuley. Ospina made a complete hash of plucking the ball out from the air from a corner, leaving McAuley to tap home in front of an empty net. Arsene Wenger made his first changes of the game, bringing on Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud in place of Francis Coquelin and Theo Walcott, with both teams looking to finish off their seasons with a quiet final few minutes.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, too came on for Jack Wilshere, making his first appearance in over 2 months, since he was injured in the 2-1 FA Cup win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, on March 9th. Aaron Ramsey drew a brilliant save from his compatriot Myhill, as Arsenal failed to add a 5th. Craig Gardner almost scored a 2nd goal for West Brom, after uncertain keeping from Ospina.

It didn’t matter in the end as Arsenal got all 3 points, and finished the season in 3rd place, with 75 points, 4 behind Manchester City’s 79, and 5 ahead of Manchester United’s 70.

Jai Arsenal πŸ™‚

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”

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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews

 

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Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0 – Black Cats labour Arsenal to safety!

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Arsenal 0 – Sunderland 0

Man of the Match –Β Costel PantilimonΒ (Sunderland)

Dick Advocaat’s Sunderland secured their Premier League status for next season, with a hard-fought draw at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal’s force seems to have hit a slump as of late. After posting 8 wins, the Gunners have since drawn to Chelsea, lost to Swansea and drawn Manchester United. Another point means the Gunners have won only 3 points out of a possible 12, and lost their 2nd place to Manchester City.

Arsene Wenger rung in two changes, having played an unchanged squad for games running. Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere came in for Nacho Monreal and Francis Coquelin. Theo Walcott was named again on the bench, as Wilshere started on the right, and Ramsey was given a more central role.

Sunderland knew that a point would guarantee survival, and started in earnest, creating the first chance of the game. Colombian keeper David Ospina had to be alert to thwart a long ball, that would have put Danny Graham through on goal. A low cross on the other end by Hector Bellerin by former Liverpool defender, and Uruguyan international Sebastien Coates.

Wilshere was then set up by Alexis, but Pantilimon kept out a rather weak effort, and on the other end, former Sp*rs striker Jermain Defoe saw his effort parried away by the alert Ospina. Aaron Ramsey picked up a yellow card for his foul on former Arsenal midfielder Sebastien Larsson, before combining well with Ozil to set up Wilshere, but the Englishman’s volley went just over the bar.

Ozil then set up Alexis on the volley, which fell to Cazorla, but his low shot was stopped rather easily by the lanky Romanian international Pantilimon. Gibbs then had an effort, before Wilshere set up Ozil. The German could only put his effort over the bar, as Arsenal continued their search in vain for the opening goal. Wilshere looked particularly sharp, and then proceeded to set up Olivier Giroud, but the French striker couldn’t turn and shoot, whilst under pressure.

Ozil shot another one over the bar, as the chances continued to flow, before Alexis could only dart his shot towards the keeper, as the half drew to a scoreless close. Arsenal looked more likely to score the opening goal on the evening, but Sunderland’s dogged resistance prevented that from happening.

Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat threw on Jack Rodwell and Steven Fletcher in place of Conor Wickham and Danny Graham at the start of the second half. Fletcher almost scored the opening, but had to be kept out brilliantly by Ospina. The Colombian keeper was called into action again to deny former Chelsea left-back Patrick van Aanholt.

At the other end, the Gunners were still lacking the cutting edge, as Pantilimon kept out successive efforts from Giroud and Ramsey. Kieran Gibbs then saw his header too saved. After Alexis saw his shot being blocked, Sunderland broke away on a counter, and set up Fletcher for a one-on-one. He attempted to chip Ospina, and the keeper’s fingertips saw the Scottish international’s effort going wide.

Theo Walcott then came on for Jack Wilshere, in the 67th minute, as Arsene Wenger looked to capitalize on the possession that the Gunners were enjoying in Sunderland’s half. However, it was Steven Fletcher who was proving to be dangerous for Arsenal, as he almost nicked in a header from a van Aanholt cross coming in from the left.

Ramsey then set up Walcott in the 72nd minute, but he couldn’t get his shot off, with the keeper approaching. And Sunderland rode their luck, as the ball struck Billy Jones, before striking the post. Wenger then bought on Rosicky in place of Ozil, and the Czech international set up Walcott, but his shot went wide.

That proved to be the final effort in a game which ensured the safety for Dick Advocaat’s Sunderland. As for Arsenal, they now need at least a point in their final game against West Brom to confirm 3rd place.

Jai Arsenal πŸ™‚

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”

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

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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews

 

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Manchester United 1 Arsenal 1 – Point Secured!

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

Man of the Match –Β Ashley YoungΒ (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 πŸ™‚

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”

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

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

 

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Arsenal 0 Swansea 1 – Gunners’ Run Halted!

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Arsenal 0 – Swansea 1 (Gomis 85)

Man of the Match –Β Lukasz FabianskiΒ (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!

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”

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

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

 

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

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

Man of the Match –Β Alexis SanchezΒ (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 πŸ™‚

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”

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

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

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

 

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Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0 – Blues edge closer to title!

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Arsenal 0 – Chelsea 0

Man of the Match –Β John TerryΒ (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 πŸ™‚

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”

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

 

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