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A lookback at the last 10 Arsenal vs Chelsea clashes

Arsenal and Chelsea have been London’s premier clubs for quite some time now, and have produced some entertaining clashes between them. Here’s a recap of the last 10 games between these two clubs.

10. Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 16th December 2007

(Arsenal – Gallas 45)

In an enthralling encounter, it was ex-Chelsea defender William Gallas header on the stroke of half-time, that won Arsenal all 3 points. Chelsea, had some good opportunities of their own, but the wasteful Shaun Wright-Phillips and big money signing Ukraine captain Andriy Shevchenko missed them, as Arsenal moved top of the table.

9. Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal, Premier League, Stamford Bridge, 23rd March 2008

(Chelsea – Drogba 73,82; Arsenal – Sagna 59)

Didier Drogba added on to his fine record against the Gunners, with a brace, to cancel out an earlier rare headed goal by Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna. With the first half hugely dominated by Arsenal, with nothing to show for it, the second half became more open to both sides. Eventually, Chelsea’s depth and experience proved too good for an Arsenal side, whose season had started to crumble after Eduardo’s horrific injury.

8. Chelsea 1-2 Arsenal, Premier League, Stamford Bridge, 30th November 2008

(Chelsea – Djourou (O.G) 31; Arsenal – van Persie 59,62)

Arsenal recorded an impressive win at Stamford Bridge, thanks to two well taken goals from Dutch striker Robin van Persie. Chelsea dominated much of the proceedings and took lead through a Djourou own goal, after the Swiss defender only managed to deflect a Bosingwa cross into his own net. van Persie made most of his chances, and despite Chelsea’s horde of attacks, Arsenal held on.

7. Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea, FA Cup semi-final, Wembley, 18th April 2009

(Arsenal – Walcott 18; Chelsea – Malouda 34, Drogba 84)

Chelsea’s experience and depth proved too good again for Arsenal, as the dumped the Gunners out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage, thanks to a late Didier Drogba goal, which kept Chelsea’s treble dream alive. Arsenal dominated the opening minutes, and got their reward on 18 minutes through Theo Walcott. But, from then on, they just couldnt match up to Chelsea’s physical presence. Florent Malouda equalized few minutes later, and Drogba wrapped up a deserved win, late on.

6. Arsenal 1-4 Chelsea, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 10 May 2009

(Arsenal – Bendtner 70; Chelsea – Alex 28, Anelka 39, Toure (O.G) 49, Malouda 86)

Arsenal suffered the end of season jitters as they slumped to a 4-1 home defeat to a dominant Chelsea. Alex powerfully headed Chelsea ahead, and it seemed Nicolas Anelka had wrapped up the game before half time. Kolo Toure managed to put an Ashley Cole cross into his own net. Arsenal rallied, and got their reward on 70 minutes, through a Niklas Bendtner header, but Malouda wrapped up the win with 4 minutes to go.

5. Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 29th November 2009

(Chelsea – Drogba 41, 86, Vermaelen (O.G) 45)

The same old story again, as Didier Drogba continued to terrorize Arsenal, with a fine display to cap a 3-0 win for Chelsea. Ashley Cole’s cross was met with a fine Drogba finish, and another Cole cross was unfortunately turned into his own net by Thomas Vermaelen, to give Chelsea a 2-0 lead at half-time. Arsenal seemed to have gotten a lifeline, but Andrei Arshavin’s goal was ruled out for a foul on Cech by Eduardo. Despite all of Arsenal’s possession, it was Drogba who added finishing touches to the game with a thundering free-kick in the 86th minute.

4. Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal, Premier League, Stamford Bridge, 7th February 2010

(Chelsea – Drogba 8, 23)

Didier Drogba helped ease the pressure off John Terry, accused of cheating ex-Chelsea teammate Wayne Bridge by sleeping with his wife, with a fine brace, as he scored his 12th and 13th goals against the Gunners in just 10 games. It was John Terry, who set up Drogba’s opener, after his header off a Malouda corner was met by the Ivorian. Drogba made most of Clichy’s uncertainty to score the second in the 23rd minute. Some resolute defending from Chelsea, and Arsenal’s inability to convert possession into goals, saw Chelsea ease in on 3 points.

3. Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal, Premier League, Stamford Bridge, 3rd October 2010

(Chelsea – Drogba 39, Alex 85)

It was another case of ‘not taking chances’, as Arsenal slipped to yet another Didier Drogba inspired loss at Stamford Bridge to Chelsea. Arsenal were dominant through the game, and created some fine chances, only for Koscielny, Chamakh and Arshavin to spurn them. Completely against the run of play, Chelsea took the lead, as Didier Drogba pounced on an Ashley Cole cross. Arsenal paid for their profligacy, as Brazilian defender Alex unleashed a freekick in the dying moments to hand the Blues 3 points.

2. Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 27th December 2010

(Arsenal – Song 44, Fabregas 51, Walcott 53; Chelsea – Ivanovic 57)

Arsenal came out of their traps, to secure an emphatic win over Chelsea. Arsenal dominated the proceedings, and this time, made it count, with 3 well taken goals to end Chelsea’s recent unbeaten reign over the Gunners. Alex Song finished from close range to put the Gunners into the lead just before half time. Theo Walcott made most of a Michael Essien mistake to tee Fabregas, and he himself finished moments later, as he raced past Chelsea’s defence. Ivanovic got one back minutes later, but Arsenal continued dominating, without adding to the scores, to secure 3 vital points in the title race.

1. Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal, Premier League, Stamford Bridge, 29th October 2011

(Chelsea – Lampard 14, Terry 45, Mata 80; Arsenal – van Persie 36, 85, 90, Santos 49, Walcott 55)

Robin van Persie’s fine hattrick inspired Arsenal to an incredible 5-3 win at Stamford Bridge. The game had a frantic start, as Arsenal created several opportunities, but failed to convert them. Chelsea took the lead, after some fine work by Mata on the right to beat Santos. His cross was headed in by Lampard, who made most of Per Mertesacker’s naivety. Aaron Ramsey played a perfect through ball to Gervinho who unselfishly set up van Persie to score the equalizer. Terry, in controversy again, after he was accuses of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, headed home off a Lampard corner, seconds before the interval. Arsenal stepped up gears after the break, and equalized as Santos made a surging run from left-back. Walcott, who had been menacing all afternoon, then beat Chelsea’s entire defence, to shoot past Cech. Juan Mata scored a fantastic goal to level things 10 minutes from time. But, Arsenal found energy to win the enthralling game, as a Terry slip allowed van Persie to make it 4-3. He then finished emphatically past Cech late on to complete the rout.

Arsenal’s record in the last 10 games against Chelsea is P10 W4 D0 L6. 

The form guide is WLWLLLLLWW.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Best of the Best

 

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Post Geordie Talk, Arteta, Walcott, Rosicky, Arshavin and Santos

Hello Gooners, out there! I can vouch for the fact that all of you are in the best of moods, unless of course, you happened to meet a Sp*rs supporter, who thinks they can still finish above us in the league. What a load of bollocks, I say!

The Newcastle game marked a 5th consecutive Premier League win. A streak that started with the 7-1 mauling of Blackburn, followed by a late Thierry Henry goal at the Stadium of Misery, a 5-2 humbling of Sp*rs, a daylight robbery at Anfield, and a Newcastle Vermination. 15 points gathered in these 5 games, and add to that Sp*rs consecutive 3rd league loss, which saw them lose to us, ManUtd and Everton, has seen us close the gap between us to just 1 solitary point. Couple of months ago, Arsenal were 7th in the league, and Sp*rs, were 13 points ahead of us, dreaming of a league title. How quickly things can change in the game of football.

Zis team is good!

Arsene Wenger does the customary, speaking about the team spirit…rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb..

That is the best response to something that has been questioned sometimes this season. I believe that shows we have quality, we have spirit, which I have never questioned.It was a relentless effort again tonight from the first to the last minute. The tempo was absolutely top level tonight. We kept going until the last second and just managed to win the game.Certainly the fact we have done it before helped us. Even when we were 1-0 down we just kept going and we feel now at the moment in the team we just have that complete and total commitment to do as well as we can and give absolutely everything.We played recently against Tottenham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sunderland who are all very difficult to beat and we won all of these games. We know every time it was very tight and we won in the last minute in three of them.There is definitely complete commitment in every single game. Where we finish is down to how we keep going and if we put that same amount of effort into every single game.

I don’t focus on Tottenham. I feel what is at stake for us is our commitment and that’s all we want to do.I don’t compare us to any other team, I just think we have rebuilt confidence and belief and that will be vital in the race until the end.It can change very quickly because as soon as you lose a little bit of urgency you are in trouble in this league. So let’s focus on keeping that and after we will see when we finish.The atmosphere is great within the squad, and tonight it was exceptional in the dressing room because the pleasure is even more intense when you win in the final minute of the game where you have given everything.It’s very important that we keep our feet on the ground, keep our complete focus and give absolutely everything until the end.

Yes, I completely with Wenger here. How can we even contemplate to compare ourselves with the Sp*rs, of all? We are way better than that. Meanwhile, the man who ‘scores when he wants’, aka Robin van Persie, who scored a fine equalizer against the Geordies, was full of praise for the Arsenal faithful.

During that period, our fans have been incredible. I really mean that – the atmosphere in the stadium has reached unbelievable levels and that makes me feel very proud. I sometimes hear people saying that Emirates Stadium can be quiet, but I’m completely certain that those people will adjust their opinions now.Our bond with the supporters is special and has been there for a long time, but in the last few games I feel it’s reached a new level. As I’ve said before, it’s down to us to give them that energy, to show them that we are ready for the fight, and then they will respond.That’s what has happened recently – the fans and the players have worked together and made a really good team!

Mikel Arteta, meanwhile spoke on how Arsenal deserved the late winner.

We all keep believing, we had the chances and thankfully at the end we got the points. All credit to the team, we never give up even when we’re losing, and the crowd as well has been absolutely fantastic.We deserved to win the game earlier, we had chances to put it in the net before, and it was tough, but as I said kept trying, putting them under pressure and the energy today was top drawer.We are now only one point behind Tottenham and three ahead of Chelsea, so we are in a much better position than four or five weeks ago. We are really happy.

One of the talking points of the game was the clash between Newcastle’s goalkeeper Tim Krul, who was taking ages for his goalkicks, and was not penalized once, by Manchester United legend Howard Webb, and Captain Vantastic. Robin van Persie kept accusing Krul of wasting time, and matters nearly got out of hand towards the end, when after Vermaelen’s winner, van Persie taunted Krul, by saying “Take your time now!”. Arsene Wenger tells he doesn’t know much about the incident.

If it’s history from Holland or it’s today’s story I don’t know,I will find out, but I’m happy he stayed yellow and didn’t become red.

Moving on, Arsenal’s best player on the night, was Theo Walcott. He gave a torrid time to Newcastle’s Italian left-back Davide Santon, in the first half, which resulted in Pardew substituting him with James Perch. Walcott set up van Persie’s equalizer in the 15th minute, and was also responsible for Vermaelen’s winner. Arsene Weger, was full of praise for the pacy winger, who he bought from Southampton in 2006.

Theo Walcott was outstanding,From the first to last minute he was great. I feel it was his best performance for us.Against Milan, Theo was hitting top form and he has continued it tonight. He played with intelligence and power.Newcastle gave the impression of a strong team and to come back quickly was important.The equaliser was provided by Walcott. We speak many times of many other players and he deserves great credit this time because he was exceptional.I think that he is so long in the spotlight that people forget that he is 22 years old and getting now to an age where you perform. It is as simple as that. He develops well because he is intelligent. Tactically, technically tonight he had a complete game.

Walcott has often tended to frustrate Arsenal fans, with his inconsistent displays, and that he has shown little improvement since joining us all those years back. He has drifted in and out of games, at times looks completely out of ideas and disinterested, but he has also played like a world-beater at times. Another player, who has frustrated the Arsenal faithful, with his injuries, rather than lack of performances, is Tomas Rosicky. Owing to his recent top form, he has been awarded with a new and improved two-year contract extension. Little Mozart, stated,

It’s a great honour to sign a new deal with Arsenal, I love the Club and am proud to wear the Arsenal shirt. It’s felt like home since I arrived six years ago and I couldn’t be happier to commit my future to the team.The manager, my team-mates, the staff and the supporters – everyone plays their part in making this a great Club, and I feel privileged to be a part of it. I believe we have a really talented group of players and, together with the manager, the future looks bright. It’s always been my goal to win trophies here at Arsenal, and I will fight hard to achieve my dreams here.

And while we are about it, on loan Russia captain Andrei Arshavin has revealed that he intends to return to Arsenal after his loan spell ends.

Of course,Yes,Every player wants to play and not sit on the bench and sit in the stands watching the action. I always wanted to play and not sit on the sidelines watching everything unfold.I’m used to living in London and while I’m on loan at Zenit my family has stayed there because my children go to school there and everybody feels comfortable there.

Is it just me, or has Arshavin’s departure on loan to Zenit, coincided with the recent spate of great results. I still, feel though, that the Russian still has a season or two in him to succeed at Arsenal. He offers something extra to the midfield, and all Arsenal fans hope to see a rejuvenated player in him, come next season.

Finally, Arsenal welcomed back Brazilian left-back Andre Santos from injury. It was revealed that he will be ready in time to face Everton. Before that, he will get some much needed game time against West Brom reserves. It will be interesting to see if Wenger sticks to the impressive young Kieran Gibbs at left-back or brings back the experienced Santos. It is a happy problem. Also slated for a return, is Abou Diaby.

Of course, Arsenal don’t have a game this weekend, due to Everton’s involvement in the FA Cup, where they take on Bolton. It’s going to be another long weekend then. Hopefully, we will be all set to take on Everton, come next Wednesday.

Jai Arsenal 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in General

 

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Dutchmen, Young Guns, Profits, Szczesny, Injuries, Reyes, Internationals + Liverpool Preview & Lineups

Liverpool vs Arsenal, Anfield, Premier League

Kickoff – 12:45 GMT (18:15 IST), 3rd March 2012

Another weekend, and with it comes another ‘cup tie’. This weekend, it gets bigger. Yes, bigger, because this time we are playing a club, bestowed with success throughout its history, added to by last week’s Carling Cup victory; unlike last week, where we had to show Spu*s, where they stand in the scheme of things.

The Liverpool game could be one of the major games of our season. It comes at a very delicate time. With just 12 games left in the season, Arsenal will have to find atleast 10 wins if they want to make sure of that 4th spot. Chelsea are breathing down our necks, and separate us only by virtue of head-to-head. Liverpool, themselves, boosted by their Carling Cup triumph, will look to push on. They are 7 points behind us, with a game in hand, of course. Newcastle have defied all odds and remain in contention too.

The match could be a cagey affair though. Liverpool have struggled to score goals this season, and suspension to their best striker, who missed a total of 9 games due to bans, hasn’t helped either. With it, coinciding was the form (rather the lack of it) of Andy Carroll. The bulky striker has scored just 3 times in 23 league appearances. Add to that, long term injuries for Gerrard and Lucas, two vital players for Liverpool. To compound the frustration, Liverpool have been unlucky at times. They have hit the goalpost highest number of times, this Premier League campaign, and this has resulted in failure to convert draws to wins, at home. Kenny Dalglish has managed his resources remarkably well this campaign, ensuring progress in cup competitions.

Liverpool’s defence, however has been stifling. They have played a consistent back 4 of Johnson, Skrtel, Agger and Enrique, and are a well-drilled unit, having conceded only 23 goals in 25 games. Arsenal on the other hand have conceded 37 goals, in 26 games, and have used an entire 11 at their back. These include Sagna, Jenkinson, Djourou, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Squillaci, Santos, Gibbs, Miquel and Coquelin. Funny, ain’t it?

While Arsenal have managed to bang in 53 goals, Liverpool have managed a paltry 29. The game will be a combined result of two battles. One is an attack which can’t score against a defence which can’t stop conceding, and the other is an attack which can’t stop scoring, against a defence that rarely concedes. Seems like we have a cracker jacker of a game on our hands.

Meanwhile, Arsenal chairman Peter Hill Wood has paid a tribute to the clubs two premier strikers, Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie.

It was a special moment to have Henry back with us for his statue unveiling. This was only surpassed by that winning goal against Leeds United on his return to action in an Arsenal shirt during his loan period with the Club. It was a truly memorable football moment from an outstanding Arsenal servant.

I would like to recognise another outstanding Arsenal servant, our captain Robin van Persie.He has been in tremendous form and has scored many spectacular and valuable goals.In addition, he has proved to be an exceptional leader of the team and I am delighted by his contribution on and off the pitch.

Riding high on the Spurs win, van Persie has been subject of interest among the football world, regarding his contract. While clubs like AC Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid look to price away Arsenal’s most prized asset, the Dutchman has gone out to say he is fully committed to the Arsenal cause.

There have been a lot of stories, generally contradictory ones, about my contract situation recently so I’d like to make it clear,There’s nothing complicated or sinister – the club and I have both agreed to speak at the end of the season and see how things stand. The boss, Ivan Gazidis and I are all comfortable with it.I need all my focus to be on football – on captaining this team, improving every day, doing extra work on the training pitch and preparing for the very busy schedule of fixtures we have.

I have been there for eight years and I’m proud. At the end of the season I will it down with the trainer and the president. Then we make a cup of coffee all together.I am a true Gunner. I love this club and that’s no secret. We will soon talk about many things. I do quite often with the trainer anyway. Only later on is the president there.

Arsenal fans will certainly hope so. RVP staying at Arsenal could hinge on whether the club manages to qualify for next year’s Champions League. Actually, a lot of things hinge in it. It could affect our transfer kitty, which means the likes of Podolski and Gotze, certainly won’t be arriving at the Emirates. We wouldn’t be able to attract too many good players, either. Our best players, more importantly, van Persie, could be on their way out in search of a Champions League club.

Dennis Bergkamp showered praises on his compatriot, and the successor to his throne.

He has been playing in a role which is very difficult,I think it’s easier for a guy like Robin or me to play behind the striker, and feed the main striker and sometimes get the space to do your own thing. But basically he is the one up front who has to make a difference, which puts a lot of pressure on him, but it seems like he can deal with it. It seems he can make the difference time after time and in my opinion that describes a great player. It’s fantastic how he has developed himself, and players like that deserve trophies. So I honestly hope that comes soon, because his character and style of play is fantastic.

As soon as he trained with us you could see his potential,He seemed free, he played with a lot of freedom. You could see immediately he was a very talented player.I got to know him a bit, obviously with us both being Dutch, so I tried to help him with a few things. You could really tell that he’s a good person, a good lad, and totally the opposite to the stories that were coming out of Holland at the time about him. They said he was a difficult character, wouldn’t listen to experienced players and so on, but he was a great example of a player making the right move at the right time. He joined a settled team with a lot of big players, and from day one he respected those players and listened to them, and I think that helped him a lot.

Meanwhile, another Dutchman contradicted another Dutchman’s statement. Recently, AC Milan midfielder Mark van Bommel came out and said van Persie would be perfect for AC Milan. However, his AC Milan team mate Clarence Seedorf, feels van Persie should stay put.

A player must not leave a club because one is not in the Champions League. There must be other reasons. Van Persie gives Arsenal a lot, but he must not forget that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger in particular, have given him a lot, they have been waiting for him and given him time to show his true potential. If Van Persie leaves, it should certainly not be because they will not participate in the CL.

Moving on to the transfer rumour mill, the Lukas Podolski story seems to be getting bigger and bigger everyday. The German tabloid Bild published that the 26 year old German striker has already signed a pre-contract agreement with the Gunners, and will definitely sign in the summer. To what extent, these are true, I have no idea. But, being an Arsenal fan for so many years, I wouldn’t believe in it unless it is on the Arsenal website. Meanwhile, rumours suggest that Fiorentina have offered Marouanne Chamakh an escape route, and will place a £6 million bid for him in the summer. That is actually great, if we could get so much for a flop, whom we had acquired on a free transfer.

While we are about the subject of strikers, RVP has heaped praise on reserve striker Benik Afobe.

I was delighted to see Benik Afobe back in the Reserves on Tuesday night, scoring against Norwich. Six months is a long time out at his age, especially when he did really well with the first team over pre-season making fast progress. He’s returned impressively though – I watched him in training ten days ago while I was doing my warm down and he looked really strong and quick, a proper English striker who holds the ball up well and works very hard.When you’re young you just want to be playing, improving your game and making your career, and he was denied that for a long time. To come back as he’s doing is tremendous – he’s a fantastic lad, a really good character to have in the squad and a player I genuinely rate, so I’m really proud of him,He absolutely loves his football and treats it very seriously. That’s the main thing for a young footballer – if you really love the game like he does then you will make it, and he has everything to become a great player.

The future seems bright for Arsenal, with young talent like Szczesny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Frimpong, Wilshere, Afobe, Lansbury, Miyaichi and Oxlade-Chamberlain coming close to the first team.

And while, we are still about strikers and talented players, Emmanuel Frimpong, who is out with a long term injury, spoke fondly of his time on loan at Wolves. He also praised striker Steven Fletcher.

I think Steven Fletcher is a good player, I told him to come to Arsenal!Stephen Ward at left-back isn’t bad either. They’ve got decent players, and the thing about them is that everyone works so hard. They base everything around work – people there even told me they haven’t got the ability of some of the teams in the Premier League and need to make up for that by working hard and I think that’s the right attitude.As a footballer you sometimes have to make decisions, and I think going to Wolves was probably the best thing I could have done.They may not have been doing too well, but the manager [recently departed Mick McCarthy] was very good to me – I think it’s very important to go to a manager who likes you, and he showed belief in me.He put me in the team, and I’m just happy that I was able to do him proud on the pitch. I had a great time, and if I come back from injury and need some games then I’d be happy to go back there.

Moving on, the club has announced the interim financial results, which boasts of a healthy profit, owing to player sales. Following are some of the main features of the announcement.

Group profit before tax was £49.5 million (2010 – loss of £6.1 million).

Profit on sale of player registrations amounted to £63.0 million (2010 – £4.0 million).

£74.7 million of investment in new players and extended contracts pushed amortisation charges up to £17.3 million (2010 – £10.1 million).

The resulting profit from player trading was £46.1 million (2010 – loss of £5.9 million).

Turnover from football rose to £113.5 million (2010 – £97.6 million) with increases from match-day (4 additional games played) and commercial income streams.

Operating profits (before depreciation and player trading) from football increased to £15.2 million (2010 – £9.4 million).

Period of minimal activity, as expected, in the property business with turnover of £3.2 million (2010 – £22.5 million) and operating profits of £0.5 million (2010 – £3.3 million).

Group has no short-term debt and continues to have a solid financial platform from cash reserves of £115.2 million (2010 – £110.4 million).

I am not very sure what these mean, as to if the manager will have all of it at his disposal, should he decide to splash the cash on reinforcements. It will be interesting to see.

Going back to the Spurs reaction then, one enduring image is that of our young Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny performing a somersault and hugging a ball boy during the match. He is gonna be a legend!He was full of praise for Arsenal’s frontline.

It is comparable to that of beating Barcelona. “It is a great feeling, probably one of the best I have ever had. Every single goal felt better than the previous one and I was celebrating quite energetically. But I loved it. It is the first time I have beaten Spurs and it is just great.

Theo scored two goals, which is all you can ask for,They were both very good. He has come under a little bit of stick for his finishing but he took those two very well and we are very pleased for him. He’s a very good lad and he is probably one of the best trainers in the dressing room.  He works very hard every day, scores a lot of goals in training and just needs to get the goals in games. But we are very pleased for him and we hope he can do it all over again in the games from now.

He’s not bad is he?(RVP) He only scored one goal today though, which is really disappointing for him! We are used to him scoring a hat-trick.But he set up a couple and he was great. He worked very hard defensively, headed a few balls away when we defended corners and scored a fantastic goal.That’s what he is all about – he is the best player in the Premier League and we are very pleased to have him.

After what we have done, we believe we can challenge Tottenham. We have the momentum. Will there be psychological effects for them? As an Arsenal fan, I hope so. I said ages ago that we can’t realistically win the Premier League any more but now, my main ambition is to finish above Tottenham.You can see that we are not any worse than them and when we have the momentum and are on the front foot, we are very dangerous. I hope we can use that to our advantage and get the momentum to start challenging.

Legend!

Per Mertesacker, who is nursing an injury, and watched the game from the sidelines, too was full of praise.

As you can imagine, the Champions League game was torture. And on Sunday it didn’t look good for half an hour or so. But then I thought: wow, that’s some cool club – they are turning it around!I almost felt like in the old days, when I followed Arsenal from a distance and felt like a fan: “This is a great club!” I am really proud of being part of a team that is capable of putting in a performance like that.I’m already looking forward to being back in London next week (to watch the Milan second-leg), because it is annoying – especially in your first season – to be away from the team on account of an injury. You want to spend as much time as possible with your new team-mates.

On his own injury, the Big F*cking German had this to say.

I can report that all’s going pretty well for me, to be more precise: for my ankle. I was able to put aside the crutches relatively quicklyI’m able to walk rather normally thanks to a custom-made boot and a splint that prevents the ankle from twisting. The condition has become more and more stable by the day, so I’m quite light on my feet.The ankle is still swollen, but since I’m walking daily more and more fluid is being, so to speak, “lymph drained”. I’m really happy about that.It’s only when we get to the phase of placing load on the foot that we’ll be able to see what we’re looking at, in terms of the length of the lay-off.

Speaking of injuries, Johan Djourou has suffered a muscle tear on his right thigh, and could be out of action for a month. My first reaction was, this is great news. But then, I realised that another injury to a centre-back and we will have Sebastien Squillaci strutting about there. That ain’t a pretty sight. I would certainly hope Ignasi Miquel to be next choice centre back. Wenger recently told Djourou will be fit for the Milan game.

Meanwhile, Andre Santos nears to first team action, after a long term injury, which he sustained in the dead rubber Champions League game against Olympiakos. Wenger told,

He is doing good, he is not far as well – two weeks away from returning to the group. It is a bit ahead of time and he works with a fantastic attitude. He is unbelievably focused, motivated every day and he is a credit to himself. It is a joy to see how hard he works and sets himself targets. In two weeks we will assess how well he is doing in training.

Moving forward, the club has announced it will play Manchester City in Beijing, more specifically the ‘Bird’s Nest’, the beautiful arena built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, on July 27th in preparation for the new season. It will certainly set tone for the season. Ivan Gazidis had this to say.

Further to our hugely successful visit to Hangzhou in 2011, everyone at Arsenal is extremely excited to once again be visiting China this year.We enjoy huge support in Asia and by playing a match in Beijing, we will once again be bringing the Club close to our loyal fans in China. The players and staff had an amazing time in China last year and we are all looking forward to visiting this great country again in July.The match against Manchester City is sure to be an exciting spectacle, with many great players from both sides playing in front of thousands of supporters in the wonderful ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium. It is also fitting that two English clubs are playing each other on the opening day of the London 2012 Olympics, in the stadium which hosted the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

This friendly, along with further friendlies in Hong Kong and Nigeria are to replace the Emirates Cup, which has been cancelled owing to police shortages in the English capital during the Olympics.

Spanish striker Jose Antonio Reyes recently spoke to the Arsenal magazine, and reminisced fondly his time in North London.

I have nothing but positive and happy memories of that time,I follow their matches whenever I have time and I always hope the best for them. At the time I joined it was really exciting, one of those experiences where you pinch yourself to make sure it’s actually happening to you. It was a big step to take at that time but my family and girlfriend supported me a lot.I felt happy and flattered about Arsenal’s interest, and I left Spain to go and win titles with them, which I achieved – but it was a big leap.I have to say that everybody was very, very helpful, and not just the players and the staff at the Club. I found the people in England to be very kind.I did not realise it so much at the time but after the job was done I started to realise that I, we, were part of football history and that we had written ourselves into the history books,I think all of us who were part of it treasure that particular season. The intensity of the emotions was incredible. At times like that, you feel proud and self-confident. You feel you are doing a good job. You feel happy, you feel strong. And you feel you took the right step in your career.

Reyes made a huge impact when he came to Arsenal in early 2004. After a reasonably good year, his form dipped, and he never really fulfilled his potential. He soon moved to Real Madrid on loan, scoring 2 goals in the final game of the season in 2007, to hand Real the Spanish League. He has since played for Atletico Madrid and Benfica.

Internationals, then. Overhyped and overrated England took on Netherlands at Wembley and ended losing 3-2, thanks to a masterclass from Arjen Robben. Arsenal fans, for sure, were more concerned about the fitness of Robin van Persie, and there must have been a collective sigh of relief when he was bought off at half-time. News had percolated before the match that van Persie had walked off with a slight problem 10 minutes before the end of a light training session. But, then, he played, and Dutch coach Bert van Maarwijk bought him off at half-time.

After the weekend, Arsene Wenger stated that both Tomas, and Thomas hare injured, and are big doubts for the Liverpool clash. However, Vermaelen played 90 minutes against Greece, for Belgium. Which mean, he is fit, but exhausted. Rosicky didn’t feature for Czech Republic against Republic of Ireland. And there was no mention about him in the press conference, which is slightly puzzling.

Moving on, on loan Arsenal midfielder Henri Lansbury scored a brace for England U-21’s, one of which was an absolute screamer. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, too got on the scoresheet. Elsewhere, Gervinho, Alex Song, Park Chu-Young, Szczesny,Benayoun etc. all were away on international duties. Szczesny kept out Cristiano Ronaldo and Co., while Ukraine beat Benayoun’s Israel 3-2. Andrei Arshavin, too scored for Russia in a 2-0 win over Denmark. Chamakh featured in Morocco’s 2-0 win over Burkina Faso.

Meanwhile, Yossi Benayoun recently revealed he is frustrated at the lack of opportunities at Arsenal, where he has fallen down the pecking order below Rosicky, Arteta and Ramsey.

To play 88 minutes, especially in a derby, is a great pleasure. I enjoyed every minute of it, but I still don’t know what will be next week because at Arsenal you are at the top and the competition is tough.The bottom line is that I’m not playing enough games. I haven’t been given enough opportunities.

I scored the winner at Aston Villa and made a goal in the next game. But for some reason I didn’t get opportunities after that, even though the team had a string of disappointing results. But I still believe in myself and that I will play much more.My inclination at the moment is to sign for a mid-table team and play another two or three years.

I do like Benayoun as a player. Not just because he scored against Spu*s in 2006, whilst in a West Ham shirt, to hand us 4th place, and a place in the Champions League. He is quite a talented player, and has good experience in the Premier League, having played for West Ham, Liverpool and Chelsea. He is a good passer of the ball, and as last week suggested, he can stamp his authority in midfield. Unfortunately, his Arsenal stint has come at the wrong time in his career. He is 32, and hence the reason behind him saying that he would want to turn up for a mid-table team. I think an Everton, Newcastle or Aston Villa would suit the Israeli perfectly.

Team news, then. Speaking in his pre-match conference, Wenger revealed that 3 important players will have scans ahead of the game, but he is expecting them to be fit. They are Robin van Persie, Tomas Rosicky and Thomas Vermaelen.

I do not know if they will play, Personally I think international friendlies are becoming more difficult to accept. It’s difficult to understand that our players had to go away when injured, it’s disrespectful to the players.

It could spark another country vs club debate. Clubs lose their best players to injury in meaningless friendlies. It has happened in the past to Arsenal at a worrying rate. Players have aggravated their injuries by playing unrequired international games in the midst of a hectic domestic schedule.

If all goes well, it would be interesting to see how the midfield shapes up. Whether Benayoun will keep his place, after impressing in the Spu*s game, or whether Wenger will decide to deploy wingers, namely Chamberlain and Gervinho. One should also remember that Alex Song and Gervinho will be returning from long trips to Africa. Moreover, Gervinho returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, just a couple of weeks back, and him flying back for the friendly, goes to show how poorly framed the fixtures are. I would expect Wenger to rest Benayoun and give a start to Chamberlain. It would mean we could be susceptible to losing a central midfield battle to Liverpool. One player returning for Arsenal is Abou Diaby, and he will be expected to feature in next week’s league game against Newcastle.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are sweating on the fitness of Steven Gerrard. After playing the full 120 minutes in an absorbing League Cup final, Gerrard injured himself in the meaningless friendly. Daniel Agger is out for a month after he cracked a rib in the League Cup Final, which means a fresh Jamie Carragher will start. Liverpool have a host of options in midfield, namely the defensive-minded Jay Spearing, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam. Stewart Downing is expected to start after putting in a fine display in the Carling Cup final, which earned him the Man of the Match award. They also have the option of the industrious Dirk Kuyt. Up front, Craig Bellamy has looked lively. Andy Carroll’s performances seem to be improving gradually, while Suarez still seems a bit affected by the racism scandal. I would expect Dalglish to keep faith in Suarez and Carroll, again.

Here is how I think the two teams could line up.

As you can see Liverpool’s midfield does look slightly imbalanced. Spearing or Henderson should take up the defensive midfielder’s role. Gerrard will gradually drift towards the centre, to support Adam, while Downing will run the left flank. Bellamy or Kuyt are other options on the flanks or in strike, depending on Dalglish’s decision to go with one or two marksmen. All in all, we are set for an enthralling midfield battle.

A lot hinges on this game, regarding who will finish 4th. If Arsenal win, they will move to within 4 points of 3rd place Spurs, who play on Sunday against Manchester United. With Chelsea playing away at West Brom, and Newcastle at home in their derby against Sunderland, Liverpool could move up to 4 points of Chelsea and Arsenal, with a game in hand.

That’s it for this week. Enjoy the game!

Jai Arsenal 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in 2011-2012, Match Previews

 

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A Lookback at the last 10 Liverpool vs Arsenal clashes at Anfield

Arsenal and Liverpool have produced some exciting encounters in the past. From the last gasp title win an Anfield in 1989, to Andrei Arshavin’s 4 goals, this fixture never dissapoints. Ahead of Arsenal’s visit to Anfield on Saturday, take a lookback at the last 10 encounters between these two teams at the famous stadium.

10. Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal, 28th November 2004, Premier League

(Liverpool– Alonso 41, Mellor 90; ArsenalVieira 57)

Liverpool made most of Arsenal’s frailty with a last-gasp win at Anfield. Arsenal were still stuttering from their defeat at Old Trafford in October, and had since drawn lowly Southampton, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion. Liverpool dominated most of the game, and took the lead through Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso. However, Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira scored the equalizer on the hour mark. However, when it seemed the game was set for a draw, Neil Mellor scored a screamer from 25 yards to beat Jens Lehmann.

9. Liverpool 1-0 Arsenal, 14th February 2006, Premier League

(Liverpool-Garcia 87)

Liverpool dealt another injury time defeat for Arsenal on Valentine’s Day in 2006. Liverpool dominated most of the game against an injury-ravaged Arsenal side, but were single-handedly kept out for most of the game by German keeper Jens Lehmann. Liverpool had a penalty on the half hour mark, which Gerrard took and was brilliantly kept out by Lehmann. However, in the 87th minute Luis Garcia scored the winner for the Reds after Lehmann was unable to hold on to compatriot Dietmaar Hamaan’s powerful shot.

8. Liverpool 1-3 Arsenal, 6th January 2007, FA Cup 3rd Round

(Liverpool-Kuyt 71, Arsenal-Rosicky 37,45, Henry 84)

FA Cup holders Liverpool were dumped from the FA Cup in stylish fashion by a lethal Arsenal. The game was overall evenly contested, but Liverpool were undone on the break. Tomas Rosicky first curled in a fine effort to give the Gunners the lead, before doubling it at the stroke of half-time, from the edge of the box. Liverpool responded in the 71st minute with a Dirk Kuyt header. But, it was Thierry Henry who added the finishing touches to the game. Henry played a throughball, for, well, himself, as he jinxed Jamie Carragher, to score Arsenal’s winner.

7. Liverpool 3-6 Arsenal, 9th January 2007, League Cup Quarter-Finals

(Liverpool-Fowler 33, Gerrard 68, Hyypia 80; Arsenal- Aliadierie 27, Baptista 40,45,60,84, Song 45)

Arsenal knocked the wind out of Liverpool for the second time in 4 days, as they dumped the Reds out of the second cup competition, at Anfield. In a thrilling game, it was young French striker Jeremie Aliadierie who gave the Gunners the lead, before Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler drew level. However, Arsenal soon led after a Julio Baptista free-kick, and a chancy Alex Song finish from close range. Arsenal went into half-time with a resounding 4-1 lead, after Baptista scored from a tap-in. Baptista remarkably even missed a penalty, before scoring the Gunners’ 5th on the night. Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyypia scored to ensure a thrilling finish, making the score 3-5, but Baptista was not done yet, as he scored Arsenal’s 6th in the 84th minute.

6. Liverpool 4-1 Arsenal, 31st March 2007, Premier League

(Liverpool- Crouch 4, 35, 81, Agger 60; Arsenal- Gallas 73)

Peter Crouch scored a remarkable hat-trick as Liverpool avenged their earlier cup exits, to beat the Gunners 4-1 at Anfield. Crouch opened the scoring after just 4 minutes. He then scored a superb header to take Liverpool into half-time with a 2-0 lead. Daniel Agger made it 3-0 as he glanced Lehmann. Gallas’ goal proved to be the only consolation for Arsenal as Crouch completed his ‘left-foot, right-foot, header’ hat-trick with 10 minutes to go.

5. Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal, 28th October 2007, Premier League

(Liverpool-Gerrard 7, Arsenal-Fabregas 80)

Arsenal required a late equalizer from Cesc Fabregas to go to top of the table, in an absorbing game at Anfield. In a game dominated by both teams in periods, it was Steven Gerrard who scored the opening goal in the 7th minute with a fine effort. Arsenal responded well with some brilliant passing between Rosicky, Hleb, Fabregas and Adebayor and got the reward for their efforts, when Fabregas toe-poked Hleb’s through ball.

4. Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal, 8th April 2008, Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg

(Liverpool-Hyypia 30, Torres 69, Gerrard 86 (pen), Babel 90; Arsenal-Diaby 13, Adebayor 84)

Arsenal suffered heartbreak at the hands of Liverpool as they were knocked out of the Champions League in dramatic fashion. Having drawn 1-1 in the first leg at the Emirates, it was Arsenal who took the lead through Abou Diaby, who scored after a well-worked move. Finnish defender Sami Hyypia soon drew level and Liverpool led the tie through a fine Fernando Torres effort in the 69th minute. Arsenal thought they had won it in the 84th minute, after Theo Walcott sprinted the entire length of Anfield, to set up Emmanuel Adebayor. However, 2 minutes  later, Ryan Babel went down off the slightest of touches from Kolo Toure and won a penalty. Arsenal felt hard done by as they had been denied a clear penalty a week earlier. Gerrard scored, and Babel finished it off 6 minutes later, after the Gunners threw everyone forward.

3. Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal, 21st April 2009. Premier League

(Liverpool-Torres 49, 72, Benayoun 56, 90+4′; Arsenal-Arshavin 39,67,70,90)

Andrei Arshavin had the match of his life as he scored 4 goals in an enthralling encounter at Anfield, which dented Liverpool’s title hopes. In a game which had 8 goals, it is surprising that the half-time score was 1-0, with Arshavin scoring after fine work by Samir Nasri and Fabregas. Fernando Torres equalized minutes after half-time, and some bloke called Yossi Benayoun handed Liverpool the advantage. However, Arsenal were rewarded for some fine play, as Arshavin scored a scorcher, after an error from Alvaro Arbeloa. 3 minutes later, the Russian scored again from close range. Liverpool fought hard to save their title ambitions, as Torres leveled things again. In the dying moments, Walcott surged foward, and Arshavin finished finely off his left foot. Liverpool gathered all energy that was left in them, as Benayoun prodded a late equalizer.

2. Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal, 13th December 2009, Premier League

(Liverpool-Kuyt 41; Arsenal-Johnson (O.G)-50, Arshavin 58)

Andrei Arshavin cam back to haunt Liverpool as he scored Arsenal’s winner in a Premier League clash. Liverpool dominated the first half in its entirity, and should have had a penalty when Gallas felled Gerrard. They got their reward, minutes before half-time, as Dirk Kuyt opened the scoring after Manuel Almunia failed to latch on to an Aurelio free-kick. Glen Johnson, who had a poor game, scored an own goal, when he turned in Nasri’s cross. Minutes later, Russia captain Arshavin, controlled the ball brilliantly and shot past Reina. From there on, Arsenal closed out with ease, to secure 3 points.

1. Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal, 15th August 2010, Premier League

(Liverpool –N’Gog 46, Arsenal-Reina (O.G)-90+1′)

Arsenal escaped with a draw from Anfield, after being second-best against Liverpool. Both teams ended the game with 10 men. Debutants Joe Cole and Laurent Koscielny were sent off for Liverpool and Arsenal respectively. Joe Cole saw red for a poor tackle on Koscielny. Liverpool, despite being down to 10 men, took the lead through David N’Gog who scored from a narrow angle. Liverpool managed to frustrate the Gunners’ for long periods, but Arsenal managed to equalize at the death after Reina failed to hold on to Rosicky’s cross, and bundled it into his own net.

Arsenal’s record in the last 10 games against Liverpool at Anfield is P10 W3 D3 L4.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Best of the Best

 

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Italian Ruins, Potholed Pitches, Unhappy Legends and Strained Muscles

Sunderland vs Arsenal, Stadium of Light, FA Cup 5th Round

Kickoff – 17:15 GMT (22:45 IST), 18th February 2012

Billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles!

Ten thousand thundering typhoons!

Smoldering smokestacks!

Were Captain Haddock an Arsenal fan, I am pretty much sure, this would have been his reaction to Arsenal’s capitulation at the San Siro. Infact, these were the same reactions that I had.

Having been so excited all week about the clash, probably every minute spent pondering over the game, walking nervously around the hall minutes before kick off, wondering ‘It is just 1 goal’, when Kevin Prince-Boateng scored a scorcher, calming myself ‘Now we just need an away goal’, when Robinho scored the second, messaging all my friends ‘It’s all over man 😦 ‘ , when Robinho scored the third, and heaping insults on Djourou after he conceded the fourth; next day roaming around with an unshaven glum face all round my office, with colleagues trying to console me saying ‘Don’t kill yourself dude’, it is time finally to try and narrow down some issues on the match and investigating how Arsenal got mauled so emphatically.

First, the pitch. Whatever the Arsenal fans might say about the Gunners not performing up to the mark, the Milan pitch was a disgrace to the competition. How the Italian side get away with all this, I have no idea. Now, Milan play a very narrow formation, with minimal wingplay. Even their full-backs, namely Luca Antonini and Ignazio Abate, are more defensive minded, and rarely go forward. They started with 4 central midfielders on the night., ‘the ‘grand old man of football’ Clarence Seedorf, Mark van Bommel, Kevin Prince-Boateng and Antonio Nocerino. Arsenal have a completely different style to Milan, and rely on wingplay. This entire season Arsene Wenger has deployed wingers, Gervinho, Theo Walcott, Andrei Arshavin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Even our full-backs are proper full-backs. Andre Santos, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna all love going forward.

Now, by disintegrating the pitch, it was pretty evident Milan had spotted Arsenal’s strength and decided to turn it into a weakness. Considering the fact that the flanks on the San Siro pitch were laid out just about 24 hours before kick-off is a clear pointer of that claim. Moreover, Robin van Persie decided to change his boots, going for a harder studded boot, so as to facilitate his wing play on the horror of a pitch. Arsene Wenger decided to drop Chamberlain on the bench and started with Tomas Rosicky, who is more adept a central role, than on the left. Had the pitch been perfect, or at least had a semblance of normalcy about it, Wenger would have started with the pacy Chamberlain who would have wreaked havoc with the Milan defence. None of the players looked comfortable on the night. The ball was rolling so slowly around the flanks that at one time, Vermaelen had to back-track his header, which he thought was heading for a corner.

Second, I don’t want to be too critical of how the Milan groundsmen prepared the pitch, as it was same for both side. Arsenal should have been prepared to adapt to it. Now, we go into an European game against the Italian champions, in their formidable home, and we can in the least expect a tough game on the cards. Unfortunately, Arsenal couldn’t adapt to the fact how Milan had taken the game by storm. Milan exploited the nervousness and fragility of the Arsenal rearguard, and swooped down like vultures would on a carcass. The Gunners failed to adapt, and got all their tactics wrong.

Alex Song was unable to contain the advances of both Nocerino and Boateng, and didn’t get too much help from Ramsey and Arteta. Sagna wasn’t helped by Walcott either as he tried to counter the threat of Ibrahimovic, Emmanuelson and Antonini.

Thirdly, Arsenal lost their best defender at the moment, Laurent Koscielny to an unfortunate injury. He picked up a strain, and it mean he would be replaced by Calamity Djourou, who ofcourse went on to concede a penalty. Thomas Vermaelen had an unfortunate slip on the horrendous playing surface, which lead to Milan’s third.

Finally, the Gunners fielded a very naive and relatively inexperienced side on the night, even though it was the best of the resources we had. Szczesny has looked nervous in recent games and he did so on Wednesday. His goalkicks, clearances and distribution was poor. Aaron Ramsey had a poor night too, and was well tracked by the menacing Mark van Bommel. Tomas Rosicky was good in patches, but honestly had no direction about his forward play. Theo Walcott, can best be described as ‘poor’ on the night, notwithstanding the poor condition of the ground.

Now, here we are, on the brink of exit in the Champions League. All my banter dished out to Manure supporters about them watching the Europa League has come back to haunt me.

Arsenal players and the manager have all had their say on the Milan game. Wojciech Szczesny was among the first Arsenal players to speak the media, saying Arsenal deserved the mauling.

It’s not impossible to come back but it’s going to be very difficult,Milan showed how good they are tonight and it’s going to be very difficult. We showed last week against Blackburn how good we can be if we are on the front foot and if we manage to score an early goal then anything can happen.We have quality attacking players and we can score goals so why not? But we have to realise that it’s going to be really, really difficult.It was a very difficult night and it’s hard to take right now. We have to admit that Milan were the better team and they completely deserved the victory. It’s hard to take but hopefully we can pick ourselves up.We’re full of belief that we can still have a successful season. It’s a big blow for us tonight but I’m confident we’ll pick ourselves up and do our best in all the games we have coming up.

Thomas Vermaelen had one of his worst nights in an Arsenal jersey.

We have another game and the only thing we can do is show our pride and give 100 per cent,We have to give something back to the fans who came all the way here, we disappointed them. The only thing we can do is try to get a good result in the home game.The fans supported us all the way to Milan and we disappointed them, which is not good. We will try to give them something back when we next play at home.It was not a good evening for us, they scored four times and we did not play well. It’s simple – we conceded too many chances and too many goals and it was just a bad evening.They played well, they were aggressive – more than us I think and you can see that from the result. It’s difficult to give an explanation so soon after the game because I am disappointed. The result was really bad.What happened, we have to forget now. We have to learn from it and just keep going to the next game.

Surprisingly, the harshest criticism on the team came from their own manager, Arsene Wenger, who  launched a scathing attack on the team, for probably the first time in his Arsenal managerial career.

We were never in the game,We were very poor offensively and defensively. It was shocking to see how we were beaten everywhere. It was our worst performance in Europe by far.Not once in the 90 minutes were we in the game. You question everything on a night like that but it’s difficult to analyse and it’s better not to talk too much, analyse it with a cooler head and to regroup for the next game.We don’t live in a dream world. There is may be 2% or 5% chance statistically, but realistically we are out of this competition. We made mistake after mistake and we were punished.It is too big a deficit to turn over, we certainly will try, but it will be very difficult. We will give it our best and we certainly cannot be worse than we were tonight.We left ourselves in a position where we had to chase the game from early on and we continued to lose the ball in positions where you cannot afford to lose it at this level and we left ourselves exposed. It was a big problem for us and we were slow to respond all evening.We will not talk too much tonight − we will take our punishment and get over this. The season isn’t finished.We have a big game on Saturday to show character & spirit. We have to regroup, but there’s not a lot of time.

Call me optimistic or crazy or whatever, I think we have a great chance of putting things right in the second leg. Of course, it is going to be an uphill task, the hill being Mount Everest in the case. But, this is football. What would it be, if scores were decided before the ball was kicked. Anything is possible in this sport. Remember Deportivo la Coruna in the 2003/04 season of the Champions League? They were 4-1 down after the first leg at the San Siro, but came back in emphatic fashion in the second leg, to wipe out Milan 4-0. So, all is not over yet, folks.

Arsenal have come in for quite a fair share of criticism from club greats such as Dennis Bergkamp, Martin Keown, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira etc.

Here is what legendary right-back Lee Dixon had to say.

Everything that could go wrong in the game did and it was a really, really poor performance – It was a good performance from Milan, I thought they did ever so well. (Kevin Prince) Boateng, Robinho and (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic tore Arsenal to pieces, simple as that.There are not a lot of positives to be honest with you. It’ll be difficult for Arsene to pick the players up before a massive FA Cup tie at Sunderland this weekend. He’s got his work cut out.

And, World Cup winner, and former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit, said the following words.

I asked myself what has become of the team that I knew.It’s a gulf which is confirmed weekend after weekend and what is perhaps the most worrying thing is the club won’t do anything this summer to reverse the trend. They don’t want to go back to overspending in the transfer market, and I think they’re right. But for two seasons, the level of the team has only gone down.Certain young players haven’t done enough to justify the confidence that Arsene has in them. Walcott – somehow he’s going to have to reach the next stage. It’s been years that he’s been at the same level. Ramsey, against Milan, I got the impression it was his (twin) brother on the pitch. In the way they behave, in their body language, we see they’re not there anymore.We shouldn’t hesitate to talk about the end of the cycle. Regardless of age, we have to look seriously at certain players. Right now you have to send out a strong signal.You have to say to Arshavin, and to Rosicky: ‘Gentlemen, thank you, but goodbye’. And soon.’

Dennis Bergkamp had an extensive discussion with another Arsenal great, Alan Smith, and shared the following views on a variety of issues like the squad, Wenger’s future and on the passing style employed by the club.

DB10 on the team:

I feel there are a lot of similar players there at the moment. It needs to be more diverse.You need a few strong characters who can get the team going, in training as well as matches.You also need a few players who can make a difference in terms of scoring goals. I don’t feel there are enough of them.You look at the midfield and compare it with ours. We had Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Ray Parlour – when it wasn’t working for one of the big names, one of these could step up.You can’t only depend on one or two players. When they’re having an off day, you need someone else.

DB10 on the style of play

Sometimes you need more of a winning mentality than a passing mentality.I’m not sure Arsenal have enough of that in their players, when the attitude becomes more important than the ability just to pass the ball.I don’t know if the English mentality is missing a little bit.We had it with the back four, of course, who had the mentality of thinking, ‘OK, this game is ours now.Sometimes I see their games and it’s always the same way of playing, a bit too predictable. They are all fantastic players, that must be said, but sometimes you need a bit more of the other side.

DB10 on Arsene Wenger

Yeah, I think so, because the way I know him, he’s a winner. He can’t just let go.He would think he hasn’t finished there yet. He would want to finish on a high or at least do something that makes the team successful again.So I think he will wait and push as hard as possible to achieve that before he leaves.I’ve worked with Arsène for 11 years and it goes up and down.You do well, then you need some time to rebuild, then you do well again. But the thing now is that he isn’t winning any trophies.That’s what I was talking about earlier. Sometimes you just need to win something by showing a certain attitude to get the team going again.That isn’t happening at the moment so it is a bit of a struggle.But I wouldn’t say that’s down to Wenger because he has been fantastic and he still is fantastic for the club.He brings in young players and sells them on for more money. Financially, he’s doing great.

DB10 on RVP

To be honest, I would still prefer to see Robin play a bit deeper behind the main striker so that he could pick his moments the way I used to.I think he could be even better in that role, but the way he’s playing now you can hardly blame the coach for putting him there.

Most would agree with Bergkamp here. The club ain’t in a doomsday like situation, like the kind Rangers or Portsmouth are in. The club has been inches away from silverware in recent seasons, and the fans should keep their faith in the manager and the team.

Phew that’s a lot of legends having their opinion their. Speaking of legends, there have been rumours that Pat Rice will finally retire from his stellar stint at Arsenal. He amassed 528 games for the club as a right-back from 1966 to 1980. He joined Arsenal as a youth coach in 1984, and even briefly became the manager in 1996, before Arsene Wenger took over. He has been Arsene Wenger’s trusted assistant, and though never in the spotlight, is said to be key to the team’s affairs. Here’s to 42 years of exemplary service.

Legend!

Meanwhile, rumours are floating that the man touted for the job is none other than the present youth coach, Steve Bould. Bould was another memeber of the famous back four, and played in 11 seasons for the club. He has been the coach of the youth side since 2001. Another candidate is ofcourse, Dennis Bergkamp, who has been assistant coach at Ajax Amsterdam.

Moving on, we have another massive game on Saturday, which will decide if we have any shot at silverware this weekend. The Gunners will have to deal with a terrible pitch for the third time in a week. Phil Bardsley, the Sunderland right-back was quoted as saying, the pitch still looks terrible.

If that is the case, the Gunners should brace to having more players injured, after losing Per Mertesacker last week on the same ground, and Laurent Koscielny at the San Siro. Now, Arsenal’s team selection will be interesting to see. Whether Arsene Wenger will field his strongest side or whether he rests key players ahead of next week’s mammoth clash against Tottenham in the North London derby. Reports claim Mertesacker had an extensive ankle scan in London as well as Germany and he could be out for the rest of the season. This could be a major cause of concern for Arsene Wenger as Mertesacker, despite having a slow start has put in some really good displays recently. Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny seems to be available for selection for the Sunderland game, despite picking up a strain. That could be a massive boost. But, the Mertesacker injury means, one more injury/suspension and we will have Squillaci strutting his stuff. (Not a pretty sight). By the looks of it, Calamity Djourou would partner Vermaelen at the back, with Sagna and Gibbs continuing on the flanks.

I expect Arsene Wenger to give some of the other players a run out. Robin van Persie looks a bit jaggered, and could be on the bench, to be replaced by Morrocan Marrouane Chamakh. So will be Ramsey, Song, Rosicky and Arteta. I feel Coquelin, Arshavin and Benayoun could start the game. This will be ideal for the team. Lukasz Fabianski is expected to take his place in goal, as he did against Leeds and Aston Villa, in the earlier FA Cup games. Gervinho, who returns from the Africa Cup of Nations, will take his place on the left, while Chamberlain replaces the under performing Walcott on the right. Such a squad rotation will bode well, for the entire team, who need a bit of rest. But, then again this is my prediction. Wenger certainly will have different ideas.

Arshavin, Benayoun, Chamakh and Coquelin all deserve a run in the first team. And the fact that they are completely fresh, having been used sparsely this year. Sunderland actually put in a commendable game last week, and under Martin O’Neill are a completely different proposition. I wouldn’t be too dissapointed if the tie goes to a replay.

Sunderland will be waiting for the Gunners, knowing fully well that they will be tired and mentally down after  the midweek exertions. They have had a good week to rest and prepare well for the FA Cup clash. They will, in all probability field the same side that took to the pitch last week in the Premier League game.

Thierry Henry scored the winner last time around. It will require a completely different performance this week around to win the game. Henry, despite comments that he could damage his reputation by resigning for the Gunners, certainly proved all of them wrong. Touted as a PR move by an under-pressure manager, Henry has scored two goals, that could be decisive for the rest of the season. His late goal against Leeds was a piece of magic, and the winner against a dodgy opposition, which resulted in progress in the Cup. His goal against Blackburn was just the cherry on top of a tasty cake, while his poked goal against Sunderland was  massive. An extra-time winner is always cherished, but this was special as it was Henry’s last goal in the Premier League, and it moved the Gunners to 4th spot. However, he would like to quickly forget his last game for the club. Henry came on as a second half replacement for Walcott. He tried hard to inspire a goal, but was ultimately succesfull. Supposedly, he has been vocal with the team, giving them pep talks before games, and was influential in the 3-2 comeback against Aston Villa. And he says, he could be back next year. Now, that would be a story!

Anyways, hoping for a win on Saturday, and progress in the Cup!

Jai Arsenal 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in 2011-2012, Match Previews

 

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Sunderland 1-2 Arsenal

Sunderland 1 (McClean 70) – Arsenal 2 (Ramsey 75, Henry 90+1′)

Man of the Match – Craig Gardner (Sunderland)

It was written in the script. There is absolutely no doubt about it.

Thierry Henry showed his class yet again as Arsenal snatched a vital 3 points, away at Sunderland, in injury time, over a boggy pitch and damp atmosphere.

On a day overshadowed by the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra incident, at Old Trafford, Arsenal dug in deep to crucially extract 3 points off a dodgy Sunderland side, who, towards the end, were visibly exhausted, more so, because of their exertions in midweek against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, a game which went to 120 minutes.

Sunderland were set out to frustrate their opponents, and the pitch didn’t help the visitors either. The Black Cats started with Colback and Gardner in central midfield, and the ever-improving McClean and ex-Arsenal winger Seb Larsson on the wings.

The first half was played at a very poor pace, as Arsenal weren’t able to play their usual passing game, on a pitch that was cut to bits and pieces. Craig Gardner was doing all the dirty work in midfield, and was highly influential, in keeping the likes of Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta at bay.

Arsenal’s first shot fell to Theo Walcott, whose shot went narrowly wide. It was a frustrating performance for both Walcott and Chamberlain, as they were well-marked by former Manchester United players Kieran Richardson and Phil Bardsley remarkably well. van Persie rarely was a threat to Sunderland.

The second half, too began with a similiar pace. But, sprang to life soon enough, with Arsenal heaping pressure on Sunderland, but to no end product. Sunderland grew in confidence, and were denied brilliantly by Wojciech Szczesny on two ocassions.

Both came off the foot of the impressive Gardner. His shot outside the box, rocketed past a muddle of players, but Szczesny managed to parry it away. He had another shot, minutes later, but the young Pole was up for it, as he parried it on his left side, with the on rushing Frazier Campbell, looking for a rebound.

In the 70th minute, it seemed like the same old story for Arsenal. Per Mertesacker got hold off the ball, but lost his footing, thanks to the poor condition of the pitch, and injured his ligament. McClean made most of the situation and scored the opening goal of the match.

The German was substituted with Aaron Ramsey, who had an immediate impact. His long range shot directed off the post, hit the opposite pole, before going in. Arsenal had a lifeline.

Then, a stroke of magic. Theo Walcott off. Andrei Arshavin in. The much beleaguered Russian, who was booed just weeks ago, provided a cross to Robin van Persie, which was comfortably saved by Mignolet.

Arshavin repeated the trick minutes later. This time, it was King Henry on the receiving end, and he put the ball in the back of the net.

The relief among the Arsenal faithful was pulpable. Arsenal now are in 4th spot, equal on points and goal difference with Chelsea, but ahead on head-to-head record.

Midweek will be Henry’s last game for the club (unless ofcourse Wenger decides to bring him back next year as well) at the San Siro against a formidable opposition, AC Milan. And, a week later, Arsenal will be back at the Stadium of Light for the FA Cup.

Match Ratings-

Szczesny (8.5) – Made some brilliant saves.

Sagna (7) – Decent outing for the Frenchman, who looks fully fit now.

Mertesacker (7) – Unfortunate injury, which unfortunately lead to a Sunderland goal.

Koscielny (7) – Another calm game from the Frenchman. Warded off Sessegnon and Campbell well.

Vermaelen (7) –  Yet again, another good display at left-back. Will probably play in his favorite position in midweek.

Song (7) – Lost the ball a few times today, but pivotal to the midfield.

Rosicky (7) – Not his best game, but his pace on a drab day of football was good to watch.

Arteta (7.5) – Controlled the game well for Arsenal, yet again.

Walcott (5.5) – No pace. No guile. Wenger needs to rethink about him.

Oxlade-Chamberlain (7) – ‘The Ox’ was stifled well by Sunderland.

van Persie (7) – A rarely average performance by the Dutchman.

Subs –

Ramsey (7.5) – His rest has done him a world of good. Plus he has a goal. Should do him wonders, ahead of the Milan game.

Henry (8.5) – Legendary.

Arshavin – Came on too late for a rating, but provided the game’s decisive moment.

Overall Team Rating – 7.19

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2012 in 2011-2012, Match Reviews

 

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2009-2010 Season Review – More Unfinished Business

A long pre-season over, a fresh new challenge awaited the Gunners, as they embarked upon another roller coaster ride, in what was to be the 2009-2010 season. Coming close on many fronts over the last few seasons had left everyone frustrated and here was a chance for Arsenal to redeem themselves.

Surprisingly, the only major signing was the Belgian centre-back Thomas Vermaelen. Emmanuel Adebayor had left for wads of cash. He was to later change his name to Emoneyuel Greedybayor. Kolo Toure left after examplary service to the club. Both had the same destination, Moneybags City.

The campaign started away to Everton. Arsenal had to endure a tough opening match of the season. Or was it?The Gunners completely dismantled the Toffees 6-1. The rout was started by Denilson in the 26th minute with a long-range screamer. And by half-time, 2 more goals were added as debutant defender Thomas Vermaelen headed in one and his defensive partner William Gallas also netted. And in the second half, Arsenal’s dream start continued as Fabregas netted a brace, celebrating the second by displaying a jersey with the name of his friend, and late Espanyol defender Daniel Jarque. Eduardo completed the rout before Louis Saha scored a consolation.

Big Belgian, Little Belgian!! 

Arsenal seemed to be on a goal-scoring spree as they qualified fir the Champions League group stages yet again, when they beat Scottish team Celtic 5-1 on aggregate, and Portsmouth 4-1 in the league.

However, that was that, as Arsenal faced a daunting trip to Eastlands to face both the Manchester clubs in the league. Old Trafford was the first stop, and Arsenal seemed to be on top of their rivals for most of the match, despite an early chance for Wayne Rooney. The young side created a flurry of chances, before Darren Fletcher bough down Andrei Arshavin for ‘what-should-have-been’ a penalty. But the referee didn’t oblige. Moments later, Arshavin found the ball in a perfect shooting position and let in a scorcher to hand the Gunners a 1-0 lead going into half-time. The second half started in the same frantic manner as the first had started. Wayne Rooney converted a penalty in the 59th and minutes later, Arsenal undid all their hard work as Abou Diaby headed in a disastrous own goal. A late deserved equaliser by Robin van Persie was denied by the referee.

Arshavin scores a belter!!

Manchester City were aiming to be the new force in the Premier League, with new investments coming in from the Abu Dhabi group. They had already priced away Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure from the Emirates for a combined fee of £41 million. And other high-profile signings included strikers Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz, midfielder Gareth Barry and defender Jolean Lescott, all of whom were attracted by nothing but riches. The game, in itself was an enthralling affair, with van Persie’s fine strike levelling the scores at 1-1 in the 63rd minute. Moments later, Bellamy made it 2-1 to City before Emmanuel Adebayor made himself Arsenal’s public enemy No.1. He scored in the 80th minute and ran the length of the entire pitch and overcelebrated in front of the Arsenal faithful. He was also involved in a moment with van Persie, when he stamped the latter on purpose. However, it went unnoticed and Arsenal were beaten 4-2.

Days later, Arsenal found themselves 2-0 down in Belgium in less than 6 minutes and it seemed like Arsenal were disintegrating too early. However, Niklas Bendtner equalised on the stroke of half-time, and a 78th minute equaliser by Vermaelen in his homeland was soon added on to, by a 81st minute winner from Eduardo to complete a 3-2 turnaround.

The comeback is complete!! 

Vermaelen was proving to be somewhat of a hidden centre-forward as he crashed in 2 goals against Wigan in a 4-0 triumph, the second a belter from outside the box.Blackburn were given a sound 6-2 thrashing, in a game featuring another Vermaelen screamer, after being 2-1 down at one stage.

A centre forward in disguise!

Arsenal dropped 2 points away to West Ham with a late Allesandro Diamanti penalty and days later a youthful team eliminated Liverpool from the League Cup, young Spaniard Francisco Merida, scoring a wonderful goal.

The first North London derby turned out to be a mismatch, as Arsenal beat Cunty Spuds 3-0. Fabregas embarrassed the Spurs defence, in the 43rd minute, who were kicking off after van Persie had scored the first. He took the ball of them and ran half the pitch, beating everyone in his wake to score the 2nd goal of the evening.

Spuds drubbed again!! 

Meanwhile, Eduardo was in scintillating form as he forced two own goals at Wolves in a 4-1 win. However, the run ended there as the next two league games ended in defeats, first a 1-0 loss at Sunderland, and then a home loss to a marauding Didier Drogba-inspired Chelsea. More humiliation was heaped upon as a young team were beaten 3-0 by Manchester City in the League Cup.

Arshavin re-announced himself at Anfield, months after his 4-goal display, as he scored a brilliant goal in a 2-1 win. Dirk Kuyt had scored the first for Liverpool, before Glen Johnson deflected one into his own net for Arsenal’s equalizer. It saw a reverse in Arsenal’s league fortunes, as they picked up vital wins against Hull City, Aston Villa and Portsmouth. 2 late goals from Ramsey and Eduardo saw off West Ham in the FA Cup.

Gerrard-‘What have we ever done to you, you mean mean Russian?’ 

Arsenal hosted Everton in what was one of the few matches around the country that weekend, due to heavy snowfall. Most matches had been cancelled, and it seemed even this would have been. However, brilliant work from the groundsmen ensured the match would go ahead as scheduled. And it seemed Everton would make most of Arsenal’s defensive frailties when Steven Piennar handed them the lead in the 81st minute. But, Tomas Rosicky’s late goal secured a point. Bolton were then beaten 2-0 and 4-2 in successive games.

Arsenal welcomed back experienced defender Sol Campbell on a short deal to the Emirates. He had made 195 appearances in his first spell from 2001 to 2006, winning two league titles and the FA Cup thrice. He moved on to Portsmouth where he won another FA Cup winner’s medal in 2008. He made an unsuccessful move to lower league Notts County, breaking his contract after just 1 match. He returned to Arsenal’s training base to keep fit and was offered a short term deal. He made his debut in a 3-1 loss to Stoke City, which saw the Gunners exit the FA Cup.

31st January 2010 is a date I don’t remember fondly. It was the day before the new semester began in college, and I was in the hostel to watch Arsenal host Manchester United in the league. Giving me company were around 30 glory hunters. I am sure not even 5 of them could name Manure’s starting lineup. United were 1 point ahead of the Gunners coming into this one. Every Manure goal was cheered loudly by these chums, who didn’t know shit about the sport. Anyways, Arsenal disappointingly lost 3-1.

Even this goal was to no avail, in the worst match ever!

Arsenal were haunted again by an Ivorian demon called Didier Drogba, going down 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. By now, Arsenal had fallen well behind in the title race, 9 points adrift of their Chelsea neighbors.Abou Diaby bought back some cheer as he scored the only goal in the 71st minute in a game against Liverpool.

Sol Campbell scored his last goal in the Champions League in that fateful night in Paris against Barcelona. He scored again in the Champions League Knockout stage game against FC Porto of Portugal, with the scoreline reading a 2-1 loss to Arsenal. 10 days later Arsenal travelled to Stoke, only to face a team that had been trained to play in the Rugby league. Ryan Shawcross’ wild lunge broke young Aaron Ramsey’s tibula and fibia (in short, the leg). It was another horrific injury Arsenal had suffered. I can still remember that moment, when Ramsey lie there in dire pain, calling out for the physio for help. It was another Eduardo moment, and the Gunners covered their face with their hands, not able to comprehend the injury. But, it was not to be a Birmingham as Arsenal proved their mettle with two goals in stoppage time from Fabregas and Vermaelen to secure a 3-1 win.

Ramsey’s horrific injury..

The team celebrate a resurgent win!! 

In the home game against Burnley, posters in support of Aaron Ramsey adorned the stadium, with the Gunners emerging 3-1 winners. 3 days later, Arsenal turned on the style in Europe. Down 2-1 from the first leg, Arsenal saw themselves leading 2-0 after just 25 minutes, with both goals being scored by the heavily-criticized Dane Niklas Bendtner. The 63rd minute saw the lead being extended to 3 goals, as Samir Nasri beat a host of defenders, and proving he can step up to the role of Cesc Fabregas, to score a peach. Emmanuel Eboue scored in the 66th, before Bendtner completed his hat-trick with a stoppage time penalty.

Bendtner and Nasri, brilliant against Porto!! 

A trip to the KC Stadium proved to be fruitful, as Bendtner turned out to be the match-winner to secure a 2-1 win with a really late strike. This still kept Arsenal in the title hunt. Arsenal were 2nd, level on points with leaders Chelsea at 64 points, and a point ahead of United, having played a game more.

Bendtner’s 90th minute goal!! 

After beating West Ham 2-0 at home, Arsenal failed to go just 1 point behind leaders Chelsea after being denied a win at St. Andrews, thanks to a late Kevin Phillips equaliser. And, Arsenal were still going strong in Europe and had been drawn to a formidable Barcelona team. While Barcelona were near full-strength, Arsenal were still without first-choice striker Robin van Persie. A half-fit Fabregas led Arsenal into the match.

Barcelona were completely dominant in the first half, and only a resolute Manuel Almunia kept them at bay, as he pulled off a flurry of saves. To Arsenal’s misfortune, they suffered two more injuries as Gallas and Arshavin were substituted before half-time, with the lesser-experienced and lesser-talented Denilson and Eboue. Barca made most of it, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the first a minute after the second half started. He rocked Arsenal again 13 minutes later to double the advantage. It seemed all was over for Arsenal that season in Europe. Just then, Theo Walcott fired in Arsenal’s first in the 69th minute to provide a glimmer of hope. As Barca huffed and puffed to hold on to the precious lead, Carles Puyol bought down fellow Catalan Cesc Fabregas in the box and was sent off. Fabregas converted and made it 2-2, but by now he was limping in pain, and played the last 10 minutes without complaining. The match ended 2-2, leaving the Gunners a mountain to climb at the Nou Camp.

El Capitan wins and scores the equaliser! Legend!

Back in the league, Wolves provided stiff opposition, only for Bendtner to pop up with a valuable winner in the 94th minute, the very dying embers of the game. This win kept them 3 points behind the leaders Chelsea, with 5 games to go.

Bendtner to the rescue again!!

Camp Nou was the setting of the beginning of the end. A Messi masterclass. In the 18th minute, Walcott sent Bendtner through. The Dane missed, but scored off the rebound. I remember that goal. I was so mad at Bendtner, I would have killed him if he were next to me. But, he redeemed himself seconds later. Arsenal were 1-0 up at the Nou Camp. That joy was shortlived as 3 minutes later, Barca were level through that superhuman Lionel Messi. By half-time, it was all but over as Messi scored two more to hand the Catalans a 3-1 lead. The second half was more a regulation, and Messi rounded off with his 4th of the night in the 88th minute. A weak Arsenal had been thoroughly beaten.

A Messi masterclass! 😦

Arsenal’s last shot at silverware was the league, and nothing short of 15 points in the next 5 games would give the chance for Arsenal to life silverware. First stop, Shit Fart Lane, in a forgettable North London derby. It was the day when some cunt called Danny Rose decided to be Ronaldinho for a second. His blazing shot from planet Saturn was unstoppable. Soon enough, in the 47th minute, Spurs doubled their advantage through Welsh winger Gareth Bale. Robin van Persie made a comeback after a long injury layoff in the 68th minute, but was denied a goal on several ocassions by Gomes, who decided he would be Oliver Kahn for 25 minutes. Bendtner’s 85th minute goal was just a consolation, as Arsenal created a 6 points gap between them and the leaders.

Some pride was restored at the DW Stadium, as Arsenal took an unassailable 2-0 lead against Wigan. Or it was, I thought. Wigan heaped heartbreak over the Gunners, with 3 goals in the final 10 minutes, to snatch a 3-2 win. In this game, Charles N’Zogbia decided he had Roberto Carlos’ left foot. The title race was over for Arsenal.

Dejection! 😦

Another loss awaited at Ewood Park, before a final day home win over Fulham meant a 3rd place finish and no trophies to show for.

Chokers?Goners?’Throw away your chances’ team?Well, all of it were terms branded by the media over Arsenal, as the club completed their 5th season without a major trophy.

Well, my love for Arsenal?It was the same old, boundless.

Jai Arsenal 🙂

Summary:

Premier League – 3rd place

FA Cup – 4th Round

Carling Cup – 5th Round

Champions League – Quarter Finals

Top Scorer – Cesc Fabregas (19 goals in all competitions)

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Season Reviews

 

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