Tag Archives: Manchester United

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 – Ashley Young (Manchester United)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jai Arsenal 🙂


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


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Arsenal 3 West Ham United 0 – Another Positive Result!

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Arsenal 3 (Giroud 45, Ramsey 81, Flamini 84) – West Ham United 0

Man of the Match – Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

Arsenal kept up the momentum of their recent crest of form, with a 5th consecutive Premier League win over West Ham. Having knocked out Manchester United from the FA Cup, there were changes in the starting lineup. David Ospina returned in goal, while Aaron Ramsey came in for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Callum Chambers for Hector Bellerin, and Theo Walcott, starting his first game in a month; and Olivier Giroud replacing Danny Welbeck and Santi Cazorla.

West Ham, who had a wretched February, hadn’t won a game since 25th January, when they knocked Bristol City out of the FA Cup, with a scoreline of 1-0. Since then they lost 2-0 to Liverpool, drew against Manchester United and Southampton, got thumped 4-0 by West Brom, drew with Sp*rs and suffered consecutive home losses to London neighbours Crystal Palace and Chelsea.

They almost got off to the worst possible start, with Arsenal threatening in the 5th minute, through a fantastic move. Mesut Ozil played into Olivier Giroud after Arsenal had worked their way down the right. The Frenchman flicked it to Walcott, who took way too much time, and was eventually tackled, when he had the time to take a shot on target. Replays showed that it in fact should have been a penalty. James Collins didn’t get anywhere close to the ball.

Like most visiting teams at the Emirates, West Ham got stuck in their own half, trying to narrow down space for Arsenal. Spanish goalkeeper Adrian was forced into a save from Alexis Sanchez, after a cross from Callum Chambers. Senegalese striker Diaffra Sakho almost got away once, but for a fine interception by Francis Coquelin. A free-kick from Mesut Ozil required some alert defending from West Ham, while at the other end, West Ham managed to get the ball down Arsenal’s left, and a fine save from David Ospina was required to keep out a volley from Kevin Nolan.

Arsenal were creating more chances. Giroud’s 23rd minute shot went just wide. And then Aaron Ramsey missed after a Chambers crossed came to him at an awkward height. The Welshman could only force a save from Adrian, who managed to ward the ball away from underneath the bar. Ramsey then created a chance for Walcott, but the pacy Englishman showed signs of rustiness, as Adrian saved easily. Adrian then saved a volley from Alexis, who had been set up by Ramsey. Sakho was causing problems for Arsenal, with his pace, but failed to carve out anything substantial.

Walcott then missed an easy chance to put the Gunners into the lead, when he kept the ball alive on the right, and played it to Ozil, who returned the ball back to Walcott, but he couldn’t convert with the goal at his mercy. Arsenal struck immediately after.

Ozil and Giroud combined well, before the latter laid the ball off for Ramsey, before collecting the ball again, cutting inside from a West Ham defender, before unleashing a powerful shot into the top corner. It was a beautiful strike for the Frenchman and a deserved lead at the break for Arsenal.

Arsenal almost conceded a goal at the start of the second half, when he spilled a cross from Sakho. Luckily, for the Colombian, the danger was averted. West Ham seemed like a different team in the opening stages of the second half, as the saw little more of the ball. Matt Jarvis fired over from a corner. And then, there was a change. Anthony Taylor replaced the injured referee Chris Foy, not something that you would get to see often these days.

The hero at Old Trafford, Danny Welbeck then replaced Alexis, before Arsenal missed another chance to go ahead due to indecision. Ozil engineered a move in the centre, and it came back to the German. Instead of taking a shot, he crossed to Walcott, before Ramsey’s wayward shot ended up wide. West Ham were looking for an equalizer, which gave Arsenal plenty of space to run into.

The pacy duo of Welbeck and Walcott almost combined, before Walcott was taken off for Cazorla in the 72nd minute. With Arsenal looking to close the game with a second goal, a brilliant last ditch tackle from James Collins denied Aaron Ramsey a clear goal. It didn’t take long though for Arsenal to seal the game and 3 points.

Arsenal got a throw on the right hand side, Giroud cleverly left it for Ramsey, played a 1-2 with the Welshman, who slotted past a cool left-footed finish to make it 2-0. It was a cleverly worked goal, and soon, Arsene Wenger bought off Mesut Ozil for Mathieu Flamini. Arsenal involved in some intricate play between West Ham defenders, before a cross from the left via Cazorla allowed Mathieu Flamini to easily score Arsenal’s 3rd goal of the evening.

3 more important points, and 3 goals ahead of a tough Champions League 2nd Leg clash with Monaco, where Arsenal have to win by a margin of 3 goals.

Jai Arsenal!


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Posted by on June 6, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews


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Manchester United 1 Arsenal 2 – Old Trafford Conquered!

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Manchester United 1 (Rooney 30) – Arsenal 2 (Monreal 25, Welbeck 61)

Man of the Match – Francis Coquelin (Arsenal)

Ever since I started supporting the Arsenal, I have always had a distaste for anything Manchester United. The club, the manager, the players, the merchandise, and their fans, of course. And, it’s understandable too, for when I started supporting Arsenal, it was the heady days of the epic Premier League rivalry between Wenger and Ferguson. And then, it all died down suddenly. Arsenal’s stadium building activity cost them not only their best players, but also trophies, as a 9 year trophy drought saw Manchester United win 5 league titles, a Champions League and 3 League Cups.

Add to that, the barren run against Manchester United themselves. Arsenal haven’t beaten their Northern rivals since a sunny day in May 2011, when Aaron Ramsey scored the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates. Arsenal haven’t won at Old Trafford in a long time either, with the last win being a 1-0 win in 2006, Emmanuel Adebayor scoring a late winner past Tomasz Kuszcak. In the FA Cup, the teams have met 15 times, Manchester United winning 8, Arsenal 6, including the Final twice, in 1979; when Alan Sunderland scored a late winner, and in 2006, when Patrick Vieira scored the winning penalty after a 0-0 draw. And, more recently, Arsenal were drawn United at Old Trafford in 2008, where they were pummeled 4-0  and in 2011, where they lost 2-0 to a side that had 7 defenders in the starting line up.

Arsenal beat runners up Hull City 2-0 in a replay of last year’s final, Brighton away 3-2 and Middlesbrough 2-0 at home, while Manchester United beat Yeovil Town 2-0 away, Cambridge United in a home replay 3-0, and Preston 3-1 away. Recent form suggests both sides are in a mixed vein, with Arsenal winning league games against Aston Villa, Leicester, Crystal Palace, Everton and QPR, but also suffering the blips against Tottenham and Monaco, while Manchester United beat Burnley, Sunderland and Newcastle in recent games, but lost to Swansea.

Olivier Giroud was named on the bench in a surprising decision by the manager, and former Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck startup up front against his old side. Tomas Rosicky was taken ill, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started in his place. Nacho Monreal started in place of Kieran Gibbs, while Wojciech Szczesny kept his place in the Cup games, instead of David Ospina. Manchester United started with Ecuadorian winger Antonio Valencia at right-back, with Chris Smalling and Argentine Marcos Rojo in defence, while Shaw faced his old pal Chamberlain on the flank. The trio of summer signings Ander Herrera, Angel di Maria and Daley Blind all started alongside Marouanne Fellaini, Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney.

The opening exchanges between the two sides were cagey, as both teams looked to get a foothold of the game. Alexis was the first to have a shot on target, when he forced David de Gea into a save. Hector Bellerin picked up a yellow card for a foul on Ashley Young, but everyone’s guess is the bald diver conned the referee again with his theatrics. He then had a shot on target after being set up by Marrouane Fellaini, who was then involved in a clash of heads with French defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin, who seemed to have inflicted further damage to his nose.

Arsenal were looking composed on the ball, but rarely threatened against a Manchester United side that was putting together some disjointed attacks, but nothing too dangerous either. Arsenal then showed some spark, when Bellerin was released on the right, and his cross was cleared for a corner, but shockingly not given; before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who was making Luke Shaw work hard, flew a shot over the bar.

He immediately made up for it, minutes later, when he received the ball from Mesut Ozil, after the German combined with Nacho Monreal on the left flank. Chamberlain skipped past a couple of static Manchester United defenders neatly, and picked out Nacho Monreal, of all players, who was in a free position, unchallenged in the box. The Spanish left-back took one touch before calmly slotting the ball past David de Gea. 1-0 Arsenal on 25 minutes.

Arsenal’s joy lasted, just about 3 minutes, when Manchester United struck. Angel di Maria, primarily playing on the right flank, cut in to deliver a perfect cross to Wayne Rooney with his favored left-foot. The England striker was in a free space between Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny and headed past a stranded Szczesny. 1-1 on 30 minutes.

Arsenal looked to hit back through Danny Welbeck, who looked keen to impress upon his return to his beloved Old Trafford. He was tugged by Marcos Rojo, near the edge of the box, but a penalty wasn’t given, and then he forced David de Gea into a fine save from a header, as the half came to a close.

Louis van Gaal rung in the changes at half-time, bringing on Phil Jones and Michael Carrick in place of the ineffective duo of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. It was a strange decision bringing on Phil Jones at left-back. And, Arsenal were forced to make a substitution 3 minutes into the half, when the impressive Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain complained of a hamstring problem, and Arsene Wenger threw on Aaron Ramsey, instead of Theo Walcott, most probably to bolster the midfield.

The game started getting scruffy, as both teams made silly fouls. Marrouane Fellaini was lucky away to get away with most, but then picked up a booking for a foul on Ramsey. Ashley Young then fouled Welbeck and took a yellow card for his troubles. Danny Welbeck, who had put in a hard-working shift all evening, then struck a fatal blow to his former side.

Antonio Valencia inexplicably back-passed the ball to David de Gea, when under little pressure. However, the ball had little conviction. Welbeck, was alert, and raced on to the ball, rounded de Gea and slotted the ball into the net from 12 yards out. He wasn’t shy in celebrating his strike in front of the Old Trafford faithful either! 2-1 Arsenal.

Manchester United got even more grumpy after this, and started to cynically foul Arsenal players. Marcos Rojo received a yellow for a foul on Cazorla. Hector Bellerin escaped a second yellow, mostly by slyly walking away from the scene after a tackle on Ashley Young. He was immediately replaced by Callum Chambers. Chris Smalling then contrived to miss from a yard out when the ball had fallen to his feet. A Fellaini header was then saved after an assist from Young, before Alexis saw his shot from the edge of the box being saved. de Gea was called into action again when he had to make a brilliant save from a Cazorla close range volley.

Louis van Gaal used up his final substitution bringing on Belgian-Albanian-Turk-Kosovan-English midfielder Adnan Januzaj for Rojo while Welbeck left with a decent applause from the Manchester United crowd, as he was replaced by Olivier Giroud. The game then turned over its head when di Maria made full meal of a Ramsey challenge diving on to the floor like a piece of cardboard. Upon receiving yellow, he reacted angrily tugging at the referee’s shirt, and rightly received his second yellow and marching orders. This, at the most important stage of the game, with United searching for an equalizer.

Arsenal on the other hand were looking for a third, but weren’t able to put together a final pass in United’s third, while Manchester United, despite the numerical disadvantage were pushing for an equalizing goal. Most were directed towards Fellaini in search for a header, but Mertesacker and Koscielny were having a brilliant game. The multi-ethnic Adnan Januzaj tried the same cheap tricks again, which were employed by Ashley Young and Angel di Maria, and was booked for his dive in the box, when he tried to con the referee into thinking he was nudged by Nacho Monreal, when infact there was little or no contact.

The board showed 5 extra minutes, and Alexis had the chance to score a third, only for de Gea to pull off another stunning save. Arsenal held on for a deserved win, and knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup, which was realistically their only chance to win a trophy this season. There were several players who stood out on the night. Nacho Monreal manned his flank against Angel di Maria impressively, while Francis Coquelin won 10 of his 12 duels against Fellaini, albeit with a broken nose.

It may not have been the most fluent performance, but the win certainly felt good. The fact that it was despicable Manchester United, and one of their own driving the final nail, made it even more enjoyable. On to Wembley now for a semi-final against Reading!

Jai Arsenal 🙂


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Posted by on April 11, 2015 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews


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10 Worst Arsenal Games of 2014

10. Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 22nd November 2014

(Arsenal – Giroud 95; Manchester United – Gibbs (O.G) 56, Rooney 85)

This was a strange match really, and till this day I can’t understand how an Arsenal side that dominated the entire game against Manchester United’s worst side in years, contrived to lose. When Louis van Gaal named a defense of Paddy McNair, Chris Smalling and Tyler Blackett, Arsenal fans could be forgiven for rubbing their hands in delight. Arsenal created chance after chance, which they either wasted, or shot them straight at the mercurial United keeper David de Gea. Manchester United got their first goal, completely against the run of play, and even without a shot on target, as Antonio Valencia’s shot was deflected into the goal by a wayward leg from Kieran Gibbs. Arsenal created more chances, but just couldn’t score. Wayne Rooney scored his customary goal in this fixture from a quick break. Olivier Giroud scored a fantastic goal late on, but it was too little, too late.

Full Match Report


9. Stoke City 1-0 Arsenal, Premier League, Britannia Stadium, 1st March 2014

(Stoke – Walters 76 (pen))

Arsenal’s title challenge looked to be slowly fading away as they slipped up at Stoke. In a dull afternoon of football, barely any chances were created. The Gunners looked insipid and Stoke were happy keeping Arsenal at bay. The decisive moment came when Laurent Koscielny was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area as he went for a challenge with Jonathan Walters. Walters scored the ensuing penalty ensuring Arsenal’s drop to 3rd position.

Full Match Report

Stoke City v Arsenal - Premier League

8. Arsenal 0-2 Bayern Munich, Champions League Round of 16 First Leg, Emirates Stadium, 19th February 2014

(Bayern – Kroos 54, Mueller 88)

Arsenal were again undone by a red card on the European stage as they slumped to a home defeat to Bayern Munich for the second season running. Despite Arsenal’s faltering domestic form, optimism was still high ahead of the Champions League clash with mighty Bayern. The shocking news was a start handed out to rookie striker Yaya Sanogo, preferred to Olivier Giroud. Both sides started the match at a quick pace, and Arsenal forced two saves from Manuel Neuer off Sanogo and Chamberlain, who was causing Austrian left back David Alaba plenty of problems. The big chance of the match fell to Mesut Ozil on 14 minutes, when he beat Jerome Boateng in the penalty box, and his compatriot bought him down with a trailing leg. However, Ozil’s weak penalty was saved easily by Neuer. Arsenal lost their direction after the miss, as Bayern started rolling the ball around. The Gunners suffered a setback when Kieran Gibbs had to be taken off due to a hamstring injury. But, 6 minutes later disaster struck, as Szczesny was sent off for colliding with the onrushing Arjen Robben in the 37th minute. Robben made the most of it, but Bayern missed the penalty as Alaba screwed it wide. The Gunners stood no chance in the second half as Bayern drew their tanks closer. Toni Kroos scored a beauty in the 54th minute, leaving Fabianski with no chance. Arsene Wenger would have been happy with a 1-0 loss, but Laurent Koscielny went too far ahead late on in the game, allowing Mueller space to convert the second goal for the visitors.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Emirates Stadium

Full Match Report

7. Swansea City 2-1 Arsenal, Premier League, Liberty Stadium, 9th November 2014

(Swansea – Sigurdsson 75, Gomis 78; Arsenal – Sanchez 63)

Arsenal suffered a disappointing loss on a watery evening at the Liberty Stadium, days after they succumbed to a 3-3 draw against Belgian champions Anderlecht. Swansea dominated initial proceedings before Arsenal showed flashes of brilliance in the lead up to half time, but neither side could take advantage. Arsenal had the lead in the 63rd minute, Alexis with a simple finish past former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. Swansea equalized through a brilliant free-kick from Gylfi Sigurdsson, after Kieran Gibbs fouled debutant Modou Barrow. However, Swansea turned the match on it’s head, when Ecuadorian winger Jefferson Montero, who ran Callum Chambers ragged all afternoon, crossed in for France international striker, Bafetimbi Gomis for the winner.

Full Match Report


6. Stoke City 3-2 Arsenal, Premier League, Britannia Stadium, 6th December 2014

(Stoke City – Crouch 1, Bojan 35, Walters, 45; Arsenal – Cazorla 68 (pen), Ramsey 70)

Arsenal’s miserable record at the Britannia Stadium continued, as they were beaten 3-2 by the Potters, in a game where they failed to show any sort of formidable threat. Arsenal’s form seemed to be improving, after they registered 3 consecutive wins over Dortmund, West Brom and Southampton, but they were undone in the very first minute, as Peter Crouch took advantage of a calamitous moment of misunderstanding between stand-in goalie Emiliano Martinez and Callum Chambers. After Olivier Giroud missed an open header, Stoke scored their 2nd goal in the 35th minute, when a Jon Walters cross allowed former Barcelona, Milan and Roma man Bojan to make it 2-0. Walters then got one of his own at the stroke of half-time, making it an unbelievable 3-0. Arsenal briefly rallied when Cazorla scored a penalty and Aaron Ramsey’s fine finish in the 70th minute, but in honesty, Arsenal deserved to lose by a bigger margin.

Full Match Report


5. Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Arsenal, Champions League Group Stages, Westfalenstadion, 16th September 2014

(Dortmund – Immobile 45, Aubameyang 48)

Arsenal were outrun, outfought and outbattled by a side struggling for survival in the Bundesliga. Dortmund, who have suffered a terrible start to the domestic season so far, showed it didn’t matter in Europe as they heckled Arsenal to a 2-0 win. The Gunners, without Olivier Giroud, Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy, struggled to get anything going for them, in a match dominated by the die Schwarzgelben. Italian forward Ciro Immobile put the home side in the lead on the stroke of half-time, before Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made it 2-0, minutes after the second half started, following a confusion between Szczesny and Koscielny.

Full Match Report


4. Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal, Premier League, Stamford Bridge, 5th October 2014

(Chelsea – Hazard 27(pen), Diego Costa 78)

Arsene Wenger’s poor record against Jose Mourinho showed no signs of letting up, as Arsenal put up a pale performance yet again at Stamford Bridge. The only positive probably was that the Gunners didn’t get pasted 6-0 this time round, but that was little excuse for a insipid performance, devoid of any sort of creativity. Chelsea, as usual, stuck to their game plan, stifled the hell out of Arsenal, and scored two goals on counters. The highlight of the match was Wenger and Mourinho having a go at each other on the touchline after a Gary Cahill challenge on Alexis. Eden Hazard was bought down by Koscielny in the box, and the Belgian duly stepped up to make it 1-0. Fabregas, who got a mixed reception from the away fans, provided the assist for the second goal, to set up his Brazilian born compatriot, Diego Costa for a fine second goal.

Full Match Report


3. Everton 3-0 Arsenal, Premier League, Goodison Park, 6th April 2014

(Everton – Naismith 14, Lukaku 34, Arteta (O.G) 61)

Everton stepped up their pursuit of 4th place, with a thumping win over a subdued Arsenal. Steven Naismith scored the opening goal after Lukaku’s initial shot was saved and the Belgian striker made it 2-0, 20 minutes later, after he heaved his way through Arsenal’s leaky defence. The afternoon was made more miserable as former Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta scored an own goal on his return to his old stomping ground, when he was pressurized by Kevin Mirallas. This win put Everton just one point behind Arsenal, with a game in hand, and 5 games left for the Gunners to play in the season.


Full Match Report

2. Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal, Premier League, Anfield, 8th February 2014

(Liverpool – Skrtel 1, 10, Sterling 16, Sturridge 20, Sterling 52; Arsenal – Arteta 69 (pen))

Arsenal were thoroughly demolished in a 20 minute blitz of super attacking football by Liverpool. Arsenal arrived at Anfield, top of the table but were made to look like a pub side suffering from a bad hangover in the opening minutes, as Liverpool carved them open again and again. With barely a minute gone on the clock, Slovenian defender Martin Skrtel put Liverpool ahead with a header from a Steven Gerrard’s corner. Arsenal had barely got the ball rolling, when Liverpool and Skrtel struck again. Steven Gerrard provided the assist again, as Skrtel’s header glided past Chamberlain on the goal line. Liverpool should have added a 3rd just seconds later, but his chipped effort went just wide. Then, a low cross from Sturridge failed to find Suarez. Then, the Uruguyan unleashed a powerful volley straight at Szczesny, who managed to save and Kolo Toure missed with the goal gaping open. Arsenal were clinging on to their lives, but on 16 minutes it was 3-0, as Sterling converted rather easily from a Suarez cross. 4 minutes later, Sturridge beautifully made it 4-0 collecting Coutinho’s pass from the deep. There was absolutely no way back for Arsenal, who barely mustered anything going forward. Defensively, well they held on till half time, and 7 minutes after half time, when Sterling scored his second and Liverpool’s 5th. Arsenal got a consolation goal back, when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was fouled in the penalty area by Steven Gerrard. Mikel Arteta scored to make it 5-1, but the scoreline was still an embarassing one.


Full Match Report

1. Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal, Stamford Bridge, Premier League, 22nd February 2014

(Chelsea – Eto’o 5, Schurrle 7, Hazard 17 (pen), Oscar 42, 66, Salah 71)

On what was supposed to be a momentous occasion for Arsene Wenger, who reached the milestone of 1000th game in charge of Arsenal, it turned out to be one of the most shambolic displays in the Frenchman’s reign, as Arsenal were ruthlessly taken apart by Jose Mourinho’s rampaging Chelsea side. Samuel Eto’o scored with just 5 minutes on the clock with his left foot, and just 2 minutes later German international Andre Schurrle scored a similiar goal. The comical/disastrous/strange moment of the match came 10 minutes later, when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stupidly handled the ball in the penalty area. In the melee, Andre Marriner sent Kieran Gibbs in a case of mistaken identity much to Arsenal’s fury. Eden Hazard scored the resulting penalty. All so typical Arsenal. Chelsea 3-0 up inside 17 minutes. Then came a period of brief solidity, as Brazilian Oscar scored an easy goal having been set up by Fernando Torres. Arsenal’s 10 men displayed some sort of steel in the second half, but couldn’t prevent the Blues from scoring. Oscar doubled his tally and then new signing Mohomad Salah, beat the offside trap to score an easy goal past a bewildered Szczesny. A rather disastrous display on a day that was supposed to be a memorable one.


Full Match Report

Jai Arsenal 🙂


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Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Best of the Best


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West Bromwich Albion 0 Arsenal 1 – Gritty 3 points!

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West Bromwich Albion 0 – Arsenal 1 (Welbeck 60)

Man of the Match – Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

Arsenal had to carve out a much needed 3 points, in a tricky away tie at The Hawthorns. Having lost consecutive Premier league games away at Swansea and home to Manchester United, the Gunners put in a determined effort against a Baggie side, that came close towards the end to equalize.

With Wojciech Szczesny still injured, Emiliano Martinez kept his place in goal, while Laurent Koscielny returned to start at centre-back, moving Nacho Monreal to left-back, while Kieran Gibbs started on the bench. Mikel Arteta’s injury gave a chance for Mathieu Flamini to impress. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was named on the bench, while there was a start for Olivier Giroud, alongside Danny Welbeck upfront.

With banners quoting “Arsene, Thanks for the memories, but it’s time to say goodbye!”, the Gunners were under immense scrutiny following an inconsistent start to their league campaign. Arsenal’s points tally of 17 from 12 games is their worst for 32 seasons, and 11 points worse off compared to last season, when the Gunners lead the early title challenge.

The first half was a flat and dull affair, on a cloudy afternoon in the Midlands. Arsenal were passing well, and looked extremely patient with their game, but failed to take any chances by the scruff of the neck. There was clearly a lack of any cutting edge of sorts, similar to the Manchester United game. Early in the game, Santi Cazorla tested Ben Foster with a stinging effort, before another effort was thwarted by West Brom’s defense. Foster was the Baggies’ main man, as he kept out a tame Alexis effort and then stopped Welbeck as he latched on to a Ramsey ball.

Arsenal suffered a blow, when Nacho Monreal had to be taken off with an innocous looking injury, and be replaced by Kieran Gibbs. This helped Arsenal further up the pitch. Ben Foster presented Olivier Giroud with golden opportunity to score when he completely miscued the ball outside the penalty area, but the Frenchman’s shot after hacking down the English goalkeeper was slightly off target, from an acute angle. Aaron Ramsey’s 36th minute shot, following a melee went wide.

The Gunners started the second half equally wasteful, as Welbeck and Ramsey squandering chances. Per Mertesacker bundled his effort way wide after the ball fell at his feet from a free-kick. Saido Berahino, the young English forward was given offside, when he ran clear of Arsenal’s defenders, but could only manage to hit the side netting.

Arsenal got the much needed breakthrough on 60 minutes, when Santi Cazorla burst through West Brom’s right hand flank, to cross in for Welbeck, who leapt the highest, under pressure from two Baggies’ defenders to shoot directly at Foster. The goalkeeper couldn’t control the ball, as it hit the top roof of the net. 1-0 to the Arsenal. Welbeck should have had a penalty after that when he was clipped on the edge of the box.

West Brom made a host of substitutions, bringing on ex-Everton and Nigerian striker Victor Anichebe, and ex-Celtic and Greece international Giorgios Samaras, for Youseff Mulumbu and Stephane Sessegnon respectively. The injured Belgian international Sebastien Pocognoli had to be taken off to be replaced by Cristian Gamboa as Arsene Wenger bought on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to replace Olivier Giroud.

West Brom upped the ante, as they went in search of an equalizer. First, Per Mertesacker had to block a shot from Chris Brunt, and the ball fell to Berahino, who hit the bar with a header, having beaten Callum Chambers. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gibbs both picked up knocks, but continued to play on, as Craig Gardner’s shot was deflected wide by Ramsey. Arsenal held on amid a barrage of long balls, for their second win in a week.

I could get more used to this kind of stuff!

Jai Arsenal 🙂


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Posted by on December 3, 2014 in 2014-2015, Match Reviews


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Borussia Dortmund Preview and Lineups – Time to, er, bounce back!

So, here we are. A new game, a new outlook. It’s been 4 days since that loss to Manchester United, and however hard I try to forget it, I just can’t. Either it’s flashes of Arsenal pounding United’s defence or the image of Gibbs collapsing in a heap at the end of the game. But, when it comes to football, there’s little time for emotions. The next game is just 3-4 days away, and each game presents a chance to wipe out that lingering disappointment.

Borussia Dortmund come visiting today, and a completely different one from last season. They are ravaged with injuries, bad form and bad luck. They lie in the relegation zone of the Bundesliga, with 12 games gone, and they have an injury list to match that of Arsenal’s. German internationals Sven Bender and Mats Hummels have been injured for some time now, while Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Jakub Blaszczykowski are out too. Add to that the horrendous injury that Marco Reus suffered over the weekend in a 2-2 league clash against SC Padeborn.

Things for Arsenal don’t look too bright either. Mathiey Debuchy, Theo Walcott, David Ospina, Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and the perenially injured Abou Diaby have permanently taken residence in the Arsenal medical room, for majority of the season, and it looks like a German bomb shelter. Add to that the injuries suffered by Wojciech Szczesny and Jack Wilshere in the weekend loss to Manchester United. News reports suggest Wilshere will have to undergo ankle surgery, which means he will be out for about 3 months. Danny Welbeck too is a doubt with a knee problem. However, there are a few positives, with Laurent Koscielny available for selection, after he took part in training. Olivier Giroud who scored a fine goal in the loss though, is unavailable, as Arsenal didn’t register him for the group stages.This means it could be, yes, hold your breath, Yaya Sanogo starting up front. Or else, if Arsene Wenger decides to experiment a bit, Alexis playing up front, and a chance for Podolski or Cazorla.

Another issue that Arsene Wenger will be concerned is the fitness of in-form Alexis Sanchez. Having scored 12 goals and provided 8 assists this season, he has been the Gunners’ star man, and he appeared exhausted in the second half against Manchester United, and conceded possession, leading to the winning goal by Wayne Rooney in the 85th minute. Though possibilities of the manager resting his star player in a crunch clash like this are less, he has options like Tomas Rosicky, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla to turn to. Rosicky and Podolski have had very little playing time, and Cazorla is a shadow of the player he was in his last 2 seasons at the Emirates. It will be a tough decision to make.

Despite the two sides struggling for form and fitness, they will still be able to put out two good teams, and an entertaining match to offer. Both teams like to play attacking football, and with Arsenal needing all 3 points to avoid awkward situations of the final matchday, it could be an open encounter. In the earlier match, Dortmund defeated Arsenal rather comfortably 2-0, and it was down to their superior pressing game which denied Arsenal any space and time to get into their groove. They play a 4-4-2 formation, but what helps them is their disciplined defensive midfield, which stifled the life out of Arsenal.

German international Ilkay Gundogan should ideally start alongside Sebastien Kehl, and the two can make life difficult for Arsenal’s attackers. It will be interesting to see if Klopp plays 2 upfront, with Aubameyang and Immobile or drop one back in midfield to support the attacking midfielders, Shinji Kagawa and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. A formation of 4-2-3-1 would suit Dortmund in away games at sides like Arsenal, but at the slight expense of their attacking prowess.

With Dortmund having won all 4 of their Champions League games, and thereby having qualified to the next round of the competition, the onus is on Arsenal, who have won 2, lost 1 and calamitously drew 1, to take the game to Dortmund. This is how I expect the two teams to line up.


The manager has called for solidarity within the club and it’s supporters following a string of disappointing results. Indirectly aimed at recent comments made by Alisher Usmanov, he said,

Everybody has the right to have an opinion, having said that, we have values at this club. During the 18 years I have been here, I have shown that I can take criticism,I don’t take [Usmanov’s comments] personally at all.It is an opinion that I respect, but when you are from this club, you are from this club.You are in or out, you cannot be both.What is important is how close we are together inside the club and how much we can respond to people who question our quality.

I personally feel that there is a very strong bond inside the team and the club, and that this team will have a very strong season.I believe in what I do and I especially believe in my players, and in their quality and spirit.I question myself every day and I hope you do that as well.

Time to get a vital 3 points today!

Jai Arsenal 🙂


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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in 2014-2015


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Race for the title – Key Games and Moments

This season, we have been witness to one of the closes title races in Premier League history, with the victor undecided, even till the very last seconds of the season. Here’s a look at the key games and moments, that defined this season’s title race.

Week 1 – West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Manchester United, Manchester City 4-0 Swansea City

In the opening round of games, the aim of both sides was to lay down a marker for the rest of the season. And, they did exactly that. Manchester United, running high on the back of a 3-2 Community Shield win against Manchester City at Wembley,  fought hard to win 2-1 at the Hawthorns, thanks to a late goal from new signing Ashley Young. A day later, Manchester City’s expensively assembled squad of superstars easily brushed Premier League debutants, Swansea City, with a brace from £38 million signing Sergio Aguero.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 3 (4), Man.Utd – 3 (1)

Week 3 – Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City, Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal

In what was to be a North London vs Manchester showdown, Manchester crushed North London in ruthless fashion. In the early kickoff, Manchester City tore Spurs apart, with Boasnian striker Edin Dzeko in fine touch. He scored 4 goals, and with Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero hitting top form, it looked like City were the early season pace-setters. However, Manchester United responded in typically emphatic fashion, with a 8-2 mauling of a crumbling Arsenal. Wayne Rooney got a hattrick, as the Manchester clubs proved their mettle to the rest of the league.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 9 (9), Man.Utd – 9 (10)

Week 5 –  Fulham 2-2 Manchester City, Manchester United 3-1 Chelsea

Manchester City suffered their first hiccups of the season, when they gave away a 2-0 lead at Craven Cottage, to a battling Fulham. Sergio Aguero scored a brace, but goals from Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy ensured the Sky Blues returned with only a point. Meanwhile, Manchester United were still going strong. The Red Devils were 3-0 up by half-time, and despite a resurgent second half display from Chelsea, who got a goal through Fernando Torres, Fergie’s men moved 2 clear of City at the top of the table.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 13 (12), Man.Utd – 15 (17)

Week 9 – Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City

Manchester City painted the town blue, after crushing their neighbours, in their own backyard, in one afternoon of devastating football. Mario Balotelli opened the scoring, with a goal from outside the box in just the 20th minute, and he doubled it in the 60th minute. Matters for United had earlier worsened, after Johnny Evans was sent off early in the second half. Sergio Aguero was on hand to make it 3-0, and despite some brief Manchester United rallying, which saw them score in the 80th minute through Darren Fletcher, it was City who finished with a flourish, scoring thrice in as many minutes, Edin Dzeko getting 2, and destructor in chief David Silva getting the other.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 25 (26), Man.Utd – 20 (14)

Week 15 – Manchester United 4-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City

Having exited the Champions League, the focus of both Manchester clubs had now shifted to the league. Manchester United had a straightforward win over struggling Wolves, winning 4-1 on a subdued afternoon in Manchester, while Manchester City suffered their first defeat of the season, as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea. Having taken the lead as early as the 2nd minute, through Balotelli, they let that lead slip, through a Raul Meireles goal. Gael Clichy was sent off in the 58th minute, and Chelsea made full use of the man advantage, winning the game through a 76th minute Frank Lampard penalty.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 38 (34), Man.Utd – 36 (21)

Week 18 – West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Manchester City, Manchester United 5-0 Wigan Athletic

A Boxing Day mauling of Wigan saw the Red Devils move level on points with Manchester City. This was the Red Devils’ second 5-0 result in the same week, having achieved the same scoreline at Craven Cottage against Fulham. While a sublime Berbatov hattrick helped level the teams at the top of the table, West Brom managed to frustrate the Sky Blues for large parts of the game to deservedly earn a point.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 45 (38), Man.Utd – 45 (33)

Week 19 – Manchester United 2-3 Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City

In a surprising midseason round of fixtures, United fell prey to their own complacency as they lost to bottom-of-the-heap Blackburn Rovers. Rovers, having secured a draw at Anfield, took the lead on Sir Alex’s 70th birthday, through a Yakubu penalty, and he soon doubled the lead on 50 minutes, with a fine finish. However, United launched a comeback, with in-form Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov levelling scores at 2-2, with half an hour left to play. It proved to be futile, as Grant Hanley scored the unprecedented winner in the 80th minute. The onus was on Mancini’s men to take the advantage in the title race, however they were up against a resurgent Sunderland, under the stewardship of Martin O’Neill. Substitute Ji Dong Won’s 93rd minute winner raised the roof at the Stadium of Light, as both Manchester City started the New Year with a defeat.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 45 (37), Man.Utd – 45 (32)

Week 20 – Manchester City 3-0 Liverpool, Newcastle United 3-0 Manchester United

Manchester City recovered from their shock defeat at the Stadium of Light, to trounce Liverpool 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium. It was a complete performance from the Citizens, with Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and James Milner helping themselves to goals. On the other hand, Newcastle United too put on a complete performance against the Champions, and deservingly won by the same margin of 3-0. Demba Ba and Yohann Cabaye scored for the Magpies and the misery of the Red Devils was complete when Phil Jones scored a rather unfortunate own goal.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 48 (40), Man.Utd – 45 (29)

Week 22 – Manchester City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United

The second installment of North London vs Manchester proved to be more competitive than last time around, but with the same result, as Manchester emerging victorious, just about. In a thrilling encounter at the Etihad, it took 55 minutes for the scoring to be troubled, with Samir Nasri banging in a delightful goal. Soon, it was 2-0, with Lescott scoring. However, Spurs were soon in the game, with Defoe making most of a defensive error by Stefan Savic. Gareth Bale equalized in spectacular style, in the 65th minute, It was City, however, who controversially landed 3 points. Balotelli was not booked for an earlier malicious tackle on Scott Parker, and he made full meal of a King challenge to win and convert a 94th minute penalty. Arsenal, struggling with injuries, took on a Manchester United team, in topsy turvy form. United looked the more compose outfit, and had the lead on the stroke of half-time, with Valencia outleaping Vermaelen to score past Szczesny. The second half was the opposite story, as Arsenal slowly drifted into the game, and much of it can be owed to the form of 18 year old Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, who provided the assist for van Persie’s clever 71st minute finish. Not much later, Valencia made most of Arsenal’s hesitant defending to set up Wellbeck, who scored the winner, with 10 minutes left to play.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 54 (42), Man.Utd – 51 (33)

Week 23 – Manchester United 2-0 Stoke City, Everton 1-0 Manchester City

Former Manchester United striker Darron Gibson helped his former club to go level on points with Manchester City, as he smashed in the winner on his Everton debut, against the Sky Blues. City were lacklustre for most part of the game, with Everton playing a good pressing game, which they maintained till the end, to take home all 3 points. It took two penalties, each scored 7 minutes on the either side of half-time, from Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov, for Manchester United to beat Stoke City at home.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 54 (41), Man.Utd – 54 (35)

Week 24 – Manchester City 3-0 Fulham, Chelsea 3-3 Manchester United

Manchester City recorded a straightforward 3-0 win at home against London side Fulham. For Manchester United, it was more a case of 1 point gained, rather than 2 dropped, as they came back from 3-0 down at Stamford Bridge, to escape with a 3-3 draw. Johnny Evans’ own goal gave the Blues a lead before half-time. A stunning volley from Spanish winger Juan Mata and a deflected header from David Luiz sent Chelsea into a seemingly unassailable 3-0 lead with 50 minutes played. Fergie’s men responded in typical fashion, as Wayne Rooney converted two rather controversial penalties, to make the score 3-2 with 20 minutes to go. The Chelsea bubble finally burst when Hernandez scored in the 84th minute to secure a valuable point.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 57 (44), Man.Utd – 55 (35)

Week 28 – Swansea City 1-0 Manchester City, Manchester United 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

Manchester City were toppled off the top of the table, as they lost to a determined Swansea in Wales. The Swans were completely dominant for most duration of the game, and even missed a penalty when Scott Sinclair’s timid shot was easily saved by Joe Hart. The sucker punch came 7 minutes from time, when late substitute Luke Moore headed in only his second league goal of the season. Buoyed by this result, Manchester United strolled on to a relatively easy 2-0 win, Rooney scoring both, over a Baggies side, who looked lively early on, but then deteriorated as the match wore on.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 66 (49), Man.Utd – 67 (41)

Week 30 – Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City, Manchester United 1-0 Fulham

Manchester City hiccuped again on the road, as they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium, by a strong willed Stoke. The Potters took the lead, through a wonder goal from Peter Crouch, which, without a doubt, is a candidate for ‘Goal of the Season’. City required a deflected long range effort from Yaya Toure, to level matters. 2 days later, a Wayne Rooney strike seperated the Red Devils from the Cottagers in an edgy game at Old Trafford.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 70 (50), Man.Utd – 73 (47)

Week 31 – Manchester City 3-3 Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Manchester United

A 5 point gap developed between the two Manchester clubs after this weekend. Manchester City could only muster a point at home to Sunderland, with the Citizens self-destructing. Sunderland, looked on the verge of an upset, going into half-time with a 2-1 lead. Ex-Arsenal players Sebastien Larsson and Niklas Bendtner struck either side of a Mario Balotelli penalty. Larsson added on to the Black Cats’ advantage with a 55th minute strike. Balotelli then was involved in a fracas with his own teammate Aleksandr Kolarov, over the taking of a free-kick, and the two had to be seperated by captain Vincent Kompany. When it seemed to be spectacularly falling apart for the Sky Blues, it was infact Balotelli and Kolarov who scored a goal each, 70 seconds apart, to level the scores. On the other hand, the Red Devils knew that a win over Blackburn at Ewood Park would open up a 5 point gap at the top, and they did just that with two late screamers from Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, sealing the points.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 71 (50), Man.Utd – 76 (49)

Week 32 – Manchester United 2-0 Queen’s Park Rangers, Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City

United kept marching on, with a controversial 2-0 win over relegation battling QPR. A ridiculous dive from winger Ashley Young, was enough to fool Lee Mason, who sent off Shaun Derry, despite minimal contact. Rooney scored off the resultant penalty, and Paul Scholes added a second in the 68th minute with a goal from 25 yards.  All pressure was on Mancini’s men, to win at Arsenal and keep the gap at 5. However, they rarely troubled the Gunners. Completely outplayed over the duration of the game, it took a 86th minute beauty from Mikel Arteta to land Arsenal the points. City’s woes increased when the clumsy Balotelli was sent off after picking up a second yellow card.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 71 (49), Man.Utd – 79 (51)

Week 33 – Manchester City 4-0 West Bromwich Albion, Wigan Athletic 1-0 Manchester United

Having conceded the title already to Manchester United, Mancini seemed to have relieved a bit of pressure from his players, as they eased to a 4-0 win over West Brom at the Etihad, to put an end to a torrid run of results. Sergio Aguero opened the scoring in the 6th minute, before adding a second in the 54th. Tevez and Silva scored 2 more in the next 10 minutes to seal an easy win. On the other hand, Wigan reignited, not only their survival hopes, but also the title race as they deservedly beat Manchester United, for the first time in their history. A Victor Moses header was wrongly ruled out, and it took a peach of a goal from Scottish striker Shaun Maloney to hand Wigan a vital win, in the 50th minute.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 74 (53), Man.Utd – 79 (50)

Week 35 – Manchester United 4-4 Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Manchester City

After Wigan opened the title race narrowly, it was infact Everton who blew it completely open in a thrilling encounter at Old Trafford. Everton made the brighter start, and took the lead just after the half-hour mark, through a Nikica Jelavic header. United were pressed into action, and equalized, before half-time, Rooney nodding home a Nani cross. 15 minutes into the second half, and the Red Devils were coasting to victory, thanks to two well-taken goals from Danny Wellbeck and Luis Nani. Marouanne Fellaini, who was impressive all round, pulled one back, with a well taken volley. Before Everton could settle down, who else, but Rooney to make it to 4-2 and move 4th in the all time list of Manchester United’s top scorers. Everton had other ideas, though. Jelavic took advantage of some slack defending, to set up a grandstand finish, and couple of minutes later South African winger Steven Piennar made it 4-4. This result gave City a visible uplift, and they eased their way to a 2-0 over Wolves, which also relegated the latter from the top flight. Aguero and Nasri were the goalscorers.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 80 (60), Man.Utd – 83 (54)

Week 36 – Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United

In what was billed as the ‘derby game of all derby games’, Manchester City completed the double over their rivals, to go level on points, and ahead on goal difference at the top of the table. In a pulsating encounter, Manchester City enjoyed most of the chances, and took the lead on the stroke of half-time, through a thumping header from Vincent Kompany. The game boiled over, as Ferguson and Mancini got involved in a touchline tussle. City held their nerve against a toothless United attack to go top of the league.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 83 (61), Man.Utd – 83 (53)

Week 37 – Newcastle United 0-2 Manchester City, Manchester United 2-0 Swansea City

City moved so much closer to the title, with a 2-0 win at St.James Park. After being stifled for most of the game, Yaya Toure broke the deadlock in the 70th minute, and doubled the lead in the 89th minute, in what was a nerve wracking hardfought win. Manchester United, visibly subdued, after the City result, went about their task and dispatched Swansea 2-0.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 86 (63), Man.Utd – 86 (55)

Week 38 – Manchester City 3-2 Queen’s Park Rangers, Sunderland 0-1 Manchester United

Could there be a more dramatic end to a season? Manchester United took a lead at the Stadium of Light courtesy Wayne Rooney in the 20th minute, to kick Manchester City into action, who till then, seemed content knocking the ball around. Pablo Zabaleta scored, 39 minutes gone on the clock, with a chip, that went in off keeper Paddy Kenny. What happened next, was not in the script. A rare defensive error from City allowed Djibril Cisse to equalize, with just 3 minutes gone into the second half. QPR were then dealt a blow, when the stupid Joey Barton was sent off. However, this seemed to galvanize the away team, and, completely against the run of play, they went 2-1 ahead, on 66 minutes. City, had nearly 30 shots on target, and nearly 80% of the possession, but just couldn’t seem to get a goal, when they really needed two. With City fans resounding to the fact that they had bottled it, Edin Dzeko headed in the equalizer, with 3 minutes to go. By this time, Manchester United’s game was over, and they were winning the title. As they waited for the confirmation of that, news trickled in that Sergio Aguero, had, incredibly, scored in the winner in the 95th minute. City fans went wild, and a pitch invasion followed, even as Sunderland fans did the Poznan to mock United supporters. A classy trophy celebration at the Etihad followed, and a deserving one. The Blue Moon has finally risen.

Points (GD) – Man.City – 86 (64), Man.Utd – 86 (56)

Manchester City are crowned champions.

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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in General


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Out of Breath, Drained of Emotion, Sapped of Energy, but not Short of Words!

The title says it all. I am absolutely out of breath, drained of emotion, sapped of energy, but yet, I am in front of my laptop, jotting down a few words.

To be honest with you, I didn’t watch Arsenal’s game at the Hawthorns with West Bromwich Albion. I was rather hooked on to the title race. Let me tell you, before you even ponder moving away from this article, I f*cking love Arsenal, but even I couldn’t contemplate what Manchester City did today.

People say the win in 1989 was amazing, and yes it was amazing. But, rather, in a bizzare twist of fate, I was born 6 months after Arsenal lifted the trophy on that famous night in Anfield. I don’t want to take anything away from Michael Thomas and the boys. They will always be number one in title glory drama.

Spot 2 has been taken by the Citizens. And how. I watched every kick in their game against QPR today, and by the 90th minute arrived, I had resounded to the fact that I will have to face some more Manchester United rubbish and gibberish, the likes of ‘GGMU’, for another year.

Thank You Edin Dzeko. You are officially my favorite Bosnian, not that I had one before. His equalizer came out of the ‘blue’, and at a time, when everyone, incuding some City fans, though it was over. And then Aguero showed why he is the man, who owns the rights on Maradona’s daughter. For one moment, I shared the same joy as Manchester City fans.

Arsenal fans may despise me, saying Manchester City are just spoiling the league, by buying players from us. Unfortunately, this is how football functions this days. Hate it, as you must, but that’s how it works. But, let’s not take anything away from Manchester City today, for they have earned the right to be England’s champions.

I really liked the way Vincent Kompany gave his interview after the game. Really dignified, and really classy.

We’ve done it before this season and I never stopped believing,Never, ever, and when Edin scored that goal it just reminded me of a few moments this season when against Tottenham (Hotspur) we scored in the last minute and against Sunderland we came from two down.You want to say it’s the personal moment of your life but if I’m honest, please never again this way. “We’ve been so good this season, especially at home, then all of a sudden today even though our first half was really good we just couldn’t get through. “It’s not sunk in yet, I don’t know what happened at the end to be honest, it was such a huge mess.I’m so happy for the guys because we’ve given so much this season,” he said. “It’s not us just coming here for the money, we’ve dreamed of this all our lives, when we were kids, when we were nothing and had no money. And now we are champions and that’s what it’s about for us.

OK, that’s that! Now, lets get back to things closer to our hearts! With our win over West Brom, we have secured 3rd spot. I had my friends text me constantly with updates on the game, who were lucky enough, to get streaming, or had a high definition TV.

I saw the live update come up when Adebayor scored in the second minute and though instantly, we got to win today. And, Benayoun obliged. But, soon, we were 2-1 down in 15 minutes, and by then the telecasters had decided not to show the goal updates for some god damn reason. Anyways, Andre Santos scored, and 10 minutes into the second half, I got a message saying ‘Koscielny, 2-3’. I knew from there on it was a case of ‘Hold on to what you have!’, and my word, we did.

It was a fitting tribute for Pat Rice, who has been effing brilliant.


Robin van Persie, like his Manchester City counterpart, too, had his say, after the final game of the season.

You never know. Arsenal is a massive club, a great club. I have been playing here for eight years and I love this club.Whatever happens that will never change.

Well, you have enough time to ponder what he means by those words. Just hoping we keep him at the club.

I will be back with some more stuff, very soon! Watch this space!

I leave you with this short clip, with some amazing moments in our game.

RVP chance, Wenger hugs Pat Rice, great block from Gibbs

One last thing, before I sign off, for now, Thank You Martin Fulop. You are officially my favorite Hungarian.

Jai Arsenal 🙂


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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in General


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A few thoughts on a few things, West Brom Preview + Lineups

West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal, The Hawthorns, Premier League

Kickoff – 15:00 GMT (19:30 IST), 13th May 2012

As we move into the final day of Premier League action for this season, my emotions remain mixed. This has been one of the most topsy turvy season I have been witness to, and I have watched just 8, including this.

Being an Arsenal fan is not easy. It is an extremely hard choice to make, and certainly not one for the faint hearted. While we had to endure millions of jokes butted at our 8-2 mauling, at the hands of Manchester United, earlier in the season, I have also had the pride of rival fans coming up to me and telling “Arsenal were awesome yesterday!”, after we beat AC Milan 3-0. While all Arsenal fans may sum this to be a largely disappointing campaign, the word ‘disappointing’, being used only in the context of lack of silverware, I don’t see this as a disappointment or a success. Rather, I see it as another season gone by. I always have seen it that way. Of course, I would be elated, more than anyone else, if we had a cup to go with it, but then, football is football. It goes on. There’s always next season. Players may go, players may come. But, Arsenal will always be close to my heart.

So, moving on, in our quest for Champions League football next season, is our extremely massive league encounter with Roy Hodgson’s West Bromwich Albion. After 37 games of league football, it all comes down to this, and it is still in our hands. If we win tomorrow, irrespective of what Sp*rs do against Fulham, we will be competing in Europe’s premier football tournament. Else, we will be competing in the rather harsh environs of the Europa League.

No disrespect to the Europa League there, but a lot hinges on our Champions League qualification. So much has been talked about this, and all of you know why qualifying for it is of paramount importance to the club’s fortunes at this crucial juncture. A 4th place finish means, we will have to hope Bayern Munich beat Chelsea in the Champions League final next weekend, and while I will be cheering on Bayern, irrespective of our league standing, just because I want the Gunners to be the first club, to bring the European Cup to London, there is no two ways about the fact that we have to win tomorrow.

Much has been said about West Brom players looking to give old man Hodgson a good farewell. On the flip side, we will have the same agenda on our minds, Pat Rice the man in question here. What a fine servant he has been to the club, and a win tomorrow, will be a nice gesture of saying ‘Thank You’.

All games will kick off at exactly the same time tomorrow, and while all of us will be scrambling for live scores, around the grounds, we all know that a 1-0 style win will do the trick. Robin van Persie has had a magnificent season for us, and at times I wonder, where we would be, at the end of the season, without him. Talk surrounding his possible exit from the club has disgusted me enough, and I hope he gets to the 32 mark, to be the Premier League record goal scorer, in a single season, and proceeds to sign a contract.

I don’t believe much in transfers, cos’ they are all a load of bullsh*t. 99% of them never really happen, and with us, it has never happened. This time, though, it seems a bit different, with Lukas Podolski signed even before the present season ends, and the next one starts. This statement of intent has led newspapers to link us with every other professional footballer on the planet. But, for now let’s not talk about it.

Team news, then. Theo Walcott will face a late fitness test, though I doubt he will start tomorrow. Attack wise, we weren’t too bad last week against Norwich, and I think we will stick to that midfield. Bacary Sagna injured himself last week, and is certain to miss the Euro’s, which is quite sad, for him, personally. I would expect natural right-back Carl Jenkinson to start, rather than Francis Coquelin. Another Frenchman, who could miss the Euro’s, not with injury though, is Laurent Koscielny. He has been bloody brilliant this season, and Arsene Wenger wants him to be in the France squad. Also, recent news that Wojciech Szczesny could be out for the final game, because of a knee/back problem, no one knows for sure. Meanwhile, Nigerian striker Peter Odemwingie and Jerome Thomas will face late tests. Captain Chris Brunt is out for the Baggies.

West Brom play with a pretty straight-foward 4-4-2 formation, and the injuries to Brunt, Thomas and Odemwingie means starts for Andrews, Scharner and Marc Antoine-Fortune respectively. Without Thomas, I can see them playing a very narrow games, with minimal wing-play. This will also be Paul Scharner’s last game, and incidentally, for him, being an Arsenal fan, it is against the Gunners themselves. Shane Long can be a pretty useful forward, but he also has the tendency to be lacklustre. Fortune is a skilfull player, and Arsenal will have to be at their very best defensively, or we could be slaughtered, like last week against Norwich.

I was impressed by Gervinho last week. He played very well. His dribbling seemed much better, and there was also more pace, and more penetration, and we will require all of that. Benayoun, too, could turn out one last time in Arsenal colors, and, I hope, it’s not the same case for a certain Dutchman. In midfield, there will be an attacking battle between Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Youseff Mulumbu, Keith Andrews. Though the criticism of Ramsey has been a bit harsh, he will look to sign off the season on a positive note.

Last time these two sides met at the Hawthorns, Arsenal fought back from 2-0 down to 2-2, to keep their faint title chances alive. Some calamitous defending was on display last time, and surely, there won’t be any of that tomorrow. There ain’t any room for errors, this time round.

Meanwhile, Keep the Faith.

Enjoy the game wherever you are.

Jai Arsenal 🙂


Posted by on May 12, 2012 in 2011-2012, Match Previews


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In our hands again?

Hello Gooners. All of us wait in anticipation for Sunday. The last day of the league season, where so much is left to be decided.

The week that passed by has been quite action packed. Sunday bought loads of important clashes in the Premier League. Newcastle were finally overpowered by the class of Yaya Toure, who scored twice, to move Manchester City ever so closer to their first Premier League crown. A late Djibril Cisse strike for QPR, against Stoke, may prove to be the singular most important goal in the Hoops’ season. Bolton dropped valuable points at home, and find themselves deep in trouble.

Blackburn Rovers were relegated, after a late Antonin Alcaraz goal ensured league safety for Wigan. It has been a tumultuous season for Rovers, with protests against manager Steve Kean, after almost every home fixture. Even a chicken with a Blackburn logo was released on the field, while other novel protests included a plane, with the message ‘In Venky’s we trust – Burnley Fans’. More importantly for us, Sp*rs could only muster a draw against a determined Aston Villa, which keeps us rooted to 3rd spot, one point ahead of our neighbours.

In our hands again. It has been quite a dismal end to the campaign, which has mirrored our previous seasons. A winning run of 7 games was halted by QPR, before we won two more against Manchester City and Wolves. Wigan bought us down to earth again. Since then, we have only managed to eke out 3 points against Stoke, Chelsea and Norwich, and a 5 point gap has been reduced to just 1.

St. Totteringham’s day celebrations have been put off, atleast until 5 PM GMT. While the Gunners travel to Birmingham to face West Brom, Sp*rs will take on Fulham at home. Newcastle still have an outside chance, though, when they travel to Everton.

The last time we faced this nail biting finish to the season, was in 2006, the final season at our beloved Highbury. The last game at the famous old stadium, Arsenal took on upstarts Wigan, while Sp*rs travelled to West Ham. Arsenal were 2-1 down at one stage, before Thierry Henry turned on the style, to win the game 4-2, while a certain Yossi Benayoun sunk Sp*rs, whose many players were out due to food poisoning before the game. Conspiracy? Probably.

However, we cannot rely on rotten pieces of meat this time round. 3 points is an absolute must at the Hawthorns, and regardless of how many goals Fulham get punctured by, we will have a place in next year’s Champions League. Anything but that, we face the realistic prospect of playing in the Europa League, and that means, a probable exodus from the club, a financial downfall, and the inability to sign top players for quite some time.

In other news, the past few days saw two former Arsenal legends retire, one from the game, and the other from his post as assistant manager. Both were defenders. They are Sol Campbell and Pat Rice.

I will start with a little tribute to Sol Campbell. Signed controversially on a free transfer from Sp*rs in the summer of 2001, Campbell came to be one of the mainstays in the Gunners’ defence for years to come. With stalwarts such as Tony Adams retiring from the game, the mantle had well and truely been passed. He first formed a solid partnership with Martin Keown, and then with Kolo Toure, the latter of which proved to be one of the stand out performers in Arsenal’s history making season of 2003-2004. Of course, our unbeaten run ended, off a Rooney dive, with Campbell the accused, but he has been an absolute rock for us. His command in the air, his leadership and organisational abilities have been indispensable. Another fine season in 2005 followed, with a FA Cup final win over Manchester United. He even scored in the Champions League final in 2006, a thumping header against Barcelona, but, alas we were not to leave our old ground as European champions. Campbell left Arsenal in 2006, to Portsmouth, where he won the FA Cup in 2008. He made a brief return to the North London, making 14 appearances, to help out the team during an injury-striken phase. Campbell was voted 15th in the “Gunners’ Greatest 50 Players” poll.

While Campbell served the club for little more than 5 years, Pat Rice has been a fantastic servant to the club, with an association that adds up to nearly 50 years. From Northern Ireland, and born in Belfast, he grew up in London, and joined the Gunners as a schoolboy. He made his debut in 1967, and slowly but gradually made the right-back position his own. He was an ever present in the 1970/71 side, that won the league and the cup, and at just 22, he was becoming the mainstay in defence. Rice was to stay with the Gunners for another 9 years, till 1980, and moved on to Watford after amassing 397 league games. He would return in 1984, as a youth team coach, for 12 years, before moving up the ranks to be assistant manager for the next 16 years. He has seen through successes like the doubles in 1997/98, 2001/02, and the unbeaten campaign in 2003/04, also FA Cup wins in 2003 and 2005. He has also been partly responsible in developing a host of exciting young talent over the past few seasons, in Cole, Flamini, Fabregas, Ca$hri, Greedybayor, van Persie, Wilshere, Gibbs, Ramsey, to name a few.

The squad gave Rice a farewell party, ahead of his last game against West Brom.

The game against Norwich was Rice’s last at the Emirates, and also Wenger’s 900th in charge of the Gunners. He boasts a win percentage of 57%, which is quite remarkable, for a 16 year tenure.

This means that there will be some more shuffling about in the backroom staff. Youth team coach Steve Bould has been promoted to assistant manager, and it is a good move. Bould played as a centre-back for the Gunners for nearly 11 seasons, making 288 appearances, and despite revealing recently that he loves his present role as developing young exciting talent, his appointment, will hopefully drill some good defensive skills into the club. Arsenal have conceded nearly 50 goals in the league, this season, which is quite unacceptable.

Moving on, Yossi Benayoun revealed on Israeli radio, that there is a minor chance he could stay with Arsenal for next season. I am not too sure, whether he will stay, but I think another year would be good. He is experienced, level headed and a pretty useful member to have in the team. He has done a good job, despite being one of the peripheral players. With Wilshere returning from injury, and Ramsey struggling to hit form, Benayoun will be the right cushion for the first few months of the season.

Another player, whose future at the club is a doubt, is Russian Andrey Arshavin. Loaned to Zenit St. Petersburg, Arshavin has slowly but gradually improved his form, and helped the club to a Russian Premier League title.

I haven’t yet thought about (my future). Everything will be decided after the European Championship,Of course, the result and quality of play there could affect my destiny.Without a doubt I can say that the decision to return to Zenit was correct. First of all, I am now playing regularly. Secondly, it’s hometown. Third, Zenit has ensured me of everything so that my thoughts are focused only on football.

According to reports, one player on the brink of a transfer to Arsenal is Yaan M’Villa, the Rennes midfielder. There is a good article on Gooner Daily, and what a useful asset he could be to the Gunners. To be honest, I haven’t watched this lad much. If he can bolster the squad, then it would be a good addition, and a strong statement of intent. I highly doubt this happening though, with Wenger still hoping against hope for Diaby to be fit again, and with youngsters such as Coquelin and Frimpong in the waiting list.

In other news, Per Mertesacker, has praised the new arrival at the club, his compatriot Lukas Podolski.

He is very confident.  When he feels he has to be there for the team and when we needed a goal he was always there. He was always one of the best players on the pitch and nothing could take him down. He is so confident and that is what I like.He is a fantastic striker,Everywhere he has played he has scored a lot of goals. He is very good on his first [touch] when he has the ball in front of him, that is a big quality and very good for us.I think he has good physical power and that is what is needed in the Premier League. He is very quick too. It is a challenge for him but he can cope with it.

Finally, the new home kit was revealed recently. My first thought, was they have gone bonkers. On a closer look, it is a tribute to Herbert Chapman’s revolutionary WM formation. The sleeve looks kind of like the Dutch flag, and if it helps keep Robin van Persie, who did participate in the photoshoot, then, so be it. The neck looks ghastly, but then again, if it helps us get some silverware, then change is a good thing.

More on the West Brom game coming up soon.

Jai Arsenal 🙂

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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in General


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