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Chelsea circus, Liverpool aftermath and Milan revenge

Welcome to another brilliant Monday, Gooners. It is that time of the week again, when your team has won on the weekend, and gives you that ‘on-top-of-the-world’ feeling.

Of course, it doesn’t top the feeling we had last Sunday, when we trounced Sp*rs, but certainly comparable, considering that all other results went our way elsewhere in the Premier League. Niklas Bendtner did us a bit of a favour, albeit his face-mask, as Sunderland, yes, those muggers, drew Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby. West Brom too put in a spirited display and beat a clueless Chelsea. And, though we hate Manchester United to every shred, they did us a favour by orchestrating a daylight robbery at Shit Fart Lane.

He ain't half bad, that Dane, after all!

The biggest news from the weekend, apart from the Suarez dive, and the Henderson elbow is the sacking of yet another Chelsea manager. The victim this time was Andre Villas Boas, a young manager, who was tipped to be the top manager in the continent in few years’ time. It is but one in a long list of managerial casualties at Stamford Bridge, a list which has the likes of Mourinho, Grant, Scolari, Hiddink and Ancelotti. Roman Abrahamovich certainly has done another error there.

Jose Mourinho won them their first league title in 2005, after a hiatus of 50 years, and by 2006, they had another league title. Apart from that, he also won Chelsea the League Cup twice, and the FA Cup once, and for once it seemed that the era of Manchester United domination in the Premier League had come to an end. After a 2nd placed finish in 2006-2007, and a poor start to the 2007-08 campaign, Mourinho was sacked. It seemed a very poor decision at the time, and clearly, Abrahamovich’s insistence on playing players like Andriy Shevchenko, who clearly looked out of place in the Premier League, among other decisions, cost Mourinho his job. Replacing the charismatic Portugese was a dull Israeli, Avram Grant, who took the Blues to their first Champions League Final, which they eventually lost on penalties to Manchester United, who did the double that season.

Luiz Felipe Scolari was given the boot after 7 months in charge, which is hardly enough time to judge a manager’s tenure. Hiddink replaced him, and despite a quite good reign, he wasn’t offered a permanent contract. Instead, it was offered to Carlo Ancelotti, who won the double, i.e the Premier League and the FA Cup, in his first full season. On the way to the league title, they set the record for the highest goals in a season, at 103. One season later, Ancelotti was sacked, after he failed to win anything. And, now Villas Boas has suffered the same fate.

League Managers’ Association chief executive Richard Bevan, had this to say, on the Chelsea managerial saga.

What is for sure is that, despite unlimited wealth, they haven’t worked out how to build a successful football club,Looking for his [owner Roman Abramovich’s] eighth manager in nine years is a serious embarrassment.If a club has frequent managerial changes, you will have that sort of situation,When you take over a football club, you must ensure there are clear agreed objectives and goals right from the start. You must make sure that you manage expectations from the players, everyone at the club, the fans and even the media.Players need to know the manager’s strategy and job is not in question and there is a clear remit. You get success if you have time and stability comes from that, otherwise it’s very difficult for a manager like Andre to impose his philosophy and build a team.

Anyways, enough of the circus, that is named Chelsea, for now. The hero for Arsenal, right now, Robin van Persie won the man of the match champagne bottle, but he later handed it to Wojciech Szczesny, who saved a penalty, and made made numerous other saves, to win the game. He was also full of praise for Bacary Sagna, and Alex Song, both of who assisted the goals. Moreover, the moment of the game was surely van Persie kissing Song’s boots, after the Cameroonian’s delightful assist. It was a goal akin to the one RVP scored against Everton at home.

It was the same pass from the same guy, Alex, an unbelievable pass,This one I hit with the inside of my foot, but again it was an unbelievable pass.Alex is a really good player, he can see it and actually do it. And I have to thank Szczesny as well.

Arsene Wenger and Szczesny both admitted that Liverpool deserved to win the game, and that they killed us in the first half.

There were two men of the match today, Wojciech Szczesny and van Persie.It means a lot, to score at Anfield is big because Anfield is a massive ground,I’m proud of that, but even more proud of this win. I don’t think we really deserved it to be honest because Liverpool played better.I think we are 10 points ahead of Liverpool now and we can wait to see what Spurs do tomorrow (against Manchester United). It’s a big win, a massive win.

Arsenal’s Polish goalkeeper paid tribute to the manager, as well.

He made me the No 1 goalkeeper at Arsenal at 20 years of age. That gives you a lot of confidence and I am just trying to repay that faith with every single performance.I have had my ups and down, but the manager keeps believing in me and I hope that performances like this just prove him right.

Szczesny has come a long way since his debut at Old Trafford. The moment when he patted Koscielny after he scored a rather unfortunate own goal, takes us back to the bygone era of the famous Back Four. I do think Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Santos and Szczesny have the ability to become as great as Dixon, Adams, Bould, Winterburn and Seaman. Of course, they will take their time, and I hope they will be ready for it next season.

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta recovered in time to leave for London, with the team bus, according to reports. It was a really nice gesture from Liverpool fans to applaud the former Everton midfielder. Arteta, later said,

I have suffered the biggest fear of my life, I only remember the fall by the blow and nothing after. It was terrifying but now I am better. Sincerely, I do not remember too much apart from the impact. I have heard people applauded me as I left the field and I am grateful for this reception.

While we are about injuries, Jack Wilshere is slated to return towards the end of the season, and hopefully in time for the European Championships. It has been a frustrating season for the young Englishman, who has seen his returning date being postponed several times. Arsene Wenger is remaining cautious in this case.

We have good news but Jack isn’t close to a ­comeback,The last scan was good and he can start to jog again so he is on the way back – but we have to be very cautious with him.I hope to have him back before the end of the season, but we go step by step.

One player who returned to action was Abou Diaby. He played about half-an-hour, replacing Arteta at Anfield, and looked lively during his time on the pitch. Unfortunately, or rather, as usual, he has suffered a setback. Another ‘tight hamstring’, means he is out of contention to play the Milan game tomorrow. Other doubts are Kieran Gibbs and Yossi Benayoun.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in no way related to Roman Abrahamovich, recently revealed in an interview that one of the proudest moments of his career, was when he was given an Arsenal shirt, with his name behind it. He told he was made an offer by Arsenal, but declined it, instead, to join Ajax, citing the reason that Arsene Wenger didn’t want him enough. Rather than buy him out right, he was offered a trial at the club, which to him was demeaning. He says he had enough trust on his ability, and that Arsenal should have made a direct offer for him. How self-obsessed can one be? I hope, sooner or later, we extract revenge from this egoistic Swede, who thinks he is better than Pele.

Finally, ahead of the Milan game, Arsene Wenger says that the Gunners will give it their all, in the second leg, despite virtually being out.

We want to make the impossible possible. From the first leg it looks impossible but we have to have a real go, play with belief and think we can do it.You never know. Maybe I will change the structure of the team to go for it and see if we can put them under pressure and score some goals.We have nothing to lose. For us to find the right balance between having to completely go forward and not concede a goal will be the difficulty for us because they have talented players.We have a lot to answer for and to respond to in the second leg. Everyone expects us to be out, but we are not yet, we are still in there.We look decimated after the game. I don’t know who will be available on Tuesday night. Maybe I will play with six strikers as we have to score goals!

Seems highly unlikely, that we will knock Milan out, but as a Gunner fan for a long time, I am highly optimistic. Of course, Milan are no Blackburn or Sp*rs, but we have to believe in the team and its abilities.

Jai Arsenal 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in General

 

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Rejuvenation, at long last!

It’s been a complete two days since a certain mauling, and I still am having a hangover. And a good one at that!

Yes, I may be crazy! But, I just can’t stop thinking of how amazing we were in the North London Derby.

The previous two weeks were the worst. After waiting weeks for the Milan game, I was utterly dissapointed, with the way we capitulated against AC Milan. Dissapointment is an understatement. I was devastated.

Something inside me told that this was the season we finally taste European glory, but within minutes that notion was utterly destroyed by one Swede. My reaction after the first two goals, was “Keep it tight, now. We can have a go at them at home!”. But, by the time we were hammered 4-0, I realised this was a mirror of last season.

With one foot off the cliff in the Champions League, there was all to play in the FA Cup. I was landing insults on the broadcaster, after they had decided not to telecast the game. But, now I thank them. I would have gotten more miserable, suicidal even, if I had watched another capitulation.

Not that I don’t love Arsenal. Not that I support the team only when they are winning. But, I just couldn’t take 2 painful defeats in 4 days. It would have been a diabolical situation. For me, at least.

Anyways, another uneventful week rambled on. Just that the anti-Wenger brigade was out in full force in social media. Talks about Mourinho, Guardiola replacing Le Prof, a squad clearout; you know the rest.

But, nothing through the week suggested that things would be looking up, come the weekend. Even the football on Saturday was so drab, except for a few Miyaichi skills.

And, by the time Saha prodded home the opener, I was prepared to be in for a long night. Even though the ball was taking ages to cross the line, I knew it would. Against Arsenal, it always does. Our response, however, was swift, I should say.

We were soon fizzing the ball through the midfield, rapidly. We went close on a couple of occasions too. When Friedel made that amazing save off Rosicky, it seemed a precursor for things to come. Spu*s frustrating us for 90 minutes, I mean.

Then, Gareth Bale showed divers around the world, how it is to be done. He took an amazing dive, I should say. There wasn’t even a hint of contact from Szczesny, and that’s why I am wowing about it. What frustrated me more was that the biggest cunt of them all, oh sorry, that’s Nasri, the second biggest cunt of them all, Adebayor, stepped up to take the penalty. I was hoping he would get the biggest hiding of his life, should he miss, but he didn’t. He scored.

What surprised me was the way we responded. An Arsenal side, last season, at this stage, or for that matter, last month, would have thrown the towel and tried to limit the damage. Probably try to score a late consolation. And then Wenger stating something like “This team has shown that it can fight..Blah blah blah”. Again, you know the rest.

But, this was completely the opposite. We took Spu*s to the cleaners. Probably, they were thinking, its 2-0, and there was no chance in hell of a comeback. Boy, were they wrong. Bac Man produced a stunning header. That, for me set the tone for the game. He pounced on it like a tiger.

And, then his sidekick, Robin, man, his goal took my breath away. Assou-Ekoto looked like a donkey for a minute. He just didn’t know what to do. van Persie unleashed a wonderful shot, and I was jumping up and down the living room, attracting stares from family members. But, nothing mattered at that moment. It was just sheer joy.

After half-time, I was still a wee bit nervous, when Old Man ‘Arry bought on van der Fart and that Brazilian boxer, Sandro. Which dufus wears teeth guard for a football game. Anyways, the game. Tomas Rosicky looked like he was possesed. And, so did Benayoun. He danced past some 4 or 5 players. Boy, it is just a joy to watch an Israeli do that to the Yids.

The amazing comeback was complete, minutes later, when Rosicky beat that lazy bugger Ledley King. Bac Man was the provider again. The celebration told it all. One finger pointed at the heavens. Again, it caused an adrenaline rush inside me and you know the rest of it.

Now, Walcott has been largely dissapointing this season. When Benayoun and Walcott were started instead of Chamberlain and Gervinho, I knew Wenger had lost it completely. Walcott had a really poor first half. He looked so bereft of confidence. He didn’t even join in the goal celebrations.

When he got the ball in the 65th minute, and his first touch took it wide, everyone would have expected him to lose the ball. But, surprisingly, he finished. And, it did him and us a world of good. Again, the celebration was brilliant, as he lapped up the crowd.

By 68 minutes, we had staked our claim on London. We had utterly devastated our rivals. Our worst team in 15 seasons beat their best in 50. That was the truth. That was the gulf in class.

Sagna’s post match reaction was legend-ary.

We could not let it go like this, this is one of the most important games of the season. In our stadium, against the enemy, we could not lose.

Thanks for that Bac Man.

The way we fought, the way we tracked back whenever the scums had the ball, the manner in which we never lost hope, these are moments to cherish as a Gooner. This match is certainly up there with Barcelona and Chelsea.

The misery of last week is a thing of the past. The 5-2 has breathed new life into me. I am well and truely rejuvenated!

We love you Arsenal, we do.

Jai Arsenal 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in General

 

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Get behind your team and your manager!

It’s that time of the season again. Heads swooning, shoulders dipping, glum faces, the lot!

Arsenal Football Club finds itself in a mire, having been knocked out of that one competition that we had real chances of winning, in a week that also saw us being almost knocked out of another competition.

I have taken a lot of time to contemplate what to write. I thought I would write on Sunday, the day after the Sunderland loss, and vent my feelings. However, I was at a loss of words. Finally, after three days of thoughts pouring out of my mind, I have been finally able to type down something, about what the fans stance should be.

We saw over the course of two games, our defence having its soul being ripped apart, in immediate succession. In Per Mertesacker, we lost a vastly experienced and cultured defender, who finally looked like he had adjusted to the demands of a demanding league. In Laurent Koscielny, we lost probably the best defender in the league at the moment. And, who were the ones who replaced them. A calamity and a disaster messrs Djourou and Squillaci.

And in hapless fashion, just like our defence, we were ripped apart, one by an extremely talented Milan, and then by a dogged and determined Sunderland. Swords have been polished and they are all out, as an outpouring of negativity ensued.

Talks of sacking Wenger, sacking the board, getting rid of deadwood, making multi-million pound signings followed over the course of 2 or 3 days. The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Independent all voiced their opinions about Wenger should do next. Writers, the likes of Piers Morgan, Mark Lawrenson, who as Wenger rightly quoted as people not having managed a club, let alone a club in European football.

It has been a late realisation of sorts of a poorly managed summer transfer window and a largely quiet winter one. A team crippled with injuries, that no other club is facing at the moment. We had all our 4 availalable full backs in the medical room nursing long term injuries, and what’s more they were all doing it at the same time. Andre Santos arrived as that bustling full-back Arsenal fans so longed to see. He played a few games and bam, he is out for 3 months. Kieran Gibbs, his deputy, too suffered the same fate. Mr Consistent Bacary Sagna, suffered an unfortunate injury in the North London derby, and then his deputy Carl Jenkinson too found himself taking the aid of a physio.

Players, the likes of Arshavin, once the darling of all of Europe; Chamakh, once touted as the next big thing in French soccer; Walcott, at one time, branded as England’s new hope, have all waned over the course of the season.

To add to the long list of woes, we had our best player from last season, Jack Wilshere, sustaining an injury from pre-season, and will probably sustain it till the end of the season.

Criticism pouring in blaming Arsene Wenger’s youth policy, of blooding in youngsters too early, and expecting them to win trophies. And mind you, these are the same people who billed Wilshere and Alex Olade-Chamberlain as too young to take the Premier League by storm.

Criticism aimed at Arsenal’s lack of tactics. The same system being employed, irrespective of whether the team is winning or losing. A team that has been living on past glories for quite some time now. Wenger’s substitutions all gone wrong, for eg. Arshavin being bought on for Chamberlain in the Manchester United game.

Not that I am against the criticism. There are actually hell loads of valid points in there. But, those who are actually criticising the team, it is time the team needs your support.

Arsene Wenger is still Arsene Wenger. He is still the same manager who broke the monopoly of Manchester United in the league. He is still the same man who guided us through an entire season unbeaten. He is still the same man, who changed the face of English football. He is the man who gave the football world the mercurial talents of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Fredrik Ljungberg, Ashley Cole, Kolo Toure, Francesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, Jack Wilshere etc.

He is the man, who took Arsenal from mid-table mediocrity to a Champions League Final in the span of just 10 years. He has gifted us European Champions League football, season in, season out. He is the man who sustained us and kept us competitive as we oversaw a shift in stadiums. And what’s more, he has done it on a shoe-string budget. Hell, he is the reason why, in all probability, you shout for the team wearing guns on their chests. He has earned the right to get more chances to lift the team out of the slump that they find themselves under.

Would you rather side a Manchester City or a Chelsea, who don’t fall in the same categories of tradition, history and class as Arsenal. Who are owned by rich oil magnets and throw cash as is their will. Or a Manchester United or a Liverpool, who without a shadow of a doubt are as great as Arsenal, or probably greater, but find themselves deeply riddled in debt. A situation, which many in European football, including the top man in UEFA, Michel Platini describes as being ‘unethical’.

We face a huge game this weekend, against our local rivals, who have now created a gap of 10 points between us and them, and thus made a mockery of the North London divide, that has stood unflinching for so many years now. A team, brimming in confidence, and with the likes of real international superstars, Modric, Bale, van der Vaart and Adebayor. The importance of this game is as massive as ever.

I am concerned, about the current affairs of my team, as is any Arsenal fan for that matter. There is no two ways about it. We have gone 6 seasons without a trophy, which could be seven, unless we muster 5 goals against AC Milan, which seems as unlikely as ever.

But, this is the time when the team needs us the most. Its the fans, who make majority of a club that it is. Look at Portsmouth. They have a team that is battling for survival, literally, let alone survival in the Championship. Yet, week in, week out, I hear the Pompey chimes as loud as ever. Fans flocking in every week to support their team and club no matter what. Lets not be a Manchester United ‘prawn-sandwich brigade’ or a Newcastle ‘boo-boy’

Wenger is still the man for the job. Just imagine Arsenal getting a Mourinho or a Guardiola. It would be akin to Graeme Souness at Liverpool all those years back. They haven’t won a league title since. It would damage the entire structure of the club that Wenger has built with his devotion for so many years now. And, would you want that to happen for a trophy? Success is dependant on a thin line. It will come eventually. Even I am a bit worried, that the likes of van Persie, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Sagna may never have anything to show for all their talent at Arsenal. But, it will come eventually. It has to.

For now, all I ask all Arsenal fans, is, the season is not over yet. There’s still 13 league games to play and a Champions League game as well. Who knows, what may happen in  Europe, if we can replicate what Deportivo did to Milan, all those years back. But, nonetheless, we should get behind our team, pump up the volume, and support them vociferously, as they look to seal 4th spot.

It may not be ideal, but it’s the best we can get this season. Let’s not let down our club, which we claim to be die-hard supporters of and promised to stick by them though thick and thin. See out this season, and hope for the changes to ring in during the summer. That’s all I request from my fellow Gooners.

Jai Arsenal 🙂

Ooh! To be a Gooner!

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in General

 

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