Tag Archives: Premier League

Arsenal 4 Liverpool 1 – Gunners exact Reds Revenge!

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

Man of the Match – Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jai Arsenal 🙂


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


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Top 10 Arsenal Goals of 2014

10. Aaron Ramsey vs Hull City, FA Cup Final, Wembley, 17th May 2014, W 3-2

Aaron Ramsey produces a quality finish to end Arsenal’s 9 year trophy drought after playing a beautiful 1-2 with Olivier Giroud who places a perfect backheel for the Welshman.


9. Santi Cazorla vs Hull City, FA Cup Final, Wembley, 17th May 2014, W 3-2

Cazorla fires in a fine free kick to halve the deficit as Arsenal fight back from 2-0 down to 3-2, to lift the FA Cup.


8. Tomas Rosicky vs Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, White Hart Lane, 16th March 2014, W 0-1

Tomas Rosicky’s belter in the 2nd minute leaves French international keeper Hugo Lloris with no chance.


7. Olivier Giroud vs West Ham United, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 15th April 2014, W 3-1

Olivier Giroud produces a Bergkamp-esque finish, after taking down a hopeful long ball hoofed up by Thomas Vermaelen, with his right foot.


6. Olivier Giroud vs Manchester United, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 22nd November 2014, L 1-2

Olivier Giroud latches on to a long pass from Mikel Arteta to unleash a thunderbolt on his return from injury, but Arsenal still lose 2-1 at home to Manchester United, despite dominating.


5. Alexis Sanchez vs Borussia Dortmund, Champions League Group Stages, 26th November 2014, W 2-0

Alexis Sanchez scores his best Arsenal goal yet, under pressure from Neven Subotic to beat Roman Weidenfeller with a fine curving shot.


4. Olivier Giroud vs Manchester City, Community Shield, 10th August 2014, W 3-0

Olivier Giroud’s wonderfully dipping shot leaves Wily Caballero with absolutely no chance to save.


3. Jack Wilshere vs Manchester City, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 13th September 2014, D 2-2

Some fine passing culminates in a brilliant goal from Jack Wilshere who leaves his England teammate Joe Hart rooted to his spot with an angled finish.


2. Tomas Rosicky vs Sunderland, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 22nd February 2014, W 4-1

Tomas Rosicky makes a fine run, exchanging passes with both Cazorla and Wilshere, before being beatifully dinked by Giroud, for a subtle chip over Mannone.


1. Aaron Ramsey vs Galatasaray, Champions League Group Stages, 10th December 2014, W 1-4

Aaron Ramsey smashes a left-footed volley from 35 yards to stun Sinan Bolat (and Wojciech Szczesny), and nominate himself for Champions League Goal of the Season.


Jai Arsenal 🙂


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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Best of the Best


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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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10 best Arsenal Games of 2014

It’s been a topsy turvy year for Arsenal Football Club. From the lows of thumpings at Anfield and Stamford Bridge, to the highs of lifting two pieces of silverware. Here are Arsenal’s 10 best games of the year.

10. Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 13th September 2014

 (Arsenal – Wilshere 63, Sanchez 74; Manchester City – Aguero 28, Demichelis 83)

Arsenal garnered only one point from an exciting Premier League clash against Manchester City, despite putting the defending champions on the backfoot several times during the match. Danny Welbeck made his debut in Arsenal colors, and almost put the home side ahead after a poor back pass from David Silva, but only managed to strike the post, with only Joe Hart to beat. Jesus Navas was running Arsenal ragged and assisted Sergio Aguero for the opening goal in the 28th minute, a low finish past Szczesny. Arsenal equalized only in the second half, when some fine passing played in for Jack Wilshere, who beat Hart with an angled finish. 11 minutes later, Arsenal had the lead, as Alexis thumped home a volley off a Wilshere header. When it looked like Arsenal would hold on for a win, Demichelis struck an unmarked header with 7 minutes left to play.

Full Match Report


9. Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Arsenal, Premier League, White Hart Lane, 16th March 2014

(Arsenal – Rosicky 2)

Arsenal edged Tottenham in a tense encounter at the Lane. The Gunners, a side ravaged by injuries, took the lead with only 72 seconds played as Tomas Rosicky unleashed an unstoppable thunderbolt past Hugo Lloris. Despite Sp*rs creating several chances, Arsenal defended their hearts out to seal a vital 1-0 win on their way to secure a top-4 finish in the Premier League. The best moments came after the match, as Arsenal players took selfies on the pitch, much to the bemusement of the Tottenham faithful.

Full Match Report


8. Galatasaray 1-4 Arsenal, Champions League Group Stages, Turk Telekom Arena, 10th December 2014

(Galatasaray – Sneijder 88; Arsenal – Podolski 3, Ramsey 10, 29, Podolski 92)

Arsenal’s second string put in a commanding display at the Turk Telekom Arena, to put to rest some ghosts of the recent 3-2 drubbing at the hands of Stoke. Much maligned German international Lukas Podolski put Arsenal into the lead with a typical thunderous left-footed volley, after having been put through by Aaron Ramsey. The in-form Welshman turned scorer 7 minutes later, when he latched on to a Chamberlain pass to make it 2-0 past Sinan Bolat. After Podolski had struck the post, Ramsey scored a contender for Goal of the Season, with a rocket of a effort. After a cleared corner, the ball fell to Ramsey, 30 yards from goal, and he unleashed an unstoppable first-time shot which ended up at the back of the net, stunning some of his own teammates. Wesley Sneijder scored a consolation free-kick in the 88th minute, but Podolski restored the 3 goal win with a simple finish in the 92nd minute.

Full Match Report


7. Arsenal 2-0 Borussia Dortmund, Champions League Group Stages, Emirates Stadium, 26th November 2014

(Arsenal – Sanogo 2, Sanchez 56)

After consecutive losses in the league to Swansea and Manchester United, Arsenal registered a much needed 2-0 over struggling German side Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund, whose Champions League form is a complete contrast to their domestic form, where they languish in the relegation zone struggled to get their game going against a determined Arsenal side. With many fans concerned over the inclusion of Yaya Sanogo in the squad, the young Frenchman put the home side in the lead with just over a minute played, after a one-two with Santi Cazorla. He could have made it 2-0 in the 9th minute when he was put clean through, but he typically made a hash of it. It didn’t matter, as Alexis scored a beauty in the 56th minute, past Weidenfeller, under close pressure from Neven Subotic. Arsenal’s passage to the knockout stages was made simpler with this vital victory.

Full Match Report


6. Arsenal 4-1 Galatasaray, Champions League Group Stages, Emirates Stadium, 1st October 2014

(Arsenal – Welbeck 22, 30, Sanchez 41, Welbeck 52; Galatasaray – Yilmaz 63 (pen))

Danny Welbeck showed the Arsenal faithful what he is capable with a stunning hattrick in the Champions League Group stage game against Galatasaray. It was only the first hattrick in the young England international’s career. Welbeck beat Brazilian inernational Felipe Melo, before sliding the ball under Fernando Muslera for his first goal. The second goal was a gift, as a wayward back header from Aurelien Chedjou allowed Welbeck to race on to it, to beat Muslera again. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez combined for the third goal, before Welbeck made it 4-0 in the second half, lifting a Chamberlain pass over the keeper.

Full Match Report


5. Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup 3rd Round, Emirates Stadium, 4th January 2014

(Arsenal – Cazorla 31, Rosicky 62)

It was easy peasy against expensively assembled Sp*rs, as the Gunners entered the 4th Round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over their North London rivals. Young German Serge Gnabry put Santi Cazorla through for the first goal, who scored past French international keeper Hugo Lloris with a fine shot. Arsenal finished off the game with a beauty from Tomas Rosicky who robbed a sleeping Danny Rose near half line, ran the length of the pitch before beating Lloris to put the Gunners 2-0 ahead. The enduring image of the night was Theo Walcott signalling the scoreline with his fingers to the Sp*rs faithful as he was stretchered off later in the game.

Full Match Report


4. Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool, FA Cup 5th Round, Emirates Stadium, 16th February 2014

(Arsenal- Chamberlain 15, Podolski 47; Liverpool – Gerrard 59 (pen))

A week after Liverpool knocked the wind out of Arsenal’s sails, the Gunners extracted a measure of revenge from the Merseyside club by knocking them out of the FA Cup with a gritty performance on a balmy evening at the Emirates. Liverpool made the brighter start of the two sides, as Arsenal nervously held on. But, it was the Gunners who took the lead, when Yaya Sanogo’s miscued shot rebounded off Gerrard, right into the path of Chamberlain who scored past Brad Jones to make it 1-0. Liverpool, with the attacking brilliance of Sterling, Sturridge, Coutinho and Suarez were held off by a stern Arsenal defence. 2 minutes after the break, the Gunners doubled their advantage. Mesut Ozil released Chamberlain on the right, who cut back for Podolski, the German finishing with aplomb with his right foot. 2-0 Arsenal. Steven Gerrard halved the deficit with a penalty 12 minutes later, but despite all of Liverpool’s chances, dives, and oh a wrong call by the ref, the Gunners held on to ensure progress.

Full Match Report


3. Arsenal 4-1 Everton, FA Cup Quarter Finals, Emirates Stadium, 8th March 2014

(Arsenal – Ozil 7, Arteta 68(pen), Giroud 83, 85; Everton – Lukaku 34)

Arsenal comprehensively beat another Premier League side to make their way to Wembley for a FA Cup semi final showdown with defending champions Wigan Athletic, by beating Everton 4-1. Arsenal made early strides, as Mesut Ozil latched on to a Cazorla pass to slot home the opening goal on just 7 minutes, his first goal in 2 months. Young Everton keeper Joel Robles kept further efforts from Sanogo and Chamberlain out, before Everton found an equalizer. The talented Ross Barkley crossed in for Kevin Mirallas, whose shot was bundled home by his Belgian compatriot Romelu Lukaku. Everton had the chance of the game on 54 minutes, but Ross Barkley missed. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was fouled by Gareth Barry on 68 minutes, and Mikel Arteta converted the resultant spot kick. There was no looking back after that as substitute Olivier Giroud scored twice in 3 minutes to knock the Toffees out.


2. Manchester City 0-3 Arsenal, FA Community Shield, Wembley, 10th August 2014

(Arsenal – Cazorla 21, Ramsey 42, Giroud 60)

Arsenal returned to Wembley, 3 months after breaking their trophy drought, to face Premier League champions Manchester City in the traditional Community Shield clash, in emphatic fashion. With new signings Callum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy and Alexis Sanchez on display, the Gunners got off to a flying start, taking the lead in the 21st minute, with a neatly placed finish past Wily Cabellero. Arsenal looked fluid in midfield and solid in defense, as Manchester City struggled to get any sort of grip on the game. Yaya Sanogo helped Ramsey make it 2-0 in the 42nd minute, before Olivier Giroud’s wonderfully dipping shot in the second half sealed a dominant display, sending out a message to the rest of the league.

Full Match Report


1. Arsenal 3-2 Hull City, FA Cup Final, Wembley, 17th May 2013

(Arsenal – Cazorla 17, Koscielny 71, Ramsey 109; Hull – Chester 4, Davies 8)

Arsenal ended their 9 year trophy drought in typical Arsenal fashion on wet afternoon at Wembley. Coming into the game as favorites against Hull City, the Gunners were caught on the backfoot within 8 minutes of the game, as the Tigers scored twice. First James Chester poked the ball home from close range, before Curtis Davies latched on to a stray ball to make it 2-0. They almost made it 3-0, through Alex Bruce, but for a timely clearance off the line by Kieran Gibbs. Santi Cazorla scored a fine free kick on 17 minutes to make it 2-1. Both teams battled hard for the next goal, and it was the Gunners who got their equalizer, as Laurent Koscielny swivelled home from close range. It was befitting that Arsenal’s best player this season, Aaron Ramsey score the winner that would end a painful period, trophy-wise for the club, as he drove home a backheel from Giroud. It was a classy finish on an emotionally absorbing afternoon. The smile on Arsene Wenger said it all!

Full Match Report



Jai Arsenal 🙂


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Posted by on January 3, 2015 in Best of the Best


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Stoke City Preview and Lineups – Time to Build!

So, Saturday is here. A December Saturday and that, which means games are going to come thick and fast. The festive period is the most busy one when it comes to football, and there will be a glut of games from now till the New Year.

Stoke City are the opponents today, and as we all know, how much we hate those ogres. It’s a tough place to go to, given the hostile nature of the crowd, awful weather, more awful playing conditions, and despicable football players. Oh, and their manager is Mark Hughes. Stoke have had a mixed season so far, languishing in 13th place in the Premier League, having lost 7 of their 14 games so far, winning only 4 in the process. And they will be looking to avoid a 4th consecutive loss this evening, after suffering defeats to Burnley at home, Liverpool and Manchester United away.

Arsenal, on the other hand, are somehow managing to chug their choking, coal-filled engine along. After some setbacks, the Gunners have made some ground with 3 consecutive wins, and in the process keeping 3 clean sheets as well, something that bodes really well. Mood in the camp should be positive now, given the recent performances, where the Gunners have had to battle it out for their full share of points.

However, fatigue will be a major concern, with Arsenal having played 7 extra Champions League games, as well as an increase in the traffic jam in the medical room. Some players have been overplayed. Take for example, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey whose performances in recent games have been average to under-par. However, considering the paucity of options, it doesn’t look ideal to give rest to any of the players. Against a Stoke side playing at home, it will be extremely difficult for a tiring side to cope up with the physical presence of the Potters. Arsenal’s record in the last 8 games at the Britannia includes just one win, and last season the Gunners put up an apalling performance in a 1-0 defeat.

There are injury concerns for both sides. Jonathan Walters (knee), Glenn Whelan and Germany international Robert Huth have calf problems. Stephen Ireland could miss out because of illness while Steve Sidwell, Peter Odemwingie, Victor Moses and Dionatan Teixeira are all sidelined. As for Arsenal, Nacho Monreal is out with an ankle injury, Tomas Rosicky has a thigh problem, Laurent Koscielny an Achilles problem, while Yaya Sanogo will undergo a late fitness test. Sigh! Wojciech Szczesny will be back though and will replace Emiliano Martinez, who has played commendably.

With Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere still out, there’s no option but to start with Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey in midfield. I expect a start for Olivier Giroud this time round, with the dynamic trio of Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sanchez behind him. Defense will be a major concern if Koscielny and Gibbs both fail their fitness test. That would mean Chambers playing at centre-back alongside Mertesacker, Bellerin coming in at right-back and Flamini at left-back probably, leaving us short in midfield. This could cause an entire reshuffle, with Ramsey having to play deep, and either of Podolski or Welbeck starting. Under ideal circumstances, this is how I expect the teams to line up.


Jai Arsenal 🙂


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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in 2014-2015, Match Previews


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West Bromwich Albion Preview and Lineups

The win against Dortmund, as positive and important as it was, now needs to be put in the backseat. More pressing issues need to be taken care of, in the Premier League, with the Gunners languishing at 8th in the table, level on points with Everton and Sp*rs, and behind the likes of West Ham, Swansea and Newcastle.

The Hawthorns has one of the best away ground in recent years, and the Gunners have picked up vital wins there, none more so important than the final day 3-2 win in 2012, when Laurent Koscielny scored the decisive goal in the 55th minute. Gibbs made a very precious multimillion dollar last ditch tackle, late on in the game, which bought about a cuddly hug from Arsene Wenger to Pat Rice, which also turned out to be the last game for the long-serving Irishman.

It is that kind of steel that the Gunners require today. More substance over style. Wins are all that count from now on. It’s been a story this season to go on and dominate games entirely, yet not make the most of them. Games against Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United are indicative of that. Arsenal managed to keep their opponents under caution for large majorities, yet failed to take the chances when they came, conceded silly goals on the counter instead, and then huffed and puffed till the final whistle.

The refreshing thing about the Dortmund result, was the willingness of the team to learn from those mistakes. The pressing looked better, and so did the defence look more composed. Attack minded full backs like Chambers and Gibbs maintained their stances against a Dortmund side that could have inflicted damage on counters. Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey helped shore up several times.

The Premier League is a completely different ball game though, and pressing always doesn’t suit the purpose against more physical sides, who like playing the long ball, given Arsenal’s obvious discomfort at defending them. West Brom have a host of strikers who can cause the Arsenal defence problems with their physicality. Greek striker Giorgios Samaras, Nigerian duo Victor Anichebe and Brown Ideye and the pacy Saido Berahino. The Baggies, have been struggling for form this season, winning only 3 of their 12 games, losing 5 and drawing 4. £10m signing Brown Ideye has failed to impress, but Saido Berahino is a man in form, even earning an England call up for his form.

Right, team news then. Wojciech Szczesny is still out, meaning Emiliano Martinez keeps his place in goal. Laurent Koscielny returns to centre-back. Mikel Arteta’s and Jack Wilshere’s injuries mean Arsenal are thinning out in midfield, and Mathieu Flamini will start in central midfield alongside Aaron Ramsey. Olivier Giroud, should make the starting line up too, with Danny Welbeck and Yaya Sanogo nursing knocks.

Berahino is available for the Baggies, despite recent drunk driving allegations. James Morrison is a major doubt for the Baggies though as he is struggling to recover from a sickness bug. Sebastien Pocognoli (hamstring) is a minor doubt and Jonas Olsson (Achilles) is out. Claudio Yacob starts a three-game ban after he was sent off at Stamford Bridge.

Here is how I expect the teams to line up.

jE5 jE4Let’s hope the Gunners build on from here at least, and take it game by game.

Jai Arsenal 🙂


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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in 2014-2015, Match Previews


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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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Podolski, Vertonghen, M’Vila, Belhanda, Giroud, Norwich preview + Lineups

Arsenal vs Norwich City, Emirates Stadium, Premier League

Kickoff – 12:45 GMT (17:15 IST), 5th May 2012

Hello Gooners. We enter what we can describe as ‘cup football’ mode of the league campaign. The last 2 league games of the campaign remain, and there’s still everything to fight for. Relegation is yet to be sorted out, and so is the title race, and something we are in the middle of, i.e the battle for Champions League spots.

The fixtures in the middle of the week have affected the outcome at the end of the season quite a bit. Manchester City’s win over rivals Manchester United puts them in pole position to win their first league title since 1967/68, while Newcastle and Sp*rs moved to within a point of us. Tottenham won 4-1 at the Reebok, a game which was preceded by the miraculous return of Fabrice Muamba, and Newcastle beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, thanks to 2 world class strikes from their Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cisse.

Looks like Chelsea are almost out of it, and they may just switch off in the final two league games they face against Liverpool at Anfield and Blackburn at home, and concentrate rather on tomorrow’s FA Cup final against Liverpool and the Champions League final against Bayern Munich on the 19th. Chelsea have entered their second European final in 4 seasons, and should they win it, it would mean that they will fill the final Champions League spot, that the English teams are offered. It would, of course, however hurt me to see Chelsea be the first London club to win it, before the Gunners.

Newcastle’s win over Chelsea has given them much needed confidence ahead of the visit of title favorites Manchester City. Papiss Demba Cisse is really off to a flyer in the Premier League, with 13 goals already in just 12 outings. City, of course are no pushovers, and with the title on the line, plus a week’s rest, one should expect them to battle it out and win at St. James. Newcastle’s final game is at Goodison Park, against Everton, which is a hard game too. But, the manner this season has gone, you wouldn’t want to write them off.

Sp*rs, on the back of their morale boosting wins over Blackburn and Bolton, will travel to Birmingham to play Aston Villa, who could be sucked into the relegation mire. This will be an interesting clash, and with the Villa faithful getting on the back of Alex McLeish, you can expect a feisty game. Sp*rs will end their season at home to Fulham.

Thje major news for Arsenal this week, ahead of their league game against Norwich City, is of course the signing of German striker Lukas Podolski from Cologne. The fact that the club has signed a player even before the transfer window opens, and an experienced international at that, is a massive signal of intent to the rest of the league. The German striker, who was a club legend at his childhood club, revealed recently that Arsenal was the only club he had in mind.

I’ve long thought about how we go from here,and the question was only a top club like Arsenal. I’m ready to take this step and I am convinced that it is the right thing. I’ll find my place at Arsenal.The goal is to win titles.I’m more experienced and mature than in Munich.

The man he will be partnering in attack, (hopefully, Gulp!), next season, will be Robin van Persie, who was quick to praise ‘Poldi’.

He is a really good player, an experienced player and he has been in the game at the highest level for more than eight years,I know that he has played 91, 92 times games for Germany, which says it all. He had a little trip to Munich a couple of years ago and then came back to Cologne.He is a great player and a great character to have around because he’s a winner. When we played against Cologne in pre-season you could see that he’s a winner.Even though it was a friendly he was doing absolutely everything to win and we are very happy that he’s coming to Arsenal.

I ask a certain standard of my game, that’s not something new. I always ask myself to provide assists, to score goals and help my team-mates out.This year and the second part of last season has gone really well. I always ask those standards of my game.

According to me the main focus of the transfer window should be retaining the best player we have, while getting rid of the so called ‘deadwood’. The recent speculation of the future of van Persie is particularly disturbing. After collecting his Football Writers’ Association award, van Persie told this.

If you ask the likes of Robert Pires how he feels, what he feels like he will say ‘I feel like a Gunner’ – and whatever happens with me I will always be a Gunner.

It is like Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas all over again. It is like a girl telling you that ‘We can only be friends’, and I have got a lot of that, and the feeling sucks. Hopefully, the signing of Podolski, and a couple of others will convince the Dutchman of the club’s ambition.

Speaking of which, there have been alot of rumours regarding the transfer of Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen to North London. And, I say North London, because the players’ agent recently revealed that Sp*rs have made the first approach. Vertonghen, himself, is rather keen on a transfer to Arsenal, and I hope we sign him, should Wenger feel the need to sign a defender. We don’t need another Juan Mata like situation. Whether we would actually sign the lad, I am not too sure. We already have a good partnership at the back with Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny. Per Mertesacker, when fit is a real asset. Johan Djourou, brother of calamity, is prone to the odd error, or should we say comedy of errors, but with him signing the new contract, I find it hard to see him leaving. Rather, I find it hard to see anyone buying him. Anyways, just a thought, he is not a bad option to have at all for 4th choice centre back. He has ammased nearly 150 appearances at the club, over 7 seasons, and is a Swiss international as well. While I can clearly see Sebastien Squillaci being shown the door, Ignasi Miquel is a good young budding defender as well.

Yaan M’Villa, the Rennes midfielder, is another player heavily linked with a move to the Gunners. Again, I doubt this happening. Though I haven’t seen him play much, the boy does have some disciplinary issues to sort out. Plus, we already have Alex Song, who has made the central defensive midfielder position his own. While Wenger may run out of patience on Abou Diaby, we can still blood in players like Francis Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong and Henri Lansbury, who will return from his loan at West Ham.

Other players linked are the duo from French champions Montpellier, young Moroccan midfielder Younes Belhanda, and France striker Olivier Giroud. Belhanda has already been marked down with a possible move to Spanish champions Real Madrid, with the director of football, Zinedine Zidane himself hailing Belhanda as a ‘special talent’. With our ‘new signing’, Jack Wilshere, returning next season, and an existing array of options such as Arteta, Rosicky and Ramsey I do not see this happening. Moreover, the crazy price that Montpellier are bound to demand will be a turn-off anyways.

We could, though, do with another option in attack. We may have signed Podolski, but it still feels a slightly empty department. I can already see Chamakh in a Fiorentina jersey, and Park in a military uniform, though he has delayed his army service. The point is, they clearly haven’t proven themselves in training to the manager, which has lead them to be given very little time to prove themselves on the pitch. Gervinho, was one player, I did expect a lot from, and he clearly hasn’t delivered. He was decent before the Cup of Nations. After that, he has been woeful. Theo Walcott can look like Maradona at times, and rest of the time, he just looks like the bloke from the park, who just interested in football. As I had predicted earlier, I expect Niklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela in different clubs next season. The only other striker who will be coming in, apart from Podolski of course, is Costa Rican Joel Campbell, if he can get his visa sorted out, that is. That is pretty much the situation of our strikers. Olivier Giroud is an out and out scorer, and he would be a valuable addition, I feel. But, there’s still time for that though.

Arsene Wenger was quick to point out that further signings will be affected by the Premier League’s 25 man squad rule.

That is a big problem for every club,and before you go out on the transfer market you have to see how you cope with the 25 players.I don’t exclude it but we have to respect that number.We wanted at least one target to be sorted out early. Now we are in a position where the second part of our signings will be to take care of the players who are injured and to get them back for the start of next season.I think of course about Jack Wilshere, and about Abou Diaby.  Then, if you look at our squad, we have quite a big one and before we buy again we have to look at how many players we will have.

Team news, then. Abou Diaby, as expected, has suffered a minor strain, which means he is out for the Norwich game. I am really starting to feel for the guy. He is talented, but just can’t seem to get the better of those nagging injuries. If he does, he is a good player to have in the team. Apart from that, Arteta, Mertesacker, Wilshere and Walcott are all ruled out for the remaining two games. Not many changes for Norwich. Their only casualty is left-back Adam Drury, while dangerous forward Grant Holt is back in the lineup.

Both, us and Norwich seem to have taken their minds of the season, if recent results are anything to go by. While Arsenal are still in the fight for the 3rd spot, Norwich will be pretty pleased with the way the season has panned out for them. They are a good solid unit, and Paul Lambert’s side can spring a surprise on their day.

Arsenal have let the steam go off lately. They won 7 on the trot, before losing at Loftus Road. They were soon up again, beating Manchester City and Wolves, and after that they have been disappointing. A home loss to Wigan, a home draw to Chelsea, and an away draw to Stoke, means only 2 points out of a possible 9. This has blown the 3rd spot fight wide open. 6 points in the last two games, would seal 3rd spot, and that should be the aim. No more slip ups can be accepted.

Norwich, will hopefully be in holiday mood, tomorrow. They will be just waiting for 13th May, after which they can take a well deserved break in the sun. After beating Sp*rs at White Hart Lane last month, they already look like they are on holiday. They got crushed 6-1 at home by Manchester City, 2-0 to struggling Blackburn, and 3-0 at home to an inspired Liverpool.

Arsenal slaved to a 2-1 win the last time these sides met, at Carrow Road, with Robin van Persie, scoring two, one of which was a delicious chip. The goal which Norwich scored was a defensive error by Mertesacker, and we will have to avoid any of those, for now, atleast.

There is no more need to emphasize on the importance of the points tomorrow. The game will be the only league fixture for the day. Of course, there is the small matter of the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool later in the day. The remaining round of fixtures will be on Sunday, which is always good for us. Should we win tomorrow, and Sp*rs and Newcastle lose, we ourselves can go on holiday before 13th.

Enjoy the game wherever you are.

Jai Arsenal 🙂


Posted by on May 4, 2012 in 2011-2012, Match Previews


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Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United – Blue Moon Rising

Manchester City 1 (Kompany 45’+1) – Manchester United 0

Man of the Match – Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

It was billed as the ‘derby game of all derby games’, the ‘unmissable’ match. And, it did live up to its billing.

In the biggest game of the English domestic season, a game that would almost decide who would win the coveted Premier League trophy, on a cold night in Manchester, Manchester City finally seem to be emerging from the shadow of their much celebrated cross town rivals, Manchester United.

A packed Etihad crowd, and over 650 million viewers worldwide watched on, as the rising blue wave of Manchester took on its blood red counterpart. The prize was massive. Watching from the stands was Diego Maradona, probably the greatest footballer to have lived, and Noel Gallagher, the Oasis musician and a lifelong City fan.

Surprisingly, or rather disappointingly, Sir Alex named what seemed a defensive unit, to counter Manchester City’s talented attackers. The usual names such as Danny Wellbeck, and Antonio Valencia were named on the bench, as Fergie decided to stick to his old guard, comprising Paul Scholes, Welsh wing wizard Ryan Giggs and South Korean Park Ji-Sung. In defence, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling started. This probably indicated Fergie’s intent to break up play and not allow a repeat of October’s 6-1 humbling at Old Trafford.

There were no surprises from Roberto Mancini. His 4-2-2-2 formation has served his side well as of late. With Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero scoring goals for fun, it was all but procedural to name them on the team sheet.

Despite starting with a defensive looking unit, it was United who seemed to be making early inroads into Manchester City, with some neat passing. Wayne Rooney, playing as the lone striker, stuck to his task of frustrating City captain Vincent Kompany. Michael Carrick had a shot blocked by the Belgian, after Joe Hart could only punch the ball away.

Manchester City made their first real foray on 15 minutes, when some delightful footwork from Samir Nasri saw him beat 3 United defenders, and set up Tevez, whose low cross was cleared by Phil Jones.

Vincent Kompany got the first of many yellow cards on the evening for a nudge on Wayne Rooney, as things started to get more feisty on the pitch. Sergio Aguero made a complete hash of a volley, though he had more time to control it than he thought. Pablo Zabaleta too missed a smiliar opportunity.

Then, came the decisive moment of the match. David Silva’s corner was headed in thumpingly by Vincent Kompany, in first half stoppage time. Jolean Lescott, Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure had positioned themselves perfectly for the corner. While Lescott drew in the attentions of Ferdinand, and to some extent Smalling, Tevez gave de Gea barely an inch of space. Kompany’s header was powerful and decisive, as he rose above Smalling, to head home, and send the crowd into raptures.

The second half started at almost similar pace as the first, and Fergie decided to twitch it, as he bought on striker Danny Wellbeck to replace Park Ji-Sung. City, turned rather negative from that point on as Carlos Tevez made way for Dutch defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong.

United, despite keeping possession for large periods, barely threatened City keeper Joe Hart. The introduction of Valencia in place of Scholes in the 78th minute did little to alter the direction of play. The tireless Yaya Toure had a shot on goal, but it went wide, as City looked to shut down the game.

Nigel de Jong then mistimed a tackle on Danny Wellbeck, which got him a yellow card and also sparked a touchline spat between Ferguson and Mancini. The furious Scot lay vent to his feelings, as the immense passion looked to have surged through the coaching staff as well. Mancini responded with words and hand gestures of his own, and it took City’s assistant manager David Platt and fourth official Mike Jones to seperate the two managers.

Ashley Young was introduced, but it was City who had more chances to seal the game, as Toure narrowly missed, while Clichy forced a save from de Gea and Nasri missed a sitter.

In the end, it didn’t matter, as Manchester City secured a famous win over their rivals, which saw them move to the top of the Barclays Premier League table, on goal difference. The title may not be won, but the Citizens can almost smell it. Two more wins, against Newcastle and QPR, and they will reach the promised land.

The parting shot of the day was captain Vincent Kompany applauding the vociferous City support, who went into a chorus of ‘Blue Moon’.

Match Ratings (Manchester City)

Hart (7.5) – Don’t remember seeing him make a single save last night.

Zabaleta (8) –  A good defensive and offensive display.

Kompany (9) – A rock at the back, all season, and yesterday. Scored the goal that could change the club’s fortunes.

Lescott (8.5) – Partnered Kompany effectively.

Clichy (8) – A good matured display. Rarely allowed Nani to run at him.

Toure (8.5) – A tireless display in the centre of midfield.

Barry (8) – Kept a tight leash on City’s midfield. Never allowed them to settle down, breaking their passing rhythm far too often.

Silva (7.5) – Creative, but not incisive.

Nasri (8) – Created several opportunites for his team yesterday

Aguero (7) – Not his best game. Missed a good number of chances

Tevez (7.5) – Never got going, but he did his part in the end.


de Jong (7) – Helped pack the midfield, and close down the game. Made a silly foul here and there, though.

Richards and Milner – Came on too late to get a rating.

Match Ratings (Manchester United)

de Gea (7.5) – Should have dealt with the goal much better, but made a few saves that kept United in the game.

Jones (7.5) – Struggled a bit, but the best among United’s defenders.

Ferdinand (7) – Is his best past him?

Smalling (7) – Partly at fault for the goal, but a decent display after his return from injury.

Evra (6.5) –  A poor display. Allowed far too many crosses from his flank.

Carrick (7.5) – Slowed down the pace a bit, but was United’s best player last night.

Park (6.5) – Playing a high intensity game after a long time. Looked a bit jaded.

Scholes (7) – A good director of play yesterday, but not his best game.

Giggs (6.5) – Out of sorts yesterday.

Nani (7) –  Well marked by Clichy.

Rooney (7) – Never got going. Was kept under wraps by City’s defence.


Wellbeck (6.5) – Did little to change the course of the game.

Valencia and Young – Came on too late to get a rating.

Team Ratings

Manchester City – 7.87

Manchester United – 6.95

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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in General, Match Reports


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