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ManCity vs Arsenal- Money vs Talent—- Preview,Squad & Score Predictions…

September 11, 2009 Leave a comment

mancity-arsenalThe 2nd away game in Manchester is upon us….All the players are back from international duty and luckily for us most of them are fit and fine. Well Arshavin could have angered Wenger and the fans but I’m more than happy to see Rosicky return to action.

An away game to Manchester City wouldn’t usually attract so much attention and paper/blog space but things are different now. Manchester City are said to be the team to knock us out of the top 4 while Wenger has helped those stories by selling 2 of our players to them. I’m still prety sure we’ll end up comfortably in the top 4 and might even go all the way and win it. Fingers crossed.

It’s now that the season truly begins. Arsenal do have a point to prove and they can only do that by grabbing all 3 points tomorrow. Manchester City are without Tevez and Robinho which makes their line up all the more predictable. Ade and Bellamy are expected to start while Toure will partner Lescott in defence. The former Arsenal defender was also handed the captaincy last week which adds a little more spice to the already ‘hot’ game. Arsenal, on the other hand, will have to choose from Rosicky,Eduardo and Diaby to fill the void left by Arshavin. I’ll put my money on Dudu starting but you never know with Wenger. Fabregas,Bendtner,RVP and Ramsey have all had a goal-scoring international break and will be hoping to replicate that form in the weekend clash too.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the defenders cope with Ade,SWP and Bellamy. A true test for the defence in terms of aerial ability and speed. I expect a really entertaining game tomorrow since Manchester City are not the team to put 10 players behind the ball and defend.Expect ‘Ade’ to be given a rough day by the visiting fans at the same time I hope Toure gets all the respect he deserves for being a great player for us.

I’m sure that Arsenal’s talent will prevail in the end and show the world that money is not all you need to succeed.

I’ll go with Manchester City 1- 3 Arsenal.

SQUAD PREDICTIONS:

orig

Subs: Mannone,Silvestre,Gibbs,Rosicky,Ramsey,Eboue,Diaby

We lost….but it’s not that bad!

August 30, 2009 8 comments

Our first big test of the season and we were doing great but then we decided to try out the ‘self destruct’ button. It’s all very common for us Arsenal fans, isn’t it? We dominate,score a goal and then give it away. It was one of those days when we were just not meant to win. We scored a screamer of a goal,had a penalty shout turned down,missed two glorious chances to double the lead,gave away a needless penalty ( which is still debatable) ,scored an own goal and then scored a goal from an offside position. To add to that our own very mature professor was sent off for some reason which is apparently serious enough to be punished. It’s not the defeat which is hurting me or many Arsenal fans out there it is the manner in which we lost.

It’s not everyday that you go to OT and completely dominate the game, lead the game for a large part and still end up losing. It could be said that we lacked experience to handle the situation once they levelled but we had Gallas,RVP,Arshavin,Clichy and Sagna on the pitch. There is enough experience in those players to stay calm and deal with the crisis if at all there was one. It was around 4 months back at the same venue, Almunia gave a performance which raised expectations. He single handedly kept us in the CL semi-final tie. But yesterday’s Almunia just proved why he is not in the Spanish national team set up. A needless rush of adrenaline from Almunia resulted in Rooney diving ( or being brought down) and then staying rooted to the spot for the Giggs free kick just summed up his dismal day. The goal which really dented our hopes was Abou’s own goal. All I can say is…. What the hell were you thinking Abou? It also shows that his comparisons to PV4 were pre-mature and there is still a long way to go before he can be regarded as a great player. He missed a great chance to equalise moments after the own goal and then just couldn’t maintain possesion or string a pass together. We can all applaud Arshavin for the goal he scored but really he didn’t do much apart from that. He should have put in more effort considering we were missing our most creative player in the team.He was brought down in the box in the first half which should have been awarded as a penalty but then it’s not very common for away teams to get a penalty at OT.

We were great for most parts of the game and there were a lot of positives to come out of the game.

1) RVP looked good. He lead the side well.

2) Song put in a good shift.He’s improved a great deal and it worries me that we will be missing him during the ACN. So Wenger should really bring in a replacement now.

3) Gallas is the in-form player for us right now and really can’t do much wrong these days.

4) We dominated the midfield without Cesc,Nasri and Rosicky.

It’s not a result which should ring the alarm bells at the Grove but it’s surely something which needs to be looked into. It’s three points lost though and we should pick up from here and make sure we finish off games well and don’t repeat mistakes like these again.

It’s still a great start to the campaign and it can only get better.

Cheers and keep Gunning!

Celtic Park – Fortress? Arsenal lucky??Cmon Give us Some Credit…

August 19, 2009 4 comments

So we have all but qualified for the group stages unless our defence goes on a holiday and we have Jack Wilshere playing in goal for the return leg. We are just the 2nd British team to win at Celtic park and considering the likes of Milan,Barcelona and ManUtd couldn’t do it, it is certainly an achievement. And those talking of how lucky Arsenal were I think should go and check the game stats. We dominated possession,had 3 times more shots on goal and certainly didn’t look like giving a goal away. A slice of luck in both the goals but it was down to how we created the chances and forced the goals.We score 6 goals against Everton at Goodison Park and are told that Lescott wasn’t in the right frame of mind….I really don’t know what Arsenal need to do to get people believing and appreciating them.Anyway we don’t mind what people say as long as we keep winning.

Talking of the game, Celtic had certainly planned to disrupt our passing game by going hard at us and playing long balls up field.It wasn’t going to work today with Gallas and Vermaelen forming what looks like to be a very very good partnership at the back.Once Arsenal got into the groove there was no looking back. Arsenal fielding the same XI from the weekend seemed to have great cohesion and were creating alot of chances.I have to say Song looked really up for it in the midfield and has certainly improved from last year. Another notable performance came from Vermaelen who seems to be adapting pretty quickly to our style of play and certainly reads the game very well. And Gallas who seems to be intent on being in the top scorers this season put in a good shift at the back and chipped in with his one goal which he celebrated as if it was practised all week.Anyway a good performance all round which will certainly give the team a lot of confidence.

Next up is Portsmouth before the return leg.It’s going to be interesting to see how Wenger rotates the players for that game since we have Man Utd and ManCity coming up. It also remains to be seen if Wenger adds some new names to the team before the window shuts.Van der Vaart,Hangeland,Matuidi are the names floating around at the moment. It looks pretty good right now at the Emirates. Hope the players keep the same levels all year round and finally land some silverware.

 

Player Raitings:

Manuel Almunia: Didn’t have alot to do in the game but did look solid. 7/10

Bacary Sagna: Need to work on his crossing other than that he was good. 7/10

Gallas: Solid at the back,Nice runs forward and also scored a goal. Came up with an important block to deny a goal and helped us keep a clean sheet.  8.5/10

Vermaelen: Has the pace and reads the game very well. 9/10

Clichy: Need to work on his positioning and concentrate more on his defensive duties.Did provide a good cross for the second goal though. 6.5/10

Song: Looks really good this season but needs to concentrate for the whole 90mins.Seems to take his mind off towards the end of the game. 7/10

Denilson: Wasn’t seen too much,had a shot on goal and didn’t really make an impact. 6.5/10

Fabregas: Looked good in the midfield,had a nice game setting up chances and also took the free kick which resulted in the goal. 7.5/10

Arshavin: Had a goal disallowed and didn’t really make a big impact. 7/10

Bendtner: Not much to do,I’m not sure he is enjoying his role on the Right Wing. 6.5/10

RVP: Didn’t make alot of effort yesterday,seemed to lack some kind of motivation. Had a couple of week shots on target. 6.5/10

MAN OF THE MATCH: Vermaelen .

 

 

Cheers and Keep Gunning!

PHW makes is too easy for Wenger?

August 10, 2009 3 comments

Good Morning Gooners

It’s been the same thing everyday for Arsenal fans this summer.Rumours/speculation and no real activity. But our manager, chairman and directors have kept us busy with their comments and statements. Yesterday’s statement by Peter Hill Wood has certainly got me wondering if  we lack ambition and that Wenger is enjoying just too much support from the board.PHW last night made it clear that he wants Wenger to stay for a long time and also that the board were happy with a top4 finish.

While all fans would also wish for Wenger to stay incharge at Arsenal considering his record but i certainly don’t like the way he has been managing for the past couple of years. I feel Wenger is just too comfortable in his job to make things happen and there is absolutely no pressure from the board for the lack of silverware. A bit of pressure from board won’t do any harm because at the moment things are just too easy for Wenger. I agree with PHW that football has changed but so has the role of manager and the board. The board has to be a bit stronger and come down hard on the manager for poor results which is certainly not happening at Arsenal. PHW certainly reckons that a top 4 finish is more important than a trophy these days but i don’t really see the point. If he is actually so concerned about money that comes in from a top 4 finish does he not realise that the prize money from wining a trophy is much more than that? Even a FA cup win brings in extra revenue so why not think about paying off debts by actually winning trophies and not by selling players and finishing in the top4 every season?

So i am forced to ask a simple question. What would you fans prefer? A top 4 finish and no trophy or a trophy at any cost?Have your say….

Valencia defeat- Blessing in disguise?

August 9, 2009 2 comments

In the build up to the friendly against Valencia Wenger said that the game would be the perfect preparation for the game against Everton. Not quite the result/preparation Wenger would have wanted but again this could just be a blessing in disguise. The game against Valencia brought out some of the glaring flaws in Wenger’s strategy. This has been the case for a year now and this result would be the perfect wake up call for Arsenal and Wenger.

Firstly What have we learned from last season? The answer is NOTHING. We still are dismal at defending set pieces. This has been the case in all pre-season fixtures with set pieces causing panic and trouble.If a 40 year old player can out jump and score from a set piece imagine what the likes of Adebayor,Crouch and Torres would do. If Senderos does leave i really hope Wenger brings in some one like Hangeland (tall and good at defending) in.

Secondly We need to have a fixed and competent back pair. Gallas and Djorou/Vermaelen/New CB could be our best option. Silvestre is certainly not the answer. We’ve been easily caught on the break twice and also given away 2 penalties in the friendlies. It was Villa yesterday and we’ll be facing Drogba,Torres and Rooney soon and we need a good CB pair surely or else we are in big trouble.

Another thing for concern would be our midfield. We don’t dominate in the midfield these days like we used to during the days of Vieira ,Gilberto Silva and even Flamini. Song and Denilson have not developed a lot in the last year and we need to dominate the midfield if we want our attackers to score. Fabregas needs a good partner in the midfield. Diaby played on the left of midfield yesterday which certainly will not help his defensive game if indeed he is a DM. Yesterday we had just a couple of chances in the first half which was mainly down to the lack of service from the midfield. 

Like Wenger said he will look at the team during the pre-season games and then decide on what players he needs and i think these 5 pre-season games have given enough evidence to add a CB and DM at the earliest. I wouldn’t mind if he gave up on Chamakh and instead brought in a DM. For once I hope we sell Senderos because atleast that would make Wenger go for a CB which we need so badly.

Again it was just a friendly and there is still time before the season starts and we could still get in a few players or else we’ll be in for a difficult August with Everton,Celtic and Manchester United on the time-table.

 

PS: I am still not doing Match reports for friendlies.But you’ll have it once the Season starts. If you still want to read a match report click here

JW shines again as Arsenal win their 1st(of many) silverware this season..

August 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Arsenal produced a great display of attacking football to win 3-0 against Rangers in the last encounter of the Emirates Cup. Jack Wilshere scored twice while Eduardo added another to make sure Arsenal won this year’s Cup.

Starting XI

Almunia

Eboue-Gallas-Silvestre-Clichy

Song-Fabregas-Merida

Wilshere-Eduardo-Arshavin

Wenger opting for a 4-3-3 in this particular fixture continued trying out a new partner for Gallas with Silvestre getting a nod this time and Eduardo leading the attack. With all the attacking riches at our club right now a 4-3-3 would suit us the best while it’s the defence which needs to be made a bit more solid. I don’t think Silvestre is going to partner Gallas in defence so i don’t really get the point of starting him. It’s going to be either JD or Thomas Vermaelen with Gallas at the back. It took just 2 minutes for Arsenal to take the lead via Wilshere and Eduardo added a second within 10 minutes to put Arsenal in a comfortable position. Like yesterday Jack Wilshere was the stand out player for Arsenal and it won’t be a surprise to see him start some games this season. The Scottish champions couldn’t cope up with Arshavin,Eduardo and Wilshere right through the first half.Also the midfield trio of Song,Fabregas and Merida looked good in the middle of the park. A number of changes were made in the second half with Denilson,Sanchez Watt,JD and Rosicky coming on but it was young Wilshere who scored his second to seal a win in the 71st minute. So Arsenal grab the Emirates Cup and hope it’s the first of many to come this season.

Arshavin really looks like he could be the next DB10, JW is certainly a great prospect and also Merida looks impressive. All in all it does look good for the future at Arsenal and with just some more additions before the deadline i think we will make it this season too!

HERO of the Match: Jack Wilshere ….

ZERO of the Match: Silvestre

 

 

As i said yesterday i will be posting a more comprehensive match report once the season starts. i lack the usual motivation in pre-season games. Next up is Valencia before the  1st league game at Goodison Park. Also an interesting week coming up with Wenger hinting at a few signings. Something to look forward too.
Till then…
Cheers and Keep Gunning!

Going Going Going ….Gone…!!+ Arsenal vs Barnet FC and Arsenal vs Barnet FC

He’s finally gone. Yes Adebayor has left Arsenal for Manchester City.The deal was finished yesterday and the player passed a medical at Manchester ending speculation regarding the Togolese’s future. I’m sure there was a loud cheer in London yesterday after the deal was made official. With Wenger and his boys away for the pre-season fixture,it did make a swift and silent exit from Emirates for the frontman.

Adebayor now joins other hungry for money and greedy strikers like Santa Cruz and Tevez at the suddenly rich club, Manchester City. I am a bit sad to see him leave but having £25m in the bank does make me feel a lot better.  Its another Anelka like sale which benefits the club a great deal. Now Wenger does have a lot of money to spend which I really really pray he does. I say use all the money if needed. Don’t get cheeky and buy some one cheap just for the sake of it. Get in a quality replacement. But Wenger did squash my dreams yesterday when he said

 We’re not on the verge of signing anybody but I’m able to spend the money if we find the right players,” he said,

 “We have Tomas Rosicky and Eduardo back so we’ve lost a big striker but have gained two offensive players who were absent last season.

 “We also have Nicklas Bendtner, Andrey Arshavin, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott who can play striker. We have top players we can use as strikers.

  This is a big big indication that we might not see a replacement for Ade. Instead Wenger might use the money to buy a DM which is fine with me, but we do need a replacement for Ade and a good one. Considering RVP’s and Eduardo’s injury record it might be a good thing to have proper quality back up instead of relying completely on Nicklas Bendtner.

Coming back to Adebayor for one last time…. Wenger did have some kind words to say for the striker.

we’ll miss Emmanuel – he’s a great player. I’m sure he’ll give something special to Man City.  

So that’s it for Emanuel Adebayor at Arsenal. Good bye Ade!!!!!!!

 Moving on to other stuff.

 Arsenal (a)  1- 1 Barnet FC … Arsenal (b)  1-1 Barnet FC

Three teams played one fixture at Underhill yesterday. Two teams of Arsenal vs Branet FC.I named it Arsenal (a) and Arsenal (b) vs Barnet FC because after half time Arsenal had completely different set of players on the field. In the first half Wenger went with 4-4-1-1 formation with Arshavin playing just behind the young striker Sanchez Watt and Tomas Rosicky (captain for the 1st half) and Jack Wilshere occupying the wings. 

Understandably all the attention was on Tomas Rosicky who was playing his first game in an Arsenal shirt (btw the new blue kit ) after almost a year and half. The 1st half also marked the debut of Thomas Vermaelen and the comeback of William Gallas from a lengthy lay-off.The back 4 consisted of old Silvestre,Thomas Vermaelen,Gallas and Djourou. Unlike Eduardo’s return earlier this year, Tomas didn’t score but came close to scoring which would have given him some confidence.

One player who seem to have carried his form from last season was Andrei Arshavin. The Russian scored from a Sanchez Watt cross just 4 minutes before the break.With Arshavin also eligible to play in the champions league, it does make a mouthwatering prospect. Anyways Arsenal then displayed something which we have seen a lot in the past two seasons, squandering their lead soon after scoring. A free kick was headed past Manuel Almunia by center back Yakubu.Just makes me wonder if we have still sorted out our defence or not. The 1st half ended all square at 1-1 .  

There were a few changes expected after the first half but I am sure no one would have expected an entire new set of players on the field. Except Thomas Vermaelen, Wenger substituted each of his remaining players, including Manuel Almunia for the young Italian Vito Mannone.The second half captain was former Ajax captain and new Arsenal recruit Thomas Vermaelen. It took the new Arsenal team just 4 minutes to take the lead through Barazite. The Dutchman scoring from 20 yards, was another example of what Wenger has for the future. After the goal Arsenal looked quite content to retain  possession and end the game but Barnet did have something left to offer.Once again Arsenal were pegged back. Charles scoring with only 8 minutes remaining surely looked to have fizzed out all the energy from the Arsenal players.

 In the end it was a 2-2 draw but the result is not one which would matter. Nonetheless something for Arsenal to think about their defence. With William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen pairing up at the back, Wenger surely gave us a glimpse of what to expect this season. He has been showing a lot of faith in his fellow Frenchman which could only mean some more time on the sidelines for Kolo Toure. It is some thing I don’t mind considering William did give some very good performances last season after he was stripped of the captaincy. Its between Thomas Vermaelen and Kolo Toure for the other spot. Also with Tomas Rosicky back, Samir Nasri’s appearances on the left will surely be limited and Wenger might just use him as a playmaker along with Fabregas. Also with Adebayor leaving and Wenger not in a hurry to replace the striker, I expect Arsenal to go with a 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 formation. The team is now off to Austria for a pre-season training camp with Fab, Theo and RVP back  after their summer holidays. The Emirates Cup will be a more interesting tournament because it will give us an indication of Wenger’s tactics in the new season.  Good to have you back Tomas Rosicky!

That’s it for now.!

Cheers