Monthly Archives: October 2013

I’m back! An overview on the Palace, Chelsea and Liverpool games

Giroud and Ramsey celebrating the second goal at Crystal Palace

Giroud and Ramsey celebrating the second goal at Crystal Palace

Hello and good morning all! I’m finally back after the longest illness I’ve ever had. I absolutely hate being ill, so to say I’m over the moon that I’m through it now is an understatement. The most welcomed thing that I’ve missed is the ability to enjoy actual food. No more toast, soup and yoghurts for me, just straight up meat again! Woohoo!

So what have I missed since being away? Well Arsenal played against Crystal Palace on Saturday in which they picked up a valuable three points. I don’t believe in any way, shape or form, that a red card was deserved for the coming together of Arteta and Chamakh. Firstly, Chamakh went into Arteta, secondly, Arteta didn’t initiate any sort of foul regardless, so how can he possibly be blamed? Thirdly, it’s 40 yards from goal and it’s Chamakh. Either Gibbs, Koscielny or Sagna would have caught him (whoever was nearest) and even if they didn’t he’d have missed anyway, so how the hell was that deemed a clear goalscoring opportunity?

Awful refereeing in my opinion where he’s clearly tried to sabotage the game and our position at the top. Fortunately our side thought “fuck you, ya fat cunt, we’re winning this regardless” and went on to get a fantastic second. It left us top by five points before Liverpool went on to win their game and bring the gap back to two, making Saturday’s game against them even more important.

The next game was Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Chelsea. We lost 2-0 down to poor defending, simple as. The mistakes we made were typical Arsenal a season ago, but not typical of our recent. The difference is that the back line was effectively not our recent Arsenal. Bar Koscielny the whole back five were backup players so it’s understandable they didn’t click at the best of times.

I wouldn’t like to say that Jenkinson cost us the game but he sure as hell made it nigh on possible to win. Gifting the first and failing to clear correctly for the second, was always going to make it hard for us. For me though, his biggest problem was his inability to deliver a good ball at all, for any point of the game. Cross after cross, pass after pass, absolutely shocking stuff from a man who should really be doing better. It’s strange because he can usually whip a ball in so well – better than Sagna in fact (who is dreadful too) – but oh well.

I won’t be jumping on the shortsighted “Jenkinson isn’t good enough and never will be” bandwagon because I still rate him and love how even when he was playing awful he still put in an absolute shift – because he loves the club like we do. I’ll just assume it was a bad day in the office that every footballer has and hope that his next game he shows he’s the player we all know he can be.

I couldn’t really care about being out of the cup, if anything it’s a good thing because it gives us three less games over the next few months and therefore makes our focus on other competitions increased. Playing those extra games and the fitness required, not to mention the risk of potential injuries increased, could turn out to be difference between winning the league and finishing third. The gap at the top level is that tight and you have to ask what you value more. A crappy, unimportant, league cup built out of nothing more than money for whichever sucker falls for it (this year Capital One) and nothing more. The only people that celebrate winning it like it’s an actual trophy are Liverpool, and nobody wants to be that bunch of classless morons.

Speaking of whom, as I said earlier we play them Saturday and it’s a game we absolutely have to get something from. We’ve not been as solid at home in recent seasons as away – perhaps it’s because we play with less pressure – but we need to be on this game. We need to be keeping a goalscoring pair of Sturridge and Suarez quiet and more importantly get the three points.

The important thing to remember is that it’s just Liverpool. For all their form and goalscoring exploits up front, they still can’t defend to save their lives and their midfield has as much energy as a retirement home’s bingo night. I have no doubt that our midfield of Ozil, Arteta and Ramsey will make it almost impossible for them to contain us and will prove to be the difference in the game.

Anyway, I’ll have more on that as the game approaches on Saturday. For today I’ll leave it there, being my first day back I’m still getting into the swing of things so expect some more exciting posts over the next few days. Thanks for reading and more importantly returning after my absence, it’s really appreciated. Have a good day, more tomorrow!

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Fuck the flu

The bastard that is fucking me up today

The bastard that is fucking me up today

Unfortunately I can’t do a blog today as I have a bad flu and just don’t have it in me. Sorry guys, I would if I could, but I just feel awful. I’m really hoping that Arsenal will give me something to smile about tomorrow otherwise this illness will feel a lot worse.

Hopefully I’ll be in better shape tomorrow!

We need to destroy Palace and Wilshere needs to decide who he is

I’m still very down in the dumps after Tuesday’s result but I’m trying to switch my focus to Crystal Palace on Saturday. In terms of bounce back games it’s as good as they come. They’ve only managed one win this season, just sacked Ian Holloway and are now looking at Tony Pulis as his replacement. Yes people, Tony ‘I can’t play football but rugby wins you games occasionally’ Pulis.

I want to absolutely demolish Palace. We need to show that Dortmund was a bad day in the office, everybody has them, but nothing more. It’s not the start of some poor form, it’s just a slip up that will be fixed in a few weeks when we go to play them again. I want a 4-0 battering, if not more this weekend. It’s probably the best thing we can do ahead of Chelsea midweek and Liverpool at the weekend.

Some people are worried that Palace may not be that easy but I’m not and neither is Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman scored against Dortmund and feels that this weekend we’ll be looking for nothing other than a win, he said

I feel good. I’m used to playing a lot of games and I feel good with my body so touch wood no injuries. Over the years I’ve got used to playing a lot of games and I’m ok with my body. I don’t want to find an excuse.

We lost but have won almost every game. Just Villa and West Brom [were not victories] so it’s not the time to be really worried, but we want to come back on Saturday and win the game.

His remarkable fitness levels gives us all confidence that we may be alright until January without any great second striker in the ranks. In terms of the game and result, we’ve had set backs before and bounced back instantly. I’m not expecting much against Chelsea because it’s the Capital One Cup but winning against Palace and then Liverpool is crucial. We need to stay top of the league and beating both of those teams will allow us to move even further away from the pack.

Besides, the week after that we go on to play Dortmund and Man Utd away, so if anything Chelsea and Liverpool is the easier week. We need to keep our confidence going and maintain the results we’ve been getting otherwise all of these games will prove to be difficult.

Ensuring our players are fit and healthy will help massively. The return of Cazorla has been significant and with still Walcott and Podolski just a few weeks away, the team will be stronger than ever. Cazorla has spoke of the Ozil signing and praised the German’s ability, saying

Mesut is a player of a different kind. He is a joy to watch and has a lot of talent. Like Zidane or Ronaldinho, he can be one of those players who marks an era.

He is not the kind of player you are used to watching and he can win many games on his own. That’s why he is a top player.

He certainly is a completely different breed of player. His ability and genius on the ball is unique and one of the best in the world. I think he’s got a long time before he’s considered a Zidane or Ronaldinho but it’s not impossible for him to get there. He’s at the right club and in the right team – who’s to say he can’t?

The thing is when you play against a side like Dortmund who are tactically able to take Ozil out of the game, it goes a long way towards killing our attacking fluency. It effectively worked the entire game until Cazorla came on and made it difficult for them to choose who to mark. Wilshere is a good player on his day but he’s no Cazorla and he’s certainly no Ozil. He may be on their level in a different way a few years down the line but that’s no good now. When you’re playing the top teams you need top players.

And that’s not a dig at Wilshere, we all saw how he destroyed Barcelona a few years back. However, right now he’s still trying to recover after his injury and find exactly who he is as a player. Is he a defensive playmaker like Pirlo or Alonso or is he more of a Gascoigne or Brady type? I’d say personally he’s leaning more towards the defensive route due to his natural bite but his small bursts where he opens up the space makes you wonder if he could be a different player altogether.

Anyway, that’s something to ponder over for himself and the manager. I’m going to leave it there for today as I’ve got a lot of work to be getting on with. Thanks for reading, more tomorrow.

Nights like last night are why football sucks

The crisp green turf yesterday

The crisp green turf yesterday

I don’t really want to talk a lot about last night, so today will be a quick blog.

Yesterday we played against Dortmund and to be honest from what I saw we was poor and tactically outplayed. Dortmund never looked dangerous but they didn’t need to be, they just needed to prevent us from scoring and they basically did. We had our moments and so did they, and I think the fair result would have been a draw, but we lost and that’s why nights like last night are why football sucks.

In the first half we was poor, we was lucky to go in at half time 1-1 in my opinion. The second half the game was there for the taking and we should have been able to nick the win but unfortunately the goal went the other way.

When it went in I was absolutely gutted. Not felt that much disappointment in such a long while. It didn’t mean that much in the grand scheme of things but it was just because I never prepared myself for a loss – I expected a draw minimum. I’ve heard that apparently Lewandowski should have been sent off but I didn’t even see the foul and can’t find a video so can’t really comment. If that’s the case then it’s salt in the wounds stuff but it’s done now so there’s nothing we can do about it.

At the end of the day the team didn’t deliver and now we’re in a tough situation where we’ve gotta pick ourselves up and get back on with our football. We play Crystal Palace away on Saturday and need to bounce back with a win otherwise Chelsea and Liverpool next week will be made a lot harder. As for the Champions League – it’ll be more difficult to qualify now but I’m still positive we will and optimistic it’ll be top.

Regardless of the performance yesterday, it told me one thing – Dortmund aren’t that good. Yes they beat us and tactically Klopp is superb, but I honestly think we can win at their ground in a few weeks. As for the group in general I believe a Marseille win and Napoli draw are both more than achievable and both would give us 10 points which I can imagine will see us finish at least second. Like I said, in the grand scheme of things the result wasn’t too painful it was just the manner it happened.

Anyway, I’m going to leave it there. I’ll have a bigger and longer blog tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

Nights like tonight are what football is all about

Arsene working his magic in training yesterday

Arsene working his magic in training yesterday

Tonight we face Borussia Dortmund, a side that were runners up in last years Champions League final and currently sit second in the Bundesliga to the exact same team they lost to that day – Bayern Munich. This will be without a doubt our hardest game of the season so far and for those that are worried, don’t be – because this is what football is all about.

We played Dortmund two years ago in the group stages and managed to get a 2-1 win at home, followed by a 1-1 draw away. I think we’d all happily take both of those results this time round but the reality is it’ll be a very different game with a likely different scoreline. We had a goalscoring van Persie and they had a flourishing Goetze and an efficient Kagawa, none of which play for either of their teams anymore.

When you consider that they finished bottom of the group that year then it’s quite remarkable that they managed to get to the final the year after. That’s a significant jump over the course of one season, but make no mistake, it wasn’t fluke – they are a top quality side. They have an abundance of brilliant players like Lewandowski, Reus, Aubameyang, Blaszczykowski and Gündogan just to name a few.

This game will require complete focus and determination throughout, with an urgency to play our football and control the game. We cannot sit back and try and sneak a win here, we need to take the game to them just like we did against Napoli. The boss thinks they’ll have a similar approach, he said

For me, the most common thing about German players is their attitude, they have a reputation of being 100 per cent professional.

What they give you, the German teams, is they have a desire to play. They play with a positive attitude and they have produced as well many good players recently.

It makes it always an open game because they don’t hide. We don’t hide, so it should be an exciting game on Tuesday.

The German teams are the top of Europe right now after both literally demolished the Champions League last year, however we need to show them that the Arsenal are ready to take a similar step just like Dortmund did. We want the final this year and we want to show we’ve got the team, the mentality and the confidence to do it.

And it’s that magical word again. Confidence. I think the best thing about this game is that we’re all optimistic that we can win. Go back to before Bayern, we was all aware that we could perhaps pick up the victory with a stroke of luck but we wasn’t confident before the game and neither were our players. The difference now is remarkable. We all believe we can win this game. The passion is back in the Emirates and the negativity has slowly disappeared, let’s keep it going because this kind of game could spark an extra push just like Bayern did last year. Then imagine how deadly our side will be!

In terms of team news it seems that everybody from Norwich is available except the ever-present Mathieu Flamini. The French midfielder was subbed off on Saturday after a nasty bump to his head which left him a little dazed and it’s looks as though the boss has decided to not risk his health, saying

He is doing well. He has practised normally but we will not play him because there is a five-day rule that we will respect. We will not to take any chances. It was a concussion and the doctor advised us not to play him. He will be OK for the weekend.

Personally, I’d have risked it anyway. I know it’s probably not the best thing to do but he’s been absolutely vital to our impressive performances recently and should we lose the battle in midfield tonight you’d have to think it’s down to his absence from the side. The good thing is that we have plenty of other options that can come in but I think realistically Arteta will be the man. His leadership and experience is invaluable in a game like this, so a midfield trio of perhaps him, Ozil and Wilshere or Ramsey will give us a great chance in the middle of the park.

Arteta spoke yesterday of how crucial tonights fixture will be and said

We have two very difficult games coming up against Dortmund, after that we will know exactly where we are in the group. They are a very good side and they are doing well in their own league.

Winning the first two games makes a difference and now we have a massive game at home. If we win that one we are almost there. I think this is going to be a crucial one.

It’s a massive fixture but the home advantage needs to be present today. The Emirates needs to be rocking and I’ll be doing my utmost to help it get that way. Win today and we have nine points out of nine with three fixtures to go – one of which is Marseille at home. You’d have to think we can win that and doing so will mean we have 12 points which should be enough to see us through. Of course we should be aiming to pick up points in the away games against Dortmund and Napoli, but we don’t wanna put ourselves under the pressure of absolutely needing to pick up points.

Anyway, my prediction for tonight is 3-1 or perhaps 3-2. I think the players will give a performance like Napoli and definitely score a few goals but Dortmund have a huge amount of attacking quality. I’d be very surprised and impressed if we managed to nullify them for the entire 90 minutes but I just can’t see it happening. Besides, this Arsenal side have had a bit of a habit of conceding this year – they’ve usually outscored the opponent though which is the important thing.

Here’s to a huge game, a big three points and an even bigger statement of intent.

COME ON YOU GOONERS!

Ramsey talks about our beautiful football and strong start

Hello and happy Monday to you all. I suppose the phrase ‘Happy Monday’ is a bit of an oxymoron in the sense that those two words do not long belong next to each other. It would make sense if it was “Happy it’s not Monday’ but not in direct association. This particular Monday I’ve had to drive to work and back (50 mile trip) to get my Mac charger as I’d forgotten it. I’ve never left it at work before and it’s just typical that it happens on my week off and of course, on a Monday.

Anyway, the Arsenal joy is still very much in the air after the impressive display of football against Norwich on Saturday. The chemistry between the players is growing with every game and them themselves admit they’ve been practicing a lot of it in training. Aaron Ramsey spoke of the first goal against Norwich and said

That was top football, it was all one touch, the ball was perfect into the player they were passing to and the first-time finish with his right foot was great.

Our philosophy is to play football like that and get the ball down and play fast one or two touch football.

And we all love that kind of football. One of the blogs readers commented yesterday to say it’s games like that which remind you exactly why it’s called ‘The Beautiful Game’ and he couldn’t be more right. It’s mesmerising to watch at times and as fans it’s exactly what we want form our club. Ramsey continued, explaining why he’s doing so well right now, saying

I’m just confident at the moment. Confidence is such a massive thing and I feel composed in front of goal at the moment and I’m taking my chances.

I’ve touched on it in past blogs and I’ll say it again – confidence is everything for players. I said to a friend yesterday that Aaron Ramsey has now proved he has the ability to play at the top level of football. It’s inevitable his form will go up and down but he’s now shown he has the ingredients to be an integral part of a huge club like Arsenal. When he has his bad moments we shouldn’t ever shun him, we should remember how fantastic he has been when confidence has been on his side.

Ramsey also went on to discuss our title challenging credentials and believes the side are more than able to compete. However, he explains that not getting carried away and taking every game as it comes is the best way to handle the pressure and keep the momentum going. He said

The only way we can deal with being at the top is by taking every game as it comes, we need to make sure we give everything in every game and not hold back and think any match is going to be easy.

He also highlights the difference a good start can make, saying

That’s one of the biggest things we’ve improved on is the start of the season. We’ve struggled in the last few years and had to play catch-up.

Now we’ve started very strongly, we’re top of the league and thats’s where we want to stay.

We all want to stay top and win the league but the fact of the matter is we’re only eight games into the season and there’s still another thirty to play for. The reality is we’re going to have difficult games and tough patches but finding a way to win and stay top every game is all you can do. There’s no point worrying what’s in a month, we just need to focus on the next game. Little steps in the right direction and before we know it we’ll be celebrating a trophy of sorts.

Anyway, I’m going to have to leave it there because I’ve got to go out. I’ll have a bigger and more interesting blog in tomorrows post ahead of the Dortmund game but until then, enjoy your Monday (if it’s possible).

An impressive Norwich victory sets us up perfectly for Dortmund

Celebrations over Ramsey's sublime third goal

Celebrations over Ramsey’s sublime third goal

So yesterday we played Norwich at home which was bound to be a difficult game after a long and tiring international break. The actual result played out quite differently. A solid 4-1 win is exactly the kind of result we wanted to see after the weeks away on international duty but more importantly – before Dortmund.

For anybody that watched the game it was four quite different goals. The first an unbelievably beautiful showcase of one touch football that even Barcelona or Brazil would be drooling over. It’s honestly one of the most impressive goes I’ve ever seen. The goals that are smashed from 30 yards out are special to watch but hit a ball on the sweet spot and it’ll do the work for you. That goal we scored however, was technical brilliance at it’s best.

The superb first goal

The superb first goal

Wenger agrees too, he did spoke about it in his post-match conference and said

It was certainly one of the best [Arsenal] goals, one that I enjoyed the most as well because it was a team goal.

It was a great goal. I think we have scored some good goals this season already. All the goals were great, but the first was exceptional because it was improvised, combination play.

And when you look at the goal (see above) it’s hard not to agree. The best thing about it that the clip doesn’t show is that it was actually Wilshere that started it all off. He collected it just outside our box, drove forward and then the magic happened.

The goal that followed was a great Giroud cross onto the head of Ozil. I gotta say I knew he could score goals and get assists but I had no idea he could header the ball as well! The goal was made to look easy but more suitable strikers have missed those opportunities so well done to Mesut for converting it.

Ramsey with our third. Bale who?

Ramsey with our third. Bale who?

The third goal, though, was quite the opposite to the first. It was a combination of individual intelligence, technical ability and brilliance from who else but Aaron Ramsey. It reminded me a little of Nasri (the cunt) in the sense that he’d fake players so convincingly before putting it past the goalkeeper. It’s hard to deny that Ramsey’s confidence is sky high at the moment and it’s no wonder he’s pulling of things like this. The Ramsey of last year certainly wouldn’t have and I guess that’s the difference this season. Confidence. I mean, take a look at this video and look at the skill and quality he has when he’s not scoring. Incredible.

He even went on to setup Ozil for the fourth, again highlighting how his ability to assist has improved. I guess you can look at it from this perspective: yesterday Ozil got two goals, Giroud got two assists and both Ramsey and Wilshere got a goal and an assist. So all four goals were split between four integral players. People talk about Giroud not being good enough but both of the assists he provided were top quality passes. Perfectly weighted and as precise as they get.

The boss spoke about the game in general and gave credit to Norwich’s performance, saying

We won 4-1 and their keeper had a good game. But I think as well that Norwich played well, so it is strange. They made it difficult for us. We had a difficult period between 30 and 60 minutes where we struggled a little bit to keep our game going. I would come out of the game thinking Norwich is a good team.

And to be fair to Norwich the scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection of their performance. We deserved to win but our goals would have ripped apart any side, so nobody can put them down today. You can only give praise to our side for their mentality to win and win big, particularly when at 2-1 you’ve got to remain focused and be wary of the equaliser.

One worry after the game is the condition of Flamini. He took quite a hard knock to the head in the first half and was taken off for Ramsey because of it. The boss confirmed he had double vision from the concussion he received and is hopeful he’ll be back for Dortmund. I guess we all are, because he’s one player that provides something very unique in midfield and an ingredient we’ll need against a side them.

The question marks now remain over who will actually play. If you consider that out of our front six we have Giroud, Ozil and even Flamini as the first names on the sheet, that leaves only three spots to choose from. I guess that shows you how important Flamini is now. For a player that arrived on a free and was very much written off by most of the clueless media, it’s a credit to him that he’s now an important player in the side. Wenger thinks the selection problem is a good problem to have and knows everybody will be used at some point, he said

We play seven games in 23 days, and that means we will need everybody. I could rest Ramsey a little bit because he has basically played every minute of the season and also the two international games for Wales. It gives me an opportunity as well to give the players a little breather before they will get injured. I will juggle. Everybody will play.

It all makes complete sense but it still makes you wonder who will actually play against Dortmund. With Ramsey and Wilshere in fine form, you wouldn’t want to leave either of them out. However the experience of both Arteta and Rosicky in a big game like this can’t be overlooked. Then there’s of course the brilliant Cazorla. I get the impression he’ll opt for Arteta, Cazorla and probably Wilshere, with a view to using Aaron Ramsey as an impact substitute later in the game.

I guess all we can do is wait and see who plays on Tuesday. Arsene concluded the conference with

We have quality, but how far we will go is down to how consistent we can be, how much effort we put into every single game and how much we are able not to get into a comfort zone. That is the top level.

We have belief. The belief is strengthened by every win. We have come out of a long period where most of the time in recent years in October we were already looking forwards from being behind. At the moment we are in a better position, but there is a long way to go.

And that’s the reality of top level football. Winning every game through your focus and determination to remain consistent. By this point in recent years we’d been eight points off the top – like United are now, by the way – and be very much swimming against the tide. For now, we have to enjoy our football and believe that every game is winnable, including our next game against Dortmund.

I’ll have more on that game tomorrow but it’s no doubt going to be our toughest opponent this season so far. All of these ingredients that have brought success up until now will be tested and it’ll be interesting to see what the final scoreline is.