Monthly Archives: February 2014

Berkgamp immortalised, Sunderland undone, fuck you Stoke

Bergkamp immortalised outside the Emirates - who will be next?

Bergkamp immortalised outside the Emirates – who will be next?

Hello and good morning readers. A quick blog this morning as I’m hard-pressed for time but feel it’s quite necessary to write one as I’ve not done so since after the Bayern game.

A few days after that we faced Sunderland at home with it being absolutely vital we bounce back from our Champions League disappointment with three points in the league. They’re a side who have managed to beat Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd this season so it could have easily been a game in which they caused problems – however it was certainly not one of those days.

Two goals from Giroud and a goal from both Rosicky and Koscielny gave us a 4-0 lead going into the latter stages of the game. We was unfortunately unable to keep the clean sheet however when an 82nd minute strike from Giaccherini gave the visitors a consolidation goal making the final scoreline a comfortable 4-1 victory.

The boss gave his usual press conference after the game and spoke of all the normal things you’d expect but in my opinion there’s only a few things that spring to my mind that I’d like to address.

The game itself
Arsenal were comfortable winners in the same sense that Liverpool were against us earlier in the season – one team turned up, the other didn’t. We played fantastic football with sharp passes, quick movement and an a high tempo all game (summed up by Rosicky’s beauty of a goal). It made it difficult to Sunderland to cope as it is, but it was made even more so by the fact they gave us so much room. You cannot give a free-flowing Arsenal room to pass the ball. Take nothing away from the team, they played brilliantly, but it was Sunderland’s poor performance that made the margin so great.

Importance of rotation
Prior to the game the boss made a number of changes to the squad that played mid-week against Bayern. It was inevitable considering how much the team gave in that fixture but how much he’d rotate was the question on everybody’s mind and also how much it’d affect the team. He replaced Flamini with Arteta, Rosicky for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs for Morneal, Giroud for Sanogo and most noticeably Podolski for Ozil.

The energy in the team was too much for Sunderland but that energy was born out of rotation. Most of the changes were almost expected but Ozil was one that you just couldn’t put a guarantee on. You felt that he was in need of a rest but the boss has a tendency to give players a chance to bounce back from disappointments instantly in the following game, so it raised doubts. Giving him a rest was absolutely vital and I honestly think when we see him in action next game you’ll see a different player.

Also, how much better did Giroud look? Ten days rest and he went from being completely immobile to unplayable. His first two goals looked simple but they were created out of an increase in mental fitness more than anything. That extra yard of pace and hunger to move made him a different striker and one that Sunderland just couldn’t handle. Long may it continue I say.

Dennis Bergkamp statue
Prior to the game there was the unveiling of the new Dennis Berkgamp statue who now joins Tony Adams, Thierry Henry and Herbert Chapman as immortalised legends outside the ground. A photo of the status was leaked almost a year ago today so it was always a matter of when not if, however it didn’t take away the sentiment of the occasion. Dennis is a club legend in every way possible, he was classy, professional and possessed more talent and ability than any of the players in our current squad (not to say that none of them can’t go onto become better footballers, but right now none of them are above him).

He deserves that statue just as much as any of the others, regardless of the fact that it came at a later date. He’s a true Arsenal great and I’m proud that the club have taken another step forward in making the Emirates feel more ‘Arsenal’. Now begs the question – who will be next? Will they opt for another past great such as Wright, Seaman or Brady? Or perhaps Wenger himself when he decides to retire? There’s also the possibility that a few years down the line we’ll find some of our current players dotted outside but it’s a wonder who may go onto become that good. Wilshere? Ramsey? Ozil? We’ll have to wait and see.

Now the focus will Saturday’s 3pm trip to the shit hole that is Stoke. If we battered Sunderland then we need to be going the step further against that bunch of cunts. I never thought it’d be possible to hate them any more than I already did when Tony Pulis was at the reigns but by replacing him with Mark Hughes I think they’ve created the ultimate formula of a true footballing shit-stain. I don’t want to give them a goal, a clean sheet is a must because their disgraceful fans don’t deserve to celebrate at any point during the game. I then want us to score not a couple of goals but several. I’d take a 2-0 but I want a 6-0. Man, I fucking hate Stoke. Why can’t they fuck off and get relegated already.

As always I’ll try do a blog beforehand but I’ll see if time permits Saturday morning. If not, here’s to the most important thing – three points. And the second most important thing – a Shawcross double leg break.

I’d take either in all honesty.

COME ON YOU GOONERS!!!

Let’s turn to Twitter to find some optimism and contrast

Game started so brightly, look at that stadium!

Game started so brightly, look at that stadium!

Morning folks. I didn’t have the time to do a blog yesterday and I don’t have the time today either, however I still want to brighten up this day and share with you a number of tweets that caught my attention last night that really sum up my thoughts. A bit of a different blog to usual, but I hope you enjoy the change nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think Per’s full interview after the game was bang on but those 30 seconds above are key – we must put it behind us and look to Saturday now. We cannot dwell, we cannot dish out ifs and buts and we cannot feel sorry for ourselves. Let’s get three points on the board and move onto the next game. Bayern isn’t for another three weeks and we’ve got two league games and an FA Cup Quarter Final to play before then.

Come on you Gooners!

Moyes calls Mourinho for advice and bye-bye Liverpool

Oxlade and Jenko celebrate the first goal

Oxlade and Jenko celebrate the first goal

Good morning all. I say that not because it’s a Monday – because we all hate Mondays – but because this particular Monday is the day after an impressive 2-1 victory against Liverpool in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. Let’s face it, an Arsenal win always makes the next day more bearable.

Before I get into the game though how about we discuss the one mid-week that took the majority of the focus ahead of the game. We played against a lacklustre Man Utd side where both teams were looking to bounce back from disappointments with a big win – however it seemed as though that was the exact reason neither did.

I won’t spend a while talking about the game because there’s quite frankly, nothing to talk about. It was a dull game where it felt as though Moyes had picked up the game prior to the game and gave José a call. I can imagine it went something like this

Moyes: Errr, José? Is that The Special One?

Mourinho: Ergh. What now Moyes? I hope you’re calling me to tell me you want to sell us Fat Boy Wayne?

Moyes: No, no. I call for your help. How do you win at the Emirates?

Mourinho: Ah, you need advice ay? Well it’s simple – put all of your team in your own box and try and take the one or two chances you get.

Moyes: Ok brilliant. Will you maybe be my assistant? We can win major trophies together!

Mourinho: Go home Moyes, you’re drunk. You cannot win shit with that team. I am The Special One, not The Miracle Maker. Cunt.

It looks as though the tactics worked to an extent. Man Utd sure did limit our chances at goal but misses from Giroud, Cazorla and a few others made it feel like we really could have found a goal had we’ve been a little more clinical. Equally though, Man Utd had one or two chances to break the deadlock too, but not for poor finishing from van Persie (hahahahahahahahaha cunt!) and a great save from Szczesny meant it finished 0-0.

After the game there were boos from the crowd which I didn’t quite understand. I know we’d have all liked to win, particularly considering Man Utd’s poor form this season, but in hindsight it’s not a bad point. We got thrashed by Liverpool, we looked tired, played nervously and hand a focus on not conceding than scoring. How do you think a loss would have gone down? Not great I imagine.

When you consider we got one point from Liverpool and Man Utd it makes you feel a little disappointed, but compare that to the fact City got one point from Chelsea and Norwich and I can’t help but feel like the fan reaction was a little overdramatic. When you consider that we’re only one point off the top and Man Utd are about 15+ points below us, yet none of their fans booed, it makes it all the more ridiculous.

A few days later and we’re drawn against a high-flying Liverpool side in the FA Cup Fifth Round. After a battering last week the squad wanted to make amends, with Wenger confidentially saying before the game “it is the first team we want to play.

I did say prior to the game I couldn’t help but feel a 2-1 win would be on the cards and my feeling turned out to be correct. Arsenal are great at responding and would have wanted to prove that the 5-1 loss was more of a bad day in the office then a deserved result. Yesterday I felt we were clear winners (even though Liverpool would reject that statement) but the win isn’t the greatest thing about the result.

I loved how yesterday we was under pressure to win, particularly at home. We needed to qualify because there’s a real sense we can go on to win this competition and Wenger would have had one eye firmly on Wednesday’s tie against Bayern too. He decided to rest Szczesny, Gibbs, Sagna, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla and Giroud in favour of Fabianski, Monreal, Jenkinson, Flamini, Podolski, Oxlade and Sanogo and it turned out to be the correct call. Every one of the players that came in did a fantastic job and the win was all the more sweeter when Liverpool played their best players and were still unable to score a goal from open play.

Goals from Oxlade and Podolski gave us a 2-0 lead before Lukas then went on to give away a sloppy penalty and allow Gerrard to pull Liverpool back into the game. From then on we both had brief spells of possession with both teams looking dangerous but Liverpool were very much limited to half chances whilst we waited for the game to draw to an end. The final whistle went and Liverpool were out, Arsenal were through and we now take on Everton in the next round at home.

After the game there was a large amount of toys being thrown out of prams across the Liverpool fan base and squad. Even Brendan Rodgers had a little moan in the conference afterwards. The reason was because Suarez and Oxlade had a little coming together and Suarez quite frankly got bossed off the ball. Other people referred to it as a stone-wall penalty but I think those are forgetting it’s a contact sport and Suarez is a diving cheat. Also, they had their fair amount of luck from the referee too with Gerrard being incredibly lucky not to escape with a second yellow after a harsh tackle later in the game. I don’t think they have the right to complain, they were well beaten, didn’t take their chances and they got some of the decisions their way too. So… fuck off ya Scouse bellends.

Stand-out performers for me were Fabianski, Oxlade and Sanogo. Fabianski barely made a mistake all game, pulling off some fantastic saves and having great ball control throughout. It made you realise that we do probably have the best second choice goalkeeper in the league, which is all the more disappointing that he’s likely to leave in the summer.

Oxlade continued his fine form notching up a well taken finish and a sublime assist for Podolski. He’s growing in every game and showing a real maturity with his football. You only have to look at the fact Arsenal’s last five goals to see his involvement. Three goals were scored by him, another assisted and a penalty in which he won. He won the Man of the Match award and rightly so – he was excellent.

Yaya Sanogo however was the most impressive player for me. In the summer everybody wanted a big name and he became a bit of a scapegoat and laughing stock because he was another ‘typical Wenger buy’. All the criticism was unjust because he hadn’t really had a chance to do anything yet. He’d featured twice from the bench but never started – so credit to Wenger for giving him a chance over Bendtner in such a high pressure fixture.

Sanogo definitely showed in glimpses that he has all the right ingredients to be a very good striker for Arsenal. It’s early days for him I know but if he can come on and perform against Liverpool then he must be half-decent. He used his strength to boss Agger and Skrtel around for the game, linked up well on a number of occasions with our midfield and was a constant danger at goal. Oxlade’s goal was a rebounded effort from a Sanogo volley which actually looked goal bound.

I don’t think he’s world class by any means but if he can continue to produce quality performances like that whenever he’s called upon then there’s a position in the squad for him in my eyes. Bendtner is a good player but he always looks like his head is elsewhere – which is probably due to the fact he’s off in the summer – but Sanogo is a fully committed young player with a point to prove. That can be dangerous and useful in my eyes, especially until the summer where we’ll most likely by another striker anyway.

Speaking of the summer, it looks like it’ll be a busy one for us. Fabianski is most likely off with his contract expiring, there’s also rumours that Vermaelen and Podolski will go due to a lack of playing time, Sagna due to the fact we can’t agree on a contract and as I mentioned earlier Bendtner too. It means that our shopping list will now include two goalkeepers, two centre backs, a right back, a beast in midfield, a winger and a striker. I can’t help but feel we won’t get every one of those because Wenger will want to maintain the squad harmony but it’s hard not to agree that all are absolutely vital.

That’s all for today, I’ll have another blog ahead of Wednesday’s game against Bayern, until then have a gooden.

Calm down, it’s only one game… But it makes a United win vital

Giroud practicing his goal celebration for tonight

Giroud practicing his goal celebration for tonight

Good morning readers. It’s been a week since I last wrote and a lot has happened in that time, with the Premier League showing exactly why it’s so famous for its twists and turns. It’s been a particularly whirlwind week for us Gooners so we’ll delve right in and discuss it all.

Thoughts on the Liverpool game
Ahead of the game I think the majority of footballing fans were in agreement Arsenal would most likely get at least a draw from this fixture. Despite Liverpool’s top goalscoring form we knew that our rock solid defence were more than capable of keeping them quiet on their day. You only need to look back earlier in the season to see it’s already been done, not to mention the same with the likes of Dortmund, Chelsea and Napoli.

However, football doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t like statistics. It likes what happens on the day and that only and I think we’re all in agreement when I say we didn’t expect what happened on the day. A shambles of a defensive performance in the opening 20 minutes gifted Liverpool four goals and pretty much ended the game. Considering we’ve struggled to win by a three goal margin this season once in the league you couldn’t help but feel that at 2-0 down after less than ten minutes,  it became more damage limitation than comeback kings.

The damage limitation was terrible though, because Liverpool could sense we were having a bad day and they went full steam into punishing us retrospectively. We looked better in the first half but at the end of the day the game finished 5-1 and I don’t really want to go into discussing the game itself. All I’ll say is it was quite simply a day where one team turned up and the other just didn’t. Sometimes it happens in football, heck Mourinho’s Real Madrid lost 5-0 to Barcelona a few seasons back and neither of them are poor sides.

Thoughts on the Liverpool aftermath
After the game the backlash from the fans was pathetic. Every toy found in every pram across the world was being thrown with people saying our title chances are over, the players don’t understand what the badge means and even ridiculous calls of sacking Arsene. Give it a fucking rest? I swear our fans look harder for reasons to complain than reasons to celebrate?

If you want to know exactly how I feel on the matter then watch this video and you’ll see an Arsenal fan truly hit the nail on the head. As he very rightly points out it doesn’t matter what the scoreline was, it’s the points that matters at the end of the day and we lost one point here, get over it.

It did of course give both Man City and Chelsea the chance to both go above us however the league loves to spice things up and it sure did. Chelsea managed to get their three points but a lacklustre Man City only achieved one. This is the Man City that every pundit across the country has their tongue firmly up the arse off, the one that can’t stop scoring and is clear favourites for the league. Yes that Man City. They went and drew to Norwich away 0-0. I mean, in hindsight what is worse? Losing one point away to Liverpool or two points away to Norwich? I think I know what I think.

Thoughts on Man Utd
This Arsenal side have responded to disappointments amazingly in recent seasons and this one in particular. After losses to both Aston Villa and Man City we went on incredible runs of form notching up largely wins and the occasional draw so I think today we need to kick start the same mentality with a win over Man Utd. They’ve been poor all season particularly at the back so I think we’re more than capable of beating them or even battering them if we play our game and be ruthless in our attack.

Our defence cost us the game against Liverpool but it’s been the backbone of our success this season. It’s imperative we maintain that consistency and give Rooney, van Persie and Mata absolutely no room to breathe. Robin van Cunt has scored in every game since we’ve played against him so it’d be nice if we could stop it from happening this time round. Let’s send them home with 0 points, tailing 17 points behind us and wondering how the fuck they’re going to get Europa, yet alone Champions League.

The pressure will be firmly on both teams so it makes me think it’ll be a game of tight margins. We obviously want to bounce back but after Chelsea very kindly drew last night away to West Brom (another two points lost by the way) it opens up the opportunity for us to return back to top of the table once again. Man Utd of course need a big win after picking up only four points in their last three fixtures, so we’ve got to ensure that doesn’t happen.

The thing is with this fixture is that it’s always about who turns up on the day. With the history and rivalry between the two clubs, it doesn’t matter about form. We’ve beat them in seasons we’ve played poorly and they’ve beat us in the same fashion as well. We can’t underestimate them, they may be sitting down in seventh with a manager incapable of beating top sides, but this is the kind of game where that can all change. We cannot let that happen. When you analyse the statistics the game is very much in our favour, but as Liverpool showed it’s not about statistics – it’s about which team turns up.

I get the feeling Man Utd will score at some point and it’ll most likely be van Persie, however we’re at home, we’re looking to bounce back, we want vengeance and we’re definitely a stronger side. Let’s not only beat them, but batter them. I want a margin of three goals or more to send all the shitty armchair Utd fans back to their troll caves licking their wounds calling for Moyes head. Here’s to a win, a three points and a return to the top of the league.

COME ON YOU GOONERS!!

Bipolar fans, top of the league and transfer window overview

Oxlade celebrates his 1st goal against Palace

Oxlade celebrates his 1st goal against Palace

Hello and good morning all. A bit of a rushed blog this morning as I’m squeezing one in due to the fact I missed yesterday’s usual post date. That was because I got a lift to work with a colleague and he likes to get in a little later than I do – I’m an early bird you see and like to allow for enough time to write the blog!

When I last wrote I was discussing how it’s not all doom and gloom despite a 2-2 draw at Southampton. Much of our fan base were throwing every toy out of their pram that they could find. Twitter was flocked with “fans” (use that term extremely lightly) who did nothing but whinge, moan and complain. It really pissed me off in fairness because I can’t help but feel a noticeable portion of our fan base literally wait for a reason to slate the club they apparently love.

The same fans are also the ones that were gloating again as we went back to top of the Premier League after a solid 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. I mean, how utterly frustrating is that? Moan their arses off for literally not even a week, saying we’ve bottled it, it’s City’s title, etc etc… then it’s gloating and bragging when we manage to beat an incredibly poor Crystal Palace side at home. Can somebody explain the logic in that? In fact, can somebody explain how these are actually fans?

On the game itself it was a solid performance from our team but in fairness it was never much of a challenge in the first place. I’ve not been so unimpressed with a side this season as much as Palace. They have nothing going for them and I think it speaks volumes when you say that Chamakh is their best player (bonus reading on Chamakh here, great article) because literally nobody else stood out for me. I honestly think they have a team which hasn’t got the quality to stay in the league but nor a capable enough manager to pull them through it like say Martinez at Wigan. Tony Pulis is an absolute twat and I really hope they get relegated just so that he gets sacked and forgotten about. Cunt.

Two goals from Oxlade-Chamberlain were the difference on the day and will do him a world of good with returning to full fitness. I think neither were amazing goals but they were well taken and created out of good movement and positive forward play from him and the team. I think he’s a few games away from full fitness but he’s gradually getting there and he’s no doubt a different option to have in midfield with his power-pace focused play. I think him and Rosicky are probably the most direct players in our midfield, which is probably why they’re both very much fan-favourites.

Wenger attended his usual post-match conference, talking about getting the Southampton result out of our system, Oxlade’s gradual return to fitness and more, before addressing the January loan signing of Kim Kallstrom, saying

I would not have signed him if we had two or three more days to do something, but it was Friday night at five o’clock, so it was [a case of] you [sign] nobody or you do it under these conditions. I decided to do it because we might, because of the number of games we have now in February, we might need the players in March or April. There is a possibility [that he may not play] but as well there is the possibility that he scores us the winning goal that might be vitally important.

I don’t think anybody was over the moon about the signing but Wenger gets it bang on at the end there. We might not need him, he might not play, but if he does play and he scores us the winning goal that gives us an extra two points or a progression through to a next round – will anybody complain? It was about depth more than super quality and in retrospect it wasn’t a bad decision.

The only thing I think we have to critics the manager for is saying “if we had two or three more days” – we kind of had an entire month to do something, Arsene? I think Arsenal often play this last-minute game where they identify targets and see what is available right at the end in order to save money or get something special. Sometimes it works well with say Ozil, but other times it bites us in the arse, like Kallstrom. Equally though Wenger didn’t predict a Ramsey setback or Wilshere injury so he probably didn’t go into the window wanting a midfield of sorts, therefore it was kind of a rush thing in that sense.

A lot of people were raging because we didn’t manage to get a world class striker. I mean what the fuck was that all about? Did any team in Europe buy a world class striker? Nope. When you look around it’s obvious Chelsea need one, Barcelona could do with one and even a couple of other teams require backup options too, but not a single decent striker moved so that doesn’t say to me that we fucked up, just that there literally wasn’t one available.

Besides, I know that we made a sizeable £32m bid for Draxler which was unfortunately rejected and we have our eyes firmly on Diego Costa, but neither of the clubs wanted to sell so what could we do? Both need them for their current campaigns and I very much guarantee that one of, if not both, will be moving in the summer. We just need to make sure we get one of them then.

Wenger finished the conference on a positive note that I couldn’t help but smile about. When asked about the strength of the squad even though we haven’t made any signings, he said

I face that question since the start of the season, and we are today where we are, and that cannot be a coincidence. You cannot be lucky over 24 games, that is for sure.

We do not play against average teams and Man City have scored over 100 goals, so everybody thinks ‘can you beat these teams?’ I say yes and that is what we have to show. It’s all to do. The only thing I can say is that after 24 games we are there, and it’s now about how we finish the season.

And that’s what we need to focus on. I said at the start of the season before Villa we can win it if we make a Bergkamp-like signing in terms of impact and influence. We then went on to sign Ozil and have since been at the top of the league for around 85% of the season. This is not luck and this is not a squad lacking severely in depth, this is a well-deserved and hard-earned position that we find ourselves in. We’re top of the league by two points to both Chelsea and City, we’re underdogs and have momentum on our sides and most importantly we have the best defence in the league.

The league is always decided on the best defence. United did it for years and it’s exactly why they’re fucking up right now, because they’ve gotten ridden of a world class defensive coach and replaced him with Phil bloody Neville. Having a world class striker in your ranks doesn’t guarantee you trophies, it doesn’t even get you close. We had van Persie smashing them in for two seasons and we didn’t even get third. We’re sharing our goals right now, scoring 1 or 2 every game and conceding very little. If we keep that up we’ll be up there at the end, I guarantee it.

We now face an in-form Liverpool side away from home who will no doubt have a point to prove. We’ve done well in past fixtures against them, usually winning or at least drawing, so I feel confident we can do the same this weekend. It’ll a tough game no doubt but if we can deliver a performance against them like the one we did earlier in the season, we’ll walk away with the three points.

I’ll try do a blog before then but it might prove difficult with an early kick-off, if not have a good day and come on you Gooners!!