Tuesday 25 March 2014

Rise from the ashes...

I cant begin to explain how much I have missed writing these blogs and analysing every little detail and happenings around the club. However, not much has changed, has it? We find ourselves in familiar waters, gasping for breath, looking for that ray of hope, that oxygen mask and staring at that dreaded and yet somehow coveted(?), fourth place finish. There is an outside chance, that even that place won't guarantee a Champions League qualification spot next season. Though no one is counting on ManU to win the UCL, we cannot rule it out as an outside chance.

For whatever reasons that I wasn't able to write, there is always a reason to do this. In fact, who needs a reason?! Maybe I have read too much and just feel the need to oust whatever thoughts I have, or maybe there is a serious shortage of genuine football fans around to discuss about genuine football.

One bad match and the football world is already in the transfer market shopping for new faces and selling off old ones. I am thankful that none of these people end up managing football clubs lest the sport ends up being extinct. There is a reason football managers earn the kind of salaries that they do. People, and sadly, some of the fans consider it as a fool's errand, managing a club that is.

Anyways, enough bickering. All focus on tonight's game, and thankfully it is not an early 12:45pm start in the UK, we really want to win this one. No matter our current position or condition, any match is a must win, right from the start of the season till the end. Not just because you want to be The Invincibles again, but that is how champions aim to perform.

Swansea have proved to be tricky opponents in the past couple of seasons. Not considering their form after the new year, they were pretty good till then. The last time we played them at the Liberty Stadium, things were going smoothly for us, coming on the back of an amazing winning run. Now, even though it is a home game(I have never really appreciated top teams, to consider home or away soil as a reason, to win or lose a match), we find ourselves in a tight spot and facing all these posed question marks about the performance of this team and their role as "genuine" title contenders. I say genuine because technically anyone participating in the Premier League is a title contender.

The attitude has been really good this season from most of the players, especially in such difficult situations.
When a player like Rosicky says,
"This is a big slap in the face but there are still eight games to go and so many points still to play for"
...it is exactly what he says it is, A BIG SLAP! It's not just because we lost a game, the loss is every team member to bear, but this is how you feel and should feel when you genuinely feel for the club and hate to see go down to a direct rival in such a manner, without so much as a hint of a fight.

Mathematically, on paper, statistically, there is still a small possibility of us winning the league and that is the target, if any, that should be on our mind, nothing less. We also have players who have come out of such a difficult period and triumphed. Rosicky further shares his experiences at BVB Dortmund,
"When I played in Germany for Borussia Dortmund and we won the title there, in the season that we won it we were five points behind first place with four games to go and we still managed to win it. Everything is possible but the most important thing at the moment is to bounce back straight away."
We need our senior most players to instill that hope and confidence in the team. Otherwise, the rest of the season falls apart like a bunch of dominoes.

I still don't have the team news yet, but we have Gibbs and Ox available for selection, thanks to Mr. Marriner and some rare decision by the FA that actually went our way. Kos is definitely out for "at least" 2 weeks with a calf problem so that gives TV5 a chance to regain the fans' belief in him. There's some talk that Arteta and Giroud might be out of the squad tonight. Maybe that is the reason why Akpom has been called back from loan. There is a chance that Sanogo might start and I can't believe I am saying this, but for the sake of the team, I hope he comes of age in the rest of the season. We don't know what is the status with Giroud but from whatever is being splashed around, it doesn't look encouraging and his performances have not been up to the mark of late, to put it mildly. Hector Bellerin is another player who was called back from loan, just in case we had failed with our appeal for Gibbs' red card.

There is a chance we might finally get to see KKstrom in today's match, if we do, this might be a script written especially for him to show his heroics, because that is what we are going to need from the whole team, in the race to the end of the season.


Thursday 12 September 2013

Galactico to Gunner!

Good Day All,

A lot has happened between my last post and this one. There is great news and there is some bad news. Obviously the great news first.We caught a big big fish to our rod. Yeah!. We got Mesut Ozil! Yeah! I am not dreaming!
Mezut is wonderful signing. He can strengthen any team in the world and not just Arsenal who as it was, looked fragile in every department. He is really a top top signing and as I mentioned in my blog some time ago, Arsene will deliver on his promise to make a big signing and that is what he exactly did.
It is a shame we are in a inter-lull now and can't see him in action right-away. But I guess it is a blessing in disguise as it would offer him just the right amount of time to acclimatise in his new found home! Just that extra bit of training with the rest of team would suit him well which is very very important for a creative chance-creater like him.
Ever since the transfer window has closed down, everybody in Arsenal fraternity is busy analysing Mesut Ozil and his game. They are trying to identify where he would play to how he would play to how he will fit into the system and how it would benefit the team. Articles are raining and raining, not that they don't make sense. In fact it is quite interesting and enjoyable to read through the imaginations of the pro, the not-so-pros and the rookies.
My take is Ozil is just the right person in our hyped midfield and he brings in a variety and a new dimension through his lateral movements and an eye for identifying runs.
Arseblog said it well when he said Ozil is not a classical playmaker but a new breed of No. 10.

Ozil is a top of the world signing, but I still worry that the squad is not sufficiently refilled. We still have only two fit centre-halves, and one fit regular striker. The fact that Morinho killed the deal with Demba Ba on the last minute ( which I thought would have been an excellent stop-gap solution, which I also believe would have been a wonderful signing in the last January window in the first place!) means that we are seriously a center-forward down. We are hanging on the knife-edge with Giroud, hoping that he not only stays fit but also holds his current form consistently till atleast the next transfer window.

The ballyhoo created by Ozil signing has distracted many, but I still believe we are nor yet strong to compete for the Championship, As I feared the signing does makes us good to finish up for top 4 but does not make us Champions quality. Not because the current squad lacks quality, we showed our class against Spurs, but because we lack depth. The same squad can't play the League, FA Cup, the Carling Cup and the Champions League. I can't see how our team does not get fatigued playing them through. We saw how fatigued Santi got in the mid-season last year and how his form dipped in between.
I still hold the opinion we are just not good enough purely on the basis of squad depth! You can't win a race hopping in a gunny-bag!

Coming to the bad news, it was inter-lull- meaning our first team players were on international duty and our worst fears have come true. We got new injury concern.
Rosicky seems to have picked up a thigh injury battling the Italians and that means he is out for this weekend's game against Sunderland. Thank god we have replacement!
In another injury news, 16 year wonderkid Gedion Zalelam will be out for at least 2 months. His bones need to get tougher!
That effectively means our subs bench will see have a new face besides Viviano ( I guess he would replace Fabianski) and I wont be surprised if the new face is Nicklas Bendtner!
Ohh Dear Goonerrss.. you might have to pay to watch B52 play!

On the lighter side of not so good news, he have been handed the toughest draw for the Champions League Group stage. We are against Borussia Dortmund, Marseille and Napoli, Its gonna be tough and that makes the league more enthralling for all us Goonerrsss.

The challenge  begins for the players immediately after the lull as we play twice a week henceforth for quite some time. It is going to get stressful for these bunch of player. Hope they get really used to it!


Thursday 29 August 2013

The Second Innings

Good day all,

Transfers! Transfers! Transfers!. . probably the only thing that is on my mind these days. I might have scavenged infinite websites and links just to get some positive sniff of concrete arsenal transfer news. After long hours of surfing when you end up with little, it makes whole activity even more tiring.
Another day past by without any signings and the days left before the windows slams down can be now counted on the hand.

But today we had a new dawn, and the reported visit of Dick Law on the pitch-side at Arsenal yesterday did mean some business. We get our second transfer of the season. And it will not come as a surprise to any Gooner fan that it is a free transfer! Arsene decides to resign Mathieu Flamini for a reported wage of £50k odd per week and a contract length of 2 years. We wait to see for official announcement of the deal soon.

It was 2003 when the talented Marseille midfielder was picked up by Arsenal on a free transfer when he refused to sign a new contract with the French club. 9 years hence, the same player re-signs for Arsenal, again on a free transfer just the difference being the last club represented was AC Milan and he has become little more wiser and older. Just to remind you folks, Flamini joined Milan from Arsenal on a free transfer back in 2008.

At this hour where signings have been difficult and top players refusing Arsenal, sad but true, maybe I will write on time some day later, any signing is definitely welcomed. Mathieu is a proven talent at the Premier League,a proven talent at Arsenal who know the club and style of play very well, was at a big club previously and has loads of experience. So he is one of those signings who could hit the ground running in an Arsenal shirt and hold command of the young midfield of Ramsey and Wilshere during Arteta's absence. I think Mathieu's signing is definitely a shrewd one (as if we expected something different from Wenger) and if he manages to keep pace of Premier League today, he can click big-time on his home-coming.

It means still the £1m we paid to get Dan Crawley from Villa (academy player) remains the top buy among the players joining Arsenal this season!

Elsewhere it is bigger bad news, terrible indeed, that Podolski would be out for 10 weeks. It was earlier believed that Podolski might be back with a 3-week layoff.
As reported by Arsene now,
"It is bad news about Lukas Podolski as he will be out for eight to 10 weeks. His hamstring is much more damaged than we thought at the start. It is very disappointing and we have paid a very heavy price for that win [over Fenerbahce]. We have to be patient now."

This means we are in a deeper hole with Arteta, Vermalean, Chambo and Diaby already out injured.

I cant stress enough how important it is to win the derby-clash this weekend especially when Spurs have been on a spending spree this season and expecting huge cash inflows as the Bale deal gets the final touch.

With Ozil and Angel Di Maria unwilling to join Arsenal, though Di Maria could get close, and Mourinho seemingly obstructing Mata's move to us, there is hardly any big, big, big name associated with us as of now. There seems to be no progress with the Cabaye's deal  and I wonder if it would ever go ahead after we re-signed Flamini.

Moving on the other competitions,
We have the draw for Champions league tonight at 9pm IST. Hoping for a favorable draw for us.
 In the Capital One Cup, Arsenal are poised to play West Brom on 23rd of September. Probably we need to take these competitions seriously now!

That's all for today,

Gunner Love.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Injury Woes stole the Cherry

Good Day to all,

And Congratulations to all Gunners.. We made it to the Champions League Group group stage for the 16th consecutive time.

A pleasing piece of football by the Gunners yesterday ensured we coasted into next stage. A well deserved 2-0 victory, an aggregate of thumping 5-0 surely made my night!

Definitely the team and Wenger must be relieved. We qualified for the Champions League in the true sense yesterday.
Sagna proved his class once again in his make shift central defensive role. It just reminded me of what Sagna told the media when he was being reported for a transfer move. He said he was staying with Arsenal and was looking for a fresh start. I just wonder was center-half on his mind when he said so.. just a thought..

Ramsey was just par excellent. He was fabulous.. what a bundle of energy! His passing was superb and positional play was even better. Wilshere and Ramsey seems to be gelling together well in the midfield. They dumbfounded Fulham on the weekend and continued their form into yesterday's game.

Cazorla is visibly getting into form and proving his quality time and again. The close-ball control he possess is simply enthralling to watch. How he seamlessly drifts in and out from the wings is so pleasing to the eye. It was his wonderful through pass to Walcott that set up the Ramsey goal. Brilliant!

The ease with which we played yesterday was the best thing of the game. It was reminiscent of the golden arsenal days. It just highlights that good team spirit and desire to succeed can tear skies apart.

Talking of tear, we did have one yesterday, and that too a big one. Podolski pulled his hamstring and is said to be out for three weeks. It is a big blow for a wafer thin squad about to face its biggest derby on the coming weekend

That again leaves us with a position on the field that needs make-shift arrangement. Nacho Monreal will be most likely to fill the slot but that reminds us that we are going into a derby we  two most critical positions without a regular player. Center back in defense and Left winger in offense.

Arsenal finished the final four minutes of the game with 10 players as Ramsey was forced to pull out by Wenger suspecting an injury concern.

Wilshere though finished the game on the pitch after being battered on the ankle on more than couple of occasions.

Both Ramsey and Wilshere are said to be okay and should feature against the Spurs.

Withdrawal of Walcott and Giroud saw Miyaichi and Sanogo get some rare game time. It just showed how raw they were and the amount of work that needs to be done to get the final product.

Moving on to transfer news, sadly, there is no progress besides Wenger admitting his liking for Juan Mata. Mata did not feature against Man United even though Chelsea seemed to be lacking creativity in the middle. Some signs that he is considered a surplus by Mourinho and looking to offload him. Mata makes an ideal fit for Arsenal side. His father was said to be in Arsenal's director box yesterday night. Wait... Lets not get ahead of ourselves now..!.

With Champions league berth ticked, it is now time for Wenger to put his head down, crack some mega deals and keep the rest of the squad fit for the derby clash.

Gunner Love.

Tuesday 27 August 2013


When you take to pen after quite some time, and things around you begin to happen fast, it is sometimes difficult to decide as to where to start.. we have a Champions League playoff game tonight and transfer season that is about to go berserk.. i decided to focus on transfers today as i believe we passed a major hurdle back in Turkey last week..

We are in the last week of transfer season and it is restlessness or frustration, i don't know, but it is really getting a bit scary. Wenger still seem to be featuring in front of media with same positivity or pessimism, depends how you view it, about the transfers as he did all through this summer.. he ensured that his love for nail-biting transfer saga continues for another season...

I wish the agony and pain would end soon. I so wish time forwards to the next week and we have a bunch of "top, top, top" players playing for the red and whites.

I wish I had kept the record of all the players linked to Arsenal this year,  I'm sure the number must have crossed hundred and still Mr. Wenger found it difficult to unearth a select few that could meet the mark.. or i must say beat the mark given his thrust for quality..

Yet still, somewhere deep down, there is a feeling, there is a feeling of "In Arsene We Trust". I for one have the believe that Arsene will delivery on his promise to bring in quality players. My only fear being - would they be sufficient to make us tittle contenders and not just secure the fourth place.

Wenger admitted he fell flat and got stumped by the Suarez's supposed "release clause". Classic case of "Bird in hand is worth two in the bush". We messed up Higuain deal by the lure of Suarez and partly because Real raised his price.. which one had more prominent impact is what only Wenger and Dick can tell..

We have the deadwood out and in the terms of management we have made ourselves "lean". B52 is like the fungus sticking so high up on the tree branch that it is difficult to reach and remove..
As for re-inforcements, I see three places requiring "immediate, immediate, immediate" filling .. (Wenger's lingo does seem to make an impact on my English!) - a quality centre-back, a defensive mid and the centre-forward.
 I agree performances of Szczesny havent been great, but i still believe he is good enough and should not be a priority when we have other places in the team literally bleeding..
Today we have the names of Ozil, Benzema, Angel Di Maria, Cabaye making the rounds with Arsenal-boy Flamini appearing prominent to make a return..
Di Maria sounds to be a wonderful proposition and it would be interesting to see how he would fit in the system if he comes aboard.. Benzema is just a far-fetched hope with the player preferring to stay put in Madrid..
Cabaye is a good talent.. a more of like-for-like replacement for Arteta.. Effective midfielder and good at dead-ball situations.. so with Arsene looking for versatility as he mentioned in the pre-match conference yesterday for the Fenerbache match, it makes me feel the deal may just not go through if Arsene can get his 'discreet' targets..

Interesting.. All very Interesting.. a wait-and-watch game.. hope it ends well..
Expecting a win today and importantly no injury concerns...

Gunner Love.

Monday 14 January 2013

The Bigger Picture

Story of every Arsenal fan.

It's been a while since my last post, maybe i'll do this more often now.

It's not that I had no time to write, or maybe that was one of the reason. But I could have easily copy-pasted my post for the past few months
and there won't be any significant change in the content.

Last evening was one of the deja vu feelings, where we said "Oh, not this thing again". At one point I nearly tore my hair out in the first half.
The second half was equally frustrating, and not because we played like the first half, but because we lacked that cutting edge and Walcott went
into a hole behind Kompany(no Pun intended). For all his talk of wanting to play as a striker, he proved his inconsistency.

Missing out on Arteta was a big blow and I could not fathom why Diaby had to start in such an important match.
AW said,
"I took the gamble because I feel that it was needed. It’s good that he came through well. He will become stronger very quickly."

I am glad Diaby returned and was able to get through without any problems. But last evening was nto a match he should have been tested in. When Jack had to be brought back, he played 2-3 reserve matches before he was playing in the league again. Also, I don't like the sound of the word "gamble". Why does Arsene have to gamble? Has it come to such circumstances that he can't deploy a player on the field and be confident on him? Is AFC a place to gamble? He has been gambling this way for too long now. His stubborness and arrogance has started to affect the club now, and not in a good way.

The most worrisome part is that there is no one to challenge him. Already so much has been said about the management and I wish the Arsenal fans in England start to protest
against the board who are least interested in the way the club is run. The club is slowly turning into a corporate and a blood soaking one at that.

I might bring on the ire of most of the fans when I say that I understand why RVP left, why Fabregas left(I am sorry but, "having Barca DNA" is not a reason enough.) If Arsenal and especially Arsene and company had been ambitious enough, and winning trophies there would be no reason for anyone to leave. How can somebody in AW's position tolerate 8 years of trophyless seasons at a club like Arsenal?!
Surely, somebody should question him. He is totally devoid of the feelings of the fans, so much so that, he answers everything diplomatically and with a touch of arrogance.

Is only Arsenal suffering from "The Great Depression"? What are we going to boast about? "We topped the FFP charts, Yay!".

If it continues this way, I won't be surprised to see Jack leave too. Arsene had said sometime back that ..
"People want to see Lionel Messi. They don't want to see a promising guy. First of all the name gives hope. When a guy has no name people are already sceptical, so it's much more difficult for us."

The fans wont be so skeptical if they won't be concerned that this unknown name will turn into a world class player and then sold off(Read RVP, Fabregas, Nasri, Song, the list goes on). How can people not doubt?! Can Arsene guarantee that Jack will never leave the club?
I trust Jack so much so that, if Arsene regularly win trophies he will finish is career here. But can Arsene guarantee that kind of success?

I am sorry, but I am almost shaking with anger while writing all this and cannot go on...
Sorry Arsene, I would've held the "In Arsene, we trust" banner proudly. But now it's "In Arsene, we dust". I would love to be proved wrong and would love even more if people jeered me because Arsene WAS the ultimate answer to all our problems,...bigger picture.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Ahh the EPL!

 Yes finally I have decided to come out of hibernation, and thanks to Shantanu to keep the blog alive.

The season has already begun and as every year we have the "Annual Exodus Drive" currently running at the club.Already a lot has been said about the exit of RvP, and it has hurt a lot, maybe more than Fabregas. It is like an ex-girlfriend who lives bang opposite your house and you are definite to see her more often than you like with her new boyfriend, as opposed to somebody who has shifted cities and you don't care who she landed up with.

But that is the face of reality, even though you would like to slap it, you realise that you've already been slapped by it. The more intriguing question, like every year was, who will be our next captain, a post that is becoming increasingly like the post of professor of "Defense against the Dark Arts". Almost as if it is cursed, whosoever lands up with the armband, leaves the club the next year. Which is why I thought AW would be clever enough to have realised by now that the armband should be given to Bendtner/Denilson/Chamakh/Squillaci(??).

Jokes apart, seriously, I am glad that TV is our captain and genuinely looks happy to play for the club, and on a more selfish note, is in a healthy contract position so we do not have to worry about it next summer. With Arteta assisting him, not in the literal sense of football(or maybe even in that sense), us fans can be more assured of the leadership that will be guiding the team.

We have a good summer considering the signings we have made. However there are still some holes to plug, and we cannot plug enough of them. I almost forgot to mention Song, whose departure came out of nowhere. I don't understand people justifying him leaving, who say that it is a tough choice to make when Barca calls you. Fans don't make that choice, they haven't done so for the last 7 years. Why should it be difficult for him? Then they go away and make some uncalled for remarks at their old club. At least SOng should've known better. If it wasn't for Arsene, he would probably still have been playing in the lower leagues. But that is done and dusted.

The most important thing is now to rebuild this squad, and I almost feel my fingers tremble when I type this, maybe there would be another trophy less season. We have made some new appointments in some key areas and they will need some time to gel with each other. But hoping for the best, knowing that the additions are experienced enough to understand how to react to such situations.

We don't know yet when Jack will be back, but his presence we certainly lack (without sound too poetic). Gathering from my experiences of last year with his "will he/won't he" comeback, I wont be convinced unless I see his name on the team sheet. Diaby has been looking good enough in the preseason and also against Sunderland. I sincerely hope, like RvP, out of the blues, stayed fit last season, Diaby follows suit.

Nonetheless, we still have to find replacements, and not just to make up numbers. There have been a host of suitors who are expected to be at least tracked by Arsenal. Though there were news that Arsenal have agreed terms for Nuri Sahin, we won't get carried away until everything is official. Apart from that I have a feeling that we might also sign another striker.

There is also the Theo issue, and I the feeling that he wont be signing a new contract is growing. If it had to be signed it would have been done by now. Though I think we have enough wingers, they still need time to settle and bringing in an experienced replacement would make sense. There are rumors that we might be after Jesus Navas, but we will see what happens.

We might be in a better position than last season. But it is all relative, we have to look at our competitors too.
Consider that we were at 'x' position last season and came to 'x-2' position after Fab+Nasri departures and finally ended up at 'x-1' position after new arrivals. But our competitors were at 'x+2' position at that time. This season, after the new arrivals, we came at 'x+2' position and after RvP and Song's departure we moved backwards to 'x' position. However, our competitors are now at 'x+4'. Maybe my algebra isn't good enough, but you get my point. I am not considering the potential improvement the new signings might bring, that is yet to be seen. But we have to make efforts that we prepare for contingency. Two years back we had to play Arshavin as a striker due to lack of any in our squad and that almost destroyed our season. We might have added Chamakh after that, but late(r).

I am sure that everyone has their sheets of "Lessons Learned" and there are signs of us trying to really "learn" from them. Next up is Stoke and as always it is surely going to be more of a physical game. Whether this squad can match there technicality with the physicality of Stoke, still remains to be seen.

8 days before the transfer window closes.

Saturday 7 July 2012

Gun-Ultimate is Back..
After a couple months of hibernation, Gun-Ultimate is finally back.. .

There is too much to catch up on from the last post here
Come May and we had a satisfying 3rd place finish in premier league, a spot in Champions League play-offs..  Finished over the Spuds..a decent finish to the end of the campaign.. I guess any Gunner will be happy with where we finished with the resources we had..

It was followed by a mixed-bag June though I must say..
Super fab RVP couldn’t get past the league stage,
Szczesny red carded in game 1..
Mertesacker warmed the bench, ­­
Kos got an odd-game,
Rosicky doing well to get Czech through the league..
Ox looked impressive.. what a bright future this kid has! ..Theo too had a decent Euro.. especially against the Swedes..
Arshavin.. looked decent until Russia’s surprise fall-out..
Bendtner was fabulous for the Danes.. hope it increases his market-value!
And our new boys in the town..

Lukas Podolski.. looked a bit rusty though i think he was playing a little off position wih Mario leading from front..
Olivier Giroud.. didn’t get much game time to showcase his skills..

The forced staff changes brings Steve Bould and Neil Banfield  to the first-team coaching staff after Pat Rice’s departure. It will be different to see a new face after getting used to seeing Pat Rice so often..

The 2012-13 EPL schedule is out and I see some not-so-easy fixtures lined up at start.. 5 out of 6 fixtures are such, that we can't afford to be rusty and dropping points.. We kick-start with Sunderland at home, followed by Stoke and Liverpool away.. Southampton at home.. should be the easiest.. and then Shitty away followed by the derby clash with Chelsea at home.. no wonder Aaron Ramsey says ‘Strong start can make a difference’.

Now let’s get to  the real business – The Transfer Market..
I wonder how always Arsenal is linked up with  so many and becomes nearly the most talked about side in the epl transfer market.. is it just because the way Wenger handles his business and keeps things too late..
But this time, we see a changed man in him.. he got Podolski and Giroud deal way early by his standard.. credit to him for learning from mistakes.. but there is still lot of unfinished business.. lets us stroll through the Arsenal market…

I know first thing everybody wants to hear is what RVP is saying or what he is going to say or what he is going to do..  the latest quote by RVP to skysports:
“I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.”
"You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions”
That just sums it up for the time-being. It is hard to speculate where he might end up. Theres Juve, theres Shitty with title.. Till the time there is no confirmation of done deal, we can keep our fingers crossed.. My guess is Shitty might be the one after all.. lets wait n watch..

There is some good news floating in as well. Sao Paolo has extended the loan period for Denilson.. One monkey off the back for Mr. Wenger!

What happens of Carlos Vela?
Carlos looks to settle himself at Real Sociedad but the 3m-6m gap is a little too much to clear up very quickly..

Who wants B52?
There is just so much and so little about Nicklas that it is hard to believe the turn of events that can happen. Especially after a wonderful Euro he had with goals and ‘Paddy Power’.. There is Galatasaray and there is Malaga leading the race… he might as well end up being loaned for another season…

News on Chamkah and Squillaci is too limited even after rigorous scavenging, so not much to speak on them.

Lastly we have the Olymics where we can expect few of our players representing national colours.
With AW meaning business this time round and Sports extravaganza hitting the world theres lot to see and hear in this month of July..

Thursday 12 April 2012

We score, three more!

Scoring ways!
 Even though it was a comprehensive victory for us, apart from a handful of incidents, there wasn't much in the match. Almost everyone had written off Wolves after the first 11 minutes. Barring a few nervy moments on Arsenal's part, it was almost a lethargic cake walk for the visitors.

9 minutes into the game and Walcott was looking as menacing as ever. His runs behind and through the defense were brilliant and it didn't take long for the first opening. RVP lobbed a pass over the defense to Walcott and just when he was about to control and finish, in the penalty box, Bassong tackled him and Walcott went to ground. The referee had to award the penalty. Bassong was red carded for the being tackling last defender. The penalty was deserved, the sending off might be a bit too harsh. But that was the referee's decision. RVP took the penalty(his first goal in 4 matches), and that too in some style.

Some people might argue that if Ashley Young's antics against QPR were criticised, so should Theo Walcott's. But I guess they just have to look at both the incidents, you have the Youtube, and see for themselves if they are similar or world's apart. No more comments on that.

Wolves were down to 10 men inside the opening 10 minutes and the home supporters almost felt sorry for their team. However, it got worse just 2 minutes after the first goal. RVP again made a square pass to Walcott near the Wolves' penalty box, and he finished it neatly past Hennessey. The crowd was frustrated at being 0-2 down in 11 minutes. They targeted their frustration on Walcott and booed him throughout the match, whenever he got near the ball. He looked a bit turned down after this and it just looked like the crowd rounded him up a bit.

Actually it was not just Walcott, but the whole team put on the brakes and played cautiously, content with passing the ball around and keeping possession. This added to the home supporters frustration and they started cries of "Boring, Boring" to put off the Gunners.

Arsene said,
We started well and then had a situation where we could control the game. Did we push on or not? After that we played a bit with the handbrake on, they played deeper and defended like mad with a great spirit until the end of the game.
Maybe that gave Wolves a chance to try and attack a bit with whatever they had. Some defensive lapses allowed the Wolves' players to put crosses into the box. Santos, in particular, looked a bit off his game. Though he is not known for his defensive capabilities, he did not looked comfortable at all in defense.

Szczesny didn't have much to do in the match apart from two brilliant saves. One came when Jarvis crossed the ball to Doyle who headed it goalwards, and though Szczesny looked to be going the wrong side, made a brilliant fingertips save from 3 yards away and parried the ball away. Another one came, off a Milijas shot and the Pole made a save it at his near post.

Though we were looking quite comfortable in the game, with 0-2 ahead, there must something going at the back of the Arsenal players' minds that if Wolves scored a goal, they will be right back in the game. The third goal had to be scored, but it couldn't come soon enough. Midway through the second half, Song was dwelling far forward in the oppositions penalty box and made a pass to Benayoun on the edge of the box. Benayoun spotted Hennessey moving towards the far post and shot at the near post for a clever finish.

The third goal surely sealed thee victory for the Gunners and the only thing left to take care of was the clean sheet, which we got. We got some goals to add to the goal difference, RVP was back on the score sheet and three more points in the league for us. RVP equalled Ian Wright's Premier League record of scoring against 17 different teams in a season. We are now 5 points ahead of Rottenham and Newcastle, and sitting happily in third position. Arsene said,
I am very happy that we are in this position but I am also very cautious because some teams have been in that position before. We want to win our next game because where we have come from this season we must be focused. We have come from very deep and to stay in this position we have to focus on our next game.
Obviously focus is going to be important, considering our next match against Wigan and their recent exploits. They were very unlucky to lose against Chelsea and they came back strongly to beat Manu yesterday. Surely the Gunners have a lot to study before the Monday night game and there are enough lessons learned already for us to act positively and "focus" on the next game.

Go Gunners!

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Back to business...Wolves vs Arsenal

Good to see the number 8 jersey on worthy shoulders!

It has been a horribly long time since I dropped the last post. It has been a low 10 days for me, health-wise. But now I am back in business, after being sick. No this sickness is not because of Ashley Young's potential Olympic gold winning dive against QPR, or the FA's decision against Arsene and not even Balotelli's kung-fu practice on Alex Song, neither from FA's reluctance to punish Maverick Mario for trying to involve violence in his game. Maybe those things will make you more than just be sick, but feels good to be back.

One thing that I did not miss was our continual form, if not ascent. But there has been something in the past two months that has almost ensured that the ascent is slow but steady and the things that looked bleak at the start of this season are proving quite sparkling now. Our win over the cash kings has just strengthen that belief that, maybe, money isn't everything.

I have never seen this league being so fierce in competition, where, barring few teams, almost every team has a reason to fight until the end of the season. There are only 6 games left to be played and it is almost impossible to predict which teams will finish in the third and fourth spot. I am considering that Manc, 10 points ahead of Arsenal and 8 behind Manu, won't give up on their title challenge. However, a lot of teams have just evaporated under pressure of the title race in the past. Manc are showing signs of that kind of pressure. Rottenham, who were in the hunt for the title until they came across us and then their slump in form, are now struggling to stay in the fourth spot.

Back to tonight's match against Wolves. When you look at the league table, you will see Wolves at the bottom. It's so easy to be complacent and underestimate your opponents in such situations. We have already paid the price against QPR just 10 days back and we are not lucky enough, like some other teams, to have referees who would be grateful enough to be the 12th man on the pitch. But you just get the feeling that there are enough players in our team who have got their heads screwed tightly to their shoulders, who will be sensible enough to guide themselves and the team to focus.

Arsene has shielded himself from any kinds of prediction and do the simpler thing, take each match as it comes, and try to win it. He says,
Let's not anticipate, that is something else that is important. When it gets to the last sprint, the focus on the next game becomes the most important part because you are always tempted to anticipate. We have the experience to know just to deal with the next one and that is the only important thing.
Although, Arsenal has been successful on each of their trips in the past to the Molineux, Wolves have a decent group of players in their team, but again, predicting anything based on what is "on paper" is as good as predicting what's out there in the universe.

As far as team news is concerned, we have Gibbs out due to a groin "fatigue". AW insists that it's not an injury, it is just a rest for his groin. If I am not mistaken, it is Gibbs' 9th or 10th straight game after returning from injury. But given his age, you would expect him to be fitter, but there you go. Which means Santos gets a start in a long time. He offers that extra edge in the attack, thanks to his Brazilian roots, but I am not too sure about his defensive capabilities. Jarvis has been pretty good for Wolves this season, and Santos will do good to keep him quite. Gervinho still stays out with an ankle injury, Benayoun might get another start in place of him. Kos is suspended after clocking 10 yellow cards this season and Djourou takes his place. Sagna's inclusion is still doubtful. There was no news about him being injured, I think AW will want to play safe. But excluding Sagna might mean changing 3 of the back four and that may give enough reasons for our defense getting out of sync.

All things said, I think it is a good chance for us to score some goals, gain on the goal difference. 3 more points and that would put us 5 points safe from the fourth spot!
Go Gunners!