Monday 30 January 2012

Back to the future!

It was just one of those rare days, where everything went our way, at least in the second half. I am not going to quote another cliché by saying that it was a "Tale of two halves". I almost did. Like I said yesterday, we needed a bit of luck going our way and we need to do that extra bit for luck to favor us, and we did go that extra mile to have luck favoring us. When was the last time you remember, two penalties going our way in 7 minutes or for that matter two penalties in a whole match? No controversies with the penalties, both valid and both taken beautifully, on either side of the net, by RVP.

Something stirred in the dressing room at half time, that gave that extra muscle to our performance. It's almost as if the team was playing eleven Gollums fighting to get the ring. All we have to do is carry this desire in every match in the season. You could see how much this team has missed a trophy, and the FA cup looks just the thing to quench that thirst.

Surely Wenger was at the heart of the half time inspirational talks, but there has to be more to it. When you look at RVP, TV, The Ox, Kos and this time, surprisingly, Walcott too, there was a sense of urgency. They were staring at the newspaper headlines reading, "Arsenal throw it away again" or whatever juicy bit the media make of it. Sadly for them, they couldn't find any news of Arsenal's demise this time. Neither there is too much being said about the awesome come back. This time they have targeted RVP for an elbow on Cuellar and Alex Mcleish is leading the protests. I don't know if he has got something against RVP, last time Hutton was conned into a red card and this time Cuellar almost murdered. What about the jump by Dunne to score the first goal, he used Kos for stilts to rise above everyone else. I can remember Arshavin being brutally elbowed in the jaw in a PL match, I don't remember the opposition, guess it was Sunderland and Richardson the culprit. Alex Mcleish almost sounded like AW after a defeat(tongue in cheek).

This time I don't want to bicker about AW's histrionics, he deserves some praise for the way he inspired the team to perform in the second half. We might question his decisions at times but the thirst for success has never diminished and its ever increased more than ever. Hope he continues to do the same for the rest of the season.

Well there was no doubt about our activities in this transfer window and this has put an end to all arguments. Its a bit of a concern considering our depth and quality. Hope that our starting XI and their backups see out the season without any injuries.

Having Arteta back was refreshing and you could immediately see the effect of that, with the command we had over our midfield. Rosicky did a decent job and he needs to be more consistent with his creativity. Walcott put in a good shift in the second half and gave that extra bit and was rewarded with a lucky goal. The Ox has been growing in stature and his form continues to impress. I am sure he is going to be a big hit, and I don't want to compare him to Rooney at all, he'll definitely be a better player. Hope it rubs off on his Saints team-mate and reflects in their performance. And how do we forgot about Sagna. Finally we'll have some life on the right :)

For the next rounds draw we might be facing Sunderland or Middlesborough. Hope we can repeat this form in the next round and there is a feeling somewhere, this one is it!

Image courtesy:

Sunday 29 January 2012

Arsenal vs Aston Villa [FA cup]

I know its a bit late, but its getting kind of a habit to do this. The game has already kicked off and it is not looking good at all!

For the starting XI, I thought that Yennaris might be given the green light, but apparently, Coquelin starts at RB and Sagna on the bench, which is fine considering we have the PL clash with Bolton in 3 days time. Fabianski has replaced Szczesny and other than that we are fielding the same team that started against ManU. Surprisingly Henry does not start, then again, we might want to keep him fresh for the PL. No surprises with our selection of our CF. We don't have a choice other than RVP, at least Wenger doesn't think he does. The Ox starts too, and Arshavin on the bench...what do you think? Will Sunday's debacle be repeated by Wenger?

We are already a goal down and its the same story again. There is still a lot of time to go in this match and hope we can come up with some goals to win it, unless we want a replay, which I don't think is a good idea considering our recent medical form. Lets keep our fingers crossed for this one. I hope we have some luck going our way, but the team must justify themselves for the luck to favor them. Remember, no free lunches and certainly not any trophies.

Keeping it short today, getting back to the game. Tomorrow!

Image courtesy:

Saturday 28 January 2012


So today, the FA cup fourth round kicks off. Actually Rottenham already played their match last evening and apparently were given a very tough run in the match by resilient Watford, before VD Vaart put them ahead by scoring the winner.

QPR play Chelsea at home right now and are going quite well at HT with the score 0-0. Surely, Chelsea will want to wrap it up today to avoid the replay. Liverpool play ManU at Anfield and are already leading 1-0. No other major matches today and we play tomorrow evening.

Well not a lot has happened after Jack's setback and if things go according to AW's plans there will be no transfer activity. If any, it would certainly be a surprise. But we still have some players who could play there, only if AW has enough faith in them to give a decent run. Ramsey's been clearly overplayed and needs to be rested, unless we want to see him out of action for the next season. According to the boss, Jack's setback will keep him out from training for at least 6-8 weeks and then they will have a look at him if he is fit for training and then a further 6 weeks to get match fit. We are looking at at least 2-2.5 months on the sidelines by which time, Arsenal would have either nailed the season or the coffin of their Champions league berth. Yes, now we are considering finishing fourth as a stupendous run of form. Other than that, the boss thinks there is every chance that Jack will play the Euros, we know that tone, and we can certainly read between the lines.

Koscielny has been touted as one of the best in the league by his manager, which will certainly give him more confidence than he already has and the manager has to be praised too for finding him, but he took a whole season(which is understandable) to settle down, by then the season had already gone down the drains and we don't want be reminded of Martins goal in the Carling cup final.

Well we wont bicker about things not in our hands, and look forward to tomorrow's clash. Its never over until its over. I hope the recent losses will put some anger in our team and reflect in our responses and we start with a decent run like the one from Sept to Dec 2011. The team has been evolving and adapting and that's what football and, for that matter, life is all about.

Whatever be the activities outside the team, the team has to focus on tomorrow, because this might be our one chance to regain some lost confidence and add at least one trophy this season. If all goes well, maybe it will brush in our PL form too. Fingers crossed!

A deserved praise for The Ox, but I think he is certainly better.

The silver lining...?

Let's start with some good news, because, lets face it, we need one, anything...even a news saying "Arsenal have wiped the dust of their trophy cabinet" would be relieving. Sagna is back in full training and apparently checks all the boxes for a fit RB. AW considers him in contention for the squad along with Coquelin, Arteta & TH14. Obviously its a huge boost to again have a regular fullback in the team. Also, Gibbs will be starting training again since Monday and definitely out of this Sunday's FA cup match.

Now for the bad news, Jack has had a setback and its not yet clear what exactly is the problem. There are also talks that he might be out for the season which is a major blow to our season. Its just not clear, when everything was on track and it looked all rosy, how can suddenly there be a problem? One week ago, Jack would have apparently surprised Hippocrates himself and now everyone is surprised that there is some alien problem. The Boss said there it might be an inflammation or not and he will out for sometime but not sure how long!?

You just can't wrap your head around it somehow, whether to be happy that our fullbacks are back our to be devastated that there is another injury blow. Isn't this the same situation that happened with TV last year, when he was supposed to come back but then had a setback and he couldn't?? Surely all these obstacles can't be put just plain old bad luck,...and we are not even demanding an explanation and surely there can't be one.

Everyone was thinking that Jack might comeback and all the problems will be solved automatically, suddenly we have a problem in the midfield and we don't have enough cover and creativity there. We are one injury short of being in a real slump, if we aren't already. Wasn't January supposed to take care of all this? Isn't "Prevention is better than cure" the mother of all clichés? Shouldn't Wenger, with a man of his experience, be aware that this is a possibility and have thought over this when we already have had such experiences in the not too distant past? Don't we have bigger problems of our own than bickering about two footed tackles?I know there are a lot of questions and they have been left unanswered and there are growing worries and something is very suspicious about all the silence here. Almost as if nobody really cares what happens with Arsenal, as long as we own 20 teams from different sports in the US and own a large sports enterprise, and we brag about our profits and our future takeovers in our so called high class circles.

This admits to us being stupid and we being okay with dropping points for lack of depth in the squad as long as our purses look heavy, and I am not sure if even that purse is our own and we are allowed to use it! Just last week a friend asked me that if you were the manager and if you were asked to trade Hazard+Goetze for RVP, would you agree? I replied, hee haa haa,please leave, and oh also take AA23 along with you, absolutely free of cost! Now, ill believe even if you tell me that RVP will be traded in the summer against Tom+Dick+Harry+XYZ, just because it will increase our quantitative squad and all of them will observe from the bench, as Chamakh and Park fight it out to keep the ball, only to be summoned when in the last minute of a game where our regular XI are on the physicians table.

I know its sounds very negative and very stingy but truth can be better sometimes, and in our case, most of the times. Atleast the manager realises that the fans are craving for their team's success. Yes, Arsenal fans are a proud lot and have a lot of respect for their club, but the team has also to realise that they are very lucky to have fans like these who will always support their club through thick and no matter how thin. Although, I am dreading the way things are getting thinner and thinner. Only time will tell...

Team news
Talking out of your mouth

Thursday 26 January 2012

More whining!

Like I said yesterday, Coach Boone decided to take his team to Gettysburg and have an open talk and put some sense into the players who need it. Wonder who'll be doing that for Boone..AW? Hope is the one thing we can count on right now and obviously RVP too. I think the only thing that can surprise fans right now will be a trophy. Some news came out that TH14 visited the Emirates trophy room and joked that it was the same as he had left it, maybe some cobwebs on it.

AW has called for change in the player loan rules. He says that only players below the age of 21 should be allowed to be loaned to other clubs. Currently the situation is that the rival clubs loan a player to rival clubs and according to the rules that player can't play against his home club but benefits the loanee. Lot of this might be coming from the fact that Adebayor has been loaned out to Rottenham and has proved quite a charm to them. However, he did not feature against ManShitty because of the loan rules. Arsenal themselves have Benayoun on loan from Chelsea who is on the wrong side of 30. However, we didn't have a choice then, since Jack was supposed to go through surgery and we needed some cover in that position, AW's words. The fact is that Benayoun has not played even 25% of the matches that Jack would have played. But I ask why to think about stuff that is clearly not in our hands, AW is not on the EPL shit rule-maker members club. He should be thinking about negating his own weaknesses instead of such stupid and trivial things. I mean what does he think, if the loan rules would have been as he says then Arsenal won't be in this position? The blame is on everyone related to the clubs and fans are not an exception. Our away support has been more vocal and active than the home support this season.

The focus has to be on Sunday's FA Cup clash with Alex McLEECH's team. Ignasi Miquel is focussed and talks about his dream to play at Wembley, which is good to see. There is nothing more exciting than aspiring youngsters hungry for success and ready to take on the world. Maybe it would brush on some of the experienced players.

Almost a week has gone by since the AW-Ox swapped and AW mentioned before the game that he will look into the transfer markets for LB options. No talk, no rumors no murmurs yet though. Taye Taiwo, AC Milans LB has signed been signed by QPR on loan. I am not flinching, just saying. I dont know who he is or how good a player is he. AW stated that it would be stupid to drop three points because we don't have a left back, and we have already dropped purely because of that. Yes that IS stupid and we have been flirting with our luck and the clubs chances to progress this season. You simply can't expect a club of Arsenal's level to perform that low, 8 defeats!, and still come out good. Well at least not unless the competitors perform even lower which never seems to happen. The injury crisis always seems to hit Arsenal hard, all the bad luck goes our way, all the referees think that Arsenal is a ghetto and any kind of success to us is simply not acceptable. It's time we realised the problem lies somewhere else and it has its roots deep down. The sad thing is we have overlooked these problems and have been whining about others.

I don't have an immediate solution for this or don't know how to come out of this mess in a better way. I certainly have some pointers which would be beneficial, but if that was true, I would have been the manager.

Have a nice Thursday!

Wipe off the blood...

It's really been dull the past few days and it's hard to even get off to a good start in the day. But had a really nice late lunch with my close friends and some heart to heart football talk with my friend who's a Chelsea fan. He feels a little discomforted too being 5 points below 3rd and little alright with being 5 points clear off the 5th which makes our N London rivals  5 and 10 points ahead of us.

But its given us some time to gain a little perspective, get off our asses and dust ourselves and ready to fight again. Like Mike Tyson once said, at least I think he was the one who said it:

"It doesn't matter how well you prepare for a fight, what matter is how you react after being hit the first punch."
The future is everything, and no point kicking yourself over what's been done. Our fans are acting like George Costanza, pessimistic and full of agony and rage. The have every reason to be angry, the players feel the anger too, but they must control their anger and convert it into their performance. I know I am quoting a lot and the last one by Denzel Washington from "Remember the Titans". It won't be too bad to have a re-run of that movie every now and then, for the team. We are in quite a similar situation as the T.C. rifts between everyone. And like in the movie, if don't pull ourselves together, we'll never be the Invincibles that we once were.

Apparently and obviously Fabio Capello is having a look at  The Ox, and thinks he could be featured in the Euro12, which is simply fantastic for a player of his age and might be damaging at the same time due to the sudden publicity. But he looks like a level headed person and hope he will handle this better than others.

Not much in the news, surprisingly no absurd rumors about transfers happening or us rampaging in the transfer market buying everyone. The news about players we currently have is that two of them, TH14 and MA8 are fit and available for this Sunday's FA cup clash with Aston Villa. I think we have a very realistic chance in this competition and to win it might mean a lot. At least it will give us fans something to be cheering about something like the dementors that feed on every ounce of happiness though not in a gross way.

Alright then, no special news today, other than AW being looked at by Real Madrid as an option to replace Mourinho, which makes you, "Messi joining Arsenal", sound more realistic.
Already people have placed odds over who will replace AW, and that's taking it too far, almost as if don't want it to happen.

Goodnight everyone..

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Sunny and positive.

The dust has still not settled and the feeling not yet sunk. The hangover still there, my head needs a dunk!
No matter how much you try to forget about it and try not to dissect the loss, you end up doing it. This morning, leaving for work, I accidentally locked my family inside the house and funnily don't recall doing that. Don't know if I was thinking about Sunday, or trying to get over the fact that I will reach the office soon.

Obviously the fans reaction to the sub has caused quite a stir among the media and something to feed themselves on. Everyone from the "Who's who" of football to the "not so who" have tried analysing the incident in their own way. RVP has been quick to put an end to the matter and zip up the lashing tongues with this article in The Sun and from The Daily Mail.

He says:
"I have worked with the boss long enough to know there's always a good reason behind his decisions — and there was again on Sunday.
When Arsene makes a decision, it is based on a lot of information that everyone else might not know about and he will never betray.
I admire him so much for that."

That should end all speculation about any rifts, at least any apparent ones. Since taking over the captaincy, he has looked more sure of himself and what he wants. The fact that he was upset to see The Ox leaving the field shows how much he wanted the win. The attitude shown by our players has been such a refreshing change from recent seasons. When you look at players like RVP, TV, Szczesny, Koscielny, Arteta, Jack, Ox etc. you know there is something that drives them in every match. The way they act or react is appreciable. I know AW is not a fan favorite right now, but its commendable what he has done this season. Not many managers can boast of picking up his team from down the drains after one month into the season to the 5th place they are right now.
It was not easy going through the summer, though some may argue that he had a clear picture that Fabregas leaving is a major possibility and should have covered the position sufficiently. But who are we kidding, is there really any replacement for Fabregas?? Ramsey is not yet the finished product though you cannot doubt his heart.

When you look at Arshavin, you wish that you wake up from this nightmare. But think what any other player in his position might have done. What if Balotelli or Tevez or Rooney were going though the same kind of bad patch and the crowd had reacted that way. We don't have to look too much in the past what Adebayor did after a bad season, he blames the fans. Nasri openly said that Arsenal fans are not as passionate as City's fans. Arshavin hasn't said a word yet about any disappointment or any depression that would make him want to kill himself. Maybe its all deep down, but he hasn't reacted at all. Maybe it shows in his performances, which is bad for the team. I hope he has a few good years ahead in terms of football, but his chances with Arsenal next season are slimmer than his IPod.

Skeptics will speculate, but I still think that we can make it to the top four. Evolution is a tricky thing and its funny how the human mind adapts. At the beginning of the summer, there was a lot of talk that no one would accept only finishing in the top four good enough. Today our captain speaks about being confident of a top four finish, whilst our respected chairman thinks it wont hurt to not finish in the top four. Surprising how quickly half a season can change your expectations. Scary but true. Don't even want to think what the next season holds, there's still pretty much lot to achieve this season.
We will be realistic and still optimistic of our chances in the rat race that's just begun. Good luck getting over the hangover.

Some interesting reads:
Piers Morgan's expert(ahem) comments. 
Are we buying Messi?
Some dizzy numbers about Sunday's Arsenal vs ManU.
Nostradamic revelation about Arsenal.

Monday 23 January 2012

Oh Draconian Devil, oh lame saint*!

*-Not targeted at any of our Saints wingers,..alright, maybe one of them.
1-2, doesn't sound as bad some pessimistic people make it sound. They might say that lose 0-3 and we will have improved on the 8-2. Whatever the result, it was as the cliché goes, a tale of two halves. We certainly improved on our 2nd half performance compared to what we did in the last 2 games. It was nice to see that we put ManU on the backfoot in the better half of the game. The only thing missing was the composure to finish off the game with a winner or at least a point.

I will try not bicker too much on the substitutions. Already too much has been said about it, last time a Russian sub cause discomfort was during the cold war. Don't want to reproduce that. The crowd already showed their reactions to that last night. I think it was a bit too harsh(funny how almost everyone is saying that it was a bit too harsh, even people from the stadium, but in reality no one held back their feelings during the game), to boo the manager that way, not to mention RVP's frustration on the substitution...I mean c'mon its Wenger not Steve Kean. This man is the reason for where the club is today, positively and negatively, more positively though. Sure, something must have ticked in his mind that he took off The Ox and the same ticker seemed to turn off when he put on Arshavin. It was not easy for Arshavin to cope with that and you could see that, but then again its not easy to earn 70-80K GBP per week. And his  performances in the past year are certainly not worth it. Enough said though..the game is past and gone.

Even TV wasn't comfortable, understandably that he was out of his regular position and returning from an injury. But you could say that he was a bit at fault for both the goals. Such was the breakout during the substitution that people even blamed Arshavin for the 2nd goal, that he did not defend when in fact it was TV caught out of position. Anyways, I still think that with Ox still on the field we would still be attacking. Which again brings us to the same question, is AW going to spend at all in the winter? Where is the depth in the midfiled? After Ramsey/Rosciky, whom do we look up to, to come into the game and make an impact? Do we still wait for Jack and drop points till then? Like AW said himself, it would be stupid to drop points for not having regular full-backs. That goes for all positions. To be fair TR7 was very lively last night and you could see that flicker of fire that we saw when he came to the PL.

The goals are still not there and none from the midfield has contributed to the cause. It was RVP again scoring the equaliser and its surprising that no one has even mentioned the miss from RVP. I mean it was barely 10yards from the net and he blasted wide! But he has earned that leverage from this seasons performances. You net 20 and blast one wide not the other way around or in the case of Arshavin, blast 30 wide and score none! The best change would have been to put Arshavin in place of Ramsey. Ramsey's clearly exhausted and still his work-rate is phenomenal. But he needs a couple of games on the sideline but I guess that's not going to happen, given the depth of our squad, at least not till Arteta returns.

The immediate fix for this would be to buy, but whom do we buy? Is it too late to fix? If no one is available, do we look at the Reserves? Is there anyone capable? Personally I feel, Ox should start from now on, and why not try Ryo? Some might argue that that's too much of inexperience on the field, but look what 3 years of PL experience has done to Arshavin? He has been lazier than the Dormouse from The Mad-Tea Party. He can't even seem to put a pass together...but as the wise say "This too shall pass"...but will he??

There is still a lot left in this season to "turn a corner". But after a certain point you ask yourself, how many corners are we going to turn in a single season? Won't we land in the same place?.. which we already have.
I am in a fix, where exactly is the change needed, on the front-end or back-end?? Do we revamp our whole system? I surely hope not. What we can hope is for a good couple of next matches, at least think of getting to the top four now. I cannot imagine my Tuesday/Wednesday nights without the UCL. If we don't qualify through top four there is an outside chance that if we win the Champions League this year we gain automatic qualification. But with the Madrid's and Barcelona's of the world that's a very tough job...certainly not impossible given our form in Europe. It starts with AC Milan...

Before I wrap up, just word of appreciation towards Yennaris. An 18year old coming off the bench to make his PL debut against ManU and doing pretty well is certainly appreciable to say the least. +Per, Kos. They held Rooney quite well. Thanks to Song for elbowing the Orc-face and to Rambo for breaking his back ;-)
Oh and also to Mike Dean, handled the game pretty alright, even if that's another match we have lost when he's monitored.

Hope some sanity prevails in those oakwood panelled boardrooms of Arsenal.

From other news:

Nasri justifies leaving Emirates....yeah right.
The Ox speaks about his performance....we wish he starts and stars in every game.

Sunday 22 January 2012

North London vs Manchester

So the game kicks off in less than 3 hours and there was some good news that TV might be fit for it. The manager might make a last moment decision on him. Nothing on TH14 yet, but if he's fit, I guess he should start. Maybe we could bring on Alex later on just to test the tired opposition.

Somewhere I have a feeling that we can nick this one. We'll take a ONE-NIL to the Arsenal any time. What matters is those 3 points. With Chelsea dropping points yesterday, we need to win these 3 points. Also, hot on our tail, Newcastle, who dropped 3 precious points after a pretty good first half. Fulham played the way they played against us and deserved the win. So a good chance to get our necks above the water.

For the starting XI, I guess Rosicky will play in Arteta's position, which makes Song's position all the more important. We know how much he likes to move forward, but today, with Rosicky besides him(if he starts), he should guard his back four well and not get carried away. I don't think Arshavin will start today, at least I don't want to have an attack even before the game starts. As long as he is on the bench, we can move fine. Yes that's a bit harsh for him, but sorry, its just not happening for him right now. I still think a couple of games with the Reserve team would do him good, that is if we are not planning to sell him in the winter. And when there is some hint of form, we can play him in Rambo's position, when he needs a breather. But a strict NO NO for today. If TV is available, he will be there at left back or else Miquel will be the obvious choice.

Another player, whom Arsenal needs to come around finally and step up his performance, is Theo. But he has grossly under performed recently and has bee n very wasteful. AW's reluctance to accept the deficiencies of some players is scary.

I think the key to today's game is Rambo's performance, we know that RVP will be the focal point but the orchestration will depend on Rambo's dominance. So much has been said about the 8-2, and I don't want to impress too much upon it, but it would be good if we could give a good smack.

The other match between  City and Rottenham is being played as I write and Bale has scorched his team to comeback from 2-0 down to 2-2 up. I think a drawn game would be best for Arsenal.

Keeping this short today,..want to get back to the game...

Go Gunners!!

Saturday 21 January 2012

Aim for the stars..

The only difference between dreams and accomplishments is desire...and if the desire, the ambition is not there, there are chances you might not even make it if you are running alone. Peter Hill-Wood, Arsenal's chairman, thinks finishing outside the top 4 would not be so bad. If this is what we are preparing for, then we don't have any right to call ourselves ambitious. He might be 76, but that does not mean the desire should not be there.

Even now we should be aiming for a title. It does not matter if it is realistic or mere optimism, at least you know and more importantly let others know, what you want. How do this reflect on the team then? The prime motive of any top footballer is to play at the very top level and that is in the Champions League. How do you expect players to stay motivated if you are not playing in the Champions League? It might not be so bad, financially, being outside the top 4 but its very demotivating thinking that you won't be there. Even then, Arsenal will be missing out on the Champions League funds and not to mention the repulsion of top players to come to the club.

Arsene Wenger thinks it really would be a disaster to finish outside the top 4, and quite rightly so. The hunger should still be there, even with the recent bad form. He speaks about the long term rivalry between him and SAF. You can still see that fire of still wanting to beat Manchester United, which is very motivating for the fans and the team. Some of the players would do good to soak some of this inspiration. Never in the past 14years have we finished a season without the top 4. Arseblog re-iterates what I want to state. AW still pondering over his full-back problem, but he has put that post tomorrow's match. His reluctance in patching up these issues is a bit of concern. He said it himself that dropping points due to lack of fullbacks would be stupid. And I think waiting for your injured to come back to boost your options is being a bit slack. The time is here and now and dropped points are dropped points

The referee for the game tomorrow is Mike Dean, and that is another concern and AW knows it too. I am sure he understands where his team has lacked in the recent losses but with the decisions going against you has some impact on your morale. Moreover, Mike Dean has been a bit of a jinx this season, with not a single 3-pointer going our way when he has monitored the game. That's something which is not in our hands, hope the angels shower some sense in him, or if you are wishing for something, then maybe he stays out of the game because of constipation. Amen!

TH14, for me he'll always be 14, speaks about his admiration for Paul Scholes and his tackles(!?). Surely, he wouldn't want to miss tomorrows game against them. Being here for only 6 weeks, and to play against the oldest rivals again, I am sure he must be itching to get back there and I hope he recreates some of the magic, like this blast from the past. I wouldn't complain if he doesn't do it with the same ease, a simple tap-in would do wonders too. I really hopes he makes it, and Scholes is sent off for a tackle, now wouldn't that be just like the old days :-)

Moreover, Rottenham take on Cha-ching City tomorrow. As much as I hate City, I would want them to beat Spurs tomorrow, maybe an added motivation for our team going to the game.

Friday 20 January 2012

All rounders?

Working out of one's area of specialization definitely improves the overall skillset. We have seen this much too often in the case of cricket, we have seen batsmen who bowl regularly and bowlers who bat consistently. This has made them to improve their overall understanding of the game. We don't have an "all-rounder" concept as such in football, though currently, we can see at Arsenal, there are people who play out of their position. However, this has put our famous gameplay in jeopardy. This is where some people are actually starting to believe that Cricket and Football are two different games. There might be some minor similarities like, both require not more than the playing 11 from a team at any point during the game, both might sometimes have the referee playing as the12th player for one team without the referee realising this.

In football, we need specialist people at specific positions. Ok, Coquelin did a fairly good job at RB, LB and better still at his regular defensive midfield role. But we would still like to have Sagna, Santos(?)/Gibbs playing in their regular positions. You simply cannot imagine playing Arshavin in a holding midfield role.
Speaking of whom, I guess he was used to playing in the central attacking midfield at Zenit just behind the attacker. Even Eboue used to be better on the attacking wing than at right back. To be fair to him, he did fairly alright in both the positions. The point is that injuries has taken its toll again on AFC and we can see that in the results, more precisely the last two. After the 4-0 smashing of Wigan, our wins have been a bit scrappy and the loses have hurt a lot. No one can be blamed for these injuries, but its depressing how much it affects our so called "huge squad". If you carefully notice, for the past 3-4 seasons, we have had some critical injuries which has hampered our progress a lot. Eduardo, RVP, Vermaelen from past three seasons and most of all this season it has piled up. Four full backs, Jack, now Henry, Vermaelen, Arteta. Sometimes you wish that all this was not true,that it is just you playing Fifa on your Playstation. Oh did I forget Diaby? Not my fault, he has been hardly noticed.

People with heart problems are advised not to read ahead. The team news is not great ahead of our clash with ManU.
TV is still a remote possibility and probably will have a test before the game. Arteta is definitely not playing. Henry will have a test. Wilshere, Sagna, Gibbs and Jenkinson are recovering well but still 2-3 weeks away.
Santos is 2 months away. Coqueling is supposed to start training soon. So, I guess none of these will be available against ManU. Even if TV and Henry are fit in time for the game, they might not be risked in the starting XI.

The starting XI for sunday should be a question for rocket scientists, but we'll do our best to come up with it.

Szczesny, Miquel, Per, Kos, Djourou,  Song, Ramsey, Rosicky/Benayoun, Ox/Arshavin(I am already trembling), Walcott, RVP.

A bigger question is, who will be on the bench?? Next you know, Pat Rice resumes at right back!

    -Van de kapitein.
    -An interesting read.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Do we undertake outsourced player scouting?

I don't exactly mean what the title actually says. But for the past couple of seasons I have observed that Arsenal has been scouting youngsters and some established players. Right till the time Arsenal notices them, there is no news about them and suddenly a player interests Arsenal, and all other clubs eventually are linked with him. In the end, some other big club ends up buying him. I am not sure how much truth there is to transfer rumors, but they can't be all wrong. It makes us wonder if Arsenal really scouts players for others!

City, Chelsea have bought so many players that in some point of time were primarily linked to Arsenal. Mata, Lukaku, David Silva are some recent examples. Half  the City team is of former Gunners, at least half of their better players. When you look at the teams in the league now, there is hardly a team that does not have a former Arsenal player in them. Anyways, there is hardly any point talking about this.

The subject of talk is Jack's return which gives me some respite and something that makes me think about...Last season was the stage where Jack was launched and unleashed upon the EPL. He was 19 when he started playing regularly for the first team. Somewhere you get the feeling that he was being prepared for imminent departure of Cesc. Normally, Arsenal would not pressure a 19year old to these levels. Like we see with Alex OC now. There is just a couple of difference in their ages, but Alex is not pressured up to the same level as Jack. Arsene is taking it easy with him and giving him to to develop. So I dont think Theo will be out anytime soon, which is a good thing, but not for the contract amount he is looking to secure. Still, its overwhelming to see our expectations from a 20year old. Do we expect him to comeback and straightaway turn around our fortunes? I don't doubt Jack even a bit, I know he is raring to go and turn things around. But is it right for us to expect it from one single player? Where has all the creativity suddenly gone from our play?

I dont think the 4-4-3 system is working for us without our regular fullbacks. Shouldn't there be a PlanB? Also, with our wide players not giving much help to RVP, I think a more direct approach to attacking will be better. If I was given the choice, I would deploy RVP in the perfect no. 10 role, and keep Walcott ahead. What's the harm in trying, we know that it's not really working right now playing him wide. Yes, its all part of his development but its been a long time now.

I don't know what will be our strategy this weekend against ManU. Its not that I don't like Arshavin, I still remember the scorcher he scored when he first played against ManU for Arsenal, it's just that right now he is really low on confidence...maybe some games with the Reserves will do him good. Alex has shown enough for him to be considered for a starting spot. It wont be too bad to play 4-1-2-1-2. I will keep RVP jsut behind Theo. We all know that ManU is having some problems with their defense, it would be good to give them something to think about, but a definte NO NO to Arshavin, maybe Park..heh?

Looking at our home-form I would guess 1-0 to Arsenal??

Ryo feels he's ready.
Some feel good effects.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Chilly and gloomy...

Yes its the winter and like most people, I am a big fan of the cold. Wrapped up in my blanket and never wanting to wake up early. Although, this heavenly experience is quickly turning quite gloomy. Watching Arsenal play and lose is actually making me want to wrap myself in a blanket and never wanting to wake up. Eventually I might hurl myself in the Arctic Ocean with the blanket still wrapped around me...make that a straitjacket.

One thing that my father has taught me was that, it is alright to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. Also, doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results is like my friend, a Man U fan explained, supporting Arsenal every time and expecting them to win...he had to face the consequences. Somewhere there was a hint of truth there and not all mocking.

I know it's not as straight-forward as it sounds, but it's not that twisted either. We had a problem with our keeper couple of seasons back, and we persisted with it to realise 2 seasons later that we were preparing a solution and not going for a ready-made one. Who knows what would have happened if we had opted for a ready-made solution. Same thing about our defense, thought we eventually opted for a 6'6" solution. Still I am not completely convinced about our defense. And with our most consistent full-back, Sagna, absent for the past 3 months, its been a bit harsh.

There is a clear line between what we call "Quantity" and "Quality". As long there is quality in the quantity, we are fine. The moment we start filling scraps to make weight, it all goes wrong. Its like filling a sack full of cotton, it all looks big and huge when its full. The moment it gets wet, it starts weighing on our own shoulders. Its time to lay-off this cotton and start getting some real metal. It's good to see Henry back in the ranks and I am glad he really feels for the club, but for how long? I am sick and tired of arguing with anti-Gunners about "We are the Invincibles" and them keeping on telling me, "Dude, get over it, its been over 7 years!!".

I am a big fan of Arsene Wenger, he has managed this club shrewdly for the past 15 years. I would challenge the current ManC team to repeat our Invincible record(I know it's been 7 years, but you can't stop bragging about it :)). But, I guess it won't be so bad if he could listen the cry for help once in a while. Agreed he is under tons of pressure, but with that kind of authority there is bound to be pressure. There has to be something in this window, you cannot just turn your back on it saying, I don't like this window. Even if you don't people are still trying to make amends. Newcastle have lost Ba to ACN and they've already got a replacement. Actually they might have forseen that he is bound to leave in the summer, but kudos to Newcastle. Ba may want to step his game up seeing this competition, he is no RVP!

I don't know what the Mayans had to say about Arsenal...but I wish at least the top 4.