Archive for the ‘Premier League’ Category

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Vermaelen suffers suspect leg break, Eduardo injured again, two points dropped

In Arsenal FC,Premier League on January 27, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

This could be a really, really, costly game.

We should know about the state of Thomas Vermaelen’s leg tomorrow, and whilst Sol Campbell filled in admirably, you can’t help but worry. What a massive loss it would be, the end of his season for sure.

Eduardo has done another muscle in and I would put money on it being around three weeks before he is ready again, putting pressure on Nicklas Bendtner who understandably lacked match sharpness but impressed me with his determination and clear skill.

Comment on the game tomorrow, I need a little time to clear my thoughts up.

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I really thought we had choked – oh how I was wrong

In Arsenal FC,Premier League on January 21, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

I had to endure almost three-quarters of the game in a lecture, I looked at the score on my phone…1-0 down after 7 minutes, I thought to myself “we can turn this round, no worries, we have been here tons of times” I kept refreshing and refreshing until I saw someone had scored, it was Bolton, again, and even worse, that skag Matty Taylor had scored.

Blog headlines were popping up in my head “CHOKERS!!!” was one of them, born out of pure rage that we were failing to take advantage of a chance to go top, we now needed four goals now for that to happen.

“we need a goal before half time or we are well and truly stuffed”.

After refreshing madly I noticed Thomas Rosicky had scored. “Get in” I said, rather too loudly,“we can win this now, not by two clear goals but the three points is most important, Cesc will score, I’d bet my life on it”. Walking out of my lecture, being a total passenger for the past hour, I noticed something…. It was 2-2, Cesc had done it !!!

Just a matter of minutes later the scoreboard changed to 3-2, Big Verm had put us in front, I was delighted, “happy days !!!” I chuckled, what a game, how did I manage to miss this one !!!

After finally getting home and after giving up on all the clogged up internet streams I tried the radio knowing the game was not on TV, It was Villa 5 Blackburn 4, “bloody hell !!! football is going mad and I was putting education first !? What kind of guy am I ??? Where is the Arsenal game ? The bloody Villa game is on TV why not put the Arsenal game on the radio ???? What a waste of my license fee, communist BBC ****s !! “

I found the live blogging on Arseblog (see sidebar) and Blogs had done a brilliant job, there I saw Arshavin had added a fourth, an unthinkable turnaround, even I was surprised, “WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE, SAY WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE” Take that doubters, 7 weeks ago we were 11 points off, now we were there, its not quite like conquering Everest but its at least managing it up to the final camp, if we are in the same league spot after the final game of the season that will be like managing it up to the top of the world, without oxygen too.

Pundits harp on and on about this “English grit” that Arsenal lack but we should know by now that this country has no “grit” at all, quite literally. This Arsenal team has it in abundance, we have come from behind so many times this season that people might start to think this team swing the other way but each time we manage it, the players knew this was their chance to really state their intentions. A few days ago I pondered in a blog that this was where the title charge started and indeed it does.

The mental strength this side has shown, in the face of an injury list as long as Joey Barton’s criminal record, is admirable, we lost Diaby last night just to add another player to that list, but nobody has picked up on this injury crisis we are suffering (almost permanently it has to be said), that is a credit to how well we have done recently. Savour this sight:

Isn’t it just beautiful? We were tipped to be the side to fall out the ‘big four’ this season, we suffered the indignity of being left off the promo picture for the start of the Premier League season. Remember this?

Oh who looks a little bit silly now, eh?

Of course, being top in January means nothing, we all remember what happened a the season before last, but there is a resilience in this side, a spirit that has not been much of a feature in recent seasons, this team is hungry for success, and powered by the current worlds best player in Cesc Fabregas, this team can win anything this season.

We play Stoke at the weekend but we have to play a strong team, we can’t afford to throw a game at such a vital time with massive games ahead. Chelsea, United, Liverpool and Villa all loom, 2 away, 2 at home. Nine points from those games is too much to expect, but if it happens, May could be one very very happy month.

I could get used to this.

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Arsenal and Bolton part 1: brilliance beats brawn

In Arsenal FC,Premier League on January 18, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

It was the return of Cesc Fabregas, and didn’t Bolton know it.

As expected, Bolton started with a spring in their step and were a danger throughout the game, Ivan Klasnic is by far their best player and that showed on a few occasions.

We matched them though, both for quality and their disruptive tactics – whilst not sinking to the lows of hair pulling – a tactic employed by Matty Taylor who’s arm looked like it had had ink dripped all over it. What horrific tattoos.

Eduardo was lively throughout, he was involved in both goals and his movement was again top notch, despite what other people may think. He was very nearly put through when the Bolton ‘keeper just came out in time to smother the ball. We were always going to score and it was just a matter of when.

After a bit of ping-ball on the edge of the box, Eduardo received the ball from Fabregas, immediately backheeled it back into Cesc’s path and he made no mistake with a lovely cool finish. His 13th of the season. What a magnificent season the 22 year old captain is having.

That seemed to rile Bolton a bit. Cesc should have had 2 penalties, the first he was taken out by the Bolton ‘keeper, the second he was taken out by a defender and Matty Taylor repeatedly shinned him in the head, dropped his knee to his head and then proceeded to pull his hair like a little girl. A pathetic excuse for a player and a man. To Cesc’s credit, he did not retaliate like you would expect. Good on him.

He was then taken out completely by Robinson, if I was Cesc I would have well and truly lost it then. Diaby was then taken out off the ball and to my absolute delight Rosicky avenged that by taking the player out himself !!!! It earned him a yellow but it was well worth it. Give them some back.

Bolton started the second half the brighter, Eastmond, making his debut impressed at first but then tired as you would expect …. this lead to him giving the ball away too cheaply and it did not help the situation at all, On came Fran Merida and Diaby dropped back into the holding role with Cesc helping him out. Merida operated the furthest forward and really impressed me.

He has not convinced me before today, apart from that strike against Liverpool, but he distributed the ball very well and his composure shows he has a big future. Eduardo’s cross fell to him in the area, the first touch was magnificent, the second was clinical and the game was won. I said when he came on “Fran, prove now you deserve playing time”. He did. I admire that.

On another day we would have won by more, we could also have shipped a few goals. It was our day and we won again without playing too well. Brilliant.

On Wednesday we can go top if we win by more than 2 goals. Lets see if we can do it again at home.

This season is giving me a very very good feeling. I’m hopeful and believe. We can do this.

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Arsenal’s title charge starts today

In Arsenal FC,Premier League on January 17, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

Back to back games against Bolton gives us the chance to keep up the pressure on United and Chelsea, whilst also opening up a further advantage over Spurs and Man Citeh, who dropped points yesterday.

Only 3 points will do today, and only 3 points will do on Wednesday.

Cesc Fabregas returns but our midfield is still weak, Diaby Nasri Rosicky and Merida make up our other central midfield options but our naturally defensive midfielders are both absent (Song – ACN / Denilson – rib injury).

One of those midfielders will form part of a front three so I would expect Rosicky and Cesc to play either side of the deep lying Diaby, they have not played together much but have a strong friendship, hopefully the bond continues on the pitch because that midfield will need to score and create goals, especially with the lack of a defensive player.

I expect Clichy to start midweek, leaving Traore starting at left back today, next to the central partnership of Vermaelen / Gallas and Sagna on the left. Almunia will start in goal even though it should be Fabianski.

Up front I hope Eduardo starts down the middle, in the past few games his movement looks to have sharpened up and he has been finding the net – lucky goals or not. Arshavin needs to pull his weight more and play where he is put, like it or lump it, he is not paid to sulk like a little school girl.

The biggest unknown about this game is the Bolton approach. Owen Coyle likes good technical football and did brilliantly well at Burnley, will he force his style on the Bolton cloggers? I don’t see Kevin Davies pulling off stepovers and drag-backs; do you?

It would make sense for Coyle to keep the same style for the two games against us, the players know what to do and may nick a point.

An early Arsenal goal would be brilliant, with Cesc and Nasri in the team there is a doggedness that whilst isn’t the strongest physically, they will square up to anyone, they are both spiky little players and won’t just take kicks off the Bolton cloggers. Diaby needs to use his power today to command the midfield, his form has been great recently and he could grab a goal, lets just hope its an icing on the cake goal.

The game kicks off in an hour and will be interesting viewing !!!

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The boss’ ¬£30 million could buy Arsenal the title/New keeper?

In Arsenal FC,January 2010 Transfer window,Premier League on January 12, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

It is clear that all the top sides need a bit of investment, and whoever buys the wisest, will stand the biggest chance of winning the title. It will not come down to who simply spends the most.

If reports are to be believed and the boss has a really healthy transfer account then that is great, but, he really needs to spend a sizable clunk of it. At the moment I think the defence needs addressing urgently, the chances of that are rather slim however. I believe the problem to be Almunia, his confidence is shattered and he is a player seemingly in decline for whatever reason – personal or otherwise.

Almunia’s shoddy decision making has the defence trying to guess what he is going to do… and also trying to stop the opposition, not an ideal scenario for a team that is chasing silverware on three fronts. I have changed my opinion on Fabianski this season, last time round he seemed a bundle of nerves, stupidly charging out of his area all the time and not commanding enough in his area. Since the turn of the season however, he has seemed much more calm and composed. This is the reason why Wenger will not by a goalkeeper, he won’t stunt Fabianski’s growth as a player.

Midfield…. it’s a tricky one. Song and Denilson are our only holding players but do you find players of the necessary quality needed that are willing to sit on the bench once Song returns for ACN duty? If there is one out there then it is news to me, I do think there is something missing from our midfield but with Cesc returning against Bolton and Song returning in February that might be just what is missing. Arsene won’t buy a player here.

Up front we have plenty of options, it is just that they are either hopelessly out of form or injured. van Persie won’t be seen again this season, Walcott has hardly played a game, Vela is out of form (needs to sharpen up, and quick), Eduardo has been out of form but is improving and getting more effective and livelier. Arshavin is a drifter, he flitters in and out of games as he chooses. He has a habit of doing just enough to get a result, I do wish he would take more responsibility upon himself rather than call for Wenger to buy more players. He is on massive wages. Pucker up, make do with what you have got and run your arse off please Andrey.

This is the most likely area that the boss will invest in, and there are a whole host of names flying around. What is important is that he has to find a player that offers something different to a van Persie, a Bendtner or Eduardo – whatever the price.

United and Chelsea are not as strong as everyone thought, we can take advantage of this but we must learn the lessons of just a few years ago when it all unravelled in January after everything looked so promising. The big question is: can Arsenal learn from past/recent experience ?

What do you make of this blog? Let your opinions flow in the comments below.

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Everton result was not a bad one by any means

In Arsenal FC,Premier League on January 11, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

I took the time out to watch the game on Football First on Saturday night, much to the displeasure of my Spurs supporting missus who seemed to take great delight in us going 1-0 and 2-1 down, only to go rather quiet when Denilson and Rosicky found the back of the net via deflections.

One observation – Eduardo was very lively throughout the game, movement was brilliant and deserved a goal.

That game could easily of been lost, take out two world class players from any team on the planet and you will see them struggle to overcome some sides. Take Lampard, Drogba and Cashley out of the Chelsea side, take Evra, Fletcher and Rooney out of United’s team and see what you are left with.

It was great to see us fight back yet again though, it was one of those occasions where you have to dig in and get what you can out of the game…. this was an Everton side that drew 3-3 at Stamford bridge so looking at it, it is a point gained rather than two points lost, in my view anyway.

Rather worryingly, the game might just cost us even more injuries and thankfully, there is no midweek game. Gallas, Traore, Vermaelen and worryingly, Denilson all picked up knocks, for the latter, it is hopefully a case of it looked worse than it is. I’m hearing noises of Denilson fracturing a vertebrae in his back again, I just hope they are wrong. If it is true, we need cover brought in sharpish.

Back to the game, Everton were keen to avenge the beating we handed out at Goodison Park and I think were just that little bit more alert and sharper on the day.

Hopefully by next weekend there will be a few injury returns, Cesc may be back, Clichy is back in training and Bendtner is 2 weeks away according to the boss. A few games under their respective belts before the crunch run of games at the end of the month is just what the Arsenal doctor ordered.

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Arsenal’s next two fixtures may well be cancelled – so Cesc could play in our next game afterall

In Arsenal FC,Premier League on January 5, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

As Gunnerblog earlier observed, there is a massive chance of tomorrows game at the Grove falling victim to the snow.

There is a big chance the game at the weekend against Everton at the Grove may well also be postponed due to the snow that is expected to hit later on tonight and tomorrow. Currently, both Carling Cup semi’s have been called off due to the weather hitting the country today, half of it is at a standstill.

The undersoil heating prevents the pitch from freezing but doesn’t melt snow, that has to be removed by hand. This is not the main issue though.

We know what the transport system is like when we have had a bit of the white stuff, and that is not when you have over 60,000 people descending on one tiny area.

BBC weather people say that there will not be much football played this weekend because of the weather, and the effects of it.

At least Cesc could be back for our next game then.