Archive for the ‘FA Cup’ Category

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Stoke 3-1 Arsenal: Vela in last chance saloon and Walcott’s not far behind

In Arsenal FC,FA Cup on January 24, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

The headline is strong, I know, but it is about time they started pulling their weight and contributing.

The boss decided to go with Coquelin at right back, Campbell and Silvestre in the middle with Traore on the left, out of that back four one was out of position, two were hapless and the one player who had a decent game at the back, Campbell, was left with little support on an impressive return to top level football.

Behind them Lucaz Fabianski was awful, flapping around like some kind of retarded Chicken with a poker shoved up its arse. It is clear Arsene Wenger has to buy there in the summer but after describing Fabianski as close to world class just a couple of days ago (I think he did, but I also might have dreamt it… ), the chances of us buying seem slim to non existent.

All three of the goals conceded were down to awful defending. Silvestre has the turning circle of a bus with no steering wheel, Coquelin was hopeless but he isn’t to blame, we had no right back at all. Armand Traore has suffered a pretty dire slump in form in the past few games so whilst Clichy is still calamitous as far as I’m concerned, he is still better than Traore.

Moving onto midfield, Eastmond was out of his depth and quite frankly, when you are up against a team of Stoke’s stature you need someone in there who can match them on a physical level, even though Arsenal could run rings around them at a technical level. Denilson and Cesc battled hard, combined for the goal but just couldn’t work with what was around them, Emmanuel-Thomas showed plenty of application but the two that flanked him were diabolical.

So…Carlos Vela and Theo Walcott, the young prodigies, pretenders or whatever you want to call them. I prefer to call them the gruesome twosome after that shocker of a performance.

The main thing I noted was that it seemed they just didn’t fancy the game, there was little application and when they had the ball they did nothing with it what so ever. Out of the two Carlos Vela is the most gifted, of that there is no question, but whilst only young you do have to wonder if he would be better suited elsewhere and we could do with a more experienced and complete player in his place. Theo Walcott is an athlete that is trying to learn football, he has not got that footballing know-how naturally engrained into his brain, Vela has this but isn’t using it. We know Theo has potential but he seems to be backpedaling faster than he ever went forwards.

Harsh words I know, but what is to be expected? This team was fighting on three fronts before, now that is down to two and there is a real, real possibility of finishing trophy-less once again. It will take a monumental effort to lift the Premier League with the squad as decimated as it is, I hope and pray this defeat doesn’t affect the upcoming games because they are season deciders.

There is still the Champions League but I have said many times now, we simply concede to many goals to win it. I’d love to be proven wrong though.

I would genuinely like to hear your opinions on Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela … I will have angered people with what I have said. Its just how I feel today, maybe I will be more forgiving tomorrow?

If you are shy you can drop me an e-mail at goonblogger@[removethisbeforesending]googlemail.com

’til next time.

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Stoke squad will do little to inspire confidence

In Arsenal FC,FA Cup on January 22, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

Its a decision which will really earn Arsene his corn this week: who to risk against Stoke, and who to give a rest to.

We know for starters that we will have a new defence, Coquelin may well start at right back, Campbell at center half alongside Silvestre, left back may well be Clichy as he needs a bit of gametime. He is on the ground he scored his first and only goal for the club in the defeat last season.

The midfield will probably have a couple of changes too, Eastmond has played in the last two games so may well warrant another start, as would Fran Merida if he wasn’t on the injury list which is quite frankly, a joke. Now for the big call. Cesc. He has only just come back from injury so is fairly fresh you would think, on the other hand we cant risk a relapse of his hamstring injury.

If we are really going for the FA Cup, Fabregas will start.

I would think Jack Wilshere will make up the third of the midfield trio, he needs a big game after all of his performances not living up to the hype that is on his shoulders, could this be a breakthrough game for the 18 year old? I hope so.

All things considered, we need a front three that can threaten, a bit of a long shot but Sanchez Watt may be in with a shout of starting on the left, with Vela down the middle and Walcott on the right. Three players with pace, two of them with blistering pace that will cause Stoke’s lumbering defenders problems, its the way I would go anyway.

Momentum is the key here, remember when we got stuffed by United at Old Trafford? That was just as big a downer as the incidents at Birmingham in my opinion, so the best way to keep things on the upward spiral they are at the moment is to win at Stoke.

It will not be a case of lambs to the slaughter like it was against Man City in the Carling Cup, but we have to bare in mind the physique of the Stoke team, big, tall players that whilst not be the most talented bunch, they will make up for it in strength and desire. Thats where I think a strong experienced bench could help us out, Eduardo, Arshavin and Rosicky could all come on if needed and inject some extra quality, It worked for us against West Ham, why not here?

The squad has not been released yet but I’m told there are a lot of kids in it. Lets see what delights Wenger has in store for us.

The injury list has hit 10, with 12 players unavailable in total:

Sagna, Merida, Wilshere, Gibbs, Diaby, Bendtner, Ramsey, Nasri, Djourou, Van Persie. Song and Eboue are on ACN duty of course. Our first team is absolutely decimated.

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Return of king Ed?/Time to really go for the FA Cup

In Arsenal FC,FA Cup on January 3, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

Bare with me, I am yet to see the highlights of the game that I am just settling down to watch on ITV.

From what I have heard the result was deserved and there are many positives to be taken from Upton Park, the only real starting shock, if you could call it that, was Gallas and Vermaelen starting in defence – maybe it is a sign of our intent in this competition this season.

Wilshere and Merida both started and both failed to shine but the experience would have done them good and they will return better players, it was good to see that Arsene hauled them off for experience to chance the tide of the game, but it was one of the youngsters who got our equaliser, the brilliant Aaron Ramsey. It looks like he is going to be the kind of midfielder who will get a healthy goal return every season and with Diaby, Nasri and Cesc, that makes four of them.

Eduardo’s winner would have done him the world of good, he has always been in the right positions even if he has not finished recently, so that bodes well.

I was worried about this tie, we could have lost it easily as we have done a few times before with weakened sides. With United out, it means there is only one other really powerful team in the competition – Chelsea. Liverpool aren’t even through yet and are not half the side they were last season for whatever reason.

The Leeds/United result is a timely reminder of the dangers of the FA Cup though, but we can win it this year.

Now, to watch the highlights and get some sleep, up at 6.30 tomorrow. Just brilliant that is….

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Press and pundits are already sharpening the knives for Arsene …

In Arsenal FC,FA Cup on January 2, 2010 by Highbury N5 Editor

Firstly I would like to wish you all a belated happy new year, may you have all the luck in the world and good health.

Now, we are into 2010 and a big year for the club. We kick off with an FA Cup tie against West Ham at Upton Park, they may be going through the mill at the moment both financially and footballistically but they will fight tomorrow and will have a very real chance of beating what will be a weakened side.

You just sense that if we do lose the papers and pundits will be focussing on the weakened side that we will field, despite our first team already being a weakened side with injuries and the African cup of Nations, Song will fly off to Africa after the match so I suspect he will play.

We may see the beak-up of the Vermaelen/Gallas partnership for the first time since the Carling Cup games with Senderos a possibility to start, if he passes a fitness test. Vela will probably get a start and Eduardo should start again to get some more match practice and hopefully boost his confidence again, Theo is out for a week or so with a torn side muscle…he just cant get fit can he.

One player I think is a cert to start is Aaron Ramey and he might just stamp his authority on this tie and if we progress he will be playing a massive part in any win, he is only just 19 but my word he has talent in abundance, pure quality and he is getting better with every game.

I would have a wager that Fabianski will get a chance in goal with Almunia being rested, Fabianski has looked as though he has improved so it will be interesting to see how he fares if he does indeed play.

I think we will just scrape through…. the game is a tricky one and when it was drawn I was apprehensive, especially given the easy ride that it seems other teams have gotten. It does seem that we will focus on the league this season and the next four weeks will hopefully involve a long run of wins and a couple of new players to freshen and strengthen the squad.

More later.

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Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea: The mother of all reality checks

In Arsenal FC,FA Cup on April 19, 2009 by Highbury N5 Editor

It just isn’t possible to have yet another season without a trophy….

Is it?

Well Arsenal gave it a damn good go yesterday evening as the most realistic trophy for us to grab was whipped away after what was an atrocious showing.

Highlights here.

Out come the excuses, ‘the ref was poor’, ‘we got hussled off the ball’, ‘we were inexperienced’, ‘the pitch didn’t allow us to play our game’.

There were three reasons we lost that game in my opinion.

  • The team selection was totally and utterly wrong.
  • We did not make changes when they were most needed.
  • We have no ‘winners’.

When I first heard that Wenger had decided to drop Song to the bench I could understand it because he has played a hell of a lot of football recently. ‘OK’, I said, ‘Im sure Denilson will do a good job’.

Then I found out that Diaby was playing instead of Andrey Arshavin, probably our best player, I thought: ‘What the hell is he playing at!?, what does Diaby offer that Arshavin doesn’t?. Ok, he is taller, but he is shite in the air so its pointless!’ That was one of the biggest mistakes of the season.

Arshavin is a player that could wriggle down that left flank and get crosses in for Adebayor, who could in turn cause mayhem for the Chelsea keeper that has been awful recently. Its really not rocket science. Van Persie isn’t that sort of player, Nasri isn’t that kind of player…. So why the hell play Diaby?

He was one of nine players out there that were awful.

Fabianski: A nutcase, I don’t want to see him in goal again, and I mean it. Eboue: Big mistake for the first Chelsea goal. Toure: Didn’t calm Fabianski down like an experienced center half should. Silvestre: Got VERY lucky on a few occasions. Diaby: Just woeful. Denilson: Thought we were the team in blue by the looks of things. Fabregas: Was far too high up the pitch, his fault or Wenger’s? I don’t know. van Persie: Didn’t do much all game, was not in his position, his set pieces were bloody awful. Adebayor: Hardly remember a peep out of him.

Maybe im just being a little picky but the players didn’t want to win that game as much as Chelsea, the effort was not there. We were lethargic and even had a good start and scored the first goal!

On the positive side Kieran Gibbs put in a fantastic performance, it really did defy his age. Everyone other than Theo (who was always dangerous and scored our goal), should look at Kieran and aspire to play as well as he did.

I don’t know what else to say… a day that could have been so great was turned into another one of those performances we expected earlier on in this season and it makes you wonder… have the last few months just been the peak of this teams powers?

Fucking hell I’m feeling negative right now. You know what too, I really thought the FA Cup was ours to win this season. I thought it would be the making of this team.

You could say we were getting carried away with this run we have been on, something like 26 unbeaten in all competitions, after this season we don’t deserve to win anything to put it bluntly.

What hope can we hold out in the CL against one of the finest attacking sides in Europe, Manchester United against a defence consisting of Silvestre and Fabianski?

Maybe im being harsh on the Pole and I never like to criticise players but he was awful. He got beaten at his near post and charged out like a bull to a ball he was never going to win against Drogba… Fabianski is 24 now, yesterday was his birthday from hell.

He really needs to sit down with David Seaman, Bob Wilson or someone like that to tell him to calm down… he will never make it at Arsenal doing things like that. 24 is not young, even for a keeper.

I’m very sorry if this is overly negative and feel free to take issue with what I have said in the comments section, i’m annoyed, gutted and I feel very very sad. Arsenal have made me sad, again.

But you know what? I love Arsenal, I love Arsenal’s players.

Get out there next time lads and show the fans you really want success, the CL isnt impossible but right now, the big trophy looks a million miles away and the gap is ever increasing.

“I’m Arsenal ’til I die, I know I am, I’m sure I am, I’m Arsenal ’til i die”

’til tomorrow.

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FA Cup Semi Final preview: We are the famous Arsenal and we are going to Wembley!

In Arsenal FC,FA Cup on April 18, 2009 by Highbury N5 Editor

It’s here, the big game. But if we win this game the next game will be even bigger.

So lets do this shit.

Ive had a few technical hitches this morning so this blog is very late, apologies for that it was beyond my control. Blame the ISP, stupid dickheads! What do i pay you for?

There is still no news RE. Kieran Gibbs’s fitness but Ive heard he trained yesterday so he might just make it, if he does id expect a backline of Eboue, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs. If he does not Silvestre and Song will be doing the hokey cokey with Silvestre going to LB and Song slotting in next to Toure.

If Song is forced to play there id expect Diaby to come into the midfield over Denilson to offer a more physical presence and offer more going forward. Drogba will be creaming himself at the thought of facing a defence like the makeshift one of ours, he loves facing us because he pretty much always scores, we have to keep him quiet.

I have a feeling its going to be a game full of goals, but it also has the potential to be a very tight game still being 0-0 after 80-85 minutes, I just hope its not settled by a defensive mistake, well, if its a Chelsea defensive mistake I couldn’t care less but an Arsenal defensive mistake is just unbearable to think about.

An early goal in this game would be simply orgasmic, it would really put the wind up Chelsea and hopefully we could take control of the game. It is worth noting that Chelsea have a hell of a lot of players good at shooting from range with Drogba, Lampard, Ballack, Beletti, Alex and of course Essien, if Song is going to be in midfield it is important they are pressured at all times.

This game is so exciting, I have not been this nervous and full of anticipation for a hell of a long time, it was probably the Champions League final when I last felt like this. The result better be different today, though.

There will be an array of attacking talent on show today, Arshavin, Walcott, Fabregas, Adebayor and van Persie are probably starters with Samir Nasri, Bendtner and Carlos Vela or Eduardo ready to come off the bench. When I say this i mean it in the nicest way possible.

Lets hope we don’t need them.

We are prepared to go to penalties to win this and as we have done it before this season it would probably mean we would be in the better mindframe, but when it goes that far it is purely 50/50.

Right less of the rambling, im going nowhere with this. Another massive game, lets cheer on the Arsenal to another massive result

We’re the famous Arsenal and we’re going to Wembley!!!!!!

Come on you Gunners!!! Up the Arsenal!!!

’til tomorrow and may it be a very happy day indeed.

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I have a feeling Arshavin will start + Ro-sicky again

In Arsenal FC,FA Cup on March 17, 2009 by Highbury N5 Editor Tagged: , , , ,

These games are coming along rather fast and this is another game i am confident of winning, but as we know Hull can pull off suprises.

Just remember back to that very, very dull September evening.

It is the FA cup so Almunia will be on the bench, (he is injured anyway after that goal molester nearly snapped his ankle), Gibbs is set to start with Ramsey not being involved due to tiredness. At his age they really do have to watch out for that, it does sound a bit of a ‘soft’ excuse but from personal experience pushing yourself too far in your younger years can hold you back for the rest of your life.

Eduardo misses out again due to that groin injury which is a shame.

The biggest doubt is over Arshavin who had to have eight stitches into his foot at half time against Blackburn, apparently he is ‘desperate’ to play:

“Arshavin had eight stitches in his foot but he is still in the squad we will make a decision tomorrow. He is desperate to be involved. He just wants to play. He couldn’t practice today but we’ll assess him tomorrow morning.”

I have a feeling he will start, he comes across as a player that would play with one leg if he had too. Injuries like that tend to be alright after 24/48 hours and by tomorrow night the pain should have subsided almost entirely, they can always give him an injection to make it a little less painful on the off chance it could still hurt.

One player that will probably shine will be 20 year old Theo Walcott and Wenger has been singing his praises from the rooftops. There have been times when his development has really had question marks over it but at the tail end of last season he really started to shine and that England hat-trick has transformed him into a hell of a player. It really is amazing what a little confidence can do and this Arsenal side are buzzing with it at the moment. Back to Theo, and Wenger said:

“Compared to one year ago there is no comparison,That is what people have problems to accept because at that age every three months you improve. You can never predict how much he will improve but there is still a lot more to come from Theo. He had a good start [against Blackburn] and he became stronger and stronger,” continued Wenger. “He gives us something which is important as well when we play at home when he goes behind the defenders. He creates room and has a direct game. We need that. I don’t know [how big a player he will be in the rest of the season] but it’s important to have him back because he gives you something that can make a difference in any game.”

His pace gives defenders nightmares and in a one on one situation there are two outcomes, Theo goes flying past the defender or the defender clatters Theo and takes him down. He is a player that defenders do not like to see on the teamsheet.

One rather amusing comment by Wenger was on Diouf’s attempted assault on Almunia with Wenger admitting if it had been Jens in goal he would have headbutted Diouf:

“I spoke to him about it at half time of course. I had some experience with Jens Lehmann before – I think he would’ve headbutted him [if he was on the end of that sort of tackle].

That would be one thing i would have paid to see, this moment still cracks me up!

Good ‘ol Jens, a legend!

Just before i leave you there is some sad news about Thomas Rosicky who has suffered another two week setback. He is due to be back after two weeks after the two weeks after the two weeks. Another two weeks after that he will return to training. Seriously, i hope he does recover because he is a fantastic player and it would be a real shame for everyone for his career to end on such a sour year.

Good luck Thomas, you can return.

Right, heres to a good win tonight and our boys visiting the overpriced show ground in the West for the first time!

Up the Gunners!

’til tomorrow.