Archive for December, 2009

h1

Champagne football & fireworks on the NYE Eve

December 31, 2009

As I wrote yesterday, we needed to repeat what we did to them at home earlier in the season when they were doing everything possible to emulate Spuds early record from a year ago, bar conceding a goal. It seems like Arsene had pretty much the same plan in mind and was visibly not the best pleased with the fact that our players did not comply with the last bit and conceded a perfectly avoidable goal shortly after Ramsey rifled an absolute cracker to make it 3:0. It ended with the exactly the same scoreline as in the reverse fixture and I don’t think anybody can have any complaints as far as the game as a whole is concerned.

There were some voices in the blogosphere saying that Pompey will try to park the bus and frustrate us, which proved to be quite successful tactic employed by ‘lesser’ sides, but they were quite positive and tried to take the game to us, which was quite convenient, given our usual struggle to break down the innovative 10-0-0 formation. Credit to Avram Grant for not falling for this temptation, as they had their moments and managed 6 shots on target – this made the game quite interesting and provided great antidote for the trauma caused by watching Tuesday’s paint drying contest between Pool and Villa. Pompey managed a good win against the former thanks to being positive, but what worked against negative result-at-all-cost approach typical for Fat Spanish Waiter simply could not work against arguably the best footballing side in the country.

There were so many great performances, I just don’t know where to start – Eduardo looked really up for it in the early stages, chasing the balls, getting into good positions but to little effect. Cometh 27th minute and he got his reward from a freekick. Yes, it took a wicked deflection and Hreidarsson should have stayed closer to the post, but I don’t think anyone in red & white had many complaints – I thought initially it went wide as the net hardly bulged, but there it was, ‘1:0 to the Arsenal’ and we were on our way. He also played a part in our second goal when he kept his cool to pass it sideways in the box to Rambo for him to clock up an assist for the Nasri’s goal when I thought he will be dispossessed by Finnan. He seems to be getting back to form and should get better with a run of games.

Another one who starts showing his value to the team is Diaby. Yes, I admit, I was his harsh critic in the past, but he seems to have taken criticism well and now he looks as if he eradicated his weaknesses and if he is consistent, he may play important part in our season. I hope there is more to it than just desire to go to the upcoming World Cup, but I am happy for him to contribute like he did in the last few games, no matter what the cause is. He started using his height and posture well, and when he is applying himself, he is simply unplayable. Here’s to hoping that he will maintain this form.

Now let us all pause and hail King Song – what a monster he is…

I saw glimpses of his quality during the ACN 2 years ago, where he dominated opposition and I hoped that he can emulate that for the club – last night he was everywhere, breaking up their play, doing the dirty work as well as looking the business going forward. His fine headed goal was just the icing on the cake – as far as I am concerned, he made this goal by thrusting into the box and causing their defence enough problems for them to make a hash of a clearance which landed at Nasri’s feet. The latter provided a well measured cross, which was cleverly steered into the Pompey’s net to make it 1:4. His heart-shaped gesture made to the camera after the game was a lovely touch too! We will surely have a bit of a worry in the coming month with him gone to the ACN.

Obviously, there were more bright points to our display, like the aforementioned Ramsey, for whom I see great future at Arsenal  – chew on that, SAF! Premature publishing of information on young Aaron’s ‘signing’  on their website was almost as funny as Petit borrowing money for the Highbury-bound taxi from Alan Sugar. Another one who deserves praise is our ‘3rd choice’ left back – I would be seriously concerned about my place in the starting XI if I was Clichy…

Sure, there were a few things to moan about, like the goal conceded (judging by AW’s reaction, he will have a little video analysis session with the culprits) or AA having a little bit of an off day, but hey, let’s save it for a rainy day, eh?

Finally, I would like to you all the best in the coming 2010. May all your Arsenal and non-Arsenal wishes come true and more!

I will try to post on the New Year’s Day as long as I get my hungover self near a computer 😉 It’s the start of the silly season afterall…

Advertisements
h1

Pompey preview

December 30, 2009

So here it is: we are in quite a good position, well in the title race, which seemed to be a pipe dream after we got spanked by Chelsea at home. Luckily for us, it seems they happen to have greater ability to drop points than I would expect them to, which is good for us as long as we keep up the pressure and don’t crumble – most of their spine is off to ACN, which could spell trouble for them, unless they take advantage of the fact of their transfer ban being suspended and chuck around some of their owner’s roubles. That, my friends, is another story…

Winning the next game is crucial for maintaining the momentum after beating the in form Villa – this game could be telling as far as the mentality of our players is concerned: can they show the same motivation to beat the rock-bottom Pompey? I know our players were guilty of complacency last season and that resulted in us being out of the race at about the same point last year – Le Boss must do everything possible to root this out, as it rose its ugly head when we played WHU and, to lesser extent, at Burnley, where we took our foot off the gas and allowed them back in the game. We need to be ruthless and repeat what we did at home, bar the single goal conceded.

Make no mistake: Avram Grant is a brilliant manager, he may be no fancy sweet talking Mourinho like fella, but he seems to be doing the job quite well. Beating Pool by 2 goals is no mean feat and they have won 3 out of 4 of their last home games, which got them all the home points they’ve got at the moment, which shows in this table. They might have been our whipping boys for decades, but we may want to be wary of the fact that they are playing for their dear lives, which will add some spring in their step. They may want to add to their point tally to become the first side in history that avoided relegation after being bottom at Christmas. Does not seem so impossible as the league is tighter than ever on both ends of the table.

We don’t seem to have any new injuries, good news is that we may have Little Mozart available after another niggle – I would not risk starting him, he could well come in as a sub for the last 30 minutes or the entire second half. We are quite desperate for direct and creative players at the moment and he could just fit the bill if needed. Of course, here’s to hoping that we will be up by a few cracking goals by then and he will just get a runout to shake off the rust. I would consider starting Carlos Vela, Eduardo & Theo upfront, leaving our little Russian on the bench, just in case.  Midfield three of my choice would be Song, Diaby and Nasri playing in the Cesc’s role (which is more natural for him than wide forward, where he seems a bit lost at times). Back four picks itself, so no selection headache for the Boss there.

Can we beat them? Hell yes. Will we beat them? We should, if we apply ourselves…

This is a potential banana skin – we seriously need to win all the games in the following month to keep up with the title race pace – we play in a kind of  little ‘Top Four League’ after that and we should get the maximum points from winnable games to stay in it, and I would not mind the two FA Cup scalps either. Check the fixture list here.

Anyway, come on you rip roaring Gunners! I’ll be back here during the game and after to share views and opinions.

h1

Welcome Gooners from all over the planet ;)

December 29, 2009

After making contribution to discussion and banter on other popular Arsenal FC related blogs, I’ve decided to start my own. I hope to make it entertaining and enjoyable as well as to offer a fair and balanced insight into all things Arsenal. We are just about to enter the shorter of silly seasons that are the transfer windows and we seem to be in quite a need to sign some reinforcements to make the impression that we are seriously in it. It’s fair to say that Our Glorious Leader has his work cut out in the coming January – World Cup year, not Cup tied, better than we already have and so on…

There are many different names tumbling in the rumour mill, some of them being lazy journo bull, some with a hint of sense. Still, we can wake up one day and see us signing some player unknown to most of us who will just slot in without breaking sweat like Sagna did – that was a quiet one and we did not break the bank either.

I reckon AW may need to loosen the purse strings this coming month with the squad being down to bare bones – I dread to think about any further injuries to ANY of our fit players, let alone the key ones. In my humble opinion, we could do well with a few physical players with more grit than flair – off the top of my head I’d say we could do well with someone like Kenwyne Jones in attack: good positioning, beast in the air, one goal per two games on average (not being played as the main striker and without getting service which would be anywhere near as good as ours, mind you), do we need more? Don’t think so. He would also be a great competition for our talented Dane, who could do with competition for his attitude’s and development’s sake.

Another position where we could do better numbers wise is centre back – we will be letting Big Phil go, which is a shame, as he is quite good for Swiss national side and at 24 he is just entering his prime: so he got raped by Drogba & Torres, so what? There are many older heads that did, we just did the hard part which was developing him into a decent player and we will let someone like Bayern reap benefits, as I can see Swiss Tony excelling there. Ideally, I would keep him and even played him in defensive midfielder’s position where he would not be burdened by the fact of being the last line of defence – with his heading ability, good range of passing and physical presence he could do very well in there. We are rumoured to be after Subotic whose agent said he will be staying put, there were a few stories linking us to Turkish giant Servet Çetin of Galatasaray as well. The latter would make sense, as Turks did not qualify for the World Cup, he would probably jump at possibility of playing for a Champions League club and would not cost the Earth either.

These two I have mentioned would set us back approximately £20M plus wages, I would not think this to be beyond our reach financially. We seem to be suffering from the fatigue at the business end of season, reasonable spending would increase our chances of getting some silverware in our cabinet come May.

I will be back tomorrow with the Pompey game preview – they seem to be rejuvenated side under Avram and there are quite a few ex-Spuds amongst their ranks which should give this game some extra edge.

See you in Comments 😉