Archive for February, 2010

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17 Cup Finals.

February 22, 2010

First things first congratulations to the good guys in red for grabbing all three points on Saturday and may this lift their spirit, as well as ours in the football-less week ahead of us – time to iron out a few things and stay positive…

So, after this weekend we are just 2 points off ManYoo and still 6 behind Chelsea. There is also a bit of daylight between us and our neighbours, currently in the 4th spot – St Totteringham’s Day (STD) may come late this season, but as they say, good things come to those who wait, no? Let’s hope it is 10/04 – WHL is to STD what Lapland is to Christmas (or something)  afterall.

3 months. 17 games. Just one of them is an actual Cup Final and it is in 3 months time exactly. If we win all the games in the next 3 months, we will win the double, simple as. Each and every game until the end of the season is a cup final now and we will take the good, the bad and the ugly wins – you can do this, boys, if you don’t win a damn thing, I want to know that you gave it all…

Due to new commitments, I may not be able to write everyday for some time – no need to worry, I am not going anywhere and will do my best to give you a view on all things Arsenal as often as I can. Cheerio!

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Sunderland preview: bring us luck, Black Cats ;)

February 20, 2010

‘The black cat, for those who are not superstitious, can only be viewed as the victim of several millennia of smear campaigns. Many cultures have viewed the animal as an unlucky beast, and there are dozens of different superstitious thoughts regarding black cats. The poor ebony furred animal seldom gets good press, though there are certainly some cultures that have revered rather than despised the animal, and many rumors just as superstitious, but more positive about the black cat […] In parts of Europe and in Japan, a black cat crossing your path is good luck,  Scotland is most generous to the kitty; a black feline at your doorstep meant prosperity was coming your way.’

Good morning y’all. After 2 days of silence, during which I was setting myself up at the new place of work and getting used to commuting after 2 years of working within the walking distance from home,I am back with the Sunderland preview. The above introduction is a quote from this article, well, not exactly a quote, as I tried to keep only the good bits not to jinx today’s game. Once again, this game is one to show character and ‘bouncebackability’ after the embarrassing defeat at the hands of our own goalkeeper – trust me, it was really no fun to answer the same question time and time again: what do I have to say about my countryman? Well, what can I say? I feel for Lukasz just a little bit, as it was too big a game to come back into the side after a poor performance at Stoke, and he said it himself that he would like to play more and will ask Le Boss to at least loan him out in the summer, nevertheless, he is supposed to be a professional footballer, sometimes these are asked to punch above their weight and come up trumps or at least minimise the damage instead of inflicting it. I don’t think he will get another chance this season and despite Cesc coming out with a statement on how the team is behind him, I can see him shipped this summer. Oh well, no one can guarantee that a player will come good, but I have been saying all along that him signing for Arsenal was not a good thing for either side for obvious reasons: underdeveloped keeper cannot play a lot for a top team too often, which stifles his development and this is turning into a vicious circle. Besides, I never rated him at Legia either and let’s just leave it at that.

We have a game of football to play today, no? Both teams will want to win, each for different reasons: Arsenal have to go back on track and gain some confidence and momentum ahead of another trip to Stoke where our recent record is less than impressive, Sunderland on the other hand will want to clock up the first league win since November when they managed a 1:0 home win and that was against us. We need to win this and we need this win badly to stop the rot – again, we have quite a few players missing and the ones we have available need about every ounce of confidence they can get: luckily Song is back and it should allow OGL to move Denilson to his current best position, which is the substitute’s bench or behind it (may still inexplicably get a start ahead of Ramsey), with Gallas still out, Sol should keep his position in CB where he did more than OK in the last game.  Would consider playing Rosicky on the right and Theo on the left side of Bendtner upfront, introducing Vela or Nasri (or both) at the later time (no, not in the 88th minute). It will be interesting to see if Clichy will keep his place or if we will see Traore who at least has pace and was not as bad positionally as Gael is nowadays as far as I can remember. I am keeping everything crossed that we will approach this game like a cup final. We have 18 of these left to play…

Thank you for reading, come on Arsenal!

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Friday!

February 19, 2010

Morning everyone – I have scheduled yesterday’s post to be published  at 9 AM sharp, but for some reason it wasn’t to be. Due to starting a new job yesterday, I was too knackered to write something meaningful for today, but I promise to make amends in the shape of Sunderland game preview tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Have a nice day Gooners all over the world – it’s Friday, so there’s a lot of reasons to be cheerful  😉

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Poland apologises for Fabianski.

February 18, 2010

And this is pretty much all I can muster – once again, we have been exposed: no quality in the squad, no presence, no fight, yet we could have and should have won this game if it was not for the idiot selected to play in goal. Two absolute howlers from our no.2 gave the poor Porto side a win. If it was not for Sol heading in a goal in the first half, we would be as good as out of yet another competition. It’s back to drawing board for Our Glorious Leader as far as I am concerned: as our captain said, it was a result of schoolboy errors and it would be extremely difficult for anyone (unless you happen to be Arsene Wenger, that is) to disagree with that…

I am really sorry that I won’t write anything more, but I am starting a new job today and I will be damned if I will be there late just for the sake of stating the bleeding obvious: yes, we are still in it, but do we have a chance of going all the way?

I will leave you with that thought…

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Porto preview. Can we gun down The Dragons?

February 17, 2010

Good morning Arsenal junkies, wherever you are!

Man, it has been really tough going all cold turkey after that nice rush of games being played every three days or so, no? Fear not, we are about to get our fix in the shape of the first game of the Champions League proper: we are on our way to Dragons’ lair, which is a tough place to go and the Fair Knights of North London (as opposed to a certain bunch of miscreants from down the road) will have their work cut out if they want to return with their shields and take a step closer to the elusive big eared footballistic equivalent of Holy Grail. Our quest begins here and it’s up to the folk in the shiny red and white armors to become heroes and legends –  lock and load Gunners, time to go medieval on them!

After a good result against Scousers, we are set for another moment of truth tonight – this will be a real test of maturity, mental strength and squad depth: once again, our squad seems decimated by injuries and there is some serious need for some of the underperforming players to step up and prove their worth to the club and ranks of doubting Thomases amongst the supporters. While I don’t mind seeing Sol starting in Billy’s place, I have my reservations about two positions where we have been notoriously understrength squad wise: after losing Song (knee) and Almunia (finger) we will have to make do with our second choice defensive midfielder and goalie who had a few stinkers recently and should play out of their skins to prove a point. They should consider themselves very lucky that Our Glorious Leader has patience of a saint, however, even this has to be wearing a bit thin these days as far as I am concerned. Frankly, I don’t think they will be allowed too many more lapses before Le Boss finally wields his axe – please don’t get me wrong, I am praying for both of them to soak up the pressure and play a blinder, but barring this uncertain occurence, these two may be the very reason for our undoing. Then again, as usual, I would like nothing more than to be proven wrong.

Moving on to the front three: with Arshavin out injured, I reckon we will see Bendtner in the middle partnered by Rosicky and Nasri in the wide forward positions. Well, at least this is who I would like to start: there are other options in the shape of Carlos and Theo, but I think they may be worth introducing later in the game against tired legs when they should put their main assets to a better use and tear them a new one. This team should have more than enough in their locker to score a crucial away goal or two and if we get this right, we may be able to gain some priceless advantage ahead of the return leg.

Just a small mention of yesterday’s games: as I said, barring some miracle, both visiting teams (ManYoo and Real) are pretty much as good as through, with the former scoring three away goals at San Siro and the latter losing by just one goal to Lyon. You will say that it will be enough for Milan to win by two clear goals and for Les Gones to hold the irritated Galacticos to a draw in two weeks time to progress, but you have to admit that it is much easier said than done…

Thank you for reading, let’s hope for some top-notch entertainment and good result tonight!

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Are you watching, first teamers?

February 16, 2010

Our Reserve League side managed to put Chelsea’s to the sword at Griffin Park last night. I did not get to watch the full highlights, let alone the full game (thanks again ATVO, their channel can show these games, care to explain why not ours?), but I have to give big thumbs up to JET and young Luke Freeman. The former danced through their defence twice, using his size and technique wisely to set up both goals, whereas the latter scored the first and calmly set up Giles Sunu to score the second goal after a huge deflection. Chelsea pulled one back immediately, but that was all they could do score wise – the game ended with Gunners win and it cemented their second position in the Reserve League South table.  According to the match report, Neil Banfield opted for playing 4-4-2 instead of 4-3-3 from the start and maybe, just  maybe, it could be a good idea for the first team against some when the other formation doesn’t work like it should – could this be the plan B we have been crying out for? There’s just one way to find out…

Champions League proper commences today with a bang – both today’s games should be quite interesting: we have the choice of AC Milan hosting ManYoo and the ‘new Galacticos’ travelling to Lyon.  I would like nothing more than both home teams winning, but I wouldn’t bet too much money on it, to be honest – AC Milan are nowhere near the force they used to be and Madrid will most probably be too much for Lyon to handle. Then again, you never know, do you? The beauty of football is that the games are never won on paper – if you need examples, look no further than numerous upsets we have witnessed in the domestic cup competitions: anything can happen as long as the team considered to be underdogs doesn’t walk out with damage limitation mentality. I will be watching the United game and cheer the Rossoneri to get one over our league rivals, as our chances of winning the damn thing will improve considerably without the other two British teams in the mix. Mind you, I am not counting our chickens as our game against Porto will not be a walk in the park either and I would consider a score draw a good result and a minimum requirement – anything less than that and it may be quite difficult for us to progress.

I will be back tomorrow with the Porto game preview as well as my thoughts on today’s clashes. Hasta la vista, muchachos y muchachas!

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Silence before the storm?

February 15, 2010

Rise & shine, everybody! We have gone through the weekend with no Arsenal game – just checked the fixture list and noticed it was the first since November when RvP went to play Italy in some poxy friendly and sustained an injury which practically ruled him out for the rest of season. Due to no football being played by the good guys in red, we have no new injuries to report. Well, we have a little problem with Song and AA, but there is hope that the former will feature against Porto in two days time, however, our little Russian will definitely not play there after picking up a hamstring problem.

There were a few interesting cup games to watch during the weekend, like So’ton v Pompey, where our former player, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (currently on loan there from Spartak  Moscow) clocked up two assists and a brilliant, calmly taken goal in the emphatic win over their local rivals. It was the first South Coast derby for about 5 years – a few of my mates live in Southampton, I asked them if they were going and they just laughed: ‘Dude, it’s like trying to get a ticket to a CL Final or worse.’ I was told that Police was on full alert and ordinary, law abiding citizens were advised to refrain themselves from taking unnecessary walks in the parks and the like. In other games, Chelsea have obliterated Cardiff, Fulham put four past Notts County’s keeper, Brum defeated Derby and the other games played ended with scores level and require replays. To find out when the replays are due to take place as well as the quarter final pairs, click here.

It’s quiet. It’s too quiet. I am fully expecting fireworks in the coming two days with ManYoo playing AC Milan tomorrow and us playing Porto on the day after. This, with the other games played this week should give us some idea of what our chances of lifting the most coveted trophy in European football are. Obviously, there is the other lot of teams starting next week, but as long as we fare better than the other two British teams still in the competition, we are in with a chance…

Anyways, I am off to work – two more days, people! I am about to start new job in a few days time and I can’t wait, really. Not that I am a workaholic or something, but at least it’s something to look forward to. Have a nice day 😉