Posts Tagged ‘Nasri’

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Who needs a snappy headline when you win 5:0?

March 10, 2010

It’s getting late and I will be losing a wee bit of sleep writing this, but I will gladly keep my eyes open using matchsticks today at work, as I am still buzzing after seeing the events that unfolded last night at the Emirates.

Legend has it that Saint George slew the dragon tormenting the good people of Silene, last night it was more or less all about Saint Nicklas doing the same with a little help of other fine heroes – sure, this would never have happened without contribution of other equally, if not even more impressive players like Arshavin, Eboue, Nasri and others. Our hat-trick hero missed a whole bunch of sitters a few days ago and anyone could be excused for laughing out loudly when told that he would score three goals last night. It seems like he must have used up all the shit luck allocated for the foreseeable future (or it has something to do with some sort of Danish voodoo where Jensen cast a spell making Nik unable to find the net with him in goal), let’s hope his first hattrick will boost his confidence ahead of the coming games for him to try and collect more of these lovely match balls.

As I said yesterday, it was all about scoring first and scoring early without allowing them the away goal advantage and the good guys in red duly obliged – first goal came after Arshavin won the header from Almunia’s kick, the ball landed at Nasri’s feet and he fed our little Russian for him to charge into their box where he collided with their defender and goalie and the ball ended up banged into the empty net by the Dane. The second came fifteen minutes later when one of the Porto players tried to be a little bit too smart for his own good too close to his goal and this resulted in the ball being nicked by AA who danced between three defenders and squared the ball to Bendtner for the easiest of the tap-ins. Andrey had a chance to add to the tally a bit later, but blasted his shot over the bar with the goal gaping.

As much as it was all Arsenal in the first half and as much as the pundits were surprised how poor the visitors were, they needed just one goal to take us back to square one. Second half started with them pushing for it and nearly getting one from a set piece when Nasri managed to clear the ball off the line. It has to be said, we have taken our foot off the gas in the second half and this helped us to realise that we were far from home and dry – two minutes later, Nasri dribbled past half of our opposition’s defence and placed the ball at the far post. With three goals, we were all but through, but we felt like running a riot and scored another one after a classic counter attack: Arshavin pounced on the ball cleared from our box, ran half the length of the pitch and cleverly passed the ball to Eboue who rounded the keeper and scored fourth. The Ivorian also won a penalty for Nick to complete his hattrick.

Now this is what I am talking about – needless to say, Fabianski owes last night’s heroes a good few rounds of drinks after making it a bit difficult for his teammates ahead of this game. We are through to the quarter finals and I will be looking forward to the draw due to take place next Friday just ahead of the West Ham clash.

Just to wrap it up (I need to run to get myself ready for work):

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

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Fergie set to get his revenge for Rambo failure.

January 27, 2010

Another one bites the dust then, eh? Seems like we have been beaten to Chris Smalling’s signature by our arch-enemy from the Old Toilet. Now consider this: ManYoo are supposed to be on the verge of bankruptcy and we are said to be sitting on the piles of cash doing little more than just gathering dust, yet we couldn’t come up with something to match or better whatever SAF could offer. I ask, what does it tell you? For me, it’s either just another case of a great mis-match between AW’s valuation and the market reality or sticking to the principles at all costs – according to some, Smalling is supposed to be an Arsenal fan like you and me, and it must have taken something special from them or something especially insulting from us to turn his head away from opportunity to join us and choose Manure instead. Interestingly, Roy Hodgson said in the interview after yesterday’s game that no bid from Arsenal was received – begs question why Arsene was looking so smug when asked about Smalling during one of the recent press conferences? Someone is talking shit here…

No matter what you think, playing football is a job like any other and you have to consider your options, taking into the account all monetary and non-monetary factors. Sure, one can consider taking pay-cut or a SLIGHTLY less attractive deal to join his boyhood club, but on the other hand he needs to take into the account the fact that footballer’s career is short and can be cut even shorter any second – not everyone may be lucky enough to survive an encounter with one of Martin Taylors of this world, right? As much as some – myself included – were infuriated with our favourite Togolese’s comments about planning the retirement, he had a bit of a point: hardly anyone is going to sucker himself playing for less if he can earn considerably more, simple as.

I have just watched Arsene’s press conference: when asked about Smalling, he said that they must have offered more money and chuckled – someone please enlighten me, what’s so funny? I would like to have a laugh too, but the categorical statement about not being after a striker ‘at the moment’ as well as the other one about how he already forgot about Stoke game (not that I want to remember that either, mind you) somehow did not leave me in stitches. It’s the latter that left me particularly unimpressed: try telling this to the poor mugs who made the trip ‘oop norf’ and sang their hearts out. He also said that we did not lack experience back there – I mean, is he for real?

OK, enough of this ranting, some may think I’m some sort of mentalist. 😆 There are some good news too: Nasri is back in training, despite the fact that timescale for his return was initially pencilled for 21 days, as was Ramsey’s who already got a runout against Stoke. With Song managing to avoid getting shot in Africa and on his way back as well as Bendtner being set to travel to Villa Park it will be a bit more difficult to predict the starting lineups and substitutions. Not to mention that the pirates’ darling is coming home as well after Ivory Coast crashed out of the ACN – unfortunately, this means that every Arsenal fan’s not-so-favourite Ivorian will be available for selection for our most dangerous rivals too. I would rather have him knackered after going all the way in the competition than retuned and raring to go on the next Sunday. Oh well.

Thank you for reading, I will be back tomorrow with my views on the first episode of ‘get rich or die trying’ quadrilogy, screening of which commences today – I didn’t feel like writing a preview somewhat, it should be enough to say that nothing but three points will do for me. And oh, someone please explain Smalling what a huge mistake he’s making…  😉

Come on Arsenal!

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Everton preview.

January 9, 2010

Schools and shops closed, cars abandoned, football games postponed. In a few words, the country has ground to a halt. One can only hope that today’s game goes ahead, looking at the fixture list – given that we progress in all competitions, I just can’t see where we could squeeze this one in, as we may need to reschedule Burnley and Spuds, should we do well in the FA Cup.

Everton come with an enormous point to prove after the opening day result that surprised everyone, myself included – I have to admit, I expected a good result, but a much closer one, however, everything seemed to go just right on that day. Useless at set pieces? Not anymore. Panic defending? Who, Arsenal? Obviously, not one of the ‘experts’ gave us any credit for that and they just went ahead to point out how bad Toffees were on that day. Sure, they did not impress so far this season like I expected them to, currently in the 12th with a game in hand, but they seem to have turned things around and even managed to nick a point at Stamford Bridge after a rollercoaster-like game, which ended with 3:3 on the scoreboard. I have nothing but respect for David Moyes, who is a no-nonsense kind of manager, doing a great job on quite modest budget with a knack for finding good players. I would expect them to be up there fighting for Europa League places, come the business end of the season.

Looking at the squads, it is surprising to see that there is another club with so many players out. If I was to single out a few of their players who could give us problems, but luckily for us are out, I’d say Arteta, Jagielka & Yakubu, however, they still have Cahill, Pienaar and Fellaini as well as their new boy, Beckham’s LA Galaxy teammate, Landon Donovan who arrived on loan and will definitely be eager to impress ahead of the World Cup. They are certainly capable of giving us a headache and we have to approach this game fully focused in order to maintain momentum.

Having looked at their team, let’s look at ours – again, not a lot to shuffle around, is there? Thankfully, we will see Traore returning to play left back, giving us much needed pace in that position, the rest of the defensive block will contain the all the well-known faces. Moving on to the midfield, we will finally get to know the answer to the question if Denilson is the right player to replace our ACN absentee – whilst I would rather like him to get up to speed against Bolton, he will just have to get on with it and prove a few doubters wrong. He will face considerably tougher task of containing the aforementioned midfield trio and others. It will be quite interesting to see how he copes with the Belgian giant’s physical presence – the focal point of discussions regarding our backup DM was his perceived lack of strength to cope with bigger and stronger opposition players. He is likely to be partnered by Diaby who should help him to deal with it and perhaps in form Ramsey, who may get a nod ahead of fit again Rosicky, who will probably come on for him a bit later in the game. Upfront, I would personally go for Arshavin, Eduardo and Nasri with possible introduction of Vela to tear Tony Hibbert a new one in the last 20-30 minutes.

Nothing but 3 points will do – we need to maintain ‘visual contact’ with the top spot ahead of the do-or-die February. Frankly, I will take any result where our goals > their goals without any new casualties 😉

Come on you red & white beauties! Give us something to smile about in these cold, cold days 😀

P.S. Allow me to express my disgust with the ACN organisers unable to ensure safety of the players in Angola – apparently, the bus carrying the Togo team was attacked by a local militia and shot at for 15 minutes, resulting in the driver getting killed and a few players injured. Togo players are contemplating returning home and no one can blame them. I reckon we should pull our two players out of the competition, pay the fines and let them serve the inevitable ban imposed by the authorities – we wouldn’t have them available anyway and they would be fresh, rested and injury free. If all the big clubs did that, it would certainly give them fat, useless idiots at FIFA food for thought…

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Victory over The Hammers lines us up against The Potters

January 4, 2010

Phew, that was a bit of a nervy affair wasn’t it? For over 60 minutes until the double substitution we huffed and puffed but could not break down well organised, hard working Hammers and if that wasn’t for introduction of impressive Diaby and Nasri, we would probably find it very hard to get anything out of this game after they managed to beat our one man offside trap and put one past exposed Fabianski. Something tells me our Polish goalie will not have Sly on his Christmas card list after getting exposed again in a FA Cup tie!

Yesterday I said it would be curious to see what sort of team will be selected to take on West Ham in the FA Cup 3rd round game. There was quite lot of heated discussions on whether we do or we don’t care enough about this particular competition, which might have lost a bit of its old glamour, but still brings plenty of joy to football fans and is capable of giving us one or two romantic moments. Yesterday certainly brought one of these in the shape of once mighty Leeds United currently languishing in League One giving the Ol’ Red Nose’s team a bloody nose: SAF complaining about not enough injury time added on – priceless. What goes around comes around, Sir. It’s called karma and she’s a bitch 😆

The lineup suggested we were dead serious about progressing to the next round – the only ‘irregularity’ in the back four was Silvestre who surprisingly captained the mostly senior side and played in the left back position. The fact of players like Gallas not getting rest was quite unexpected, all things considered: we play Bolton on Wednesday, I guess AW must think out defence will not have their work cut out against them, since they are normally the ones who come to Emirates to frustrate us by keeping 10 men behind the ball and counting on occasional break.

In the midfield we saw Merida given a rare start beside Song and Ramsey. As much as I like the fella, this must have been one of his worst games for Arsenal – he had a real mare with plenty of misplaced passes and  poor set pieces, which resulted in AW putting him out of his misery to replace him with in-form Diaby. I have guessed our front three right, but for some reason Eduardo started on the left with Vela in the middle and Jackie Boy taking the spot on the right. A word on our little prodigy – I seriously hope he will get a loan move soon, as he has gone off the boil a little due to lack of playing time against the real opposition. Yesterday he looked like he needs it badly after being promoted to the senior squad where he is not getting anywhere near the amount of minutes he played last season while he was very much a part of our successful youth setup. Like Merida, he was substituted in the 65th minute and this is when we started fighting back with some real bite.

Until then, we did not do a lot, did we? Yes, we dominated the proceedings in the first half, but did not offer any serious threat to Green’s goal – a few tame shots, most of them straight at their keeper, a string of very ineffective corners and in the dying minutes, just as the commentary said something regarding WHU being ‘reasonably happy’ about being level at the break, it turned out that they had other ideas. Conceding a goal right before the whistle is always a blow and this one was no different – they seemed to have come out flying in the second half and seemed hell-bent on killing the game off. For the best part of first 20 minutes in the second half they looked the better team and it did not look like we had the answers. This piece from club website says it all:

Nasri and Diaby are both warming up, do Arsenal need to change things here? If I’m honest West Ham look more likely to score the next goal in this game.

Cue the aforementioned double substitution and inspired comeback – all of the sudden things started clicking and we finally looked like we were right in it: our movement and passing began to be more accurate and purposeful and their players started resorting to some ol’ time wasting antics, which left our travelling fans and AW unimpressed. One of these was Green after being forced to make a double save from Diaby and Song who was impressive again and will be sorely missed during the ACN.

Whilst their idea in doing this was to try and  break our stride, it was only enough to delay the inevitable. They say the cream always rises to the top, and this time was no different – just six minutes later we finally managed to break them down. Vela received Song’s pass on the edge of the WHU box and fed Ramsey who hit it with power and venom past hapless Green. Second sweet strike in as many games with his ‘weaker’ foot and another MOTM award – this guy will be something else. We got the winning goal just five minutes later when Vela crossed into the box for Eduardo to somehow outjump nearly three inches taller Upson and head the ball into the top corner. Green might have just got his fingertips to it, but it wasn’t enough and sparked ‘England’s,  England’s number six’  chants from jubilant Gooners seated behind his goal. He got beaten by Vela one more time, only for Daprela to clear it off the line. There were a few more good efforts by Dudu and Ramsey with the former putting the smart header over the bar and the latter seeing his late blast saved by the Englishman.

Subsequent 4th Round draw paired us with Stoke City at Britannia Stadium. This may be an interesting one, with vital fixtures coming thick and fast right afterwards. A lot will depend on our injury situation as well as on what kind of new signings we will or will not get before then. More on the latter tomorrow. Thank you for reading 😉

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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…