Posts Tagged ‘Tomas Rosicky’

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Hammer time!

March 19, 2010

After some time without writing due to other commitments, I am back with a preview of the Saturday’s derby game – I am posting it a day earlier as I need to make my way to London today to do some work related stuff and I will be staying until Sunday because I am one of the lucky sixty thousand or so going to THOF tomorrow – I consider myself lucky as there doesn’t seem to be too many tickets available until the end of the season and I quite like WHU, especially after they did us a favour back in 2006. Besides, it is my first London derby, unless you count Chelsea v Charlton cup game a few years ago.

All sympathies aside, this is another cup final like game we need to win in order to stay within touching distance from the other two title contenders. Sure, they will drop points, but we need to gain on them if we are serious about winning the last (albeit the major one) domestic  trophy we still can. It will be interesting to see how our opponents will approach this game after getting humiliated at Stamford Bridge last week and even more so how will we, given the string of recent results and the squad brimming with confidence: as we all know, the line between confidence and complacency is very fine as far as this group of players is concerned and WHU have been a bit of a bogey team for us since we moved to the new stadium. I still remember us getting sucker punched by them when we should have mauled them and left them for dead in our first season there – I was at the pub full of their fans and they could not believe it either, honestly.

According to Our Glorious Leader, we will have our captain available for selection as well as Rosicky (both returning from injuries) and Song back from two game suspension caused by accumulating quite an impressive amount of yellow cards throughout the season. The only worry is that Billy is still injured and we will have to make do with one of the backup centre backs partnering Vermaelen – I have a hunch that this time it will be Sly to save impressive so far Sulzeer from fatigue, as this was showing a little bit in our last game. I may be wrong, as this time he had a whole week to recover and he may as well be raring to go in order to wash off the distaste left after storming out of Highbury during halftime last time he played them in Arsenal colours. The rest of back four pretty much picks itself with Clichy finally finding some form and Sagna looking good in the last game as well. In other areas we are almost at full strength – please feel free to think of your own favourites to start the game and I shall think of mine, I am guessing we would all come to pretty much the same conclusions anyway…

All of the sudden, it seems to be clicking into gear, don’t you think? It seems like all the underperforming players started playing like we all knew they could and like we fully expected them to – cynics may say that it largely coincides with the upcoming World Cup and the players’ willingness to get into their national coaches’ good books, I think I will stand by my own claim that they must have taken a long close look at themselves and considered criticism heaped on them by the fans, whose patience started wearing a little thin. It is really funny to see all the pundits who wrote us off a few times this season trying to back us up to win the title without looking like mugs – have to admit, I thought it would be between us and Chelsea this season but I was not too optimistic about us coming up trumps. Realistically speaking, we will probably finish a measly few points off the top, but hey, where is the fun in that? We will win the bloody thing – hell yes!!!

All I can do is keep my proverbial fingers crossed and sing my heart out tomorrow! I should be back with a game review on Sunday, but please forgive me if I get too wasted after the game and will not be able to string a few celebratory sentences together…

Come on you Gunners!!!

P.S. There is a small matter of Champions League draw today- bring’em on! 😀

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Two is the magic number.

January 28, 2010

Two zeros on the scoresheet. Two points dropped. Two players injured. Hit woodwork twice. Result: two points off the top, although the leaders have a game in hand. The next two games are absolutely crucial as far as our title chances are concerned. Hell, getting results there is vitally important in order to finish no lower than third spot, looking at the Premier League table – 6th placed City, having only played 21 games to our 23 would be far too close for comfort, should the worst case scenario unfold. Why is finishing in the top three so important, you will ask: take into the consideration that it is the World Cup year and I would rather not have to go into the early Champions League qualifiers, as it would deprive our players of much needed rest – our team is packed with internationals and I would prefer to start the next season proper as late as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, but I go into every game expecting that we will get all the points, as it is really no fun otherwise – this is what being a fan is all about, right? I wrote yesterday that nothing less than 3 points will do for me and I was genuinely convinced that despite the fact of trip to Villa Park being a notoriously tough fixture (just ask Chavs), we would come up trumps. Members of ‘glass half full’ brigade will say that it’s not too bad a result and I would be inclined to agree, given our lineup. When I first saw the team assembled to face Villans, I really felt for Cesc who was asked to orchestrate our midfield play partnered by two lightweights in the shape of Ramsey and Denilson. Again, let me explain: that’s some grossly unbalanced midfield, if I ever saw one – three players of the same kind, with the only classy one being Captain Fantastic and the other two just making up the numbers. Unsurprisingly, Denilson was his normal useless passenger self, bar one good scoring attempt and our young Welshman was again guilty of not keeping things simple and doing the best piece of defending for Villa by getting in Rosicky’s way when the latter wanted to smash in the rebound after Fabregas’ shot cannoned off the post with the keeper beaten. The goal was gaping with Friedel being nowhere and only shit luck or Ramsey could have prevented us from going one up right before the break. Sadly, it was the latter.

We have got equally unlucky in the second half when Rosicky received a clever pass from Cesc, following a nice break by Arshavin, which ended up with their goalie thwarting his shot. The ball went skywards, the brilliant Spaniard cushioned it towards TR, who frustratingly blasted it against the crossbar. If that didn’t tell you that it wasn’t our day, then maybe injuries sustained by Verminator and Dudu will leave you convinced. While we know that our Crozilian has just pulled a hamstring, which apparently is just a minor niggle, there is no solid confirmation if we should or should not worry about whether we will see TV anytime soon. Now let me put it this way:  I love Eduardo, but his temporary absence from the squad will not have as much of an impact as having half of our best CB pairing for years out of the contention for God knows how long. Hopefully, we will know a bit more today.

Our Belgian was replaced by Sol Campbell who once again was very impressive – I had my doubts whether he could handle playing multiple games in the short period of time, yet he proved that he was much fitter than anyone would care to give him credit for. Yes, he has lost a few yards of pace, but he should be able to make up for it using bags of experience he has. The way he pulled down Dunne and pleaded innocence immediately to get away with it was absolutely priceless. If he manages to pull us through the next few games in the same fashion, then I will be getting his name printed on my new home shirt, due to be announced anytime soon. Rumour has it that we will finally get to look like Arsenal again with all white sleeves – I deliberately bought only the away kits this season and the last, as our current home outfit makes us look like Charlton.

Before this ‘make or break’ period started, I said that I will be happy with seven points from four – this is not how I planned it, but we can still equal or better my estimate. The next home game against the fired up ManYoo, who have just beaten their nearest rivals to the Carling Cup Final will show what we are really made of – we should have Song back and Bendtner will have a few more training sessions under his belt to shake off the rust. He looked reasonably well yesterday and we might have fared a bit better, had he started in place of our No.9 who looks worryingly off pace.

I will not tear into below par performances of a certain few, it should be enough to say that one can only hope that we will not see too much of them in the upcoming matches – please Arsene, see the light: they are not good enough, they don’t have the ‘qualitee’, and should not be anywhere near the first team. With just the mere few days of transfer window left, something must be done. We have the best chance for years and not addressing all-too-obvious shortcomings would be bordering on professional negligence. Please, please, please…

I will be back tomorrow, hopefully with good news on Vermaelen as well as with my thoughts on the last three days of the transfer window. As Wrighty7 likes to say: keep it Goonerish 😉

P.S. Since we didn’t score any goals (luckily, neither did they)  and the highlights of single non-scoring chances are quite hard to come by, these who didn’t watch the game or simply want to relive it are welcome to check out the highlights here.

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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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‘New signing’

January 5, 2010

Arsene has some sense of humour to extend Rosicky’s contract in the transfer period, doesn’t he? For the past couple of years Tomas Rosicky was referred to as being ‘like a new signing’ during and around a few consecutive windows. As the time went by, we waited for this particular one to materialise, but instead we would find more and more articles and quotes on how it was going to be just another few weeks or months. This season Super Tom finally overcame his ‘one of a kind’, career threatening injury and managed to put a few games under his belt – I was one of a few thousand Gooners to cheer him on his ‘debut’ at Barnet where he captained the side and got a very warm welcome. I guess everyone was happy to see this crafty little player back  – we all knew what sort of impact Little Mozart may offer when fit.

Sure, it would be hardly realistic to expect such player to hit the ground running in such physically demanding league, so like the other returnee he had a few more short spells on the sidelines with minor niggles. While Eduardo is visibly getting back in the groove, we are yet to see Rosicky playing more often, however, everytime he enters the pitch, he looks a handful.  Let’s hope that he manages more games and repays the club for the faith and patience shown by Le Gaffer.

Still, we don’t have a lot of rumours on possible real new signings to talk about, do we? 

I have the money, I have the desire but I do not have the player.’ is the latest of the manager’s pearls thrown to the journos for them to add a bit of spin to it. Winston Churchill once said that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on, so if there ever was an ideal transfer window quote, this is it – AW, being AW, loves keeping cards close to his chest and making inconclusive statements that keeps the competition, the hacks and the fans guessing – will he, won’t he? Fair enough, it’s probably much harder to find anyone – who is deemed good enough, mind you –  to move in the World Cup year, plus, not too many clubs have money to spend before they sell. We can expect a domino effect at one point, when one or two moves will spark the market into life. I am sure we will be spending money wisely for the benefit of the club, rather than blowing stupid amounts on below par players.

Yesterday brought us a sneaky gossip about Sol Campbell rejoining us on a short-term basis – now do we really need another bench warmer and a slightly mental one at that? Le Grove’s Pedro summed it up perfectly, and I agree. On top of that, Invincible he may be, but I still remember his storming out of the WHU game as well as asking Le Boss for a chance to play abroad to move to bloody Pompey – I hope we will dodge this bullet and sign someone with a bit more perspective about him. Micah Richards, anyone? Decent player, a Gooner and another one to snatch from uder Spuds’ noses. I reckon he would be a great understudy for Billy and could form quite a partnership with Verminator in a couple of years.

Thank you for reading, I will be back tomorrow with the Shitkickers game preview and perhaps/hopefully some more…