Posts Tagged ‘Wilshere’

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Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Wenger?

May 9, 2011

Right…

If I am to be honest with you, I really don’t feel like writing this post, not only because it pains me to say the harsh words of criticism, but also because I have this old fashioned work ethic that does not allow me to feed you the undercooked piece and I am really struggling for motivation to do it properly. But hey, I am of the opinion that the way you approach moments like these is what separates the men from the boys and sometimes you just have to stand up and deliver, even when the circumstances combine in the way that you would rather be somewhere else. Preferably somewhere quiet, miles away from the place you are currently in and for an extended period of time.

OK, here goes: first and foremost, I would like to offer Stoke City FC my sincere apology for the tone of my match preview, as I have been proven seriously wrong on this occasion. The bitter truth is that we have been given a footballing lesson by them and this must have been the first time ever their supporters got to go ‘Ole’ when they simply toyed with us in the second half. As they say, pride comes before the fall and boy, how the mighty have fallen! Our Glorious Leader has now been beaten at his own game by Tony Pulis and they really did not need to resort to any nasty tactics, in fact, if you are to believe the game stats on BBC website, we have committed more fouls and got more bookings than them and that is saying something.

We have conceded three goals and each and every one of them was just the same old story: a set piece for the first, failure to close down the opponent for the second and conceding a goal straight after pulling one back for the third. Now, have we been there before or what? It really begs question what on earth is this team up to during training sessions, as sure as hell they don’t analyse the past errors and do their best to iron them out. The former two is the story of our undoing for the past few seasons and the latter seems to be the flavour of the current one, great, not only the flaws of old are not eradicated, but we also get a new weakness in the shape of being unable to hold onto the advantage to deal with. Could it have something to do with stripping the back four of experience and replacing it with two dudes who barely have two top flight seasons under their belts between them? Impossible, it must be my simplistic approach, characteristic for someone who did not work a single day in football talking!

I wonder...

I have decided that I will not be tearing into the players’ performances, because they are not even worth that. If any of you happens to be reading this bit, here is the deal: since none of you could be arsed to play for me, I can’t be arsed to write about you, there are only a few players that deserved better and these are Robin and Jack throughout the game, Shava who tried pretty hard to cover for clueless Gibbs (payrise? you are having a laugh) and Rambo who had to deal with the ‘classy’ treatment dished out by the home crowd. Both of the latter were subbed by Wenger to bring on two chocolate teapots in the shape of Bendtner and Chamakh with neither of them trying to make a nuisance of themselves in the box like they should. Szczesny and Koscielny also get away with just a bit of credit, but the rest can simply go forth and multiply! And if you have any ideas of apologising on Tw*tter, take my advice and just don’t…

Ever since I came back to writing, a month or so ago, it has become somewhat of a tradition not to write the actual match reports on this blog, as I prefer to offer you my overall opinion on things rather than go through the same motions everyone else does. Since I am not necessarily amongst the ‘biggest selling titles’, something tells me that you have gone through at least one of these before turning your attention to yours truly, so, as the title of today’s post would suggest, I will focus on the OGL’s reaction instead.

Doesn't it, Arsene?

Having read the brief summary of the post-match interview I can only laugh and say ‘No shit, Sherlock’. First thing you read is that you can lose everywhere if you don’t turn up with the same competitive spirit in every game. Really? And I thought it was enough for the ‘best squad ever’ to get out on the pitch, look down upon everyone else and then go through the tippy tappy motions for the oppositions to bow to their superior technical ability and let them through on goal while they are at it! How silly of me, eh? It just so happens that it’s exactly this approach that cost us, if I am calculating this right, enough points for us to be still celebrating the title, which we would have won last week, as even with today’s result we would still be nine points clear! Sp*ds, Magpies, WBA and Liverpool at home (11 points) coupled with WBA, Magpies and Bolton away (7 points) adds up to cool 18, which would see us sitting at the top of the table and laughing at the also rans rather than being the butt of jokes ourselves. So, mon cher Arsene, bollocks to your ‘team has done well overall this season’, because it most certainly has not, now stop being a spin doctor and start doing what you are paid to do, which (in case you have forgotten) is being a fucking football manager!

Der Führer has also acknowledged that conceding goals from set pieces is something that needs to be worked on. Now I am not a stats enthusiast, but OptaJoe’s tweet about us conceding the highest proportion (57%) of set piece goals in the entire league was enough to catch my eye and share it with you. Shocking? Given that it’s something that can be drilled into players in training relatively easily it most certainly is. As I said earlier, not exactly a new problem, is it? As I have noticed in one of my previous posts, it takes Arsene ridiculously long to figure out the fairly obvious stuff and that is really not good enough in my book.

There was also some mention of Vermaelen who spent the game on the bench with Djourou clearly struggling, having barely shaken off the injury sustained last week. This is another piece of evidence showing how true the saying about reaping what you sow is. We have been crying out for another big lump of a defender throughout the winter transfer window, reasonably priced options were available, but AW chose not to act. Big Johan certainly did not look that big amongst their players in the box and failed to mark Kenwyne Jones who scored the opener without knowing much about it. He also has to shoulder some blame for the second and was fully responsible for the third, yet, he completed 90 minutes. Something tells me that we would have done better with another giant to rotate with JD, some will say it’s hindsight, I say bollocks it is, and the evidence to the contrary is plentiful.

Just to wrap things up, let me remind you of this little gem:

Flying Spaghetti Monster help us all!

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Three points in the bag + Big news on the ownership front

April 10, 2011

Just as I thought I would sit down and write a nice match report, here comes the damn Yank with all his money and spoils the plan. Despite all the legends surrounding the life of a sports blogger which would make you believe it’s all jet-set, caviar, champagne and other stuff I prefer not to mention, it’s harder than it looks! But hey, I can’t really complain, could be much worse, like nothing to write about or doing a post mortem after a less favourable result, eh? As they say, there is no harm in excess and I feel that my readers can’t be let down by yours truly, so let’s get cracking!

I gotta say phew, we made it look like hard work! Those who watched the game will know the scoreline does not tell the whole story – just to start, let me tell you that if the bookies took bets on Arsenal lineups and if I was a gambling man, I would probably be stinking rich by now. It’s only the inclusion of Lehmann as a result of another mysterious injury sustained by Almunia that would put a spanner in my works on this occasion, you know? And before anyone asks, I categorically deny possession of the Grays Sports Almanac issued some time in the future, as I would definitely be a ‘gambling’ man and could probably afford to buy our club with the lunch money. Not to mention that my yesterday’s preview would contain a set of prophecies about Diaby getting the first goal and Zinedine Eboue scoring an absolute cracker of a second and the comments section would be full of suggestions for me to seek professional help, just for me to have the last laugh! I mean, to continue on the gambling subject what were the odds of that happening? Walking past the bookies offices during the day, the adverts mentioned Nasri, Robin, but these two? Fair play to them, especially the latter goal cheered up the travelling support and I thought that we were well and truly on our way after a bit of a shaky start.

But we just don’t do the things the easy way, do we? We had a few more situations to score, most notably when Nasri hit the post with the keeper beaten after hitting the ball in clever fashion. Robin also had a chance to increase the damage earlier after hitting the ball straight at the keeper, but to be fair it was not the easiest of chances. In the latter situation, the peach of a long, pin-point pass from Cesc, who played his 300th (yes, that’s three hundred you see there) game for the club deserved to be an assist. He was also in the right place to clear the ball off the line with Mad Jens in a bit of trouble just before the final whistle.

The start of the second half looked a bit like the beginning of the first period with the only difference being the goal they managed to pull back after seven minutes. Oh shit, here we go again, I thought and probably so did you! A bit later on Koscielny tackled the opposition player in the box, my heart skipped a beat and quite rightly so, as it looked like a stonewall penalty. Lee Mason must have either not seen it or might still be consumed by the feeling of guilt with regards to allowing that Saha goal when we played Toffees at home and he was miles offside. You would think we would have run out of the ref credit by then, but when Koscielny barged a player in the box sometime later, the whistle stayed silent as well. Say what you want, I’ve seen them given! Maybe he thought football was a man’s game, as when Wilshere was a victim of a similar, albeit much stronger barge earlier on, he did not bring BFC player to order either, which resulted in Jack the Lad being kicked left, right and centre. Given that he is the biggest hope of England playing nice flowing footy in the coming years, that’s a tad unpatriotic if you ask me, but there you go.

Enough said, we have finally put the game to bed in the 75th minute when Theo broke free and squared the ball to RvP for the mother of all easy finishes. 1:3, thank you very much! Since there was not a lot to write home about afterwards, it was not quite the broadside I was talking about yesterday, but a win and three points are not to be sniffed at and I would be daft to think otherwise. I don’t even want to begin to think about the consequences if we did not get the result ahead of the next week’s clash with Liverpool next week. Emirates can be a very cold and unforgiving place and tens of thousands of thumbs pointing downwards can knock the stuffing out of any gladiator. Now, I don’t need to tell you that it would be the last thing we would need, do I?

Moving  on to the next subject: without a shadow of doubt, the Gooner universe has been rocked by the news of the imminent takeover by the largest shareholder, Mr Stan Kroenke, who appears to be set to acquire the shares held by Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina, taking the percentage of the club owned past 60 per cent. Breaking news indeed.

Blunt object or Stanley knife?

He is not a man of many words, hence the ‘Silent Stan’ moniker, so it is difficult to fathom what that means for the club, small shareholders and – last, but not least – the most important people, which is you and me. It’s getting a bit late, I need to do a few other things, so for the time being I suggest you read the brilliant piece from The Swiss Ramble to get the idea on what kind of man he is. Rest assured that I will come back to you with my take on the subject as soon as I get my head around it a bit more.

The sudden nature of the takeover suggests that Danny Fiszman may not be in the best of shapes, so please spare a thought for him as one of the men behind the club being where it is, if not out of the common human decency. All the best, Sir!

P.S. The goals and other videos linked in the article are courtesy of Arsenalist, which is the best place on the web to get the highlights from the Arsenal games. I have now included the link to this site in the side panel and you may want to check it out whenever you happen to miss a game or just relive a moment or two – enjoy!

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Valentine’s Day guff.

February 14, 2010

Morning all. I did not feel so hot yesterday after washing down the lager with Sambucca on Friday night, so I thought I’d give it a rest. Not that there was much to write about: I could obviously rant about being deprived of football on the weekend after we threw the FA Cup, but frankly there was no point crying over spilt milk and given our injury situation, we needed the game at the council house just before the trip to Porto like a hole in the head. Stoke went to Eastlands, earned a well deserved draw and a replay probably just ahead of February 27th when we play them at Britannia. This may give us a bit of advantage as far as our ‘perfect run’ targeted by the likes of Arshavin is concerned: recently, we went there twice and lost twice, so we may need something special to avoid The Potters being labelled our ‘bogey team’ the way Bolton under Fat Sam were.

Speaking of The Trotters: today they play our not-so-glorious neighbours in the cup and I am looking forward to seeing Jackie Boy weave his magic the way he did against City recently – it’s yet another ‘surplus’ Arsenal player earning plaudits from the manager and fans of the lucky club, here’s to hoping that he will make some of them Spuds look silly today!

With not a lot ot write about, hacks continue with all this ‘Cesc to Barca’ stories despite all the parties firmly denying it – call me cynical, but I reckon this time there is no smoke without fire and if we fail to get our hands on one of two remaining trophies and/or address some of our squad’s deficiencies, he will be seriously considering his options in the summer. Rumour has it that he is refusing to sign the improved deal – my money is on his signing when he sees some transfer activity, bearing in mind how RvP was promised additions that never materialised last year. Losing Cesc would be a massive blow, dare I say bigger than losing Henry, simply because of their respective age and fitness at the moment of leaving Arsenal. Another player with uncertain future is Billy G. – PHW said there was no request for ‘special dispensation’ from OGL as far as breaking the dreaded ‘one year policy’ is concerned, I reckon it should be given, hell, even ordered without asking for it: Gallas is one of the few players of real quality in our squad and he has proven to have massive impact, being a born winner and bringing lots of experience to the table. Two year deal would also make a bit more sense even if he was to leave next summer, as he would not leave on a free. Please Arsene, don’t go all Bobby on Billy…

Just to conclude, I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day. Show your love!

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Another one out, no signing in sight.

January 30, 2010

Unless a ‘super, super signing’ is to be unveiled tomorrow before the game to raise the roof, this transfer window is about to go begging. I was in two minds, whether the countdown picture to be used with this post was supposed to be a ‘2’ or a ‘1’, taking into the account tomorrow’s clash – eventually, I have decided to stick to the facts and perhaps naively believe that if we are really to get someone in, then our CEO will be working overtime to pull this through. Silly me 😆

Our teenage future midfield superstar, Jack Wilshere has just joined Bolton on loan until the end of the season – given that we are out of both domestic cup competitions, it is a very good move for everyone concerned:  barring some injury disaster of cataclysmic proportions, we certainly wouldn’t be able to allow Jack The Lad enough game time for him to develop into something in the mould of Joe Cole on crack, whereas Coyle is a long time admirer and should give him more chances – besides, Bolton looked enough of a footballing side in our recent games and they actually look like they are on good path to be cured from the nasty disease called fatsamitis. Mind you, there are enough bruisers in their squad to offer the little one enough protection for him to weave his magic, glimpses of which we have seen in the last season. Our mate, who is a famous Polish reggae singer (seriously, we have these! check this out) came to play a gig in London and it coincided with the FA Youth Cup Final at the Emirates – we took him to the game and he immediately singled him out, saying that the kid will be something absolutely special and couldn’t believe that he was only 17.  In the process, we are rumoured to have also managed to negotiate the right of first refusal if Trotters decide to sell Gary Cahill, who looks like a decent enough centre back, which makes the deal even better.

This should be the last of the players to leave the club this month – needless to say, it would not be too shabby if we saw someone coming in to cheer us up and show or rivals that we mean business to leave them quaking in their boots. After the long period of rumour drought, there is a little bit of a speculation about us signing Nice’s Loic Remy – I can only speak for myself, but I would be prepared to trust Grimandi’s judgment in that respect: our former defender reportedly said that he had ‘a physical standard that is outside the usual’ and given that our forward line is looking a bit iffy, we should pounce before anyone else does. What are we waiting for then? Where I come from, a wise saying goes that if no one knows what the issue is, then it must be the money – unsurprisingly, this is no different, as Our Glorious Leader is said to be refusing to meet their valuation. Whether it is just playing the hard ball, like we witnessed during Arshavin transfer saga or a simple, categorical ‘non’ remains to be seen. You wouldn’t think £13M for someone dubbed ‘the new Thierry Henry’ is over the top, would you? Our beloved neighbours are said to be negotiating with Pompey to bring back Kaboul to Shite Hart Lane for the price of £10M or so. I’m sure a player that comes that highly recommended is worth splashing out the extra few bob and Remy who bears such uncanny resemblance to rapper Xzibit could seriously pimp our attack. Then again, it’s not my call, is it?

Thank you for reading, hope you’ve enjoyed it. I will be back tomorrow with the United game preview – until then 😉

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Can we pot The Potters after we’ve trotted over The Trotters?

January 24, 2010

Today we play Stoke City in the 4th Round of the FA Cup.  As far as I am concerned, it is absolutely crucial to get a positive result in order to maintain momentum, which we managed to gather since that infamous Chelsea defeat when we found ourselves 11 points off the pace, the smug journos entered the ‘We told you so’ mode and no one gave us a chance in hell to mount a realistic challenge for the Premier League title or any other trophy for that matter. Some may say it should not make any difference whether we win or lose this game, but I beg to differ: in my humble opinion, there is more to it than just a game won or lost – if we lose, we will be out of contention for another trophy and the mentality of the entire squad may suffer big time. A draw is no good for us either, given that reverse fixture would have to be played sometime in between the big clashes just ahead of us, taking into the account that 5th round games are scheduled just three days after we play Liverpool at home.

Having just watched both the press conference and AW’s pre-Stoke exclusive on ATVO, I am none the wiser – classic Arsene: a lot of talk about putting out the team with a good chance of winning the game and the usual Wengerisms referring to quality and mental strength. This man really loves keeping cards close to his chest, doesn’t he? All we could find out from watching this is who will definitely not play due to injuries and being rested: Diaby, Sagna and Mérida are out of the equation, having suffered in the recent Shitkickers double header. On the positive side, we are to welcome back Wilshere and Ramsey is back in training as well as B52. While Jackie Boy is quite likely to feature, I wouldn’t hold too much hope for the other two, with the make or break period just around the corner.

Our Glorious Leader said he was going to use the squad and that means wholesale changes in layman’s terms: it’s not really hard to guess that Fabianski will take the position between the sticks for this one, but it will be quite interesting to see who will be played right ahead of him – my money is on Sol & Sly CB pairing, with the former possibly being replaced by Bartley later in the game, as I have my doubts if Sulzeer has enough in his tank to last the whole 90 minutes in the tough away cup tie. I would think Gael will get a runout in the left back position to allow him some game time to tune up a little bit. Right back and defensive midfielder positions will probably be shared between young Coquelin and Eastmond respectively. Further up the pitch, we should see JET to provide some physical presence partnered by Wilshere and the front three should consist of Vela, Eduardo and Theo. I am expecting a few big guns sitting on the bench, but introduced only if it is absolutely necessary, as I don’t think anyone would like to see them being risked, bearing in mind that we have a bigger fish to fry.

According to BBC Sport website, Tony Pulis has a whole different kind of selection headache, having everyone fit and available, Rory ‘Towel Boy’ Delap who is expected to recover from a knock alongside Faye included. Add this to the hostile atmosphere mentioned in yesterday’s post and it can be assumed that it will be far from easy, given that we are likely to field a side just slightly stronger than our usual Mickey Mouse Cup XI. AW pointed out to the fact that these kids have enough experience – fair enough, he fielded a similar side in the last Champions League group game and we looked the better team and should have won.

But hey, you just never know, do you? To quote the great late Kazimierz Górski: ‘The ball is round and there are two goals’ – these are the only two things certain in football and that is what makes it so entertaining. Just ask Spuds held to a draw yesterday by the might of Leeds – Beckford, you are an absolute legend! When the time comes, I will sit in front of my TV to cheer for whoever gets a runout for Good Old Arsenal…

Thank you for reading – COYRRNATG!!! 😆

P.S. Check out this article on the Daily Mail website, written by Gary Lineker of all people. Good read!

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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 😉