Saturday, 20 December 2014

Liverpool (A)

It's been a while since my last post and in that time we've won some big games against Southampton and Newcastle but also lost a disappointing match against Stoke. After we thrashed Newcastle last weekend hopefully we can kick on as we get right into the thick of the Christmas period and we take one Liverpool at Anfield.

Now Anfield is a place where we've had mixed success after years of good performances we got taken apart last season. However Liverpool have been in even worse form than we have this season. Losing Suarez and Sturridge has cost them although their main problem so far has been at the back, where they have been leaking goals. Just last week their first choice keeper was replaced as they got thumped 3-0 at Old Trafford. If that doesn't scream problems then I don't know what does.

In terms of injuries our midfield that seemed so crowded at the beginning of the season has now been battered as we have a severe lack of central Midfielders. The OX faces a late fitness test ahead of the match and if he fails that, without Ramsey we are in big trouble. In some good news Chambers returns from suspension so I suspect we will see him slot alongside Mertesacker with Debuchy being shifted out to his familiar right. Welbeck, Cazorla and Sanchez will operate in supporting roles for Giroud upfront.

Liverpools back line tomorrow could be bare bones stuff with Johnson out and Lovren a doubt. We could see Arsenal old boy Kolo Toure handed a start. I don't rate Lazar Markovic as a wing back to whoever is on our right (probably Alexis) could have a field day as he wanders forward. Liverpool are also without Balotelli who has been banned by the FA so I'd think they'd go with Sterling upfront who has been hit and miss this season. Initially I thought this could be bad for us but thinking about it more, it means they have to pass the ball well and control the game which I'd like to think against us will be difficult. If they were playing Lambert the long balls and his hold up play may cause us problems with players making runs off him.

Looking at todays results with teams around us picking up points tomorrow is a huge game and hopefully one that we can take by the scruff of the neck and put in a shift that will take all 3 points back to the Emirates and set us up nicely for the Christmas period where we play 800 games in 10 days.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Momentum Lost

So after 3 wins back to back we've faltered again. After a resounding performance against an under par Borussia Dortmund to ensure our passage into the next round of thee Champions League we then beat West Brom and Southampton albeit in very nervy games. I finally thought we were starting to click into out rhythm but sadly not.

Stoke has ever been a happy hunting ground for us which agitates me more than I can really put into words because behind the usual suspects I detest Stoke so much and their brand of rugby. They shouldn't even be allowed to play that style of "the beautiful game" in my opinion but there you go. We were 1 down after just 20 seconds to Crouch of all people. A complete fuck up in the defence gifted the lanky ex-tottenham wanker the easiest goal of his career.

Things went from bad to worse to even worse as we went 2 and then 3 down. Aside from Cazorla and Ramsey getting much needed goals the rest of the match was just irrelevant. Defensively I don't think I've seen a worse performance all season and I can't believe I'm writing this again. Mertesacker alone is a completely different player to a rested Koscielny. He doesn't seem to function with anyone other than him. I said at the start of the season our defensive frailties and the managers absolutely inexcusable decision to not bring in other defenders when it was painfully obvious we needed them was always to be our undoing. 

I'm getting totally fed up by this now. It's pathetic. The season started with so much hope and now here we are. Sitting behind West Ham and Southampton 3 points off the top four when and failing poorly. Poor old Sanchez must be wondering what the fuck he's doing here. He left Barcelona for this. It was so obvious how disappointed he was yesterday and he is absolutely shattered. The manager said he needs a rest and midweek is the chance to do it.

Our next 4 games are: Galatasary, Newcastle, Liverpool and QPR. Gala aside we should see those games as all winnable with Liverpool somehow playing even worse than we are at the moment but I fear that we will be in trouble in all of those games. 

We need to make it to January in with a chance of making top four but at the moment that seems very questionable. I'm starting to feel that this is the beginning of the end for Wenger despite the fact that I love the man for what he's done. His job rests on the results and his signings until February. The only crumb of comfort is that Chelsea have finally lost this season so we still have our ageing invincible season to cling on to.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Manchester United: The Fallout

Here we are again. At the moment I feel like it's groundhog day. If you read my previous posts for a number of weeks now I've been saying the same thing. Need a win, sooner rather than later blah blah. And this is it all over again following yesterdays defeat.

Going into the game I was strangely confident of getting a result, foolish me. We started well and for the first half an hour we were all over them, we played well and looked dangerous. United were at sixes and sevens and it looked like this would be the time where finally we were going to beat them. But individual short comings yesterday cost us anything.

Danny Welbeck was trying way too hard to score against his old club and prove a point. That selfishness was his undoing. There were a number of chances where his finishing was piss poor frankly and another where he should have squared it for a team mate. But the worst finish of the day came from Wilshere who quite frankly could have been shot for missing one-on-one from all of 8 yards. What was even worse was that Sanchez was in acres of space to his left for a tap in.

From there the sense of inevitability was overwhelming and despite Fellaini was offside and fouled Gibbs for the 800th time in the match a shot heading wide was deflected in off Gibbs who you have to feel for. We pressed very hard and even though we were losing by only one goal it was poor management. We needed to clear our heads and get back in possession but it seemed like we have every player on the edge of the United and box and it was blindingly obvious we were gonna get caught on the break and low and behold thats what happened.

When Di Maria found Rooney it was obvious he would score against Martinez who came on for the injured SZCZ. Not his fault, it was Rooney one-on-one how do you deal with that. From there whatever we did it we were going to lose. The only silver lining was a cracking goal from Giroud on his return from injury deep into stoppage time.

We're in a bad way at the minute and we need a point against Dortmund to get through the CL group this week and I'm so far from confidence its unreal. Thankfully I'm out on Wednesday so I won't be subject to it. 

Wenger in? Wenger out? At the moment I don't know, but something needs to change and immediately.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Manchester United (H)

We appear to have escaped the break unscathed before we host an out of sorts United this weekend. We've been boosted by the news that Olivier Giroud and Mikel Arteta are back and available. Whilst they aren't the defenders we so desperately need it's nice to have them back to offer something different. We are in desperate need of confidence after shipping two leads in the same week. A win is needed this weekend and we're taking on one of the most top heavy sides in the league. 

In terms of our team news those are the only returns from the squad and Welbeck is a slight doubt but is expected to make it. Quite who will line up at the back in anybody's guess but against a team with Rooney, rvp and Di Maria they will need to be on the ball to deal with them. United are without Falcao and more importantly in my opinion Daley Blind who gave them some sort of defensive stability. If we go forward with pace and quality that we all know we have there are goals to be got against this side and quite a few at that. 

This weekends match could be an absolute goal fest the way both teams have been defending recently or it could be a cagey 1-0. It's a hard one to judge because both teams have had time to regroup after the international break so mentally they should all be focused. Make no mistake, although this match might not be the title decided that it once was it's still a huge game and it still carries huge importance for both sets of fans.

With confidence at a real low and just 4 wins to our name out of 11 league matches this season we need to buck our ideas up and sharpish. We still have a mountain of games to complete before we have to face before we can even attempt to address our problems at the back in January and if we're already out of the running by then it will be insignificant. 

Onwards. Up the Arsenal.   

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Swansea (A)

Arsenal have it all to do in Europe now after catastrophically throwing away a 3 goal lead against lowly Anderlecht. For 60 minutes the gunners played like champions, with pace and intent and quite frankly a cool penalty from Arteta, a superb volley from Alexis Sanchez and a very tidy finish from the OX should have put the game to bed. The tactics from us were bizzare. Most teams at 3-0 would hold the ball and invite pressure from the opponents then break on the counter. We continued to throw men forward and in the end that cost us. 

Anyway we move back to Premier League football this weekend as we travel to Swansea. We need to put in a solid performance to boost confidence ahead of the international break. A win would send us above West Ham into fourth (it seems so weird writing that). A loss could leave us languishing in the pack and with tricky games against United and Southampton to come some points would be very handy. 

So in team news Jack Wilshere is available for selection after illness, but we are without Arteta who went off midweek with a hamstring injury. Away from home I'm not sure we'll break out the 4-4-2 formation and Wenger may favour the 4-5-1. Theo Walcott will be pushing for some more minutes having returned from injury but I can't see him starting following Wengers comments yesterday.

Swansea are going to be awkward at home and are a team we've struggled against in recent seasons. They're playing well this season and we know Wilfred Bony and Sigurdson will be a handful.The defence will need to be on form in order to keep them quiet. Gary Monk has them playing good football and we need to retain possession well and they are good with the ball.

Tomorrow is going to be a tough game. Things need to to start clicking sooner rather than later cause it still doesn't feel like we've really got going this season and with some tough games and the busy Christmas period coming up we need to hit some form sooner rather than later. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Sunderland (A)

Posts have been few and far between recently and for that I apologise. Hopefully this post will get this blog back on track this season. 

I'll start with a word on Wednesday nights performance. For 89 minutes we were outplayed and quite frankly looked out of ideas. The only two players whose performances I remember are wonderful Sanchez who at the moment is carrying the entire squad and Gibbs who put in a real shift at left back. We were on the verge of a humiliating defeat and Chambers who had a poor night put in the cross of his life to find onrushing Gibbs who's side footed finish into the far corner was truly top drawer.

Then in a dramatic finale, some fantastic work in box fell to Podolski who had been desperately thrown on for Wilshere and the German turned and blasted the ball into the net sending the travel fans into delirium. It was a great win but it doesn't cover up the frailties and our make shift defence at the moment just looks so weak its concerning and this has been confounded by the news that Koscielny will be out for another month at least.

Anyway we're in Premier League action today away at Sunderland and we're desperate for a win. We've not won in the league since Aston Villa which was weeks ago and Sunderland will be dangerous today following their monumental (and rather suspicious) thrashing at the hands of Southampton. So we should go there under no illusion that they will be playing for everything.

Our team today will be interesting. Arteta is fit and I feel that he will come straight back into the side today. Our back line I think will swap around as it's pretty clear that Monreal isn't cut out to play centre back. As thats the case I expect Chambers to start alongside Mertesacker with Gibbs on the left and Bellerin on the right. That doesn't bother me much as I think Bellerin can hold his own well, he's fast and intelligent. Jack Wilshere starts his ban for picking up too many yellows so I think Ramsey will sit alongside Arteta. Our three behind Welbeck I think will be the OX, Cazorla and Sanchez from right to left.

Sunderland do have dangerous players in the shape of Fletcher the thug upfront and with others like Connor Wickham who every now and then puts in a stella performance. We will face our old keeper Mannone between the sticks who no doubt will still be hurting from last weeks performance and though he's a former player today we need to pile on the misery.

Midweek Gibbs was asked whether that result could be a springboard for this season and he said he hoped so. I think we all join him on that and let's hope it starts today with a nice comfortable win over Sunderland. COYG!  

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The last few weeks

Apologies it's been so long since I posted, I've had a manic few weeks at work and just haven't found the time. I was going to post before today's game but never got around to it. So I'm just going to run over the last couple of weeks.

Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham

We went into the Tottenham game with high hopes due to their lackluster start to the season. Wengers decision not to start Alexis was strange as myself and friends assumed it was due to an injury. We started brightly but the game levelled out and shortly after the half Flamini was played into trouble by SZCZ then fumbled to give them possession which Chaldi finished. The goal sparked us on and after pressing and pressing we finally equalised. The thing that concerned me most about this was the fact that it seemed to take a Sp*rs goal for us to actually look like we wanted to win. Still we can only view it as a point gained.

Arsenal 4-1 Galatasaray

In contrast to the Tottenham game, the Champions League game midweek was an outright walkover. With Ozil deployed in the middle where he just belongs, we bossed the game. Danny Welbeck scored his first career hat-trick and Alexis added another. The only sour note on the night was that SZCZ got himself sent off for pole-axing a Gala player. They scored the resulting penalty but overall it was a dominant performance from the Arsenal.

Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal

The game today was a huge game, especially considering what happened last season at the same venue when we went down 6-0. We went out looking to make a statement against the team that I think could go all the way. The game started cagily with neither side really making progress, Alexis shot from 35 yards and it cruised wide of Courtois' post. As the half wore on both sides started to open up when a well worked move saw Hazard blatantly fouled in the box. He stepped up and put his side 1-0 to the good.

We picked up the second half and pressed for the equaliser with no luck. Our fear of shooting meant we ended up going nowhere. It's not we don't have players who can't shoot it's just they really don't seem to want too. Our timidness as always cost us and as Fabregas lofted a ball between out centre backs Costa ran onto it and lobbed SZCZ and the game was done. Wenger made some bizarre substitutions and nothing changed. We lost, that disgusting cretin of a man Mourinho walked off without a handshake. He's a vile human being and the sooner everyone is rid of him the better.

None of that changes the fact that we're 9 points off the chase and our short lived title challenge is over. Even with so long left, we're not up to it against the big teams and 9 points is a huge gap. We can only right it off as one game and move onto Hull which now lies after the tedium of an international break. Let's hope we come out of it unscathed. 

Right I'll be back before Hull with a preview of the match. Until then, enjoy your weekend.