Tag Archives: Andre Santos

West Ham hammered as Pod shows Gibbs how to cross

Dear Kieran Gibbs: Here is a GIF file I want you to watch over, and over, and over again. This what we old-schoolers like to call a ‘cross’. It’s not one of those ‘I’ll just chip this upwards and watch the defender nod it away with ease’ types. This is a stinger that causes all sorts of doubt in the opposition and makes hungry Girouds smile.

This isn’t an attack on Gibbs, who had a decent game before being subbed off, but it reflects my wish that Arsenal got more players in the box, more often, and upped the quality of its crosses.

Arsenal triumphed 3-1 over West Ham United at Upton Park last night thanks to Olivier Giroud’s first goal in the Premiership, a pacey Theo Walcott counter and long-distance gem from Santi Cazorla. Continue reading

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Giroud off the mark as Arshavin, Walcott make hay

Arsenal stormed home in comfortable fashion to advance to the fourth round of the League Cup thanks to a 6-1 thrashing of Coventry at the Emirates Stadium.

It was the second straight home game where we put six past the opposition, and it was Olivier Giroud who got both the team and his Arsenal account off and running with a clipped finish past the keeper.

The goal was set up by some quick thinking by Francis Coquelin, who nicked the ball Giroud’s way with a sliding effort. Giroud would have a second chance from the penalty spot after Andrey Arshavin was bundled over in the box, but his effort was well saved.

Arsenal was 2-0 up soon after after a spanking effort from 25 yards by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, before Nico Yennaris won possession high up the pitch to service Giroud, who dinked a pass into Arshavin’s path in the box. The little Russian scored his first Arsenal goal in a year with a lovely volleyed finish.

Theo Walcott made it 4-0 with a 5-2 Spurs-esque finish when put through on the right. Coventry responded to make it 4-1 thanks to a great cross on the right wing put away by substitute Callum Ball, before Ignasi Miquel responded almost immediately for the hosts with a thumping header to reclaim the four-goal cushion.

Walcott rounded off the evening with a great finish from the left hand side, Henry’ing the ball around the keeper. Continue reading

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Arshavin and Giroud must finally let loose

Arsenal’s League Cup campaign kicks off under the Emirates Stadium lights tonight against Coventry City. The usual press about Arsenal not taking the competition seriously continues apace, but ask any Gooner what they’re excited about tonight, and it will definitely centre around the latest crop of talented youngsters at the club.

The goalkeeper could be anyone between Vito Mannone, James Shea or Damien Martinez. As third-choice keeper (despite his run of starts for the first team), it would still be of value to give Mannone another start against Coventry. Yet the nod could easily go Shea’s way, with the Irishman having been on the bench for Arsenal’s one Champions League fixture this season, ahead of the much vaunted Argentinian Martinez.

Andre Santos should be a given for the left back berth while Djourou and Miquel could make their first starts this season. Nico Yennaris should also feature as Carl Jenkinson gets a well-earned rest.

It’s much more difficult to speculate who will feature further forward, with a number of combinations presenting themselves. The likes of Francis Coquelin, Thomas Eisfeld, and Serge Gnabry will all be champing at the bit to feature, while Emmanuel Frimpong should make an appearance from the bench after his very long injury lay-off. Continue reading

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Montpellier scratching our complacency itch

Once again, Arsenal embarks on yet another (ill-fated?) Champions League campaign. That’s 15 consecutive qualifications under Arsene Wenger. The naysayers will point to the fact all it has yielded is one runner-up gong, but all you have to do is look at how robbed Spurs felt with Chelsea stealing their entry from them, or how hard they celebrated on the one occasion they did qualify.

As an opening fixture, we have French champions Montpellier (pronunciation guide!) to contend with. It comes before we take on English champions Man City this weekend, followed by European champions Chelsea soon after. Rotation will play a factor in selection, but given there is a five-day gap until the following fixture, I anticipate only minor tweaks. The first team will be pushed to the limit in the league, before getting a small break in our first League Cup match against Coventry.

The team will have arrived in France ahead of our first Champions League clash with Olivier Giroud’s former club, and you can expect our new striker to start on his old hunting ground. The pressure on him to score has been enormous, possibly more than other new arrivals over the years given the player he was replacing. Nevertheless, almost no-one in the Arsenal camp is buying the ‘flop’ label opponents have dished out, given he has only started twice and come off the bench on two other occasions. Tonight, against his former club with whom he won Ligue 1, will be the perfect opportunity to banish a few gremlins. Continue reading

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Anger over Szczesny’s blunder is healthy

Wojciech Szczesny

After a 6-1 thrashing of Southampton in our first home-win of the season, you’d think I’d be a bit of a spoil sport for complaining about the one goal we did let in.

But after Wojcech Szczesny’s howler to allow the Saints a scant consolation goal, I’m still feeling fairly ticked off that it happened at all. Now, for the rest of recorded history, Arsenal’s collective defensive effort will have a black mark on it because of one moment of slack concentration.

I remember feeling similar angst over conceding a consolation goal in the 2009/10 season when Arsenal, comfortably leading 4-0 away to Wolves, succumbed in injury time to a Jody Craddock goal from a corner.

The game was in the bag, the win was never in doubt. It was a great performance by the Fabregas-led side and complaining about a meaningless goal in added time seemed like pulling at straws at the time.

Yet it stuck in the craw. With the win secured, the clean-sheet became the next “primary objective”. It didn’t happen. We failed to show a resolute streak at the back and put a blemish on an otherwise excellent performance.

Today, my feelings on Szczesny’s slip-up are a little different. Two years ago, those frustrations came from wanting to prove the doubters wrong about our porous defence. Today, I have so much more confidence in this team, coached to the sweaty limit by Steve Bould, of smarter defending that Szczesny’s blunder brings out a different anger. Continue reading

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