Tag Archives: Arsene Wenger

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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Brainy Chelsea out-think lacklustre Arsenal

You know it’s bad when you try and think of the ‘good’ moments of a match and the most prominent element is the fact that Man United lost a totally seperate game.

Arsenal lost its way and its first match of the season, coming undone against a thoroughly professional Chelsea side at the Emirates. Fernando Torres’s neat finish compounded some poor defending by Laurent Koscielny, before Gervinho’s tidy work in the box saw us level just before the break. But despite looking an improved side after the break, Arsenal conceded for a second time, again from a free kick, when Juan Mata’s free kick went unchallenged in the box as Koscielny helped it in on its way.

The first goal came after one of many fouls in dangerous areas from Thomas Vermaelen, allowing Mata the chance to size up our defence, which came up seriously short. Koscielny had a nightmare all game, and it started with the total mismanagement of Torres. The defender looked to be in a wrestling match with the forward, but made the crucial mistake of turning his back on the goal, allowing the Spaniard to get a leg around him and toe poke home. Clever stuff from the striker and amateurish from Koscielny.

It was nearly 2-0 to Chelsea when Koscielny again lost out to Torres, who raced into the box, only to trip over his own feet allowing the defence to clear.

Arsenal never found a rhythm, yet somehow found itself level just before the break as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got forward, had time to look up, and belt a good cross at Gervinho in the box. The Ivorian, his back to goal, did well to control the ball, spin and shoot in one movement to lash the ball past Cech and equalise on half-time.

Our most fluid moments seemed to follow the half-time whistle for a period of eight minutes, but again we found ourselves behind after a Mata free kick. The ball evaded everyone, bounced in front of the keeper, and Koscielny could do little but try and flick it away, and instead helped it home.

It was a deflating moment. Though they were playing well before the second goal, taking the lead just confirmed the level of control both Mata and bazillionaire Eden Hazard had over the game. The two forwards were running the show, making our much hyped Santi Cazorla anonymous in comparison.

The game had started badly enough when Abou Diaby limped off after just 10 minutes with what looked like another innocuous injury. Having to immediately reshuffle the line-up so soon did us no favours, but the passing throughout the side was bad yesterday. First touches were heavy and the pass to no-one was frequently deployed at the most inopportune times.

Failing that, the amount of space we afforded Chelsea was really irritating. Surely this team knows how much impetus it gets from closing down and hassling opponents, allowing us to break high up the pitch. On Saturday, no such thing could be seen, neutering the influence Lukas Podolski and Cazorla have been having lately. Mikel Arteta had a rare bad game, with the aforementioned Mata and Hazard constantly speeding past him when he wasn’t able to foul them. Furthermore, his passing was also pretty questionable throughout. Continue reading

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Does Theo still think he’s worth £100K a week?

Theo Walcott’s demands for a £100,000-a-week contract is seriously sticking somewhere awful in my head. I don’t know what his agent is telling him, but in the vain hope he’s looking around the bottom of the barrel of Arsenal blogs (he isn’t), I’d hope some of these home truths become apparent to him.

  1. Theo is not deserving to be Arsenal’s highest-earning player
  2. The team is not reliant on him and thus he should accept a salary more in line with reality
  3. The rumoured £70,000-a-week offer is hardly ‘peanuts’, unless he’s been talking to Ashley Cole
  4. A season spent on the bench won’t get you that move to Chelsea. Liverpool might be a different matter.
  5. His competition for a spot on the Arsenal flank is exceeding him. One is a player who has recovered from the same sort of criticism Theo received (Gervinho), the other is a street smart kid who earns less than him (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain).

Player profile: Theo Walcott

Even within the England squad, Theo has yet to surpass his competition. While age had the beating of David Beckham and mediocrity proved too much for David Bentley, Walcott now finds himself behind the likes of Ashley Young and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Both have pace to burn, but possess greater improvisational skills and acumen than Theo. Young too has a much better sense of where the goal is; a talent Walcott could have possessed with a bit more confidence. Meanwhile Oxlade-Chamberlain comes close to matching Theo’s pace, while adding the brains of a central midfielder. Continue reading

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Dangerous Saints await as real football returns

Twelve days without blogging seems a little lazy to me, so it’s about time I penned something in time for our important date with newly-promoted Southampton tonight. The last time I had the pleasure of writing for you was fresh after our excellent win at Liverpool, but since then, the international break has sung its soporific song for a good week-and-a-half

At the risk of becoming a preview-review blog, there was not one iota of news that really compelled me to blog about. Abou Diaby enjoyed an excellent showing for France before tweaking a thigh muscle (more on that later); Gervinho scored for Ivory Coast, and Bacary Sagna had a whinge about Alex Song departing Arsenal.

In other news, Ivan Gazidis gave a gushing interview about Arsene Wenger’s DNA being sewn into the Arsenal fabric, or something poetically akin to that.

So that’s the wrap of the boring fortnight that was. Real football can finally backtrack to where it was in the conversation before its idiot friend International Matches interrupted with one of its many unfunny jokes.

Today’s match is an exceptionally important fixture, especially given the potential banana peels presenting themselves to our rivals. Man City play Stoke at the Brittania and Chelsea travel to Queens Park Rangers. Man United should win at home to Wigan, but you just never know with the Latics.

So it makes it imperative we follow our first win of the season against Liverpool with another three points against Southampton. Straight from the Championship they may be, but easy-beats they are not. In Gaston Ramirez they have a very accomplished winger, and a dangerous forward in Rickie Lambert. Both he and midfielders Adam Lallana and Morgan Schneiderlin will prove tricky customers at set pieces for the Arsenal defence and will be just as dangerous on the counter. Two goals in their opening game against Man City shows all you need to know about their potential in attack.

So Arsenal will have to fight just as hard as they did against Stoke and Liverpool to get anything out of this match. Southampton look like a team that isn’t afraid of anyone and is willing to throw the dice in attack. 100% concentration required, methinks. Continue reading

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All hail Diaby, king of Anfield

Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal

Abou Diaby takes on Gerrard

Arsenal’s season has been dominated by good cheer, then rage, then further rage, and then apocalyptic predictions over the exchange of players in the transfer market.

The furore reached its peak on Friday when no new signings were made on deadline day, with many educated types calling for Arsene Wenger’s head, with proclamations he had lost the plot and that the season was heading down the drain.

Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal.

Read that again. Savour it, you bastards. Because moments like this provide a hell of a lot more to enjoy than any fantasy signing. Continue reading

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