Tag Archives: Francis Coquelin

Three goals, three points as Arsenal recovers some mojo

Arsenal moved to the top of its Champions League group with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Greek champs Olympiacos, but will be weary after a turgid first-half performance.

Goals from Gervinho, Lukas Podolski and substitute Aaron Ramsey ultimately cancelled out Kostas Mitroglu’s headed equaliser but only after a stern talking to by stand-in manager Steve Bould at half-time.

Arsenal were pretty ordinary in the opening exchanges, still a bit bruised from their home loss against Chelsea last weekend. That match saw Laurent Koscielny receive a bit of a tanning in a disorganised back line, but Per Mertesacker fell ill in the lead-up to the game, meaning the Frenchman kept his place.

Santi Cazorla had a chance from a free kick, out wide on the left with players waiting, but decided to go for it himself from the tight angle, forcing the Olympiacos keeper into a sharp save.

But the rest of the half was almost uneventful, until the last 10 minutes. Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen both got their zones mixed up and missed headers from a right wing cross, which fell to Machado, only for the midfielder to scoop it over the bar from six yards out.

Moments later, Arsenal were ahead. Podolski scuttled won the left flank before sliding a pass across the edge of the box towards Gervinho, who let it bobble on to Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard stopped the ball into Gervinho’s path, who evaded three defenders to make space and fire home from outside the area.

It was a good finish from the once-upon-a-time shot-shy forward, and showed our pre-season promise to shoot a bit more from outside the box. 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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Zonal Mertesacker, Koscielny earn Arsenal stellar point

Arsenal came from behind to secure a deserved point at the home of the champions on Sunday evening, thanks to a fantastic finish from defender Laurent Koscielny.

It could have been three points were it not for Gervinho’s wayward finishing and a poor first touch, as we spurned early and late chances to grab a deserved, if not widely expected win.

A case of the flu saw captain Thomas Vermaelen sit out this match, meaning a first start of the season for Koscielny, thrown into the lion’s den alongside Per Mertesacker. Aaron Ramsey also made his first start, surprisingly picked on the right wing with Gervinho continuing down the middle.

Arsenal started the game with intent, zipping the ball around with command and bossing the game with┬ápossession┬áplay. Ramsey linked up with Arteta to provide a great through-ball for Gervinho on 15 minutes, but the Ivorian’s touch was awful as he ran towards the box, stumping the ball straight at keeper Joe Hart.

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Arsenal get lucky with three points in the bag

Arsenal’s Champions League campaign got off and running with maximum points, but only after a difficult examination from French champions Montpellier at the Stade de la Mosson.

Despite establishing the upper hand in the first 10 minutes, Thomas Vermaelen contrived to concede a penalty after going in for the challenge on Younes Belhanda in the box, only to make contact with the forward’s foot rather than the ball. The gifted Moroccan put away the cheekiest of penalties that seemed to stay in the air for an age before nestling in the back of the net.

But as quickly as it took for us to find ourselves behind, we were even quicker to work our way in front. Lukas Podolski capped off a stunning counter with the equaliser after Santi Cazorla pinged a pass to Olivier Giroud, who’s delicate touch found the German forward all on his own in the box. Podolski, cool as liquid nitrogen, feinted a shot to wrong foot the keeper and lash home for 1-1.

Two minutes later, Arsenal was in the lead after Gervinho angled a great run from the right-hand side towards the middle as the ball found its way to Carl Jenkinson on the flank. The young right back hit an excellent low cross as Gervinho continued his run, leaving him with a simple finish from two yards out to make it 2-1.

Arsenal were pretty much on top for the majority of the first half, but chances were rare. Gibbs made a run up the flank before unloading a cross in Giroud’s direction, but the centre wasn’t quite right as the forward tried a difficult volley that went high over the bar.

The Belhanda penalty: jump for it, Mannone!

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