Monthly Archives: September 2013

UCL Preview: Arsenal vs. Napoli (Winning at home is a must)

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After 9 consecutive wins this season in all competitions, Arsenal will now welcome Italian powerhouse Napoli at the Emirates Stadium in match-week 2 of this seasons UEFA Champions League group stage. Arsenal began their European campaign on a high by beating Marseille 2-1 away from home. They are currently sitting at the top of Group-F. Likewise, Napoli also started their campaign by surprisingly beating last years runner-up Dortmund which makes this game a very interesting one.

This game has some added spice as one of Arsenal’s striking targets of the summer, Gonzalo Higuain will be looking forward to prove to the fans as well the Gunners manager that they have missed out on a great striker. The Gunners manager have said that Gonzalo was one of his targets but he also added that the signing couldn’t materialize because of certain situations and have congratulated Napoli for getting him. Wenger have said before the Marseille game that to get out of a group, a team needs at least 10 points so with 3 away points already in the bag, Arsenal must now try to win all of their 3 home games in order to qualify of this “Group of death” safely. 

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Team news: No fresh injuries from last Saturday night and Rosicky returns to the squad. 

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EPL Review: Swansea 1-2 Arsenal (Gunners consolidates top of the league status)

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Arsenal consolidates their top of the league status after beating Swansea 2-1 away from home in a weekend filled with shocking results elsewhere. Before the game, we got to know that not only Chelsea and Spurs drew their early kick-off game but also that both the Manchester clubs had lost to mid-table clubs. That gave us the chance to create a little gap at the top.

It was a very difficult game especially in the first half as both teams played a bit passively and didn’t create any clear cut chances. But, Arsenal regrouped themselves at half time and came out to play the second half with more purpose and composure for which they were rewarded as we were able to score a couple of quick goals in succession. The youngster Serge Gnabry who came into the team in the absence of Theo Walcott really caught the supporters eyes as his dribbling abilities as well as running into the oppositions half was eye catching and in my opinion he was the boy who made the difference as he calmly finished Ramsey’s reverse pass and got his first ever senior Arsenal Premier League goal. After that, Jack Wilshere’s crucial challenge in the heart of midfield enabled him to create another counter-attacking chance when Ramsey clinically finished Giroud’s smart pass inside the box. That was Ramsey’s eighth goal of the season. Although Swansea came back and got themselves a goal 10 minutes before the end, the Gunners held their nerves and showed their mental strength which enabled them to get over the finish line and go once again to the top of the table with a 2 points lead over North London rivals Tottenham. This win was extra special for our manager, Arsene Wenger as this game marked his 17 years in the English Premier League. 

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EPL Preview: Swansea vs. Arsenal (Must carry on the momentum)

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Games are coming thick and fast now and after 8 consecutive wins, it’s time now for the Gunners to carry on the momentum when they go to the Liberty Stadium this weekend in the Barclays Premier League.

Since that opening day loss to Aston Villa, Arsenal have really shown their strong character and mental strength and have been able to surpass all our expectations by winning all their next 8 games on the trot. The team has to cope with criticisms as well as injuries but they have stood up and made themselves proud. The question now is that can this team continue for what will be a tough campaign ahead with 2 games per week. Good news is that players like Arteta an Vermaelen have come back and lasted more than 90 minutes in the mid-week win against West Bromwich Albion in the third round of the Capital One Cup. They now travel to play a good Swansea side who themselves are on a pretty good run registering wins against reputed Spanish club Valencia 4-0 in the Europa League and a well deserved 2-2 draw in the league against Liverpool a couple of weeks ago. 

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So, after a week’s rest, players like Giroud, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Flamini etc. will come back to join the squad hoping to extend Arsenal’s winning run against an in-form Swansea side to maintain their top of the table status in the English Premier League.

COC Review: West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Arsenal (Gunners win on penalties 3-4)

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We witnessed a typical cup match as Arsenal despite under-performing came out of the Hawthorns victorious as they beat West Bromwich Albion 4-3 on penalties after playing out a 1-1 draw after extra time. 

As expected, Wenger made many changes to give our strongest 11 a bit of rest before this weekends league game against Swansea and fielded a mixture of young as well as experienced players to kick-off their campaign in this season’s Capital One Cup. It was a lackluster performance from both sides and for more than 55 minutes, neither teams could break the oppositions defense. In the second half though, the young guns showed a bit of composure for which they were rewarded when Nicklas Bendtner’s beautifully created pass reached Eisfeld’s feet and he thumped it in to give us the lead. But, after that West Brom stood up and made it very hard for our defense by launching crosses from left and right. Due to their persistent efforts, they were able to score the equaliser when Saido Berahino’s header from a well crafted corner finally beat the Arsenal keeper Fabianski. It finished 1-1 at full time and also at the end of extra time. So, the tie had to be decided on a penalty shootout which created a sense of high drama inside the Hawthorns. Arsenal went out of last year’s Capital One Cup in a heart wrenching penalty shootout against Bradford when Thomas Vermaelen missed the target so this time he did not took part in the shootouts and Wenger made a brave decision by naming 90% of our youngsters to take the penalties and they did their manager proud by winning the shootouts 4-3 when left back Nacho Monreal confidently netted in his penalty kick to take the Gunners into the 4th round of the league cup where Arsenal will face their London rivals Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium. 

COC Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal (Time to unleash the young guns)

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It’s time for Wenger to unleash his youngsters as Arsenal starts their Capital One Cup (League cup) campaign away at West Bromwich Albion. 

The Gunners are in top form at the moment, winning all of their last 7 games in all competitions. The only bad news is that they are also losing players to injury far too often, the latest casualty is Theo Walcott who could be out for another couple of weeks due to his muscle abdominal problem which he suffered prior to the Stoke game at the weekend.

Team news: Nicklas Bendtner, Ju-Young Park, Arteta and Vermaelen are looking likely to make a comeback to the first team. Youngsters like Akpom, Eisfeld, Hayden, Miyaichi, Gnabry etc. are also available for selection.

This is a huge game for the Gunners, knowing that the team haven’t won any trophies since 2005. So, with the arrival of star players like Mesut Ozil at the helm, Arsenal will be looking forward to end their barren run in terms of trophy wins.

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EPL Review: Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City (Revenge for Ramsey + Özil gets a hat-trick of assists)

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Arsenal continues their good run and went to the top of the table in the English Premier League after defeating Stoke City 3-1 in a strange but satisfactory performance. Strange because it was an odd Arsenal performance as all of their goals came from set-pieces which is very rare during Arsene Wenger’s career with the Gunners. 

Our star signing, Ozil had a hand in all three goals. Ozil took care of all the set-pieces which were awarded to us by referee Mike Dean. It took us just about 5 minutes to take the lead as Ozil’s brilliantly hit free kick got blocked by Stoke keeper Begovic but it’s rebound was netted in by the in-form Ramsey. There was a sense of poetic justice in that goal as it was against Stoke 3 and a half years ago where he suffered that horrendous injury and to score against them must have given him immense pleasure and satisfaction. Stoke’s Geoff Cameron gave them the equaliser but as we have seen this current Arsenal so so many times, they gets alerted and immediately searched for a lead before half-time and were awarded for thir hunger as Ozil’s brilliant corner kick was headed in by our big f*cking German, Per Mertesacker to make it 2-1 at the break. In the second half, we dropped off a bit physically and it was understandable considering we are having to play the same starting 11 in every single game due to our weak squad depth. But, this odd game gets even more weird as our right back, Bacary Sagna gets himself a rare Arsenal goal to add to his limited goals tally for the Gunners when he smoothly headed in Ozil’s brilliantly architectured free kick to win us the game 3-1 and take the Gunners to the top of the Premier League table.

This was Arsenal’s 7th consecutive win after that opening day defeat to Aston Villa at home. This victory was made even more special as this game marked Arsenal’s 100 years in Islington. Mesut Ozil was the man of the match in my opinion as it was his creativity from the set-pieces which helped Arsenal to score those vital goals. This was Ozil’s home debut for Arsenal and he will be very happy with the start to his Arsenal career as statistics shows that not only Arsenal are top but also has the league’s top goalscorer in Giroud and top assist creator in Ozil in their disposal.

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EPL Preview: Arsenal vs. Stoke City (Let’s gun down those Orcs)

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Hello folks, How are you all doing? Hope you’re all having very good days lately as our team is doing tremendously great at the moment on the pitch with good news coming from our boss that Mikel Arteta could also make a comeback in our next Premier League game which is against the hideous orcs i.e Stoke City. 

I know that after Tony Pulis’s sacking, Stoke has somewhat became a footballing team under Mark Hughes and are in a very good form at the moment. They started their league campaign very well and have also been able to get a point off their match against Manchester City last weekend which signals the fact that this match won’t be easy at all. Having that said, it must be mentioned that our guys aren’t doing bad either. In fact, they are doing pretty great and also went to the top of the table last weekend after defeating Sunderland 3-1. 

Now, it’s time for the players to continue that good run without anymore injuries because we already have 6-7 full internationals out injured at the moment and that is the only thing which might prove to be deadly as the season progresses but at the moment things are looking bright and the players are playing with such unity and determination which haven’t been seen in any other Premier League club right now.

Team news: Arteta could be back to the squad to play his first game of the season after being out for a month and a half with a serious injury and our record signing Mesut Ozil is all ready for his home debut for the Arsenal.

Before the match, the team took some time out after training to do the 2013-1014 Arsenal first team photo-call and it looks great in my opinion. Checkout the group photo down below – 

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UCL Review: Marseille 1-2 Arsenal (Group of death starts with a win)

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Hi, everyone. Things are going really good for us right now. Not only we had registered our 6th win of the season in a row but also we won our 10th straight away game which is a club record. The boys are really making us proud week-in and week-out at the moment. 

It was an intense game and a game of two halves really as Marseille was impressive and dominated the match in the first half and we re-grouped ourselves in the second and ground out a crucial away win to start this group of death in this seasons UEFA Champions League. We have to thank our left-back Kieren Gibbs for winning the turning point of the game when a mis-communication between Mertesacker and Szczesny almost led to a goal but Gibbs was able to head it off the line and from that point onward we became alert and started to push into the Marseille final third with more focus and accuracy which led to a goal assisted by Jack Wilshere and volleyed in brilliantly by Theo Walcott. This was Theo’s first goal of the season. After that we tried to get another goal and eventually we did when Ramsey continued to sizzle in front of goal as he smashed another goal in from the midfield. He is the man of the moment right now. This was his 6th goal of the season and he has so much improved that it’s already his highest scoring season in an Arsenal shirt so far.

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After that crucial 2-1 victory, Arsenal are now at the top of the so-called “Group of death”. It’s an ideal way to start a tough group and the boys deserves a lot of praise for their consistency and commitment…

UCL Preview: Marseille vs. Arsenal (Group of death begins)

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Yes folks, the biggest club competition is upon us and this season many believe including myself that we are in the “Group of death” because all the 4 teams of this particular group are good and 3 out of the 4 clubs are capable of qualifying into the knock-out stages. 

First, we will make a trip to France to face Marseille. Arsenal are currently on a good run with a few injuries here and there but the team should be good enough to get all 3 points against the French club despite being hit by injuries to Santi Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski, Arteta etc. There was a scare about our in-form striker Giroud’s fitness after he suffered that knee injury in the closing stages of last Saturday’s league game against Sunderland but it’s good to hear from our manager that both him and our new record signing Ozil have been passed fit to play the UEFA Champions League group stage opener. 

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It’s vital for us to start off on a winning note to ease off some pressure before the bigger games against Dortmund and Napoli later on in the group stage…

EPL Review: Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal (The Özil effect)

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Yes folks, our record signing Mesut Özil made an instant impact in the English Premier League as he registered his first assist in the greatest league in the world and it took just 10 minutes to achieve that. Arsenal made a blistering start and had a perfect first half against Sunderland. Giroud continued his high flying form in front of goal when he coolly finished Özil’s killer pass from the left wing. It was an honor to watch our new signing play. Özil continued to give key passes but it was an off day for Theo Walcott who couldn’t finish the most easiest of chances. We should have been 3-0 up at half-time but because of Theo’s misses it was only 1-0 which give Sunderland the opportunity to regroup in the second half which they did and even equalized at the start of the second half when Koscielny brought down a Sunderland man inside the box and their player Gardner scored the penalty to make it 1-1. But, at the end it was the mental strength of Arsenal which proved too much for Sunderland as our in-form midfielder Aaron Ramsey scored a brace in quick succession to give Wenger’s team all 3 points and take the Gunners to the top of the table. 

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However, there were a couple of bad news on the injury front as Santi Cazorla missed his first match in about 2 years after suffering an ankle injury prior to the game which forced Arsene to start Özil. Wenger confirmed that Cazorla will be out for a month and there was one more bad news when Giroud was left lying on the pitch towards the end of the game with a knee injury but it was encouraging to see that his injury wasn’t a major one and the striker himself confirmed it by tweeting after the match that his knee is fine and there’s no need to worry.

Next up for the Gunners is the start of the UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in France against Marseille. Till then…