Monthly Archives: October 2013

EPL Preview: Arsenal vs. Liverpool (Let’s focus on bigger and better things)

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Yes folks, Arsenal needs to move on from Tuesday night’s defeat in the Capital One Cup against Chelsea and focus on bigger and better things as they prepare for a top of the table clash against Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League. 

It’s going to be a test of character for Wenger’s men after losing their last 2 games at home soil. Arsenal are on a fine run in the English Premier League as they are currently sitting at the top with 7 wins in their opening 9 games while Liverpool are also having a flying start to the season and are currently third in the league. 

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It’s going to be Arsenal’s star studded midfield vs. Liverpool’s superb strike force as Liverpool currently has the most lethal striking force with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge firing on all cylinders whereas Arsenal has the most attractive looking midfield in the whole of the English Premier League with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere etc. are all fit and ready to shine in their red & white colors. 

This game is hugely important to Arsenal because after losing 2 back to back games against the bigger teams in successive weeks, the North London side would be wanting to eliminate their so-called “Big game curse” by defeating the reds. On the other hand, Liverpool would also want to prove a point that they are finally capable of challenging for the league title after 2 long decades of disappointment. All of the above points makes this match a mouth watering prospect so there’s nothing else to say from me other than come on you Gunners. 

COC Review: Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea (The curse of the big games is back)

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The curse of the big games is back as Arsenal bowed out of the Capital One Cup after losing to their London rivals Chelsea 2-0. Wenger put out a relatively strong team but it was a no match compared to Chelsea’s multi-million pounds worth of a second team. 

It was a very tight and tactical game but Chelsea exploited every mistake made by Arsenal. Arsenal were caught on the counter halfway through the first half and Jenkinson’s defending error let Chelsea’s right back Azpilicueta clean through on goal and he gave the Blues the lead. Arsenal did try to make a comeback but they couldn’t create much because of the lack of movement up front from Ryo Miyaichi and Nicklas Bendtner. Arsene Wenger brought the big guns like Ozil and Giroud late in the second half but that turned against them as soon after the substitution Juan Mata doubled the lead for Chelsea and killed off any chance of an Arsenal comeback. Chelsea went through to the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup and Arsenal started their run of big games on a losing note.

It seems like the honeymoon period is over for Mesut Ozil and Arsenal as Arsenal fans had to go through the same old sinking feeling after getting embarrassed by their London rivals. It’s a wake up call for the manager as well as the players to grind out a few positive results in the remaining three big games in the league and the champions league respectively.

COC Preview: Arsenal vs. Chelsea (Selection dilemma for Mr. Wenger)

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It’s going to be a selection dilemma for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as his side welcomes their London rivals Chelsea to the Emirates in the third round of the Capital One Cup. 

Arsenal are currently flying high in the Premier League but are also thin squad-wise. With 2 games each week, Wenger have said after Saturday’s win against Crystal Palace that he is going to rotate his starting 11 against the Blues who are fresh off from beating Manchester City in the league on Sunday. 

Jose Mourinho too have said that he will make changes for this fixture as his side will hardly have any time to prepare having played just 48 hours before it. This will be the first time Wenger and Mourinho will face-off against each other after about 5 years. 

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Even if this cup is not the priority for either manager but this match should not be taken lightly as this match is also about pride and history. Arsenal will be on a run of 4 back to back big games starting with this feisty London Derby so the Gunners needs to put on a strong performance to gather some momentum for what will be a very big month of November ahead. 

EPL Review: Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal (Finally a clean sheet victory)

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Finally, after weeks of waiting, the Gunners earned themselves a much needed clean sheet victory as they beat a determined Crystal Palace side 2-0 to maintain their 2 points lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

It was a game filled with immense tension and determination. Crystal Palace were determined not to go down easily after their manager Ian Holloway walked out of his post prior to the match. Arsenal faced another obstacle as Mathieu Flamini again suffered an injury for the second week in a row as he pulled his hamstring and was subbed off. The game stayed at 0-0 at half-time but the Gunners came out firing in the second half for which they were rewarded with a penalty when Serge Gnabry was brought down inside the penalty area at the start of the second half. The penalty was calmly finished by Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta to give them the lead. But, the Gunners faced more obstacles as the goal scorer Arteta was sent off for bringing down Chamakh being the last man in front of Arsenal’s goal but that decision was later proved to be a wrong one but nonetheless the decision stood and Arsenal had to finish the next 25 minutes of the game with 10 men. Arsenal keeper Szczesny gave a man of the match performance with his double save to deny Palace an equaliser. Towards the end, Giroud guaranteed the Gunners all three points when he calmly headed in Ramsey’s assist from the left wing. 

At the end of the day, it was a vital win for Arsenal as it keeps them at the top of the table with Liverpool and Manchester United games to come in the next couple of weeks. The road gets tougher from here on in as the Gunners next opponents are their London rivals Chelsea in the Capital One Cup. With big league games coming, it will be interesting to see Arsene Wenger’s team selection against the Blues in mid-week. Till then… 

EPL Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal (Start winning again?)

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“Start winning again” would be the order of the day as the Gunners visits the Selhurst Park to face newly promoted Crystal Palace in an enthralling London Derby this weekend in the English Premier League. Arsenal goes into the match having been defeated in the UEFA Champions League group stage match against Borussia Dortmund. It was only their 2nd defeat since the start of March of this year. It was also the start of a run of tough games and the Gunners felt disappointed to have started that run on a losing note. But, they can put things right by beating an already struggling Crystal Palace who are fresh off from sacking their manager Ian Holloway going into this crunch London Derby. 

Team news: Mathieu Flamini is back and Jack Wilshere’s inclusion depends on passing a fitness test prior to the match.

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This match is hugely significant for the Gunners because they are leading the league table by 2 points and after facing their first defeat after about 60 days, Arsenal needs to act like true league leaders and put things right against Crystal Palace to give themselves some breathing space at the top of the Barclays Premier League before facing Liverpool and Manchester United in the coming weeks. 

UCL Review: Arsenal 1-2 Borussia Dortmund (Immature performance from the boys)

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It was an immature performance from the boys as we lost a very important home game against last years Champions League runner-up Borussia Dortmund 2-1. The Gunners never looked like themselves from the get go and gave Dortmund too much respect in the early stages. Although we grew more and more as the game progressed but small details decides game at this level and a team like Dortmund can punish you for even the smallest of mistakes and the Gunners were punished for going for the win too much at the end and left themselves totally exposed at the back which enabled Dortmund to get a phenomenal away win.

It was a very passive performance from Arsenal. They players didn’t worked hard enough off the ball and looked a bit off for a large part of the game. Ramsey was punished for his dangerous play on the edge of the penalty area as Mkhitaryan gave Dortmund the lead after stealing the ball from an arrogant Aaron Ramsey on the edge of the penalty area. The Gunners came back to make it 1-1 just before half-time when Giroud made most of the Dortmund keeper’s keeping howler but that didn’t went on to give the Gunners an edge as they played passively in the start of the second half as well. In the final 30 minutes, Arsenal went for a winner when Jack Wilshere was subbed off for Santi Cazorla. Cazorla nearly gave the Gunners the lead when he hit the bar but the boys were punished at the end as they left completely exposed at the back and Dortmund’s one clinical counter-attacking movement was enough for their star striker Lewandowski to give the men in yellow a vital win away from home. 

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The group of death has become deadly after that loss as 3 teams in the group are currently with the same number of points after this many games and Arsenal will now need to get a result away from home in order to get out of this tough group safely.

UCL Preview: Arsenal vs. Borussia Dortmund (The biggest game of the season so far)

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Arsenal prepares for their third group stage game of this seasons UEFA Champions League against last seasons runner-up Borussia Dortmund. This is arguably the biggest game of the season so far for the Gunners in terms of facing a top quality opponent. Both the clubs are doing quite well in their respective domestic leagues but this will be an European night and the football purists are in for a footballing treat as both teams prefers to play attacking football.

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Arsenal are currently sitting comfortably at the top of the Group – F having grabbed maximum points from their opening two games while Dortmund are 2nd with 3 points having been defeated by Napoli in their opening group stage game. So, this game is more important to Dortmund than to Arsenal as they need get something from this fixture in order to stay in contention to qualify to the knockout round. 

Team news: Flamini is out with a head injury.

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All in all it sets up a mouthwatering contest as both the teams are aiming to top the group and Arsene Wenger who will be celebrating his 64th birthday, his players would want to give him a much deserved gift in the form of a victory against last seasons runner-up Borussia Dortmund. This is Arsenal’s biggest game of the season so far and with bigger games coming in the coming weeks, the Gunners would want to start it off on a positive note.

EPL Review: Arsenal 4-1 Norwich City (The Godzilla effect)

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Arsenal went 2 points clear at the top of the English Premier League with a 4-1 victory over Norwich City at the Emirates. The scoreline doesn’t reflect the actual story as though it looks easy, it really wasn’t. Norwich gave Arsenal a real fight but because of the fact that Arsenal now has a few world class players at their disposal, they can rise to the occasion when things are tight and tensed and that’s what they did last night to take the Gunners back to the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Arsenal started the game brightly as the Gunners scored one of the all time great team goals when Giroud and Wilshere’s one touch passing created havoc in Norwich’s area and Giroud’s fine flick fell in perfect position for Jack to score his 2nd goal in 2 back to back games for Arsenal. After that the game slowed down a bit partly because of on-field injuries to the players of Norwich and Flamini’s departure with a head injury. In the second half as well, it wasn’t looking too good for the Gunners but their top players rise to the occasion as Giroud’s perfectly placed cross was headed in by the one and only Mesut Ozil. After that Norwich came back with a goal from Jonathan Howson denying Arsenal to get a clean sheet. That goal forced the fans to get a little bit nervous in the final 20 minutes but Aaron Ramsey took care of that with a superb solo goal inside the penalty area when he magnificently took out all of their defenders and finished it to make it 3-1. After that it was exhibition stuff from the Gunners as Mesut Ozil calmly finished Ramsey’s beautifully placed pass. 

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This win takes the Gunners once again to the top of the Premier League and they are playing some exquisite stuff. Santi Cazorla also made his return from injury and played a vital part leading upto the opening goal scored by Jack Wilshere. All in all, this is an exciting time for Arsenal fans as the Gunners push on for a title challenge after 8 long years.

EPL Preview: Arsenal vs. Norwich City (Time to keep up the pressure)

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It’s time to keep up the pressure at the top of the English Premier League as Arsenal entertains struggling Norwich City at the Emirates after the international break. The international break has been kind to the Gunners as no first team players got injured and few of the in-form players showcased couple of brilliant performances for their respective countries.

The players returned safe and sound from the international duty and are now ready to fire again for Arsenal Football Club. Going into this weekends game against Norwich Arsenal are sitting at the top f the league on goal difference. At the recently concluded Annual General Meeting, majority shareholder Mr. Stan Kroenke as well as manager Arsene Wenger said that the club has weathered the storm of financial restriction bravely and are now ready to push on for titles from now onward. 

Team news: Santi Cazorla, Bacary Sagna, Thomas Rosicky and Mesut Ozil are available while Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain are still out for a longer period. 

Every game in the Baclays Premier League is a challenge and the Gunners must prepare for every single with a winning attitude as that will be essential if Arsenal are hopeful of lifting the league trophy come May of 2014.

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EPL Review: West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Arsenal (Tired display but a solid away point gained)

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It was a tired performance by the Gunners as they were held to a 1-1 draw away at the Hawthorns against an in-form West Brom side. Arsenal came into this match having won all of their previous 10 games in all competitions this season but West Brom also were looking to pull off another upset after beating defending champions Manchester United at Old Trafford last week.

It was a tight affair with West Brom having more of the venom in front of goal. The Gunners got behind for the first time this season as West Brom scored just before the half-time when Claudio Yacob put the Baggies in front through a well-constructed header. Arsenal came back in the second half showing a little bit more hunger going forward but it was West Brom who had the chance to kill the game when former Gunner, Anelka had a couple of easy chances which h couldn’t convert. The Gunners took full advantage of West Brom’s shortcomings as a beautifully created play by Ozil and Giroud let Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere score a left footed deflected goal to earn a vital away point for Arsenal.

This result ends Arsenal’s phenomenal away winning record which started way back in March and also ended the Gunners 10 match winning run this season. But, despite that Arsenal finds themselves once again sitting at the top of the Barclays Premier League ahead of Liverpool on goal difference going into the international break. 

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