Monthly Archives: August 2014

EPL Preview: Leicester City vs. Arsenal (Time to better last week’s performance)

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So, after booking their place in this seasons UEFA Champions League, Arsenal will now hope to better last week’s draw at Everton by picking up maximum points against newly promoted club, Leicester City.

TEAM NEWS: Aaron Ramsey is back, Olivier Giroud is out until the new year after having a surgery on his tibia earlier in the week, Theo Walcott is back in full training, Mikel Arteta and Gibbs are expected to be back after the international break.

Arsenal have had a decent start to the season collecting 4 points from their first two games. Except David Ospina, who is out injured, the rest of Arsene Wenger’s new singings have impressed and their second big money signing after Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez provided the Gunners with another season of Champions League night’s after scoring the decisive goal against Besiktas in the qualifiers. But, with Olivier Giroud’s long term injury, Arsenal now have only one out and out striker (Yaya Sanogo) who is yet to score his first competitive senior goal. Although, Sanchez have been used as a striker, it’s quite obvious that the Gunners have only one proper striker in their squad right now which can prove to be suicidal as the season progresses. Nonetheless, with the deadline day just around the corner, Arsenal fans will hope to see a couple of new faces to have a real go at the title this season. Having said that, the Gunners must try to get three points against Leicester City to come back from the international break having good momentum to back themselves up against the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea etc.

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Arsenal’s Champions League Draw

So, after securing a Champions League spot for the 17th year in a row, we found out last night that the Gunners are placed in Group – D alongside Germany’s Dortmund, Turkey’s Galatasaray and Belgium’s Anderlecht. It’s important to note that the Gunners were drawn with Dortmund in the previous 2 seasons as well and it was the German club who won the group last season with Arsenal finishing second.

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UCL Review: Arsenal 1-0 Besiktas (Sanchez takes us to the Champions League)

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Arsenal have booked their place in the UEFA Champions League proper for the 17th season in a row. Massive achievement for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. But, the Gunners had to do it the hard way and this time their new big money signing Alexis Sanchez did the job by scoring the only goal which at the end proved to be the decider. 

It was a better performance from Arsenal compared to their last 3 games but the absence of Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud was clearly visible. Arsenal were lacking goalscorers and they had to remain patient which they did and after pushing for about 45 minutes, the Gunners got the lead through a good finish from new signing Alexis Sanchez. Just like Mesut Ozil last season, Alexis Sanchez too has opened his goals tally at Arsenal by scoring in the Champions League. But, Arsenal weren’t safe as one goal for Besiktas would have meant that the Gunners had to score again to get through to the main draw. It became really nervous in the final 15 minutes when Mathieu Debuchy was sent off rather unfairly by the referee who had a horrid night at the Emirates. But, like the last 3 games, Arsenal kept their focus until the last second of the game and won the game 1-0 and clinched a Champions League spot for the 17th consecutive season.

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UCL Preview: Arsenal vs. Besiktas (A match of epic proportions)

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After that grueling 2-2 draw against Everton at the weekend, Arsenal will next host Besiktas in the 2nd leg of the UEFA Champions League playoffs. The Gunners were very fortunate to keep a clean sheet in Istanbul but that doesn’t make them qualify for the biggest competition in football today. For them to qualify for the 17th consecutive time for the UEFA Champions League they must beat the Turkish side at their home. 

TEAM NEWS: Olivier Giroud is out for 3 months with an ankle ligament damage, Arteta is out and Gibbs is also out till the next internationals. Ramsey is out because of suspension. Lukas Podolski is in the squad.

With 4 key players out, the task for Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League main draw becomes that much difficult. 3 games into the season, they have hardly impressed anybody with their football on the pitch and with just 6 days left for the transfer window to shut, the Gunners aren’t doing anything in the market either. Therefore, Arsenal must dig deep and try to grind out a result anyway possible. We all know, how important it is for the club to be in the Champions League every season, so the pressure is very much on the shoulders of everybody in and around the football club. On the other hand, Besiktas has nothing to lose, they will come and try to frustrate the Gunners as much as possible. Big time players like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez must prove their worth in this game.

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EPL Review: Everton 2-2 Arsenal (Ramsey & Giroud saved the day)

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In the match preview, I had said that Arsenal must sharpen up the play of they wants to take all 3 points in their first away game of the season. But, we witnessed a horrid performance from our players which was even worse than what we have seen last week against Crystal Palace and in the midweek against Besiktas. Everton completely outplayed us in the first half. Everton made Arsenal look like a newly promoted team to the English 1st division. Coleman gave the Toffees the lead through a brilliant header and then right before the half-time Naismith made it 2-0 which later was proved to be unfair as the Referee didn’t noticed that he was offside by a slight margin. 

The Gunners made a change early in the second half, bringing in Olivier Giroud for Alexis Sanchez and instantly Giroud’s physicality seemed to give Everton some problems. Giroud had 2 very good chances to score but couldn’t hit the target. Till the 80th minute, Arsenal’s build-up play was lethargic and labored. But, the substitute Santi Cazorla gave the Gunners a hope of clinching something from the Goodison Park as his cross was tapped in by Aaron Ramsey. 5 minutes later, Nacho Monreal’s brilliant cross was headed in skillfully by Olivier Giroud at the 90th minute mark. It was a courageous comeback from Arsenal who had a very difficult game. 

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It was a good improvement compared to last seasons result at Goodison Park but the performance must sharpen up. Arsenal still have a lot of work to do both on the pitch and in the transfer market but their future spending would depend on the result on Wednesday night against Besiktas at the Emirates Stadium in the Champions League qualifier. 

EPL Preview: Everton vs. Arsenal (1st away task, must sharpen up)

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After a week of mixed results, Arsenal will now travel to Goodison Park to face a determined Everton side in the second week of the new Barclays Premier League season. This will be the Gunners first away game of the new season.

TEAM NEWS: Mikel Arteta is out with an ankle injury while the Germans, Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski could feature.

Last season, Arsenal have had a terrible result in this fixture where Everton defeated them convincingly so the Gunners have a very tough task in front of them. Although, the men in red and white won their opening fixture last week against a solid Crystal Palace side, they didn’t had it easy. They had to work very hard and their play wasn’t as smooth as we would like it to be plus their performance in midweek in the Champions League playoff was a one to forget. Therefore, the Gunners will have to sharpen up their play if they wants to achieve their first away league win of the season.

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UCL Review: Besiktas 0-0 Arsenal (The tie is very much alive)

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It was a terrible performance from Arsenal as they couldn’t improve on the performance from last Saturday and hence the playoff for a Champions League main draw place is still very much alive. Except for Alexis Sanchez, no other Arsenal player looked sharp in the forward position.

The Gunners escaped an early scare when Demba Ba’s shot right after kick-off from the middle of the pitch was somehow saved by Szczesny. Besiktas had another golden chance to get ahead when Calum Chambers mistake in defense was capitalized by Demba Ba but he couldn’t hit the target. Arsenal lacked creativity in their forward play and Olivier Giroud’s dismal performance disappointed many fans. Oxlade-Chamberlain had a shot saved in the final few minutes of the game which could have given Arsenal a late winner but the match ended 0-0 and both teams will go at it again next week when Besiktas visits the Emirates Stadium to achieve a shocking upset. Mikel Arteta got injured in the second half and Aaron Ramsey’s red card means that the Gunners will be missing their midfield maestro in the second leg so Arsenal have a lot of work to do if they wants to qualify for this seasons Champions League group stage.

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UCL Preview: Besiktas vs. Arsenal (Crucial playoff game)

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Important games coming thick and fast for the Gunners as they prepare for a roller-coaster week of European and English football. Arsenal will travel to Turkey to face Besiktas in the qualifying playoff round for the upcoming UEFA Champions League campaign.

Last season, Arsenal defeated another Turkish side, Fenerbahce to qualify to the main draw of the Champions League and this season, they will have to repeat the same outcome if they wants to continue the momentum of finishing in the top 4 and winning the FA Cup last season. 

TEAM NEWS: Kieren Gibbs and Yaya Sanogo have not traveled through injury.

It’s not ideal to have this type of big matches so early in the season but that’s football and Arsenal must keep their focus and improve on the performance they displayed on last Saturday to achieve a decent result there. Arsenal’s future transfers will depend on their qualification so the Gunners must get through this tie in order to keep the camp pumped up. Players like Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla must put on an improved performance from last Saturday.

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EPL Review: Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace (Erratic performance but a good start)

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So, the Gunners have started the 2014/2015 season of the Barclays Premier League with a win. Arsenal had a very tough time throughout the game and full credit to Crystal Palace for putting up a brave performance after watching their manager Tony Pulis leave them just 2 days prior to the match. But, Arsenal’s will to win and right the wrongs of last season’s opening day disaster pushed them to clinch all the 3 points at the end.

Arsenal started the game positively but after 20 minutes or so Palace were able to control the match and ultimately took the lead through a brilliant corner opportunity headed in by their new signing Hangeland. But, Arsenal were able to save the first half through an impressive free-kick taken by new singing Alexis Sanchez which was headed in by Laurent Koscielny to make it 1-1 at half-time. It was more of the same in the second half. The Gunners had more of the possession but their passing and crossing was very sloppy, they will have to improve in that department for the coming games. At the end, it was none other than Aaron Ramsey who tapped in the winner in the injury time to give Arsenal all 3 points to begin this season on a positive note.

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EPL Preview: Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace (Beginning of a new era)

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It’s that time of the year again folks. It’s time for yet another grueling, crazy and exciting season of Barclays Premier League and this time Arsenal are about to step into a new era, an era where they are no longer financially restricted nor they are afraid to spend huge cash to bring world class players to the Emirates Stadium. After last season’s deadline day purchase of Mesut Ozil, Wenger and the board has successfully brought in another exciting player who goes by the name of Alexis Sanchez. 

TEAM NEWS: New goalkeeper David Ospina is out and the World Cup winning Germans i.e Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski are out due to lack of match fitness.

The Gunners will kick-off this new campaign at home against Crystal Palace who just two days prior to the opening day saw their manager Tony Pulis resign after falling out with the board. So, Crystal Palace are in a mess right now and Arsenal wouldn’t get any better opponent to kick-off the 2014/2015 season than them. Therefore, Wenger’s men must carry forward the momentum which they have gained from winning the FA Cup and the Community Shield in order to have a good start to the season.

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