Monthly Archives: September 2014

UCL Preview: Arsenal vs. Galatasaray (Gunners must win despite the injuries)

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Arsenal are in the midst of an injury crisis as they prepare to host Galatasaray in their 1st home Champions League group game of the new campaign. Last weekend against Tottenham, Arsenal lost 2 of their regular first team players through injury.

TEAM NEWS: Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby are out while Jack Wilshere is fit and available. Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry are set to return to training from next week.

Arsenal still haven’t found that winning formula yet as although they have been unbeaten in the league, they have only been able to win 2 of their first 6 games while they have started their Champions League campaign with a disappointing loss away at Dortmund. So, this is now a must win game for the men in red & white because to qualify to the knockout rounds, it’s necessary that a team does well at home. On the other hand, Galatasaray have kicked off their campaign with a draw so they will look to get another draw. With injuries to key players like Arteta and Ramsey, Arsenal have a huge task ahead of them. The Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger must change his tactics to make the team play swiftly and quickly as so far his new 4-1-4-1 formation hasn’t proved much fruitful to the side in terms of results. 

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EPL Review: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Tiki-taka football cost us 2 points)

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No improvements were shown as Arsenal once again dropped couple of points at home in a big game. Tottenham were on a poor form and the boys in red and white couldn’t take advantage of that. There’s no point in dominating the whole game if we don’t have the end product and that has what let us down. Tiki-taka football, trying to score that “perfect goal” has cost us 2 points at home against our North London rivals who did nothing whatsoever in the game but walked out with a point.

The starting line-up didn’t excite me. Ozil was pushed to the left again and Alexis Sanchez was benched. Why did Wenger started Sanchez midweek in the League Cup? Big players should be used for the big games. Alexis was more than ready to face the Spurs but Wenger’s stubbornness had other ideas. The Gunners were on top for 90% of the game but even though they dominated the 1st half, it was Spurs who had the clear cut chances. Whenever we made a mistake, Spurs always looked like scoring but thankfully their shooting was terrible. Ultimately, Flamini’s error in defense enabled Chadli to give Tottenham the lead. After that, the derby came into life, Arsenal pushed forward to get the equalizer and after 15 minutes of constant pressure, they scored through a good opportunistic goal from Chamberlain. The Gunners needed to show that kind of urgency from the start but they had to concede first in order to do that which can be dubbed as another psychological problem that our players have. The derby ended 1-1. It was the most underwhelming derby game in the last 4-5 years. 

With Ramsey, Arteta out for weeks and Wilshere “a doubt” for next week, things are looking very dark right now ahead of a daunting visit to the Stamford Bridge next weekend.

EPL Preview: Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur (North London Derby)

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It’s time for the first North London Derby of the new season. Arsenal did a triple over their North London rivals last season, winning both home and away in the league as well a FA Cup tie at Emirates Stadium. But, Spurs will hope to change all that this weekend in the Barclays Premier League.

TEAM NEWS: Flamini is back while Monreal is still out.

Arsenal comes to this game after being eliminated from the Capital One Cup by Southampton while Spurs advanced to the next round but in terms of the league, Arsenal are in a much better form than their North London neighbors having won their last league game by 3-0 continuing their unbeaten start to the season while Spurs lost 1-0 at home to West Brom. Tottenham are rejuvenated under their new manager Mauricio Pochettino and are enjoying a feeling of stability for the 1st time after couple years of massive squad rebuilding. North London Derbies are always intense and filled with passion and this one would be no exception as both teams will fight to win the bragging rights.

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COC Review: Arsenal 1-2 Southampton (2nd team experienced players failed to impress)

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Arsenal are out of the Capital One Cup after losing to Southampton 2-1 at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners’ boss fielded a relatively strong team attacking wise for this fixture with the likes of Sanchez and Wilshere in the starting 11. Abou Diaby made a successful return to the team and got 60 minutes playing time under his belt. Arsenal started strong. Alexis Sanchez scored another top class goal, this time from a free kick but once again his goal couldn’t get the job done as he was let down by his teammates especially Tomas Rosicky who gave away a cheap foul in the penalty area to give Southampton the equalizer through a penalty. Soon it was 2-1 to the Saints after a “one in a million” sort of goal from 35 yards out from Clyne. After that it was all about chasing a equalizer for Arsenal which never happened because of experienced players like Podolski and Rosicky who didn’t even showed any commitment or fight to make something happen. At the end, the Gunners went out of the League Cup after losing at home to Saints 2-1.

All in all, it was a good run out for the youngsters who got their chance to play in the 1st team. Players like Hayden, Bellerin were impressive. Arsenal will next face their North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Premier League.

COC Preview: Arsenal vs. Southampton (Expect a much younger team)

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After getting back on track at the weekend against Aston Villa in the Premier League, Arsenal will next host Southampton in the third round of the Capital One Cup.

TEAM NEWS: New goalkeeper signing David Ospina is all set to debut for the club and a majority of the players who started at the weekend are expected to be rested or on the bench.

Things have settled down a bit for Arsenal after that convincing 3-0 win over Aston Villa so Wenger can give his youngsters a chance to show their skills in this League Cup fixture. I am expecting a younger back 4 with a mixture of youth and experience in midfield and attack. Players like Podolski and Campbell are expected to get a much deserved start. Southampton are also fresh off from an impressive away win against Swansea in the league at the weekend so even though Wenger has the license to make changes to his side, he must instruct his players to give their all to progress through to the next round. Although the Capital One Cup is at the bottom of Arsenal’s priority list for the season, it is important to get a win as the club has a run of big games coming up.

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EPL Review: Aston Villa 0-3 Arsenal (Mesut Ozil shines at number 10)

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Mesut Ozil shines at his best position as Arsenal gets their first away win of the season beating Aston Villa by 3-0. After the horrendous performance against Dortmund earlier in the week, Wenger needed to make some changes to his team to give themselves a chance to beat the high flying Aston Vila side who have just shocked the entire league by beating Liverpool at Anfield last weekend. The Arsenal manager changed his team formation from 4-1-4-1 to 4-2-3-1 and we could tell from the off that this is a more suitable formation as far as our play as a team is concerned. Wenger also gave the fans their wish to see Mesut Ozil play at his preferred number 10 position and unsirprisingly the results were quite positive. 

Although Villa went off to a good start, having a couple of dangerous chances to take the lead but Danny Welbeck’s through ball to Mesut Ozil gave Arsenal the lead as Ozil calmly finished his chance to give himself a much needed confidence boost. After a minute, it was 2-0 to the Gunners as Ozil’s deadly pass from the left wing was tapped in by Danny Welbeck. It was Welbeck’s first goal of his Arsenal career. It was 3-0 soon after that thanks to Cissokho’s own goal. It was a huge shock for Aston Villa as nobody expected them to collapse like that especially coming off that Liverpool win. 

Those 3 minutes of thunder was enough for Arsenal to collect all 3 points from Villa Park. It was the Gunners first league match win since that opening game win against Crystal Palace. Arsenal desperately needed this win to give themselves a breather ahead of a tough run of games against Spurs, Galatasaray and Chelsea in the coming weeks.

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EPL Preview: Aston Villa vs. Arsenal (Need a positive response)

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After a horrific showing in the first group stage game of the UEFA Champions League against Dortmund, Arsenal will now travel to Villa Park to face a high flying Aston Villa side who are enjoying their best start to a season in 16 years collecting 10 points and sitting at 2nd in the Barclays Premier League table.

TEAM NEWS: Calum Chambers and Mathieu Flamini returns to the squad. Wilshere is okay after twisting his ankle in midweek. 

The Gunners are on a bad run at the moment and are without a match win for more than a month. They desperately need a victory against Villa to not only give themselves a breather but also a much needed boost heading into the big games against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in the coming weeks. Aston Villa are fresh off from beating Liverpool at Anfield in a shocking league upset last weekend so Arsenal will have their hands full once again. Out of form players like Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey must be benched and the Arsenal manager must use his squad players to give his side a new life and energy to get all 3 points at Villa Park.

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UCL Review: Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Arsenal (Poor poor Arsenal, POOR, POOR)

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No improvements were visible as Arsenal once again got humiliated, dominated and outclassed away from home against once of the big clubs in Europe. The Gunners were totally destroyed from the first second to the last. We started the match on the back foot and we were like that till the very end of the game. Arsenal were lucky to concede no goals in the opening 40 minutes thanks to bad finishing from some of the Dortmund players but right at the edge of half-time, their new signing Immobile gave them a very well deserved 1-0 lead. 

The second half started just like the first one and this time Dortmund were able to finish their chance immediately as the blistering pace of Aubameyang was able to get pass the Arsenal midfield and defense and scored on the counter attack. From there on, Arsenal had no chances to make a comeback, the few opportunities they had were squandered by Danny Welbeck which shows that he is not a clinical finisher and the Gunners still lacks ruthlessness in front of goal. Debuchy’s absence and Chambers illness meant that Arsenal had to give one of their academy players a first team debut and that unlucky fellow was Hector Bellerin. It proved that Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to buy another defender in the transfer window was costing his side big time. Bellerin was totally outclassed and outnumbered by the Dortmund players. I feel sorry for the lad as it was very unfair for him to make his debut against a big side like  Dortmund that too away from home. At the end, Arsenal lost the game 2-0 and got off to a losing start to their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign.

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UCL Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs. Arsenal (Let the Champions League begin)

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The biggest club competition starts with Arsenal traveling to an all familiar ground i.e the home of Borussia Dortmund (Signal Iduna Park). The Gunners had met the German club in the previous two group stages of the competition with Arsenal finishing second behind Dortmund in last seasons campaign.

TEAM NEWS: Nacho Monreal hasn’t traveled with a back injury while Debuchy is out for a long time. Chambers will be assessed before the match.

After last weekend’s disappointing 2-2 draw against Manchester City, it’s time for Arsenal to clinch a victory but that is a major doubt with them having to travel to a daunting ground against one of the most dangerous teams in Europe at the moment i.e Dortmund. Arsenal managed to grab a late victory at Dortmund last season but Dortmund came back and took their revenge at Emirates Stadium which propelled them to finish above the Gunners in the final group standings. Having said that, it’s a new season and the Gunners are equipped with better players than last season and we hope that players like Sanchez and Welbeck will help the men in red and white to clinch another victory against the German side.

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EPL Review: Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City (2 points dropped, not good enough)

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Arsenal couldn’t repeat their Community Shield performance as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Manchester City in an exciting Barclays Premier League game. Two superb second half goals from Jack Wilshere and Alexis Sanchez helped the Gunners maintain their unbeaten status so far this season but only 1 win in their opening 4 games doesn’t look like a team who is ready to win the title yet.

Arsenal started the game in bright fashion. With all eyes on their new signing Danny Welbeck, the Gunners showed that they are a much better outfit with a player like Welbeck leading the line for them. Danny came close to open his Arsenal goals account with a beautiful chip over Joe Hart but unlucky for him, the ball came off the post and the chance was gone. Slowly but surely, City came into the game and it took only one counter attack to open up the Arsenal defense as Aguero scored to give City the lead going into the half time. City were stronger in the opening 15 minutes of the second period but Arsenal’s strong determination led them to equalize through a sweet chipped goal from Jack Wilshere. It was a welcome goal for Jack as he was struggling to find his top form but his performance in this game showed that he is back to his very best. 10 minutes later, it was Alexis Sanchez’s world class effort which game the Gunners a shocking lead against the Champions. We all thought that Arsenal are on the verge of getting a much needed win against a top 4 side but it was not to be as Mathieu Debuchy’s ankle sprain injury took the momentum away from Arsenal and City quickly pounced on the opportunity from set-piece scored by Demichelis. The match ended 2-2.

It was Arsenal’s third consecutive draw this season which means that they have only been able to collect 6 points from their opening 4 league games which will be a cause for concern for the manager and the fans.

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