Archive for the ‘Arsenal Reviews’ Category


Miki’s facial expression says, “how good is THIS guy, eh?”

For all the constant consternation & sniping at how Arsenal FC are run from pundits & media talking heads, it is always an absolute pleasure when you beat one of the supposed intelligentsia’s usual darlings like Liverpool.  Last year the Scousers were led by one of their supposed saviors, Kenny Dalglish.  They’ve spent tons of money in the last several years on players, including Englishmen which were supposed to be the new nucleus of the club, including one supposed rising English star (LOL!) in Andy Carroll.  And last year they won the Carling Cup.  So, what’s the problem?

Today we beat their ass, 2-nil, they currently lie in the relegation zone in 18th place after today & have changed managers, those several Englishmen brought in to be the nucleus now prop up the bench, they’ve shipped out their record English striker & are these days reduced to spouting off how many times they’ve been champions of Europe to sides that defeat them as that means anything in the game just played.  That’s the problem.  The Roman Empire was once great too, Liverpudlians.  Those creaking & crashing sounds you hear are the Visigoths at the gates, dopes.

Laurent Koscielny came back from injury today but Arsène Wenger continued with Per Mertesacker to partner Thomas Vermaelen in the center of defense but Wojciech Szczęsny & Łukasz Fabiański once again missed out through injury giving another start to Vito Mannone in net.  Interestingly, Wenger went with Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of both Gervinho & Theo Walcott on the right.  There was speculation last night that The Ox would start but many were guessing it would be in Abou Diaby’s stead.It would be interesting to know if Le Boss wanted something tactically specific from The Ox or if Walcott is being a bit punished for the ongoing contractual spat.

Either way, we started out like this:

Arsenal Starting Lineup
Mannone

Jenkinson — Mertesaecker — Vermaelen (c) — Gibbs

Diaby — Arteta

Cazorla

Oxlade-Chamberlain — Giroud — Podolski.

Bench:   Martínez, Koscielny, André Santos,  Coquelin, Ramsey, Gervinho, Walcott

Liverpool enjoyed most of the possession throughout the match but this new look Arsenal looks much more comfortable & compact in their defensive shape in the early days of the season.  Thank you, Steve Bould?  However, you wouldn’t have known this fact unless you’re watching the matches.  If you’re relying on the media, the story prior to the matchwas still “Arsenal haven’t scored a goal since Robin van Persie left.”  Well, that fortunately changed today.

On the half-hour mark & following a period where Liverpool were threatening, mainly through youngster Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard played a poor ball in the Liverpool final third which Arsenal took advantage of to take the lead.  The Gunners used the turnover to mount a swift counterattack like the Arsenal of old.  The ball found Santi Cazorla outside the area & he in turn played in Lukas Podolski nicely on the left & the German fired home to open up his Arsenal account.  You can catch at the end of the link the humorous song sung by traveling Gunners of, “He’s Lukas Podolski! He scores when he wants! He scores when he wants!”  The song being an obvious thumbing of the nose to all the punditry’s hammering of the Robin van Persie/lack of Arsenal goals saga.  Well played, Gunner fans.

We took the 1-nil lead into the break & within minutes of the restart Martin Skrtel hacked down Abou Diaby rightly earning a yellow card in the process.  The French midfielder was outstanding on the day, evoking comparisons to Patrick Vieira throughout the Arsenalverse.  Not quite sure about that but the 6’4″, oft-injured Diaby was certainly my & most people’s Man of the Match as the Frenchman put in a performance that made you realize why Wenger has been patient with him.  Someone even joked (or was it a joke?) on Twitter that “City united & Barca all with bids for Diaby in January.”  If he can stay healthy, Diaby can really help us in the center of the park.  He was terrific in his movement, his passing was stellar (91% on the day) & was a force in the tackle today (with 4).

Also in the second half, Liverpool began to look for free kicks & penalties at just about every foray forward.  Led by cheat extraordinaire & diving supremo, Luís Suárez, Liverpool nearly won a PK from Mertesacker as the big German made some contact on the Uruguayan inside the box.  El Perro Langosta, of course made it look like a sniper hit, flinging himself to the ground but luckily Howard Webb wasn’t buying it.  Did you get the envelope, Howie?  Ok, thanks, remember us later in the year too.  Suárez is such a diving cheat I’m thinking of changing my nickname for him of El Perro Langosta, or “the lobster dog,” to La Puta Engañando, or “the cheating cunt/bitch/whore.”

Despite Suárez’s cuntiness, it was Arsenal that found the next goal.  In the 68th minute it was Cazorla & Podolski combining again, but this time it was Santi Cazorla’s turn to net his first goal when he rifled home at the near post with a massive helping from Pepe Reina.  I don’t want to hear it complaints of a soft goal though, because as many ‘keepers that come in & have a blinder against us in the last few years (I’m looking at you, Ali Al-Habsi), we’re still owed some of these kind of goals even with the type of performance that moron from West Brom put in against us in the last match of last season.

After going up 2-0, Liverpool obviously pushed for a goal but the newfound ease & calm in the Arsenal defense kept out the Scousers time & time again.  There were a few hairy moments, such as when Vito Mannone failed to claim a corner with two attempts, but luckily his defense was on hand to eventually help get the ball cleared.  The Italian did make a terrific late save to keep the clean sheet unblemished, however, so credit where it’s due.

For all the talk of lack of goals prior to this match, I was heartened in the opening matches with the new defensive shape we’ve had & that will go a longer way to helping us reach higher mountains this year than trying to find a RvP 2.0.  Because the goals will come & if they don’t, we’ll just have to dust off the old “boring, boring Arsenal!” & “1-nil to the Arsenal!” chants.

Gifs of the goals in case the vid links are yanked by YouTube: Podolski 30‘ & Cazorla 68′

WhoScored.com’s match report.  Don’t let it fool you.  Scousers will argue they were much better, but they’re both wrong & stupid.  Most of their shots were hopeful efforts well over & we stole the ball form them often.

Player Ratings
Vito Mannone (7)- Made a couple of nice saves but is definitely too hesitant at times.  He definitely looks a backup ‘keeper at this level.  Definitely wouldn’t want to play a whole season with him in net.

Carl Jenkinson (7)- Faced Liverpool youngster, Raheem Sterling, who was arguably Liverpool’s best threat but overall, acquitted himself well.  Jenks still can get himself out of position at times but he’s still only 20 and learning, after all.

Kieran Gibbs (7)- Another solid performance from Gibbs & looks to have solidified the left back spot as his own.  If we’re being picky, he could still provide better service going forward.

Per Mertesacker (7.5)- For all the cries of lack of pace (which I won’t argue with), the skyscraper of a German reads the game & tackles well for a big man as he’s way more athletic than his often, partially clumsy look would make it seem.  Nearly got conned by Suárez for a PK though.

Thomas Vermaelen (7.5)- The Verminator played a terrific game making a several key tackles & an outstanding blocked shot on Suárez (I think).  Definitely growing into the responsibility of the captaincy with every game.  Keep it up, TV5!

Abou Diaby (8)- Diaby was the Man of the Match.  Didn’t score, didn’t provide an assist but definitely bossed the midfield at times, often letting Liverpool come forward before expertly tackling the ball away in partnership with Mikel Arteta.  Will be a key cog in the side if he can stay healthy.

Mikel Arteta (7.5)-  Alex Song who?  Arteta had yet another brilliant performance as the deepest midfielder.  The Spaniard isn’t the beefiest midfielder in the world by any means, but his athleticism & technique make him an excellent tackler.  His excellent reading of the game helps out in that regard as well.  I forgot what we bought him for last year but he’s been worth every penny.

Santi Cazorla (7.5)- Once again had a very good game.  He definitely is dynamo in the final third as he likes to pop up all over the place and make runs both with & without the ball.  AND HE ISN’T AFRAID TO SHOOT.  Thank the Maker, it’s about time we get a midfielder who isn’t afraid to shoot.  Are you & your nut-hanging fanboi watching, Alex Hleb & Mazza from the old Arsenal America board?  Watch Cazorla if you’re an aspiring attacking midfielder.  He’s how you’re supposed to play- full of energy, two-footed, unlimited passing range, dribbling skills & shooting boots.  He will likely be our Player of the Year.  Book it.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (6.5)-  The Ox had a slightly ineffective game going forward but I’ll bump him up to a 6.5 because he never failed to track back & work hard in defense.  This kid will be special though if he can keep his feet on the ground & head out of the clouds (ahem, Msr. Walcott), there is no doubt about that.

Olivier Giroud (5)- Giroud missed another sitter in the first half, this time on his preferred left foot, and skied a golden chance with a header in the second half.  The hunky striker just needs to relax.  You can definitely tell he’s thinking too much at the moment trying to make a good impression.  Just play, Ollie.  Your goals will come.

Lukas Podolski (7.5)- Maiden voyage for this epic song today.  Won’t reach RvP’s goal total of 30 last year but here’s a secret I’m going to let you in on- HE DOESN’T HAVE TO.  Get us anywhere near 20, Lukas & we’ll go a long way with our new defensive nous.

Substitutions
Aaron Ramsey (6)- Didn’t do much.  Nothing great, nothing bad; put in a shift closing the game down.

André Santos (nr)- Also didn’t do much.  Came on late  &pretty much did well not to get arrested for speeding…

Laurent Koscielny (nr)- Came on at the stroke of full time for Vermaelen who had been kicked by Steven Gerrard in a rough (but fair) tackle. No time to do anything really.

Unfortunately, one of the accursed international breaks is upon us so we will have to wait for the opportunity to continue our good run & these breaks always make us Gunners all a bit pensive with worry over injuries.  Hopefully, with van Stapleton now in Mancunster some of those fears can be allayed these days. We certainly don’t need any injuries now as the fixture list becomes congested soon with all the cup competitions soon to begin.

Speaking of the cups, Arsenal drew Coventry City as their opponents in their opening League Cup match.  The League Cup is now called the Capital One Cup.  So, get all the “what’s in your wallet?!” jokes & memes ready.  Arsenal’s League Cup/Capital One Cup campaign begins on September 24th.

In the Champions’ League, we’ve drawn Schalke 04 (with American, Jermaine Jones), Olympiakos & Giroud’s former club, Montpellier. You have to think that’s a pretty good draw for us though midweek cross-continent trips can be tricky.  I’m not saying we’ll walk this group, but if we don’t win it, it’ll still be a bit disappointing in my view.

That’s all putting the cart before the horse though because our next match after the accursed international break is against Southampton who have given both Mancunster clubs all they’ve wanted despite losing both matches, 3-2.  Today Soho lost to ManUre with that traitorous cunt bagging a hat-trick despite completely botching an attempted Panenka PK.  Soho deserved to win the game too so they’ll be no pushovers at all.  I imagine Ricky Lambert will give us fits much like Grant Holt did for Norwich last year.  They’re very similar type players & Lambert is arguably better.

So, Arsenal with a good win over Liverpool & Labor Day tomorrow, so have yourselves a few adult beverages.  Chilled or frosted, it matters not.  Oh, the U21s have a fixture against Everton tomorrow as well.  I’ll try to find a feed & watch since it’ll be a holiday.

COME ON, YOU GUNNERS!

Advertisements

The Urûk-Hai are revered in Stoke as an übermensch

The story from the media will be “without Robin Van Persie will we ever score again?”  Clearly the answer is “no,” since Robin van Persie was the only striker Arsenal has ever had.  In fact, looking through the club’s records book, the Dutchman strangely is the only person to have ever scored a goal for Arsenal.  Truly remarkable.

It must be so easy to be a sports journalist.  Whatever the team does, just concentrate on the opposite.  Give up a late goal?  You have defensive frailties that amount to a crisis.  Don’t score a goal in consecutive matches?  Clearly you have attacking issues which amount to, yes, you guessed it.  But you”ll have to wait for it. Wait for it….. a crisis. Or at the very least, a problem.

To the actual match, yes, we still look like we’re lacking in the attacking third, mainly due to a lack of cohesion & understanding between the attacking players.  It’s still pretty obvious, unless of course you’re a media lapdog or one of the people who care about their often moronic views, that guys like Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski & Santi Cazorla are still learning each other’s games.

Defensively, we looked pretty well-organized again, and it’s clear that overall team defense & understanding was drilled into the side over the summer.  Mikel Arteta, for all the cries to sign a “proper” or “orthodox” defensive midfielder, has done the deep-lying, holding midfield role very well in the opening two games.

The defensive work showed very well today against The Orcs from Stoke (Stoke’s fans are truly pathetic, more on that later) as Stoke rarely threatened, albeit from the odd possession on the counter, and Arsenal did a yeoman’s job in marking & defending set pieces, Stoke’s main threat.

You can see from WhoScored.com’s match report that, like Sunderland, we dominated the match statistically.  Considering how much trouble those orcish cunts have given us in our travels to Stoke/Mordor, I think we can draw a lot of positives from the match even if it does feel a bit more like two points dropped than a point gained.

And for all attacking issues in the first two matches of the season, we’re certainly look to shoot from outside of the box more these days, which is a good thing, even if the best chance of the match probably came from Giroud’s audacious & fairly outlandish driven lob on the right from some 40 yards out.

It’s not time to panic by any means & the Gunners that are already doing so are the type that want to panic even when we win a match 2-1.  In short, they’re irrational.  Those kind of “fans” are only happy in 4-nil or 5-nil wins.  The attack will take some time to get in gear because rebuilding a side is not as easy as a plug & play FIFA video game.  Obviously, we need to start scoring & our lack of attacking prowess so far can quickly become an issue once the wear & tear of a Premier League season & being in several competitions begins as players tire & pick up injuries.  But I have faith in Arsène Wenger to be able to craft an attacking side with the likes of the players we have, because after all, we were once “nothing but a mid-table team without Thierry Henry.”  We’ll score goals again without Robin van Persie.  Dumbasses.

So, on to Liverpool at Anfield next Sunday & hopefully some goals as Liverpool will come out & play not pack bodies behind the ball like our opening two opponents.  Hopefully their defense will be in a giving mood like they were today.

Ok, about the Stoke “fans.”  Truly it’s pathetic that they seem to care more about what happens off the pitch then on it.  Yes, they “get behind their team.”  But then again, criminals back their crime boss too, don’t they?  Booing injuries & constantly trying to wind people up to the extent that they do it, is pub league stuff.  It’s beneath amateurish.  Seriously, these “people” lustily continue to boo Aaron Ramsey, & chant “wanker” at a player who did nothing but commit the heinous crime of getting his leg broken by a Stoke defender who has multiple leg breaks on his rap sheet, I mean, playing history.  I’m convinced these “fans” feverishly masturbate over pictures of Aaron Ramsey’s broken legs every time they’re to face Arsenal now.  They somewhat cheered a hatchet-job tackle on Thomas Vermaelen outside of the box following a half-cleared corner.  I’m not sure there is a word strong enough to epitomize the level of cuntishness that Stoke “fans” display. The sooner Stoke plays poorly & gets relegated from the EPL, the better.  And if you don’t like it Potter “fans” you can go rape a puppy for all I care.  Mainly because it’s what you probably already do at after-match parties anyway & not because I wish that upon any puppies.  Say, “hello,” to Satan & Sauron for me, you cunts.

Match highlights.

Arsenal Starting Lineup
Mannone

Jenkinson — Mertesaecker — Vermaelen (c) — Gibbs

Diaby — Arteta

Cazorla

Gervinho — Giroud — Podolski

Bench:   Martínez, Djourou, André Santos, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott

Player Ratings
Vito Mannone (7)-  The 3rd choice ‘keeper, did a decent job & claimed several high balls on long balls into the box & set pieces pretty well.  Can’t really fault him for anything today except maybe kicking the ball out when he maybe could’ve given better balls.

Carl Jenkinson (6.5)- Jenkinson didn’t have to do too much again as Stoke chose to sit back at home but was on the end of a couple of arguably slightly harsh foul decisions.  Crossing needs to get better though.

Kieran Gibbs (7)- Gibbs did well and stood up to some direct & physical play.  Luckily wasn’t called for a penalty when former Gunner, but complete prick, Jermaine Pennant threw himself to the ground looking for a penalty.

Per Mertesacker (7)-  The big German did well & dealt with aerial threats well.  Was composed on the ball & marked well throughout.

Thomas Vermaelen (7)- Vermaelen had a bit of a quiet game by his standards but that’s because he did his job well.  No slip ups, defended well & helped negate Stoke’s long ball threat.  Was also on the end of a hatch-job tackle by Stoke “player,” Andy Wilkinson.

Mikel Arteta (8)- Once again played the “deep” midfielder & was the Man of the Match today.  Arteta broke up Stoke attacks well, nicking the ball on several occasions & tracked back well & defended well all afternoon.

Abou Diaby (6.5)- I’ll go a little soft on Diaby because his lack of regular playing time over the past two seasons but his final ball today was pretty much wrong all afternoon.  He is popping up in good positions & arguably had a good shooting chance late on which he passed up opting to try & play Giroud (or was it Podolski?) in.

Santi Cazorla (7)- Cazorla was once again bright & passed well.  I definitely like how he floats around in the final third, popping up all over.  Is not afraid to shoot & led Arsenal with 6 shots today.  Forwards need to learn his game quickly though as we often look a bit  nonplussed with what Cazorla is going to do with his final ball.

Gervinho (5)- Oh, Gervinho.  Where to start?  Oh, right, you’re complete lack of a final product once again.  He’s Glenn Helder with a giant forehead.  Can dribble excellently, but shits the bed with his final ball decision all too often.  With Th Ox healthy, I’d drop the Ivorian from the starting lineup for Liverpool.

Olivier Giroud (6)- Was slagged off by certain corners for his performance today but personally I don’t think he was that bad & on a few occasions needed passes given to him when he was well placed.  Nearly scored on a completely audacious 40-yard lob from the right side.

Lukas Podolski (6)- The German striker was direct & did well & arguably should’ve had a penalty when he had a shot blocked by a Stoke defender’s head/hand.  Was direct with the ball but like the other forwards, looked a bit perplexed & lacked cohesion in the attacking third.

Substitutes
Theo Walcott (6)-  came on for his pace & attacked Stoke with his direct dribbling but couldn’t produce anything of note.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (6.5)- The Ox needs to start now that he’s healthy.  Another direct player but was also good in defense in his short time on the pitch.

Aaron Ramsey (6)- Nearly scored with a shot a few yards wide which would’ve been the highest form of poetic justice against the Orcs & was wide open in the middle when Giroud tried his lob.

So, two points from two games sees us in 12th place betwixt the two teams we drew with so far.  As previously mentioned, we face Liverpool next week who just drew with Mansour City so I’m sure it’ll be a week of Scousers who will crow about their massive Carling Cup win, the number of times they’ve won the European Cup/Champions’ League & defaulting to the “Arsenal haven’t won a trophy since 1544” argument & not wanting to talk about their club’s debt or that they haven’t won a league title since before there was a Premier League.


An anticipated three points & good start to the season for Arsenal football club was thwarted yesterday by a typically stout defensive performance by a Martin O’Neill side as Arsenal drew with Sunderland, 0-0.  Sunderland set out to defend & try to hit Arsenal on the counter and by the end of the day it became a story we’ve seen all too often in recent years for the Arsenal- we enjoyed a ton of possession but failed to break down the opposition which “parked the bus” & in the end, dropped points.

Arsène Wenger decided to go with pace on both flanks playing both Gervinho & Theo Walcott out wide with new boy Lukas Podolski in the middle of the forward line.  Youngster Carl Jenkinson got the nod at right back for the injured Bacary Sagna, and played pretty well, while the other new signing in the starting eleven, Santi Cazorla, played very well creating several chances with his exquisite passing from the advanced midfield position.  The remaining new signing, Olivier Giroud, started on the bench but missed what was the match’s best chance late in the game following a wonderful pass from Cazorla.

Arsenal Starting Lineup
Szczesny

Jenkinson – Mertesaecker – Vermaelen (c) – Gibbs

Diaby – Arteta

Cazorla

Walcott – Podolski – Gervinho

Bench:   Mannone, Djourou, André Santos, Coquelin, Ramsey, Arshavin, Giroud

The two sides traded chances early with Sunderland actually having the better chance through Irish winger, James McClean, but Wojciech Szczesny saved well.  Santi Cazorla made his first contribution only moments later when he forced Simon Mignolet into a good save with a good effort from outside the box some 22 yards out or so when the Black Cats failed to close him down.

We dominated possession for the remainder of the match but failed to break down Sunderland we were often left to resort to long shots (which in a way is still pleasing as we look to be more willing to shoot from outside the box then in recent years).  The wide men, Walcott & Gervinho, were especially profligate with our possession & both lacked a quality final ball.  Despite us becoming wasteful with our possession, in the 82nd minute, Olivier Giroud had a glorious chance to bag the three points for us when he was put free into the center of the box with a delightful little diagonal pass from Cazorla.  But the Frenchman rather slashed at the shot & put it wide when it looked to be easier to score than to miss.  Cue the mouthbreathers at that point with “zOMGz! Van Persie woulda scored a hat trick on dat play!1! Herpaderpaderp! We in crisis again! Derpderp!”

That was our best chance of the match by far but seriously, I thought we played well, just couldn’t find the goal but there were several things to be heartened by:  1.) We created some chances, 2.) we look less reluctant to shoot from outside, 3.) the defense looks more organized, especially overall team defense & 4.) the new signings look to be quality, although the end product wasn’t there yesterday.

Now for the negatives:   1.) We lacked penetration many times against a side determined to sit back & defend, 2.) Walcott- lacks creativity to break down sides that sit back, 3.) finishing, 4.) Gervinho-  He’s Walcott with more skill & a bigger forehead

So, there’s more work to be done and the manager has already hinted at a lineup change against Stoke next week as he wasn’t pleased with the tempo of passing.

Wenger post-Sunderland match

Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland highlights.

Finally, following rumors of a really poor attitude during training in Cologne, Alex Song has been sold to Barcelona.  I’ll have more later but I’m not too worried about this sale despite Song pitching in eleven assists last year.  The fee has been said to be £15 million.  Having bought Song originally for £400,000 from Bastia when he was 17, banking £15 million for him is a good deal.

Enjoy your Sunday!