Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are our Strikers really good ??

Arsenal's 2012-13 campaign has begun with some positive and some negative results. We struggled to score in the first 2 games. We got that vital win against liverpool. and thrashed southampton. Played an evenly poised encounter at the Etihad stadium. Last week we suffered a loss to Chelsea at home, due to defensive errors.
Our same old defensive errors costing us again. Contrary to what we saw in the chelsea game, our defense has been very solid in most of the games. Credit to goes to the Big man Steve Bould. 
Lets leave out our defensive problems aside and think about our offense. We don't have a quality out and out striker like RVP now, but we have players like Gervinho, podolski, who rotate in the midfield and surge ahead with an attacking move. Giroud who came to Emirates with lot of hope from the fans, who despite opening his account for the season against coventry city, has failed to actually impress the supporters and managers alike. There is the pressure of playing in a top club in EPL, and a world class striker should take it as a challenge and overcome the pressure. Having said that I strongly feel Giroud should be given some more time to get his confidence back and get up and running. We don't need another Chamakh and Arshavin, who started out promisingly but couldn't impress enough as the season progressed. Arshavin has a huge problem with his confidence, which i have to partly put the blame on Wenger. I feel he was just sidelined without much support when he was out of form. Chamakh had a similar story, he started the season well in the absence of RVP in the front. When RVP came back to full fitness, he just became like a supporting cast to RVP, and started dropping his form. At these times, a player needs to be continually motivated and should be given more match practice to regain their confidence.. 
Unfortunately neither of it worked out for them. As their future in Arsenal hangs in balance, there is not much u can expect from them. 
Coming to much talked about Theo walcott. His refusal to sign a new contract just angered Arsenal supporters, branding him as traitor. Which was unfair. A player has got all the rights to discuss contracts and take time to renew them. There is always this debate whether theo should play upfront as a main stream striker, than as a winger. Maybe time has come to give him a chance. His shots on goal, reminds me many a times about henry.
The recent win against West Ham will boost the confidence of our strikers. And encourage them to take more shots at goal.

Friday, August 17, 2012

New Season, New Hope

One Day from Arsenal begin their 2012/13 league season. The Pre-season transfer market had some ups and downs in the Arsenal line-up. There is too much pressure on the professor Arsene Wenger to get some trophies this season as always. Even the patience with Arsenal fans is running out. Last season was a patch up rather. We started disastrously last season, and managed to end the season on a high note at No.3. It was a bad season, but we made it look like a good season.
  This time around Wenger has taken some positive steps. Spent a good amount of money in buying quality players. He has got in some quality players this time around. The arrival of 2 quality strikers Lukas Podolski and Oliver Giroud have surely increased the Attacking prowess of the current team. Also Wenger roped in a quality midfielder Santi Cazorla from malaga. He was recently on target in an international friendly for Spain against Puerto Rico. The Arrival of 3 big game players have excited the team members and fans alike. There was a hope that Robin Van Persie might change his mind in the midst of new signings. But he went the other way signed a deal on 24 million pounds with rivals Manchester United. This has angered lot of arsenal fans. well it was eventually going to happen, but the fact that when wenger has made some positive moves in the transfer market, would spur any player to stay on, it wasn't meant to be. Now Arsenal are on the brink of loosing even Alexandre Song to Barcelona. Wenger must be keeping his eyes open for capturing Nuri Sahin from Real madrid to replace him.
 So what the new season holds. The arrival of new talent has definitely rekindled the hope of some silverware this year. It would be very crucial this year to have a fit squad throughout the season. We are already plagued by injuries to JackWilshere, Frimpong, Sagna.. Somehow injuries have always been our problem since many seasons. Its just pure bad luck. For going on playing good for the entire season, we don't have a good bench strength. Our 2nd team players aren't that strong. Thats what i am worried about. We still need some players who could fill that void. I somehow felt Wenger should have bought a quality defender. Our defense was horrible at times last season. We lost most of the games owing to below par defense. If we would have bought one good centre back, it would have been a complete team. We need good centre backs to back up Vermaelen and Koscielny. Mertesacker had just few good games last season. he struggled to make an impact last entire season. I hope Wenger pulls in some ropes to get a good defender before the transfer market closes. Lot of hopes are pinning upon Lukas podolski  to handle the attacking front. He does has a good conversion rate and has lot of experience behind him. So i am hoping he will get at least 15 goals this season, supported well by Gervinho and Giroud. Midfield is our strength. With players like Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky, and of course Cazorla, we do have good playmaker options. It would be interesting to see how fellow countrymen Santi and Arteta pair up. At the goalpost , Szczesny has been ever solid for us, though he had a miserable Euro campaign , which i rather don't mention. Fabianski hopes to continue with Arsenal this season. Wenger's trust in him has made him a better player, and improved his game to challenge for the first team.
 My predictions A number 3 finsh again looks realistic and something arsenal fans won't mind. But somewhere there is hope that we might win the Carling Cup or FA Cup this season. And a place in quarters at least in Champions League.
  Can't wait for the season to start, GO GUNNERS !!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Flying Dutchman, at the brink of summit

Can he do it now or now? This is what everyone's put their money on, at the end of this year. Which has been a historic half of season for Arsenal. Robin Van Persie aka The Flying Dutchman, is on the brink of history, He is just 2 goals away from equaling Alan Shearer's record of 36 goals in a calendar season. He already equaled Thierry Henry's record of 34 goals, when he score the opener against Villa, with a smooth penalty kick. With 2 games to play till the end of the season, home games against Wolves and QPR. There is no reason to think, he can't break the record.
  Its been a tremendous season for the dutch maestro. He has lead the team as a captain, as a leader, as a talisman both on the pitch and off the pitch. His goals in this season, has helped arsenal to reach a respectable position on the premier league table, after a worst possible start. They have also qualified for the round of 16 in the champion's league. The Team spirit on the pitch as well as in the dressing room is phenomenal. The team has been together when they have lost and together when they have won. He is a man of few words, but his leadership is very much evident on the pitch, motivating and pushing the young players to do well.

Here is a compilation of top 5 performances in his 34 goals achievement

1. Vs Everton 11/12/11

2. Vs Sunderland 26/10/11
      Both goals were top notch, with RVP getting the fastest goal, and a late thunderous free kick at the top corner. 5 star performance

3. Vs Chelsea 29/10/11 
   Hatrick hero: scored 3 great goals, to help arsenal get past chelsea in a frantic game, which ended 5-3 to Arsenal

4. Vs Barcelona 

          The 2nd half resurgence of Arsenal shows Van persie scoring an amazing goal from tight angle to level the score with barcelona. Arsenal winning the game finally with a superb shot from Arshavin in the closing minutes of the game.

5. Vs Stoke City

    Robin Van Persie came off the bench to score 2 goals and get arsenal the much needed victory.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Manchester City vs Arsenal: Player Ratings

It was a pulsating game at the Etihad stadium, but Arsenal finally losing out on the game 1-0 to Manchester city courtesy of a lone 2nd half goal by David Silva.
It was an entertaining contest between the two teams, with 1st half being rather timid display by both teams. City had more chances in the 1st half. Ken Aguero came close to giving City the breakthrough twice in the first half, but Szczesny showed some great reflexes to stop him from scoring. Arsenal had some half chances in first half through Aaron Ramsey.
Second half was more entertaining with end to end stuff. Great attacking moves from both teams. City scored from a powerful shot from Balotelli with scooped out of Szczesny's hand and the rebound was put in by Silva for the goal. Man city could have score atleast 2 more goals, with woodwork playing a spoilsport for a powerful shot by Zabaleta and Aguero's shot was just wide. Arsenal themselves had some close opportunities with Van Persie's header was judged offside from a beautiful cross by walcott. Also a nice lob shot from Van Persie was judged offside. Joe Hart played a crucial role in the dying minutes, as he was bombarded with powerful kicks by Vermaelen. Arsenal had a close penalty shout when the ball hit Micah Richards' arm right in front of Phil Dowd's eyes. In any other day, it would have been a penalty.
Finally it ended with a scoreline of 1-0 to City. Arsene Wenger will be pretty much disappointed with the result.  While Mancini will be relieved to avoid consecutive defeats in the premier league.

Szczesny : 7 
Overall Solid performance. Some may argue he could have done better with balotelli's shot. But pulled out some great saves in the first half. 

Djourou: 6
Had a quite game, dint have much to do. But was effective moving forward. He picked up some strain in the 2nd half was replaced by young Ignasi Miquel 

Mertesacker: 6
Mixed game for the big german, was woeful at times, but did pull out some good aerial tackles.

Koscielny : 7.5
He was fantastic throughout the match. solid defending in first half. Was shifted to left back early in the 2nd half to accommodate Vermaelen in the centre.

Vermaelen: 7 
Solid performance as usual by the defender. Strong in the air. Showed some attacking skills, nearly equalized for Arsenal

Song: 6
Working tirelessly in the midfield. Moved to centre back in the later stages of the game. Couldn't block Balotelli's shot. 

Arteta: 6
Not a great game by his standards. Was stranded deep in the midfield, while song took the attack to the opposition. Did show some good passing.

Walcott: 5
Poor game for the Englishman. Was kept totally silent in the first half by some exquisite marking by zabaleta. Showed some good skills in the 2nd half but wasn't effective.

Ramsey: 6.5
Good game for the welshman. Some good passing movies. Almost came close to scoring in the first half .

Gervinho: 7
Was lively in the entire match. Had some decent chances in the match. Teamed up nicely with Van persie to lead the Arsenal attack. 

Van Persie: 6.5
The flying dutchman couldn't rescue Arsenal from defeat this time around. Had some good shots on goal blocked by Hart. Lost the ball couple of times in the box. Not his best performance. 

Ignasi Miquel: 6
Decent game for the youngster. Replaced Djourou in the 2nd half. Was nervous, but pulled his game together. Got some intelligent tackles on Villa. Handled the pressure well 

Andrei Arshavin: 5.5
Came in for Walcott in the 2nd half. The Russian seemed to be a bit lost on the pitch. Had a wonderful chance to pass in a simple cross to RVP in the box, but missed out on it. Had a shot on goal in the later stages of the game. Clock might be ticking for the little russian. 

Maroune Chamakh: N/A
Dint have enough time on the pitch to influence the game. Came in for Mertesacker during the last 10 minutes of the game. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Manchester City vs Arsenal : Preview

Few months ago when Arsenal started their 2011-12 season campaign, they had tough games back to back against Liverpool and Manchester united. One game which will remain like a scar in arsenal history is the game against United at old trafford, where we succumbed to a 8-2 drubbing, which was quoted as a Manchester united team vs Arsenal school team. Today 18Th December 2011, we travel to other side of Manchester to the Etihad stadium for a game against the league leaders Manchester city. The difference is now we have got a mature and confident squad contrary to what we had in early august-september. The team strength and confidence is just growing every game. The Club just celebrated 125 years of existence last weekend, and the unity and love in the team is just very much evident on the pitch and dressing room. 
    Though we are 9 points adrift the leaders, the confidence and belief that we can come with a win can be seen on the faces of all the players. The table tennis tournaments, the captaincy of Robin Van Persie, mutual admiration for team mates have lifted the team spirit.Robin van persie is in the form of his life scoring 33 goals in this calendar years, just 4 goals away from Allan Shearer who currently holds the record with 37 goals and 1 goal away from the Arsenal legend Thierry Henry with 34 goals. There is no reason why RVP can't overtake Shearer in the goals tally. The Resurgence of Alex Song in the central midfield had surprised everyone. Strong in defense, never shy to attack when given the opportunity. He has matured very well in the central midfield after the gap left by Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. He has partnered well with Mikel Arteta to give us a competitive edge. His presence will be crucial in today's game. He will have to play that protective role in front of our shaky defense. Man city has shown some really strong attacking skills from the likes of Sergio Aguero, Balotelli, David Silva, Edin Dzeko, and off course the former Arsenal man Samir Nasri. It will be interesting to see how he tackles all the boos by the away fans. The list is endless, Man city have a strong attacking unit. On the other hand, Arsenal defence this season has been good on and off. The return of Thomas Vermaelen, gave a big boost to the defence. With both Santos and Sagna out with injuries, he will again take over the left back position, with Mertesacker and Koscielny in the centre, and Djourou at Right back. Mertesacker has been shaky but Koscielny has been solid. So has been the young polish Goalkeeper Szczesny. 
    Attacking options are plenty. Arteta and Ramsey would be important in the midfield to make those through balls to strikers. Walcott has been in good form this season at the right wing. Arsenal will look to his services for the long runs in the wings as well as crosses in the box. He will have to overcome the defensive lines of Zabaleta. Gervinho too has had a good season. has created more assists than Samir nasri for Man city. But his finishing has been poor. It will be an interesting test against the well established defense of Lescott and Kompany. Former Arsenal man Clichy will miss the game because of suspension. Man City on the other hand have taken a jolt to their rampaging start to the season. They got knocked out of Champion's league even after defeating Bayern Munich in their final match. That was followed by a loss at stamford bridge to Chelsea, to end their unbeaten run in the League. Roberto Mancini will look to his Strikers to end their dismal run in last week. While Arsenal will look to inflict more wounds to Mancini's men. Mikel Arteta has said,
 If we can defeat manchester city, no one will doubt our capabilities to win the league 
And yes it will be an eye opener for the other teams, that Arsenal is back in the title race.

Probable Line ups:
Manchester City :  Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta, Milner, Toure, Barry, Silva, Aguero, Balotelli 

Arsenal : Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Song, Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho 

Predictions: Manchester City 2-3 Arsenal 
A hard fought win for Arsenal with goals from either sides.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Arsenal reveal 125th anniversary away kit !!!

Arsenal have unveiled the new away kit for the 2011-12 season.
The celebratory badge design features 15 laurel leaves to the left side of the Club's crest to reflect the detail on the reverse of the sixpence pieces paid by 15 men to establish the Club in Woolwich in 1886. The 15 oak leaves to the right of the crest pay tribute to the founders who would meet in the local Royal Oak pub. Underneath the crest is one of the Club's first recorded mottos - 'Forward' - with the anniversary dates of 1886 and 2011 either side.
The front of the new away shirt is divided into two halves, one navy blue and one turquoise blue, inspired by the away kits worn by Arsenal teams from the past. The diagonal line represents the gnomon (the pointer) which casts the shadow on a sundial - to commemorate the original Dial Square sundial on the site of the Arsenal munitions factory in Woolwich, where the Club was founded in 1886.

The back of the shirt is entirely navy blue, with one sleeve navy and the other turquoise blue. A stripe runs down each sleeve, broken into three parts to further represent the Dial Square sundial.

The away shorts are navy blue, as are the socks, which have the year of Arsenal's foundation - 1886 - printed in white on the back of each calf.

On the back of the shirt below the neck reads ‘Arsenal', while inside the front, on the back of the crest, is a graphic that reads ‘Victoria Concordia Crescit', (‘Victory Through Harmony'), Arsenal's Latin motto, which was previously featured on earlier versions of their club crest between 1949 and 2002.

To know more, and the details on how to order. Visit the following link

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where are the Transfers?

End of last season, there were big words coming from the Arsenal directors, and manager Arsene Wenger, that there going to very active in the transfer market. But it all seems like ending up in rumors.
   First there was Ricardo Alvarez, a young midfielder from Velez Sarsfield, seemed like the first signing of the season, but the news just died down. It seems he had some problems with his work permit. But then t was revealed that he has an italian passport. This lanky, tall midfielder is a strong tactician with good dribbling abilities and a decent strike rate. The asking price for this lad is a bit high though about 12 million euros. He might probably end up in the bench and be used as an impact substitute. So questions are to asked, whether its actually worth to pay so much for a first team substitute. Reports suggest that talks are still on to secure a contract with the gunners.
The tale of defenders
Arsenal' performances last season highlighted the weakness of their defense. With Vermaelen sidelined almost the entire season with injury, Koscielny and Djourou took over the mantle of defense, but they were good only in patches, same was with Squillaci. As the statistics showed, they lost many of the matches because of a poor defense. There was huge cry by the fans and reporters to strengthen our defense. Then surfaced the reports of Christopher Samba from Blackburn and Gary Cahill from Bolton as the front runners to resurrect the Arsenal defense.
Christopher Samba transfer was almost so good to be true, with the player agent confirming receiving and offer from Arsenal, but it seems to have hit a roadblock, with blackburn saying offer wasn't concrete. And the recent comments by Blackburn manager Steve Kean, seems they wont settle for a lesser amount. He said
   We don’t have to sell him(samba). He (samba)signed a five-year contract in the last window. He’s one of the players we would like keep.
Stories like this seriously make a dent on our goal to strengthen the defense. The Story has been similar with the transfer of Gary Cahill. The Bolton boss Owen Coyle has also made it clear that it will take a massive offer to prise Gary Cahill away from the Reebok, and Wenger is not exactly famous for paying over the odds, no matter how much he needs someone in the Arsenal team. Coyle said
 “There’s been a lot of interest – and you don’t have to be a genius to work out some of the top clubs in this country have been interested – but nothing concrete yet.
“It would take a lot of money. It is up to those clubs to put something firm to the chairman."
With both clubs playing hardball with Arsenal, the onus shifts to wenger, whether he'l go all out and spend for these top class defenders. At the end of the day both deals are hanging because of the price tag. It was a similar story last summer, when arsenal almost were sure of getting the services of Mark Schwarzer from fulham, but they couldn't agree to a contract at the penultimate moment of transfer season.
With Arsenal sulking and pondering over the thought of buying these two defenders, teams like Tottenham are sitting quietly like a vulture to hijack the arsenal move at the right moment.
Another news is the departure of left back Gael Clichy, which seems almost certain. Roma have offered £7m - £2m more than Liverpool and, according to The Sun, are prepared to pay the 25-year-old full-back £30m over five years. But France international Clichy would prefer a move to Anfield. Kenny Daglish, the liverpool manager seems to be desperate to bring Clichy to Anfield.

The never dying Fabregas story 
Every year, its the same story in the transfer market. Barcelona who never shy to make attempts to lure Cesc Fabregas to Spain, are not ashamed this season either. But this season, they have been a little subdued in their attempts to sign fabregas. Some reports suggest Barcelona are ready to give an exchange offer with Thiago plus surplus cash for securing Fabregas transfer. But as always the mystery remains.
After the whole Nasri saga, it seems like Arsenal board have reached a consensus with Samir Nasri, on his contract agreement and wages.
The midfielders who were linked to join Arsenal were the veteran Scott Parker from West Ham, Joey Barton from Newcastle (don't know why?), Adel Taarabt from QPR, again these are just rumors.

 The Strike Force
One Striker who has been consistently linked with Arsenal is Lille striker Gervinho. The Ivory Coast forward seems to have agreed personal terms this week and is ready to sign permanently for Arsenal on a four-year contract. The Times had reported Lille want £14m for the player, and Arsenal have agreed to pay £10.6m. Hopefully they can reach a consensus by the end of this week.
Another young English striker Peter Odemwingie has also been linked to Arsenal, after his father reported in the media that hes interested in joining the club. But contradictory reports have arose from the Birmingham Mail. West Brom technical director Dan Ashworth said
“Our aim is to retain our core players and try to strengthen our squad around them. I want to make it clear that Peter Odemwingie is not for sale and remains a key member of our squad.”
Eden hazard is another player linked to Arsenal. While Niklas Bendtner almost seems certain to leave arsenal. 

The Success tales
Among all the rumors, 19 year old defender Carl Jenkinson signed with Arsenal in an undisclosed fee from Charlton Athletic. Though his signing din't make us Arsenal fans scream with joy, but something is better than nothing. 

With the coming 2 weeks, there will be more clarity about who gets to wear the Arsenal shirt. Come on Wenger, get those transfers done.