Thursday, 27 September 2012

COCsure Arsenal swagger into next round.

That whole "bigging-up" Thomas Eisfeld yesterday was a triumph as he made his......oh.

I can't give you a detailed description of the match because unless you were there (I wasn't) it wasn't televised. Six goals against any professional team is a good thing though and the game served a few purposes as well.

Olivier Giroud broke his duck and then got flustered by the sight of people in their underpants and missed a penalty, Frimpong made his long-awaited come back from injury, Gnabry, Martinez and Angha made debuts....and we even saw Chamakh for 18 minutes.

Biggest plus though was seeing how Theo Walcott finished and his general "I've got something to prove" demeanour, that can only be a good thing and although I question his financial ask, I have always thought it would be foolish to part, especially to a direct competitor.

Reading away in the next round, excited to see this bunch play again...

All thoughts turn to Chelsea now so we'll build that game up as from tomorrow...unless something as pesky as financial results are released in the meantime.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


It's that time of year folks when the legendary Arsenal league cup team take the floor although this year may be slightly different as we have *gasp* squad depth this season, squad depth so depthy that our record signing is poised to Start (Arshavin).

The impressive start to the season has us all in a good mood so all tickets have been sold to this one, which is another slap in the face of the journos who want to make an issue of us "only getting 45k" vs Shrewsbury.

I'm excited to see who is selected from the ressies and U-21s, talent like Hector Bellerin, Martin Angha, Kris Olsson and the two who are expected to make waves around the first team before too long.....Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eisfeld.

If you remember, Eisfeld had the unfortunate luck to be signed in the January transfer window last season, a transfer window where 99.9% of Arsenal fans were desperate to see the squad padded out as we chased down 4th place so when the deal was announced, the poor kid ended up trending on Twitter.

Eisfeld caught my eye in the pre-season, we've heard before that he's a talented kid with a slight injury proneness but the Asia tour showed many people that he possesses a Ljungberg like quality of arriving in the right place at the right time.

My team tonight





Sunday, 23 September 2012

Per for the Course

Morning folks, one of the main points of feedback I recieve about the blog is that people like the short, snappy tone to it, those people are in for a treat today, I've been suffering from man-flu and currently have no voice and a nose full of snot so not in the best frame of mind for an Opus on yesterday.

Speaking of man-flu, word reached me yesterday morning that Vermaelen had been ruled out with flu/virus. This meant a recall for Laurent Kosciekny but the general worry was how was Per Mertesacker dealt with the speed of Aguerö and Silva.

The MOM display from Per said it all, it may of been his defensive partner who crashed Arsenal level late on, but it was Mertesacker who brought the level of calm and great positional play to the team which meant we gained a valuable point, and another one to add to the "would of lost last year" column

We deserved at least a point, there were some scary moments where we could of thrown it all away but final word goes on Gervinho and I'd much rather see a player show out for everything and get it wrong rather than go missing.

Until Tomorrow

Mannone - 6.5 - Good saves but culpable on goal.

Jenkinson - 8.5 - G-Nev said it best, will run through a wall for you and probably cross it at the end

Mertesacker - 9 - Assured, calm, clever display that Kompany would be pleased with

Koscielny - 8.5 - A goal but also kept Aguerö quiet

Gibbs - 8 - Now becoming a normal performance for Gibbs, solid at the back, dangerous going forward

Arteta - 7.5 - Captain Miki dependable as ever

Diaby - 7 - Few brainfreezes as we expect but lots of running

Cazorla - 7.5 - dictated the game 1st 45, quieter 2nd half

Ramsey - 8 - A surprise selection but one justified. Looked sharp

Podolski - 6.5 - some lovely touches 1st half but didn't jump for Lescott's goal and faded second half

Gervinho - 6 - A game to forget but never went missing

Thursday, 20 September 2012

As Per Usual

Happy Friday.

One of the tricky fixtures of the season wait us as we travel to the home of the Champions.

On the surface you'd would have to say that City are favourites, they have the strength in depth that teams can only dream of. Samir Nasri will miss the game after injuring his hamstring midweek but still will have most options available.

One of the things that I don't think teams like City & Arsenal don't get credit for is the ability to play abroad midweek but still be competitive the same weekend, we've seen teams in the Europa League suffer as a consequence.

Team selection and I can't make a case for the re-introduction of Laurent Koscielny. Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen have been 99% brilliant this season (I have deducted 1% for Per falling over and the pen against Montpellier). Abou Diaby should retain his place if fit.

The only question is Olivier Giroud, personally I stick with him as a focal point for others to play off, City will not defend as loosely as Southampton and have more mobility on the flanks so Gervinho and Podolski are better off feeding from Giroud.

Prediction: don't normally do them but I feel confident we'll get something.
Damn you Arsenal for this, look at what you've done.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


So....Yeah.....How are you? Weather's turned a bit cold hasn't it?......

Bit dull today Arse fans, calm before the weekend storm and I'm going into the game against Manchester City thinking we can win and full of confidence, full of confidence in Vito Mannone, is this the same as when we hailed Johan Djourou as the saviour of everything? Or when Thomas Vermaelen suddenly became Paolo Maldini on his year off?

I have to admit, I never thought I'd see Vito again, the spells on loan at Hull led me to believe the permanent move and "we wish Vito the best of luck with his future endeavours" message from the website were imminent but no, Vito has stuck around and looks a totallly different goalkeeper, which is handy as the Vito of last season was useless.

What does this say of Woijech Szczesny? I think the kid has had his eyes opened this season, he became no 1 on the back of Fabianski being injured and with no real competition, also think that with the new super-amazing magical defence forcefield we have, Woj isn't as busy as he once was, and when he isn't busy, he tends to not concentrate, either that or he tries really hard to get noticed when he's needed and makes a hash of it.

So there you go, more confident with Vito Mannone in goal to face the Champions, may I ask directions to the nearest padded cell?

Until Tomorrow where I confess I'd rather have Kaba Diawara then Thierry Henry*

* That's a joke.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Would You Lukas That?

I like winning. A lot. 3 in a row now for Arsenal as we claim all 3 points at French Champions Montpellier.

Some facets of Arsenal's performance did leave me feeling uncomfortable though, watching a goalkeeper command his area and look unbothered by crosses, seeing 2 (TWO) sitting midfielders break up play and knowing where to stand and what to do (and not having silly hair) and defending set pieces confidently both individually and as a unit.

It'll never catch on will it?

In all seriousness, any victory away in the Champions League should be gratefully recieved, we're not always going to see the champagne football from Saturday and also should remember Montpellier played Friday and had an extra day's rest. Podolski looks lethal, Gervinho has confidence and also busts a gut to get into the right position and the defence had an alright game. Lack of subs baffled me though.

Montpellier were excellent second half, they seemed to not know what to do having taken the lead so early and with it being their first ever CL game, they slightly panicked and let Arsenal back in it.

Anyway, can't complain and Stevie Bould has a 100% record as manager. I had even prepared for defeat tonight though, with all the 2004 facts going round about our start I heard this gem today.

Arsenal haven't lost on Matchday 1 since.........Inter Milan - In Invincibles season.

See you tomorrow. Up the Arse.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Herault We Are Again

The Champions League returns again tonight with a cliched "banana skin" tie away at Montpellier. Montpellier won the Ligue 1 title for the first time in their history last season, a wonderful story but they seem to be paying for it this term.

As far as being cherry-picked as most L1 side find, Montpellier have had it easy. Striker Olivier Giroud obviously joined Arsenal but he was the only big-name departure as both playmake Younes Belhanda and captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa have remained.

The defence of the title has started off badly, Montpellier were beaten very convincingly by newly-promoted Reims at the weekend 3-1.

Premier League fans will remember John Utaka from his Portsmouth days but he is suspended. Veteran Remi Pitau also misses out.

We should be looking to start this one off with a win no matter what team we play, confidence is low at the Mosson and although it'll be a proud night for the French Champions, Arsenal should have too much.


Happy Monday, made an all the more happy Monday by the performance on Saturday, sure people will say "It's only Southampton" and "They scored 2 own goals" and the equally hilarious "Arsenal got OG in the deal that took Robin Van Persie to Man Utd" and those people should never be allowed to use Twitter or the internet again.

I've gone off track, there were so many good things about the performance that didn't result in the goals though, the link up's between Santi/Podolski and Gibbs (!) who if fit for the majority of the season looks like forcing his way back in the England squad, defensively he's improved (But then they all have), then there was Arteta's expectant metronomic performance and Per looking angry when he missed a chance, it was a great day and a great win. We all know stronger challenges lie ahead but it's nice to dispatch a team handily after a run of games without a win at home.

Games and Montpellier, Man City & Chelsea will be a test to the team that face them and also the squad depth. My team vs Montpellier

Szczesny - Needs match practice, oh boy does he.

Yennaris - Jenko is 1st choice RB with Sagna out, Coquelin looked like he was blowing 2nd half

Koscielny - Needs minutes

Vermaelen - Warrior

Santos - Needs minutes

Ramsey - Looked really sharp vs Soton

Arteta - Metronome

Walcott - Minutes

Cazorla - Wizard

Oxlade-Chamberlain - Youthful enough to play a couple of games a week

Giroud - Who knows them better?

Finally today the marks for Southampton

Szczesny - 6 - Was going to be a 5 but made a couple of saves, looks poor in games where he doesn't have enough to do as he tries to over-compensate

Jenkinson - 7 - Steady as she goes - benefirtted from Southampton's desire not to play with full-backs

Mertesacker - 8 - Benefitted the most from Steve Bould's appointment - positional play has gotten better

Vermaelen - 7.5 - Quietest player on the pitch action wise, loudest on it. As it should be.

Gibbs - 9 - Telepathic link up with Santi/Lukas - responsible for the two own goals.

Arteta - 8.5 - Metronomic - The Cool Hand Luke of the midfield

Coquelin - 8- Really impressed but faded fitness wise as the game wore on

Oxlade-Chamberlain - 7.5 - Tried really hard to impress, sometimes too much

Cazorla - 8.5 - Standard Santi. A joy

Gervinho - 9 - Joint MOM this week, couldn't believe what I was seeing, fluid movement and finishing he must of borrowed off someone.

Podolski - 8.5 - Brilliant work-rate and ethic, gorgeous free-kick giving him more confidence and a celebration that has provided some epic gif's. What more could you need?

Until tomorrow.

Friday, 14 September 2012


International break is now finished so we can get on looking at the meat and drink of the league, Southampton are the visitors and won't be a pushover, they've shown a lot in their close defeats to both Manchester clubs but this is a game we should be looking to win.

I think the early tempo will dictate the game, if Arsenal get a flyer and can get a goal inside the first 20, we can go on to win 3-0 but the nagging doubts will start to leak in If we arrive at 60/70 and it's still 0-0
Diaby is only rated 50/50 and looking at games against Montpellier and Manchester City within the next 10 days, I'd rest him.
Good news though as Szczesny has fully recovered and Sagna/Wilshere/Frimpong and wedging closer to full training.

My Team

Goldi Poldi Hallelujah

Thursday, 13 September 2012

23 Years Too Late, More WengerTime and Arsenal :TNG lose on away mission

Yesterday was one of those days where you felt a wrong had started to be righted, where the arc of justice didn't start to bend towards truth & justice, but does now.

The real truth is now known, and some of it shocking, the most shocking point of it all is that it wouldn't be known without the dedication of the families who were affected to never give up and never accept the false, heinous smear that was placed on them and their family name and cities name by incompetent, reprehensible and repulsive people who thought it was better to try and sweep it all under the carpet. A big well done also to all football fans who signed the e-petition to get this ball rolling in Parliament. 99% of fans understood that it could of been our team, could of been us and I know I would want fans of other clubs to react the same way they did with their support.

As for The S**?, don't care what they have to say this morning, never have bought it and never will.

In Arsenal news, The Mirror report Arsenal will offer Arsene Wenger a new deal. Surprised as I've always clocked 2014 as the year Le Prof walks away.

Age and the symbolic gesture of handing over the keys to the Wengerdome nearly debt free and with brand new, shiny sponsorship deals and massive funds in the bank was a my thoughts so instead of the end of Wenger's legacy being trophyless, it would be seen as gatekeeperish.

Arsenal: The Next Generation lost the second group game 2-0 away at Olympiacos last night. Hear they were a bit unlucky but this exposure in this environment can only be a good thing.

See you Friday.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Today Is Not About Arsenal...

I first started going to live football 2 months before April 15th 1989, I can't even begin to imagine what that day would of been like for my dad had it happened to us and his 6 year old son had been involved.

I cannot imagine the pain and the suffering that the 96 families have been through both then and through every one of the 23 years they have been looking for answers.

Today should be the day the closure starts, whatever your feelings of Liverpool Football Club are, humans should be able to attend a football match and return home to families after.

96 people, 23 years, 0 answers. That changes today. And maybe we will finally get "The Truth".

Penny for your thoughts McKenzie?

Justice For The 96.

Emile Cescy? Harsh...

The International Football Dull-fest plunders into it's final stages and not a day too soon, all eyes are turning to Southampton and the chance to continue the good feeling around the club after the comprehensive win at Liverpool. Feel a bit sorry for Olivier Giroud who is having to explain himself after 3 games without a goal, personally think Giroud's movement and willingness to show for the ball gives Arsenal a little extra and when you consider how long it took Henry and Bergkamp to open their account (both against Southampton), there is no need to worry about Giroud.

Little birdie tells me that a well known football podcast this week has been discussing the problems that Cesc Fabregas seems to be suffering at Barcelona, left out the starting XI, poor in front of goal which has led the show to proclaim him "Emile Cescy" which is a little harsh. Fabregas seems to be always to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, broke into the Arsenal team in the last season they won a trophy, only to leave for Barcelona in their first year without a La Liga/Champions League trophy for a while, settling for a Copa Del Ray and the trinkets attached with winning the Champions League the previous year. Add onto that the fact that his boyhood hero who lured him to FCB left after one season and Cesc must be thinking he is some kind of football Jonah, but class will always out. Always.

The most used Klaxon in football, the "Abou Diaby Injury" Klaxon has been pressed again but it seems the "muscular pains" that kept Olivier Giroud out last week for France is going to keep Diaby out tonight, I understand It's not anything to be alarmed about but anything to do with Diaby and Strains is alarming, especially after his performance at Anfield.

Here's to the end of the International Break

Till tomorrow

Thursday, 6 September 2012

It's Oh So Quiet......Shhhhhhhh.


The international break always seems to come at the wrong time doesn't it? Just when you've got a monkey off your back and are looking to crack on with your season you are stopped by the purgatory that is international football and the fear of Abou Diaby coming back broken. But outisde those two feelings, nothing is happening, well not literally nothing but......

Bacary Sagna has given an interview with L'Equipe in which he reveals his surprise at Alex Song leaving this summer (Really Bac? Really?) and admits that losing Van Persie "Didn't surprise him" but finishes by saying that "both leaving is a huge loss for the club and you have to ask questions". "I Understand the fans are upset". Is this the Bacary Sagna who's contract expires in 2014? If I were Arsene or Ivan reading my copy of L'Equipe this morning I'd be looking up from it and muttering "Ruh-Roh!"

The fans (Or the ones I see, read etc) are slightly miffed Bacary, I'll give you that, we're not miffed by the fact that we sell players (Although selling Van Stapleton to Man Utd was a bonehead decision) it's the fact that we always feel we haven't replaced them properly. We replaced Nasri with Gervinho and Fabregas with Arteta last summer and then found out Arteta's best position was no-where near where Cesc used to play and it's taken until Santi Cazorla to get even near replacing him.

Thomas Vermaelen is praising the impact of Steve Bould and told SSN "We work a lot on our defensive play and you can see that with our three clean sheets."

Probably should of been doing that for a while longer Thomas but happy we're there in the end.

Lat bit of news is proof that an Arsenal player can put pen to paper with the news Olivier Giroud has extended his contract with Puma. 

These next few days are going to be barren.

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Para-Para-Paradise. DEAD-line Day and Anfield of Goals.

Hey everyone, Sorry for the lack of updates over the weekend but i've been on my travels to experience the wonder of the Paralympic Games in London. Can quite honestly say it's the best sporting event I've ever attended, from the gamesmakers to the action to the transport the whole thing has been organised to within an inch of it's life. Apart from that it's been a hectic few days in the week of Arsenal, Deadline Day left a few Arsenal fans in a state of panic and anger as no further signings were concluded to the excellent business we've done in signing Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla & Olivier Giroud. Although if anyone think Arsenal weren't trying to do anything on Friday, then they need to stop drinking the talkSport kool-aid. They were but sadly weren't able to get them over the line. I'm told a deal was nearly agreed to bring Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to the club but having to deal with Montpellier President Louis Nicollin in a short-time frame proved too much to deal with, the club can talk to the player in January about a pre-contract or even offer a bid in the region of 2-3m which MHSC will find hard to turn down if the player makes it clear he isn't going to re-sign. I was also told that a striker and midfielder were on the list as well, no names 100% corroborated but Yohan Cabaye seems to have been the midfielder and the striker position had 3/4 names on the short list with Loic Remy & Fernando Llorente at the top, the fact that the club were looking to move Marouane Chamakh on the last day meant they had irons in the fire but he looks likely to stay now. I had the "pleasure" of "watching" the game on Sunday sat outside the Copper Box and it was hell, all the "oooooh" and "F****** Hell* tweets with no description are an absolute nightmare but was delighted with the result and the new, improved Arsenal defence. I'll give it a few more games but the Bould/Banfield coaching upgrade seems to be working a treat and having watched the game later on, you can see they believe in the "A Defence is only as Strong as the weakest link" because the support the wingers were giving Jenkinson and the support Mannone was given by the centre-backs made a huge amount of difference. Arsenal seem to defend more as a team now and can count on one hand the amount of raids Vermaelen has made this season in the opposing half. Attacking wise it was all about Santi, the player with the brain of Cesc but the mobility of a David Silva, Podolski took his goal really well and provided great tracking back and defensive work and Giroud made a quality run which dragged Agger away just long enough for the Cazorla throughball for the first goal. The signs of cohesion are there. All in all, a great day's work