Monthly Archives: November 2007

The Test at Villa Park

Aston Villa are going through some really good form lately. Beating Balckburn 4-0 away was a stunning result if you ask me. And there are couple of players I like in this Aston Villa side, namely Agbonlahor & Young. These are young players who have taken up a huge responsibility in this Villa side. The goal against Chelsea where the two combined comes to mind. They are very good footballers, no doubt about that and with Gareth Barry in some nice touch, this will be good team to beat.

Arsenal come back from their first defeat in 28 games and this is a test where they will stretched to see how they can come back from defeat. More important is the fact that Fabregas is still injured and will not feature in this match. If there is a flaw in this team it is that we do not have a player to replace Fabregas yet. Denilson is not yet there. That was all the bad news. The good news is that Hleb, Adebayor, Gallas, Flamini Clichy are all back and this side should be a really tough team to beat.

I would like to see Rosicky starting in the middle, but I am sure that is not going to happen and maybe Flamini would fit in that role. The possible starting line up would be

Almunia

Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy

Eboue Flamini Gilberto Rosicky

Hleb/Bendtner Adebayor

I would like to see  Bendtner get a nod in along with Adebayor. And maybe Hleb can come in at a later stage. That would be some way to see how Bendtner combines with Adebayor.

In other news Telegraph reports that Wenger might be looking for defensive cover in the January transfer window. That is quite probable. Senderos, Djourou & Song are capable but Wenger might just go for someone with all the matches happening in those 5-6 weeks.

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Filed under Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Aston Villa

What do we learn from the first defeat?

  • We have to look for a Centre-back in the January transfer window. Senderos is not the old Senderos of 2005-06. He is committing more errors and his judgement is under question. He is not a replacement for Toure during the ANC in January 08.
  • To me, Bendtner & to some extent Eboue were the only players who looked comfortable against the rejuvenated Sevilla side. Against a team which plays similar football, 4-4-2 is the way to go especially if you are playing a under-strength team. Hleb is the key in the 4-4-1-1 and we do not have a replacement for him yet.
  • We should not argue that this was an under-strength team. A defeat is a defeat and we should try to look for solutions. We had Rosicky, Sagna and Walcott towards the end and there was not much contribution from them.
  • What was Gilberto and Senderos doing committing so many mistakes. If this is their level of application then we seriously will have problems if there are going to be injuries to key players at a later stage.
  • I have not seen so many mis-passes and giving away possession to easily to the opposition. The Sevilla players were easily winning the loose balls and able to put together a string of quick passes.
  • Eduardo looked good at times, especially in scoring the goal keeping Alves at bay. Alves was getting frustrated but Traore was missing on that flank to help him out. But Alves and Navas combined beautifully on the right flank.
  • Justin Hoyte was looking like a fish out of water. He was not sure of what he was doing most of the times and he should have combined with Eboue more often. Eboue was causing some dis-comfort to their left back and central defenders and this should have been exploited more.
  • I still think Denilson needs to do much more to be replacing Fabregas at a later stage. He is very defensive minded. He still needs some more breeding time in the carling cup.
  • Fabregas had a rare off day. He was not even getting the ball and was substituted on a reportedhamstring problem. I can only hope that this is a minor thing and he is fit for the next match.
  • Eboue might have been denied a penalty but Sevilla could have scored atleast a couple more. Kanoute was not wearing his shooting boots.
  • Arsenal lost a game. So what I am sure this team can bounce back from this disappointment. After all this was an inconsequential match.

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Filed under Arsenal, Champions League, Sevilla

Captain Courageous & Rosicky delight

If you asked me to pick two key performers from last nite’s game against Wigan, I would say Rosicky for his consistent play forward and then topping that with a goal and Captain Gallas for his determination to surge ahead and break the Wigan defence.

Wigan defence did frustrate the Arsenal players but in Denilson and Diarra I do not see a combination that can go forward with the vision and guile of Fabregas and Flamini. Denilson was seen getting the ball from the defenders and playing behind Diarra too many times. Clichy and Sagna went ahead more than their usual self.

Theo Walcott for all the pace and turns needs to still get his finishing and negotiating the traffic of defenders worked out. He seems to be losing the ball more often than not. But I have to admit that every time he gets the ball it seems that something is gonna happen and once Wenger irons out the small glitches in this talented youngster he will be something to deal with. Hleb was missed. He would have helped in breaking down this defence sooner than later.

Rosicky had a wonderful game and his through ball to Walcott in the first half was a standout point. He along with Adebayor, Fabregas, Hleb, Clichy & Sagna are our main counter-attack specialists. You can actually add Bendtner to that list as he is always poaching and I like the way he gets around the defenders in an authoritative manner. His use of his upper body strength is quite good. So coming back to Rosicky, the Czech did impress in a more central role and this should be a good combo when we want to take off Flamini and go for an all out attack. The second goal which was due once the Wigan defence was breached was a nice shot from Rosicky from a pass from Bendtner.

gallas-wigan.jpg

The more Wigan defended the more frustrating it was for the players and for the fans. Gallas got involved with Heskey in a significant moment of the game which charged him up. And this led to the Captain going forward and finishing off a move which he started. Sagna’s cross was just perfect and Gallas engineered the header past the hapless goalie. And he is showing the right attitude in going for the kill against teams like Wigan.

With Man Utd losing, there is a clear advantage and these kind of chances should be grabbed with both hands. From now onwards Arsenal should try to maintain this 3 points lead. It might come in handy as the league progresses.

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Filed under Arsenal, EPL, Wigan

50 Soul-stirring Arsenal moments

Brian Glanville pays tribute to Arsenal in Times with his“The soul of Arsenal in 50 moments” …very classy

And then the mother of all climaxes where Arsenal beat Liverpool in ’89 on the last day to win the league.

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Filed under Arsenal, Brian Glanville, The Times

Arsenal do a Royal job

After the boring match seen at Prague, Arsenal played their original classy passing football putting to rest the unwanted questions of “Can they play last in the league and claim back the lead from Man Utd?” Well the answer was there for everyone to see. 1-3 the final score. Great display, some good goals and praise galore.

When you wake up at 4AM and plan to see a match, it better be good:) And the Gunners did justice to everyone who saw the match that nite. What a display of attacking football. Reading put a very defensive wall of players with a lone player upfront. It paid dividends for close to half time. Flamini scored his first goal of the season and Adebayor ended his drought and Hleb scored his deserved goal for all the admirable play he has been serving match after match.

You might think Hleb would go for the easy shot at goal in the first goal build up, but he picked the difficult pass to Flamini who saw off the defender and slotted it in. And this Arsenal team is a completely different team once they go on the lead. They are more relaxed and build up play quite nicely. I thought Rosicky had a very good game. His twists and turns put off a lot of defenders and it is quite difficult to guess which direction he is going to move and which direction he is going to pass.

The second goal was a classy Arsenal goal. Some neat build up and then a prcise slot in the
far post for Adebayor. And when Ade scored Arsenal wins or rather will not lose 🙂 The third from Hleb was something totally great. The way he moved the ball past Hahnemann was superb. the back flick, moving the other feet out of the way, it was a classy move which left the goalie in no-man land and then it was a matter of slotting it in, which he did. Overall a classy match. Adbayor was wrongly denied a goal for offside else it might have been last year’s score at the Majedski stadium.

And the Ade goal was the 1000th goal by Arsenal in the Premiership. Only Man Utd has scored more in the  Premiership.

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Filed under Adebayor, Arsenal, EPL, Reading

Bayern Lose for the first time

The draw with Bolton Wanderers in the UEFA Cup might have taken its toll when Bayern took on VfB Stuttgart away in the Bundesliga. The result was Bayern’s first loss in the league. Many would have wondered if this Bayern team can ever lose…well they got their answer.

I still love the way this team plays, very attack minded, mastered by the one and only Ribery. Hamit Altintop played in the right back position against Bolton (I never knew he can play that position) due to injury to key players I presume. Bayern dominated that match and I think the decision to substitute Ribery, Schweinsteiger and Podolski (I think) in that match. They combined very well to score the first goal and looked good for many more.

Against Stuttgart, they were faced with an opposition who was not scared to attack. And it did not help to play the final 20 odd minutes with 10 men after Lucio got sent off. Despite that they scored one. Wonder if he had stayed on if Bayern would have  equalised. I would have put my money on that one.

When sports writers and fans discuss who is the best player in Europe, the regular names floating around are Messi, Ronaldinho, Fabregas, Ronlado, Kaka etc. I think Ribery would be right there for his sheer playmaking. He is in some tremendous form and I think he will be one of the rising stars this season in Europe.

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Filed under Bayern Munich, Bolton Wanderers, Bundesliga, UEFA Cup, VfB Stuttgart

Boring Arsenal and Giberto rumours

Gooners like me are spoilt by the great display of passing football that Arsenal play everytime they set foot on the ground, be it the first XI or the last XI. So when they play a drab 0-0 ( mind that this is the first time this season Arsenal has failed to score) in Praha against Slavia Prague, fans like me will accuse and crib.

You can say that the complaints should be coming only from the visiting supporters who braved rain and travelled across Europe and paid for this match. But what about we fans who woke up at 6AM/5AM in this region to see the match. Fortunately, it was Diwali holiday the next day, so I saw the exciting Man Utd and Barca match and read the score and realised that Arsenal played a poor match. Saw some 15-20 mins and slept off.

Slavia could have won it had it not been for some good saves from Almunia. And it was disappointing to see that Arsenal did not even have a decent effort at goal.

In other news Daily Mail says that Juventus is ready with a bid for Gilberto in January.

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Filed under Arsenal, Gilberto, Slavia Prague