Monthly Archives: November 2008

Cesc the Captain

 “Fabregas will captain the team. It is a permanent thing.”

 Wenger has appointed Cesc Fabregas, the 21 year old Spanish Midfielder as the next captain of the club. He will take over the armband from William Gallas from the next match which happens to be the Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev in midweek. Cesc who is ten years younger than Gallas will definetely be more sensible in front of the media as the face of the club. At 21, Fabregas is one of the youngest captains in the Club’s long history

“It is a great honour for me to captain one of the biggest clubs in the world,” said Fabregas. “It is a proud moment. I know it’s a big responsibility but together with my team-mates, I know we have the spirit and commitment to get back to winning ways and fulfil our potential.”

Many people would say that this decision should have been made an year back and there is also a section which believes that this decision should have been made one year hence as it adds more pressure on the youngster. But with all the rumours going on about him leaving Arsenal in the summer to Barcelona, this could be a very tactical, sentimental move form Wenger to make sure that he doesn’t. But I believe that if Cesc should decide to stay then he needs to see some decent buys from Wenger in the January window. Else he could still leave.

Now that the Captaincy is resolved, the team should get back to the winning ways in the midweek as well as in the weekend against Chelsea. Here is wishing our new captain all the very best!!!

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Filed under Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Cesc, Fabregas

It is the rich Man City vs the poor-strength Arsenal

It has been quite disturbing to watch Arsenal in the Premier league…one week they go and beat the title-holders in style and the next week they show new levels of incompetency and get beaten at home 0-2 by the Aston Villa. I am not saying that Villa did not play well, they did and that’s why they won. But Arsenal’s inconsistency has been quite unnerving to a lot of us, fans who have been behind the team in ups and downs. The only problem is that for quite a few years now its been only downs and not many ups.

It is true that a bunch of youngsters are coming up in the League cup and they hold a lot of promise for the future, but what about for the now and present. There is a great article by “A Cultured Left Foot” which I believe is one of the best I have read in recent times. Wenger has himself to balme for this season because he trusted this set of players to do well and they didn’t. So his judgement has been wrong about players like Song, Diaby, Denilson, Gallas and to some extent even Walcott. He took a huge risk by signing Bischoff, when he could have signed a played who would have been available to play now. Why is Wenger betting on these kind of things when everyone knows that he had close to 20 million pounds to buy some healthy, world-class player?

Anyways let bygones be bygones and lets hope this weekend against Man City they put up a display which will please all their fans and the coach. The team doesnt have Fabregas (suspended),Walcott (injured), Eboue (injured), Sagna (injured) and Toure (injured). So this means that our right side looks very depleted.

The only positive is that Van Persie is back and he has been on a goal scoring nick in the International friendly midweek.

Lets hope for the best and see if we can get the 3 points against the blue half of Manchester. I seriously believe that we are not fighting for the title anymore as 9 points is a lead which if we have to overcome needs Chelsea and Liverpool to do an “Arsenal of last season”. Lets wait and watch…

And somebody please ask William Gallas to shut up. I think he has gone too far this season and would be better off playing on the field rather than in front of the media. This is probably the last season for him in Emirates.

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Filed under A Cultured Left Foot, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, EPL, Gallas, Man City, Van Persie

The season starts now…

Arsenal breathed new life into their season with a thrilling 2-1 win against their traditional rivals, Manchester United. Double strike from Nasri in either half set up the victory, though Arsenal had some nervous 6 minutes of added time to play with. But this victory will give the team the confidence to carry on in this season.

Hull, Stoke and Fulham were the shocks for the season and Saturday’s victory the morale-boosting win that should take this team through this season. The team played with pace and conviction, taking on the bigger stars of United in their stride. Rooney, Ronaldo, Berbatov and later Tevez were all made ineffective by this young Arsenal team. Almunia made some decent saves and the United finishing were not upto the mark to add to the visitors misery in the first half. But Bendtner also missed couple of chancecs to put the team ahead.

It took the new man, Nasri to provide the breakthrough in the first half, a deflected shot which went in but full marks to Nasri and Arsenal. It seems Nasri described the match as  “the greatest of my career so far” and one played in front of his father, who usually does not watch his son perform. His second goal was set up by Fabregas and Nasri’s clinical finishing is far too good than Hleb. Clichy had Ronaldo’s number and nullified most of the moves made by the Portuguese. Rooney, I thought might end up getting sent off as he had a frustrating match.

Arsenal played 5 in the midfield and for once Diaby and Denilson played together well. Diaby was in a advanced role when Arsenal were attacking and was back defending when Arsenal lost possession. Probably for the first time, the back four were entirely French – Sagna, Silvestre, Gallas and Clichy. And to top it there were 2 more French players in Diaby and Nasri. Bendtner was the lone forward and Walcott made it up on the right of midfield.

So hope to see the team maintai the tempo and do well for the rest of the season.

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Filed under Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, EPL, Fabregas

Arsenal vs Manchester United preview

As Manchester United visit Emirates Stadium, the team sheets and confidence levels of both teams can never be so contrasting. Manchester United have more or less a full strength squad to choose from and coming on the back of a victory over Hull City in the premier league (nevertheless a fighting comeback from the opposition) and a draw against Celtics away from home in the Champions League, they will be primed to give the Gunners one more blow to their Premier league hopes. Arsenal on the other hand face a host of injury problems and the draw against Fenerbache will not be encouraging coming on the back of a Stoke City defeat.

On the injury front, all parts of the field except the central midfield looks rosy for Arsenal. Starting from the back, Sagna’s injury means that Toure would play on that role on Saturday. Gallas and Silvestre are both injured and Wenger will take a call on matchday to keep one of them and maybe start with Djourou, who is a good bet to start. I hope he does that because Djorou would be capable of handling the aerial balls better than any of the other central defenders that we have. Clichy is fit and hence that position will be secure.

Coming to the midfield, injuries to both Walcott and Eboue means he will have to again look at Denilson/Diaby/Ramsey in that order to start on the right of midfield. I would prefer him to start with Ramsey but it might be too much for the youngster to start on a unfamiliar role in a high tempo match like this. Central midfield has been the debating point for the last few weeks now. I would like to see how Fabregas and Ramsey can play together in that role and if we can mould Ramsey into a defensive midfield role. Alex Song will also be in the picture when it comes to this match. Nasri retains his position on the left side of midfield, though he was very patchy in the last couple of matches.

Forwards are short in the current team and the only available two forwards are Bendtner and Vela and it looks like we will start with both or if Wenger goes for a 5 midfield we might start only with Bendtner. I would like to see Wilshere also coming through in this position, but maybe in the next match as Van Persie will and Adebayor might miss 2 more matches. But this is one of those moments in a footballer’s career where destiny is giving them a chance to prove a point to the coach and supporters and if Bendtner can make use of this opportunity he will endear himself to the entire Gooner community.

The team is definetely going through a bad patch and this is when they require us to support them and encourage them, whatever be the result. Lets hope Wenger does some magic with this set of players and we do not go down that soon this season.

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Filed under Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Bendtner, EPL, Manchester United

What next for Arsenal?

So in 11 matches this season Arsenal has equalled the no. of loses in the whole of last season…three…against Fulham, Hull City and now Stoke City…three teams who we would have thought are sure shot 3 points…and we haven’t even played the other 3 big ones, not to mention the likes of Man City and Aston Villa. It looks very challenging at this stage with the team we have now.

Wenger got the team sheet wrong and had to make all three substitutions in desperation and paid the price by

a) losing the match

b) Seeing off Walcott carried off on a stretcher and

c) seeing Van Persie sent off

I am not saying that Wenger is responsible for all the three, but the buck stops with him. Maybe we fans are not as confident as him on some of the players like Song, Denilson, Diaby, Silvestre and last but not the least William Gallas. We never got a replacement for Flamini and that basically has been our problem, contributed partly by Fabregas’ form this season. He is playing one level below his last-season-form, which was allowed by Flamini’s biting form last season. Denilson, Song, Diaby etc have not been able to fill that void. Is Ramsey the solution??? Maybe. And where is Rosicky???

Every weekend is now a worry as we don’t know which Arsenal team wil come out on the field. The all-attacking, tight at the back and biting in the middle Arsenal or the getting into a shell, play around the box ithout a final shot at goal and conceding one at the other end Arsenal.

But this is the time to be behind the team and I am completely behind them and hope we surprise United next Saturday.

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Filed under Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, EPL, Fabregas, Flamini, Stoke City