Monthly Archives: March 2010

Barcelona Preview

Today is  my birthday and I only have one small wish, an Arsenal victory…if it is too much, maybe a goalless draw. That is all I will want to wish because we are the underdogs tonight at the Emirates as we take on the might Catalans, who have form, flair and Messi in their ranks. We are a bit shaky after last weekend’s draw to Birmingham and the injury doubts of Fabregas and Gallas.

Having said that, midfield is what has functioned for Arsenal this season. Song, Diaby, Nasri and Arshavin all have contributed throughout the season. Bendtner might be able to keep the Barcelona defenders engaged, but I seriously hope our big match player, Arshavin steals a goal or Nasri dribbles past the defence and scores. I seriously think we would be able to match up with this Barcelona team in the midfield if we have Cesc playing today. But even without Fabregas I am quite confident about managing a 0-0 draw. It is the goalkeeping and the defence which is giving me the jitters.

I know that the whole world except the Gooners of the world, have predicted a 0-2 to Barcelona for this match. My head says, probably…but my heart says maybe not. A goalless draw is equally good for Arsenal as I think,we will score in Nou Camp next week. That is jumping too much into the future. Lets hope for the best of the team and support them from wherever we are watching this match.

The whole world wants to see how Messi will play against a team which plays similar to their style. If he will rip apart our full backs and centre backs. I do not believe too much in old players coming and haunting their past teams, so no comments on the Henry return to the Grove or Fabregas return to Nou Campp next week.

So all I can say is …go get them Gunners!

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Birmingham next and the forgotten story series in Guardian

This is what happened, when we visisted Birmingham City last time. We lost a match, Gallas lost it otherwise. And at the end of that season he also lost his captaincy. From a point where we could have gone 8 points clear of Manchester United, we won only 2 matches from the next 10. So that is how we stumbled from a league winning position.

This year we are again with a chance to put fight and keep the pressure on the Utds and Chelseas. Chelsea already have Carvalho out injured which means Alex will partner Terry. Central defence seems to be a problem with Arsenal too as Vermaelen is suspended for one match and Gallas is injured. So Campbell will partner Alexander Song in the centre as Wenger would not want to take any chances with the league run in.

I hope Arsenal continue the winning run, despite Bendtner’s absence.

Came across this very very interesting series in the Guardian. It is called“The Forgotten Story of…” It covers all sports but some of the footballing ones are marvellous reads. eg. The one called Danish Dynamite, about the Denmark side in the 1980’s, Real’s 107 goal season etc etc

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Robson’s(of BBC fame) prediction for the title

Well well here it is and guess who wins in the end 🙂

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Missing in action, the Premier League run-in and thoughts on the CL QF

Hope all you readers are doing good, enjoying the Gunners giving the Utd’s and Chlesea’s of the world a good run for their money in the English Premier League. I had been away for a long time. Got married, twice…to the same woman of course 🙂 and then went on a honeymoon to Egypt got back and joined work last week. So it has been one long break but I have been following the football, missed a few matches, caught a couple of them outside India. It is really nice when you are watching Arsenal belt Porto with Gooners from Egypt and UK sitting in a cruise, on the Nile!!! 

So Arsenal has been playing very well in the league, coming up with some nervy stuff against Hull City and then beating West Ham with 10 men. Song and Fabregas were absent for some matches but the team coped well, Bendtner and Arshavin missed some sitters in couple of the matches I remember and then Vermaelen gets sent off wrongly in the last match. Gallas is missing in action and Sol is making up for him splendidly (though I thought he could have been sent off for a two-foot lunge against some West Ham player). Eboue has replaced Walcott in a few matches and has contributed to a couple of goals and has been silently improving his match ratings. Another player who has made significant contribution is Denilson. It was his long range shot which hassled the Hull goalie and Bendtner was able to score of the rebound and it was him again who scored first against West Ham of the only chance he got. 

Upfront, I like the effort put in by Nasri and Bendtner. Arshavin has had couple of very good games and couple of games in which he appears very very lazy and wants to be substituted. Rosicky looked good in the few games that I saw him play. So all in all there is a good chance that Arsenal can go neck and neck with Manchester United to win the league from here. Rooney’s awesome form means United will always have a chance, whatever shit they are going to be in. 

This is how the Premier League run-in looks like. 

 

 Manchester Utd – 69 pts 

Bolton A – 3, Chelsea H – 3, Blackburn A – 3, Man City A – 1, Tottenham H – 1, Sunderland A – 3, Stoke H – 3 

Total – 69+17= 86 

 

 Arsenal – 67 pts  

 

 Birmingham A – 3, Wolves H – 3, Tottenham A – 3, Wigan A – 1, Man City H – 3, Blackburn A – 3, Fulham H – 3  

Total – 67+ 19 = 86 

Chelsea – 65 pts 

Portsmouth A – 3,Aston Villa H – 1,Man Utd A – 0,Bolton H – 3,Tottenham A – 3,Stoke H – 3,Liverpool A -1,Wigan H – 3  

Total – 65+17=82 

So looks like United are in with a chance,given that they have a better goal difference than Arsenal. More deatils on the run-in in MTJAG

Champions League QFs have thrown us the biggest challenge ever – Barcelona. I would have fancied our chances against any other team, but against Barca I think, if we win it would be an upset. Messi is in the form of his life, scoring two hat-tricks in La Liga and another two in the CL match recently. Barca look like a team which can go on and win in Europe. With our injuries I do not think it is wise to expect Arsenal to win against Barcelona over two legs. But if they do that then this team would have justified Wenger’s confidence in them. 

The other matches in the CL do not look very promising. United against Bayern will not set the field on fire but should be an easy path for United to reach the finals. That is if they beat the German side and then take on one of the French sides.

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