Well its been a month since I posted on this blog and a lot has happened in the last 30 days in the football world. Not just in England but in Europe as well as in India!!!
Lets talk about about Arsenal first. We got beaten in the CL match against Bayern. It was expected and 3-1 sounds quite harsh. I was on my annual anniversary holiday and so missed this match. But thank god I missed it 🙂 Would not have wanted to see us beaten that badly. And if we thought Europe was bad, we lost to our London rivals Spurs. I thought we might at worst come up with a draw int hat match, but the high line that we left back at the defence proved costly against two of the fastest players in the Premier League – Bale and Lennon. we gotta see if we can make up for the lost points in the next 10 matches and finish on top of the Spurs like we do every season. All I can say is it needs something short of a miracle for that to happen.
In the other Champions league matches, Real overcame a resolute United though under some dubious refereeing decision. But the fact that in that current situation, Mourinho made a tactical substitution and Fergie did not proved costly. United looked like the better team but in the end, it was the Spanish team that reigned supreme. And Real have been having a great 8 days in which they beat Barcelona twice and drew and beat Manchester United. Mourinho will be happy to lift the Champions League once again. So if he does that will be Real’s Decima, yes the 10th one.
Its not nice to talk about your rivals when they are in a crisis. But it looks like Rooney and United are not in the best of relationships. Its strange when you see Rooney not being part of a United game-plan. Ferguson has used the hard working Wellbeck in some of the most critical matches this season along with Van Persie. So it would be interesting to see what happens to Rooney’s future come summer.
In the 67th edition of the Santosh Trophy which returned to the Kerala shores I think after a long time was a heart break for the locals. The team reached the finals after a long long time. I don’t remember any instance in the recent past. We were in the semis last year but that was it. Doordarshan’s programme display screwed up and I got to see the extra time of the match. And honestly I thought we played well during those 30 minutes and had majority of the possession during that period and hence the better chances. We did an Arsenal by not converting those chances and then paid in the end in the sudden death. But I saw3 some promising talents in the team and hope it augurs well for the team and some of them feature in the Indian team
Some of the premier league stats and where we stand against the best in the league… The story so far in 2012-2013
Top scorer of the league – boo hoo Robin Van Persie – 18 goals followed closely by Suarez at 17.
Arsenal’s top scorer – Theo Walcott – 11 goals and 5th in the standings, followed by Olivier Giroud who is 18th on the stnading with 9 goals. Cazorla and Podolski are not far behind on 21st and 22nd place with 8 goals. Not bad
Top assists in the league – Podolski, Gerrard and Mata are tied at the top with 9 assists each. So Mata and Podolski are proving to be very valuable players for their respective teams. Walcott is 6th in the assists list with 7
In terms of player discipline none of the Gunners feature in the notorious 26 players who have received maximum yellow or red cards. There are 2 United players (Rooney and Scholes), one Liverpool (Suarez) and two Chelsea players (Ramires and David Luiz)
Fair Play toppers of the league – Southampton has received the least number of cards (25Y) so far followed by Arsenal (23Y 2 R).
I think so…but we needed him badly!
Ignacio “Nacho” Monreal
Monreal has represented his country Spain at youth level, Under-21s and has made nine appearances for the national team since making his debut against Macedonia in 2009.
He started his career at Osasuna before moving to Málaga in June 2011.
Welcome to the club!
Kieran Gibbs has been ruled out of action for atleast three weeks due to an injury he suffered in the match against Liverpool last night. His thigh injury can make him miss premier league matches against Stoke and Sunderland as well as the all-important Champions League match against Bayern Munich.
An injured Gibbs struggles to walk out of the pitch
His replacement in the Liverpool match is the most inconsistent left-back Wenger has ever signed, Andre Santos. Quite often we see him advance into forward positions when he would be better off staying back and shoring up the defence. He doesnt just drift into wide left areas but he drifts into centre forward areas as if he is our striker. And I remember him attempting couple of long rangers which went high into the stands when a ground pass to a fellow midfielder would have been the better option.
So if we expose our defence to Andre Santos, it would be like committing suicide. I know that the Brazilian is a much better player than what he has been displaying this season. But I don’t think at this level you have any time for trial and error. Wenger in his post match interview did hint that he will go for a replacement for the injured Gibbs.
We do have couple of easy matches in the premier league and we should ensure we get the 6 points in these two matches. Else we can really fall behind in the race to the fourth spot.
What we want is a decent 90 minutes performance. There is no point in playing a damn good second half when you can’t play a half decent first half. The opposition will drive home the advantage in that first 45 minutes to such an extent that, no matter how well you perform later, the result will not fetch you any point.
For the second premier league game of the season, Arsenal had a horrible first half and then a much better second half. The first half at Stamford Bridge was probably too good to be true for Rafa Benitez who was having a torrid time of his own at home. He could not have believed his eyes of the very poor organisation and structure that Arsenal played. The three classy players of Chelsea – Mata, Oscar and Hazard ripped Arsenal apart and made the Gunners look like a championship side. It was pathetic from all the XI players who wore red and white.
The first chance of the game fell to Giroud. And it is a different matter to think what would have happened if that had gone in. Butit was not to be and Chelsea punished us for that. Sometimes I feel Giroud is very clumsy with his finishes. He needs atleast 10 shots to score a goal on an average. And these missed chances pile up to such an effect that he will score 2 in the space of 5 minutes against Newcastle. I think we need a striker who is more consistent with his finish. And Giroud or for that matter Walcott is not the answer. I wonder if Podolski needs to be tried at that position if Wenger doesn’t buy anyone this Jan.
We could all see the frustration among the players. Just before we conceded the second goal, Diaby was looking pissed and was seen pointing at Walcott for moving to the flank where he could make a pass instead of moving to the centre. Just after that, he lost possession to Ramires and the rest is history. 2-0. Wilshere was seen asking everyone to press further at the Chelsea players. I wonder if anyone was paying heed because there was no pressing and pressure in the first half. It was probably the worst performance that Arsenal played in this season of the league. Completely outplayed by the blues.
The second half started very well and it seems the team talk at the break worked. Like I was discussing with a friend of mine, if we had applied more pressure in the first 15-20 minutes of that second half, we would have scored 2 goals and taken the match to a different outcome. But that didn’t happen and we lost. It was a good opportunity to beat Chelsea I thought and we lost it.
Diaby looked a bit slow and his chasing back was lacking that speed which is required. Wilshere really needs to have a good season before we claim that he is world-class. I know that he is a very good player, but he needs to do that Swansea performance every match. Walcott scored, but otherwise he was not all that productive. But I think we need a striker most important. Last word on Arshavin, I feel really sad for one of the most talented players in world football getting wasted like this. He could have been a superstar but I think he chose not to.
A certain Robin destroyed Chelsea at bridge
25 year Swiss international, Johan Djourou who was considered the tall and strong defender we were grooming for the future was loaned out to Hannover 96 till the end of the summer. So this is the second exit from the club in his January transfer window.
When will we have some new entries?