Arsenal travel to Craven Cottage for a tricky tie against Fulham. Tricky because Fulham at home is a well organised team. Arsenal have had a couple of tough matches away to Fulham.
The good news for Arsenal is that our most influential player this year, Arshavin (yes he is more influential than Cesc this season) is back from injury and should play a part in the game at some point of time. So is our English star, Theo Walcott who is back. I am looking forward to seeing him play this season and see the difference and pace that he can provide to the team.
Possible starting line up
Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Clichy
Rosicky Fabregas Persie
Look forward to a thrilling encounter with Arsenal emerging winners 🙂
The first full match I saw this season of Arsenal and it was a wonderful 3-1 victory at home against the hapless-Celtics at Emirates. Coming into this match, Celtics needed atleast 2 goals to attain parity on the first leg score. Their gameplan was to score an early goal and put Arsenal under pressure at home. Fabregas was injured and Arshavin and Van Persie were rested ahead of this clash.
The team that started had a solid defence in the form of Clichy and Sagna in the wings, with the quick-gelling duo of Gallas and Vermaelen at the centre. The midfield comprised of Diaby, Denilson, Song and Eboue with Eduardo and Bendtner leading the line. Eboue had a good game and I think some of the feints and moves he has in his armour are really world-class, when he pulls them off. his performance was rewarded with a goal which was sweetly taken. Denilson, Diaby and Song played a very disciplined game showing the maturity that they are gaining. If they play like this then my opinion about them will only get better and better.
Bendtner had a decent game where he played a crucial part in the second goal with a elegant back-heel. But he missed a sitter of a header at the stroke of half-time. Eduardo had a great game except for the dive to win the penalty. This will be a mlack mark in his otherwise wonderful performance which involved a curler of a shot which was saved by the Celtics goalie. He is gaining in confidence and will be our 20 goal striker for sure this year.
Ramsey came in and got injured which led to Arsenal playing the last 5 minutes with 10 men. I hope he is back to training and fitness. Wilshere came along with Arshavin with 20 minutes remaining in the match. Arshavin is such a skillful clever player that there is excitement on the field when he is playing. He can make those telling runs, wonderful dribbles and feints and make those killer passes and score some goals. He scored his first european goal for Arsenal and I thought when he was on the field we could have scored a couple more. I love that guy and hope he stays fit and scores many more memorable ones, including a couple on Saturday;)
Credit to Celtics for providing wonderful entertainment in the tie. They played well and hard luck to them for the penalty decision. Not that not having that penalty would have saved them the tie because definitely Arsenal were the better team on the night and also over two legs. Good luch to them in SPL now.
Without Cesc if we could show so much creativity on the field it is quite impressive. The passing and movement of the team on the whole was of high standard. Looks like this team is moving in the right direction in the league as well as in Europe. Now lets hope that we get an easy group in tomorrow’s Champions League draw. There is a wonderful article on the current Arsenal formation here. A good read I would say.
You could not have asked for a better start than this. An away match against Everton is not an easy one be it the start or the middle of the season, but the 6-1 demolition job of Everton was the biggest margin of victory in the Premier League. Goals from Denilson (when was the last time he scored), Vermaelen(that is a scoring a debut), Gallas, couple for Captain Cesc and a return to scoring charts for Eduardo.
Like Wenger mentioned after the match, when we are having a match like this, anyone in this team can score!!! Well that is quite true. We do have matches like this once in a while. Song and Denilson did have a good match and it is players like them who have to play like this week in and week out if we have to give a title-challenge come December. Already bookers William have brought down the odds of Arsenal’s title chances from 9-1 to 11-2!!! Mark Lawrenson in BBC had predicted a 2-0 victory to Everton in his weekly predictions, I am sure he is having a great day today. In a way I like it when people under-estimate us and we prove them wrong. I guess Patrick Barclay in Times is the only pundit who gave Arsenal some weightage.
Lets not get over excited by this win and prepare and finish the job at Celtics midweek so that we are assured of some revenue from playing in Europe. And then take it up from there. And one good word for Van Persie, Arshavin and Bendtner who were immense in the match too. Almunia was stellar under the bars catching every corner and cross that came to the Arsenal box. It really feels nice after we win like this 🙂
Filed under Almunia, Arsenal, Arshavin, Celtic FC, Cesc, Denilson, Eduardo, Fabregas, Gallas, Patrick Barclay, Vermaelen
This is an old stat(dated May 1st, 2009) but still worth a look… courtesy Setanta and Opta
Opta Stats Premier League 08/09 Arshavin Fabregas Nasri Walcott
Appearances 9 19 27 18
Starts 9 19 26 13
Minutes played 768 1,632 2,243 1,077
In front of goal
Goals 6 3 6 2
Minutes per goal 128 544 374 538
Goals in the box 4 3 4 2
Goals from outside the box 2 0 2 0
Shots 29 32 23 30
Shots per game 3.22 1.68 0.85 1.67
Shots on target 14 18 14 14
Shots off target 15 14 9 16
% of shots on target 48.3% 56.2% 60.9% 46.7%
Conversion rate % 20.7% 9.4% 26.1% 6.7%
Touches per game 62 102 73 40
Assists 4 8 2 2
Chances created/game 2.67 3.37 1.67 1.11
% of successful passes 77% 80% 88% 83%
Crosses per game 2.9 4.0 3.2 3.3
% of successful crosses 31% 14% 20% 17%
Dribbles per game 3.3 1.4 3.4 4.9
% of successful dribbles 50% 73% 57% 53%
Tackles per game 1.9 2.7 1.8 0.9
% of tackles won 88% 73% 71% 82%
Interceptions per game 1.7 2.3 1.7 0.7
In a weekend where we take on the might of ever-improving Chelsea under Hiddink, here are some interesting reads and videos.
The Fab Four – Talks about our famous back four assembled by George Graham consisting of Winterburn-Adams-Bould-Dixon/Keown. The second title they won by conceding only 18 goals and losing just once (almost unbeaten, isn’t it)
Arsene Wenger – Those were the days, tracks Wengers 13 year journey with Arsenal. Some good videos
Enjoy the reads and hope we beat Chelsea…Drogba and Arshavin are most probably notable absentees
There is no doubt in my mind that the better team amongst Arsenal and Manchester United won over two legs and qualified for the finals. Manchester United beat Arsenal 1-3 at the Emirates and with an aggregate of 4-1 will play in the finals in Rome. The other finalist will be decided tonight from the Barcelona and Chelsea match at Stamford Bridge.
Going into the match Arsenal needed to score 2 goals and concede none to reach the finals. The crowd was the loudest I have heard in the Emirates and the flags which were distributed in all the seats were a sight to watch. Maybe that inspired the team for the first 5-6 minutes where they fought tooth for tooth for every ball and was dominating the play. United had no clue. Then came the first killer blow. A advancing Ronaldo on the left side crossed in front of the goal and the youngest player on the field, Kieran Gibbs, who had a mammoth game in the first leg, keeping Ronaldo under control, slipped and could not recover enough to beat Park’s shot at goal. Taanng!!! So now Arsenal need to score 3 goals for a outright entry into the finals.
Within another 3 minutes, Fabregas lost the ball and in trying to recover the ball Van Persie fouled Ronaldo (though Ronaldo went down too easily)and in the resultant free-kick, Ronaldo unleashed a fierce shot which dipped and curled in and caught Almunia by surprise (he should have saved it, but I guess it was one of those things). Well this goal virtually killed the tie. Expecting this Arsenal team to score 4 goals against this United side will be asking for too much. Felt bad for the crowd who had been behind the team and was positive about a fightback from the team though we had conceded a goal. The game was buried in the 11th minute.
The rest of the match was something that just passed by. Arsenal was trying to break through the midfield-defensive wall of United and were unsuccessful.United on the other hand substituted their players who were on yellow card and also scored one more in a counter attack.
So Arsenal’s title hunt comes to an end and probably the only thing left to do for the season is to win all the remaining matches in the premier league, which include a match each against Chelsea(next weekend) and Manchester United. Finishing third looks difficult as it is not in our hands(Chelsea has to lose two matches and we have to win all our remaining matches). The differene between finishing third and fourth is an automatic qualification to the Champions League and playing a qualifier which could also be depending on the luck of the draw a 4th placed team from Italy or Spain or some Eastern European team.
Its time for Arsene to think of what is lacking in this team, a central defender (very urgent) probably. I think with Song and Denilson maturing,Rosicky hopefully back for the next season, I feel we have a good midfield back up. Not to forget Ramsey. If we do not lose Van Persie and lose Adebayor, the forward line will still look healthy with Eduardo, Bendtner, Vela acting as back up to Van Persie and Arshavin. I feel we have a good team for the next season if we can keep the flock together.
In the end Arsenal cruised to a 2 goal victory at Emirates against a Middlesborought who look very likely to be relegated this year. Arsenal on the other hand strengthened their 4th place with this victory and also managed to get two key players, Fabregas and Walcott some rest ahead of the Champions League match against Manchester United.
It was free flowing football from Arsenal and it is not everyday that teams allow us to do this. Fabregas was on top form and as usual our catalyst Arshavin was on song. There were couple of moves from him that drew lots of oohs and aahs from the crowd. Towards the end of the match he was tired but he was worth very penny that we spent on him. Wenger doesn’t buy expensive players and when he does, they are on players like Arshavin…rare and fine cut like a diamond.
Ferguson was watching the game from the stands and I am sure he must have seen the creativity when we go forward. Arshavin will be missing but with Nasri, Walcott and Fabregas in the team I am sure United will have lots of problems to take care of. Man Utd also had a good game and I am sure Wednesday night will be a good match with Arsenal being the second favourites to go through, so the pressure is on United.
In other news, Klinsmann is out…If someone had told me an year back this is going to happen, then I would have laughed it. I wuld have thought that even if he did decent enough (which is what he has done so far) he would be persisted with. The Bundesliga club has made a press statement saying that they “may not achieve its minimum targets for the season”. I think the Barca result in the Champions League was a stab in their reputation. Anyways more on CL football soon.