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.
It has been a month of goodbyes from the Emirates camp with the once very densely populated Arsenal midfield getting thinner and thinner as we near the season. Two first teamers Hleb and Flamini left the club to join Barcelona and AC Milan. One very loyal player who I thought might stay to lend some experience to the midfield, Gilberto also left few days back to the Greek club,Panathinakos.
Wenger would not have sold all these players if he did not have a plan. He sure is hardpressed for money, though that is never declared in public, he would have thought about suitable replacements who would come in before the season starts. One heartening matter is that Rosicky would be ready by September and if he and Van Persie can stay fit for atleast 3/4ths of the season, the team would look strong to challenge a lot of top teams for the league. With Eduardo most likely to return by the end of the year, the team would only get stronger.
Gilberto, a world cup winner with Brazil, played in the Copa America just before the 2007-08 season started and was tired to join the squad for the season starting. This meant that Flamini took his place and put in his best season for the club only to go out on a free transfer. Flamini also was responsible to some extent for Diarra feeling demotivated sitting in the bench. He also left for Portsmouth. So Gilberto who had one of his best seasons in 2006-07, leading the side for most of the season due to Henry’s injury, found himself to be the second in line for the holding midfielder role. Well, he did a great job for the team and I wish him all the best for his future.
Thanks also to Flamini the fighter and Hleb the dribbler for their contributions.
Out with Domenech…what was he thinking right from picking the squad to selecting the final XI and his substitutions in the last match. And he proved how stupid he was by saying that his future plan was to get married to his television presenter girlfriend when the question posed to him was with respect to the French team…Please throw him out for screwing up a very talented national side. If only France had a better manager , with these 23 players, the team would have reached the quarters and with a few changes in the 23, they would have probably won this Championship.
– Why was Sagna, Clichy, Flamini, Ben Arfa, Trezeguet not included in the 23…there are some other names like Frey, Mexes (centre back with Roma) who shuould also have been included
– Why was Sagnol,Abidal, Thuram, Makelele, Viera(who was injured and did not touch the ball), Malouda, Anelka in the 23. I am tempted to include Henry also in that list because Trezeguet has a better record for France
– And when you have to replace a centre back why would you ask a left back to fill in that role. Abidal has been a liability for this squad.
– When your most creative player is injured, you bring in another creative midfielder. Point taken. But when you are reduced to 10 men, you do not replace the creative player. What is the logic?
It is quite sad to see a talented side like France not qualifying for the Quarters…Wish they get a better coach for this awesomely talented side.
Filed under Abidal, Anelka, Ben Arfa, Clichy, Domenech, Euro 2008, Europe, Flamini, France, Frey, Henry, Les Bleus, Makelele, Malouda, Mexes, Patrick Viera, Ribery, Sagna, Samir Nasri, Thuram, Trezeguet
Deloitte published it’s much publicised Annual Review of Football Finance today which covers all the European leagues. It is not any secret anymore that EPL pays its players the highest wages and also bring in the most money by the TV deals as well as the other marketing activities. Chelsea and Manchester United top the list of clubs running on debts and poorly managed as a Footballing club when you look at the Finance part of it.
Arsenal though are third on the list but they have been well planned with respect to the move to Emirates stadium. The assets owned by the club are the highest in England. The stadium utilisation has been the highest in the league at 99.5% and this goes on to show the fans flocking the stadium to see the beautiful passing game of Arsenal.
Telegraph gives a club by club analysis.
Various news websites have reported the signing of Samir Nasri but it is better to be confirmed once the official statement is made on this. The French team for Euro has seen Diarra and Nasri making the grade and Flamini not making it. Probably Diarra got the nod ahead of Flamini because Diarra might be a more flexibile asset to the team as he can play right back as well.
Nasri can play both on the left as well as the centre and would straightaway replace Hleb if he leaves the club. More as and when something concrete is reported.
The season is dead and buried now. It has been a good season for Arsenal given the fact that, Henry’s exit and a new bunch of players playing together for the first time were written off even before the ball was kicked. The Gunners did a creditable job finishing 4 points behind Manchester United and 2 points behind Chelsea, when you take into perspective some refereeing decisions which could have gone either ways and the 8 games without a win that they went through post the Eduardo injury.
Manchester did the double and have grown in strength and look firm favourites for next year already. Chelsea had a late surge towards the end and Arsenal lost steam after being in the front for a long time last season. Here is a list of some of the best of the season in EPL
Team of the year
Sagna Rio Ferdinand Vidic Clichy
Ronaldo Gerrard Fabregas Petrov
David James has been consistent and his presence under the bars was assurance to Harry Redknap’s team. Vidic and Rio provided the stability at the centre of defence which was responsible for the less goals in the Goals Against column on the tables. They complement each other very well. In Sagna and Clichy Arsenal had the best full backs in the league. Sagne was good in the air as well as surging back to defend while Clichy was an engine with energy left to do a run even in the 90th minute.
I am going in with a 4-5-1 combination as the defensive midfielder role has become one of the most important roles in any team. Players like Flamini, Mascherano, Carrick/Hargreaves have got that ability to cut down moves from opposition by coming down with the tackles at the right time. They break moves and win back possession. And in that role Flamini excelled beyond compare.
If a player scores 30 goals in a season and he operates in midfield, that is a performance worth many awards and hence Ronaldo makes his way into the team without any doubt. He along with Gerrard will be the attacking options in this team. Gerrard had a consistent performance and his attitude is one of the best in the league when it comes to leading the team by example. Fabregas added a few goals to the most number of assists in the league and was again the most creative midfielder in the league. On the left wing I am going with Petrov from Manchester City as he came out as a person with an awesome left foot. I wonder why he did not get mention in any other team of the years. He had some lethal crosses throughout the season and looks like a good introduction to the league.
With all the attacking options in the team I think the lone guy forward would be good enough for this team. And if that lone forward is Torres, nothing like it. That guy doesn’t miss many chances and his finishing has been impeccable. Great to see him play in EPL.
Players who scored the most crucial goals
Jamie Bullard – Like Tevez last year for West Ham United, Bullard scored the most crucial goals towards the end of the season when Fulham needed it most to keep their premiership hopes alive. His freekick goals were as best as any that you will in the league and all those goals made for points which saved them relegation.
Carlos Tevez – He was the most important goalscorer for Manchester United this year as he scored in getting some vital points in drawn matches as well as some victorious matches.
Best new Signing
Torres – He was expensive but he has justified every bit of it. He doesn’t miss many chances and his finishing was brilliant. He has got the power and doesn’t go down that easily to challenges
Sagna – He was one of the most stable players in Arsenal this season and he was good with tackles as well as on the air. He complemented Eboue well on the right side and was playing some really good football till he got injured towards the end of the season.
Roque Santa Cruz – When Mark Hughes bought him from Bayern Munich there were many doubters but fifteen goals in the season is very commendable froma player who cost much much less than someone like Torres. He is only 26 and expect more from him next season.
Best match of the season
Manchester United vs Arsenal – This match played in April was a very keenly contested match and Arsenal showed their class. They dominated the match but gave away a dubious freekick and suffered a defeat. Great display from Arsenal and if they had won that match, then it would have been a different end to the season.
Filed under Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Barclays Premier League, Blackburn Rovers, Cesc, Chelsea, Clichy, Cristiano Ronaldo, David James, Eduardo, Eduardo Injury, England, EPL, Fabregas, Flamini, Fulham, Gael Clichy, Gerrard, Gunners, Hargreaves, Jamie Bullard, Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United, Mascherano, Petrov, Premier League, Rio Ferdinand, Ronaldo, Roque Santa Cruz, Sagna, Tevez, Torres, Vidic, Wenger, West Ham
As Arsenal get into the last 4 matches of their season in which the best they can hope for now would be a 2nd place finish IF Chelsea screw up in between somewhere in their pursuit of Manchester United, Wenger stepped up the pressure on one of the star performers of the season Flamini. Guardian reports the deadline that Wenger has set for Flamini, month end of April. Flamini’s injury means that he is not going to play anymore in this season and there has been renewed interest coming from Juventus, Bayern Munich etc.
With Clichy, Sagna, Hleb and Fabregas, Flamini has been one of the most outstanding players of the season for Arsenal. And his renewed vigour in midfield has been one of the reasons for Arsenal’s great run in this season. He has been virtually irreplaceable this season with Gilberto being a shadow of his past there has been no player in this team who had the bite to replace our Terrier. Wenger is right in saying that Flamini has to respect the team and the manager and sign on the dotted lines if he intends to stay. If he doesn’t then Wenger needs those extra weeks to sign a replacement.
It should be interesting to see how strongly Arsenal finish the season and 12 points from the next 4 matches starting tonight with Reading would be the way to go. Here is to three points and lost pride.
Filed under Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Bayern Munich, Cesc, Chelsea, Clichy, EPL, Fabregas, Flamini, Gilberto, Manchester United, Sagna, Wenger
The first leg at Emirates turned out to be quite a frustrating one for Arsenal as they scored first but in less than three minutes Liverpool equalised through a defensive lapse and then minutes and minutes of possession and control of proceedings did not yield the winner. This has been a season of missed opportunities like last year, where they created a lot but the finishing left a lot to be desired.
A footballing team like Arsenal will always create chances in any match (unless they play really really bad). Wenger philosophy of passing football, maintaining possession and playing in the opposition half will go waste if he cannot find a striker who can finish off these chances. Even converting one quarter of all the chances created can yield 3 points or a victory in every match the team has played so far. Such has been the creativity of Fabregas, Hleb, Walcott and even Adebayor for that matter. But when it came to finishing, Adebayor himself has left us disappointed, so has Van Persie after coming back from injury (and going back to it) and Bendtner, whose enthusiasm is understandable but finishing undefinable.
Even the midfielders who have had goal scoring opportunities, have disappointed. Take Fabregas, who on a one-on-one with the goalkeeper shoots straight at him nine out of 10 times. How many goals could he have scored this season, only he knows. Eboue has been also one of the main culprits and I think he has maybe made the goalie save one or two times maximum this season. Hleb has had lots of opporunities to shoot, but hasn’t. Flamini I would say has had the least number of opportunities to score, but he has also not taken his chances. So this is an area where the team needs to improve.
Eduardo was considered the solution for this finisher problem in the club, but unfortunately he wont be back till end of this year. We can always blame the referee for not giving us the penalty (which was as clear as water), or Bendtner for stopping Fabregas’s prod at the goal (he was off balance and did his best to get away, I think). but if we dont score from the chances that we get, then we will end up ruing our chances after every match. Adebayor missed a sitter at the end of the 90 minutes against AC Milan at the Emirates, but we made up for that at the San Siro. Anfield might not be the same.
Liverpool certainly has an advantage going into Anfield, but I would like to see how Arsenal bounce back. The Gunners can score in any ground as Rafa himself said, but its how Liverpool react after (if) Arsenal scores first that will decide the tie.
The Saturday clash against Liverpool in the League would be again an interesting watch to see who all play and who all get rested. I would love the momentum to be with Arsenal and see them win.
Filed under AC Milan, Adebayor, Anfield, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Bendtner, Eboue, Eduardo, Fabregas, Flamini, Gunners, Liverpool, Rafa, Rafa Benitez, San Siro, Van Persie, Walcott