Man U 4- 0 Arsenal
It could not have got worse and the only positive I see is that it was the FA cup and not the Premier League or the Champions League.
Clichy and Sagna do make a lot of difference to the team and what is frightening is the back on both these fronts are not good enough to step up to their levels. And Eboue crowned his stupidity by stamping Nani on the groin and deservedly getting sent off. It just added to the misery of a team already 3 goals down.
And Milan on wednesday nite would be another tough tie coming at this stage of a demoralising defeat. I am sure this team is good enough to beat Milan if not atleast draw the match. Given Milan’s strength and experience in Europe, a win at Emirates would be handy to take to San Siro. I will try to write more on that tomorrow.
For all the faithful readers of my blog, I am really sorry for the long delay in posts…Work has been hectic and has been taking me places and finally I am on holiday in Kerala, after an year. Kerala is one of the few football crazy states in India (after the fanatic West Bengal, Goa and to some extent Sikkim and North east).
It has been a great weekend for Arsenal with Man Utd losing to Man City and Chelsea and Liverpool sharing points. Arsenal dominated most of the game against Blackburn Rovers and in India it was at 1.30 AM (better than KL, it would have been 4AM there). Senderos rose high, unchallenged to score the first in the 4th minute and Adebayor scored a well taken shot 2 minutes before the end of the match. I thought Hleb, Sagna, Gilberto (lot of you might not agree) had a good game. Flamini and Fabregas missed a coupe of chances, but I wont complain if we keep a clean sheet, score 2 goals and get 3 points.
Not much time to write more…enjoy till the weekend biggie against Man Utd.
Its been sometime since I have written something about happenings off the field. So here goes.
Came across this claim in Daily Mail that Manchester United Football club has an astonishing fanbase of 333 million!!! yes, thats like 5% of the entire population of this world.
So I decided to find out more about this company TNS which did the survey for MU. And in their website I came across this analysis of a case study done on how the Chelsea sponsorship helped the Samsung brand. It is quite a nice read.
And here is a website which gives European Football Statistics. They claim –
The target of this site is to collect european football statistics which are not easily found on internet. It isn’t our target to have the latest results and tables of various leagues. There are a lot of other sites having this information updated very well. Despite that we want to update the statistics in this site as quick as possible.
And that is exactly what Gunners realised at the end of 90 miniutes at Fratton Park. It was here at the end of last season that Arsenal had failed to score in the league and they repeated it at the same fixture in this year. And when the opposition defend well, Arsenal failed to find a leader amongst their packs.
Fabregas & Hleb looked off-colour and probably fatigue has caught up with them. Particularly Fabregas gave away the ball too easily. Well Fratton Park is always a difficult place to get all three points especially when Campbell, Distin and Lauren have a wonderful game. Papa Dioup came up with some timely tackles to kill any sort of move that Arsenal were able to build.
I do not like this 4-4-1-1 or 4-5-1 that Wenger is employing for the last few matches. There are lots of issues with that formation and last nite’s game in general.
1. Ade can do the holding job and get back and work the ball from mid-field and move up, but he definetely needs a striking partner. He has played in too many matches and I think needs a break once in a while atleast.
2. Maybe Wenger didnt field Bendtner along with Ade coz he feels that both of them have similar playing style. Lets see if he switches to 4-4-2 when Van Persie is back.
3. If Eboue was going to be replaced why Diaby, he should have atleast changed the formation with Bendtner and tried it for 30 minutes. We saw how Bendtner influenced play after his arrival. And Eboue’s play-acting is getting irritating now. Also he makes a good deal of bursts into the box but shoots awkwardly. If he improves that he can score 5-6 goals in a season.
4. Many teams this year will look at defending well against Arsenal and sometimes we do not have any answers for that. I am surprised Wenger doesnt think of a tactic to counter it. I think we will have to live with this kind of a tactic from the opposition now.
5. Rosicky had two of the best chances in the match. Again he is another guy who needs to know how to convert these half chances. One of his shots was coolly taken by James. Trust me James just made it look so easy. It was a great curler of a shot and an even better take from the best GK in England. (And please stop writing abt Almunia for the England job)
With Chelsea playing a 4-4 draw against Aston Villa atleast one of the contenders for the title has slipped too. But Manchester United’s strong form continues and for all the Gooners this will be a concern. If someone had told me at the start of the season that at halfway stage (which is now) Arsenal will be one point behind the leaders, I would have taken it. So nothing is lost yet. In the next series of matches if Arsenal win and Manchester United draw, then the Gunners would be on top by a point.
The Super Sunday build up in the media is getting to you…If Chelsea and Liverpool win, then Chelsea will be tied at the top with Arsenal, Manchester United a point less and Liverpool will be 4 points behind with a match in hand. If this situation happens then the top four would be really the tightest in the last few years. And if Arsenal and Manchester United win they will move away from the 3rd and 4th placed teams and would be, I can say in a comfortable position come this stressful part of the season.
Fabregas trained with the team on Friday suggesting his return for the big one with Chelsea on Sunday. I hope Wenger doesnt push him in the starting XI if he is notfully fit. Maybe he can be in the bench and unless and otherwise he is required not pushed to play. Hleb looks less likely to figure in this match at any stage and Flamini looks more certain to be the one who will be seen in action. I think with Diaby they will make the central mid-field much stronger than the team put out against Boro. Van Persie will start upfront with Adebayor andwith Bendtner inthe bench, I will not complain about the attack side of the team. And in defence we have the steady presence of Sagna, Toure, Gallas and Clichy.
Chelsea will miss the physical presence of Drogba and though I dont underestimate Shevchenko I think he can be taken care off by Toure and Gallas. If you remember the last time we were winning against Chelsea, the equaliser was scored by one Mr.Essien, a screamer of a shot, which beat a stretched out Lehmann. With Essien missing, guys like Lampard and Kalou will have to step and I think because of this Arsenal have a chance to take all the three points. And I hope they do.
Liverpool-Man Utd looks like a very tight match and I dont think this will be a boring draw either. The top 4 teams have realised that they are getting the results against the other sixteen teams in the league and it is very crucial to see how they play against each other this season. A win is priceless and a draw is a good result. I cannot see any of these teams sitting back and waiting for the other to attack.
All football fans in KL are going to have a lovely time watching the Super Sunday matches as there have been some very interesting viewing parties announced. I will be with the rest of the Arsenal supporters in Sunway Lagoon Amphitheatre to watch the match at 12 midnight here. This event is sponsored by Maxis and Carlsberg . Entry is free, so all the more reason to be there. So have a great time watching the game and may the best team win and may that best team be Arsenal!!!
Alex Ferguson is justified in feeling that the referee had undone his team at Emirates. But the fact of the matter is that it had nothing to do with the referee but everything to do with the Gallas equaliser which made a draw look like a defeat. Arsenal can claim moral victory for coming from behind yet again, but this time twice and the second time in the second minute of added time. So that leaves Arsenal still at the top with a match in hand.
Gallas scored at both ends at the end of each half to give Man Utd a goal against the run of play in the first half and a deserved equaliser in the end of second half. Ronaldo put Man Utd in front with seven minutes remaining, from a Evra cross and Fabregas restored the first goal parity in begining of second half from a Sagna struggle at the goalmouth. If you want to read the script of all the goals, there is no better place than A Cultured Left Foot. He has written it beautifully. 🙂
Chances were there for both sides, but I think in looking at overall play and domination Arsenal will slightly edge Man Utd. I dont think the Commentator had to say the names Ronaldo, Rooney or Tevez for most of the time. Though I read in most of the articles that the first half was uneventful and both teams played scrappy, I could not recollect only couple of instances of Man Utd attacks as most of the time the ball was with the Arsenal players.
Watching the match with the Arsenal supporters in Rick’s cafe in KL was something. We did rock when the goals came in. It was the biggest gathering I have seen at this place in recent times. I try to make it a point to see the match there whenever I am in KL.
Talking about players, yes I thought Almunia made a mistake and looked prone to making many throughout the match, Walcott needs to elarn how to defend and mark players, Hleb needs to be physically a little more stronger. He was shoulder pushed down for the first goal.
Can Arsenal win the league? I think they can.
Filed under Arsenal, EPL, Man U
A very strong Man Utd at the peak of their form this season are visiting Arsenal, who are in no less form than anyone this season. If it is a open game, this should make for some terrific viewing. If you ask me who will win tomorrow, I would put my money or Arsenal to sneak it by a goal or a draw. Man Utd scoring and defending the lead seems a much lower probability.
Both teams are very capable of scoring going forward and here Arsenal have the edge according to me. And in defence though the central defenders of Man Utd are more stable given the less number of goals conceded, I have a sneaky feeling that Sagna and Clichy would be able to give O’Shea and Brown a run for their money.
Arsenal most probably will start the same team which played against The Reds, with Hleb just behind Adebayor. And in Walcott we have the star substitution trump card. So far the changes made by Wenger have clicked. Eduardo after his Carling Cup would be raring to go, but going by Wenger’s comments about players needing 6 months to get used to the Premier League, looks like a non-starter for this game.
The rivalry between Arsenal & Man Utd declined with the arrival of Chelsea and I think more with Arsenal’s own dip in form. Man Utd kept their team ticking and won last season, with a good showing even in the previous year. Arsenal saw the exits of Viera, Pires and the retirement of Bergkamp in these years and have picked themselves up after Henry’s exit in a manner which will make any Gunner fan proud. They have played the most entertaining football and have also got the results going their way. This is a rare combination and seldom teams get this right. Arsenal do and lets hope they carry on into the season.
My team to beat the Devils would be
Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy
Eboue Fabregas Flamini Rosicky
May the best team win and lets all hope that, that team would be Arsenal
Filed under Arsenal, EPL, Man U