Tag Archives: Manchester United

Guard of Honour to Robin Van Persie!

No.20 leads United to their 20th title

He left Arsenal last year for 24 million pounds and joined United with the ambition of winning a trophy. He refused to take more money and join Manchester City.

He went on to score 24 goals leading the league for top-scorers and assisting in 8 goals.

So the Gunners will have to give a guard of honour to the 2013 champions when they visit the Emirates next sunday.

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A lot happened in the last one month

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

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Champions League last 16 draw

Uefa Champions League last 16 draw:

Galatasaray v Schalke – I have a couple of Galatasaray jerseys at home, gifted by one of my distributors when I used to work with a pharma company in Hyderabad, so for senti sake, lets hope the Turkish club makes it to the next round

Celtic v Juventus – Celtic has had a dream run so far…but Juventus is in top form in the last 18 odd months, so it could be the Italians going through here

Arsenal v Bayern Munich – Heart says Arsenal, but brain says Bayern Munich! Bayern’s strong record at the Allianz Arena would be a big plus for them

Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund – I haven’t seen these two teams play so far in the CL, but I have been reading a lot about how these two teams were the most exciting teams in this year’s CL so far…so anyone would do

AC Milan v Barcelona – Barcelona is having an incredible season in La Liga and they did have a couple of blips in the group stage of CL, but you never know. I won’t be surprised if Milan makes it in this tie

Real Madrid v Manchester United – Standout match of the draw, no doubt about that. This is one of the matches I will not miss for sure. I would like Madrid to make it. If real win this match, they would be favourites to win the CL this time.

Valencia v Paris St Germain – Ibrahimovic might inspire PSG to sail through this tie. If Valencia win this one it would be an upset I guess

Porto v Malaga – Malaga should win this one and be in the 16 for the first time. Porto played good so far but this is as far as they can go

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What’s wrong with Arsenal?

This season has been yet another season of what could have been! The way we were alive in 4 fronts and how we collapsed and look like we will end up winning nothing, sounds quite familiar if you have been tracking Arsenal in the last 3-4 years. It has been a very very frustrating year for the Gooners, this year in particular as we thought we had a team that could win silverware and to some extent the fact that the other biggies Manchester United and Chelsea looked fallible and out of sorts throughout the season.

If I had to describe the form of the club based on the last match, the one against arch rivals Spurs, I need to just tell you about how our young goalkeeper, Szczesny performed in that match. He was brilliant when it came to making saves. He must have made atleast 4-5 good ones throughout the match. But then he gave away a penalty which was a silly mistake from an inexperienced goalkeeper. This cost us the match, or lets say 2 points. That has been the way our team has performed through this season. Brilliant in most of the phases in some crucial matches but lost concentration or became vulnerable when all we had to do was play on for a few minutes of the match. It has reached such a stage that we don’t know what is the buffer of goals that we need to say we are relatively safe and assured of a win.

The Newcastle match stands out as a glaring example. We lead by 4 goals and then spectacularly collapse to let Newcastle comeback into the match and draw 4-4. How sad can that be. We have not been able to close out matches by defending. We do score goals but you we also need to know how to defend as a team. I don’t want to individually blame our defenders but we need to show some more care in defending, especially if we are leading.

Lets look at some of the reasons why we are at this situation, not in any particular order-

a) Home form: In 17 matches we have won 10, drawn 4 and lost 3. If we look at Man Utd it is 15 wins and one draw. So we know which is the difficult venue to play and get points. There was a time when Highbury was known as a fortress and the visitors knew that they had to show up just to get beaten. But things have changed and now the visiting teams know that they have a chance to atleast draw at the Emirates.

b) Vulnerable Defending: We have been a very offensive team this year, having scored 66 goals in 33 matches. That is 5 less than United’s tally, which is fine. But we have conceded 34 goals this season and that is like 2 more than Utd and 7 more than Chelsea. The critical piece I believe is we have conceded goals when it mattered the most for us. Points lost per goals scored ratio might look very bad for us. I think the opposition doesn’t give up when they are a goal down against us as they think we are vulnerable and can let in goals.

c) Loss of form: Players like Arshavin seems to just play around casually this season. They don’t seem to be presenting any danger to the opposition defence. He seems to be just going around his motion, not come back and defend and not running as much as he should. And one player who seems to be presenting danger to his own team is  Clichy. I never thought I would write about him like that. But sometimes he seems to be fooling around with the ball and making some costly mistakes. Bendtner has been subed in most of the matches playing at the right flank and being ineffective.

d) Goalkeeping: Like I mentioned this is a problem area for a long time and Wenger has not addressed it at all, making things work with what he has and not investing in a good goalkeeper. I think we need a goalkeeper who doesn’t make mistakes. Shot stoppers are fine, but we do not want some one who makes crucial mistakes which cost us a trophy or points.

There are many more which you could think of I am sure. Do let me know of your thoughts on the same. But lets keep hoping that a miracle will happen somehow this year 🙂

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A Clash with United

Going into the Monday night match, an average Gooner will have a thousand thoughts on what will happen at Old Trafford. Not all those thoughts are going to be highly positive or for that matter positive ones. Such has been the inconsistency of the team that personally I will be happy if we come back with a point from Manchester.

United is a difficult team to beat especially at their home and with our bad string of results in the red half of Manchester I will be highly sceptical of anyone who tells me we have a chance to win there. Ferguson started the mind games by again asking his fans to not chant the unwanted Wenger chants. Some people actually believe that it is more of a Ferguson reminder to his supporters than a way to ask them to shut up. Evra has furthered the cause by calling Arsenal a “Training Centre”, but nothing(no cups) to show as results. I hope we can win something and shut the traps of the likes of Evra.

We are not in a bad position as of now, sitting on top of the Premier League, qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League and in the Semi-finals of the Carling Cup. This is a good start for December. But we really need to see where we are come the end of January 2011. This is truly a crucial period for all the top clubs competing for the league. For Arsenal and Chelsea, 3 of their next 5 games are against top 4 sides!!! Here is a very positive prediction from Sam Wallace on how this period will turn out. Positive for Arsenal 🙂

Given our second spot finish in the CL pool, we could face one of the four opposition – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Schalke and Bayern Munich. Barcelona is a definite no-no for any of the teams, Real to some extent because Mourinho manages them. So that leaves the two German sides and I think we do have a chance with them, honestly we do and I would say if it is any of these two clubs, then we should be in the semis unless we screw up badly.

For the time being lets concentrate on the game in hand, come on you Gunners!!!

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Danger period ahead

It is that time of the season again…Normally during the packed December schedule, we kind of lose our sight and feel crampy in the cold and lose our way in the league. From defeats to draws we make our Christmas feel miserable for the team and supporters. The snow has started falling, and the matches are going to set off one after the other soon.

And this is probably the time when we will be involved in a lot of matches and injuries and suspensions come to haunt us. We are already suffering with our beloved captain resting and not looking like getting back soon. But hopefully we have a fit squad minus Nasri who seems to be having a minor trouble. So lets set that aside and look at the fixtures ahead. (Courtesy: BBC Sports)

Saturday, 4 December 2010
Barclays Premier League
Arsenal v Fulham, 15:00 – Well this is hopefully an easy 3 points in the league
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Uefa Champions League
Arsenal v Partizan Belgrade, GpH, 19:45 – A must win match for us as we have to ensure qualification on our own merit rather than depend on some other result

Monday, 13 December 2010

Barclays Premier League
Man Utd v Arsenal, 20:00 – Monday night in India, this is a tough one…and we will certainly be the underdogs playing at Old Trafford
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Barclays Premier League
Arsenal v Stoke, 15:00 – This will be one of those tricky fixtures with a lot of pressure incase we concede first and even if we score first we will still feel insecure with a 2 goal lead
Monday, 27 December 2010
Barclays Premier League
Arsenal v Chelsea, 20:00 – The other big one where we will be the underdogs even if we would have been playing them at home. We certainly seem to lose the plot whenever we play them home or away. Drogba might retain his goal scoring form in this match
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Barclays Premier League
Wigan v Arsenal, 19:45 – Tricky away matches in the cold away at Wigan
Saturday, 1 January 2011
Barclays Premier League
Birmingham v Arsenal, 17:30 – Another travel away from home in the new year…lets say not an easy match
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
Barclays Premier League
Arsenal v Man City, 19:45 – Tough one again, but I think we have the quality to beat them again this season
Saturday, 8 January 2011
The FA Cup
Arsenal v Leeds United, R3, 15:00 – The FA cup tie which will be crucial for us to be competing in a few competitions come January end.
So in the Premier league we have 21 points to play for between today and Jan 8th, that is like in about a month’s time. We should ideally aim for atleast 15 points and I think we would have come out of this unscathed. Anything more will tilt a lot of things in our favour.
More thoughts on this as the month progresses. And also I want to write about the 2018 and 2022 world cup bids…

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A good weekend of results for Arsenal

It’s not often that Arsenal have a good weekend with not just their results but also with other results going their way. Everton away is not an easy match, though you might argue that this fixture has gone Arsenal’s way in the recent past. But this year to win at Goodison Park will be considered a good result and Arsenal did just that with a goal from Sagna of all the people and one from our Captain. So that was 3 points in the kitty.

Manchester United trailed by 2 goals against Villa and if only Villa could only hold on to their nerves and the lead, we would have been in an even comfortable position with respect to our opposition. So a Utd draw over the weekend meant, we were second in the table after a long time. The biggest surprise result came from Stamford Bridge where the blues went down to Sunderland by 3 goals. So with this result Arsenal are just 2 points behind Chelsea and a win in the weekend’s derby will take us to the top of the league  atleast for some time.

Can’t wait for the the Spuds match!!!

Let me leave you with some interesting stats, courtesy the Independent

* Chelsea’s record after conceding first in last five league games
14 Nov Sunderland (h) Lost 3-0
7 Nov Liverpool (a) Lost 2-0
30 Oct Blackburn (a) Won 2-1
25 Sept Man City (a) Lost 1-0
17 April Tottenham (a) Lost 2-1
Points 3

* United’s record after conceding first
13 Nov Aston Villa (a) Drew 2-2
26 Sept Bolton (a) Drew 2-2
11 Sept verton (a) Drew 3-3
3 April Chelsea (h)Lost 2-1
21 March Liverpool (h) Won 2-1
Points 6

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