Arsenal vs Partizan Belgrade preview: Barca or Real can wait + starting lineup

December 8, 2010

Tonight we face Partizan in a must win game to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. It would have been an insignificant game had we done better in the previous two matches. As it stands, even if we win, we can’t be sure of topping the group as it depends on Shakhtar’s result against Braga. However, we have to do our part in the best way possible and what is to come will be dealt with when the time comes.

This is a must win game but we do have an important fixture coming after this. Will Wenger rotate or just make a couple of changes? I have a feeling that it will be a strong team with only one or two changes from Fulham. We have to go match by match and for tonight the priority is to qualify. So the team that I would like to see is:

Starting XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Gibbs, Song, Rosicky, Wilshere, Nasri, Van Persie, Arshavin.

As Djourou has been ruled out and Koscielny declared fit, so Squillaci and Koscielny are sure starters. Fabianski will also start. As we need to win this so I would start with Sagna on the right and give Gibbs a chance on the left. Clichy to have a rest. In the middle we should start with Song and Wilshere, with Song sitting deep. Or if Wilshere is to be given a rest, Denilson should be given a go. Rosicky to start in the playmaker role.

Up front it gets trickier. Wenger hinted at Van Persie’s start so I would go with him in the lone striker role. It would although be vital that he is brought into the game more as he can open up the Partizan defence.  Nasri and Arshavin to flank him on either side.

We will need to take control of the game from start and then change a few players to give them a much needed rest. So it would be of utmost importance that we find early goals.

The defending today would have to be perfect. With defending, I don’t mean only the defenders but our defending as a team. We have been conceding plenty of goals that are not down to the opposition getting the better of us but due to us making some basic mistakes as a team and in some cases individually. We need to certainly put things right in defending as we are going to be facing Man Utd and Chelsea shortly.

I don’t have doubts that we will win tonight. The scores don’t matter tonight though. A win would suffice but a clean sheet will help the confidence.

Let’s just go out there and get a win. Man Utd or Barca or Real can wait…

Player Ratings: Braga 2 – 0 Arsenal

November 24, 2010

Well we are where we deserve to be. We have become so much predictable that any team can come and beat us. There is no problem because they just have to watch us keep the ball and score a goal on every opportunity they get. Be it a counter or a set piece, they just have to be discipline at the back. In fact sometimes we will gift the goals as we lose interest in the match. Read the rest of this entry »

Braga 2 – 0 Arsenal: Shit happened again!!

November 24, 2010

Braga: 2 (Matheus 83, 90+)

Arsenal: 0

Gutted! It seems nothing is going for us. The result doesn’t tell the whole story. We should have had a penalty when the score was nil all and the match secured but the ref made a blunder. It was a clear foul on Vela but the ref booked him for diving. Braga then went on to score two goals on the break. Frankly, the second one should have been stopped.

As it stands we are level with Braga on points and the last group match is a must win for us if we want to qualify for the next round. We can forget top spot as Shakhtar have won their match today by a three goal margin and only need a draw in the last match.

I wont go into details of the match as there was nothing happening. None of the teams deserved to win today and a draw would have been a fair result. We dominated the possession but had no clear cut chances. Braga was mainly defensive and had a couple of chances in the second half but never looked like scoring.

I don’t know what happened out there but it has left me shell-shocked and a bit angry. The ref was a moron for sure. But we never helped ourselves out there.

We did lose the match but the bad thing is we have lost Fabregas and Eboue to injuries. Not a great day at all for us.

What to expect next!? Rant on!

Braga vs Arsenal preview: Will we have learnt anything!?

November 23, 2010

The million dollar question after Saturday is: Will the last defeat have thought us anything? I don’t know the answer to this. In fact the answer will only be given at the end of the season because simply words don’t matter now, results do and they haven’t been going in our favor consistently. The defeat on Saturday is still hurting. The away wins against Everton and Wolves are a distant memory as we head into today’s match to redeem our lost faith, or will it?

Today we are facing Braga at their home and a win or a draw will see us qualify for the next round. A loss will make the next group match a must win for qualification.

Our squad is somewhat depleted for today with Andrei Arshavin, Clichy and Van Persie not travelling. Arshavin has been given a rest, Clichy has a back problem and Van Persie isn’t 100 percent so he has been left behind. Besides these Diaby and Vermaelen are still out. Almunia and Ramsey are with the reserve team; in fact they have started the reserve game against Wolves. Wenger was to yet to make a decision on Fabregas. The starting team therefore for me would be

Probable XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Djourou, Gibbs, Song, Wilshere, Fabregas, Walcott, Bendtner, Rosicky.

Fabianski to return in goal. Djourou is improving a lot and he shall a get a start today alongside Squillaci. Koscielny wasn’t spectacular against Tottenham so he should be on bench. Gibbs shall replace Clichy on the left and I hope he lasts for the whole game. Sagna on the right or if he needs a rest then Eboue to replace him.

In middle Wilshere has had his rest so he is likely to start. Song and Fabregas to retain their places. Or if Fabregas isn’t ready Nasri should start then.

Upfront Chamakh needs a breather and as Van Persie hasn’t travelled Bendtner will get an opportunity to start. Walcott to start on the right and I hope he returns to the way he was playing before the injury. Rosicky to start in place of Arshavin to complete the eleven.

The team from here looks strong but we have come to know that nothing comes easy with Arsenal. On any other day it would have been an easy game but after last Saturday you never know. Still it is a new day and we may yet be surprised. We need to be at our 200 percent best for the whole 90 minutes to come up with a win. Anything less will be bad for us and more tense times ahead.

We have beaten them before but this season we have lost against those whom we have beaten before; like Newcastle, Shakhtar and Tottenham. I am not saying anything about this match as the outcome depends on how we show up and how we play. Frankly speaking I will take a draw. We have been so inconsistent that a win won’t change much. I am being pessimistic but that’s how I have been since the derby collapse; we have massive results away from home and then we lose at home a game we are dominating.

Wenger is giving his every drop of blood for success as he said:

“I want so much for this team to win that I am giving every drop of my blood to make sure that they win. I want them to be successful because they deserve it and it hurts when you get so close as you did on Saturday and you don’t manage to do it.”

Let’s hope the team does come up with a solution because something is not right with so much inconsistency.

May be this game will start a run of games for us that will put the defeat behind. Not looking too much ahead, let’s get a result in this one.

Fingers crossed!

Spectacular display of Football: Arsenal Demolish Braga

September 16, 2010

Arsenal announced its arrival back on the European stage with a bang. Thumping six goals past the debutants of Champions League, Braga, in the process. It was thought that the side from Portugal would show some resistance, but from start to finish it was a one sided match. And no matter what the opposition, Arsenal did display football at its best; one that would make you just want to sit back and watch without it ending. Credit goes to Arsenal for taking the opposition out of the equation because whatever the opposition you have to beat them. And if it’s done in style the better it is. Read the rest of this entry »

The Road to Wembley: A Start

September 15, 2010

A quick preview of our opening match in the Champions League. The Champions League kicked off yesterday for the current season. Arsenal have their first match today at home against the Portuguese side, Braga. Braga surprised everyone when they qualified for the Champions League this season, it is their first time, by disposing of Sevilla and Celtic in the process. Last season they finished at number two in their league. They are a team that can hit a counter attack quite efficiently, so we would need to be careful in our play and not get caught out. Read the rest of this entry »

Arsenal Drawn in Group H And A New Signing

August 26, 2010

The draws scheduled today for Champions League have been done and the groups have been confirmed. The draw was held in Monaca this evening. There were four pots of 8 teams each. Read the rest of this entry »