Wenger on who will feature tonight: Jenkinson, Miyachi, Chamberlain, Coquelin and Frimpong set to start

September 20, 2011

Carling Cup is going to get underway tonight with Arsenal hosting Shrewsbury town. Arsenal are set to stick to their youth policy for the Carling Cup, as has been done over the last few years. 

Arsene Wenger, speaking ahead of the game to the official Arsenal site, revealed he will give a chance to his young players while keeping a balance between experience and youth. 

The Manager, adding he had the team in his head before the Blackburn game, confirmed that Ryo Miyaichi, Francis Coquelin, Frimpong, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Jenkinson and Ju-Young Park will all feature tonight.

Arsene Wenger, on Monday, said:

“We have a big squad now and we want to make use of that. I will give a chance for young players to shine and find the right mixture in this competition between keeping our faith in young players and, of course, winning the games.

“That means having the right balance between experience and youth.”

“I had my team in my head before the Blackburn game and it will remain exactly the same. We will have Frimpong, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ryo, and maybe one or two more. There is an also opportunity to see Park for the first time.

“Chamakh will also feature. You will also see Jenkinson start in his position. We will try to find a mixture between youth and experience.”


Blackburn 4 – 3 Arsenal: Thoughts and Player Ratings

September 17, 2011

It is very hard to write something about a game that seems all too familiar now. Hours have passed since it ended and it is still painful and embarrassing. I thought I had the worst of it against Manu but this is in the same league.

What’s the count for us now in giving away leads after yet another farce? Starting from the season before last, it has now become a norm for us to give away leads. We are hardly over one loss when Arsenal ends up with yet another show of comedies.

I don’t have it in me to go over what happened in the game. In a nut shell, we scored, we conceded, we scored again, we scored (this time at our own end), we conceded, we scored at our own end again! (By this time we had scored 4 goals and were losing by two goals), and then we realized we have to score against the opposition, but it was all too late.

In between all his, we squandered a lot chances either through bad finishing or selfish play. We played the best first half that we have played all this season, despite some bad moments, yet we turned up in the second half as if Blackburn were going to give us the win gift wrapped. Why Why Why do we always do this?

Highlights of the game were we again showed how inept we are at defending and how leads can be squandered away by simply switching off after the half time break. We again showed how easy it is to make the same mistakes because it is quite difficult to correct them. We again showed that our problem is not individuals but the system we play. Although the individuals do amplify all the problems.

I know I am being too negative but tell me what the point of staying positive is when every other game we are going to witness is like this!? Yes, we had a great result against Dortmund, yes, we had a good first half today, but then you don’t have a one-game-season and you don’t have a football game with only one half. You have to fight for the whole season; you have to fight for the whole 90 minutes to have something at the end of it. One great result, one great half doesn’t make a difference in the long run.

The saddest bit is that we usually play like this at the end of the season, like we have done in the last couple of seasons. This time we are doing it from the start and if things are to continue like this, we are heading for a bottom half finish, forget the top four.

When will the team realize this is beyond me. As for Wenger, I am at a loss for words as to what has gone wrong with him. Why has he allowed the things to go wrong this much? Every defeat like this is going to be the final nails in his coffin. Or not!? Personally, I can’t seem to make up my mind on Wenger, one half of me wants him to stay and do well, and the other says his time is over. One thing is for sure, we need changes at the club, be it in the back room staff or the whole management, it should be done fast.

Looking ahead, I don’t see anything at the moment. It is going to take a season long time to finally get over this and that too if we end up in the top four.

I will now come to the player ratings:

Szczesny: (6) Made a couple of good saves but made a few school boy errors too like the one where he came forward in the first half and was caught in no man’s land. Wasn’t at fault for any of the goals, though, could have done better on the fourth.  

Sagna: (6) Going forward produced some good crosses. At the back was solid but did lose his man a couple of times. I hope the injury is not bad

Mertesacker:  (6) Can’t blame him for anything except for not putting the ball in the back of the net in injury time late on. We knew he was slow when we bought him! It is more of a fault with the way we defend.

Koscielny: (4) He produces a game like this every now and then which highlights the problems we face as a team. Nothing went for him today and he ended up with an own goal. Unlucky or incompetent you decide!

Santos: (5) Wasn’t the start I expected from him. If I had my way, I would not have started with him in this game. At fault for the first goal and not good with his positioning. Although his crosses late on in the game were great, defensive stability is what we need right now and he didn’t provide that today.

Ramsey: (6) Surprised to see him start today. Looked lively while going forward and was involved a lot. Produced a great assist for Arteta’s goal. Disappeared in the second half like most of our players did.

Arteta: (6) Opened his Arsenal account with a good finish. Was at the heart of every good thing in the first half. However, he needs to do much more as he was nowhere in the second half.

Song: (6) As I said in my preview that his ability to pick a pass can be useful. He proved it today with his assist on the first goal and started the move that led to the second. A great first half from him but in the second had the complete opposite. Was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he scored that own goal. Should have also done better on the fourth and rightly substituted later in the game.

Arshavin: (6) Looked lively and had a couple of good shots on goal. Created a few openings but it was his needless foul that led to the second Blackburn equalizer. Needs to do more in terms of creating opportunities and improve his finishing which has gone way off.

RVP: (6) He needs to be passed the ball if we want him to score. Had a couple of shots from tight positions late on that were saved and provided the assist for the third goal. Otherwise he wasn’t given the support required.

Gervinho: (6) Scored a good first goal and looked dangerous throughout the match. However, was frustrating at the same time with his selfishness and bad decision making. He needs to learn that the team is more important than individual goals. Needs to learn when to pass and when to go for goal.  Had he found van Persie late on in the first half, things might have been different.

Subs:

Djourou: (2.5) Don’t have anything to say about him as he has forgotten how to play football. Is it his entire fault!? Wenger will know the answer to this!

Walcott: (6) Produced some excellent crosses but then again we don’t attack the ball. Can’t blame him.

Chamakh: (6) It was a welcome change that he found the net with his head today. Should have scored another but really can’t blame him for the dropped points.

 


Karim Benzema to Arsenal! Agent denies rumours

May 14, 2011

We have got plenty of players getting linked with us at the moment and Karim Benzema, the former Lyon striker and currently playing at Real Madrid is one of them. He hasn’t enjoyed the best of times at Real Madrid ever since his transfer and speculations are rife that he may move to other clubs this summer. Even today there was a report that claimed that Benzema has been given the green light for a £25 million move to Arsenal. He has also been linked with Juventus and Inter Milan. The questions that remains is, Are these rumors true? I hope they are but I am not holding my breath!

The reason being, Benzema’s agent, Karim Djaziri,  recently dismissed all transfer rumours by saying that the front man is going to stay at Real Madrid next season as he is happy.  

“At the moment there is nothing and I think Benzema will stay at Real Madrid even next season as he is happy there. The rest is just talk.”

However, in football things can change pretty quickly. If we really are interested in him, and personally I feel that he will thrive here, then we should pursue him. He is not only talented but has won things and can adapt quickly to our style of play. He is strong and powerful and has an eye for goal. Only recently he had a goal spree for Real Madrid when Gonzalo Higuain was out injured. We were also interested in him while he was still at Lyon before Real paid big money to acquire his services. And the argument that I always give is he is only going to get better under Wenger.

We also need someone who can compete with van Persie upfront because frankly speaking Bendtner and Chamakh have failed this season when RVP has been around. Bendtner still has done somewhat better considering he has mainly played on the flanks and mostly as a substitute.

The only major obstacle in his signing can be the asking price as Wenger is not known to spend this much amount of money on a single player. But then nothing comes cheap these days. If we want to buy quality this summer, we will have to pay the price.

Many other clubs will be looking at how the situation develops at Real and they will be ready to pounce.  

But then again, Real Madrid might decide not to sell him at all as Benzema’s agent has suggested that he will be staying in Madrid.  

Anyhow, I have my fingers crossed but I won’t be surprised if it bears no fruit. I can already see the argument Wenger has in store for not acquiring a forward!

What do you think? Do we need a striker and should we pursue him?

Bonne journée!!


Player Ratings: Arsenal 1 – 1 Leeds

January 8, 2011

The overall performance of the team was not up to what we have displayed in the last two games. Our passing and movement was slow and we weren’t decisive enough. We still had plenty of possession but it was of no use as Leeds easily defended whatever we created. We improved greatly when Fabregas and Walcott were brought on though.

The defence was not bad but there were few occasions where we were caught sleeping. Djourou clearly was a beast there and Szczesny was excellent.

In the middle, we did create a lot of chances but the passing tempo was slow.

While upfront, no one really made an impact despite presented with lots of chances. Walcott was the one who made the real difference.

Coming to player ratings:

Szczesny (7.5): Great keeping. Kept us in the game when it was level and also when we were a goal down. Nearly saved the penalty and overall good decision making from him.

Eboue (7): He was a constant threat while going forward. At times however was caught out of position at the back. Some of his crosses were really good.

Squillaci (5.5): Not impressed by his outing today. He should be the one with experience and confidence and today he himself looked short of both. Some of his decisions were poor.

Djourou (9): This man impresses every game. We would have lost today if not for him and Szczesny at the back. Reads the game really well and was always present at the right place at the right time. Made some vital interceptions and clearances.Was strong in the air and on the ground. Top performance!!

Gibbs (6.5): A good game by him while returning from an injury. Some of his runs and crosses were good.

Song (6): Looked unimpressed by the proceedings. Still did most of the things correctly.

Rosicky (6.5): He started very brightly and helped our game flow. His movement and touches were good however lost it in the later parts and was rightly substituted. He also gave away the ball at the wrong place on a few occasions.

Denilson (5): I don’t know what to say on him. Some of his shots were great as they tested the keeper. However, he just doesn’t have pace and strength. Gave away a silly penalty too.

Arshavin (5): I am at a loss as to what has happened to him. He is a genius, a master in his game if he plays, sadly most of the times he doesn’t. Nothing went right for the Russian today as he did try on a few occasions. On others he simply didn’t. Should have scored the opener on Rosicky’s lobbed pass. However, showed good technique on a few shots.

Chamakh (4): Another bad performance from him. IMO he is feeling the rigors of the Premier League.

Bendtner(6): Started the game well but went onto miss plenty of chances. Landed most of his headers over the bar.

Subs: Fabregas (8.5) changed the game when he came on. His presence increased the momentum of our passing and we looked more of a threat. Great composure while taking the penalty. Walcott (8) also made a big impact when he came on. Made some good runs and used his pace well. Still should have scored at the end when he shot the ball straight to the keeper. Vela (no rating) had very less time to make impact.

I will conclude by saying that we have to put this behind for now and look ahead to our next game. We still have a chance to qualify for the next round and hopefully when we face Leeds at their home we will get the job done.


Player Ratings: Arsenal 2 – 3 Tottenham

November 20, 2010

Third loss at home and again it is due to a sloppy performance. Away from home we are giving spirited performances but at home we simply cannot remain focused for the whole 90 minutes. After the start we had it looked like we would cruise on to a win but again we lost the desire when it mattered. That second half was just a f****** pathetic display of football by us. How can one give away a two goal cushion and that too against the Spuds at home? It was very painful, more painful than the West Brom and Newcastle games combined. Read the rest of this entry »


Arsenal 2 – 3 Tottenham report: One for the Drains

November 20, 2010

Simply disappointing. A match is played over two halves and I guess our team didn’t realize that they had to play the second half. We were given an opportunity last weekend and we have simply blown it. I guess we cannot keep it simple and have to lose because Chelsea lost last weekend. How many times have we seen that we throw away a match that we are dominating? We just lose our focus. Complacent again? I don’t know but that second half was very painful to watch as the Spuds took the match away from us.

It’s also another loss at home and that is twice in a row now. Perhaps we need to bring our hopes down. We can forget the title at the moment and give it a go at the cups, the only realistic chance of a trophy this year.

The game started with us keeping better possession and creating good goal scoring opportunities. The Spuds were chasing shadows. We were rewarded for our good play in the 9th minute when Fabregas flew in a brilliant lobbed pass down the middle. Nasri got on the end of it. His touch took the ball away from Gomes and it seemed it was going out before Nasri’s touch spun the ball over the line from a tight angle.

Fabregas had a chance to put us two ahead but his shot wasn’t on target after he brilliantly made space for himself with a nice touch on a pass from Song. We got our second on a counter when Fabregas fed Arshavin on the left. His cross was deflected by Chamakh into the back of the net. Two goals up and the rest of the half was all Arsenal. Near the end of the first half our defenders were tested a bit but there was no clear cut chance for Tottenham. We in fact could have gone a third goal up and put the match to rest if Chamakh hadn’t made a terrible mess of a good ball form Fabregas.

Still we were two goals up as we headed into the break , we were dominating the possession and it looked like we will get this match. The catch was if we had kept it simple and played the same way but of course we don’t keep it simple.  I don’t know why we have to make things hard for ourselves. The second half saw rejuvenated Spuds and we simply didn’t raise our game to their level. We were still keeping the ball nicely but at the back we were playing a dangerous game. We were attacking the ball early and keeping a high offside trap for which we were punished.

Spurs got the early goal they wanted as our backline was caught ball napping as it went over them. Van Der Vaart, who was terrible in the first half, got the ball from defoe and passed it along to Bale, who was quite in the first and he put it into the far corner. They were back in the match. Two of their players who we had kept quite in the first half opened their account. Still we had the match under control.

Chamakh again had a chance to make it three for us but he was simply slow to take the initiative. That allowed the Tottenham defence to close him down. At the other end Tottenham got a free kick. As it was delivered in, standing at the wall, Fabregas and Chamakh both raised their arms into the path of the ball. The ref pointed to spot straight away. I don’t know what happened to Fabregas and Chamakh but that was embarrassing and unbelievable. Van Der Vaart from the spot kick sent Fabianski the wrong way and they were leveled.

We still would have taken the match. Fabregas’ curling shot was saved by Gomes and Koscielny had an open net to head in but he made a mess of it. Van Persie, Rosicky and Walcott were thrown by Wenger but they didn’t make much impact. At the other end Tottenham were looking threatening. They had another free kick which was delivered in by Van Der Vaart. Kaboul got in between the defenders and headed the ball into the far corner. Poor defending. The spurs were ahead for the first time and there were only 5 minutes of normal time let. We tried to get a goal back but it was not enough as the time ran out.

Painful ending to a match that should have been won by us in the first place. Tottenham got their first win at our home in a long time and I simply cannot register the fact that we have lost to them. This is two games in a row now we have lost to the Spuds in the league. And the fact that it is our third loss at home this season makes it all the more astonishing.

It was just another pathetic display of football by us in the second half. It is becoming more of a norm now I guess. I am not going much ahead but this match is simply going down the drain for me. All is not lost yet but what more can we expect. From now on it will just be match at a time and I am simply not going to expect much until we really achieve something.

Keep the faith!


Looking forward to one hell of a ride!

October 31, 2010

Since the start of this season we have been facing a lot of injury problems. At times we have been without 7 first team players. Still we have managed to remain at the top of the table. We have had to deal with a couple of loses on the way but that is part and parcel of the game. The most important thing is the performance and the way you deliver on the field. It’s still early in the season but the way things are moving we are in for one hell of a ride and hopefully it will have a great ending. Read the rest of this entry »