Newcastle United vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

February 5, 2011

Today is yet another Premiership game and this time our opponents are Newcastle United, who have already beaten us at our home this season.

For me they are an unpredictable team as they have the knack of getting unexpected results. When they are on fire they can score plenty of goals, when not, they also concede plenty. Conversely, they can also frustrate with good organization at the back as they did the last time against us.   

This match is going to be difficult and we will need to be on top of our game to get the maximum. Newcastle will resort to the same tactics employed the last time they faced us. They will keep it very tight at the back and look for opportunities on set pieces and counters. However, with no Andy Carroll, our jobs will be slightly easier in defense but we would need to break them down upfront. And for that we will require a high tempo start and an early goal.

On the other hand, this game is going to get more difficult if we don’t score goals and Newcastle will be more than happy to get a point.

As for the starting eleven, I hope Wenger doesn’t make too many changes for this one. I will go out with the same team that started against Everton, replacing the injured.

Arsene Wenger has already confirmed that Szczesny is going to be in goal. As for the centre backs, I have a feeling that Squillaci is going to start today.  However, I would go with Djourou and Koscielny as we can’t afford to make mistakes at the back in this one. Sagna and Clichy must retain their places from the last game.

In the middle, with no Song, Diaby will get a start. Wilshere must keep his focus today and start better. Fabregas will complete the midfield.

Rosicky didn’t have a good game last time, so I would replace him with Arshavin, who certainly looked better. Walcott has been declared fit, so he must start on the right side. If not, then Bendtner will be the next best option. Van Persie to retain his place.  

Probable Starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Wilshere, Fabregas, Diaby, Walcott, RVP, Arshavin

As usual, the way we are playing we should win this and we must because we don’t have the option of dropping points.  However, we will need a similar display of character today which we displayed against Everton, if things are not going in our favor.

Three points is all that matters and I hope we don’t get any more injuries.

Keep your fingers crossed and let’s beat them like we did in the Carling Cup earlier in the season.  

Come on Gunners!!

Player Ratings: Arsenal 2 – 1 Everton

February 2, 2011

As it was expected, the game against Everton turned out to be a difficult game. However, we coped with it admirably, despite a slow start and showed the world that we are gunning for glory.

The overall team performance was above average. Most of the players who were disappointing in the first half stepped up the gear in the second which proved to be decisive.

The defense at times looked vulnerable but they did enough to keep the Everton players at bay.

The midfield players in the first half failed to make much impact but in the second half they dominated the game. There was a moment in the second half when we had hundred percent possession.

Upfront the movement was good but we couldn’t finish our chances, most of which were quite difficult. However, Arshavin’s finish was a beauty.

However, the best thing about yesterday’s win was that we never lost our focus, never stopped trying and despite not playing our best game, we still got the maximum points. In the past we have lost such games because we wouldn’t keep our patience and eventually drop points.

Coming to player ratings:

Szczesny (6): Had a quiet game as he didn’t have much to do. Wasn’t at fault for the goal. Produced one good save but must improve his distribution. Although I don’t like time wasting but it was good to see he was taking time as most teams do against us when they are leading.

Sagna (6.5): A decent game from the Frenchman. Was caught once or twice but covered up well and produced some good interceptions late on.

Djourou (6.5): He too had a decent game. Did well on most occasions but it wasn’t good to see that he at times allowed the Everton players to get past him quite easily.

Koscielny (7.5): A very good game from the Frenchman. Gave no space to Saha and was always early to clear the ball. Aerially was also dominant. Went close to scoring a couple of times and got the all important winning goal.

Clichy (8): Top game, didn’t put a foot wrong. From start to finish was solid at the back and upfront was a continuous threat. Produced a great run late on.

Wilshere (5.5): Didn’t make a good start and at times gave away the ball very cheaply. Improved his game in the second half. Produced one great pass to Van Persie, that would have been a goal any other day.

Fabregas (6.5): He too didn’t make much of an impact in the first half. Got into good positions but couldn’t finish. However, in the second produced some delightful balls one of which led to a goal.

Song (5): Good work rate but wasn’t at his best. Didn’t make much of an impact in attack and failed to make his presence felt in the middle. He got substituted after the first half due to an injury.

Walcott (6): Was a constant threat but I feel he wasn’t utilized enough. Did his part in defense.

Van Persie (6.5): Again some nice touches and good movement but couldn’t finish when required. Delivered some excellent corners one of which led to a goal. Went close to scoring form a free kick and helped the team in defending.

Rosicky (5.5): He had an anonymous game. Produced one great pass to Fabregas and had one shot on goal besides helping in defense.


Arshavin (8) was great when he came on. Showed urgency and desire and coolly slotted the equalizer. Diaby (7) also made a quick impact in stabilizing our midfield. Had some good moments but still he needs to be quick in making decisions. Bendtner (6.5) looked confident but still needs to improve a lot. Went close to scoring with an overhead kick.

Arsenal 2 – 1 Everton: A massive win, Arshavin is back as he and Koscielny scored vital goals

February 1, 2011

ArsenaL 2 - 1 Everton:The team after Koscielny put us ahead

A massive win and crucial three points secured by us after coming back from a goal down.

It wasn’t a performance to be remembered but the desire and willingness to get the points was great. The spirit and character shown by the team was admirable. Despite not creating many clear chances, we continued to probe for goals and eventually got them. We kept our focus and patience. Our passing wasn’t quick and incisive but we were putting good pressure on the Everton backline, who were defending quite well. And in the end we got our reward.

Everton made a better start than us but got the goal controversially when Saha slotted home from an offside position in the 24th minute. Besides that Everton created very little.

Arshavin got the equalizer when he got the ball in the six-yard box from Rodwell’s back-header on Fabregas’ chip.

Koscielny scored the winner with his head from a corner in the 75th minute after a great free kick from Van Persie was saved by the keeper.

Besides this we created a few other chances but none of them were clear cut goal scoring opportunities except the one in the first half where Van Persie failed to keep the ball down on Wilshere’s pass.

After taking the lead we held onto it till the end and got the three points that may well prove to be important in the end.

Leave your thoughts below.

p.s. Player ratings to follow

Arsenal vs Everton: Preview and Starting Eleven

February 1, 2011

After a hard fought victory against Huddersfield Town just two days back, we are back in action tonight at the Emirates against Everton.

Everton are enjoying a very decent spell at the moment and after holding Chelsea to a draw at the weekend, they will certainly be looking for at least a point tonight. Last season they gave us a very hard time in this fixture and only Rosicky’s goal in injury time got us a point. So expect a very difficult game.  

As for us, we have given some very dominating and some very frustrating performances in the past few games. If we are to get the maximum points tonight and keep pace with United at the top, we will need another dominating performance from our team.

As for the starting eleven, I am expecting only Koscielny and Arshavin to keep their places from the last game.

Szczesny will return in goal as well as Djourou at the centre back position. On the flanks we will see our best fullbacks, Sagna and Clichy, to return as tonight we cannot take risks.

In the middle too, our most lethal trio of Fabregas, Wilshere and Song will be back.

As for the forwards, with Nasri out, I would prefer Arsahvin to start in his place with Van Persie and Walcott completing the team.

Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Walcott, RVP,Arshavin.

As for the game, I have said before that it won’t be easy, so we will need the right attitude from the start. Possession will be vital along with finishing our chances. We will need to make sure that we aren’t caught on the counter as Everton are very good at it. An early goal for us will make the game easier. However, if they score first, things will become more difficult.

Considering the fact that our first team will be starting, I am expecting a win but still we will need a top performance from them as we cannot drop more points in the Premier League. Another three goals plus a clean sheet will be amazing but I will be content with a win no matter how we get it. And I hope no one else gets injured.

Keep your fingers crossed!! This game will be exciting to the very end.

Player Ratings: Everton 1 – 2 Arsenal

November 15, 2010

Another away game and another massive result. Not a perfect game from us but again we showed the desire and determination to get the three points and the whole team delivered. Now twice in a row we have grinded out results despite not being at our best. On both occasions we have done enough. Just imagine what the results would be if we played in our best form. We just have to show consistency. Read the rest of this entry »

Everton 1 – 2 Arsenal report: Job done without being spectacular!

November 14, 2010

We have done it again without being spectacular or playing our game for most times. The three points matter the most and that we got. I would divide our performance into three phases. The slow start, the composed football after the goals and the frantic final minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

Everton vs Arsenal preview: Resilience and Determination will get the three points!

November 14, 2010

Everton vs Arsenal: Another must win game

We are up against Everton today. We weren’t great against Wolves but we did enough to scrap out a win. Wolves were much disciplined and they weren’t shy of attacking. The same is to be expected today. Everton are a good defending side which can be seen from their number of goals conceded this far. They can also score some goals but the return this season hasn’t been good but that can be misleading. With their start striker Luis Saha to return and players like Cahill, Arteta and Pienaar they sure have the personnel to damage any team. Like Wolves this won’t be an easy game. We would have to show the resilience we showed against Wolves and take our chances up front to get the maximum. Read the rest of this entry »