Player Ratings: West Brom 2 – 2 Arsenal

March 20, 2011

Well, the game did play out to some of my expectations. I expected that the match wouldn’t be a walk in the park but I never expected a draw or drop of points.  I expected a bad performance from Denison but not a freak goal and mistake from Almunia and Squillaci. I expected any one of Arshavin, Van Persie and Nasri to produce a big moment but I never expected four goals to be scored. As it stands, we are now five points behind Manchester united with a game in hand.

As far as the performance is concerned, it was below par for like an hour and only when Arshavin scored the first goal out of nowhere, we became alive. The more alarming thing is that it took two goals for our players to wake. But that can be taken as an improvement because when we played them last time at the Emirates, it took three goals for us to realize that we were losing, and eventually we did lose that game.

The defense today was in shambles as everyone made mistakes after mistakes. No communication, no coordination, no positioning, everything was erratic to say the least. In the middle also we failed to create much. Our movement and passing wasn’t sharp enough. Upfront, we had very limited chances to score from.

And as for learning from our mistakes, that we will never do. We again had plenty of possession but we created very little opportunities. We again conceded by giving away an unnecessary corner, by a mistake of the keeper and defender and by not closing down the opposition or attacking the aerial balls.

West Brom on the other hand scored two goals with their two shots on goal and looked threatening every time they were in our half.

However, I am disgusted the most with Denilson’s performance and Almunia and Squillaci’s mix up which sums up our failings of the season very nicely. Denilson for me shall never start for Arsenal again. He has been given chance after chance and everytime he disappoints. It’s becoming unbearable to watch him trot at a snail’s pace and then give away the ball when under no pressure. Simply not acceptable if we want to win something.

Same goes for Almunia. He may produce a couple of good games but mistakes such as the one committed today are a telling us quite clearly that he never will be a good keeper and will always cost points. Squillaci too needs to step up exponentially or he will be joining them soon enough. He is just a step behind.

The only positive if it can be taken as a  positive is the way we came back. We could have even won it in the end. However, if we had started playing from the first minute it would never have come to that and I see this as two points dropped and not one point gained.

Coming to player ratings:

Almunia (1): I don’t know what he was thinking when he came out of goal like that. Horrible piece of keeping that spoilt the game. It is mistakes like these that he will never be a good keeper as I said before.

Sagna (5): He made a lot of uncharacteristic errors as his positioning was not good and left his side exposed a lot. The corner which led to West brom’s first goal should never have been conceded had Sagna not lost his man.

Koscielny (5): He also made plenty of uncharacteristic mistakes. Needs to improve his partnership with Squillaci or else we will be seeing more performances like these.

Squillaci (3): Horrible mistake for the second goal. Did produce a great block late in the game to deny West Brom a win. Needs lots of improvement.

Clichy (5.5): Upfront delivered in a few good crosses, one of which should have been a goal, had Ramsey done better. However, he did give away the ball on more than a few occasions which led to nervous moments at the back.

Wilshere (6): Nothing much from the youngster as he did well in the second half alongside Nasri in the middle of the park.

Denilson (2): My temper with him has crossed the boiling point.  He was in the lineup today as we have no other defensive midfielder. Showed again that he doesn’t want to play.

Nasri (6): Again nothing much from Nasri but similarly to Wilshere did well in the midfield in the second half.

Arshavin (7): Anonymous for like 75 percent of the game. However, produced a magical moment for the first goal and then crossed the ball which led to the second goal.

Van Persie (6.5): Tried his best even without support. Scored the vital second goal.

Ramsey (5.5): He isn’t ready to start games. Lost his man for the first goal and missed a simple tap in the first half. Not going to judge him much as he hasn’t played football at this level for a year.

Subs:

Chamakh (6) and Bendtner (6) provide good support to van Persie and increased our presence in the box. Bendtner provided the assist for the second goal.


West Brom vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

March 19, 2011

I had taken some time off from football after what happened last Saturday. The negativity, however, that has followed ever since Arsenal’s exit from three competitions has been immense and highly uncalled for. No doubt the departures have been frustrating and disappointing but to completely overlook what the team has achieved this season on the basis of two weeks result is not logical. No doubt we have our liabilities and I do agree with some of the points that have been raised but the way people have gone about it is not right. And also now isn’t the time to be discussing the weaknesses of the team. When the season is over, there will be plenty to talk about. What we need to do right now is to get behind the team because the media will always find reasons to ridicule us. No doubt, everyone is entitled to their own views but we as fans would do better if we stick to supporting the team.

Coming on to today’s game, it is against West Brom at their home and after what happened the last time we faced them, this won’t be a  walk in the park. The game had plenty of goals the last time and if I am not wrong, Almunia didn’t have a good day. Ironically he is making his return in the League against the same oppositions and after his brilliant display against Barcelona and Manchester United, I am gunning for another good performance.

Today I also feel there won’t be many goals. One reason is that West Brom are under Hodgson and the second because we will also approach the game a bit more cautiously. And with plenty of our regular starters missing, we will have difficulty in the opening them up, as we witnessed the last time.

We will have to be disciplined in the middle of the park and move the ball around with precision and pace and only then we will be able to open them up. Much will depend on how our regulars play. No doubt to win the whole team will have to perform but Nasri and company will have to produce some magical moments that will lead to goals.

At the back too, Squillaci and Koscielny will have to stay alert. These two have had their weaknesses exploited when playing besides each other and with Almunia also not playing regularly with them, the problems can be compounded. Communication among them will be key and the midfield will have to do their job if we are not to concede. And please Arsenal no half hearted attempts in defense and middle of the park, like we witnessed against Manchester United last Saturday. Fight for every ball and close down opposition players early so that they don’t create goal scoring opportunities.

Upfront, we will have to ensure that we don’t waste chances. I don’t want another opposing keeper getting the man of the match.

For the starting eleven, we don’t have many good options as there are a few injuries in important positions. Arsene Wenger again will have to make some bold decisions.

In goal it has been confirmed that Almunia will start. The back line picks it up itself with Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy and Sagna.

In the middle, Wilshere and Nasri are the easy picks. However, with no Song and Diaby, we have Ramsey and Denilson to choose from for the third spot. To be honest, the more I wish for not seeing Denilson in the starting lineup, the more likely it is that he will start. As it will be today because Ramsey I fear isn’t yet ready to start a game.

Upfront too Van Persie and Arshavin are easy picks. On the right we have the options to start with Rosicky, Bendtner and Eboue. Eboue doesn’t add much while Bendtner also doesn’t impress when he starts on wings. And although Rosicky has also been poor, I will start with him on the right because he will help us keep the ball better (if he plays well).

Probable starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Wilshere, Nasri, Denilson, Rosicky, RVP, Arshavin

If everything goes according to plan we will be level on points with Manu by five o clock and hopefully top of the table (if Manu lose their game). We have only the league to focus on and after a weeks break I want to see a good display from our team. Please Arsenal give your best, show that you want the title by winning today and rest of the remaining games. We all are behind you or else it will be hard not only for you but also for us to keep believing in you. 

Keep your fingers crossed and enjoy the game where ever you are. Tonight we start the final lap of the season which hopefully will end with the League title in May (after which we can start sorting out the weaknesses of the team).


Arsene Wenger’s latest injury news ahead of West Brom

March 18, 2011

Arsenal are going to play West Brom at their home on Saturday in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger gave the latest injury news ahead of it on Thursday.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger put the rumors to rest, of an early return for Johan Djourou, as he confirmed that Djourou is out for at least 6 weeks with a very little possibility to feature again this season. He will have arthroscopy on Monday to get more details on the extent of the injury as Wenger hoped for good news.

Cesc Fabregas has also been ruled out for Saturday as Wenger revealed that he will be back after the International break. Walcott is also not available for this weekend and also for England in the International break.

Alex Song with a knee, Wojciech Szczesny with a finger and Abou Diaby with a groin injury are all ruled out for their respective times.  

Arsene Wenger on Thursday said:

“Johan Djourou is out for at least six weeks. There’s a little chance [he will play again this season], he has an arthroscopy on Monday and we will know more about the damage in his shoulder. We hope we will have good news but no matter what happens he will be out for six weeks.

Cesc Fabregas is out for the game on Saturday. He should be back after the international break, maybe, he has a chance, but he is not available for the weekend. Walcott is not available for the weekend and he has no chance [for the international break]. He is not available for England.”


The Problems are to be Eradicated

September 28, 2010

The next couple of games, starting from today, are very important for Arsenal as it will determine where our season will head. The way we present ourselves in these games will show us whether we are capable of putting aside our mistakes and grind out results in our favour. Read the rest of this entry »


Arsenal vs West Bromwich Albion: Preview

September 25, 2010

After the great news of pre-tax profits of £56million for the year ending May 2010, it’s time to get to business. Arsenal are to play the newly promoted West Brom today at home. West brom have responded well after being drubbed on the opening day by Chelsea and are currently at 10th position with 7 points. They will be confident today after their mid week victory over Man City in the Carling Cup.

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