Friday, 28 September 2007
A struggling West Ham took all three against Arsène Wenger’s men in a fractious affair on November 5, 2006. A struggling Fulham, Manchester City and Sheffield United did exactly the same thing over the course of the campaign.
It was Arsenal’s Achilles’ heel. Leaving all the other factors aside, that 12 points alone would have put them on the coat-tails of second-place Manchester United in the final reckoning and given them much more say in the destination of the Premiership title.
Arsenal return to the East End of London on Saturday as English football’s free-flowing force. They are top of the table right now and at the top of their game. But although Arsenal have put may wrongs right this season — winning not drawing early on at Emirates, keeping their discipline at places like Blackburn and Sparta — this game represents a different kind of challenge.
“Yes, it is another test for us,” said Wenger at his pre-match press conference. “And don’t forget we have not played many games away yet. We played at Blackburn, we played at Tottenham but this game is another test.
“We can show that we are stronger than last year if we can make a result at West Ham and do it in a more convincing way. For me, we were not convincing at all last year at West Ham.
"I am not surprised we are up there this year. I expected us to do well and fight for the championship. But the games so far were tight and everything went for us. We have won many in the last 10 minutes so we have to keep our feet on the ground and continue to focus on what we do well. And we know we have to fight on Saturday because a huge commitment will be needed at West Ham.”
There was mixed news from the training ground at Friday’s press conference. Alex Hleb came through tests on his knee but Eduardo dropped out with a groin problem. The manager had already ruled out Jens Lehmann (elbow), Alex Song (calf), William Gallas (groin) and Tomas Rosicky (hamstring).
West Ham’s victory over Arsenal last season was pretty much a blip in a difficult early campaign. They rallied under new boss Alan Curbishley and hauled themselves clear of the dropzone in the final few games. The absence of Dean Ashton with a broken ankle was said to be one of the main reasons.
The fit-again 23-year-old has been well-known to Wenger for some time. The Frenchman made concerted attempts to sign the burly frontman early in his career.
"When he was at Crewe, they played against us in the Youth Cup and he was outstanding,” said the Arsenal manager. “I tried to get him here after that but they had an agreement with Liverpool.
"He is an intelligent player and uses his body well and is good in the air. We were looking at the time for someone who could give us something a bit different and help us play slightly more direct if needed. We felt he could develop into that sort of player. After, he went to Norwich and that was a surprise because suddenly he would not join us. My understanding was that there was a gentleman's agreement that Crewe would not sell him to any other Premier League club than Liverpool.
“Yes in my opinion he is good enough for England now. Certainly he will be involved now because you have Owen and Heskey out. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Steve McClaren in the stand on Saturday.”
Sunday, 23 September 2007
10′ [1 - 0] A. Diaby View25′ [2 - 0] E.S. Adebayor View50′ [3 - 0] E.S. Adebayor (pen.) View70′ [4 - 0] C. Fabregas View79′ [5 - 0] E.S. Adebayor View
Last year this match might’ve had a chance of ending up in a 1-1 draw but this year we’ve shown we can put away teams that deserve putting away. A 5-0 manslaughter of Derby County where the class of Fabregas was front and center and Abou Diaby showed why he’s on his way to replace Vieira and Adebayor, well Adebayor deserve a new sentence. He can score goals, nobody’s doubted that, it’s just the goals that he misses really stick with you. After today’s hatrick where he scored from the penalty spot, on a breakaway and made something out of a completely harmless Denilson pass, even the staunchest of Adebayor critics must concede that he looked very close to replacing Thierry Henry. Then again, this is Derby County. But that takes little away from Adebayor’s dazzling performance where it wasn’t just that he scored goals, his dribbling was pristine and his control perfect.
Diaby Flamini Fabregas Walcott
Clichy Senderos Toure Sagna
You saw all that is good and bad about Walcott today, his pace is unstoppable and the defender is always at his mercy when he’s streaming down the right side but once he’s in the box either his shot is either lacking quality or the final pass lets the original run down. In his two chances to score today, he was first overpowered by a defender after outpacing two others and then his shot was blocked. He does create half-chances when he’s in the game, by the end of this year he should create real ones.
Liverpool was frustrated into a scoreless draw by Birmingham and Chelsea/Man Utd play today at Old Trafford. On a completely different note, I thought it was somewhat classless of Benitez to not even say a word or two about Mourinho. I’m pretty sure I hate Benitez more than I ever did Mourinho.
Saturday, 22 September 2007
Alexander Hleb has joined Arsenal's growing injury list, which also includes Tomas Rosicky, William Gallas, Jens Lehmann and Emmanuel Eboue.
Hleb has a knee injury, but on a more positive note the Gunners can call on Philippe Senderos after a hip problem.
Derby are set to be unchanged from the team that notched their first win of the campaign against Newcastle.
Kenny Miler's hamstring held up to the test, and while Darren Moore and Giles Barnes are fit, the match is too soon.
Arsenal will look to strengthen their position at the top of the table as they face a Derby side fresh from their first win of the season.
Though they were always going to challenge for a UEFA Champions League spot, The Gunners could be considered one of the Premier League's surprise packages for the way they have flourished since Thierry Henry's departure in the summer.
They are unbeaten in all competitions this season and appear to be going from strength to strength after following up their victory over Tottenham with an impressive 3-0 win against Sevilla in midweek.
The Mighty Arsenal's verdict:
We reckon this will be a comfortbale win for Arsenal but we need to watch out for Derby who could take advantage of a tired Arsenal side.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Derby
Saturday, 15 September 2007
I can sing it now... We are top of the league, say we are top of the league! Man, that felt good!
Although Monkey boy, Bale scored a free kick - against a wall which looked as if Titus Bramble organised it - after 16 minutes. Arsenal kept plugging away, the highlight being Diaby hitting the bar from a tight angle but on another day, he would of scored. It stayed goalless until the 65th minute when Adebayor took advantage of Paul Robinsons' 11th...(or is it 12th?) blunder of the season by flicking on a free header into the empty net.
The game went on and it really seemed that the Gunners were going to win it and in the 81st minute, Rosicky laid it off to Fabregas, to hit a screamer from 25 yards into the top left hand corner of the net. Although, England's number 2 (Could still drop if things don't change) got a touch on it, he could only help it on into the goal. It was one of those goals where once he hit it, you knew it was in!
For the last 10 minutes of the game, it was all Arsenal - well, apart from the desperate HOOFS into the box which Almunia and his rock-like defence had all day. There was however a chance for Spurs to get back into the game when Darren 'The Gooner' Bent was put through with a one-on-one with Almunia. Judging by his effort, which has to be featured on Soccer AM this weekend as a 'Taxi!', proved that he is Gooner. I mean, my great grandma could of scored that - And she's dead... Yes, it was that bad!
Then things got EVEN better when Denilson played the ball up to Adebayor to flick it up for himself and volley it past Robinson and make it 3 - 1 to the Arsenal. I hate to say it but it was like 'The Dog'ba's goal at Everton last season - Unstoppable!
Then Denilson had the chance to make it 4 but maybe a lack in confidence, made him put it strait at the keeper. Seconds later, referee Mark Clattenburg - who had a good game - blew his whistle and confirmed that Arsenal went top of the league, but more importantly, beat the Scum - with a far from First Team squad!
Next Games: Sevilla - Champions League Group Stage (Wednesday 18th September)
Derby - Premiership (This Saturday: 22nd September)
Thursday, 13 September 2007
Come on Arsenal, F**k Tottenham.
Sunday, 9 September 2007
Thursday, 6 September 2007
Yes! Finally the news the Gooners have been looking for. I am elated, now all the distraction is finished and this will help the focus of the team in a big way. We NEEDED Wenger with us, after Henry we couldn't afford to lose him. Thank You Arsene. In you we trust.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
Although many Arsenal fans may be irritated with this, the reality is they should be happy- the Arsenal team always thrives as the underdog. This was best shown in the run to the Champions League final during the 2005/06 season- the Gunners outclassed and outplayed all opponents that neutrals and football pundits alike thought would destroy them; first relying on a magnificent Thierry Henry goal and some brilliant defending to beat Spanish giants Real Madrid, then running rings around an ageing Juventus side. In fact, in the first knockout round that Arsenal were expected to comfortably dispatch their opponents they had problems- while they won the first leg by a single goal against Villareal, the second leg was a tense, nervous affair that could have gone either way. However, luck stayed with the Gunners as Riquelme missed his penalty, and although they were thwarted in the final by a star studded Barcelona side, they were arguably the better team for large spells of the game- despite having a man less for all but the first eighteen minutes.
So, why exactly should the Arsenal side be happy to stay out of the limelight? Well, being in the limelight means all eyes are on you, and although that is great when you are winning games, it provides unwanted pressure when you are not doing as well. Expectations will rise, as they are for Liverpool- a team that has not won the title for the last seventeen years is expected to lead the title race, just because of their large win over a side bound for relegation. All I ask for is this, fellow Gooners; don’t have any expectations of the title at this moment in time, just hope for an improvement on last season. With ten points in four games (we had half the amount at this stage last season) we have certainly started off better, and for that all those that sport red and white around the world can rejoice.
I am a new contributer for this site- this piece and more can be found on my blog site, A View of the Arse.
Monday, 3 September 2007
Another thing riling and pi*sing me off is the way Arsenal are STILL being written off. All the pundits seem to be glossing and drooling over Liverpoo while forgetting we have the same points as them and had it not been due to a Lehmann blunder we would have been on top. We took 11/18 points off the other 3 rivals last year compared to Chelsea's 7, Man Ure's 8 and Liverpoo's 6 so with a bit more consistency SURELY we can win the title.
Come on Arsenal.
p.s. I am also writing the same stuff on my other blog (Shakeel) just so if I am accused of leaching.
“I know it will be tough to make it at Arsenal as well.
"I have no guarantee from Arsene Wenger I will play all the time but I am sure that it will be OK.
“I know I will play big matches in the league and even in the Champions League.”
"He watched me with Chelsea and the France national team. They were my first choice and my first priority.
“I also spoke to William Gallas, a former Chelsea player who left in the same way last season.”
Sunday, 2 September 2007
The 16-year-old wide player has already earned rave reviews at reserve team level b, triggering interest from several clubs.
But Southampton boss George Burley, who blooded both Tom Huddlestone and Giles Barnes at Derby, is confident of landing the teenager until January.
The loan market becomes active again in a week's time and Gibbs has become Southampton's number one target.
Saturday, 1 September 2007
Chelsea spotted his talent and here is now at the best club for him. I would love to see Diarra play further up the pitch in a midfield spot. He has great offensive passing and is good on the ball. If people had watched his performances for France you would be much more convinced of his talent and potential further forward if you hadn't seen it from his play at Chelsea.
A lot of matches for Chelsea he came on as a substitute and played for 15-20 minutes. He was very impressive when came on and added more bite and urgency to Chelsea's play.
So overall i believe Diarra's signing could prove to be a bargain for Arsenal.
This guy is Arsenal's new Mini Gilberto.