Monday Reflections On The Gunners

A good weekend for the Arsenal, after the dispatching of Burnley… Eventually the Gunners found their selves sitting in the top four after all games played. All be it quite a few teams seem to be sticking in a quicksand like position where dropped points can lead to a substantial drop in the table. Apart from the cushy placing held by the likes of Chelski and Southampton the rest are cobbled together and share in being consistently inconsistent.

The events of Saturday have most likely been reviewed to death and so I will alternatively take this chance to reflect on some of key points noted from the game.

sanchez

Alexis is a gift from the Gods.
It would be hard to find anyone out there Arsenal fan or not that would not applaud the performances of Alexis Sanchez right now. The Chilean is literally carrying the Arsenal team at present and drawing comparisons with the impact provided by Luis Suarez to the Liverpool team last season. He has very much been a topic of discussion the past weekend given Arsene’s kind words in his pre-match press conference. You do have to wonder what kind of predicament the Gunners would be in considering the current underwhelming start to the season if Alexis had not been acquired in the summer. If the fighting spirit exhibited by Sanchez could be mirrored by just one or two more of the current squad then the team would benefit and provide more of a challenge to Chelsea.

 

santi jinx

Santi is Jinxed.
Anyone who has watched the last few Gunner’s games will have noticed how unlucky Carzola has been. The Spaniard has struggled to finish off a number of chances in the past few games and that continued into Saturday’s match. These are not difficult chances I am talking about here but straight forward chances that players of the quality of Santi could score with their eyes closed. It’s just not happening for him right now and I hope Carzorla takes out the time this week to say a few Hail Marys and checks his boots for signs of chicken dust to break whatever hex is over him. With Aaron Ramsey getting closer and closer to full fitness the Spaniard’s place could be under threat if the misfortune continues.

Walcott returns.
It was great to see Theo Walcott return to Premiership action. The Gunners did miss the pace he provided last season. That problem was addressed this season with the acquisition of some pacy players to the squad but Walcott still provides a unique set of skills that can be utilised once he gets into full swing. If anything patience is required as Theo eases back into the first team picture. He won’t be the answer to all our problems but if managed right he will play a significant part in any success this season.

Welcome clean sheet.

It’s always nice to get a clean sheet especially considering the makeshift back four the Gunners are forced to field at present. Yes, I know it’s only Burnley but 100% concentration is required at all times no matter who you play. A consolation conceded can lead in a slippery slope of cheap goals creeping in on a regular basis. It is important that the players who occupied the back four get into the habit of shutting teams out whilst building on their understanding week by week. Bigger tests are due in the next seven days against Anderlecht and away to Swansea so the clean sheet on Saturday was vitally important.

That’s all from me, enjoy your day people
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Football Has Finally Come Back Home To The Emirates

As the kick off to the new season draws ever closer, the feel good factor amongst Arsenal fans is as high as ever in recent times. The staggered return of the players who represented in the World Cup hasn’t halted the momentum during pre-season and the squad heads into the game with Crystal Palace fairly strong and in good shape.

The results during preseason haven’t been perfect however such is the positivity surrounding the club that logic has taken preference over heart with a greater understanding of the need to fine tune and gain match fitness over a result.

A 100% pre season record as impressive as it can be does not equal points on the premiere league table, the real stuff starts this weekend and the best chance for the team to obtain optimum points is by being in the best condition possible and ready for the season ahead.

charity shield

The Charity shield has ensured a psychological boost for the curtain raiser and it is hoped that complacency doesn’t show its ugly head. The result last year against Aston Villa was a real eye opener and a wake up call of the highest order. Admittedly Arsenal football club was in a different place this time last year, confidence was low and major question marks hung over Arsene Wenger as his inactivity in the transfer market fuelled the fans fury.

The arrival of Mesut Ozil soon changed the mood around the club and it is hoped that with the majority of business being done a lot earlier this season the club can hit the ground running and sustain a serious attempt for the premiership title.

Until the transfer window closes on September 1st the door is open for more signings to be made. The need for a replacement for departed skipper Thomas Vermaelen is strong and names such as Benedikt Howedes and Manolas have been mentioned as potential arrivals.

Up front question marks remain as to whether Arsene will bring in a marquee signing to challenge Olivier Giroud or utilise the adaptability of those available to him I.e Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott.

With Tony Pulis gone it’s not quite clear what effect it will have on the Crystal Palace players, being the start of the season brings fresh optimism and enough motivation to attempt a good start to the campaign. For the players to go into the game half-assed and without fight would put serious question marks over their right to be described and referred to as professional footballers.

The excitement of getting the campaign underway is off the chart right now so the last thing needed is an unfavourable result against a manager-less team. Three points are a must as those not directly linked to the club are gradually changing their opinion on the Gunners and mention of a league title is no longer a tongue in cheek comment. People are starting to take notice so come on Arsenal lets live up to the expectation and make it count!

mertesacker

Per Mertesacker announced his retirement from international football yesterday, I suppose you could say its the best time to bow out. Winning the World Cup is a unique and special achievement which is hard to top once you have you crossed it off your bucket list. The BFG certainly played his part in the long term plan for success and has over 100 caps having been a great servant to his country, taking away the burden of international football is now likely to enhance and prolong his Arsenal career. Good call Per.

Feel free to enter the Gambeano Snitch Fantasy Premier League. Always good fun and an Arsenal related prize will go to the winner.

Enjoy your day people.
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Fabregas joins worst team possible

Nice timing Cesc, seriously you couldn’t have timed it any better. Arsenal fans have been on a high ever since the Arsenal players lifted the FA cup. The World Cup was now upon us, in what was expected to be a far more relaxed interesting summer for all Gooners. The only thing that should have been bothering Arsenal fans was where to watch the opening match of the World Cup. Roll on the announcement earlier in the day of Chelsea’s acquisition of our former golden boy. Mourinho despite ending the season empty handed again managed to irk Arsenal fans. You can’t necessarily say he put one over Arsene Wenger as it was reported for some time that Arsenal turned down the opportunity to sign the Spaniard.

 

It’s never nice to see one of your better players join a rival, the situation with Robin Van Persie was clearly a different one and in the case of Cesc he was not even an Arsenal player. However, whether the manager is happy with his personnel in midfield or not when a player of the highest quality becomes available you cannot turn such opportunities away. Especially when the player is a former captain, idolised by the fans when at the club and still at an age where he can be deemed in his prime the last thing you want to see is him join a direct rival.

cesc kisses badge

From that perspective it’s hard to lay blame on Fabregas if he wanted to return only to be snubbed, where blame can be laid is the 2nd choice of Chelsea knowing how much the team and manager is despised in North London. All the talk of love for the club and Arsene mean nothing now he is a Chelsea player. I’ll whisper it quietly but I’d have preferred he join Manchester United than Chelsea.

 

After winning back favour with the fans after the FA cup success the decision to snub Fabregas has now taken Arsene’s one step forward two steps back in many fans eyes. You would have to think that there are major transfer plans in place to justify the Fabregas snub. It was hoped last year’s summer transfer window of frustration was a one off but this years has now started with a similar feel. The ‘big’ signing of the summer cannot be as late as Ozil’s was last year, it’s imperative that business is done at a minimum before the new season starts.

 

Life goes on, Fabregas is one player and Arsenal football club is much larger than any one player can ever be.

Enjoy the final people.
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FA Cup Final Day – Bring It Home Gunners

Cup final day is finally here, the wait is over as the opportunity to lay to rest the trophy-less tag has never been greater. People play down the credibility of the FA cup when compared to earlier years but when your team is in the final try telling the fans involved it has no value and you would be roundly laughed at.

The FA cup holds a special place in the hearts of fans involved, not so much for the losing side at the final whistle but all the same the build up and experience is second to none.

WEMBLEY WAY

Those fans lucky enough to experience the game at Wembley will have tales to tell their grandchildren in years to come. The limited allocation to the centrepiece makes the experience all the more exclusive and the memories cherished.

The players will be up for it, you always hear foreign players recalling their memories of FA cup games watched on TV in their countries when growing up. No other domestic cup competition around the world holds equal prestige and I’m sure any Arsenal player not involved today will be greatly disappointed.

The keeper situation is a dilemma Arsene Wenger will have to consider carefully. Lukasz Fabianski has not let anyone down in the run up to the final whilst first choice Sczcesny will argue his right as first choice keeper.

Personally I would stick with Fabianski, he is hardly a rookie that would weaken the clubs chances if he was selected. He may be leaving at the end of the season but he accepted the role of cup keeper at the start of the season and has earned his place in the starting line up.

I believe the same situation can be argued in the Giroud/Sanogo debate. The young Frenchman had been preferred in the previous few rounds due to certain indiscretions and a period of poor form from Olivier Giroud but with the return of key midfield players from injury Giroud has certainly found his mojo again.

Sanogo put in shifts when called upon but the lack of that first goal for the club sways for the choice of Giroud up front.

It is could be Sagna’s last game for the club, he has been a great servant to the Arsenal and it would be fitting that he signs off with a silverware, something which has eluded him ever since joining.

The rumours of joining Manchester City will taint his legacy but it’s something we can address at a later time, it’s only a rumour for now.

For now it’s all about getting behind the team and cheering them on to victory, for those of you lucky enough to go to Wembley do us proud. I will have to settle for the screening at the Emirates but being surrounded by fellow Gunners fans will make the experience all the more rewarding.

EMIRATES

Get down there if you can, 25000 fans are already expected, it could possibly be one hell of a party.

Enjoy the final people.
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Gunners Sign Off Final Home Game With Win

The home schedule is over for another season at the Emirates, with fourth place secured the only motivation for the Gunners were to get three points on the board to send the Arsenal fans home happy one last time. Of course the FA Cup will be the final thank you (if won) to the fans but as we know the majority won’t have the opportunity to support the team at Wembley.

The football wasn’t the greatest yesterday, the pressure was off after Everton conceded fourth place to Arsenal and even though West Brom tried in the back of their mind they see themselves safe from relegation. Norwich did manage to come away from Stamford bridge with a point as Chelsea’s pathetic end to the season spluttered on however the chances of being overtaken by the canaries still are a very long shot.

Both sets of fans were in a good mood, the weather was sunny and kept the mood jolly. West Brom fans came armed with a variety of beach balls which we’re bouncing around the away end until the stewards got their hands on them.

Giroud saluting his winner

Giroud saluting his winner

 

With fourth placed secured many wondered if most the 1st team would be rested for the game, news filtered through before the match that Abou Diaby was on the bench and Aaron Ramsey would not be involved. I suppose the possibility of wholesale changes would be slim since all week the team would have been set out in training to get the win, the bonus of Everton losing came too late in the day to change all preparation for yesterday’s game. Ramsey was afforded the break which was good however a much weakened team would be expected for the Norwich game.

It would have been nice to see Abou Diaby make an appearance in front of the fans but an injury to Nacho Monreal equated to the final substitution of the day being a forced one. Arsenal’s very own ‘Mr Glass’ is likely to still be around next season, hopefully for a lot longer than he managed this season. The same can’t be said for Kim Kallstrom, he will be returning to his parent club once his contract runs out. After all the kerfuffle over his transfer to the Gunners his impact was quite minimal. No fault of the player himself but by the time he was finally ready; our premiership campaign was effective dead and buried.

One person whose future is still uncertain is that of Bacary Sagna, he hasn’t signed a new contract and the chances of him staying are pretty slim now. In the stands we sung his name during the game, letting him know we want him to stay however we have been in this position many a time over the years . To lose the Frenchman would be a big loss however no player is irreplaceable (ahem. Thierry Henry?) in most cases. Those right-back shoes would be big ones to fill but if it happens we just have to get on with it. My only hope is if Bacary does move on it isn’t to a premiership rival, it just doesn’t sit right with me. The Robin van Persie transfer to man united never should have happened and although the club had a say in that transfer it is more or less powerless with Sagna. We can only ask him to think about the fans that have supported him all these years before signing on the dotted line for another premiership club.

 

sagna

farewell?

 

Looking back now on what could have been this season, a top four finish and (hopefully) FA Cup trophy is far from disaster. The important thing is to learn from the mistakes this season and put them right next.

IMG_1916

The Norwich game is meaningless to me now; all I would like from it is some youngsters to play and stake a claim for next season. Victory on May 17th is vital to finish the season right.

Enjoy your day people.
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