Big blow to Arsenal momentum despite 3 goal comeback

Yes it was a comeback; there are certainly some positives to list from salvaging a point from being three goals down but in the grand scheme of things the events of last night were a massive blow.

Losing ground yet again in the race for the championship only further strengthens the claims that maybe this Arsenal falls short on the required quality and strength to be genuine contenders. It should never be a case that Arsenal fans now sit down to watch a Spurs game in which a victory would be in their best interests. Yet here we are, not just falling behind in the race for first but now sucked back plump into a fight to stay in the top four. 

It can be argued that fixture scheduling has been unkind and Liverpool also suffered an away day set back due to the short window for recovery but on reflection you have to question why the effort to comeback couldn’t be applied prior to conceding three goals. Physical fatigue can handicap a performance but mental complacency cannot be excused. Watching the game in the first half you couldn’t help but notice a body language amongst the Arsenal players that screamed “rather be at home”. It’s never enjoyable to see the players not put in the effort and the final score at least showed signs of a change in attitude.



It’s fair to say some of the decisions went against us with the goals, the penalty was harsh and the third goal despite a pathetic show of strength from Bellerin was effectively a foul but no matter how much decisions go against you, you never give up. That’s what it looked like to me from the outside, a sort of acceptance that it wasn’t their day from a few players. To rub further salt in the wounds seeing Ramsey arguing with Sanchez on the pitch was plain embarrassing.

The team at the moment looks threadbare; admittedly Arsene Wenger’s team choice is forced given the loss of players to illness, injuries and international call ups. Maybe this game came at the perfect time given the transfer window has now opened. To be honest there is cover for most positions in the squad but how long can we continue without Santi Cazorla? The player is central to all our good play when Arsenal is firing on all cylinders. Without him there have been multiple combinations to plug the gap but none have quite filled the gap adequately.

 I am not sure how far Santi is from returning to the team but if the club has serious intentions to win the title this year than waiting for the injured star man to return rather than finding a sufficient replacement sums it up. I love Santi but the same thing happened last season and all our momentum derailed in his absence. There’s nothing to guarantee on his eventual return he may not break down again and that is why I feel business needs to be done to ensure a player is brought in to challenge Santi if not replace him. No one currently in the squad is of the level to fill the void and that there is the main problem.

The defence did have an off day but each of the back four have proven themselves this season,  the attack has brought the goals more often than not but the key department of the team which is the midfield engine room has been hit and miss. That extra bit of quality that separates Arsenal from being a good team to a serious title contender is missing and it needs to be addressed before the leading pack are too far out of sight by time the Arsenal get it together.

Please Arsene, make a signing to make us not miss Santi, I know it seems harsh but I honestly believe one of our biggest Achilles heel is the unbreakable bond of respect shown to players in the treatment room. Returning players become like a new signing way too often when in reality returning injured players become more like signing a new injury prone player.

OK, enough of the negativity. I will sign off by congratulating the team on coming back from three goals down, congratulate Olivier Giroud on his continuing to justify his inclusion with vital goals and assists, congratulate Sanchez on his vital goal and continuing to give his all despite being shunted from his central striker position and I would like to congratulate Lucas Perez on getting his first premiership goal and playing his part in the comeback.



Teams don’t often come from three goals down and to think that despite pulling back level Arsenal fans still felt disappointed that all three points weren’t gained shows the belief the fans have in their team. Rival fans will have to delay their visit to the Arsenal Fan TV YouTube page for another time.

For now, let’s hope things get put right with a win at Preston and away to a rejuvenated Swansea team. Until then enjoy your day people. 

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Will Arsenal Make The Most Of Transfer Deadline Day?

As the transfer windows draws towards shutting today many Arsenal fans are still left scratching their heads wondering if the club will address the problem areas which have been identified since last season to turn Arsenal from nearly men to genuine contenders for league honours. Gary Neville’s words last Monday may have ruffled a few feathers amongst the Arsenal hierarchy however it was hard for many Gunners’ fans not to agree with some of the points addressed.

The good feeling and belief from a near perfect pre season was wiped instantly on opening day and the grumbles and moans have become more and more audible with each week that Arsenal fail to live up to the big expectations laid upon them. A few results have been churned out to repair the opening day damage but the quality of performance in general has been lacking from the play.

Will the often pleaded signings of a defensive midfield challenger and top class striker have made a difference to the games so far? Most likely, in the same way that any new signings can boost a team’s performance on a psychological level.  Petr Cech is no doubt an excellent acquisition but the deficiencies outfield are yet to be addressed.

Francis Coquelin has earned his way into the 1st team but much of his elevation to the Arsenal team has been fuelled by a hunger last season to prove himself. That is only part of the battle, once you rise to the top and receive the plaudits you require a new focus to maintain the upward trajectory of influence upon the team.

Right now there is no one in the Arsenal squad that offers true competition to Francis Coquelin’s position in the defensive midfield role of the team. He can sit pretty in the knowledge that there is no true challenger to keep him on his toes from the likes of Arteta and Flamini. Beyond those two is the promising but completely raw Bielik and that is where the problem lies. It is not to say that Coquelin’s performances have been poor so far this season but the threat of complacency setting in is very real.

I can almost liken the defensive midfield conundrum to the goalkeeping situation at the club a few years back. Sczcesny rose through the ranks to become number 1 choice between the sticks for the club. At the time it was deserved, he was fulfilling his potential and making a go of it. His challengers at the time Vito Mannone and Lukasz Fabianski although as proved now are far better keepers than many believed at the time were never ever a threat to the number one jersey.

mannone

Season after season with no true threat to his position you could see the complacency set in with the Polish stopper. Instead of pushing on to a higher level he became stagnant in the knowledge he was number one and anytime Manone or Fabianski played they dropped a clanger. I still believe Sczcesny to be a good keeper but the professionalism and concentration in his game has waned in the last couple years. The arrival of Ospina was the kick up the arse he needed and although he is out on loan the door is not shut on his Arsenal career. It’s up to him to get his head down and focus on what is required of a top level goalkeeper and win back his place and respect of his peers.

Now we don’t want that situation to occur with Coquelin, an ideal situation is for him to have a genuine threat to his position in the team. A player that could usurp Coquelin if his level of performance drops and require him to fight to earn back his place.  At present Arteta and Flamini offer something to the squad but their best days are behind them and in all honesty do not pose genuine competition to Coquelin. Can Wenger surprise us and address this area of the team or will his loyalty to current midfield cloud his judgement?

Up front is the other problem area and you do wonder if the striking position will be addressed. All Arsenal fans can see it, all pundits can see it but the one man who can make it happen does he see it or choose to ignore it? With Danny Welbeck currently out of the picture the argument that a top striker is needed may be falling on deaf ears. Arsenal fans can argue that so far Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott haven’t delivered as much as we would like. The big question is whether Arsene Wenger has the ‘like a new signing’ excuse readied for Welbeck’s return as his answer to the criticism.

When we review Arsenals strikers’ you could say that Olivier Giroud offers power but lacks pace and a clinical finish. Theo Walcott offers Pace but lacks power and a clinical finish whilst Danny Welbeck offers Pace and Power but is probably the least clinical finisher of the three.

welbeck

The answer to all Arsenal’s striking problems is a striker that has all three attributes but they aren’t exactly hanging off trees. I struggle to list off established strikers that fit that criteria, it’s an exclusive club and is likely to cause some serious damage to the Arsenal Cheque book to acquire any. Arsenal have the spending power now  to get most players they desire, despite Manchester City doing their best to implode the market a top striker should still be acquirable within a non astronomical price range.

deadline day

All Arsenal fans can do now is sit back and watch how the rest of the day unfolds. For ITK’s today is like Christmas day, expect an avalanche of BS stories clogging your timelines/feeds.

Enjoy your day people.
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Monday Reflections On The Arsenal

Well, we’ve had a day or so to digest the game from Saturday night, the three points are on the board and the mood has slightly changed compared to last week. No repeat of Stoke Station-esque outbursts required leaving Gunners fans to enjoy their weekly dose of Match Of The Day.

It’s Monday so it gives me a chance to give my reflections of the game, not a match report as I’m sure many have been viewed since Saturday evening but a reflection of key points from the game.

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Giroud’s valued return

How important is Giroud’s contribution to the team right now? He has returned from long term injury with a hunger to make up for lost time. Although scoring hasn’t been a major flaw in Arsenal’s team so far this season the fact that someone other than Sanchez has their scoring boots on is a big plus. Giroud brings attributes that none of the current strikers bring to the squad. What’s that? Sanogo you say? I actually think they are different types of players and until Sanogo adds goals to his CV then I can’t make a true comparison. During the Frenchman’s absence it was probably debated to death how his less pacy attributes would actually work with the quick fire zip provided by Sanchez, Welbeck and Walcott (when he returns from limbo). Well its working fine enough for now and long may it continue.

Welbeck’s goals

With the welcome return of Giroud and his goals the gloss has been taken off Welbeck’s impact to the team. There’s no denying that Welbeck is a hard working forward and his contribution to the team so far has been satisfactory in his efforts however as a forward it’s always the goals record people value the most. We have come off the back of a run of games against lesser opposition where you would expect your main striker to really bag a few goals, like I said he has offered assists and played his part In some of those games but I still see he has the potential to be more of a regular finisher than a provider. The less prolific return has resulted in Welbeck surrendering the central striking position to Giroud and playing slightly wider, a position he admitted he was less fond of at Man United. In his favour Arsene does like to enforce interchangeable positioning by his forwards and so that door isn’t completely shut. It’s also worth mentioning that Welbeck was stripped of a perfectly legitimate goal on Saturday and so I do sympathise that he was unable to add to his tally however there were other chances in the game he could have taken also. I’ll get off his back as my frustration is only aimed at what he is capable of not coming to fruition just yet

Santi hex finally banished

It’s nice to see the Santi hex is finally over, a short while ago Santi and Ramsey couldn’t hit the back of the net despite all their efforts. Slowly but surely the signs were there that the luck was changing, Santi produced an amazing run and cross to set up Welbeck for a goal at West Brom the other week and that seemed to be the spark needed to ignite Santi’s form back to life. On Saturday both of Cazorla’s goals would not be in the back of the net a month ago but the hex is finally broken and now the mojo is back. I look forward to seeing a lot more contribution from the Spaniard from now on, it’s just a shame that Ramsey picked up an injury as he also seemed to break that hex at the same time.

Defence held firm

debuchy newc

It was nice to see the team came through the game fairly unscathed taking into account the patched up back line that started. Yes a goal was conceded but the back line dealt with what was thrown at them. Debuchy is a welcome return and his performance was probably aided that little but more given the fact he was facing his old club which sparked some extra motivation. A much tougher task is due next week when the team visits Anfield, the scene of one of our worst results last season. Chambers will return however with the news of Koscielny now being unavailable for a few weeks is a concern. Liverpool may have been swept away by United yesterday but if Raheem Sterling had his shooting boots on a draw would not have been an unbelievable outcome, the odds of Sterling forgetting his shooting boots again are pretty short. Arsene will need to make working on the defence this week his absolute priority to ensure a decent result at Anfield is achievable.

Champs league draw

The Champions League draw is today, Arsenal finished runners up so will most likely face Bayern or Barcelona. It’s an annual tradition so I will hardly be shocked if it’s either of those two are drawn as the next opponents. Whoever Arsenal do get I will be excited, you can’t beat the atmosphere in the Emirates when the big guns come to town. The only thing that is an absolute given when it comes to the champions league draw is that Chelsea will get the easiest tie of the round.

Enjoy your day people.
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Good Weekend All Round For The Gunners

So, Arsenal fans we can reflect on a weekend that couldn’t have panned out any better (unless in some alternate universe Man City and Chelsea could both lose). Liverpool losing, Man United losing, Spurs losing and Everton slipping up at home to Palace.

Even with Chelsea and Man City drawing it was amusing in the fact that Frank Lampard was the one who stuck the thorn into Mourinho’s side.

The professional Arsenal haters were sharpening their tools on Saturday ready to drive a nail into their often wished coffin of Mesut Ozil and if that failed they had the failsafe of pointing out how many games Danny Welbeck has gone without scoring for the Gunners. You don’t need me to tell you how that one worked out for them.

happy

I am not one to utilise this platform to deride other teams’ fortunes (unless it’s Spurs) so I won’t but what I will do is highlight the evident case and point that midweek European football can affect domestic form at the weekends. It seems a much more even playing field this season and some of the results this weekend are testament to that. At the moment Chelsea seem the main beneficiaries when you look at the table since they played Man City at the best possible time; that gruelling trip to Munich certainly made for a less vibrant City.

Everton, everyone’s favourite neutral team who won plaudits left, right and centre last season with their brave sustained challenge for a top four place stumbled with their first test yesterday. Liverpool too, who came within a whisker of winning the title last season struggled against West Ham; in their defence without their SAS strike force they’re not as formidable.

My theory does fall flat after this as the Gunners also endured a gruelling away trip to Germany; they were well and truly beaten that day yet swept Aston Villa away with ease. Until the first goal went in Villa did pose problems but Arsenal carried equal threat as their quality shone through. I suppose the freshness of switching up the team and deploying Ozil in the no.10 role was a tactic which threw Aston Villa’s preparation out the window.

Alexis Sanchez is synonymous with all that is good about the Arsenal attack that any team facing the Gunners would make provisions to neutralise his threat. The fact he didn’t start was the curveball the Villa management didn’t see coming.

The pressure on Mesut Ozil was intensified by a minority few in the press last week but enough to trigger a response from Arsene Wenger in his pre match press conference. If anything Ozil’s pre match motivation talk was already done by that minority of haters, You can ask any of the Aston Villa players how much of a ‘passenger’ Ozil was on Saturday.

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Same applied for Danny Welbeck who smashed in his first goal for the Gunners and was a constant menace in the first half. Young Welbeck enjoyed his days work on Saturday and must surely have cracked open a wry smile yesterday as his former team with all their superstars that deemed him surplus to requirements crumbled under the pressure from Premiership giants Leicester City.

He has a new team now that will support him and give him the chance to prove how good he really can be in his favoured position. There’s no need to look back Danny, onwards and upwards.

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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