Category Archives: Match Day Postmortem

Manchester City v Arsenal: Three players to watch out for

Manchester City welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium in what would be the first Premier League game in more than two months due to COVID-19 pandemic. The Citizens, who are on the verge of qualifying for next season’s Champions League competition, battle Arsenal who are struggling to qualify for Europa League competition as they sit in the ninth position.

It won’t be out of place to predict an outright win for the Manchester club if both teams’ form before the Coronavirus-enforced break is to be considered. However, this is football where anything is possible. As the Gunners faithful continue to hope that Mikel Arteta’s side will record a surprise result against Manchester City, we make a quick rundown of three unlikely players who could help the team do the unthinkable.

1. Nicholas Pepe

Are you surprised to see his name in my list? You don’t have to be shocked. The Ivory Coast international is obviously a good player who can easily score goals, but that hasn’t been happening since he joined the team last summer.

Pepe has had too many underwhelming displays this season, especially against big teams, and it would be a huge surprise if his goal against Guardiola’s men end up being the difference between both teams. He is no doubt one player who could win many matches for Arteta’s men, but just like many other Arsenal fans – would be surprised to see him do that in this encounter.

2. Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka is another player who could surprisingly help the Gunners overcome City’s pressure come July 17. Though the Swiss midfielder is yet to find the back of the net this campaign, his revitalization under Arteta has been wonderful. He could break his personal deadlock against City’s goalkeeper Ederson in the much-anticipated encounter.

3. David Luiz

The last time David Luiz scored a goal was over eight months when he found the back of the net against Crystal Palace in a game that ended 2-2. The Brazilian is known for scoring from set-pieces and he could do the same for the Gunners at the Etihad Stadium.

Meanwhile, his contract saga might likely affect his performance on the pitch as he is heavily linked with a move out of the club this summer. This is why he makes my list of unlikely players whose goals might help Arteta record first victory over his former boss.

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Filed under Arsenal, Arteta, General Musings, gooner news, Match Day Postmortem, Premier League

“…king of assists is back” – Some Arsenal fans react to Mesut Ozil and Saka’s performance against Hammers

It was a tough London derby at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the Gunners battled West Ham United to the very end of the match. Mikel Arteta’s men weren’t very lively in the opening minutes of the encounter as they almost concede a quick goal in the opening two minutes of the game.

West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen struck the woodwork in the early stages before Michail Antonio also wasted a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock.

However, the home side grew into the game and they piled much pressure on their visitors but it remained goalless throughout the first 45 minutes of the game.

The second half saw a better display from Arsenal who needed maximum points to boost their Champions League’s qualifying hopes for the next season.

Nketiah, Sokratis and Granit Xhaka all have their chances to put the Gunners ahead but the ball couldn’t find its way into Fabianski’s net.

The Hammers also have some chances of their own at the other end of the pitch and one of them was Antonio’s well-struck header that was saved by Bernd Leno’s mighty hands.

After 78 minutes of actions and some controversies, the host eventually broke the deadlock via second-half substitute Alexandre Lacazette who replaced Eddie Nketiah.

The Frenchman converted from close range after a lovely pass from Mesut Ozil. The goal was initially ruled out for offside by the match officials, but the decision was turned down by VAR after a lengthy check.

With the result, Arsenal now occupy the 9th position on the League table with 40 points. They are five points behind fourth-place Chelsea who play host to Everton at the Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon, and they have a game at hand.

At full-time, some Arsenal fans took to social media networking site Twitter to express delight with Ozil and Saka’s performance against Hammers. While there are some who believed Saka is very good, others cannot stop admitting the Premier League’s “king of assists” is back.

Below are some of the best selected tweets:

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Filed under Arsenal, Arteta, Fans, General Musings, gooner news, Match Day Postmortem, Premier League, Saka

Burnley v Arsenal – Match preview, insights and predictions

Hello folks, I hope you lads and lasses are all up for another Sunday night action pack performances happening at the Turf Moor against Burnley?

Arsenal’s business this transfer is arguably one of the best since a while. Taking over the reins of the club from his predecessor, Mikel Arteta seems to be on the right track as Arsenal manager in the long-run.

The signing of Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares to Arsenal on loan is one of the club’s best winter windows business well done in recent memory with the potential option to buy, and also, they’ve loaned out six youngsters, including Emile Smith Rowe, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Tyreece John-Jules.

Considering how the winter transfer business at the club have panned out in the past, it can be said that the entire just concluded window is zero risks and incredibly high reward for the club at stake. That being said, Mikel Arteta’s reign as the Gunners head-coach continues with a trip to Turf Moor this weekend as we take on Sean Dyche’s Burnley, and the Spaniard looking to build on a mixed start since taking over at the Emirates last month.

Here are five insights you need to know about Sunday’s clash…

  • The Clarets have lost their 11 matches against Arsenal in all outings, a poor run for Burnley dating as far back as 2010.We have won our last 10 Premier League games against Burnley with our last 11 wins in a row against an opponent in the Premier League between 1994 and 2004 against Manchester City.
  • Funny and odd as it sounds, the Clarets haven’t led Arsenal for a single minute in 11 Premier League. And according to stats, the only team to have played more games against an opponent without ever leading is Championship side Portsmouth against Chelsea with a record of 14 Premier League games between these two sides.
  • Arsenal is favourites for three clear points heading into this fixture with none of Burnley’s last 17 Premier League outings ending in a draw with any team. Sean Dyche’s men have won seven and lost 10 league matches. However, the Lancashire side has won two matches in a row on three separate occasions in that, but they are yet to record three in a row win in the league since April 2019.
  • At the moment, we are unbeaten in our last six Premier League away games – winning one and drawn five matches. And should the odds be in our favour on Sunday night, we could hit a goldmine as the club has not drawn five consecutive away league games since August 1948.

Predicted Line ups:

Burnley Predicted Line ups: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Rodriguez, Wood

Arsenal Predicted Line ups: Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Holding, Saka; Torreira, Xhaka, Ozil; Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Who is the referee for the day?

Chris Kavanagh.

What time is kick-off?

14:00 BST.

Betting ddds?

Burnley – 13/5: Draw – 13/5: Arsenal – 1/1

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Filed under Arsenal, Arteta, Ask the Revd., General Musings, gooner news, Match Day Postmortem, News, Transfer Bollocks

Arsenal v Swansea- The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

A typical Jekyll and Hyde performance for the Arsenal resulting in a 2-2 draw away to Swansea and the prospect of a replay at the Emirates. After falling behind we managed to get the lead heading into the final minutes of normal time before Swansea managed to level things up. Lets get into the game.

The Good

We looked very good going forward in the second half. The passing was quite crisp and the movement from the front 3 was good. Poldi scored a very well taken goal after he came on for Rambo.

A really good performance from Gibbo going forward which was rewarded with a cracking volley after a 1-2 with Giroud put him in. reminiscent of Poldi’s goal in the Champions League.

The effort of Jack Wilshere in the middle of the park was really good to see. The young lad really does get through an awful lot of work and seems to cover an unreal amount of distance. I’d love to see the stats in comparison to the other midfielders in the Premiership.

Szcz looked good in goal and dealt well with everything that was asked of him. Couldn’t fault him for either goal in my opinion.

The Bad

Sagna was poor for me today. He has looked slightly out of sorts in recent weeks and I wonder if Jenks would have played today had he been available for selection.

The entire first half was very uninspiring. The malaise that was present in the Southampton performance seemed to have carried over into todays game for the first 45 minutes.

Cazorla was MIA for much of the game. As against Southampton he didn’t seem to be featuring very much as an attacking creative force. Most of his play seemed to be in the middle of the park with Arteta. Hasn’t been at his best for the past month bar the Newcastle game.

Arsene Wenger – I thought the selection of the team to begin with was poor. I have time for Aaron Ramsey and thought he played quite decent today but he is never going to be a left winger. Surely we could have shifted Santi out with and played Rosicky from the start. We didn’t see the Ox at any time today and the first substitution didn’t happen until the 71st minute despite being the goal down.

The Ugly

Our defending is an insult to the most basic of Sunday league teams at times. Merte was too easily beaten by Michu(who else!!) for the first and Kozza was too far out of position to cover for him. The second came about from a set piece of course and our failure to clear the ball let Danny Graham finish at the back post.

The two goals apart, Swansea created numerous chances and just seemed to have far too  much time on the ball. Surely the pressing game we saw deployed so effectively at times last season should be used against the Swans, it always seems to work for other teams against us.

The draw for the fourth round was made after the game and we have been drawn away to Brighton should we get through. Much like our Bradford quarter this a game we should win on paper. Lets manage to get past the Welsh club and have a real go at the FA Cup this season.

Come On You Gunners!!!

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Filed under gooner news, Match Day Postmortem, Mertesacker, Wenger

Arsenal v City Postmortem- Mertesacker to leave(according to the mirror)

Are we all happy with yesterday?

The Boss sprung a surprise with his team selection, deciding to play Yoshi perhaps to counter the effect of Mario playing up front for Citeh. We dominated the game from start to finish, the only disappointing aspect of the game was the fact we didn’t score more goals. Vermaelen decided he didn’t want RVP to score so cleared off the Citeh line with his back. In the second half he thought he would miss from 3 yards before watching in disbelief as Yoshi managed to miss from 3 millimeters.Van Persie hit the post with a header to continue his goal scoring drought(not exactly Torres is he, fucking media) and Walcott also managed to draw a top class save from Hart.

After watching everybody contrive to not score Mikel and his G.I Joe hair decided he had seen enough. In the 87th minute he robbed Pizarro of the ball in midfield before striding on and smashing one in from 25 yards. It was no more than he and the rest of the team deserved for their efforts.

Now for Mario. For those who havent seen the tackle here is a snapshot from the Mail Website. The man is a walking lunatic. After trying to break Song’s kneecap he then proceeded to try his best to kick Bacary for the rest of game. He finally got his marching order in the last few minutes of the game for a second bookable offence. Whether the FA further punish him remains to be seen but severe fines need to handed out for these kinds of tackles.

I don’t tend to like to discuss transfer gossip (at least not until we are certain it’s no longer gossip) but I had to talk about this piece courtesy of the Mirror Online. Apparently we are all set to sell our £10 million pound BFG according to a ‘report’. We are all used to various anonymous sources proclaiming this and that about transfers involving our club but this is just lazy. I could type something here about us signing Neymar & Gotze but it doesn’t make it printable as a reliable report in a newspaper. At least put a bit of effort into the piece before publishing.

Finally its good to see the reason for Na$ri’s move has come to fruition, Citeh now stand on the verge of Prem glory, oh wait they don’t. He will win the same amount of trophies at the other shower as Arsenal. At least he has his true love to console him, shedloads of Sheikh cash. Petite Pute indeed.

Late Update – The Spuds have lost today, we now play 3 league games before the next so we have an excellent chance to cement third place



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Filed under Arsenal, Match Day Postmortem, Mertesacker, Transfer Bollocks

Arsenal 3 – Villa 0: our winning form continues…

Arsenal secured a seventh consecutive victory yesterday with a 3-0 result against Aston Villa, and by doing so gained a three point cushion over fourth place Sp**s who were unable to score against the nouveau riche Chavs at the Bridge. It was a scoreline predicted by Nigel Winterburn on Arsenal Player just before kick off, and it turned out that his optimism was fully justified. Koscielny was unable to start having woken up on Saturday morning with a knee problem and he was replaced by Johan Djourou, who found himself at the receiving end of a non-malicious elbow from Emile Heskey moments after the game kicked off.

Thereafter Arsenal started to apply the pressure, and the first half was characterised by the sort of focus and urgency displayed by the team in the first twenty minutes against Everton in mid-week. Gervinho started in place of Ramsey and put in a very good performance, supporting Kieran Gibbs and tracking back to defend effectively whenever the left back made forward runs. It was such forward movement from Gibbs that brought him his first Premier League goal, as he surged between statuesque Villa defenders and fired off a shot from close range. It was an effort that Given should probably have stopped, but Gibbs couldn’t have cared less.

Arsenal’s second was tucked away expertly by Walcott, who showed superb control after Alex Song’s magnificent lofted pass picked him out behind the Villa defence. A powerful effort by Arteta from twenty yards might have put us up by three, and RVP was unlucky to have a close range chance denied by an excellent instinctive goalline header by Warnock.

Villa offered very little in reply; Albrighton looked to counter attack on a couple of occasions but was unable to keep a cool head when it mattered. Emile Heskey confined himself to giving Djourou a hard time, harassing him at every opportunity, which proved ultimately fruitless.

The second half saw us apply some of Arsene’s infamous handbrake. Concentration levels dropped and possession was conceded by a few soft passes and an annoying tendency to over-elaborate. Such were Villa’s limitations, however, that they failed to punish us. Heskey was replaced by Weimann, and the energetic young Austrian proved tricky in and around our penalty area. When Villa did work the ball into dangerous positions, however, no-one was able to get into position to make the seize the opportunity and in the main we defended with focus and efficiency.

The Ox came on for Walcott on the right hand side and demonstrated his searing pace by absolutely skinning the opposition defence with a couple of runs. Ramsey replaced Gervinho and got into shooting positions around the edge of their area, and Andre Santos returned to first team action, only to give the ball away with his first touch – if Villa had been clinical in attack they would have punished us immediately.

Stephen Ireland should have counted himself very lucky to have remained on the pitch – a two footed lunge at Song should have resulted in a straight red, and if referee Dowd had seen it from a different angle he may have acted appropriately. Only a few minutes later, Ireland tripped Rosicky (if I remember correctly) outside the Villa box, and if Dowd had already cautioned him, it would have earned him a yellow. But he’s an odd performer, Ireland, capable of rank stupidity and at other times great skill, and he then went on to make a superb tackle on the Ox in his own penalty area which drew loud appeals for a penalty, which Phil Dowd wisely ignored.

The final significant act of the game came in injury time, following a foul on Song about 25 yards out. Arteta lined up the free kick, and just to confound the expectations of all those Twittering Gooners who were bemoaning his previous effort, he smashed a perfect strike past Given into the corner of the net. It was a superb strike, but it almost seemed too good for the match situation, two goals to the good in injury time against limited opponents; it would have been sweeter if it had been a match winner against Stoke or City, but I’m being churlish. Arteta certainly deserved the goal, and the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game.

We’re off to Loftus Road next weekend, while Sp**s face Swansea at the Lane.  On their current form, Twitcher’s side might find that fixture a real struggle. We should be looking at another three points against Rangers, but as they showed against Liverpool the other night, we cannot afford to take anything for granted. We were greatly superior to Villa yesterday, but a more dangerous opponent might have taken advantage of our lack of focus and intensity in the second half.

In the meantime, however, I’m off to enjoy that free kick again…enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Filed under Djourou, Gibbs, Match Day Postmortem, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky, Song, Van Persie, Walcott, Wenger

Arsenal 0 – Liverpool 2: Frimpong’s red mist

The opening home fixture of the new season ended in defeat as a ten-man Arsenal side failed to hold out and conceded two late goals. The result did nothing to reassure those Arsenal fans who are convinced that the manager has long passed his ‘best by’ date. The manager’s position has not been helped by an injury to Koscielny, who had to be helped off in the first half with a back spasm. Ignasi Miquel – who is still listed on the club website as a reserve team player – came on to replace him and make his first team debut. He did pretty well even though it was his attempted clearance that cannoned off Ramsey’s chest for the OG.

Given the number of injuries that are depleting the team at the moment, and the loss of a certain spaniard who shall remain nameless, the team played reasonably well for a lot of the game. Frimpong, another Premier League debutant, had a very good first half, but he got himself ‘needlessly’ booked and this turned out to be critical in the second half (when does anyone ‘need’ to incur a booking?). Unusually, our opponents shaded possession for the first half, and as against Newcastle last week, we failed to make the most of the possession we had. Nasri started the game and behaved professionally; there was no significant negative reaction to his appearance and he played reasonably well. But neither he, Ramsey or Arshavin seemed able to take control and provide a useful supply to van Persie. Arshavin in particular continues to disappoint – he seems to play with his head down for much of the time, and finds himself crowded off the ball. I felt he might have stayed wide on the left and targeted Liverpool’s inexperienced full-back Kelly, but that didn’t seem to be part of the game plan.

Liverpool started with Andy ‘Porn Star’ Carroll up front, and although Szczesny was forced to make one very good save from a  header, he didn’t trouble our defence as much as he or his manager would have expected. However, once Frimpong was sent off for a dangerous tackle with twenty minutes remaining, Dalglish swapped Carroll for Suarez. Not long after that the scousers went in front from an unlucky Ramsey own goal (Suarez had clearly been offside). We were unable to respond and Suarez made it 0-2 on 90 minutes.

Frimpong will be a disappointed man this morning and rightly so. He played well, and showed no sign of nervousness despite having less than half an hour of first team football under his belt. His inexperience got him sent off and he’ll have to learn to pick his battles more intelligently. It’s all very well wanting to fight for your place and give everything on the pitch, but you can’t do that when you’re sat behind the substitutes in your civvies.  Now he faces suspension and we are left with even fewer options in midfield.

There is even more pressure on AW to make some signings, but the clock is ticking. The performance of the team has been disappointing but hardly surprising. The manager’s frustration was readily apparent on the touchline yesterday, and the pressure is mounting upon him. I hope – for his and the team’s sake – that we have some good news over the next few days. Will this be the month that defines our season? If we fail to get past Udinese on Wednesday it probably will be. If we do, events seem to be conspiring against us – so perhaps this is the season that defines AW’s term in office.

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Filed under Frimpong, Koscielny, Match Day Postmortem, Miquel, Nasri

Newcastle 0 – Arsenal 0: picking up where we left off?

As I’m sure you’re aware, the season began today with a no-score draw at St James Park, an unsatisfying result from a game that appeared to follow a very familiar pattern. We dominated possession and passed the ball a great deal, but failed to create a lot of scoring opportunities. The opposition tried to keep their shape and close us down; when they did have possession they looked fairly impotent. It’s going to be a long, long season for Toon supporters, but that’s their problem.

There were some positives. Gervinho started and became the focus of much of our attacking play. He caused Newcastle problems on both flanks, and when he develops a better understanding with his teammates I should think he’ll get plenty of assists. Of course the first thing he’ll have to understand is that when he gets the ball into good wide positions he’s going to have find Van Persie, because there’s not likely to be many other attacking teammates in the box to aim at.

The downside – apart from our inability to score – was obviously Gervinho’s red card. If there was any clearer demonstration why Joey Barton should not be an Arsenal player, this was it. Having reacted aggressively to Gervinho’s fall  in the Newcastle area (by picking him up off the deck by his shirt), he then dropped as if he’d been shot when Gervinho stupidly slapped his cheek, and told the ref he’d been punched. I’m not defending Gervinho – if you put your hand into another players’ face you’re likely to be dismissed. But Barton showed the football world once again why he fully deserves his reputation as a cunt and I do not understand why anyone would to see him in an Arsenal shirt. Song was lucky to stay on the pitch after he deliberately trod on Barton’s ankle in the first half. Was this why Barton contrived to get Gervinho sent off in the second? I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Anyhow, Gervinho gets an automatic ban for a straight red. Ironically Newcastle didn’t look any more likely to score with the man advantage.

Defensively we looked pretty good, I felt – but as mentioned above, Newcastle didn’t create and didn’t really pressure us. But Chesney dealt with things pretty decisively – he didn’t get flustered and looked confident. Vermaelen and Koscielny played well as the preferred options at centre-half. Frimmers made his debut as a late sub and was fine. Arshavin was, I felt, largely ineffective and gave away possession too often, though he did provide an excellent chip to put RvP through on goal. Rosicky was industrious without being incisive. Song was both solid and lucky, as mentioned above. RvP didn’t get much to work with.

The other notable point from the game was the behaviour of the away fans. “Spend our fucking money” was the clear message from the travelling Gooners, and rightly so. AW is quoted on the club website as saying:

“Everybody looks for centre backs in the whole world…People with unlimited resources look for a centre back… We have specialised people to work everywhere but we are not in a supermarket where you go to a shelf and you ask where are the centre backs or the strikers.”

These are not the sort of observations that are likely to appease those Gooners who are already deeply frustrated by the club’s inability to address the weaknesses in our squad. He goes on to say:

“If a player is interesting the top clubs, he has a fantastic value. If there is no interest from these clubs he is £3-7million…The same player can be worth £30-50million and £3-7million. There is no logic in the market any more. In football it is very difficult to set the price for the players.”

It sounds to me as though he is addressing the Cesc issue indirectly here, by attempting to justify to supporters why Fabregas is being sold to Barca for less than his market value. I believe he’s also offering an explanation as to why he is seemingly unable to countenance buying a centre-half, being unable to match the valuations of the selling club/s. It’s worth noting, perhaps, that Gary Cahill scored for Bolton today, which will certainly not do anything to weaken Bolton’s bargaining position should Arsenal bid for him. Which we won’t, I daresay.

Not to worry, it’s only Udinese next in a crucial CL tie…

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Filed under Frimpong, Gervinho, Match Day Postmortem, Rosicky, Song, Szcesny, Vermaelen