Well, it seems like Arsenal is in a bad shape now to all. Flamini, undoubtedly our brightest star of the season who has made the central midfield position his own has decided to go to AC Milan. Purportedly for 60,000 pounds a week.
It has always been about the money in today’s football. His contract with us ends in June. But why did he have to be photographed in Milan colours when he is still contracted to us? Funny, that. He came to us on a free from Marseille so it’s not a bad piece of business as we got a solid player in his few years here.
One year back, Flamini wanted to buy up his own contract because he wasn’t holding down a first team role. What a difference a good season makes, eh?
Hleb to go to Inter Milan?
Oh, and Real Madrid have taken the opportunity to dig in 35 million? You’re having a laugh for a player with 6 years left in his contract.
On the youth front, don’t forget that we will see two very talented players returning to the squad next year. Fran Merida and Carlos Vela. Fans are still expecting for a few signings from Wenger though. Defense will be the main priority for sure.
Cristiano Ronaldo (53)
Owen Hargreaves (73)
That certainly was an entertaining piece of football. Too bad we lost though.
We came out with one big surprise and one small surprise. Alex Song playing in central defense and Walcott stuck on the bench. Gilberto came in as expected for Flamini who is out for three weeks. Almunia suffered a wrist injury and Jens started the game.
On to the game. It started brightly as Arsenal came out guns blazing in Old Trafford. Brown’s half hearted clearance found Cesc who shot over. Eboue had a good run which culminated in a cutback to Adebayor but his stab at goal was turned out by Ferdinand who hardly knew what was happening.
It was hardly all Arsenal as Manchester United hit back at the counters. Two Rooney chances were saved by Jens. The first a close range “make yourself as big as you can” save. The second, an old school diving save
Our best chance of the half came when Hleb again went on one of his magnificent runs to end up feeding a wonderful ball to Ade who woefully shot straight to Van Der Sar. You can’t help but be reminded that the chance was one of those Henry-esque moments where Titi would easily dispatch the ball goalbound by curling it past the keeper.
Halftime, with the scores 0-0
Second half and something had to give. The ball was bouncing around the box after Van Der Sar had a save from Cesc. Robin picked it up and crossd in for Adebayor to sort of headhandled it in. Ferdinand and Van Der Sar looked at each other in disgust due to the miscommunication and nobody noticed that it was more of a handball than a header. A break I gladly took but knew it was too good to last, especially since our bad run of it recently. I silently urged the team to be more mindful as we didn’t want a repeat of the Liverpool scene when too much celebration caused the penalty.
Jinx. The penalty came after 5 minutes this time. Gallas handled the ball when it went pass his armpit. He was trying to avoid it and it brushed his hand. It was a penalty you get when the referee plays by the book rather than on logic/sporting mindset.
Some mind games by Jens; Ronaldo shot and it went in but was asked to retake it as his own stuttering run up made his teammates confused who infringed. He retook it, same spot, same result. Jens guessed correctly both times but did not manage to make the save.
We had our chances later on too as one particular chance had Brown trying to clear the ball but it went straight to Van Der Sar who just managed to deflect it off the post. Theo cam in and had a few good runs but there was no finish from the receivers.
A Gilberto tackle found us in desperate times with Cristiano Ronaldo hovering over the ball. The wall was set up and Hargreaves duly made it 2-1. A brilliant goal but there are questions as to why no person was asked to guard the far post.
Bendtner was brought on and he also shot straight at Van Der Sar for his clearest chance.
We played well. This was illustrated by Ferguson’s act at the end of the match, consoling Wenger. I give him respect for that; acknowledging that the best team of the day lost. We have to pick ourselves up again and the hope of a brand new season is all that will illuminate our dull days especially since our brilliant run until it was dramatically halted in the last two months. I say Ribery. What say you?
This was the second of our triple header with Liverpool. Too bad about the result really.
Liverpool started with 8 changes from the Champions League side. Us 5. Hoyte, Traore, Walcott, Gilberto, Bendtner came in for Senderos, Clichy, Hleb, Van Persie, Adebayor and we started with a negative 4-5-1. Funny, that. Both teams also had a player who made their full Premier League start. Eboue with us and Plessis for Liverpool.
We were pressed from the start with Liverpool the dominant party in the first half. Almunia made a good save from Crouch and Benayoun dragged a shot wide. We were always losing out in the midfield even without the presence of Gerrard in their side. There was a small spell where we were dominating. Bendtner wasted a clear chance by shooting straight at Reina while Eboue’s cutback found Finnan sliding in to deny Cesc. Their goal came from a long punt from Reina.Crouch cushioned it down to Benayoun who flicked it over. Crouch took it and somehow scuffed a shot in which eluded Almunia and went in. 0-1 and we had it coming to be honest. The players all looked tired apart from Walcott and Traore.
The second half was much better as Toure missed a open header and Traore was causing a few problems for Pennant down the left. One of which created the opening for the equaliser. Cesc lobbed a free kick in and Bendtner found himself in the clear and headed it in. It was game on and Arsene send Adebayor on to replace Hoyte. Bendtner went to the left and Theo back to his normal right position. 4-3-3?
The next 30 minutes or so was exciting as Arsenal continued to press on for the winner while Liverpool was still reeling from the goal. Walcott and Flamini both had good chances. Adebayor was causing disarray in the Liverpool back four and nearly fed Hleb for a open goal only for the Belarussian Wonder to have a very bad touch and lose the chance. Irony. Torres and Gerrard made cameo appearances and Voronin missed a open chance by volleying way over.
After the match, Wenger said something about a clear penalty on Cesc but I didn’t see that. Theo was bullied towards the end but again, I wonder why no one backed him up.
That’s our chances of winning the league up in smoke then. Champions League is the only decent chance we have left. Let’s at least get something other than another 1-1 draw with the Scousers.
Robin Van Persie
At the moment it is 80 per cent no and 20 per cent yes. But he has a scan this afternoon and he is better today than he was last night. That is positive for a muscle problem. But we’ll know much more about it on Friday morning
We have Adebayor who has a little ankle problem. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. I hope he’ll be OK. But the time is so short between the games it is very difficult to make a decision the morning after a game
Sagna is making good progress. Manchester United is the earliest for him. We are trying everything we can to get him back for that game. But we’ll know more when he starts to run outside and he has not begun that.
He will not be back for the Liverpool games
So, we have Robin who will be out, Adebayor who will most probably start, Sagna still out.
Back to square one, folks.
Theo to start on the right for me, with Bendtner and Ade up front.
Either that or Theo on the left, Hleb playing supporting striker.
Well, after a long hiatus, I am back. Did you miss me?
As everyone knows, this will be the first of 3 consecutive Arsenal-Liverpool matches. Two Champions League matches and one EPL match.
It turned out to be quite a lively game. Caught it in a makan place with multitudes of Liverpool fans. Several Arsenal fans were also present but were more vocal partly due to the fact that Arsenal were more in the thick of the action(attacking wise)
We started with Toure covering in right back due to Sagna’s injury. Senderos replacing him in central defence. Adebayor and Robin started up front. Liverpool also started with a centreback in the fullback’s position. Carragher went to left with Skrtel and Hyppia in the centre.
First chance fell to Ade when Reina rushed out missing the ball completely but recovers to block the ensuing cross attempt.
Van Persie had a few chances.
Firstly, a Flamini through ball dropped in for a first time shot but he couldn’t get a firm hold of the shot. What a goal that would have been……
Secondly, a Cesc pass to him was shot but Reina got it away for a corner which Robin took. I have to add here that Robin is our best set piece taker bar none. It showed when the short corner(via Cesc) was curled in by him and found Ade in the open and the Togonator added to measly goal tally in the Champions League this season(now up to two). We were controlling the game and it looked peachy but the joy was shortlived.
Somehow, three minutes later, Gerrard got past three Arsenal defenders and sent a ball in which Kuyt bundled in amongst the bodies of Senderos and Clichy. Bad defence all around.
Liverpool closed the first half strongly. At the start of the second, we saw Theo coming in. Robin was replaced. A thigh injury says the commentator. Shit, not again.
Best chance early one fell to Theo’s burst of speed and with every defender backing off, he unleashed a shot which went just wide. He continued to pose problems to the Liverpool defence but the team did not try to find him though. Is he not vocal enough or doesn’t participate in team banter? There has to be a problem somewhere.
Anyhow, my comments on the next Arsenal chance: “A CLEAR PENALTY”. Kuyt brought down Hleb by pulling his arm thereby stemming his run. How could the referee miss that even though he clearly saw the whole incident?
Liverpool were let off again later when Adebayor’s shot was palmed away from Reina and found a onrushing Cesc. However, his poke in was blocked by the massive frame of Nicklas Bendtner who came in for Eboue not too long before that.
That really is advantage Liverpool however you look at it. Hopefully, Robin will be alright but I ain’t getting my hopes up. Onto the League game then.
Senderos (4), Adebayor(90)
Match Gunner: Alex Hleb
We went in with the knowledge that Man Utd has somewhat slipped up as they lost to Man City. With that a win against Blackburn will give us a 5 point advantage at the top with 12 more games to go. We started with a slightly peculiar lineup as we were short on numbers. Cesc was placed on the right while Gilberto occupied the vacant central midfield position left. Lehmann retained his run in the squad due to Almunia’s injury. The most peculiar thing about it was probably the bench, we had three fullbacks(Gilbert,Hoyte,Traore), one forward(Bendtner) and a goalkeeper(Fabianski)
We started off really brightly, Eduardo kept Blackburn busy and in the 4th minute provided an assist to Senderos via a corner.Nice movement from Senderos to free himself from his marker and he was left wide open.
After that we continued to lay siege on the Blackburn defence but could not find the second goal as Friedel made a couple of saves. Halfway through the first half and Blackburn sort of got into the game with more possesion of the ball and one or two shots. Most notably a Benni McCarthy missed header and a half chance for Santa Cruz.
Second half and a Bentley free kick that was going wide but was brilliantly palmed away by Jens anyway. Arsenal was once again controlling the tempo. Sagna and Hleb were the outstanding players on the pitch. Hleb nearly scored a wonderful 2nd for the team but the shot bounced off the post. Friedel was again impressive and Arsene decided to switch to a 4-5-1 formation with Eduardo coming down and Fab given a more central role. We were the most likely to score but we did not until the final minutes when our in form striker came out of game limbo to net his goal to make it 9 consecutive games with at least a goal.
5 points was what the press was harping about before the game and we duly delivered. As Wenger pointed out in his post match interview, we would be foolish to not think that we can win this with 12 games to go. Anyone in the lead would do so. The important thing is to not think about the point difference as a buffer cushion but instead build on the momentum
I don’t want my team to focus on the difference between us and the rest, I want them to focus on strengthening our lead and going to every game to keep that momentum going and assert our authority and to win every game, play like real challengers
A break in the Premiership now and onto the 5th round matchup with Man Utd in the weekend. C’mon you Reds!