Archive for the ‘Cesc’ Category

Match Gunner: Tomas Rosicky for his creativity  

Portsmouth entered the game with a gameplan. Portsmouth had three ex-Arsenal first team players in their first team. Campbell, Lauren and Kanu. Lauren just looked like a 80’s rapper with the hairstyle he adopted(see top pic). They started with a lone striker which more or less stated their intention to adopt a defensive approach to the game. Fair enough. We are the most feared attacking side in the Premier League. We started as we were against Spurs; also with a 4-5-1.

The first half was forgettable apart from a few good chances that fell to Cesc and Rosicky. Adebayor’s continues to bear the brunt of frustrated Arsenal fans across the world. There is no doubt that he is a good player but he has to modify his game to suit the situation. Throughout the whole first half, he tried a multitude of flicks and tricks that just didn’t work. He is a good player for us but I am not convinced that he can make it as a lone striker.

Second half and the game started to open up. Eboue was replaced by Diaby and the sub most fans were waiting for after his marvellous winner in the derby, Bendtner came in to great effect. Cesc and Rosicky started to have more space to work their magic. Clichy also made a great last ditch safe from Benjani who had already evaded Almunia. We nearly got a last minute winner as first Gallas missed from 6 yards after a great turn(Campbell might have clipped his ankle) and secondly Rosicky fired a shot inches wide with the last shot of the game.

We all know how extra motivated and dangerous players are when they meet up with their former clubs. This was no exception. Campbell was on form and was the arguably the best Portsmouth player that day, barring Benjani. With the scoreless draw, we have conceded the lead to Manchester United. Frankly,  you must have seen it coming. We have stuttered since Hleb, Flamini and Cesc were injured and they have not rediscovered their form since. Coming up is another tough match. Everton away. Let’s do this.


Adebayor (48), Bendtner (75)

Berbatov (66)

Match Gunner: Manuel Almunia (The penalty save was vital for the win)

The old enemy came to town and we started without Van Persie who “picked up a knock”. Otherwise it was our season’s usual 4-4-1-1 lineup.

Arsenal Spurs 12-22-07

First half was frustrating. We were more or less played out of the game but somehow we managed more decent chances on goal then Spurs. For all their enterprise, I didn’t see any serious attempt at goal from them. The only danger was averted when Lennon’s cross was headed away in time by Sagna before it reached Keane. It was worrying that we lost possession much too easily and Spurs looked like the home side.

Let’s move on to the second half shall we?

We started with a bang. A nice backheel from Cesc found a charging Adebayor who finished it with style. Credit to Adebayor who started the move at the halfway line. We also had a good shout at a penalty when Kaboul missed the clearance from an Eboue cross and his follow through brought down Rosicky.

Adebayor opens the scoring

We grew slightly comfortable and tried to protect the lead. Spurs woke up and Keane’s shot hit the bar after a cross by Lennon. Soon after, Berbatov hit an absolute peach of a shot into the top of the net following a backheel by Keane. (It could have deflected of Kolo on the way in) In my opinion, Almunia had no chance of saving it even though it was at the near post. I’m sure Jens would disagree. 

Berbatov scores

Berbatov was at the heart of things again when some major scramble saw Kolo give away a penalty when he slid in to dispossess him but Berbatov turned just in time and Kolo caught him. Keane stepped up to take the penalty and our nerves were jangled. Luckily, Keane’s penalty attempt was a weak one to say the least and Almunia saved easily to his right. Cue relief and Spurs impetus was shot down in an instant. The game was ours to win.

In the 73rd minute, we got a corner and Bendtner was brought on for Eboue. Tall man=good idea. His first touch found the net as he lost his marker, rose regally and headed in a bullet(Majestic pic below) It was already in before Robinson could even raise his hand to block it. Cue mayhem. It’s the first Premiership goal for young Nicklas this season and what a time and opposition to score against. They were finished when a penalty appeal was turned down as Sagna brought down a Spurs player after he succesfully nutmegged the “hair extensioned one”.

What a goal!

Once again, a good result even though it wasn’t a vintage performance from the lads. Fabregas, Hleb and Flamini looked rusty after coming back from their recent injuries. Let’s hope that the fixture rush smiles kindly on their match sharpness.

Arsenal v AC Milan

Well, we got it. A big name. Flamini v Gattuso. Robin v Kaka. Pirlo v Cesc. It’s going to be a tasty one.

The fixtures are already out:

1st leg
Arsenal v AC Milan
Wednesday 20th February 2008
Kick Off 7.45 (UK time)
At Emirates Stadium

2nd leg
AC Milan v Arsenal
Tuesday 4th March 2008
Kick Off 7.45 (UK time)
At San Siro Stadium

This was the rest of the draw (1st leg home team named first)

Celtic v Barcelona
Lyon v Manchester United
Schalke v Porto
Liverpool v Inter Milan
Roma v Real Madrid
Olympiakos v Chelsea
Fenerbahce v Sevilla

Eduardo (11)

Keita (24), Luis Fabiano (34), Kanoute 89 (pen)

Match Gunner: Nicklas Bendtner

We went into this match without Adebayor, Gallas (both rested) and Clichy (injured).

All in all, the only regular first teamers on the field were Cesc, Kolo, Rosicky, Eboue and Almunia.

Bendner started up top

Gilberto, Rosicky, Cesc, Eboue, Eduardo in the middle

Hoyte, Traore, Senderos, Kolo at the back with Almunia rounding it up.

I didn’t catch this one as I had a late night. It seems like I missed an exciting match. Dudu’s goal was perhaps the highlight for us as Cesc had an off night and we were more or less WELL BEATEN. It seems like Cesc might have picked up an injury though.

Their goals came via Keita, a header from Luis Fabiano via an Alves set piece and a penalty by ex-Spurs player Kanoute

Sevilla played well and deserved their win. This is testified by both Wenger and captain Toure. It would have been even worse if the penalty against Senderos was not recalled by the referee.

This blip ends our “unbeaten in all competitions tag” and it is well worth it. Many might judge Wenger for sending such a radically changed team to Sevilla. I say why not. We have qualified. Sevilla is a top team and would benefit our reserve players greatly to play a competitive game against them. Our December EPL fixtures are crazy(Look below for details). Wenger thinks so too.

We had to make a decision because we have a very heavy programme. You could see some players who played all the games got injured. We have a very important December. I knew we had to make choice in the different competitions and, to me, December is based on the Premier League

Coming up in December, we have these fixtures. A mind boggling 9 matches with 6 of them away.

As Wenger says.

I don’t regret that. I wanted some players exposed to the top level and I am happy having done it

Well, it’s done and dusted. England are out of Euro 2008. McLaren’s boast didn’t help and he was duly sacked

We’re there, we’re in the driving seat. It’s us to us to make sure we finish the job off

Not that it makes much difference for our players anyway. But the direct impact of the qualifying did. We are left without 3 midfielders in the immediate aftermath. Hleb(3 weeks), Flamini(1 week) , Gilberto(1 game)

Diaby(3 weeks) and Fabregas(one match) will also be missing.

As it stands, against Wigan, we might be seeing Diarra and Denilson as our midfield pairing with Rosicky and Eboue running the wings. I think that we will have Dudu up in front with Ade unless Wenger wants to go with a 4-5 -1 with Diarra holding up the line.

Well, it’s international week. Usually, this will be the time when the most interesting/funny player interviews come out. Let me just summarize a few in this post.

Fabregas(courtesy of Gunnerblog.)

When I came to England I always thought about returning to Spain one day. But the truth is that I keep liking it more and more; I love the city, the people, the club. Every day I know more people, I feel more identified with the fans and team. I will tell you the truth: the desire to stay here a long time, my whole career, keeps getting stronger.

At the moment you have better stats than Gerrard and Lampard, who play in the midfield at Liverpool and Chelsea: you have more goals and more assists. Are you aware? Do you like to look at these details?

There are statistics that fool you. It is important to know how one got these numbers. At times it is best to score the first goal in a game than to score four in an other, or to be consistent in your play rather than stand out only in less important games. I value enormously having been there in moments when the team needed a goal or a pass.

Speaking of this: you scored the first goal against Manchester United and also the tie against Liverpool.
I am very happy. Luis Aragonés always told me that the most beautiful in football, the most important, are goals. And I responded: “Yes mister, but I like assists, the pass.” And now I now that I am doing both I realize that Luis was right. People think you are better if you score a lot. They say now that, “He is much improved,” but I don’t think so. I play the same, I feel the same, but I just score more goals.

Thierry Henry sent you a message through a football program on Sky Sports in which he told you not to obsess about goals. What was he talking about?

Last year I felt, perhaps not obsessed, but weighed down, because I saw that I had a ton of chances and in the end it never went in: sometimes it hit the post, others the goalkeeper made great saves…or I didn’t hit it well. I thought that I didn’t have time, that I had to hit is as quickly as possible. Wenger told me: “you have more time than you think.” I played nervously and now, look at the goal against United: I controlled, looked and put the ball where nobody could get to it. The truth is that I am contradicting what I said earlier. Yes I have improved.

This type of comment by Wenger is typical: a simple bit of advice that a player can apply to his game.

Listening to Wenger one learns a lot and training with Henry one also does: his body language, his precision, his patience. He will certainly triumph in Barcelona, especially now that they are beginning to understand his game.

I am very happy. Luis Aragonés always told me that the most beautiful things in football, the most important, are goals. And I responded: “Yes sir, but I like assists – the pass.” And now I now that I am doing both I realise that Luis was right. People think you are better if you score a lot. They say now that – “He is much improved” – but I don’t think so. I play the same, I feel the same, but I just score more goals.

As always Cesc never ceases to amaze us on his ability to give honest, insightful interviews. He is without a doubt, Arsenal’s star player.

We now step into the crazy debate that is the foreign players quota. Arsene has always been critised for not fielding English players. He is protected as under the EU law(Out of The Treaty of Rome and the EEC), the market is open for all EU nations to work anywhere in the EU.


If something isn’t done, there will be more and more foreigners and they will take over and that is worrying.

I think there’s a concern that talent will eventually stop coming through if foreigners do take over our league.

Erm….George Gillett and Tom Hicks are not exactly homegrown.

Plenty of other comments made by Ferguson, Coppell, Platini and Mourinho. Can’t be arsed to look them up now. They have some valid points on English players not being good enough though. England’s tactic of pumping the ball from defense to forward is legendary and the reason why others scoff at the lack of technique. Yet players, press and coaches pride themselves with the 3 lions 100% commitment to the cause, not shirking tackles, getting physical and turning a blind eye to the quality of football.

I will just leave the Wenger comment here

I have only been here since 1996 but between 1966 and 1996 you [England] had 30 years without foreign players and you didn’t win any more competitions in that time.You have done much better since 1996 in the major tournaments, when sometimes you were unlucky.

Which is especially true when you look at the record in the European Cup, which is the source of all this debate. England have not managed to go past the first round since the inception of the cup from 1960 to 1992. In ’96 they made the semis. The comment from Wenger is a rebuke to comments that his actions in not choosing any English players in his Arsenal teams have proved detrimental to the overall England squad.

Speaking from an Arsenal fans perspective however; the most important thing is the quality. Let’s say that you are in the market buying some peppers. If a green pepper costs 50 cents and a yellow pepper costs 10 cents and they taste the same. Which would you buy?

Ferdinand – 30 million pounds
Carrick – 14 to 18 million pounds
Rooney – 25 to 30 million pounds

Toure – 150 K pounds
Hleb – 8 to 10 million pounds
Van Persie – 3 million pounds

This is also part of the reason why Arsenal have not been suffering from post new stadium financial difficulties at all which have been predicted to happen by analysts and in my FM game. The media always likes to pinpoint the big and easy targets like Wenger and the foreign legion.