Tag Archives: Cazorla

ARSENAL v MAN UTD … RAISING HELL IN THE DEVILS’ OWN BACKYARD

In less than 2 hours, I believe we will witness an epic 90+ minutes. Arsenal MUST win in order to send a message to all doubters across England and Europe. This will be a symbolic passing of the baton from one Red club to the other. This will also be the revival of true English football. The money and the glam that clubs like Man City and Chelsea have bought have dampened the real essence of English Football. Tonight, Arsenal and Man United will bring back the glory days. This match win, lose or draw will leave no doubt in anyone’s mind- Arsenal and Manchester United alongside Liverpool are the Greatest English Footballing Giants. The intensity of this game will no doubt be unmatched. Money can’t buy you spirit. This will once again be the worldwide spectacle it used to be a decade ago. We will witness a WAR!!!

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Straight off the bat, both teams will press and push forward. Expect 11 v 11 battles, expect 1 v 1 battles, expect cards of the darker shade, expect Blood. The high mutual respect between the clubs is the reason why this match is so important to these two clubs. Everyone has to be on top of their game. Let us hope the officials don’t disappoint. Here is what I think should be our iron clad blueprint to a full 3 points at the Theatre of Dreams.

Defence:

  • Sagna and Gibbs must be cautious against the likes of Valencia and Nani. But also provide width to our central diamond.
  • Koscielny can stay tucked in and be solid in clearing out. No freekicks must be given to the left foot of RvP.
  • Per must act as a sweeper.
  • We shouldn’t play a high line like we did against Dortmund else United will punish.
  • Flamini and Arteta must cover our posts during defensive corners.

Midfield: 

  • Speed of our counter-attack is very important.
  • Arteta must hold, Flamini must press.
  • Cazorla and Ramsey should be willing to take shots from outside the box. De Gea needs to be tested.
  • Ozil must be given a free and more central role.
  • Tracking back and defending as a team is important none more so against the wingers of United.

Attack:

  • Solitary but solid, Giroud will have an interesting head to head with Nemanja Vidic.
  • Giroud must not be wasteful. Far and few chances are given in a match of this magnitude.
  • Win all headers. Don’t hold up play … There is no time.

Team Play: An imposing last line of defence, a well marshalled back line, a solid double pivot and a destructive quintet together are sufficient to Fight for Pride, Fight for Glory, Fight for the name in front of our jerseys. This is more than 3 points, this has to be more than a great win, this is for LEGACY.

Squad Prediction: Szczesny, Gibbs, Per, Koscielny, Sagna, Flamini, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil et Giroud

Score Prediction: 2-0 or 3-1 to the Arsenal. This is my gut instinct. I threw rationale and logic out the window. I expect this match to blow my mind away.

As the lyric in ‘Remember the Name’ goes … “Eight years in the making, patiently waiting”. It’s about time … We raise hell in the Devils’ own backyard tonight. OOH TO … OOH TO BE … OOH TO BE A GOONER … C’MON ARSENAL!!!

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Post Match Analysis- Arsenal vs West Ham (Away – Match 7) (Post #14)

Ahahahaaaaaaa! 3-1 to the Arsenal, I was delighted with the victory and how well we handled a rugged West Ham team. For this Post Match Analysis, we will take a different view and analyse the game from start to the end (rather than the individual performances – only because today was a team performance and because this was a derby match). I would say we have gelled as a team to about 85%, there is still some more intuitiveness needed in our game. But I was happy to see faster and fluent passing, more accurate team play. I think the last 15% would just be to have better communication ESPECIALLY when it comes to who is going to shoot a dropping ball or who is going to pick up the ball after defending a corner.

From the start of the game, Sam Allardyce’s men sent a message of intent as they kept playing long balls into the box and hustling our players each time with rough pressing. The only thing I like about Allardyce’s teams is that they fight tough but not dirty. Stoke on the other hand, go for the kill quite literally. So the game started off with an intensity well suited for a derby. Listening to the home fans singing ‘Forever blowing bubbles’ at Upton Park was a jolly reminder of the club, the fans and their passion. I’d recommend listening to their anthem; I would rate it as high as ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Right so back to the game-

A few back and forth attacks by both teams told us that this match was going to be pacy and intense. Mohamed Diamé just kept us on our toes and he ended up scoring a brilliant goal. But I almost always prefer when we are 1-0 down because that brings more out of us soon after. As expected, it rightfully did with Giroud toe-poking the ball into the goal with a move which he initially started and linked to Podolski with. Just a few minutes earlier, Giroud had misplayed a headed ball forwarded by Per into the box, so that goal made up for that. Now, Andy Carroll seemed to be immense for Sam’s team but this is where his counterpart – Olivier Giroud was even better. He had lesser chances to win the ball, but he made it count each time- that made the key difference in the score line. So it ended 1-1 at the first half. Oh and a VERY cool fact, if you remember a few posts ago, I told you that Thierry Henry took 9 league games to score his first goal, well Giroud has taken the same 9 games to score his first league goal- Only in football ladies and gentleman, only in football.

The second half started with a more intense Arsenal, probably boosted by the equalizer and some strong but encouraging words from Le Boss Wenger. As time went by with the two teams still getting back to groove post half-time, they started to get tired and Diamé was taken off. Phew! For us, Gervinho who played well was taken off to be rested and Theo came on. Ramsey was not substituted because he was just being a brilliant central midfielder. His movements remind me of Tomas Rosicky, the way he turns, collects and moves about the pitch is so uncannily similar to the Lil Mozart. Theo scored a good goal (assisted by Giroud) and very passionately celebrated and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of his but after his recent performances, he has every right to demand to play in the central striker position.

Two things ended the match in a fitting manner; one was the Vaz Te-Mannone incident. Replays show that Ricardo Vaz Te had intentionally used his shin to kick into Mannone’s head and decided to dive after to make it look unintentional. What happened when he dived was his shoulder dislocated and he seemed to be in immense pain. Hopefully he gets well soon but that is karma getting right back at you. That is an important lesson for ANY footballer new or seasoned. FIFA’s fair play system may not be quite effective but the beautiful game was made so only because of playing good, clean and enjoyable football. I like tackles and such, but if you go about kicking people in the head for joy, you need to get your head checked first.

And the finally thing I wanted to cap this post off with was that beautiful goal by Cazorla. I have no words to describe this little masterclass. You have to go watch the goal again, simply amazing! So at the end of the match, we know we can wrap up games however tough they may get. We also know that Gibbs may be out for a while after he picked up a knock but Santos can deputize, that is what he was bought on for.

Oh and I cannot leave without mentioning the performance of Corporal Jenkinson (from a family of Arsenal fans), he kept flying down the right wing and kept at it all 90+5 minutes. I am so happy for him and I am sure his granddad is too …. Well we have a 2 week break (sigh) but I’ll see you on the other side, when we face Norwich away on the 20th of October. Cheerio!

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Match Preview – Arsenal vs Chelsea (Home – Match 6) (Post #11)

Gunners and Gunnerettes, this is the Match Preview of Arsenal vs Chelsea at the Emirates. Before going straight off the bat to our game I must say a great 6-1 win against Coventry. It was expected though; the latter stages will be more of a test. Arshavin finally answered my question. Giroud did well too. But Nico Yennaris and Francis Coquelin, watch out for these two- mark my words , these guys are future superstars. Oxlade-Chamberlain (‘Chambo’) thumped one into the top corner, well done lad. That’s about enough with the Capital One Cup now back to Chelsea.

I’m sorry if I scared you but Drogba is not coming back to haunt us anymore. But it’s actually a pity; I would have loved to see him go against this Bould-ered up defence. He is not our problem anymore, that costly winger from Belgium, the Bio Hazard, I mean Eden Hazard is. He is the one we need to watch out for. Both he and Mata will be the first ones to genuinely test Gibbs and Corp. Jenkinson because let’s face it, Man City play more centrally unless Milner is on the pitch and no other team has tested our wings yet. Obi Mikel is nowhere near the likes of Essien, so Cazorla should find his ways. Podolski should show his worth in this match I feel, only then the demons of losing one RvP will be banished (If you remember, his display at Stamford Bridge won us the enthralling 5-3 match).

Team line up:

GK: Mannone (Go on son, make us proud  … No fumbles today, aiite?).

DEF: Gibbs, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Corp. Jenkinson (They had a good rest this week, let’s hope they are fresh and ready for battle. Per needs some more rest. Bless that gentle German giant).

MID: Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla, Ramsey/Walcott, Gervinho (Diaby will play a massive role in this game, Arteta solid as always, Cazorla the same, Gervinho needs to put on his shooting boots and both Ramsey and Walcott need to prove their consistency. That is the only factor keeping these two talented players from taking it to the next level).

ATT: Podolski (Use that thunderbolt power from your left foot son!).

Possible substitutions: If there are no cards or injuries, Ramsey/Walcott and Giroud will feature later on. Maybe even Arshavin hopefully, he deserves a chance. Santos could come in if we are a few goals up.

Score Prediction: This is what most of you have been waiting for. A 3-1 or 3-2 win to the Arsenal. We will HAVE to make this statement today and on Nov. 3 against United.

Like us at www.facebook.com/gunnersfolife … Just like our players, we get the strength from you, fellow fans and football enthusiasts. Thanks for the mighty support. Much appreciated, keep it real … ARSENAL ALL THE WAY.

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Match Preview – Arsenal vs Manchester City (Away – Match 5) (Post #9) + Montpellier Post Match Analysis

Alright, so for this read, we will quickly run through the Montpellier Post Match Analysis followed by the preview for Arsenal vs Man City this weekend. This weekend will mark the beginning of a very challenging end to September with the likes of Man City and Chelsea to face us. There will be certain points in these matches which will give us an insight into our club’s strength and where we are in terms of the top 4. But before that- our performance at Montpellier

Arsenal 2-1 Montpellier:

As I predicted we did win 2-1 this Tuesday evening. It was straight forward and simple in the sense that we did enough to win whilst overcoming fatigue from the weekend thumping to Southampton. Plus this being our first continental away test and with the boss being side-lined with a 3 match UEFA ban, the players and Bouldy had to prove themselves. And they did, they delivered. I was surprised that Podolski wasn’t rested given the big matches ahead. Thankfully no one was injured and we have a few days to recover. Mannone impressed and could very well oust Chesney out of the #1 position; I like this competition for places within the team. Again in defence, I thought Koscielny would have come in for Per or Vermaelen. Having said that, I believe there will be rotations this weekend, but more on that later.

An all-round good performance from defence and midfield as expected. Cazorla quietly doing his work but Gervinho and Podolski represent this new sense of attack in Arsenal, that being RUTHLESS AGGRESSION. The moment Montpellier scored, it lit a fuse in the Arsenal and we literally went all guns blazing. And nothing is more beautiful to watch when the lads come out with quick passing, incisive crossing and deadly finishing. I’ve been hearing that Giroud is being critiqued badly for not scoring, in my opinion he served the team VERY WELL. He set up Podolski perfectly and the German powerhouse rightfully acknowledged the same in the post-match interview. No complaint but the team is showing signs of tiredness and that should affect our team line up for Man City, let’s get to that now.

Arsenal vs Man City  away at the Eastlands:

Possible Teamsheet:

GK: Mannone (This will be the Italian’s chance to prove himself and take over from Chesney)

DEF: Gibbs, Vermaelen, Koscielny (Per NEEDS a rest), Corp. Jenkinson

MID: Arteta, Diaby, Cazorla, Gervinho, Ramsey/Walcott (Expect a packed midfield to provide more cover)

ATT: Podolski up front (Giroud hopefully will feature and score)

Exception: We could have Podolski instead of Ramsey/Walcott and Giroud leading the line. Don’t be surprised. We need to pack heavy for the likes of Yaya, Aguero, Dzeko, Tevez, Balotelli, Kompany … need I go more?

Key battles: My score prediction is based on the fact that both teams are very similar in some cases. Let’s have a look- PODOLSKI vs AGUERO, CAZORLA vs SILVA, DIABY vs YAYA, KOMPANY vs VERMAELEN. Oh and don’t forget Nasri, just wait to hear the boos and you know he is there.

Score Prediction:  Arsenal 1-1 Man City. Cagey start both teams wary of the other’s counter attack but Mannone will be tested and Man City don’t necessarily defend well as a team. Take out Yaya and Kompany and surely Cazorla will find holes through their defence.

Enjoy the match, thanks for the support and CMON YOU GUNNERS!!!

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Match Preview – Arsenal vs Southampton (Home – Match 4) (Post #7)

2 weeks! And we’re back after the international break with Arsenal vs Southampton at the Emirates today. Arsenal has had three cleansheets from the start of the season. A fourth would be a new record for Arsenal FC. International breaks have always been a nuisance for our club but this time around we have had a breather at the right time with a few players recovering namely Vermaelen. Today will also feature the return of Chesney, our #1. Koscielny also provides great defensive depth now. So let’s go straight to preview the match and our possible team sheet for today.

GK: Chesney! Chesney! Chesney!

DEF: Gibbs and Corp. Jenkinson on the backwings. Koscielny in place of Mertesacker most likely to give Per a well-deserved rest. Expect a few mistakes post international break but overall the Bould effect will overcome this.

MID: Midfield General Mikel Arteta alongside Ramsey (Diaby won’t be risked by Wenger, he’s his precious) in the centre. On the wings, Gervinho should return with the Ox at the other side. Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Walcott (out with a virus) and gets to play against his former club. This is his chance to get back to some fine displays he showed last season, especially the ones against Blackburn and AC Milan.

ATT: With the Champions League games starting, there will now be a fixture congestion (More football for us!). So bearing that in mind, I expect Giroud to replace Podolski an hour into the game with the exception of any unexpected injuries. Of course, we can look forward to that gem of a footballer, Mr. Santi Cazorla to create for both these men. Best playmaker Arsenal has had in years. I’m still chomping at the bits to see him play week in and week out. Oh and I will continue to ask this every week till it comes to fruition- Where is Arshavin? A T-shirt titled ‘Arshavin Missing’ with Arshavin and his traditional ‘Shh’ gesture would be fitting merchandise. I’d wear it. I’m sure someone out there must already be selling it.

Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Southampton. A well fought win and wait for iiiiiiiiiitt… GIROUD WILL SCORE TODAY. There you go, that’s a headline. I also have more faith in the defence now (Dear back four- Please don’t break this happy little wish of mine, keep another cleansheet).

SPECIAL NOTE TO THE READERS: I’d like to thank all the Gunners thus far from 51 countries who come to read the blog, especially from Malaysia (love Nasi Goreng and Satay), the UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Germany, the US, India, Ireland and SO MANY more across Africa and Asia. I really appreciate the fact that you enjoy the blog. Now, let’s hope the Arsenal deliver the goods and make this weekend enjoyable and look forward to the Post Match Analysis. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, predictions and anything you have to say about our wonderful club. You know where to join us, http://www.facebook.com/gunnersfolife and for you twitterati – http://twitter.com/aslamimz . I sign off for now chanting- “AND IT’S ARSENAL, ARSENAL WE SING, WE’RE BY FAR THE GREATEST TEAM THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN!” BOOYAAH!

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Post Match Analysis- Arsenal vs Liverpool (Away – Match 3) (Post #6)

So, Arsenal win 2-0 Liverpool away at Anfield. Great result for us, I predicted a 2-1 but 2-0 is better! I may still be a bit peeved because I just saw Robin Van ‘Nistelrooy’ score a hat-trick despite missing a penalty to help United beat Southampton away. Bad piece of business for us so far. But the international break has come. My cynical side hopes Robin is used well for Netherlands. Real well. All 90 minutes well. Anyways, moving back to better things- Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski… What a way to open your account by defeating Steven Gerrard and his men. I have never seen a more disciplined Arsenal in quite a while. Good on ya Steve Bould. Let’s see how our team fared today in all departments-

At the back: Mannone was all jitters but the defence provided great cover. Vermalen and Per did a great job although I am worried about our captain’s injury at the end of the game. Gibbs was found missing in the first half but thankfully Podolski did his defensive track-backs quite well. Walcott could learn a thing or two (Anyone else think he’ll be out by January?). Arteta was classy as always. Corporal Jenkinson was mighty on the right side by neutralizing Raheem Sterling.

In the middle: With Arteta holding well and stopping Liverpool plays, Diaby was given the license to thrust forward and that boy showed insane skill levels. The ball was silky smooth on his feet. Such an amazing player, I can see why Wenger didn’t want to let him go. The Ox did his bit too even if he looked a bit jaded. And finally Cazorla, I just have one thing to say. I WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY REASON IF HE IS SOLD TO THE RICH CLUBS FOR “BUSINESS” PURPOSES OR BECAUSE HE WANTED TO LEAVE. SIGN HIM UP FOR 10 YEARS, I DON’T CARE. DO NOT LET GO OF HIM.

 

UP FRONT: OUR ATTACK, Sorry still had the CAPS on. Right, much better. Podolski is such an honest guy. You can see it on the pitch and in his style. Giroud on the other hand sulks like Anelka, plays like the lovechild of Chamakh and Bendtner. If football wasn’t his thing, it’s good for his income that he is atleast good looking. But I STILL believe he will score goals for us, he is a poacher. He needs to play like one and not change his style for Arsenal. I don’t want him to become a Carlos Vela, Chamakh, Bendtner or a Park Chu Young. And where is Arshavin??!!

Summary: Good win. Happy at our team stability. Let’s take a look at the Good, Bad and the Ugly.

Good: First win of the season. Cazorla and Podolski off the mark. Diaby and 90 minutes together.

Bad: Vermaelen knock at the end of the game. Giroud’s sulking behaviour.

Ugly: RvP … oops, Robin Van Nistelrooy’s hat-trick.

Southampton visit us next week. Look forward to our Match Preview. And as always, we love hearing from you. Enjoy your week ahead Gunners! Peace…

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