Tag Archives: Giroud

Arsenal vs Liverpool – Arsenal’s real start to the season. LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!

Match Preview – Arsenal vs Liverpool (Home) – Nov 2 2013

It’s almost been a year since I stopped my blog because of the lack of fight and ambition from the club I’ve grown up watching since high school. Finally I jump from my seat in joy and not yell at the TV like I have done since we moved to the Emirates Stadium. This season we have grit and experience and a LOT more quality (at least in the first 11). Arsenal now sits atop the league but for how long? The real season begins now…. A barrage of heavyweight clashes starts with a home game with Liverpool followed by Man United away. A Clash with Dortmund on their home turf is also in the cards. November is the season defining month for us. It would tell us where we would stand come January and from there on in May. The Premier League is our ideal challenge, the FA cup, Capital One Cup are insignificant for a drought of 8 years. The Champions League a higher challenge that can only be won through a better squad depth. Baby steps…but quick ones at it.

Now to tonight’s challenges across the field:

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(1)    DEF vs ATT: Liverpool and more importantly the SAS (Sturridge and Suarez) deadly duo: We have our own deadly duo- Centrebacks Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. In addition, our fullbacks are well experienced now to balance between defense and attack. Liverpool’s more central attacking play should help our cause of bombarding forward. Contain one of the SAS and we should have an unlikely cleansheet.

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(2)    MID vs MID: With most teams, we have an upper hand when it comes to the middle of the park. Henderson and the aging (yet world class) Gerrard have nothing on us. The game’s pace SHOULD be dictated through our midfield, so let us hope the Gunners diamond are up for it.

(3)    ATT vs DEF: I believe the main difference, the match wining point lies only on one man as has been the case for this season. That man is Olivier Giroud, not Ozil, Ramsey, Flamini, Cazorla but Giroud. He has to lead the line perfectly, hold up play and score at every chance he gets. His absence was felt in the midweek game against Chelsea. I sincerely hope Wenger gets us a good striker come January to partner with Giroud and offload Bendtner (I have nothing to say about this guy!). This is because some matches are clearly won with a 4-4-2 and not a 4-5-1. Giroud has to be our powerhouse today and score past Skrtel and Mignolet.

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Surprisingly the presence of Ozil has calmed me down this season. You may notice the ranting is less. But the improvement of the squad around him (Ramsey et Co.) is far more appeasing. I am a realist and a tad bit pessimist but I must say, this Arsenal can go all the way. Stick together, work for each other and play the Gunner way. And we will be unstoppable. Have a good weekend Red n White Army!

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

Score Prediction: 2-1 or 2-2 . This will be a tight finish, so hold on to the edge of your seats Gunners.

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Post Match Analysis- Arsenal vs Fulham Home – Match 11) (Post #20)

Well well well … 2-0 up somehow! 2-1, 2-2, 2-3 oh wait 3-3, miss a last minute penalty (which wasn’t a penalty). End result- 11 games and 16 points, Arsenal’s worst start to a season. Almost one third of the season is gone and we are down the dumps. We are already out of the title race and even the most positive of the optimists would have to concede that our season is over atleast in the league, for now. And I think it is ok if we the fans think that way but sadly the players are having that mind-set even before we did!

There was a sense of dread around the Emirates with the anxiety, booing, tension just by this lack of intensity and enthusiasm by the lads. Fulham just started the match on the fifth gear like it was their own home ground and somehow we managed to put in two goals. But after that it was pretty much the Berbatov and Ruiz show. They had all the time in the world, there was no Alex Song to press them constantly. Meanwhile, they were pressing us to the extent that we had to keep passing back to the defenders who themselves were pressed to pass to Mannone.

I was hoping we would redeem ourselves and have a convincing win but even after 2-0, I was still not cheered up and the notion around the room of Arsenal fans with me was still the same. We weren’t going to jump in joy until what the score line and performance was after 90 minutes. And well we weren’t disappointed but just sighing with the missed penalty and basically summing up our seasons for the past few years, so close yet so far. So talented yet so wasteful.

I can’t put my finger on what is wrong with what is happening. But one thing is for sure, we lack passion and commitment and that can’t be covered with the excuse of having no or low confidence. Because just a few weeks ago- we were firing on all cylinders. I think the Scotsman at Old Trafford runs a regimen of discipline and demands 110% week in and week out. Our own boss, Mr. Arsene Wenger once upon a time would not even allow the likes of ketchup and chocolate in the stomachs of his squad members, but yet I am completely surprised at how we have the likes of Santos and other slightly unfit members in our squad. That would have been a complete no-no in his prime days of management. He used to have control and bring fear even among the toughest of men (Keown, Parlour, Vieira), he used to demand respect from those grown men. Somehow, he has turned from Master to a father figure having nurtured the likes of Cesc, Nasri, Theo.. Maybe he has softened his aggression and expects aesthetic and beautiful football to win. Even our Invincibles squad (2003-04) had to show grit to win some of their “vs Stoke or Bolton” matches. That is lacking in our squad.

Some of you may think it may be asking too much of our squad, but 10 years ago, Arsenal made no excuses. Arsenal set the standard for English football. Arsenal defined the beautiful game that is football. Barcelona are just the new showmen in that sense. The current or somewhat newly joined Arsenal fans should not give in to lowered standards of success (if any) of our club. Arsenal FC was one of the best, if not the best club in the world. I’d like to think we still are. So do not expect less, do not be satisfied. We are the Arsenal. If Arsenal runs through your blood, those four words should send a chill down your spine and know that we were once proud, feared and respected. Victoria Concordia Crescit – DAMMIT that used to mean something now it is just transfer issues, wage problems and feeder club labels. We cannot pin our hopes of resurrection on one young already burdened shoulder of Jack Wilshere, although I am sure he will give it all to get us there. I like most others pray and wait to see Arsenal and its crest flying high in England, Europe … the World where it really belongs. This is your Gunner Az signing off, until next week’s North London Derby. Adios….

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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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