Tag Archives: Wenger

ARSENAL SEASON ULTIMATUM … THIS IS THE END. FOR NOW…

The following is for ALL football fans especially the Gunners – A good number of Gunners have asked me as to why I haven’t done an Arsenal blog for the past few games. Well I’ll tell you why … The following 4 lines are what I wrote post Tottenham 5-2 win -“Such is the life of an Arsenal fan that you are sent up and down a rollercoaster through a season of football. We are now on the up, so let us hope that we stay uninjured. Get our injured back fit and training well. Plus weed out any deadwood in our squad and bring in some talents that would help us finish on a high come the end of the season“.  This was what I started writing as the intro for the Aston Villa Away match. But something made me stop and say, you know what… don’t get your hopes up. That was a one-off thing. And rightly so, after that we drew to Villa (Villa deserved to win). Drew with Everton (Everton deserved to win), beat Montpellier (how did we manage that?), lose to Swansea at home (This would have never happened at Highbury) and lose to Olympiacos (Am I the only one seeing a pattern here?).

Now let me tell you newly joined Arsenal fans about how our beloved club was back then J and how it is now L – After that (and most importantly) what is our status now? More on that later.

THEN

NOW

 21aWe had quality players such as Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and dedicated players like Ray Parlour, Lauren, Fredrik Ljunberg, Jens Lehmann, Sol Campbell and Sylvian Wiltord to name a few. But neither set of players overlooked the other because the likes of Thierry Henry were always made to work and hustle by the hard men Tony Adams and vice versa. They never took their abilities for granted. They displayed real flair, effort, passion, belief and spirit (all the terms that Wenger talks of now about his current squad) by working for each other and being a real unit. They defined team chemistry. Back then, you’re either in or you’re out. If one of the squad player was tackled, he’d have his Gunner brothers came forth to question the tackler and defend his mate. Arsenal FC stood their ground together and fought. That my fellow fans, is why we had Victoria Concordia Crescit (Victory through Harmony).  21bWe have quality players such as Cazorla, Podolski, Arteta, Wilshere, etc. but all the responsibilities are placed on the shoulders of these talents to magically make us win each match. Most of the rest of the lot just show up to make up the eleven whilst the others in the squad are just happy to wallop £60,000-70,000 a week and have a relaxed life and show up for training once a week. There is no team chemistry, no team bonding, there is no team! They are just a bunch of talented or special skilled individuals brought in together to somehow gel and create total football. Some of them are in North London for tourist purposes! And yet some of them manage to grow the grapes to come fight for more money, threaten to transfer to a rival. No man is bigger than a club, not you, not me, not RvP, not Wenger, not nobody!!
21cThe aura that was around Arsene Wenger. The players I mentioned above wouldn’t even dare to call him by name. Such is the respect he demanded from them to the extent that even now after leaving our club and having retired, they still refer to him as “The Boss”. The Boss used to question these marquee talents even if they put up a good performance. Good wasn’t enough, le boss demanded great. He used to match the fierceness of Sir Alex Ferguson, who I know together made English football what it is today by having their Ali-Frazier moments. 21dIt hurts to see someone I still look up to having to go through this near decade of mishaps. He is Mr. Football, his principles are divine. I would like to remember his legacy as the man on the left rather than the man at the right. Arsene Wenger will always be our best manager. The players need to back him up. I’d be uber grateful if he just asked me to be a water boy for Arsenal FC. Le Boss has now turned into a sympathetic father figure trying to cover the ears and save the feelings of his young squad from the media and what not. Sigh.
21eDavid Dein is a lifelong Arsenal fan who had personally bought in the likes of Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry from the grips of then footballing giants Inter Milan, AC Milan etc. He still lives in the new apartments built over the hallowed grounds of Highbury. His managerial role in the board was above par, representing Arsenal as part of the English FA Board and even beyond for FIFA. He asked what Wenger wanted and got what our club wanted as well. He orchestrated the Emirates switch over. And then he was thrown out because his ambitions for our club were higher. Our last trophy was under Dein’s reign as Director. Status then: DON’T MESS WITH US. 21fIvan Gazidis is a very smart businessman brought in to join Stan Kroenke. However, both are non-football natives. And during their tenure, we have sold three club captains, a whole roster of talented players who were developed through our club’s resources and our (fans) hard earned money through tickets and merchandise just to be sold to our rivals and in the process strengthen them whilst weakening us. We have not won any trophies in this time, and again if someone tries to convince me by saying the Emirates cup is a trophy (which we haven’t won in recent times), then go watch golf or something. Status now: FEEDER CLUB, 50% DISCOUNTS THANKS TO THE BOSMAN CLAUSE!
21gGone are the glory days when we celebrated in unison. Highbury was filled with happy faces; kids smiling because they just got to witness their favourite stars play the beautiful game in the beautiful way. The Arsenal way. We used to enjoy football. Watching an Arsenal game was the highlight of most of my weekends. A great match would motivate us to go and play on the street and fields emulating quick 1-2 passes with your mates and doing the latest Thierry Henry celebration style. Gone, gone are those days. 21h Nowadays, our stadium is filled with boos and jeers to our own side with the away fans having a ball, a goal or two even. This new Black Scarf Movement is about hardcore Arsenal fans making their voices heard. Thankfully it has all been peaceful. I was really interested at how the Arsenal fans have finally spoken out. Here is a sample of an Arsenal fan nicknamed ‘Bully’. After you listen to him, you’d call him a Legend. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4TJ5WG2qlM … Credit to the great work done by the folks at Arsenal Fan TV. Worth subscribing to!

Final message:

I believe Wenger has to take over a board position and also Alisher Usmanov along with David Dein (both of whom represent the Red and White Army) should join Le Boss and take over from Kroenke, Gazidis and Hill-Wood. I believe only one man can take over as our boss and I know he is the man for it.

ENTER: Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Portsmouth v Liverpool - Fratton Park

TONY ADAMS aka MR. ARSENAL

The man will instil discipline and will give a sense of pride and strength back to our Arsenal badge. #TONY ADAMS FOR MANAGER. Oh by the way, just a heads up … I won’t be posting any match blogs till something is resolved with our club and our table position. This is my way of observing in silence hopefully the end of a bad decade of trophy-less fan hood and very soon usher in an era of goals, glory and hopefully trophies! Peace out!!! #STAY STRONG GUNNERS!! Join our facebook community http://www.facebook.com/gunnersfolife spread the word and show our solidarity by sticking together for the values of our club! With this I tear up saying CMON ARSENAL!! CMON U GUNNERZ!! I wish for the good ol’ days and also hoping our voices are heard ….

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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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Match Preview – Arsenal vs Fulham (Home – Match 11) (Post #19)

Hello. Some of you have asked as to why I had placed a very short Preview to Arsenal-United and why there was no post match analysis. Honestly after our emasculating display, I was considering just forgetting all about football let alone what has happened to our beloved club. But I’ve gathered myself because if you’ve been following a club for 12+ years, watching, playing and growing with the beautiful game and with one of its finest clubs, so it doesn’t go away that easily even if people running things are just taking from Arsenal and not giving back. I couldn’t get myself to sit and write this but now I have, it is a short rant and then hopefully after, we can resume to the Match Preview for Arsenal vs Fulham … God help the Gunner Nation.

My Diatribe:

1. RIP Arsenal-United:  Arsenal vs United has always been a heated event, with the whole world waiting to see what unfolds because it is this match that makes or breaks the season for either team. In that sense, it WAS much like, if not more significant than the El Classico. Gone are those days. Even Sir Alex said rightfully, this game has lost the spark that it used to have over the years. One sided game is a nice way of putting it, it was more like one side played the game.

2. Player reactions: Poor Wilshere was the only one showing some grit and manfully got a red card. You could see the pain etched on his face seeing his club being torn to shreds. Even Van Persie and most of Old Trafford seemed to cringe at our dignity being thrown down the gutter.

3. Fan reactions: As fans, watching it was even more painful. The fellow Arsenal fans I was watching with could hardly see each other and just kept their heads down because we knew what kind of an evening it was going to be at the 2:38 mark when RvP scored with his first touch, inevitably.

4. Legends’ reactions: And somewhere, our legends- Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Tony Adams must have been left fuming at how the badge in the front of the jersey had been let down. Even the boss had his head down. When your leader had given up hope then well, what else is there to say? Heck, even Roy Keane would have been disappointed.

5. Foresight: Something tells me that if things don’t go well against Fulham, Tottenham in the coming weeks, then we may be looking at big changes come the end of season. I would not be shocked to see Cazorla join PSG, Podolski elsewhere where he would play more centrally and Theo is sadly already one foot out the door. To make it worse, we will still have Bendtner, Chamakh, Squillaci and the rest still eating up our wage structure without having to put one minute of effort wearing the Arsenal jersey. Heck, if they are getting paid £60,000 a week for just chilling around, where do I sign up??

6. Almost a decade of … (you decide):

Exhibit A: It was tough to swallow that we would never be the first London club to lift the Champions League. With all our potential and achievements, we haven’t reached Europe’s footballing pinnacle and it doesn’t look like we will get there anytime soon. I am hoping like millions of other Gunners that in our lifetime we will see the Arsenal pick up that trophy. #Wilshere4Captain. Besides, that is not the only thing we NEED to achieve, our trophy room has been filled with dust enough to start a museum of history or no-history rather at the Emirates Stadium. And don’t say the Emirates cup is a title piece. How I miss Highbury and the glory days!

Exhibit B: Feeder club – Losing key players who moved on to greener money bills, I mean pastures-  Ashley Cole, Samir Nasri, Adebayor, Robin Van Persie, Alex Hleb, Gael Clichy, William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas and even Thierry Henry. The last two, I can understandably agree that they give it their all for the Arsenal and we know they have Arsenal DNA in them.

Exhibit C: More worryingly, we have sold very important players and not secured them- examples are Vieira (who wanted to stay, how we missed him in our midfield then), Song (who wanted to stay, how we miss him in our midfield now), Flamini, Nasri, maybe Walcott. You will have to explain to me how it makes sense that if you build someone like Alex Song up for 7 years till he is 24 and he has enough experience and came for training that day, yet he is pulled out of training to be flown off for a medical at Barca, he just had enough time to bid adieu to his now former team mates.

Exhibit D: I sincerely wish Andre Santos all the best for his future at some other club and wish to never see him wear an Arsenal Jersey, in my opinion it would be highly disrespectful to the rest of us who have year in year out, bought the Arsenal jersey amongst other things (posters, calendars, scarves….). Seriously, I think Nike knows my order in advance even before I ask. You save up all year and you also wait for Christmas or Birthday gifts hoping for it to be the new Arsenal Jersey and you have someone collecting an arch-rival’s jersey as a souvenir like we had gone to Old Trafford for tourist purposes?! Blasphemy! It is not a cultural difference, it is just COMMON SENSE!

7. Silver lining or just rainy days? : Having seen Arsenal struggle for the past 8 years, we may see a change in our upper management. It would be saddening but not shocking to hear our Boss Wenger say that he is going to retire having let us down, he truly loves our club but he is just not as supported as he used to be by David Dein. Stan Kroenke, Ivan Gazidis and Hill-Wood have done a smart business deal and I must say an economically viable plan by “self-sustaining” Arsenal and its finances. But the Glazers came in with heavy criticism at United, yet they spent £25-50million to get the likes of Tevez, Berbatov, RvP, etc etc and keep winning trophies and then rightfully earning some money by doing business… Even Liverpool have found money and gone about getting Torres for £40million, Suarez and the rest of them for good chunks of change. David Dein’s son has taken our stars rightfully (atleast for them) to where they would find more trophies and yes of course more money. Now this Wenger resignation could cause an uproar that would lead to the ousting of the current executive board and bring in the likes of Alisher Usmanov (who would give Roman Abrahamovich a run for his money) and David Dein, his now close associate at the Red and White Army. Trust me, next year’s AGM will be far from less hostile.

Still looking for Arsenal vs Fulham Preview: Yea, let’s get this over with, I’m going to wrap this up quick-

Possible line-up: Mannone (Italian boss), Vermaelen (NOT SANTOS), Koscielny (No more own goals), Per (German Machine), Sagna (Sigh could leave soon too), Arteta (Ever our Stalwart), Cazorla (Thinking of Man City or PSG?), Walcott (could be his last few games for the Arsenal), Ramsey (suddenly our midfield is out of options!), Giroud (hard worker, keep your head up and sulk less Gunner) and Podolski (play him centrally or lose him next summer too!).

Prediction: BETTER WIN THIS CONVINCINGLY!

There are a few things I enjoy in life and one of those is Arsenal FC, let us hope the players and the manager and hopefully the board step up and bring glory back to its home. CMON ARSENAL! CMON ARSENAL! CMON ARSENAL!

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Match Preview – Arsenal vs Norwich (Away – Match 8) (Post #15)

Rumours are circulating that the rightful heir to the throne of the Arsenal Kingdom has returned in service to his legion. He is touted to replace the memories of yesteryear by upholding the same qualities that were displayed by his predecessors King Henry and Prince Cesc. He has also been duly notified that the jester of the court – one Robin Van Persie has left. He was also been reported to have approved Arsenal’s acquisition of the services of two new commanders in chief – General Podolski et General Giroud. He would also get back to matters alongside his old allies from his youth- Knights Diaby, Ramsey and Arteta. But most importantly, what will happen in the English continent is his new alliance with the Excellence of Execution, a wizard even- Santi Cazorla. These are signs of prosperity in terms of the royalty displayed. The new councils at Stamford Bridge and theEastlands along with the perennial archrivals overat the Kop, Old Trafford and White Hart Lane have all been warned of his return. He is JACK WILSHERE.

I know remove my Medieval style thinking hat and proceed to our Match Preview for Arsenal vs Norwich (Away).

Match Preview- Arsenal vs Norwich (Away) – Match 8:

Well that was a looooooong international break but I am glad we are back albeit with Theo getting a nasty injury but this is aint the first time he’s got injured after finally getting back good form. Let us hope he comes back strong, well atleast he has so much time to sort out if he is going to stay or leave.

Possible team line up:

GK: Mannone (our only top choice, please stay uninjured Vito)

DEF: Santos, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Corp. Jenkinson. I’d like to see Santos get some game time and that is exactly what will happen with Gibbs out injured. Koscielny didn’t have a good outing for France, he has a back injury as well, stay strong Gunner. He will hopefully feature at some point in this month’s fixtures.Sagna is back too, but not to full match fitness, I am sure he will be eased into the matches. This month’s fixtures aren’t as demanding as they usually are.

MID: Arteta, Cazorla, Ramsey (Never any doubt about these three now). Now who features in the fourth position in the midfield quartet is the million dollar question because it could make or break our game especially after a long international break. Coquelin or Chambo or the Dench Kid Frimpong can step up. Frimpong can stay back and allow Arteta some time up front. Gervinho might be rested after his African trip, he may start but then again it is up to the boss. This could be a very tricky decision. Or could this be ARSHAVIN’s rennaisance period??? Watch this space…

ATT: Giroud HAS to feature, he is just picking up pace for club and country both assists and goal wise. Him and Podolski up front should be a delight to watch. We can FINALLY have a two striker/forward pairing, last seen in the Arsenal circa 2003/04 ala Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.

Prediction:

Arsenal 3-1 Norwich. I expect us to give away a sloppy goal or a penalty given our team rust. But we’ll switch gears once the players get back to how it was two weeks ago (wow it’s been two weeks?!) and we will win with all guns blazing.

So … Buckle up, sit back and relax. It’s the weekend and this is ARSENAL !!! Look forward to our post match analysis and thank you for reading. Plus if you have any special article requests for all things Arsenal or even football in general please do let me know. With all honesty, it is a delight writing for you fellow Gunners and also for other fans who are kind enough to appreciate this, all you lot are the best in the world! Cheers!

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Match Preview – Arsenal vs West Ham (Away – Match 7) (Post #13)

Gunners- This is the Arsenal vs West Ham Match Preview. So one week and one subway sandwich later, I have recuperated and am excited to see Arsenal go away to West Ham to face an old enemy in Sam Allardyce. Today will not be an easy task. We will have to earn three hard points and that will reflect on the scoreline. Allardyce munching away on whatever it is that he eats, has always been a thorn to our side’s progression through past seasons. This time however, he doesn’t have the same resources as he once had in Bolton but expect long crosses and hard tackles. This will be a messy affair.

Oh and did you hear about the nasty flu virus going around the dressing room? Theo, Vermaelen, Coquelin just recovered from it, Per seems to have got it now. And for this reason, Le Boss wants to ban handshakes for a bit (Ironic, let’s see if he and Sam shake hands at the end of this game). Ok ok, now to the breakdown of the game ahead-

GK: Mannone still hasn’t won plaudits for his performances. The Chelsea result may have pushed his progress a back for now but nonetheless I don’t fret as much as I used to when Almunia and Fabianski were running about between the posts.

DEF: Per still needs to recover leaving for an unchanged back four- Gibbs, Corp. Jenkinson, Vermaelen and Koscielny. I would however be tempted to play Yennaris or Coquelin today. Coquelin was amazing against Olympiakos. Coquelin, Miquel, Yennaris and Jenkinson are such bright prospects. The future is looking good (provided we don’t go on selling about). Plus Sagna is going to find it hard to break into the first team. The Corporal has taken his position across the right flank.

MID: Arteta needs a rest but he will have to feature with Diaby and Rosicky still out. Wilshere is going to be in his second comeback game by featuring in another U-21 game, which may also feature Bacary Sagna (In U-21? Go figure). Playmaking ahead of Arteta will be his other genius Spanish compatriot Mr. Santi Cazorla. Gervinho will play but will be taken off to give him some deserved rest. Walcott may come on later for him. That leaves just one position free in the midfield and there is only one person who will take it, not because of lack of squad depth but because of quality. His name is Aaron Ramsey (Rambo). He is slowly signs of finally consistently producing class from his raw potential days.

ATT: Up front Podolski will support Giroud. So yes a 4-4-1-1 formation. Podolski and Gervinho will of course keep interchanging positions through the course of the game.

Score Prediction: Arsenal 1-0 or 2-1 or 3-1. It is not a walk in the park.

Today’s wishlist: Ramsey continues to shine, Gervinho keeps scoring, Giroud scores and Podolski showing just as much as passion as he showed after scoring against Olympiacos. Such an enterprising person he seems.

ONE NIL TO THE ARSENAL! ONE NIL TO THE ARSENAL! ONE NIL TO THE AAAAARSENAAAAL!!!! That’s all folks!

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