Tag Archives: Arsenal

2013/14 Premier League Season – the story so far (part 1)

Premier League Table - Jan 5th 2014
Premier League Table – Jan 5th 2014

 

It has been a football extravaganza over the past couple of weeks. I for one have been glued to the tv  – watching the drama unfold over the crazy Christmas schedule and the upsets of the FA Cup – there have been many highs and lows for all concerned – the teams, the managers and of course us, the fans.

So with the season now past the halfway point, this is where the drama really starts to unfold and we begin to see the stress and strains of the Premier League run in, and what will prove to be make or break for a lot of teams. But before the hullabaloo really gets going, lets look back on the first half of the 2013/14 season and the story so far (Part 1) –

Arsenal:
The gunners came out the gate running (in August), and caught many teams by surprise. They remain at the top of the table, but how long will they maintain this position? Theo Walcott is out for six months and their list of injuries continues to grow. The next few weeks will be critical to their title challenge and their fortunes may depend on their dealings in the Transfer window and how they perform during the crunch games against the bigger teams. I believe they will finish in the top four, but they will not be champions this season.

Continue reading 2013/14 Premier League Season – the story so far (part 1)

The Premier League Christmas Carol

Premier League Christmas-carol
Premier League Christmas-Carol

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; it is still the embodiment of Christmas, told the world over. So what better way to celebrate the festive season with a Premier League version of the classic story.

The Christmas Premier League schedule is the busiest part of the season, games come thick and fast, teams travel up and down the country and if they are lucky players and the managers get at least Christmas day off to eat some turkey, enjoy several helpings of Christmas pudding, pull a cracker or two before collapsing in a heap and watching the Queens Christmas Message.

It is the managers who bear the brunt of the seasonal stress, so let us dedicate the Premier League Christmas Carol to them.

Bob Cratchit – Roberto Martinez (Everton) – Okay so he is not in such a pitiful situation that Cratchit was – overworked, underpaid – but he is dealing with a stingy chairman who offers very little in the way of money to buy new players.

Continue reading The Premier League Christmas Carol

Can one player win the Premier League?

When Sir Alex Ferguson bought Robin Van Persie for £22.5 million in August 2012, he made the purchase with one aim in mind – Van Persie would win back the Premier League Crown for Manchester United

On 22 April 2013, Van Persie netted an incredible first-half hat-trick against Aston Villa, confirming Manchester United’s 20th league title with four games in hand. Robin Van Persie had scored 26 goals Premier League goals, revitalized a team – that had been piped to the Premier League Crown by one point the previous season – and ensured Utd won the championship by a massive 11 points.

Did Van Persie win the league single handed – no, but his presence and his purchase played a huge part.

Continue reading Can one player win the Premier League?

Arsenal v Manchester Utd: Squad sheets

Arsenal-v-Manchester-United-Match-Preview

Once upon a time this used to be the game of the season. The fiercest of rivals would at the top of the table battling to win the Premier League. This season it is just another game, a game to fill a gap in the schedule, and a game, in terms of the title race, that has little consequence.

For Manchester Utd, with four games to go, they have already been crowned champions – a phenomenal achievement. For them, all that is left to play for is the chance to break the record points total of 96 points. They will want to win every one of the four games they have left to play, and we will hope they take to the field with a swagger that champions deserve to have.

As for Arsenal, aside from giving their old closest rival a guard of honor, when they take to the pitch, to celebrate Utd’s crown, they are in a dogfight with Tottenham and Chelsea. These London teams are locked in a close battle for third place (which guarantees a place in the Champions League next season) and also for the bragging rights as the capitals ‘Top Dog’.

This will not be a tussle of old, but it will prove to an entertaining game.

Match Facts:

Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, Sunday April 28th

Last season’s result: Arsenal 1 Manchester Utd 2

Arsenal form guide: WDWWWW

Manchester Utd form guide: WDWLWW

Arsenal leading scorer: Cazorla – 12

Manchester Utd leading scorer: Van Persie – 24

Possible team line-ups:

Arsenal 4-3-3: Szczesny, Koscienly, Mertesacker, Sagner, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski

Manager: Arsene Wenger

Manchester Utd 4-2-3-1: De Gea, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Da Silva, Cleverley, Carrick, Rooney, Kagawa, Valencia, Van Persie

Manager: Alex Ferguson

Arsenal subs from: Mannone, Martínez, Gnabry, Jenkinson, Monreal, Yennaris, Arshavin, Vermaelen, Squillaci, Miquel, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Gervinho

Arsenal injuries: Fabianski (rib, May), Diaby (knee, Nov)

Manchester Utd subs from: Lindegaard, Johnstone, Büttner, Hernández, Welbeck, Anderson, Giggs, Powell, Smalling, Evans, Nani

Manchester Utd injuries: Scholes (knee, 4 May), Young (ankle, Aug), Fletcher (illness, Aug)

Additional Information:

• Robin van Persie has scored 17 goals in his past 17 Premier League appearances at the Emirates Stadium

• Despite having the best defence in the Premier League away from home this term, 12 teams have a better record at their own home than Arsenal

• United have played 77 matches since their last 0-0 draw, the longest current run in the top flight

•Arsenal have lost three of their past four home games with United in all competitions

• United are the first team to win title with four games left since Arsenal in 2003-04 (source:Guardiannews.com)

Prediction: Arsenal 1 Manchester Utd 2

Image source: premiersoccerchat.com 

Arsenal – where did it all go wrong?

Arsenal v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16
Arsenals’ Jack Wilshere can’t hide his dejection
arsene-wenger1
Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenals’ record this season – Football League Cup – lose to League 2 side Bradford City in the Quarter Finals. FA Cup – lose to Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round. Premier League – currently fifth and fighting to finish in fourth and automatic qualification to the Champions League.

For a side that once dominated every competition, Arsenal now find themselves struggling to keep up with the title race, are only on the fringes of an automatic place in the Champions League and were humiliated in the FA Cup. So what has happened to the side that once competed with Manchester United each season for every major honor?

Since winning the Premier League in 2004, the FA Cup in 2005, and being Manchester Uniteds’ biggest rivals in the Premier League, Arsenal have gone trophy less for the past eight years. If you ask the question – is it down to a bad manager, bad players, lack of desire, or all of the above? The answer would be a resounding ‘no’.

Arsène Wenger (manager since 1996) has done a phenomenal job. The players he has brought into the club have been outstanding, he has organized his team to play beautiful attacking football and his dedication to change how the club is run and managed has been out of this world. So where did it all go wrong?

Since 2005 Arsenal have offloaded seventeen top players – these players have gone on to win forty-four major medals with eleven different clubs, while those who have stayed with Arsenal have won nothing –

The top players that have been sold are now some of the best players in Europe, and as you can see, most of these players were sold to Premier League rivals Manchester City – last seasons Premier League champions –

  •  2005 – Patrick Viera (sold to Juventus)
  • 2005 – Ashley Cole (sold to Chelsea)
  • 2007 – Thierry Henry (sold to Barcelona)
  • 2008 – Mathieu Flamini (sold to AC Millan)
  • 2008 – Aleksandr Hleb (Sold to Barcelona)
  • 2009 – Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure (both sold to Man City)
  • 2011 – Gael Cichy and Samir Nasri (both sold to Man City)
  • 2011 – Cesc Fabregas (sold to Barcelona)
  • 2012 – Robin Van Persie (sold to Man Utd).

In recent years the clubs policy has been to sell their top talent (listed above) while buying in younger players – predominantly from France – to fill the gaps. While these players have go on to prove their worth, several of them have been sold while the others have so little experience at the top level the team has started to suffer.

Arsenal have had no natural leader and haven’t since Cesc Fabregas left for Barcelona in 2011. They lack experience and depth in defense and midfield and when the transfer window is open the club has failed to sign a big name player, even though player sales have generated over $250m in revenue – funds that should have been used to strengthen the team.

It has been argued the team lacks belief in itself. When they are on top of their game Arsenal can play some of the most attractive football in Europe. However, when their heads drop, their hit that self destruct button and they become easy prey, losing to lower league opposition such as Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup – a game they should be able to win with their eyes closed.

For a club that has so much potential it is a sad sight indeed. The Premier League was a far more interesting place when Arsenal were competing for honors and the games of the season saw the two top managers in European football (Arsène Wenger and Alex Ferguson) pit their wits against each other in the make or break fixtures between the two teams.

The last two years has really seen Arsenal struggle but this season the club has his rock bottom. Until the club and the manager can address where it all went wrong the team with so much promise will continue to under achieve.

(Photo’s by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images and www.berberanews.com )