Archive for December, 2010

Signing off 2010: What Arsenal fans have to say

We asked Arsenal fans all over the world to send us their views on their thoughts of Arsenal’s 2010, and what they expect in 2011:

@nirmitsheth9 Nirmit Sheth
I had great opportunity to visit Emirates this October and it was the best moment for me this year. I had a tour of the stadium. In India late games starts at like 1:30 am and ends at 3:30… I stay awake till like 4 am to watch the game and never regret it.

@karmkhanna karmkhanna
it is the spirit of the Arsenal that makes us the die-hard fans that we are…Happy 2011 to Arsenal and Arsenal fans world over!

@Graham_Dell Graham Dell
ok – I think on the whole we’ve improved but our slack defending is still an issue. The league is wide open and we can win it

@boadinho Felizz Boadi-Danquah
Consistency is the main thing missing in the team now,let’s sell less,buy less and the team can grow together.

@pjbish Bish
I did not expect to be as high in the league as we are. Every game is a lottery. Defence needs sharpening like k davies elbows!

@Giveajot Jo Thair
heart stopping brilliance with a propensity to frustrate and annoy, that is all!

@kiipersie Adzkia Dyah Armita
my 2010 arsenal diary: we hv a really big chance to get trophies, we slapped chelsea, a lot of arsenal’s players joined twitter 🙂

@nikenars14 niken paramita
i choose the victory against chelsea as my favorite arsenal moment. really proud of the lads, beautiful game indeed.

@Junior_Sep7 Junior
good in a nutshell, I can say that the year 2010 was the year I started to like and follow closely the arsenal, since my time in Brazil also does not come through victorious moments, and just for that reason my admiration Arsenal.
the story of the two clubs are identical, passionate fans, clubs that has a history of victories, the beautiful way of playing football. Finally in 2010 despite having no joy, it was good feeling for the consolidation of these two clubs Arsenal and SE Palmeiras

@tafthegutterman stephen jones
All the Highs & lows of an Arsenal fan have been evident as usual once again! Although we still have a good chance of the title, the 3 home defeats & poor performance at Old trafford could be our eventual downfall !! We must play as we did against Chavs, for the rest of the season, to stand as good chance as possible of claiming the Premier League title !! We must keep faith & believe in ourselves!!

@scotts84 scott shelford
My favourite bit in 2010 was when we came back form 2-0 down against barca at home.with cesc taking a penalty with a fractured foot!!

@AndyHa_ Andy Ha
A promising year where our players have certainly matured and give us plenty of hope for the new year! Just sort out that defence and some trophies aren’t far away. COYR!

@Shaniqua_gunner Amal walcott
Its been a great year 4 da gonners injured players came back we did great Its been a good season i think were goin 2 win trophy

@GudgeAFC Gordon Davidson
Interesting year filled with some incredible highs, but sadly, also many lows. But hey; that’s why we love #THEARSENAL

@yamini22y Yamini Murthy
A-rmy R-igor S-plendour E-nigma N-emesis A-gile L-ords F-orever C-hampions That’s Arsenal FC for you!!:) Go Gunners.!! ❤

@novemberchas Charlotte Emms
Well the past year has been both good and bad. One of the goods was beating Chelsea. And for the new year I hope that we win a trophy and end the season on a great high.

@MoshinaMubarak Moshina mubarak
i think arsenal r a gr8 team,sum tyms fail 2 make they fans happy wen they lose,but hey ima gunner fan so i love them any way

@MariamMubarak8 Mariam mubarak
I THINK ”blackpool” is going to win the barclays premire league….

@kts_gunner Karen Senoo
In overall, I think we had a good year. With ups and downs like everyone else. Some tough losses, hard to forget. Injuries difficult to understand and accept. But in good and bad times, I am gooner till the end. Above all, I am very proud of my club and now I can say that I’m an official supporter from Brazil!! I hope that 2011 will bring good things for us and that our dreams will finally come true. Happy New Year everybody!

@tarheelrosh Rosh Hashanah Dih
i think arsenal had a good year. ya know there’s always the ups and downs in a season. Anyway we’re in the top 5 😉

@FirstGnu Effervescent Gnu
Arsenal’s a club with a vision. Sometimes the vision may be hard to see even to the arsenal faithfuls but the meat of passion and change’s displayed everytime the team takes to the turf. Our limitation’s down to mentality. The passion to play the arsenal way and win beautiful must be topped off with a ‘bulldog’ winning mentality: holding on and never letting go.Above all, arsene and the boys are worthy pacesetters. Happy New Year.

@KeithTheGooner Keith
2010- The year Arsenal entered the music world and went from Boyz II Men. Also the year for terrible puns. More of the same in 2011!

@jaja_1421 helena
Happy New Year 2011 to #TheArsenal May 2011 bring us success, happiness and trophies at the end of the seasons!Greetings from Malaysia!!

@SaltyGunner Michael Richards
I ‘discovered’ Arsenal this year – and cannot believe I could have made a better choice! What an awesome family and team!

@alvianarsenal Alviana Anantia
#Arsenal: the best team ever! It’s the 3rd season I’ve follow since I loved Arsenal in 2007. Just TWO words: AMAZING! PERFECTO!

@VerityJNutjob V.J Nelson
my thoughts on arsenal: not matter how bad or good a game goes. I am arsenal for life. Arsenal are a special team. I cant live without them

@GOONER1964 GOONER1964
Patrick Vieira’s return, the cheers as he was substituted for the money grabbing Adebayor, and the instant jeers he received

@Mulepest Ndamu Gumani
it’s been yet another season filled with drama and shocking results but also one with a new hero named #SamirNasri

@Ikywidluv Ikram Jannah Ali
this year was filled with heart retching moments but the win at Chelsea brought spirit back into the squad 2011=trophies

@cwb1365 Charles Barber
We’ve yet to play near our best yet mainly due to injuries and CF post wc so let’s be excited about where we are and keep the faith

@Bedsgooner Steve Wright
Year End report GK’s – There is opportunity for one of them to claim No.1 jersey, all have to up their game in different areas. Def’s – Not solid enough in the middle (JD & LK) best options at mo, hurry back TV5. Midfield – Jack a revelation and poss best player this season (so far), with Cesc, Song and Nasri our best combination. Forwards – RVP & TW14 need match fitness, AA23 good in patches, needs to be more consistent. MC29 great start to AFC career, NB52 jurys out

@ArsenaLos Los
If the same team that showed up vs chavs shows up for the rest of the season arsenal will be champs. Drop fabianski for @53Szczesny53

@samanthachoy Samantha Choy
It’s time for the Gunners to win the silverware that they truly deserve!

@evadztif David Fitzpatrick
I just loved Sols celebration after the goals we scored at the end of the Stoke game….was awesome!!!!

@Cellerpois Chris the cabbie
I’m hoping that we win the carling cup, put in 2 good performances against Barcelona and challenge for the title right up to the final game.

@JulietKapuletti Fatiha
I think the team has grown up so much.But we still lack a defender.

@NorthernGooner Patrick Duffy

In 2011 we WILL win our first trophy since 2005, this WILL be a catalyst for Arsenal to build upon for seasons to come. The future’s bright, the future’s Arsenal!

@trulytazz Tejaswi
For me, 2010 can be summed up in these 5 moments –
1. Horrific injury to Ramsey (proving the -‘ve football teams play against us)
2. Comeback against Barca (proving our resolute)
3. Wenger staying defiant despite getting jeered by the Old Trafford
faithful (proving his faith in the ‘Arsenal Way’)
4. Standing ovation for Dudu at the Emirates (proving our class)
5. Win against Chelsea (proving our belief)
Follow me on Twitter @trulytazz
Follow my blog on Twitter @11gunnerz

Our thoughts:

@Haider Iqtesab Haider
2010 was a memorable year for Arsenal. It is amazing how fast our young players have matured so far! Players such as Song, Gibbs, Walcott and Jack have taken huge steps forward and are a vital component of this strong Arsenal squad. Even though we are not on the top of the table at the end of the year, I still believe this Arsenal squad can make it this year and bring a trophy home. Here’s to an auspicious and prosperous new year! Cheers.

@sharjilh Sharjil Hannan
Was quite disappointed when Arsenal lost to Barcelona last season. Although we did have quite a few injuries. That can’t be an excuse anymore, so for 2011 my only wish is that Arsenal beats Barcelona. Ok no not my only wish, we need a trophy, so Fabregas please lift the Carling Cup this time, since we’re that close 🙂

Finally, Happy New Year to all Arsenal fans across the world from the emiratesviewpoint team!

Feel free to comment and tell us how your 2010 was. 🙂

Arsenal vs Wigan: Problems Persist

For Arsenal it was the same Achilles heel which has blighted us all season. Our soft defending has seen two points slip away at a crucial time of the season. The result isn’t a catastrophe but it is certainly a huge annoyance given Wigan had 10 men at the time and we had 3 points comfortably within our grasp.

After the game, a lot of people in the media and Arsenal fans alike blamed the draw on Wenger and the wholesale changes which he made. But in truth, the equalising goal we conceded was purely down to bad defending by Squillaci and Fabianski.  Squillaci did not follow the basics of defending and didn’t get anywhere near goal side of Caldwell. He then compounded it all by bundling it into the net. Fabianski lived up to his reputation of not commanding the box at set pieces and was in no man’s land when the ball was headed back across the face of the goal. Flappianski at his very best.

We will never win the title as long as Wenger refuses to buy a top class commanding centre back and a quality goal keeper. It is so glaringly obvious where the team needs to strengthen, and we always hear about how much money there is available. Manchester City have already shown by splashing out 30m on Dzeko that they mean business. Chelsea and Tottenham will also probably strengthen in January. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be left behind and persist with Squillaci until Vermaelen is fit again. Points will continue to be dropped.

I would like to see Johan Djourou given an extended run in the team. He played magnificently against Chelsea and controlled Drogba all game – the first time for a few years an Arsenal defender has managed to get the better of the Ivorian. In goal meanwhile, Szczesny is still young, but he is confident and commanding and also should get a run in the team now. He showed at Old Trafford he can handle the occasion and Fabianski simply isn’t good enough for Arsenal despite his decent form for a few weeks. When it really matters, he will still make bad mistakes and we will continue to concede from set pieces as he does not inspire any confidence in those in front of him.

Looking forward, we will need to be at our best against Birmingham on Saturday if we want to take full points from St Andrews. They have an excellent record there and have already held Manchester Utd, Spurs and beaten Chelsea there this season.  Cesc will be back from suspension which is a massive boost and the likes of Nasri and Song will be almost certainly be restored to the starting line up. It is games like these which are a test of our title credentials but I am confident that if we play to our best, we will beat Birmingham and cap off a pretty good Christmas period.  COYR.

Follow me on twitter: @AndyHa_

Walcott needs to start!

Our Chelsea curse is finally over and we can gladly put it behind us. It was an absolutely fantastic performance from all the players as they stepped up to the plate in the perfect time to give us fans an amazing end of year present. This match should also pull us away from the ‘big match chokers’ title. Finally.

Although Cesc Fabregas was the official man of the match, most fans felt it should have gone to Alex Song. I have often criticized him this season for being too attack-minded and failing to give effective cover when opposition often counter against us. However, it was due to his anticipation and hunger to score that Song found himself in a great position after breaking away from the crowd of defenders and provided that crucial goal right before half-time.

Let’s see, who else had did outstandingly well? Oh yes ofcourse, Drogba finally DID NOT score a goal and that credit has to go to our central defenders. Djourou just added another impressive performance to an already fruitful season so far. He did so well to intercept and clear a bulk of the passes and crosses from the midfield towards the Drog. Koscielny was a bit hesitant and nervy at times, but he still looked quite confident most of the game and did enough to protect the goal.

 

The likes of Song and Djourou have been playing like this the past few months, so it wasnt really anything new. What was new is that Walcott started, and gave us a match-winning show. He proved to us he doesnt just score and perform well against weaker teams like Blackpool and Partizan, but can make the likes of Cashley look like a fool! This shouldve been enough for our No 14 to send a message to Arsene that he should start games way more often, ahead of Arshavin and Rosicky.

I was also so delighted to see Robin Van Persie in full stretch. His movement was impeccable and was always looking to find some space and receive the ball. There is really a stark difference when RVP plays up front, rather than Chamakh. They’re both very different players and I’m not sure when Wenger will be comfortable starting them both together up front. I still think their partnership has the potential to thrive, but it will take time. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to give them too much time!

Overall, it was a strong response from the Gunners after their loss against Man Utd where they looked lacklustre for most of the game. One can only hope that we can build on this victory and continue to maintain this level of form. Can’t look too far ahead though, next up Wigan! Give us a New Year’s present this time Arsenal. 🙂

Would you like it if the game against Chelsea got postponed?

Ok, I know the weather forecasts in London sound promising and the game is likely to go through but would you rather that the game is called off? Not to sound like a coward or anything, but at a time like this I would have preferred a game against a weaker opposition. Our form against top sides has been ludicrous for the past couple of years. This Arsenal team is heavily dependant on confidence when it comes to winning games. After losing to Manutd last week, this match against Chelsea does not feel auspicious at all.

A quick look at the fixtures reveals that we have a good number of away games coming up. We do have one home game within the next five fixtures though. It’s against Manchester City. No matter how chimerical our away record is this season, I always believe that home games are easier. But sadly, we do not have any easy home games coming soon. What we do have is a couple of manageable away game coming up against Wigan and Birmingham respectively. So would you rather face Wigan away or Chelsea home as your next game? Surely the majestic Wigan.

But then again, will there be a better time to face Chelsea than now? Chelsea are out of form. In fact, I do not remember them playing this bad since 5 or 6 years ago. With one one win in their last six games, getting to play Chelsea now is like gold dust.  Fat Frank should be rusty having just made his comeback from injury. Didier Drogba should also be low in confidence after missing the penalty against sp*rs. A win for Arsenal is definitely on the cards then.

Another reason why this might be a good time to face Chelsea is because we are in luck with injuries currently. The only big player missing is Vermaelen and he should be back by the end of January. Other than that our strike and midfield options are at a maximum. The sad thing is, so are Chelsea’s. They also have players coming back and the only  injuries they have is in defense. But personally I do not care about the opponent as long as we are injury-free.

As they say, Weather is very unpredictable. Forecasts predict the game will probably not be called off. Plus, the Emirates is built to resist such conditions and we are lucky to have such a majestic stadium. But what do you want? A lovely match under the sun which you are confident we will win or a blizzard that freezes the engine of the Chelsea bus? Do let us know.

When Fabregas is fully fit

Our favourite Cesc Fabregas is most likely to be completely fit ahead of the clash against Chelsea next Monday. We really do hope he is’ fully’ fit because we can’t afford to continuously lose him on the same niggling injury. It also seems like Robin Van Persie has returned to full match fitness as well and possibly feature in the starting XI on a more regular basis.

After a long time we seem to have a team full of attackers who are fit to play (Diaby is almost close to return too). This is absolutely great, but strangely enough makes it ever more difficult for Wenger to choose a starting lineup. It should be a real headache for Arsene, but from an Arsenal perspective it’s a nice headache to have!

There are quite a few options that Wenger can opt for in the match against Chelsea. Cesc Fabregas will definitely make the starting XI and so will Alex Song and Samir Nasri. The question remains about the others.

I would genuinely like Theo Walcott to start. It’s about time Wenger puts some faith in him and starts with him even in the ‘big’ matches. He has been much more composed in front of goal this season, and could be an option since we struggled to score against Chelsea in the first PL match, and also against Man Utd last week. That would mean Nasri could play on the left wing with Fabregas in center, and Wilshere and Song in support.

So who will be our main striker then? That is the question to ponder. Chamakh has been in amazing form, but is he better than Robin Van Persie? I don’t think so. Maybe I would still go with Chamakh for the Chelsea game, but RVP should come into the lineup asap. If that means Chamakh has to sit out 2-3 games, then that may just be a possibility.

However, that’s just me and I’m quite insignificant in deciding who starts and who doesn’t! What Wenger will most likely do is play Arshavin, again. I know Arshavin is regarded as the ‘big match’ player, but he hasn’t really done much in the tough fixtures so far in the season. But, Arshavin will start for sure. Van Persie and Walcott will also most likely be used as ‘impact’ players off the bench.

There is ofcourse another possibility of dropping Wilshere to the bench. Who would like that? Not many Arsenal fans. Wilshere upon giving a chance in the first team has done brilliantly so far, and has established himself as a consistent performer. One thing that will happen is that Rosicky will have to settle for a place on the bench. Wenger, to everyone’s surprise, did opt to start with Rosicky against the Man Utd game. Although he didn’t do much wrong, he certainly didn’t do anything spectacular either. He would still have a vital role to play off the bench due to his versatility, as he could come on either to go for a win or even protect a lead.

What I’ll be most interested in seeing is how Wenger handles our two star strikers Chamakh and RVP in the next upcoming fixtures. Will Wenger give them time to build a partnership up front, or look to rotate them depending on the magnitude of the fixture?

Regardless of who plays for Arsenal, the next few games are crucial and I’ll hope that everyone involved plays well and gets us those much needed wins.

 

Follow me @sharjilh

It’s time for revenge Barca, ‘cause revenge is sweet

Oh let’s cut the crap. We all knew who we were going to face next. Admitted that we ‘wished’ for something else but deep inside our fragile hearts we knew that it was time- time for revenge.

Some Arsenal fans are already moaning about how unlucky we are and that we can never win against a side like Barcelona. Really? If Arsenal fans feel like that then we seriously do not deserve to be in the Champion’s league. What’s the point of playing in the Champion’s League if we do not have the guts to face Europe’s top teams? It defeats the purpose, really. If not now, then when? We would eventually have to play them anyway. After playing in this elite competition for 13 seasons consecutively, we should be able to cope with this type of pressure. If Arsenal can ‘beat any other team’, why won’t it be able to beat Barcelona?

Arsenal are the underdogs in this match up. I know some fans prefer that we stay underdogs but frankly speaking, I don’t want us to be underdogs anymore. Why you say? Because I think Arsenal deserve more than just being a good club playing good football. I want Arsenal to be a club that puts fear into even the most elite clubs. I don’t want opponents claiming that they ‘rather face Arsenal than Chelsea or Manutd’. You know why people keep saying things like that? Because Arsenal never won the Champion’s League before. Yes, we went to the final once but ask any neutral footy fan if he or she remembers that game. I bet the answer would be ‘no’.

Arsenal are really unlucky. We again face Barca at the Emirates first. Personally, I would have preferred an away game to start with. That way we actually know where we stand when Barca come to play in our turf. It gives us the mental edge. But no, that won’t happen because lady luck’s a friggin’ Barca fan!

The one man who will be a key player for this tie is obviously our skipper Cesc Fabregas. He has to step up soon. I do not know what’s wrong with the chap. Before his injury he seemed very rusty. He made his comeback against Manutd the other day and he seemed even rustier. I mean, at a game like that adrenaline alone should make him be on his toes. But no, Cesc Fabregas’ 65% pass completion rate off the bench made him the most wasteful Arsenal player on the pitch. But the game is at the end of February and he has time to recover. But he has to step it up for this game, not just to the next level but to his maximum level.

At the end of the day, though, this is the biggest and the toughest game for Arsenal so far this season. I know revenge itself is not a good enough reason to play this game. But our pride is at stake this time. I am fed of us being the weaker of the two clubs playing the same way. I want us to be the best at what we do. I believe so, but the world does not. It’s time to put an end to this once and for all. Arsenal shall not only beat Barcelona, but go to win it all the way as well. Let’s keep believing, because it will make us stronger.

Who Should Arsenal Face: Barcelona or Real Madrid?

So the much anticipated Champions League draw is tomorrow afternoon (in my time zone anyways). The four teams that we can draw are Schalke, Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Real Madrid. Does anyone have a feeling like me that it’s most likely going to be one of the Spanish giants?

Our Champions League campaign started on a high when Arsenal comprehensively won the first three group games, but had to wait to the last game in order to secure qualification. We only have ourselves to blame for making things so difficult. But as many people predicate our team, that it wouldn’t be Arsenal if they didn’t do things the hard way.

Copyright Getty Images

Some fans seem to think that it’s best not to focus on the Champions League and actually get eliminated early to focus on the Premier League. This could be maybe because of the disappointing performances against Shakhtar and Braga, so the ‘hope’ of winning the competition has dissipated. Unfortunately, Arsenal have found themselves in a similar sort of position in the Premier League for a countless number of times in the past few seasons and yet haven’t been able to capitalise on them.

One of the fans I talked to recently said that he wants Arsenal to face Real Madrid to give them the same 5-0 thrashing that Barcelona did (woah, that’s the spirit!). Many may also want to face Barcelona early on in order to take revenge of last season. That is a possibility, especially since our team does look a lot stronger than when we faced Barcelona the last campaign. This time, Samir Nasri is firing at all ends and we have the likes of Chamakh and a fit RVP, so Bendtner is less likely to be our primary front-man. Others of course, are still wary of facing Spain’s dominating footballing forces and would much rather fancy their chances against Schalke or Bayern to progress further into the tournament.

Questions about our weaknesses remain. Football pundits ask whether Fabianski is ‘good enough’ to protect the Arsenal goal for them to win the Champions League? Does the Arsenal backline possess enough quality and depth to prevent the likes of Messi and Ronaldo scoring goals aplenty? Is Chamakh prolific and lethal enough for the Gunners attack to lead us to glory?

The problems are there. But do we sulk about them and lose confidence, or accept them and move on? The latter seems to be the right way to go. Does it really matter whether we face Barcelona or Real Madrid early in the competition? We’ll have to face them eventually if we are to win. So why fear them at all?

I cannot accept any element of fear in this Arsenal side. We are a team that has played in this prestigious competition for 13 seasons so far. The team needs to exuberate confidence and the winning mentality must flow through the veins at all times. Whether we play at Camp Nou, Santiago Bernabeu or at the Emirates, we must be in it to win it.