Posts Tagged ‘ Chamakh ’

Barcelona finally outclassed

Yesterday was historic. It’s the day we’ve been waiting for a long, long time. The day when Arsenal finally beats Barcelona. To all those who support Arsenal, it was a special moment. We forgot about everything else going on in our lives atleast even for a few seconds, to spare some thought on this glorifying victory.

Those who saw the match should however know that it wasn’t really an easy ride. Barcelona really dominated the game in the first half. They played breathtaking possession football, passing it around almost training session like. It was not a pretty sight for the thousands of fans in the Emirates Stadium who were eagerly waiting for a result. If the first half was so poor, then what could’ve possibly turned it around and placed the match in our favour?

It was possibly the first time in a major victory that Cesc Fabregas is not at the heart of attention. In fact, it was the young Jack Wilshere who inspired everyone. He was arguably the best player in the whole match and he got stuck in at the Barca field when they had possession and made some fantastic passes when he had the ball at his own feet. His perception was brilliant and tracked back extremely well to always anticipate and tackle that growing Barca move. What a display from this young Gunner. If anyone had any doubts about him, this performance should remove them completely. Actually the rumour is out already that after yesterday, Barcelona have lost their interest in Cesc Fabregas and have shifted towards Jack Wilshere. Hopefully this will never happen!

 

 

Wilshere was the Man of the Match, but it was one moment of brilliance that catalyzed this win. Robin van Persie’s form just continues to get better, and he continues to impress. I don’t remember the last time RVP was so prolific. I still remember just a couple of months back all we were talking about was Chamakh and his goal scoring form. Woah, but where is Chamakh now? He is pretty much out of the scene because van Persie comes back in the team in a bang! What RVP provides to the team is that cutting edge finishing ability. Just the way he moves when he has the ball in his feet is mesmerizing. I mean no offence to Chamakh, but van Persie is provides just a totally different class of striking ability up front. It was his awareness that made the crucial goal. It was a flash of inspirational play, from a true Gunner.

You know who is our super sub now? Before it was Walcott, now its Arshavin. Andrei won’t be too happy about because he wants to start for Arsenal every game. The important thing is he is making an impact in every game he features in now. We get glimpses of the old Arshavin back in his true colours. It’s his ability to be at the right place at the right time which makes him such a great player. His finish yesterday might have looked easy, but it wasn’t at all. A composed and accurately placed strike from our little Russian. Not even a sign of doubt in his eyes when he struck that. This is the Arshavin we want to see everyday.

However, the department that most impressed against Barca was the defence. Yes, the defence. I can’t believe I’m saying this as well. Wenger didn’t sign anyone in January and many started to speculate that we would stand no chance against a resilient Barcelona side. The first half was horrid though. There was a lack in concentration and Song’s flurry of tackles was frustrating to witness. But the defence regrouped, and put up a match winning defensive display. It’s not easy to contain the likes of Messi and David Villa upfront for even a few mins, let alone the full match. Djourou and Koscielny were right on the money as they kept intercepting passes and clearances with great precision. Then again, we have the Szczesny factor, who also seems to be improving on a daily basis. From being in the utmost outskirts of the first team, he is now out best goalkeeper and is putting up match winning displays against the best teams in the world. It seems as though the future of our goalkeeping lies in good hands. It must be said, Vermaelen’s absence was not felt yesterday. Just to put it in the most simplest of terms, our defence is awesome!

It’s not over yet, since it’s just the first leg. Nou Camp will be a hell of a game, and Barcelona will be at the top of their game. Whichever way it goes, this victory means a lot.

Leading up to the next game, Andrei Arshavin puts it perfectly when asked about Arsenal’s chances.

“Without belief you can do nothing, so we must believe”

Couldn’t have said it any better, it is belief that will take us forward.

 

Advertisements

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

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.

How The Next Four Matches Could Be Season Defining For Arsenal

I’m absolutely delighted by the fact that Chelsea dropped points yesterday. This brings Arsenal on par with Chelsea with 29 points. Manchester United are top with 31. Pundits were predicting Chelsea to walk away with the title this year saying that they had the better squad, more experienced players etc. Bullsh*t!! I do not know about Manutd but this year I truly believe that Arsenal have what it takes to win the title. The squad is indeed one of the strongest Arsenal squad I’ve seen in a long time.  Sure it’s not perfect and it has weaknesses but you do not need a perfect squad to win silverware, you just need to have a team that can perform better than the others. This team can do that.

Which brings us to the topic of today. The next four game weeks are difficult for all the top three teams as they face each other in quick succession. This could change the appearance of the league table drastically and could give a more clear indication about who ‘really’ got what it takes to win the title. Let’s take a look at the fixtures then?

CHELSEA:

1) Chelsea vs Everton

Chelsea have got the hardest fixtures and what a time to have them! They are on a roll, a roll of dropping points. In their next match, they face Everton at home. Given that Everton have  poor away form with only one win in their last five games, I still expect Moyes’ side to give this weakened Chelsea side a run for their money.  Everton have players coming back from injury; their only concern would be the suspension of Mikel Arteta. They still have Tim Cahill though and he has been using his head(literally) to score goals for fun lately.  Even if Chelsea do win this game, they will not be able to relax because they face the ”mighty” Sp*rs next.

2) Tottenham vs Chelsea

By the time Chelsea face Sp*rs, they should have John Terry and Franky back to their starting line up. Sp*rs have Van der Vaarth injuried for upto a month(according to latest reports) and it certainly won’t be easy for them. But, the game is at White Hart Lane and this certainly evens things down a bit(they have won four of their last 6 home games and drawn 2). So even with VDV out, I expect Chelsea to drop at least 2 points in this fixture.

3) Chelsea vs Manchester United

Big, big game this one. I can’t even guess what will happen here. I’m predicting that Rooney will be in full swing by this time and Chelsea,hopefully, will be low in morale after dropping points against Sp*rs. This could possibly be a high scoring game as both teams have players who would have returned by then. Arsenal fans all over the world will be hoping for a draw in this fixture. In any case, whatever the result, this game can only bring positive news for the Londoners.

4) Arsenal vs Chelsea: (refer below)

MANCHESTER UNITED:

1) Blackpool vs Manchester United: This is an easy fixture for the ManCs. Blackpool are conceding goals wherever they play and their home form has been abysmal too, winning only two of their last 6 games. The best that they can do against this in-form Manutd side is get a draw. But lets not get our hopes up; Blackpool should be thrashed in this game.

2) Manchester United vs Arsenal: (refer below)

3) Chelsea vs Manchester United: Unpredictable as mentioned above.

4) Manchester United vs Sunderland: The fact that Sunderland have the core of their defense out injured certainly is not good news for their rivals. Titus Bramble and Michael Turner are out for months and are not expected to be fit for this fixture. Manchester United are gaining momentum game by game and I really can’t see them losing against Sunderland at home regardless of their previous results against Chelsea and Arsenal.

ARSENAL:

Arsenal vs Fulham: On paper, this may sound as a very easy fixture for Arsenal but this actually is  a big test for them. Arsenal are struggling at home  having lost 3 out of their last five home games against various oppositions. Arsene Wenger has said that these losses were only coincidental and that Arsenal will bounce back. I think this is true. Arsenal have been losing home games ,yes. Did they play that bad as to deserve a loss? No.  It’s the fact that they are losing matches even though they are playing well that is putting a bit of mental pressure on the players. I believe that once we win against Fulham  on Saturday, we will put on a string of home wins from then on, including the the match against Chelsea later on.

2) Manchester United vs Arsenal: This match will be upon us on  13th of  December and this is truly a mouth watering fixture. Head to head, Manutd have the upper hand winning four of the last 5 games against Arsenal in all competitions. Add to that the fact that the match is at Old Trafford and Arsenal have more pressure on them. Still, this Arsenal is side is now matured and with or without Cesc Fabregas, I expect Arsenal to get at least a point in this game. Remember that this Arsenal side, unlike last season, is doing terrific at away games and a win is certainly on the cards.

3) Arsenal vs Stoke: Another easy home fixture. We cannot afford to drop points in games like these and I think by now Arsenal will have had learned their lessons and will just do the business. Stoke’s away form has been pretty bad with four losses in six and I’m sure Shawcross will play accordingly if he does not want death threats on his door steps the next morning.

4) Arsenal vs Chelsea: This is a must win game for me. Chelsea might have players coming back but they will need time to get back to full fitness. Also, just because they have players back does not necessarily mean they will be back in form instantly. Head to head, Arsenal are again on the back foot with absolutely no wins in their last 5 games against Chelsea but with a complete change in the centre of defense and a new dimension of play with Chamakh as a striker, I expect the tables to be turned. The Drogs has also been sleeping lately and hopefully he will continue to do so as Arsenal certainly need all the help they can get. I don’t know how but Arsenal HAVE to get a win in this game.

So that’s about it. It is clear that Chelsea have the hardest of fixtures, Manutd the easiest and Arsenal somewhere in between. To be title contenders, Arsenal have to get points off these big teams. I do not expect them to win all but to have things differently  for Arsenal this time around, they have to win most. Let’s just hope for the best and take on one game at a time and I’m sure our hard work will pay off.

I’m off to watch the El Classico match now. Till then. Ciao.