Saturday, September 1, 2012

Arsenal in crisis? Not even slightly.

It's been a while since I wrote a post. And a lot has happened since then. To sum it up, Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla have come in, and mainly Robin and Song have left us. There hardly seems any point in discussing that, plenty of posts have done so! There are majorly two "crisis" Arsenal seem to be in 1. Not scoring goals and 2. Not buying enough players. I shall call them Crisis-1 and Crisis-2, respectively.
Moving on to the start of our season. Two games, two goal less draws. Not great, but not too bad either, considering the fact that one of the games was against Stoke, a team that has always bullied Arsenal physically. But something that seems to be worrying Arsenal fans is the lack of goals. Or no goals at all. Honestly, that does not worry me one bit. Losing Robin is a big loss, but I don't think that will lead to Arsenal not scoring goals. And here is why - In 2011-12 Arsenal scored 74 goals, third highest in the league, in 2010-11 Arsenal scored 72 goals, second highest in the league, in 2009-10 Arsenal scored 83 goals, third highest in the league and in 2008-09 Arsenal scored 68 goals, second highest in the league. Now, if you look at these past few years and think about the number of strikers, attacking midfielders and attacking formations Arsenal have played, it's a huge huge number. But Arsenal have always managed to score a huge number of goals. This shows, that apart from maybe last year, Arsenal have not been reliant on one player to score over a long time. We have changed players, but have always scored goals! The answer is, the way Arsenal play, the philosophy with which we play, leads to goals. Arsenal's silky attacking playing style is responsible for the goals. This is helped by having an able striker up front. But, are Giroud and Podolski not able? Yes they are! And that will ensure that Arsenal will score in coming games. That should be the least of our worries. Rather I think we have had a strong start to the season, with our defense looking absolutely brilliant, that too without Szczesny, Sagna and Koscielny. The key to Arsenal doing well this season will be to concede fewer goals, have a stronger defense, and I think we are well on track there. So,  Crisis-1 not so much a crisis.
Moving on to address Crisis-2, Robin and Song left us. Let's say, for the sake of convenience, that together they helped us score 30 goals last season. Just Robin and Song together. Are not Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla capable of scoring those many together? Again, yes they are! I think more than 30 goals. This year we may not have one super goal scorer, but combined together I think Arsenal can score more. If you are going to say that we cannot be sure that they will score those many, then let me ask you, before last season did you ever think Song and Robin would combine to score the goals they did? Or that Robin would play every game? No. No one did. That's how football is. If we look at the midfielder in Song that we have lost, we have gained Diaby and Wilshere. Arn't those two enough to replace Song? They are. If you say that they are injury prone, wasn't Robin also? Hence, I can safely say, Crisis-2, is laughable.
I would have loved Arsenal to add to the current team too, but not doing so, is far from a crisis. We have successfully replaced all our outgoing players and are in a really good shape. I have said this before, amongst the madness in the football world right now, Arsene seems to be the only sane one. Trust him to do a good job, as he always has. Any team, player or fan thinking Arsenal are weaker this season is kidding himself. Keep the faith.
Liverpool tomorrow then! Expect goals. 
The goals are coming.

Friday, March 30, 2012

What is Tomáš Rosicky doing?

So Arsenal are on the best run in a couple of years, 'big' teams have been brushed aside and I can't think of a team in Europe that won't hesitate before taking on Arsenal right now. We are a handful when we get going aren't we? Oh yes. We are on a roll!
In the game against Aston Villa last week, I could not take my eyes off Rosicky. No, it was not because of his perfectly silky hair. It was because of some seriously slick football the man was playing. It just made me realize how much Arsenal have missed him. Injuries have played spoil sport again here. Anyways, long spells on the sidelines had pushed Rosicky into a cherished memory. We all knew he was class, technically absolutely amazing. But he wasn't on the pitch. Many an Arsenal fan deemed him 'deadwood'. So, the game last week got me thinking about Rosicky's role in the team, what he has been doing. Rosicky has been crucial in some of the large victories lately. Think spurs. Here's my take on it.
I happened to watch great videos on Rosicky's performance in the last few weeks. Have a look at his performance against Aston Villa here. His role in the team is essential to say the least. Rosicky is the reason Walcott has found his pace again. We all know that Walcott needs a good full back and Sagna does more than enough justice to that. We have seen how Walcott's performances have improved after Sagna has come back. But it's not just Sagna who has helped Walcott, it's Rosicky as well.
Rosicky plays a little higher up the pitch, behind the two wingers and our striker. When the ball is played to Rosicky, he makes a small run with it, he retains possession, and releases the ball when our wingers have gotten into runs in the right positions. Rosicky's biggest quality is his timing of releasing the ball. His understanding of the game. His run with the ball and clever twisting and turning, gives Walcott enough time to find comfortable space. And then Rosicky plays the ball to him. Walcott is a good player, but he needs good players around him still to get the best out of him. In the last few weeks Walcott and Rosicky have been amongst our best players. Rosicky has found his game again, and he has helped Walcott find his. It's great to see how the players are complimenting each other. This may seem like a simple enough thing, but it has played a key role in our recent run of wins. Rosicky is getting the best out of Walcott. And when Walcott gets the ball in a good position with space, few defenders can stop him. Arsene has found a lethal combo here. And it's working like beer and pizza for us. Good times.
However, this revival of Rosicky seems to have turned quite a few fans against Ramsey. Yes, there have been no fireworks there. But this is his first full season, he's a talented youngster who has done well enough to come back from a horrific injury. Let's give him some time, I still think he's going to be one of the best in a few years time!
That seems to be it. QPR tomorrow then, let's look forward to another great game! As always keep the faith. 
Oh and thanks to great videos on Rosicky by Alex A Carpenter (@CarpenterAAA11) on his YouTube page.

Rosicky vs Spuds


Friday, March 23, 2012

Transfer talk. Difficult for Arsene.

A lot is being said about the coming transfer market. For the first time since I remember, theres news of Arsenal signing players before the market starts. Yes, Podolski looking done and dusted if most views are to be believed. Many also believe that Matias Suarez has also signed a pre contract agreement and will be joining Arsenal for sure. So, that looks like two players done already, and I have to say, very un-Arsenal like, isn't it? Moreover, we seem to have started talks with Mario Götze, another fantastic player, the kind every team would love to see in their ranks. 
I did a poll recently on TalkOfTheArsenal, on which players would fans want to see in an Arsenal shirt next season, here are the results. First is Lukas Podolski with 26.01% votes, second is Mario Gotze with 22.47%, third is Jan Vertonghen with 20.45% and the Eden Hazard with 10.61%. 
All the above players are fantastic, their technique is second to none and are all players anyone would love to see in their team. And I do believe that Arsenal needs to sign a couple of more players to really have a go in all the four competitions. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the team we have right now, and we're doing great, but sometimes we lack a little bit of an edge. To just kill the game off, or to find that killer defense splitting pass. Here is something else I also believe in, technique and skill is important to win the league, but so is team spirit. Look at our teams in the past few years, you'll see something missing which is there this time around, it's fantastic team spirit. 
Before I go on to why this transfer market will be difficult, let me help you recall the 2007 Carling Cup final that Arsenal lost 2-1 to Chelsea. I remember a fellow gooner saying that Wenger should play the big players, we have to win the trophy, but Wenger played the same team that had taken Arsenal to the final, and we lost, against the likes of Drogba and company, our players were probably not there yet. Why did Arsene do that? Why didn't he play the big players? Here is why, playing the 'kids' in the final was only being fair to them. They were the ones who got the team to the final, they deserved the plaudits for playing the final. Would you like it, if you worked hard for something and then were replaced by someone else just before the finale? No. It would leave a bitter taste in your mouth, wouldn't it? Wenger tried to keep the spirit alive. And kudos to him.
Now look at what I just said above with a broader perspective, when we started this season, we were classified as a team that were not good enough for the Champions League spot, and look at where we are now. These players have proved everyone wrong, they've worked together and clawed their way back to where they belong. They deserve all the praise they're getting right now. Now, how do you think a first team player will react when he is just replaced at the start of next season after he has fought so hard this season? He won't like it. How will other players around him react? There will be a question mark in their minds. People may say this is part of a players life. That maybe, but how many players who have taken Arsenal to third place this season be happy sitting on the bench next season? Few. And fewer will take that positively. Let's say we sign Vertonghen, who do we replace? Koscielny, who has been so instrumental at the back? Or Vermaelen? Who is one of the best defenders around. And if we don't will the Ajax captain, who is one of the most wanted defenders in Europe right now, be happy on the bench? Think about it. 
I do think Arsenal need a few more players, but not at the expense of the spirit they have right now. We need cover for Van Persie, Podolski would be a good option. But we need to make sure that we look after the players we have right now, make sure we tell them that they are integral to the club's future plans. We need a good center back, but I think a capable understudy to Koscielny, Vermaelen and Mertesacker would suffice. Someone like Jenkinson , or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who we can rely on. Arsenal do not need someone like Eden Hazard, who has made it his duty to flirt with every big club. Trust me, one difficult season at Arsenal and he'll be flirting with all the clubs around. We don't need that. 
Money can buy good players, but it cannot buy team spirit, which is equally important. Arsenal have to maintain the balance. And that is Wenger's responsibility. That's why I say, this transfer window is going to be the toughest one for Wenger. And I think he knows it. Think about it, it's never as easy as it seems. Simply signing players is never the solution.
I'll leave you with that thought! Until next time then! Keep the faith!

Smells like team spirit


Monday, March 19, 2012

Mr. Stan Kroenke. Behind the silence, is a genius.

Stan Kroenke is a sports entrepreneur from America. His company currently owns Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth, St. Louis Rams and is the majority shareholder of Arsenal. However, we got to know most about him after April of 2011 when it was announced that he would own 62.89% of Arsenal. That was when Arsenal fans turned to look at him, wondering if Arsenal was going to join the 'big-spending' club?
Since then, it has become a known fact that the Arsenal board opted for Kroenke to resist the pressure exerted by Alisher Usmanov. Whenever I think of Usmanov, a certain Russian comes to my mind. Oh yes, Roman Abramovich it is. The mighty tycoon, who owns Chelsea. He spends big on big players and sacks managers twice in a season. Well, okay. Would Usmanov be how Roman is at Chelsea? I know not. But, I have a cheeky feeling that he might have been. So you've started thinking that would have been perfect? We would probably have players like Gotze already with us? We would be on our way to a double? I think not. And here is why.
I have been and always will be a big big supporter of Arsene Wenger. He has pulled us through a tough financial time, something no other manager would dare to do. When Kroenke became the majority shareholder, I remember Wenger saying that he should be in charge of the football. Kroenke agreed. And that was it, fans knew that Kroenke was not going to spend big, because Wenger was in charge. This was a time, when Arsenal fans were yelling out for proven stars, but Wenger stuck to his guns. A lot has been blamed on Kroenke. He hasn't interacted with the fans, he's remained silent and nobody knows what he plans. In one such instance, there were reports that the players did not even recognize him. I agree, he is not like the other owners, he isn't present on all the matches and he is hardly ever in the news. I'm sure you agree with me till now. Agree with me on just one more thing, even on their worst days, Arsene Wenger, Peter Hill-Wood and Ivan Gazidis amongst many others at Arsenal, know more about football than Kroenke does. 
The best way to run any organization is to hire the best people and then let them run the show. Kroenke had the best people available and he is letting them run the show. I say these are the best people because the have together pulled us through some of the most challenging times. Stan Kroenke trusts them to do a good job. And that is what a good leader does. He gives Wenger the freedom and the power to call the shots. Would you rather have an owner whose manager is just a puppet? I wouldn't. Would you rather have an owner who sacks a manager every year? Treats his players as if they are disposable? I wouldn't. 
Would you rather support a club that leaves no legacy? I wouldn't. Stan Kroenke is involved, but he trusts Arsene Wenger to run the daily show. That is the sign of a good leader. He clearly knows how to run an organization and I'm happy we have an owner who thinks before he does. Who consults with the people running the show and takes a collective decision. Spending big is a short term thrill. To be at the top for a long time, you need people like we have. The biggest trait of a leader is to trust his subordinates to do the right thing at the right time. Stan Kroenke does just that.
This team will win a trophy again, and we'll do it the right way.
Till then keep the faith. Pray for Muamba.

"I'll let you do what is right" "You do that"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pray for Fabrice Muamba

I write this as a football fan and a human being. There are very few moments in football, when probably all the fans in the world think in unison. When every fan in the stadium hopes for the same result. When, irrespective of what jersey you wear and which player you celebrate, we all come together hoping for the same. 
On saturday, at White Hart Lane, we witnessed one such event, where a completely fit player suddenly collapsed, not moving at all and seemingly not breathing either. In no time at all, Fabrice Muamba was surrounded by paramedics and concerned colleagues. It's a sight nobody ever wants to see. A sight that sent shivers down millions of peoples spines, within minutes 30,000 yelling, screaming fans were silenced, all praying for the same result, that Fabrice Muamba would move or show some sign of encouragement. He was taken off the field straight to the ambulance and the match was abandoned. I hear that Tottenham fans chanted Muamba's name as he was carried off. In the ambulance, he started breathing again and is 'critically ill' now, in a hospital in London. I'm an Arsenal fan, and Tottenham are our rivals. However, I congratulate every Tottenham fan who chanted Muamba's name, for showing respect and sporting spirit. It's a quality that should be admired and is much needed in football fans today.
It was a terrible scene to witness, Van der Vaart's face said it all. Fabrice Muamba has always been described as a warm person, it was touching to read about his early life, when he fled his country as a refugee and came to England, to become the spectacular football player he is. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been for him then, and kudos to him for achieving what he has today. Clearly, he's a fighter. Great article about his early life, "Fabrice Muamba: The refugee who has made football his home" by Daniel Taylor on
Here is what disgusted me, I came across a video today titled, "Loser spazzes out between a match". I was shocked at the ignorance and the heartlessness shown by some fans. The racial abuse that was directed at him is unbelievable. It's time football picked up a zero tolerance policy against racism. These are moments when everyone, irrespective of the team they support, where they come from, what color is their skin and other such insignificant comparisons come together to support a fellow human being. Not only when such a moment takes place, but even otherwise, racism should not be tolerated. Even by fellow fans. If you are one such fan, I'd like to tell you, that even the team you support would be ashamed to have you as their fan. It's time to grow up. We are all passionate about our teams and football, but we should know where to draw a line. I hope such fans will realize their mistake and change their outlook.
Fabrice Muamba is now in the intensive care unit in a hospital and the next 24 hours are critical for his life. I urge you to pray for him and his family, irrespective of which team you support, where you come from, what race you belong to and what is the color of your skin. Here is a human being who needs all the good wishes possible right now, that's the least you can do for him right now.
As I said, he's a fighter, I'm sure we'll see him back in no time. I wait for the day he will play football again. Till then, keep the faith. He will be back, mark my words. Let's all pray for him in the meantime.

Our good wishes are with him


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Silent. Calm. Poised. Arsenal's engine - Mikel Arteta

Arsenal has taken to not just winning, but doing so from spectacular situations. In the last four premier league games, Arsenal have come back from losing positions to win the game. I'm told that is a record, and I'll believe that. Against Sunderland, Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle, Arsenal have conceded first and then gone on to win the game. And these teams are not pushovers, three of them are challenging for fourth spot and Sunderland were reborn from ashes after Martin O'Neill took charge. Amazing performances. Amazing results. If there was anything in this world that could stop Wenger's 'mental strength' speeches, well, this is it. These performances show enough mental strength.
On monday night again, we fell behind to a well taken goal by Ben Arfa and responded immediately by Van Persie scoring. Theo Walcott has really stepped up and is delivering world class performances, and he did so on monday as well. Arsenal dominated the game, and looked stronger everywhere and finally were rewarded in the 94th minute when Vermaelen charged in and put the ball in the net. Kudos to him for running 80 yards for the goal, he really is a winner, the kind of player who will score the winning goal in a cup final. 
In this game, Newcastle rarely looked threatening. Arsenal seemed to hold on to possession very easily and run the game at a good pace for the entire 90 minutes. This is what brings me to Mikel Arteta. Arteta comes from a country with midfielders like Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas, so maybe he does not get due credit for how good he actually is. On monday night, what he does so well was on display clearly. Arteta sat right in front of Vermaelen and Koscielny, took the ball from them and distributed it all over the field. He had the most passes in the game and had 20 more than the second highest number of passes. Arteta rarely looks for that killer final through ball that splits defenses, he calmly switches wings, he brings players into the game who weren't being utilized in that move. Arteta runs the game for Arsenal.
Arsenal have the highest average possession this season at 58.5%, most credit goes to Arteta for this. When the defenders win the ball, all they have to do is give the ball to Arteta, who then picks out the right pass to the right player, he frees the defenders from the burden of picking the right pass. Should any player lose the ball then, our center backs are prepared and in position to meet the oppositions attack. Arteta's clever distribution has helped Arsenal keep possession and hence concede fewer goals. His clever distribution keeps the opponents chasing the ball, it doesn't let them settle into positions and make it difficult for Arsenal to find the gaps in defenses. His quick distribution ensures that players like Rosicky and Song pick out the gaps. Gaps that Arteta creates by keeping the ball moving. And this helps the attack. In Arteta, Arsenal have their very own midfield magician. Most cameras are never aimed at Arteta, he's never the most exciting player from the neutral point of view. He's silent, calm and his passing technique is second to none. He sits behind the scenes and directs Arsenal's every move. At the beginning of every attack stands Arteta. The world seems to think he's Cesc's replacement, he's not. He plays another role, a role as important. A role the press will never concentrate on. Arteta might not be as good as Xavi, but he's not too far behind either. Let's give him due credit. He has an amazing impact on the game, and I don't think he'll be the one on the bench when Jack is back. The Newcastle game was a testament to how good Arteta is.
 Apart from that, I loved the fiery Van Persie we saw on the pitch. It's something we often saw in Viera and this passion is something you want to see from your captain. I've gone on and on about this teams team spirit, and Vermaelen shielding Van Persie in the tunnel was just that. You don't mess with out captain. Wasn't that what Jack tweeted? It's great to see how much respect Van Persie has earned from the squad. 
Lastly, I think I should stop saying 'Keep the faith', because clearly everyone does now. Have a happy week gooners. Everyone reading this while at work, don't worry, next midweek will be here soon, and we'll watch Arsenal again. Cheer up. Till then, stay happy, keep others happy.

'I can pass it there'

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Longest Weekend.

You know why I am saying that. A weekend without an Arsenal game, just not a weekend. Although seeing Liverpool and Spurs face defeat does make up for it a little bit. 
All the good in the world right now seems to happen to Arsenal. In recent weeks we've won everything, and our competitors have lost everything. Podolski seems to be done and just has to arrive in London and smile in front of the camera wearing an Arsenal jersey (Yes, I know it isn't official, seems close though, does it not?). And we have only seen positive news on the injury front, Jack seems to be getting closer and all the others bar Diaby seem to be back! Clearly, if there is a god, he's turned into an Arsenal fan. 

Anyways, I am pleasantly surprised by Arsenal signing a player before the transfer window. There seems to have been a change of mind upstairs, and the fans love it. Podolski is exactly what we have been crying out for, right? A proven player, not an 'un-cut diamond'. A big name signing, someone every player at the club will look up to. Also at the perfect time, he's 26 right now and will play his top game at Arsenal. Something a lot of past players at Arsenal, didn't do. I love Cesc, but it's him I talk about. Either ways, Podolski seems to be perfect for Arsenal right now, some also claim such a signing will help convince Van Persie to sign a new contract. 
Coming to that, I know Van Persie has said that he will talk about his contract only after the season, but something tells me he will stay. With Cesc I had a constant feeling that he will go, a feeling encouraged by his constant flirting with Barcelona. And Nasri just decided to behave expensive after a couple of months of good football. I do not see any of the two situations arise with Robin. He's playing well and he seems to want to lead this team somewhere. He really is the ideal captain, and an ideal captain does not leave things when the going gets difficult, he stays put and makes the change he wants to see. And I'm sure Robin will. Does seem like I'm writing a Cesc-bashing post, does it not? So be it. 

Coming to the game on Monday night, I think we will be very close to full strength. Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen and Gibbs at the back. Arteta, Song and Rosicky in the middle. And Gervinho, RVP and Walcott up front. Newcastle is a good team and a good football club, but I do not see this team lose after the couple of weeks we've had. Rosicky is in the form of his life and if he continues that, Newcastle will have trouble just dealing with him. Forget Van Persie up front. 
Honestly, I would love to see Oxlade-Chamberlain in the role he played against Milan, but he's been sick all week and Wenger has said he's going to be cautious with him. So I doubt he will have a large part to play. All said and done, no Joey Barton this time so maybe we can rule out any sort of provocation this time. I expect we will win and remain fourth with just a point behind Spurs. "Best North London team". Still laughing over that.
All that there is to it, I think Arsenal will finish third this season. And have Van Persie and Podolski next season. Look forward to the game on Monday. 
As always, keep the faith. (Do I need to say that anymore?).   

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thank You, Arsenal

In my last post I mentioned how Arsenal might be on the brink of history against Milan. But it still seemed far off. 
I mentioned how an early goal will lead to Arsenal dominating the game. And scoring goals with relative ease. The atmosphere before the game was absolutely amazing, online, offline and at The Emirates. Arsenal started the game in the best possible way, Koscielny scoring a header of a corner in the 6th minute. This was the goal that we needed. It set things off perfectly. After that Arsenal kept having a go at Milan. A special word in for Rosicky, he almost seems like a new player. Running the entire game for Arsenal, brilliant brilliant game by the Little Mozart. And, he was the one to get our second goal, with a cheeky little shot that sneaked in. Belief now seemed to flow out of every Arsenal player on the pitch. Oxlade-Chamberlain proved that he is more than ready for the big stage. Playing against the Italian champions in the champions league, he looked comfortable and assured that he can play as an attacking midfielder. He didn't seem out of position and did enough to track back when required. Clever movement by him in the box won Arsenal the penalty that Van Persie converted perfectly! 3-0 and just half time! Scoring 2 more goals in the next half should be do-able right? At half time we were in a much better position than I had hoped. This was again, one of the most glorious moments as an Arsenal fan, what a fight back! I said it then and I will say it now, there is no other team that could have put in such a performance after a 4-0 loss in the first leg. I think I say this for all Arsenal fans, I loved that moment. We all know what happened in the second half, we didn't score another goal and we didn't go through. But that moment at half time was enough to make this game one of the best moments ever. Who would have thought at the start of the season that this Arsenal team was going to beat Milan 3-0? Nobody right? This is a great Arsenal team, with team spirit that I'm sure can match the best ever Arsenal teams. In the second half the players seemed tired and rightly so, they had played 3 games in the previous week some of them. Arsenal didn't go through, but we went out like champions. The long nosed Ibrahamovic said in his interview how he feared Arsenal would score every time we attacked. This was the brilliance of this team. The brilliance of the performance that they put in. Yes, we have not won a trophy in the past 7 years, well, I don't care. It's for moments like these that you support a football team. And how many moments like these do teams around us produce? Not many. It's an honor to support this team, this football club. I know that the players will be proud of the performance that they put in. And they should be, they should know that the fans are proud of them and their performance. I think I can finally say that the belief is back within the fans as well, and we have the players to thank for that. And hence I say, Thank You, Arsenal. Thank you for moments like these. I know we will win a trophy soon, and it will be with these players only. I can look at these players and not worry about wether they will be at The Emirates next year or not, something we could not do in the previous years. Something tells me that all these players will remain with Arsenal and win that trophy. 
As always, keep the faith. Sometime now till the next game. But an important one nonetheless. Newcastle then.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Are we on the brink of history? Milan II

The beauty of football is that anything can happen, and that is the way we look at it.
                                                                                                  - Robin Van Persie

I write this feeling insanely positive, and I'm hoping most gunners around the world share that feeling with me.
A little more than a week ago, people were talking about Arsenal collapsing and not finishing fourth. Since then, we have shut these people up, wiped the smirks of Spuds players and fans, showed Liverpool how to finish and made it clear that we mean business. I have reason to feel insanely positive.
We suffered a heavy defeat at Milan in the first leg, it seemed impossible to turn things around then, but looking at how we have played since, there seems to be a small chance that we will turn things around. The manager thinks so, and I'm sure our captain has made it sure that the entire team thinks so too. 
Everything seems to be going our way, except a little problem with midfielders. 
Coming to today's game. I really don't know who will start in midfield, maybe just Song and Rosicky and play an extra attacker? Maybe. I don't know who will start, but I do think that Arsenal can score 4 or more goals today. Look at how this team plays when they believe they can win it! Today, the players are under no pressure at all, they know that. It's a tie nobody expects Arsenal to overturn, so the players will have a go at it. They will not play with the 'handbrake' on, as Wenger sometimes puts it. That is why I think Arsenal can win this by a huge margin. At the end of the day, there is hardly any criticism coming the players way, irrespective of the result. Only a lot of praise should we turn this around!
Here is what Wenger will be telling the players "Have a go, enjoy yourselves, show them what you are about". And rightly so, today I have no doubt that the players will play like they own the other team. They will put everything they have at stake to play their own game, something we did not do in Milan.
What I think will be very very important, is a strong start, making it clear to Milan, that it's not over yet. Let's look at it this way, the Milan players must have kept an eye on Arsenal in the last 2 weeks. And in the last 2 weeks a lot has gone Arsenal's way. And hence, there will be a seed of doubt in their minds, that maybe it's not over yet. Maybe scoring 4 goals wasn't enough. Should Arsenal get a goal in the first 15 minutes today, this small doubt will enlarge into fear that they are collapsing, and then the Milan players will be all over the place. And the Arsenal players will gain even more belief. Scoring four goals then would not be a problem. Let me spell it out, if Milan think this tie is over, they are wrong, because Arsenal don't think it's over yet, Arsenal are going to have a go at them, and they will be punished for any complacency. 
Robin is right, anything can happen in football, Arsenal can score 4 or more goals today. It's all in the mind, Arsenal players know they can turn this around. And if they do, they will go down in history books.
The stage is set. They players are up for it, there are going to be 60,000 screaming Arsenal fans at The Emirates making the London tube tremble, and there is no pressure on the players. Look at this from a broader perspective, everything seems perfect. Arsenal just need a good start, should we get that, wait and watch how easily we will keep scoring. We are in for a great great match. This team seems to want it, and that is all that matters. Keep the faith, that is what will keep this team going, and maybe put their names down in history. There are two ways to look at today's game, either, we lost the tie in Milan. Or, are we on the brink of history? Think about it.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Arsenal shock Anfield. Memories. And winning ugly.

Yesterdays win against Liverpool at Anfield will never be remembered for the football that Arsenal played. But, even so, it has given me some of the fondest memories as an Arsenal fan. I'll come to that in a minute.
Both teams went into the game charged up, coming off good weekends. Liverpool even felt the need to parade their Carling Cup before the match. Anyways, the line up was unchanged from last weekend and why wouldn't it be? Liverpool started the game the better side, coming at us with waves of attack. And we kept denying them. Ultimately, clever movement and theatrics helped Suarez get a penalty. Kuyt stepped up, and Szczesny made the save. Dirk Kuyt took the rebound and Szczesny made the save again. How great is that? Truly great. Here comes my memory number 1 - Did you see the way Vermaelen celebrated after Szczesny saved the penalty? It simply showed that even when the other team was on top, the spirit was unbeatable. Moving on, Liverpool kept attacking, and they got the reward when Henderson's low cross was sliced into the net by Koscielny. Now comes my memory number 2 - Immediately after the own goal when Koscielny was down, Szczesny walked up to him and pulled him up! Now, that's great character, that's getting each others back. Did that dent Koscielny's confidence? It did not, had he been left sitting there, maybe it would have. Szczesny made sure Koscielny was up and about like nothing happened. Liverpool kept pressing for a second, but something seemed to be going our way. Yes, we'll call it luck. And eventually, out of the blue, Sagna whipped in the perfect cross, and well, Van Persie does not miss from there, does he? Perfect cross, perfect header. 1-1. We went into the break not at the top, but not out either. Szczesny being our best player, keeping us in the game.
In the second half, Arsenal seemed more assured, we were keeping possession and playing our passing game. It was a tight game, with both teams implementing their own tactics. Long balls by Liverpool and quick passing by Arsenal. Off the ball however, Mikel Arteta took a shoulder on his face, I think it was accident, it happens sometimes right? He seemed out cold and had to be substituted, on came Diaby. Now, after that uncomfortable few minutes of stoppage, people expected Arsenal to be a little rattled. Only that they weren't. We kept the ball calmly. Showing mental steel and belief. I loved it. Diaby came and showed how we have missed him, running past players with ease and taking long shots. But, it was short lived as he was replaced by the Ox after 23 minutes or so. I feel for the poor guy, I hope he can be ready again as soon as possible. The game looked like it was heading for a draw. With Liverpool being the better side, but having nothing to show for it. Arsenal was keeping possession towards the end, and that seemed to frustrate Liverpool. Alex Song had the ball, he neatly chipped it over the Liverpool defense for Van Persie to volley it in. Making him the 8th highest goal scorer in Arsenal history. What a player. What a captain. And now came my memory number 3 - Van Persie kissing Song's foot. It showed how this man, who is technically so much better than his team mates, values their contribution. He makes sure they get the credit for what they do. If that's not the sign of a great captain, I don't know what is. 
Arsenal got the critical 3 points yesterday, but they showed something more important. The ability to support each other. Arsenal's previous teams did not have that. Arsenal was lucky to win yesterday, but there was something that was constantly going our way, that was team spirit, created by the players themselves. So, the world will say Arsenal did not deserve to win the game, I say they did, not for the football, but the small moments they created in between, the ones I've mentioned. Yesterday showed us how important they are. I'll leave you with that thought until midweek.
As always, keep the faith. The season is not over. But we are in a good position. Until midweek then, who knows what can happen? 


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Anfield then. Where this game will be won.

This has been an absolutely beautiful week hasn't it, gooners? Let me spell it out, we begin by beating Spuds 5-2, I'm still not tired of that, there has been positive news on the Podolski front, although I think theres much more to it that meets the eye. Anyways, more on that later. More exciting matters on hand before, Arsenal go to Anfield. An important clash as Liverpool also are in contention for fourth place and winning here will be announcing that Arsenal are favorites for Champions League next season.
So, a few niggling injury worries, RosickyVan Persie and Vermaelen, hopefully they will have some part to play, as in recent games they have all been outstanding. Honestly, I just don't see why Arsenal should not win today, the team is charged up and it's an important game, but are against a Liverpool team that have just won a trophy. Fine, we'll call it the 'Micky Mouse Cup'. Either ways they have reason to be positive.
Here are some points I think might be important. 
Firstly, all eyes on Walcott, he turned quite a few heads last week and everyone is eager to watch him again. He will either feel the pressure or will be as confident as possible, dying to have a go. Here is why today is going to be an important game for him. He'll be up against Enrique, who has plenty of pace, so Walcott is going to have to use his head a little, maybe drift in from time to time just to make it difficult for Enrique to tail him. This game for Walcott is going to be more about clever movement than pace. However, should he drift in and take Enrique with him, Sagna is going to have the time of his life. Walcott is going to have an impact today, let's get behind him!
Secondly, Suarez will be up to the usual, slimy runs in and around the defense. But I don't know why I'm mentioning this because Koscielny loves to keep strikers in his pocket and there's where Suarez will find himself today. Seriously, how brilliant is Kos? Love him.
And finally, congesting your own half and dropping long balls in Arsenal's half seems to be the way to go against us (sheeesh!), so I'm guessing the troll like Adam will be given the duty to launch long balls over the top. It will be up to Song or Rosicky to keep him quite. Should they succeed, the ball will remain in Liverpool's half with Arsenal looking for a gateway. Don't be so pessimistic, we will find one.
Well, that seems to be about it, I have a feeling keeping Liverpool's long balls in check will have a lot to do in the game. But I think this Arsenal team is more than capable of it. Victory will keep us 10 points above Liverpool, although they will have a game in hand. I feel assured that we will put in a great performance today. Arsenal fans, do you're part and get behind the team.
Until after the game then. As always, keep the faith.
Watch this, you'll have a laugh.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Theo Walcott. How the world's got him wrong.

I'm sure that you have read many a post on how Theo Walcott has not progressed in the past four years. I'm sure you thought that too, I did think that. I thought Theo wasn't all that good, he could just run fast couldn't he?
It seemed like he played the game on sunday to shut the world up. Theo did everything people say he couldn't do. And he did it well.

Proving people wrong

Theo started the game badly, so did Arsenal, he seemed to be all over the place initially. As the game picked up, he did too. Theo was booed in the first half, Arsenal fans wanted him replaced at the break. Here is what I think, Theo did not do badly in the first half. Yes, statistics do not support what I'm saying. But Theo's movement was so brilliant that it was creating all the time in the world for Bacary Sagna to whip in crosses. And Bac was crossing like a legend. If you thought Bacary Sagna had a good half, Theo deserves some of the credit. But most people did not see this. It must have been a major hit for his confidence when he went in during half time. Do you know one person who did recognize his silent contribution? Arsene Wenger. Had Wenger subbed him during the break it would have shattered his confidence. But Wenger stuck with him.

Now before we go on to what he did in the second half, let's recall an incident during the match. Theo received the ball, with space in front of him, nobody between him and the goal. But rather than running at the goal, he passed the ball to Robin, who was being marked by three Spurs players. Why did he do that? The answer is, he sometimes makes the wrong decisions. Why? Because the fans have criticized him so much, he has lost confidence, this was a result of lack of confidence because of impatient fans, me included. This did not show he does not have a 'footballing brain', it showed that what the fans say gets to him sometimes. He is a quality player. But he's young, and he needs the fans behind his back to support him.

Moving on to the second half. Theo played like a legend.

He sprinted more than three quarters of the pitch to score Arsenal's fourth goal on Sunday. Check the pitch, I'm pretty sure he left a scorch mark on it. He showed startling pace, the desire to get there and a finish Thierry Henry would stand up and applaud. Does this sound like a player with no 'footballing brain'? No. For his second goal, he showed brilliant control and a calm mind in front of goal to put the ball in the net. Sounds like a perfectly good player to me. Maybe the fans need to give him a little space. He proved the world wrong in the second half, attracting praise from Redknapp himself.

Theo Walcott is a good player, I made a mistake in judging him badly. It took him just 45 minutes to show me I'm wrong, give him time and space and he will show us why Arsene Wenger and Robin Van Persie rate him so highly. That ought to be enough for the fans. When he gets the ball, let's roar in support, and when he loses the ball, let's believe he's going to get it back and prove his skill.

After Sunday's game, I'm going to think twice before I criticize Theo again, and I hope you will too.

Keep the faith. There's always more to things than what we see initially.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Two nil and you fu*ked it up.

He Scores When He Wants

Arsenal were coming of the back of two horrible defeats. Out of the FA cup against Sunderland, and a disastrous night in Milan. So, we were looking at one of the most important games of the season. Tottenham at home, unfamiliarly above us, and many have concluded that they have been the superior team this season. Well, all that was about to change.
Every pundit and journalist said that Arsenal has not been strong enough, that they won't be able to beat Tottenham. Well, all that was about to change.
Everyone predicted another collapse that would see us lose out on champions league spot. All that was about to change.
I think Wenger shocked everyone when we saw Chamberlain and Gervinho on the bench, with Benayoun and Rosicky getting the starts. And the criticism started, people already concluded Wenger had gotten it wrong. Anyways, that was how it was, and we kicked off possibly the most important game of the season.
Arsenal had the worst possible start, and conceded a silly goal in the fourth minute. I must admit I thought it was going to be 'one of those days.' But the players didn't think so, they picked it up, raised the tempo and played their game. Not much later Arsenal were playing like they had the good start. Clever movement, quick passing, threatening corners and crosses. And, unbeatable, unquestionable energy. Rosicky seemed to have the time of his life, making everything happen. Arsenal came close to scoring, they were banging on the doors and Spurs tried to hit us on the break. And then Bale's dive won them a penalty. Adebayor out of all people converted the penalty. I thought this would take the steam out of Arsenal, they needed to regroup I thought. Again, I was wrong. Arsenal played with the same tempo and energy. Nothing was going Spur's way apart from the two goals. Arsenal were losing by two goals at home, but the player's body language did not show that. Rosicky and Benayoun did more that just justify Wenger's faith in them,  Van Persie was too hot to handle and Theo's movement was making ample space for Sagna to exploit. The energy just did not seem to fade! And in the 40th minute, Sagna scored a beautiful header. All the passion and energy seemed to have paid off, this showed how much Sagna wanted this. There was only one place where this ball could have gone, and that was the back of the net. This gave the players even more belief, and three minutes later Van Persie curled the ball into the net perfectly, forcing Gary Neville to call Van Persie's left foot a wand. It really is a wonder, it was a magnificent strike and it bought us back in the game. It was only half time, Arsenal went in the superior side.
Now, this is where I thought Arsenal won the game. After the break Spurs made two substitutions. This showed that Arsenal's passion, want, energy and class had clearly gotten into the heads on the Spurs players. Sandro and Van der vaart were not sent in to achieve something, they were sent on a rescue mission. It showed that mentally they had lost the game. Arsenal started the way they had left off, and soon the best player on the pitch, Rosicky got the goal from close range. This goal again showed how much these players wanted this, it reeked passion and commitment. The way Arsenal players charged at the goal was simply brilliant. Even after that, the attacks kept coming. Van Persie put the ball in for Walcott and he scored with the touch of an angel, chipping the ball into the net (Walcott haters, watch the finish again). 4-2. Arsenal still wanted more. The players were on fire. Nothing could stop them. Walcott again had the space and finished beautifully again. The determination, passion and grit that this player showed was unbelievable after being booed in the first half. 5-2. After this, the Spurs players looked lost, the didn't know why they were on the pitch. The game wasn't over, but they had been taught a footballing lesson. Arsenal players showed them what class is.
I've always maintained that these players have talent and technique. However,  they did not beat Spurs because of clever tactics or superior technique, they beat them through sheer passion and energy. The 'supposedly' weaker team came from behind to score 5 goals. The Arsenal players had walked out of the tunnel with their heads held high and there was no way in hell they were going back with their heads down. Yesterday, these players played with the belief that they deserved to win, with the belief that they are good enough, with the belief that they can beat any team. The game was won before it started, in the minds of the players this was the only way it could end, and they made it happen. Yesterday, you could put any team on the planet against Arsenal and they would have been brushed aside. Not because of superior skill, but because of unmatchable passion and belief. This is a brilliant team, they just need to play every game with such passion. Yesterday Arsenal beat Spurs in every area of the pitch. Modric, Adebayor and Bale were nowhere to be found. The Arsenal players played like they owned the pitch, and all the other players on it. 
This game will always be remembered. Let me underline what yesterday taught us, ARSENE KNOWS, his faith paid off yesterday, he knows what he's doing, let him do it. And, Theo Walcott is an amazing player, but the fans have ruined his confidence, let's get behind him, and he'll rip apart opponents. Even in the first half, his movement was brilliant, he let Sagna create an impact. Give him the due credit.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, this team is closer to success than it seems, the only thing lacking is belief, we saw yesterday what this team can do when they believe they can do it. Let's get behind this team and make them believe that they can. If they play the same way at Anfield, Arsenal will push aside Liverpool, if they play this way against Milan, they'll brush aside Milan, maybe by a 5 goal margin? Who knows.

The players gave us a match to remember yesterday, let's make sure that we give them the support they deserve and will remember. The players seem to believe now, it's the fans turn now. The played are going to be charged up for Anfield, thats the way it should be.
As always, keep the faith. Arsene knows.
To Anfield then.     

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Andrei Arshavin. And what he said.

Andrei Arshavin, leaves behind memories.
Arsenal have always had amazing, exciting players. But when Arshavin arrived in 2009, be brought with himself something extra. He ran at defenders with the ball at his feet, rather than threading the ball through like we're used to seeing. He brought a good change. As seasons passed by, the number of games he played per season started falling. However his impact was very very visible. In the 2010-11 season he scored 10 goals and had 17 assists to his name. Unbelievable. He scored 4 goals at Anfield. Again unbelievable. 
However, from the beginning of this season he didn't seem the same. Arshavin seemed disinterested, lethargic and lost the ball often. Right from the television pundits to football 'fans' who didn't know squat about football seemed to criticize him. Wenger gave him numerous chances on the left wing, but time and again he did not make the required impact. Attracting further ridicule.
All this was fine, a player does go through bad times. You don't think so? Look around for a certain spaniard who seems to have forgotten where the net is. But, what was not fine was what he said a few days ago when apparently in the midst of the entire team he proclaimed he wasn't interested anymore and wanted to leave. I personally hate the fact that he was loaned out at a time when the team needs experience and quality the most. Arshavin is both. Having him on the bench was a safe bet, maybe he would find form again. But if he really did say all that, I have no doubt that his time was up at Arsenal. No matter who the player, once he isn't interested anymore, all hell on earth can not make him do well. I still believe he's quality, maybe going back to Zenit will help him find form and he can come fact to Arsenal and give his best again. Even though he's a good player, he was turning into a negative influence in the dressing room, such a player has to go. 
It's sad that Arsenal have lost a quality player, but he sealed his own fate when he said he wasn't interested. Maybe he was turning into a negative influence in the dressing room that put other players off. 
If he does not return, this will be a sad end. An end that such a player does not deserve. Hopefully he will return, and run at defenders again. After all we will be going to Anfield next season also.
On another note, there are very things that p*ss me off, but right on top of that list is Adebayor telling Arsenal what to do. Hopefully we will answer on the pitch. For the past 15 years Spurs have been behind us, and this year isn't over yet. 
Keep the faith.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Arsenal have turned a corner. Now.

The week's gone, and finally I seem to have forgotten about the Sunderland game. However, much has been happening since then, which has said a lot about Arsenal. Over the past few years I have read a lot of posts talking about how Arsenal have turned a corner since the epic Invincible's team. And since then we've turned quite a few corners!
After the Milan game, Wenger was unusually critical about the players, not that he had a choice, but I haven't seen our manager react that way often. It just got me thinking if Arsene Wenger had finally come to the conclusion that the players had let him and his faith in them down. After the Sunderland game, much was said about how Arsenal runs and everyone right from Wenger to the board was criticized for it. 
I said it earlier this week and I'm saying it again, I want Wenger to stay. But the board should start suggesting changes and ensure that they happen. The board should not be stagnant, they need to push for change. Be more ambitious.
The people who lead Arsenal have achieved great things with the club and are hence justified in having confidence in how they think. However, it does not seem to be working. Now, the average age of the Arsenal board members is 73, with all due respect, at that age bringing about a change of ways and being ambitious can be difficult. Maybe the change is not needed in the players and the manager, but more at the top, forcing change all the way down?
Maybe Stan Kroenke needs to have a look at the team at the top.
AST has been all over the place talking about the financial situation at the club. They estimate that we should have £55 million at the end, however this will reduce substantially if we do not qualify for the champions league. This makes it even more important for us to qualify for the Champions League. 
A day later, there has been news that Stan Kroenke is in London and that Arsenal and we might have £100 million to rebuild. Now that is why I say Arsenal have turned a corner. Never before have I heard an amount like that being associated with Arsenal. The Sunderland defeat seems to have woken up a few people at the club, things seem to be moving, albeit it's too early to say in which direction. But things seem to be changing. In the summer Wenger made a few 'Un-Wenger' like signings and now there is talk of him losing patience with Theo Walcott. Theo is a good player, but what seems to go against him is that he hasn't grown in past few years. For me, he's still an impact substitute. Reading in various blogs and articles it looks like Wenger has finally learnt that a few players have consistently let him down. And I agree with him. If it's true that we have money to rebuild and we're after players like Podolski and Gotzé, then Arsenl have turned a corner. Maybe Wenger finally is going to bend his rules. Maybe the night is darkest before the dawn.
Talking go money, apparently we didn't spend in January to save the money for a 'rainy day' - No Champions League. Again, what bothers me here is the thought process, we seem to be preparing for no champions league next year and I just do not like the thought of that. Well, hopefully we won't have to watch Arsenal play on thursday nights! Oh, and if we do, Ivan Gazidis has agreed that the ticket prices should be discounted and has frozen the ticket prices for the time being. That is definitely positive news for Gooners. 
That seems to be it. At the end of the day, I'm glad that there seems to be some changes taking place than defend the way we are, and keep going down. All we can do now is fight whatever goes against us, and we seem to be doing that. Just a little late.
Let's believe things are moving in the right direction. Things change quickly in football.
North London Derby coming up next then, never wanted Arsenal to win one so badly. But that's what I say before every derby. 
Till then, watch this. Love the way the players start the game.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Arsenal Forever.

We're out of the FA Cup and staring at our seventh consecutive year without a trophy. It's difficult to overturn the damage that was done in Milan. Things seem pretty gloomy. 
Honestly, I expected Arsenal to come out all guns blazing against Sunderland, eager to prove the critics wrong. Eager to show people that the Milan game was a one-off. Eager to prove their class. 
I'm sure that the players gave it their best, but it just did not seem to happen. Sunderland wanted it more, they played a closed, congested game. We kept plenty of possession, but it looked like the midfield just ran out of ideas eventually and gave the ball away. Yesterday, there was a lack of sharpness, the lack of that final killer pass, that unlocks the defense and let's us walk the ball into the net. The kind of pass that Arsenal are known for. Balls over the top and quick counter attacks hurt us when we were pushing ahead.  The team in blue yesterday did not look like the Arsenal most fans know or are used to seeing. 
So, basically we had a poor game, and theres hardly anything to play for in this season except Champions League qualification. The fans are already talking about changes during the summer, but that is some way off. Most fans seem to take every defeat as an opportunity to lash out at Arsene Wenger, Djourou, Arshavin, Squillaci and many more. Arsene was not at fault yesterday, the players need to repay the faith that he has in them. They need to realize that they need to step up, and get results. Fans seemed to have forgotten what Arsene Wenger has done for this club. Celebrity fans and otherwise.
The title of this post seems to be the title that should have been after a huge victory, well, like I said before, this Arsenal team needs support now. Yes, things don't seem to be going our way, but crying out for Wenger to resign does not help. Instead let's get behind this team. We should let the players know that they will always have our support, and that they need to show commitment on the field in return. But not through abuse, but through continuous support.
This is not how any of us would want the season to be, but fans are not only there to celebrate the good times, but to stick with the team during the bad times. A large number of fans yesterday claimed that they've 'had enough' of Arsenal. Well, don't come back to the team after Arsenal is at the top again. And believe me, we will be at the top again. Every team goes through difficult times, but when the difficult times are through, two things remain - A champion team and the most loyal fans. 
Barcelona had a number of trophy less years before they started their domination of Europe. The good time fans can leave, but be sure of this, Arsenal will bounce back.
The last two games have exposed all of Arsenal's weaknesses, it's difficult to explain why we always seem to suffer the same sort of defeat. But, let's leave all the explaining to the team and the manager, and let's do our bit of supporting the team. The away fans yesterday were brilliant, thats what this team needs, we win together and we lose together. 
I don't know how long will it take for Arsenal to win the title again, but I do know, that I will support this team till then and beyond. As should everyone who call themselves Arsenal fans.
I supported them when they won the title at White Hart Lane, when they went 49 games unbeaten and I support them now, when they haven't won a trophy for the last seven years.
At the end of the day, I'm proud to call myself an Arsenal fan, and I always will be.
And that's why, I have said and I will say. Arsenal Forever. Arsene Knows. Keep the Faith. 
Arsenal Forever. Forward.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Looking at the horizon. Milan - Part I

So, that was bad. 
Not like our previous visits to the San Siro. Arsenal really were outclassed. 
Was this our worst ever Champions League performance? Well, measuring how bad it was does not help anyone.
A lot has been said about the condition of the pitch, it was disgusting! The flanks were 'relaid', whereas the center was perfect. If that was deliberate, it was cheap, not worthy of a team like AC Milan, which is so respected in Europe. But we cannot complain, even they played on the same pitch. 
What does bother me was that Arsenal started the game with four central midfielders- Arteta, Song, Ramsey and Rosicky, apparently we did this to avoid playing on the wings. Now, Milan are a team that play narrow, so this suited them! We fell for their tactics, and gave them exactly what they wanted - No wingers, demolition of our biggest threat in the process.
Had we started with two wingers like we always do, Arsenal would have forced their players to come out to the wings, and play on the 'dirty' areas of the pitch themselves, and at the same time give Ramsey, Arteta and Song space in the middle!
What is disturbing is that Arsenal got pushed into changing their tactics and played directly into their hands, we need to be more confident about our own tactics! The minute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on, he started attracting defenders to the wings, giving Arsenal more space in the center. Had that been the case since the start, we maybe would be looking at a different result.

Quite a few players have been blamed for a poor performance yesterday, some of them being our top players. The Verminator had a bad game. But what was more worrying was the mental fragility we showed when we changed our tactics, a lack of belief in the way we play. Arsenal need to stick to their strengths and not change themselves because of external conditions. Because when this team plays it's best to it's strengths we can beat any team on the planet. 
By changing our tactics, we showed other teams that we fear playing our own game when things around us change, we need to play to our strengths. 
Arsenal need to realize that we have to beat teams by playing to our strengths, and not by trying to change  our tactics every time another team throws a cheap trick at us. 
I'm not going to talk about the score line, maybe it's beyond us already. Maybe we won't beat Milan at The Emirates by a 5 goal margin. But, what this team needs to realize is that they have the technical ability, but not the mental strength or the winning mentality. The players need to believe in themselves and the way they play more.
I have no doubt that if we play to our strengths next week, we will get a favorable result. Am I deluded for saying that? No. Maybe there is more to this tie than we think. Let's not blame Arsene or the players yet. They might shock most of us. Believe and keep the faith. Players and the fans.

Last but not the least, we say goodbye to Thierry Henry. Words cannot describe how much this player has done for Arsenal. And maybe he's not done yet!
Keep the faith. That's what Thierry Henry would tell us.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Midway. Almost.

This has been an exciting season. And it's just February. Right from the offset! The much talked about departure of Cesc, and the slightly less spoken, more abused, departure of Nasri. A sleepy summer and an explosive last day at the transfer window. Oh, in between came the Old Trafford game. A disaster some said, others said Arsenal is going to be in a relegation battle. Then we started climbing, and got closer to where we belong on the table. Come January, we got a legend back- Thierry Henry, stationary and otherwise. The Leeds game goes down in history books. All in all, Arsenal sit at fourth now, uncomfortable but there.

This was all with the team and the players, we've had a few shocking performances. But even more shocking has been the reactions of fans. I'm sure nobody wanted the departures of Cesc and Nasri and I'm sure most gunners hoped for better summer signings (Hazard is all over the place). But, what we do not seem to see is that every player at Arsenal is a world class talent! Yes, they do lack the 'winning mentality', but that just comes with time.
Most of us would have loved to see more high profile signings in January, maybe Podolski. We were all disappointed a little, but the transfer window's shut now, and nothing can be done. Rather than complain about the lack of transfer activity after every defeat, all the fans should concentrate their energy on spurring the team on. Every single player. Irrespective of his performance (hey, bin bag boys, wake up). It's easy to support when the team's on the brink of silverwear. But that's probably when they need it least! Arsenal needs it now. They need 60,000 yelling fans at every home game. Let's make sure we give it to them. This team is closer to success than we think. We'er in the Champions League, FA Cup and the League yet, maybe silverwear is on the way! Even if it isn't, it's not far. Sooner rather than later, this team will make the final push it has to to win trophies, with or without a particular player. Till then let's make sure we support every player, even on a bad day, let's compel the players to give their best, come the offseason again we'll talk about required additions and subtractions. Until then, it's about the players we have now.
Keep it positive.

Until Milan then, big night!