Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The gripe with Arsenal for years now has been the lack of veteran players and manager Arsene Wenger’s insistence on playing soccer the beautiful way. Now, the stubbornness is finally paying off, as the North London club is producing results and looking like a true title contender for the first time in years. An emphatic and surprisingly easy 3-1 win over defending champs and aging Chelsea see the Gunners right on pace with Manchester United. The title race is looking more and more like a two-three horse race each day, with the contenders being City, United, and Arsenal.
The Gunners amazing depth is one of the primary reasons their youth can perform. All but 2 players on the squad are under 30 and while some would argue that this is an issue, nearly all the players on the senior roster have received significant playing time at one point or another. Some would point to Cesc Fabregas as the catalyst for everything that moves in the midfield, but in his absence, the squad did quite well. In his 6 missing league appearances, Samir Nasri took to becoming the focal point of attack for the Gunners after many were ready to label the Frenchman a relative flop. Thomas Vermaelen has also been sidelined the majority of this campaign. Any problems? A few, but looking at the numbers, the backline has conceded fewer or just as many goals as all but 3 teams in the league (City, United, and Chelsea). Even the injuries at goalkeeper have yet to be a problem. With Manuel Almunia struggling for fitness, Łukasz Fabiański has filled in tremendously well despite his relative lack of experience. Even when Fabiański fell to injury, 20-year-old Wojciech Szczęsny filled in nicely in a huge Premier League debut versus league leaders Manchester United. The men in the Arsenal jersey finally appeared ruthless and clinical in their game against Chelsea. Folding under pressure is one of Arsenal’s trademarks of recent years but the squad looked a far cry from the out-of-sync squad which teetered to a 1-0 loss versus United two weeks prior. The Gunners had 5 legitimate chances and put 3 in the back of the net, a huge accomplishment for a squad that squanders more chances than nearly any team in the league.
Wenger has always conceded his squad is building for the future and Gunner fans may finally rejoice that the future is beginning to arrive. The addition of Marouane Chamakh has eased the pressure off of Van Persie to attain fitness with his glass-like body structure. Even with Arshavin having personal struggles, Walcott has filled in nicely when called upon. The Gunners are firing on all cylinders and will have true tests coming up to see if the squad is for real. A disaster but horribly predictable Champions League draw against Barcelona will see if the Gunners can compete with the best squad in Europe and handle the unplayable magician Messi and crew. For now, however, the squad can be content with their position. Arsenal are prime contenders for a league title again and in a table that is as wide open as I can remember in recent memory, the squad has a chance to bag a couple trophies this season. Welcome to grown up world, Young Gunners.
Written by: Chris Behrens, EPL Correspondent, soccerpro.com
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Arsene Wenger believes Monday night's long-overdue victory against Chelsea could prove to be a "pivotal moment" in Arsenal's challenge for the Premier League title.
The Gunners had lost each of their previous five matches against Chelsea, stretching back to November 2008, and were beaten 1-0 at Manchester United in their last league match.
However, the poor run of form against their fellow championship contenders came to an end at Emirates Stadium as Wenger's side beat the Blues 3-1 and heaped more pressure on Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who is without a win in six games.
Arsenal moved back up into second place, behind Premier League leaders United by two points, having now played a match more ahead of the midweek fixtures which see the Gunners travel to Wigan on Wednesday.
"It was a double impact,'' Wenger said of the victory. "Mathematically, it keeps us in touch with the leaders of the league, and psychologically, it was important because we were questioned about our capability of winning big games.
"I am happy with the desire in the team. We kept good discipline in the team for 90 minutes and put in a real team performance.
"It can be a very pivotal moment, but we have to respond away at Wigan on Wednesday night in a game where we want to turn up and take points. We know to beat the big teams at home will have an important impact on this league.''
The Arsenal manager declared: "We are not bullied any more. That is for sure.
"Two years ago with the same players we were maybe battered by Chelsea. Last year we felt we were getting closer. This year, at United and Chelsea, we were more frustrated because we were more in the game and there was no real difference.
"It was a slow learning process that we got out of our system.''
Arsenal head to Birmingham on New Year's Day, and then host Manchester City, who are level on points but played a game more, ahead of their FA Cup third-round tie with Leeds and a Carling Cup semi-final against Ipswich. United come to Emirates at the end of April.
"We have to be at our best and continue to improve,'' Wenger observed. "I hope the victory [over Chelsea] will convince the team that we are moving in the right direction and we continue to improve.''
Wenger added: "However, this league is very difficult to predict - every game is difficult for everybody. We have to show we have got that out of our system and show we can be consistent.''
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The French coach is not known for big spending, preferring to invest in youth. But a trophy drought that stretches back to May 2005 means that he has come in for some criticism as a result of his reluctance to land big-name players.
Wenger, though, believes his way of doing things is better than that of some of his rivals, who he has accused of not respecting ''financial fair play.''
In an interview with Al Jazeera TV, he said: ''We respect our budget. You look at clubs who lose £100 million or £150 million and if we do that, then we go bust. It's as simple as that. We pay what we can afford.
''I'm amazed that people are amazed that we do that. I think what is surprising is that people don't respect that.
''The beauty of the competition and this club is to be successful while respecting the financial balance.
''People will maybe realise one day that it's not as easy to stay at the top and as well to cope with financial compulsories that you have at the top.
''We face rivals who do not respect the financial fair play. Instead of us being accused, maybe people should look somewhere else.''
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Well what an exciting time for Arsenal football fans and Arsenal football club in general with the current superb form that Samir Nasri is giving them lately. To see a player that has come on in quality as he has matured and developed really is a treat to all football fans across the United Kingdom.
What we have seen of Samir Nasri is his lightening pace defeat defenders and his goals over this season have meant that Arsenal have managed to stay a strong force in the Premier League despite their captain being injured. Moreover Nasri form has been taken to new heights while Fabregas has been off injured, which means that the Arsenal manager has some serious thinking to do about where he will place both Nasri and Fabregas upon Fabregas’s return.
Samir Nasri has managed to score eight goals in the Premiership which has made him the top goal scorer for the Gunners this year and a very interesting fact that we need to mention is that all this has been done when midfielder Fabregas has not been on the pitch. This is not a dig at Fabregas as he is a quality footballer, however what this does highlight is that when Fabregas is not on the field, it allows Samir Nasri to venture forward much more freely than when Fabregas is on the field. This is one of the main reasons we have seen such an increase in goals from Nasri and so as a result of this it means Venger is going to have to re think his strategy for these two quality players.
As we said at the start of this article these times are very exciting for Arsenal football fans and there is going to be a huge buzz if Venger can successfully keep Samir Nasri a lethal force in goal scoring and introduce Fabregas back into the team and get him back to his full force as well.
Fabregas will be wearing his Arsenal kit again soon and it is rumored that he could be looking to come back for the huge match against rivals Manchester United FC , which would be a very big game to come back into the mix on. It is definitely up to Venger’s discretion however we do not expect him to be superstitious in upsetting Samir Nasri goal run but most importantly Venger will make sure he follows the correct health and safety regulations for Fabregas so that as soon as Fabregas is fit again, he will be back on the pitch in no time. We do however expect to see Venger mix things up a bit and keep Nasri going forward and have Fabregas assume a more defensive midfield role.
It is going to be very exciting to see how the next few months play out for Arsenal but if they can get their players back to full fitness and keep both Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh scoring as they are, then it seems like Arsenal FC might have the right format to be a massive force for the rest of this season.
Jonathan works for J21Media who are an affordable seo company based in Wiltshire.
Jonathan works for J21Media who are an affordable seo company based in Wiltshire.
Posted by John Simons
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Let give something to Samir Nasri for his contribution for the Gunners. What we can do is voting for him at FIFA Puskas Award 2010. He might follow the Cristiano Ronaldo's footsteps after being included on FIFA's ten-man shortlist for the Ferenc Puskas Award for goal of the year.
The winner of the Puskas Award, named after the legendary Real Madrid and Hungary forward, will be announced at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala on January 10, 2011.
Matthew Burrows, Lionel Messi, Linus Hallenius, Arjen Robben, Hamit Altintop, Neymar, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Kumi Yokoyoma and Giovanni van Bronckhurst are the other names on the shortlist for the award, which will be decided by the votes of football fans on FIFA's official website.
Videos of the ten goals, as well as the list of scorers and the voting tool, can be found at www.fifa.com/ballondor/puskasaward.
SO, what are you waiting for? VOTE FOR SAMIR NASRI NOW!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
The former Ajax centre-half sustained an Achilles injury while on international dutywith Belgium, and has been sidelined since September.
The 25-year-old was thought to have been in line to return three weeks back, only for the player to suffer a setback in training that delayed his return.
Now The Mirror reports that the Gunners are looking to have their defender back in action by the time they face Chelsea on December 27.
Until then, however, Arsenal have worries in defence as Laurent Koscielny was ruled out for up to three weeks after a clash of heads with Sebastien Squillaci gave him a concussion.
Posted by Footbaler of The Year