Friday, January 28, 2011

Gooners Getting Ahead

So here we at the end of the crucial month of January, where many a season is either made or destined to fade! Fortunately for us Gooners it would appear that it is the former, as the Gunners have successfully managed to cement their title charge, and are best placed to push Utd all the way into May!

The Gunners stats for the month of Jan give the clearest indication to date that they are finally coming of age. In all competitions they have managed to score 16 and conceded a miserly 3 in 8 games played. Compare this to the Jan Stats a year ago, where a total of 7 games were played, resulting in 12 scored and 11 conceded.

In the league the Gunners are joint leaders with Utd in the form table based on the last 6, with a points tally of 14 from a possible 18. Where they have significantly outperformed Utd has been with their away form, boasting the best away record in league having accumulated 7 points more than Utd on the road.

There is really a good feeling building in the Gooners camp. With a final berth secured in the league Cup, any hardened Gooner would be forgiven for wondering, sensing, thinking, fantasizing, dreaming and hoping that the lure of Wembley will be the watershed moment in this teams development that brings a flood of trophies starting with a record breaking *whisper* quadruble!

Okay so I get ahead of myself!

Next Up Huddersfield in the FA Cup 4th round. Surely the Gunners (B team) wont let this one slip like they did against Leeds & Ipswich, I mean, it does look like Arshavin & Bendtner are finally finding some form!

Exciting times ahead!

Safe, Goonermanic

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Rotating Gooners - Crucial to Arsenal Success

While we have the unwelcome distraction of the January transfer window to contend with, lets not forget that we have entered the business end of the season, starts earlier for us Gooners (Goonermanic definition of business end = where each passing game significantly determines whether the Emirates trophy cabinet manager will have some work to do or not);

The 'recent' lack of silverware stems mainly from poor performances and form displayed by the Gunners during the business end of previous campaigns; which can be attributed to two main factors: 1. key 1st team injuries and 2. an overall too weak a squad (a bit of a chicken/egg scenario).

So the gaffer's ability to rotate the squad for the upcoming matches (fyi, apparently if we continue to progress in all competitions we will be playing 2 games a week until the end of the season ... imagine **happy days for Supersport subscribing Gooners**) will once again prove pivotal in our quest for glory. I have no doubt that this is the reason the gaffer deemed it fit to make 8 changes to the starting line up that faced Wigan (following the mauling of Chelsea), then 9 changes to the team that lined up against Leeds (following the 2-points-lost-mauling of City).

Now while it is obviously is gut-wrenching to us Gooners (mere mortals) that both those fixtures resulted in draws, Wenger has rightly pointed out that the cost of those draws will only be discovered as the season progresses, so if you get over the results, and look at the actual level of experience (prem league & international appearances) and quality that was still on display, then it should actually send out a threatening message to the rest of the league that this Arsenal squad is stronger than ever and I dare say the strongest in the league at this present time, as neither Utd or Chelsea's 2nd 11 can even be compared to our 2nd 11 (@least not paper, the only place where they can be compared).

From our most recent matches it appears that the gaffer's preferred first 11 is as follows: Fabianski, Sagna, Clichy, Djourou, Koscielny, Song, Fabregas, Wishere, RvP, Walcott & Nasri.

His second 11 boasts the likes of Chamakh, Bendtner, Eboue, Rosicky, Denilson, Arshavin & Diaby; while there are many a harshly criticised players in the group, given a sustained run of games these players would walk into the first 11 of most other PL clubs.

Now if we can just see off Barca, then this crop will be guaranteed some sustained playing time and hopefully they will be able to convert those draws and *whisper softly* ... bring us a couple of trophies this year .... *snap out of it*!

Safe, Goonermanic

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Goonermanic: Fantasy Team: Gameweek 22

Thats it I am using my wild card! Still hoping for some Dalglish magic to inspire some Kuyt goals!

I need some tips, anyone?

Arsenal 1 - Leeds 1: Mental Strength? I think not ...

So my beloved Arsenal have managed to spare their full blown blushes (mild to medium blushes are on display at the Emirates today!), when they earned a late draw with Leeds and a return leg to Elland Road in the FA Cup 3rd round.

I only managed to catch snippets of the 2nd half, but by all accounts the 1st half featured Leeds being put to the sword (without ever being cut) by a very much 2nd string Arsenal team; yes Arshavin is now officially a 2nd string player for Arsenal - not sure this speaks too highly of the Arsenal squad strength based on the recent poor performances the Russian has been putting in?

So Wenger rang 9 changes to the starting line-up that were rather unfortunate to beat City during the mid week league clash. I am fully supportive of the changes Wenger has made, as I believe we the team did show that they possessed enough quality to see off the championship outfit. I mean, we are still challenging on 4 fronts (I believe the only PL team to boast challenging for PL, CL, CC & FA cup - I know it counts for zilch, but its a fact nonetheless!); so the gaffer (love that word!) is doing what he's got to do to keep them legs fresh, as we all know the pitiful injury problems our squad has suffered in recent seasons!

I really feel for this guy. he does make way too many mistakes, this time costing us a penalty in the 2nd half. Wenger does continue to give him 2nd chances, and I am wonder whether he is running out of time to vindicate the gaffer? I reckon he has until this summer to do so, tick tock, tick tock!

I really wonder what is up with this little Russian? His head is clearly not in the game and I have to questions whether his heart is in this club? He is mercurial, and it is hard to deny that he had all the natural talent to split any defense or to score the most amazing goals, but it is the bread & butter stuff that he can really suck at. When he needs to do the most basic things, he falls short (lol); I don't know why or what but you would expect more from the experienced forward, by all rights he should be a leader in the team, but when he plays like he did today, missing clear cut chances, losing control of the ball with poor touches, you have to wonder how he can lead these bunch of youngsters???

Anyway Cesc & Walcott came in from the bench to pretty much add that x factor to the Arsenal attack; Theo winning us a penalty & Cesc slotting it home with the coolness of the Iceman! I believe that we can get a result at Elland road, our away form has been that good at least!

For now we have have to secure our first trophy for the year with a semi final 1st leg clash in the Carling cup @ Ipswich Town on Wednesday. If we somehow we contrive not win this cup, then we have no hope of winning anything with our current crop of Arsenal youngsters, ever! I cant believe that that is possible!

That's it for now from me!
Safe, Goonermanic!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"We'll see how costly this is come May." Arsene Wenger

Last night Arsene Wenger took the Gunners to the DW stadium on the back of an emphatic victory over London rivals Chelsea, and what does he do...? Instead of sticking to a winning team or at least a winning defensive combination, he makes 8 changes to the team. Seriously Arsene??

Its almost as if Wenger wants the Gunners to end fourth this season.

The Gunners went to Wigan with a chance to put all the ghosts of last season behind them and arrive on the scene as serious title contenders, but instead Wenger treated this game as he would a Carling Cup fixture. And all our great leader had to say was: "We'll see how costly this is come May." Unbelievable!!

As far as I am concerned the Chelsea win has now been nullified by a draw at Wigan.

In my opinion if you want to rest key players ie. Wilshere, Nasri, Walcott... let them start the game and sub them out at half time, hopefully by then we've sealed the victory already.

Fabianski can be happy with his performance, made a few crucial saves in the game after the clueless Squillaci did what he does best. Squillaci even managed to score Wigan's equalizer.

Squillaci and Koscielny are njust not the right combination at the back in my opinion, I would like to see Djourou and Vermaelen partner in the centre of our defense. Koscielny fouled N'zogbia for a penalty and the first goal, and Squillaci scored an own goal to hand Wigan the equalizer.

Eboue left huge gaps on left side of our defense last night and definitely was not the right choice to replace Clichy.

Sagna was brilliant as he always is, going forward he provided another option, it would have been great to see Sagna and Walcott operating on the right from the very beginning of the game.

My midfield for last night's game against Wigan would have involved all the players that played against Chelsea bar Fabregas.

Somethinng like this: Nasri(left), Wilshere, Song and Denilson, Walcott(right). I believe these five players in the midfield could have got the job done with Chamakh up front.

Instead Wenger opted for: Arshavin(left), Diaby and Denislon, Rosicky(right) and Bendtner and Chamakh up front.

If it hasn't occurred to Wenger by now that Rosicky is struggeling with form then I don't know anymore. He insists on having him replace Fabregas and makes him the captain everytime.

So as a Gooner supporter, I take comfort in the fact that only dropped two points last night and not three. My hopes are still high... but if we want to contend for the title we are going to have to put our strongest team forward at every opportunity. United are unbeaten in the league and Spurs and City are looking really good.

Come on you Gooners, lets take Birmingham and then City and put our names down as one of the favourites to win this title.

Preview: Wigan v Arsenal - Burying the Wigan hatchet

Tonight sees Arsenal traveling to the DW stadium, where they take on Wigan Athletic on the back of an emphatic home victory over Chelsea. Despite the convincing nature of the Gunners victory, there still remains unanswered questions on their ability to go the distance with the likes of the trophy-laden Manchester Utd. And rightfully so one could argue, since despite their current league position of 2nd, we have already seen the similar inconsistencies to their previous campaign, with the surprising home defeats to West Brom, Newcastle and Spurs.

Tonight's match provides the Gunners with an opportunity to bury the hatchet which effectively killed off their 2009/2010 title challenge. The Gunners lost this fixture last year 3-2, and they will recall with painful memory the fact that with 10 minutes of the 90 left, the Arsenal were cruising 2 nil, and some how they contrived to concede 3 goals to surrender the 3 points which would at the time have taken them to within 3 points of the eventual champions Chelsea.

Fabianski (often referred to as Flapianski) particularly will feel the need to banish the memory of his league debut for Arsenal at the DW, as he gifted Titus Bramble the equaliser when he dropped what appeared to be a routine corner.

Eight months have passed, and the Pole has established himself as the #1 in the poles. By all accounts he has dealt with the psychological damage of the previous encounter at the DW, but he still has some convincing to do before the Arsenal faithful start singing his name from the rooftops!

We never know what to expect from this Wigan side, but then neither do we know what to expect from the Gunners? The one thing I do expect from this fixture is goals, if the Gunners can win by 5 they will go top on goal difference ... right now all I am hoping for is the 3 points!

Come on you Gooners, bury the hatchet!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Charlie's Premiership Predictions: Game Week 6

Fixtures 28/09/2008 - 01/09/2008:

  • Everton v Liverpool - as always a tightly contested affair (1:1)
  • Aston Villa v Sunderland - Villa should make amends for the shock Carling Cup exit (2:1)
  • Fulham v West Ham - Fulham should get a result @ home, but unknown Zola-effect (1:1)
  • Man Utd v Bolton - Utd too good for poor Wanderers (3:0)
  • Middlesbrough v West Brom - Borough to have too much quality for Baggies (2:1)
  • Newcastle v Blackburn - Too soon for Toons to turn things around (0:1)
  • Arsenal v Hull City - Hull in for a hiding to nothing (4:0)
  • Portsmouth v Tottenham - flip a coin, both teams underperforming (3:2 or 2:3)
  • Wigan v Man City - Big Bruce to stick it to the Man ....City (2:1)