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)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dynamo Kyiv 1 - Arsenal 1

The Gunners have completed test 2 of 3 tricky away games, having thrashed Blackburn and last night having drawn to Dynamo in the CL. While before the match I would have considered a point in the Ukraine a successful trip, having watched the match now twice I have to reconsider and adjudge the Gunners have come just short of passing the Ukraine test.

Arsenal started the match brightly, as they controlled the tempo of the match and created 3 clear cut chances in the first half, wasted by Van Persie, Ade and Cesc. Defensively I felt that the gunners had a good balance, with Song playing the holding midfielder role especially well. He made countless tackles and was very effective in breaking up any brewing Kyiv attack. Kyiv never posed an attacking threat in the first half.

The second half the Gunners seemed to take the foot off the gas, after having started the half with a decent tempo. They would be made to rue the chances missed in the first half, as a dubious penalty was awarded to Kyiv for a push by Sagna on Vukojevic in the 62nd minute.

Wenger rang the changes in pursuit of an equaliser bring on Bendter, Eboue & Vela in replacement of Song, Sagna & Van Persie respectively. The substitutions never really seemed effective, as Kyiv seemed more dangerous hitting Arsenal on the counter attack.

Nevertheless the pressure applied by the Gunners would prove too much for Kyiv, as Theo found some space to play the ball in behind the defense for Gallas to scrape into the net at the far post.

Relief all around! At the end of the match, the Gunners were made to sweat & fight to earn a draw in a match they really should have won (comfortably). While I am a bit disappointed with the result, I do hope that the players can learn from the Ukraine experience, by being more lethal in front of goal.

Next up, Bolton away. On the back of all the travelling the Arsenal players have made over the past 2 weeks, I expect Wenger to play some of the fringe players (Vela, Bendtner & Ramsey) in order to rest the likes of Walcott, RVP & Cesc. Should make for a tight game at the Reebok.

Prediction: Bolton 1 - Arsenal 2 (second half goals from Adebayor & Bendtner).


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Arsenal Sweep Blackburn Aside 0-4

Arsenal have managed to cruise past Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, with a surprising amount of ease and finesse as Adebayor opened his account for the season with a hat trick of goals. Van Persie was once again on the scoresheet with the match opener, when he was played through by the man of the moment Theo Walcott.

Arsenal fans would have been forgiven for feeling a bit anxious for the trip up to Lancashire with their indifferent record in the North West, the international break and the looming CL trip to Kyiv. The gunners faithful, however, were not to be disappointed as Arsenal managed to brush aside Paul Ince's side with the free passing football that we have come to expect from Arsene Wengers side.

Surprisingly it was the efficiency of the Arsenal performance which caught the eye most. Wenger has mentioned before that he felt the gunners were becoming a more efficient unit, and while there remains room for improvement in the Arsenal display, the effectiveness of the Arsenal style cannot be denied.

The gunners have passed the first of 3 tough away matches, next up is Dynam Kyiv away then Bolton away. With Silvestre entering the fray, the gunners will be looking for more cleansheets, and more clinical finishing - Efficiency!