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Gunners Endure Frustrating Result but it was Fair Enough

Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0

Match ReportMatch Highlights Post-Match Press Conference

I’ve been very busy all day at work but this would be probably be the only ‘free time’ I’d get before going for another meeting scheduled for 4.00pm. Maybe I should return to the habit of blogging at night and publishing the article, first thing in the morning. It worked better for me. Sometimes, you’d wanna publish an article in the office and your boss is like ‘Enigma, remember the presentation slides for this’ and you’re like, there goes another day without a post.

Enough about my office shenanigans.

I watched some damn good football from my team against a side I kinda despise a lot because of their c*ntbag Rent Boy b*stard of a manager, Jose Moaning-H*E. From the onset, he set a team out with no center forward with the sole aim of frustrating the home side or in Chelsea English, ‘parking the bus’. However, that didn’t deter the Gunners from playing some top-notch football. Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey in particular bossed the midfield but Alexis Sanchez was at his sloppy best, conceding possession to the opposition and building up some frustration for the home fans. But he’s a good lad. You can’t doubt his effort.

I must say I’m a huge fan of Michael Oliver because he’s turning out to be a referee with some big balls between his legs. He proved his mettle in the Gunners FA Cup win over Manchester United at Old Trafford and if there’s anything I learned from the official on that game, is that he doesn’t take shit from players that try to cheat. So when that rent boy, Cesc Fabregas, who claims he still loves Arsenal more than a dog loves his master, comes to the Emirates turf, dribbles past Santi Cazorla and dives on the turf like someone that was shot with a sawn-off shotgun, you could see the sheer delight when the ref brandished a card for his attempt to cheat his way to win a penalty kick. Even if I hate everything Chelsea stands for, I feel the Gunners can count themselves extremely lucky that David Ospina remained on the pitch, especially after his rash challenge on Oscar that was meant to warrant a penalty and a sending off. The Gunners also have every right to be aggrieved that the ref didn’t award the penalty for Cahil’s handball in the box but hey, it happens innit?

There were no clear cut opportunities as the game progressed but it was heart in mouth stuff for me when Ramires the Great Lizard was sent through on goal and he missed a sitter. The Chelsea center backs had good games with John Terry shining like a knight in a new armor but it was troubling to see how Olivier Giroud was smothered from making any impact whatsoever. The attacking substitutes, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott offered minimal threat thanks to some resolute Chelsea defending but the Gunners did well to quell the attacks they posed, especially through counters.

In the end it was a frustrating result for the Gunners but in the grand scale of things, we can take some positives from the performance of the players, rather than the overall result. Aaron Ramsey faced the media at the end of the game and was quite Wenger-esque in his comments to the media. The Welsh Jesus touched on how the team would have won and the chances not falling to the right players. However, here was my pick of the bunch,

I think so. It’s going to be quite difficult for Chelsea to drop the points that we need to go top. Second probably is progression from last season definitely and from a couple of seasons where we have been battling for fourth. We’re in another FA Cup final so maybe you can say that’s an improvement on last season.

Things have definitely improved for the team and I’d rather end up in second place and win the FA Cup rather than scraping for the bread crumbs of Champions League qualification, which has become a norm for the Gunners in recent seasons. I was also astonished to know that this was the first time the team was drawing a match in 2015, and bar the poor results against Southampton, Monaco and Tottenham, the Gunners have won every other game in the calendar year.

I’m pretty sure that the players can’t wait to get their hands on some of that Hull goodness.

Gotta run now. 4pm meeting in a bit.


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Chelsea Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

After watching Manchester City steal a narrow win over Aston Villa, it was a constant reminder that there was no room for complacency in this league. However, their win has sent them to second place, albeit temporarily, till Manchester United takes on Everton and of course, Arsenal hosting Chelsea in what’s undoubtedly the game of the weekend.

A lot has been said in the build-up to this one with Cesc Fabregas ‘returning home’ and of course, the long-standing rivalry between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. The boss has a very pathetic record against the Portuguese manager (no wins in 12 against Mou) and as expected, the journos decided to remind the boss ‘what he didn’t know’. Arsene Wenger was quick to point out that today’s game isn’t about history, but form,

“We have not always lost, first of all, in 12 attempts. We have come close to beating them a few times and they’ve always had very strong teams. I’m not a great believer in history. I just think football is down to the fact that the performance on the day will decide the game and the result, so let’s focus on that.

“We are on a good run and we have an opportunity to beat them at home, and we want to take it. From a good run of form you get a good belief and we have good solidarity. We know we have passed many tests recently where we were questioned.

“It’s the first time we’ve won away from home against Manchester City [in a while] and other things like that. We have passed many tests and we have another test on Sunday that we want to pass. It is very important for us to beat them. I think everybody on board is highly focused to achieve it. We will prepare well to do that.”

With six games left for both Arsenal and Chelsea, the Gunners would be hoping to cut down the Blues’ 10-point lead to seven as they still harbor slight hopes of gunning for the title. Chelsea has been the most consistent team in the league and if anybody deserves to be on top, it’s them. They have won ugly and I mean, Abdoulaye Faye ugly. Chelsea have kept four clean sheets in their last six clashes with Arsenal, conceding just two goals in total. This essentially means that Jose Mourinho might use the same approach he used last week against Manchester United where he packed an armored tank and caught them on the break.

When both sides met at Stamford Bridge in October, Arsenal failed to have a shot on target for the first time in a Premier League match since September 2003 (Manchester United away). At least, it wasn’t like the 6-0 mauling the Gunners received last season. The Gunners would have to be mindful about the threat Didier Drogba would pose today as the Ivorian has scored eight times in 11 Premier League appearances against Arsenal in his career. Arsenal would also put sentiment aside when they come up against their forgotten son, Cesc Fabregas, as he currently tops the assists charts this season. Cesc Fabregas has a league-high 16 Premier League assists this season. Only Thierry Henry (20 in 2002-03), Frank Lampard (18 in 2004-05) and Fabregas himself (17 in 2007-08) have ever registered more in a single Premier League campaign.

Team News

Wenger recently spoke about the fitness of Per Mertesacker and stated that Gabriel can come him for him if he fails a fitness test,

“Last week against Reading, Per Mertesacker got injured and he has not been out [training] since. He’s still in the treatment room and I don’t know if he will be available or not. [He is] 50/50 [to start against Chelsea] at the moment. Apart from Mertesacker, everybody else [from last weekend] should be available. He’s ready [to step up]. He came on in the FA Cup semi-final and I think if Per is not ready, Gabriel will start”

However, he confirmed that Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out of contention and one wonders when they’d make any first team appearance with the season reaching it’s climax.

Injury Updates

Arsenal: Per Mertesacker (ankle), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring)

Chelsea: Diego Costa (hamstring), Loic Remy (muscle)

Team Form


  • Last Five Games: W W W W W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 2 Reading 1
  • Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (22)


  • Last Five Games: D W W W W
  • Last Result: Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0
  • Leading Goalscorer: Diego Costa (20)

Predicted Lineups

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Debuchy, Koscielny, Gabriel, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud

Chelsea (4-2-3-1 ‘Park Le Bus’): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Zouma, Matic; Ramires, Fabregas, Hazard; Drogba

Gooner Daily says 2 – 0 to the Arsenal

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What’s with the Gonzalo Higuain Rumors?

Is it just me, or have you guys noticed how silent things seem to be when we are winning games?

The official site has been doing its bit to keep staying afloat with post-FA Cup articles littered everywhere. Arsene Wenger has spoken about his decision to play Mathieu Debuchy ahead of the in-form Hector Bellerin and the boss also stated that the team had learned from their hiccups. Per Mertesacker was all about his happiness in reaching the final yet again and with Francis Coquelin keeping Mikel Arteta out of the side, the BFG could be the man to lead the lads out. The most recent article on the site is about Santi Cazorla telling Arsenal Player how spectacular Alexis Sanchez is. Like we didn’t know yeah?

The summer transfer window is two months away but the media vultures haven’t stopped in cooking up articles for reasons best known to them. That’s how the Daily Star has reported that the Gunners are in “pole position” to sign Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli this summer. lol! The Argentine forward has scored 13 Serie A goals this season but he has been in scorching form in the Europa League, netting eight times and with his three strikes in the Coppa Italia his current goalscoring tally stands at 24.

I remember how the Sun published a piece that he had agreed a deal with Arsenal, only to see him move to Italy. When he was linked with the Gunners in the summer of 2013, many believed that he would be an automatic starter in the team ahead of Olivier Giroud. Then Arsenal’s ‘interest’ waned as they pursued Luis Suarez, which turned out to be a futile affair as well. This summer, an injury to Giroud saw the Gunners  snap up Danny Welbeck from Manchester United but with eight goals in 31 appearances, it doesn’t look as if the team could really rely on him if anything happens to Giroud.

In the Gunners last game against Reading, Wenger gave Giroud a breather and fielded Welbeck as the center forward with Alexis and Aaron Ramsey providing support from the flanks. Welbeck is usually renowned for his good off the ball movement and positioning but he was flat and offered the team no focal point in attack. The attacking play had some bite immediately Giroud came on for Welbeck and it’s fair to say that the team ‘attacked better’ with the French forward’s linkup play.

With the FA Cup final in the bag, the Gunners have five more matches to secure a strong Premier League finish and Arsene Wenger would need his ‘goalscorers’ to come up with the goods between now and May.

We can worry about Higuain in the summer.


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Champions League: This Could Have Been Us, and Yes, it Still Hurts

When supporting a football club, you have to brace yourself for the good times, bad times and ugly times. Arsenal, like any football club out there, is no different. In all my years as an Arsenal supporter, I’ve seen a lot but I remain hopeful for better things to come in the foreseeable future. Going all those years without a trophy made me endure endless taunts from those trolls out there, and winning the FA Cup last season was in my honest opinion, a platform to build on.

The Gunners began the season very poorly in the League and despite the fact that Arsene Wenger’s men are in the form of their lives, the best they can muster would be a second placed finish provided Chelsea do what’s expected of them. The Champions League is a competition that Arsene Wenger hasn’t won yet, with his best chance coming in 2006 but down the years Arsenal fans have become accustomed to facing disappointment and despair in this competition.

This season’s European campaign began with a two-legged draw against Besiktas but the Gunners lost their first match of the group to Dortmund and followed it up with a Danny Welbeck-inspired victory over Galatasaray. After the narrow win against Anderlecht in Belgium, the Gunners were culpable for throwing away a shocking three goal lead against the same opposition at the Emirates, and this was the point where Dortmund seized the initiative and gained a stronghold of the group. Subsequent wins over Dortmund and Galatasaray wasn’t enough to top the group, so Arsene Wenger’s men had to make do with a second placed finish yet again, which ultimately meant that they were gonna be paired with one of them European juggernauts.

Heaven knows that I was anxious during the Round of 16 draws. The Gunners had lost to Barcelona and Bayern Munich twice in the past four seasons, so which team was going to play against them. When Barcelona was paired with Manchester City and Bayern got Shakhtar Donetsk, I thought about the prospect of playing the World Footballer of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo, but they got Schalke 04. After a frantic wait, Arsenal got paired with AS Monaco. Hallelujah. The fans celebrated, and I’m sure the players already dreamed about the last eight.

Arsenal began 2015 with a loss to Southampton after followed it up with wins over Hull (FA Cup), Stoke, Manchester City, Brighton and Aston Villa before suffering a blip against Tottenham. They picked up where they left off with wins against Leicester and Crystal Palace.

Then Monaco came to town.

The players seemed confident and passed the ball around well but some profligate finishing from Olivier Giroud was already going to prove costly and our fears were realized when Geoffrey Kondogbia made a rare foray forward and fired a shot that was deflected off Per Mertesacker. Arsenal continued to attack and they hit the lads on the break and Dimitar Berbatov of all people, made it two. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came off the bench to score a peach of a goal to make it 2-1. Not bad right? All we have to do is score two goals in Stade Louis and we are home and dry. Sadly more defensive naivety cost the team dearly and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco scored the goal that put the contest beyond the Gunners. As expected, a 2-0 win in France wasn’t enough.

So we moved on and focused on what was left of the season. The FA Cup and the remaining Premier League games. Everton, QPR, Manchester United (FA Cup), West Ham, Newcastle, Liverpool and last weekend, Burnley. All these teams have incurred the wrath of an Arsenal side in the form of their lives. With this kind of form, playing in the Champions League against Juventus would have been a spectacle. The last time both sides met at that stage was in Arsenal’s road to the final in 06′. However, it was Monaco that lined up against the Italian giants, not Arsenal.

This could have been us, and yes, it still hurts.


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Is David Ospina Arsenal’s Winning Formula?

David Ospina off to a Historically Good Start to His Arsenal Career

Competition, they say, brings out the best in players and it’s always beneficial to the team in general.

Arsenal is a team in a very rich vein of form, and this can be attributed to the performances of the players that have been selected by the boss. In defense, Nacho Monreal has kept Kieran Gibbs out for a considerable spell and with the way he has been performing Gibbs faces a battle in his hands to displace the Spaniard. On the other flank, Hector Bellerin has seen off the threat of Calum Chambers but with Matt Debuchy returning, we would see how Wenger manages it. The fiercest battle for places is in Arsenal’s midfield, with the club blessed with a plethora of options.

However, I’d want to focus on the goalkeeping department, that has seen a new kid on the block make the position his for keeps. Since his emergence in December 2010, Wojciech Szczesny has seen the likes of Manuel Almunia, Vito Mannone and more recently, Lukasz Fabianski, leave the club in search of regular game time, so it was evident that Arsene Wenger had to get a new goalie into the list to challenge Szczesny for his first-team berth because quite frankly, Emiliano Martinez wasn’t the man to do so.

An injury he sustained during the World Cup didn’t help him settle in one time but he made his debut in the Capital One Cup loss to Southampton and showed glimpses of his quality. His Champions League came in rather acrimonious circumstances as Szczesny received his marching orders for a late challenge on Burak Yilmaz. On New Year’s day, things went downhill for the Polish goalkeeper as he added insult to injury by smoking in the bathroom after such a dismal performance against Southampton.

Ospina made his full debut against Hull in the FA Cup, earning himself a clean sheet and his presence on the pitch against Stoke a week later confirmed the reports that Wenger had benched Szczesny. Ospina didn’t do badly in the game and earned himself another clean sheet. In the game against Manchester City, the fans began a lovely chant for the Colombian that I’m very sure it motivates him. The “Ooooooooooooooooooospina” chant has become a stuff of legends since mid-January and the fans don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

After keeping a clean sheet against Aston Villa, Ospina suffered defeat for only the second time in his Arsenal career when the Gunners lost the North London derby courtesy of a Harry Kane brace. Following the win over Leicester City, Szczesny returned in goal in the FA Cup fifth round clash with Middlesbrough but Ospina continued to feature in the Premier League in the Gunners narrow win over Crystal Palace. He earned his third loss in the horrific outing against Monaco at the Emirates but since then, Ospina has continued to feature in the wins over Everton, QPR, West Ham, Monaco (away), Newcastle, Liverpool and this weekend, Burnley.

Then I saw this,

In his brief stint at goal, the Gunners have had an amazing winning rate but we all know it isn’t down to Ospina himself, other team members have played their own parts. However, in my honest opinion, Ospina’s concentration levels are far more better than Wojciech Szczesny but he lacks the Polish goalie’s height, command of area, distribution and to some extent, reflexes. The Colombian has a level head and like Szczesny, he knows how to organize his back line.

Having him around has been a breath of fresh air, and I’m sure that he’d be away that he’s an injury or blunder away from losing his place to Szczesny.

There’s is only one beneficiary from this kind of competition – Arsenal.


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