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This Might Just Be the Season Arsenal Wins the League

Trophies… the joy of the beautiful

I have a HSE session for 6.30am, hence the earliness of today’s article. Working in this facility makes you understand that time is truly of the essence and it would a while before I return to my office to continue my daily process engineering duties. Enough about me and my offshore escapades – the last time I checked, this is an Arsenal blog.

So the Gunners finally defeated Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea hordes after 14 attempts and all of the sudden, the world has become a better place. World hunger has been solved, Rafa Benitez’ wife smiled sheepishly on her way to the grocery store in the streets of Madrid and there was the much publicized tales of how Arsene Wenger is a bad guy for not shaking some egotistical f*cking b*stard rent boy manager that called him a voyeur and specialist in failure.

The Gunners preseason campaign saw them feature in three different tournaments and as we all know, Arsene Wenger’s side were triumphant in these tournaments, grabbing a couple of trophies along the way. We, the long-suffering fans, have endured through the drought and winning the 2014 FA Cup remains a significant moment in the minds of everyone connected with the club and when 250,000 fans came out to celebrate with the team, you could see how much it meant to them. Last season, the Gunners repeated the feat of retaining the FA Cup, which also placed the club in the record books as the most successful team in the tournament.

This season has seen a couple of changes on and off the pitch and most importantly, Arsene Wenger has ensured that the core players were retained with only the fringe players either seeking greener pastures elsewhere or farmed out on loan. The team spirit is great and confidence couldn’t be any higher at the moment. The players are blending, the results are good and the onus is on the team to do better this season.

That feeling of achieving greatness this season is also felt by the players, with Per Mertesacker being the latest player to share his thoughts on the issue,

“It was a good test for both teams a week before the season, everyone has to adjust a bit now. They (Chelsea) played a great consistent season last year, we had a great run to the end of the season, and deserved to win the FA Cup.

“It (the championship) is decided by details, and which team can maintain a good spirit, that level of focus which is vital throughout the season.

“They (Chelsea) have shown it, and we have to step up and do more than last season, so that is the question for us. We asked the question to ourselves and you could see we really want to compete and do the next step.”

Arsenal has made only one signing this summer and what a signing he has been. A legend, veteran, natural leader, winner and a football talisman in every sense of the word. In Petr Cech, Arsene Wenger has found a rock solid foundation for the defensive stability of the team, and the manager believes that he can be like Edwin van der Sar that joined Manchester United from Fulham in his mid-30s and went on to put up some breathtaking performances for the club, which included a run of 15 consecutive clean sheets in the league, besting Cech’s record at Chelsea.

Cech poses with the spoils, the Community Shield, of his official debut against his former club

I look at the current crop of players and I see a team capable of achieving greatness this season. The talent is there (has always been), the hunger is also there but all that’s left is for the lads to change those ambitions into results. If I was Arsene Wenger, my primary target this season will be the Premier League. Arsenal last won the competition as far back as 2004 and while I’d always take a third FA Cup in a row, I won’t mind me some double delight.

It’s not going to be an easy feat because winning a division over a span of 38 games requires one fundamental attribute – consistency.

We have to watch the lads this season and hope they have what it takes to achieve greatness.

I believe in them, Arsene Wenger believes in them. They just have to believe in themselves.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea: Match Report and Player Ratings

Third preseason trophy

Arsenal 1 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 23′) – Chelsea

Match HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

That’s the crazy thing about working offshore. One minute you’ve landed on the facility. The next, you’re working your arse off with your only breaks coming when you wanna eat but hey, it’s all about the mulla’.

Arsenal hosted Chelsea in probably the last English game I might watch live this season :'(. With me currently offshore and starting my Masters in September, watching live Premier League matches may not be in my lexicon but I’d definitely watch me some Champions League footie. :)

Arsenal’s team selection for the clash with Chelsea was a sign of some things to come in the campaign as Hector Bellerin got the nod ahead of Mathieu Debuchy and Theo Walcott starting ahead of Giroud. The Gunners got off to a rather swift start with the Ox combining with Walcott but Thibaut Courtois was on hand to make a save. Mesut Ozil was trying to make things thick in midfield but he was on the end of some rather nasty challenges from the opposition and there was even an instance when Ramires had his knee in Ozil’s mid-rift.

Arsenal finally got their breakthrough when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain latched onto a good pass from Walcott, cut inside Cesar Azpilicueta and blasted the ball past Courtois.

Courtois dives desperately to his right in an attempt to prevent Oxlade-Chamberlain's rasping drive finding the top corner of his net

Ox’s effort breezed past Courtois

Strangely, that was the Ox’s first goal for the club outside the Emirates Stadium. The lad was just too fond of scoring at home. The Ox has stated that he wants to score more goals this season and I’m hoping that he gets his wishes.

Chelsea some chances to get an equalizer but they fluffed their chances with Ramires missing a header from point blank range. He also fashioned another chance for himself when Hector Bellerin gave out the ball cheaply but his effort went wide.

In the second half, Chelsea brought on Radamel Falcao for the offside Lord, Loic Remy, but the Colombian didn’t fare any better. Chelsea mounted some intense pressure in the second half and it took some spirited defending from the Gunners to keep the Blues at bay. Oscar flighted in a free kick that was destined for the net but Petr Cech stepped up to make a great save. His aerial dominance was on show yet again and I’m sure he most have been very delighted to beat his old side.

Player Ratings

Defense

Petr Cech had a relatively untroubled game by his standards as his defense offered him great protection. 7/10

Hector Bellerin struggled in the game and almost gifted the opposition a goal with his sloppy play. A game he’d rather forget quickly. 5/10

Nacho Monreal put up another efficient performance in defense, doing his duties with minimal fuss. 7/10

Laurent Koscielny was a colossus at the back, breaking up opposition play and making vital interceptions. 8/10

Per Mertesacker had a good game at the back and he read the opposition play superbly. 7/10

Midfield

Francis Coquelin worked hard in midfield and did his bit to break up the opposition attack. 7/10

Santi Cazorla was at his cunning best with his silky touches. 7/10

Mesut Ozil did okay in midfield and was on the end of some rash challenges. 7/10

Aaron Ramsey was ubiquitous in midfield and his all-action play was a pleasurable site. 8/10

Attack

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put up another great shift and scored the goal that ended Wenger’s drought against Mourinho. 8/10

Theo Walcott provided a neat assist to the Ox but he didn’t offer much in attack. 6/10

Substitutes

Olivier Giroud was a thorn in the flesh of the defenders but his finishing let him down. 6/10

Mikel Arteta brought some stability to the midfield. 7/10

Kieran Gibbs didn’t play enough to get a rating.

Food for thought.

Sayonara.

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Chelsea Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

 

After such a long wait, the curtain raiser to the season is here again as the defending Premier League and FA Cup champions lock horns in what would prove to be another tasty encounter. There’s no love lost between Arsenal and Chelsea and when both teams meet, it’s always like a battle between the Night Watch and the Wildlings. Even Arsene Wenger has confirmed that this game isn’t going to be a friendly match. Wenger and Jose Mourinho have battled each other for quite some time, and the Press knows about their publicized dislike for each other. While the Arsenal manager does his bit to ensure things don’t spiral out of control anytime he’s asked about Mourinho and his Rent Boys, you can’t say the same for the Portuguese manager that enjoys being in the spotlight.

The last time both teams faced off, Chelsea needed to avoid defeat at the home of football in their bid to win the 2014/15 Premier League title. They achieved that feat with a stalemate and you could see the elation of the players as they came to North London with a game plan and it’s fair to say they got it right. The Blues went on to win the title but Arsenal suffered a dip in form that saw them crash to third place when second spot was in their grasp.

Arsenal has a pretty enviable record in this competition with Wenger winning five of the seven Community Shield finals his team has featured in. Wenger’s last loss in the tournament was to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea where Didier Drogba put the Gunners to the sword with two goals. Wenger hasn’t beaten Mourinho in 13 attempts.

Arsenal Team News

This game would be of particular interest to Petr Cech that left the Blues to join Arsenal this summer. He has been the only Arsenal signing as well, as the fans would be patiently waiting to see if the Gunners as a holding midfielder and a striker anytime soon. However, the squad is relatively stocked in all playing positions, and I hope Wenger would be able to keep everybody happy by rotating efficiently.

Arsenal Injury News

According to Arsene Wenger, the only player currently in the casualty list is Danny Welbeck, but the Copa America stars, Alexis Sanchez and David Ospina, aren’t fit enough to be with the team yet.

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Chelsea Team News

The Rent Boys have been in the United States for some time now, participating in the International Champions Cup. They lost their opening game to New York Red Bulls and they’ve had to rely on the lottery of penalties to ease past Paris St. Germain and FC Barcelona. They have a game against Fiorentina lined up for August 5th, which essentially means that they’d be traveling from London after the Community Shield to play their final fixture of the preseason tournament before hosting Swansea next week Saturday.

Chelsea Injury News

Diego Costa suffered a hamstring injury in one of their preseason encounters and I doubt if Jose Mourinho would want to risk the player with the likes of Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy available for selection. Gary Cahill is also a major doubt and suffering a broken nose in the game against Barcelona but if he has to play, he’d have to wear a face mask that would make him look like Zorro.

 Chelsea Predicted Lineup

Chelsea 4-3-3 football formation

Team Form

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: W W W W W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 1 (Walcott 50′) – Wolfsburg 0
  • Leading Goalscorer: Chuba Akpom (3)

Chelsea

  • Last Five Games: W W L D D
  • Last Result: Chelsea 2 (Hazard 10′, Cahill 86′) – Barcelona 2 (Suarez 52′, Sandro 66′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Eden Hazard (2)

Gooner Daily predicts 2 – 1 to the Arsenal

Sayonara.

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Finally, Walcott Extends his Contract. Cazorla Too

Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla

I don’t know if this is the right way to go about this, but it’s worth a try.

Picture Arsenal Football Club as a rich bloke that set his eyes on a very young girl called Walcott. He obviously likes what he sees but she’s really young with her best years ahead of her, so he takes her under his care and caters for her as she grows. He sees her doing so well in the world and she’s getting more beautiful by the minute, and he starts to get some feelings, and he wants ‘some’. Then, she gives him.

He wants it after another four years, and she gives him again. He comes around the block for some of that good stuff but she tells him to ‘hold on’, and suddenly he thinks she’s not going to give him anymore. He starts panicking and making all sorts of assumptions and even ponders giving her to another. Now, she has given him what he wanted and he’d have to wait for another four years.

****

According to the official website, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla have extended their contracts with the club. Both players have been instrumental to the club in different capacities and while Walcott has been around for as long as I can remember (now the club’s longest serving player), Cazorla joined from SC Malaga in the start of the 2012/13 campaign and his magnificent performances won him the Arsenal Player of the Season award. He continued his great form into the 2013/14 season and last season, his role in the team changed.

With Cazorla turning 30, a few thought that the Gunners would cash in on him – especially with Atletico Madrid on the prowl but the club has signaled their desire to remain with the player and I’m happy he’s going to be around for a long while. He’s a fantastic player and his influence has risen in the club, as he’s currently the third in command behind Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker.

As for Walcott, it’s an issue I’ve touched on in the past and I’m happy that we can finally concentrate on the activities on the pitch, rather than the shenanigans off it. From what I’ve heard, Walcott is now among the club’s highest earners and I hope he does his bit to justify that huge pay. With the likes of Aaron Ramsey and the Ox playing on the right wing and Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck playing through the middle, it’s going to be very interesting to see how Wenger manages Walcott this season.

That’s Wenger’s headache though and I’m happy he will be having such selection problems. The squad is really huge and Wenger would have to manage them effectively in his bid to challenge for all fronts this season.

Wishing Walcott and Cazorla the very best in the 2015/16 campaign.

Sayonara

 

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Diaby Reveals Why He Joined Marseille and More Players Leave on Loan

Good luck Abou

Time truly waits for no man.

I’m scheduled to travel offshore next week so I’ve been heavily involved in some front end activity here at work. Surprisingly, the last two days have waltzed past me and I’ve not even had the time to write anything on the blog. Its times like this I wished I had a columnist that could hold the fort when I’m not available but it’s aii. These things happen.

As we eagerly anticipate the Community Shield between the Gunners and those Rent Boys, their manager has been on the news lately and I wouldn’t even bother you with the bullcrap he has been spitting from his pile hole recently. I know Arsene Wenger hasn’t defeated him in 13 attempts but all records are meant to be broken. More on the Community Shield in the coming days.

The club has finally confirmed that Wojciech Szczesny has completed his long-awaited loan move to AS Roma and Arseblog wrote a rather emotional piece about the goalie, which in my honest opinion was a very good read, so help yourselves out. That’s if you haven’t seenit already. I’ve shared my thoughts on the Szczesny to Roma issue as well, so there’s no point dwelling on it anymore.

Swaggu!

Elsewhere, the club has also confirmed that youngster, Jon Toral, will play the 2015/16 campaign in Birmingham City. Toral was loaned to Brentford last season and he made 37 appearances for the Bees, scoring six goals which included a scintillating hat-trick against Blackpool. Birmingham hasn’t returned to the Premier League since their relegation in the 2010/11 campaign but they’d fondly remember the Capital One Cup victory over the Gunners that season. Arsenal has had its fair share of contingent that have played for the club in the past with Lord Nicklas Bendtner featuring consistently for the club in the 2006/07 season, scoring 13 goals in 48 appearances for the club. Aliaksandr Hleb featured for the club as well, and he suffered the ignominy of relegation.

Szczesny and Toral will join the likes of Yaya Sanogo (Ajax) and Carl Jenkinson (West Ham) as players that have been farmed out on loan and I’d expect more players to join this list.

You also must be aware that everyone’s sweetheart, Abou Diaby, has returned home to play for Marseille. Just a few weeks ago, he was pretty close to signing for West Brom and Sky Sports even reported that he was due to go for a medical with the Baggies, but the move fell through for reasons best known to the injury gods of Novigrad, Velen and Skellige.

Diaby made 182 appearances in nine-and-a-half years for the Gunners but sadly, he made only two appearances in his last two seasons with the club. In an exclusive interview with RMC Sport, Diaby has revealed his reasons for leaving the Gunners, snubbed a move to West Brom and joined Marseille,

“It was knowing which club would help me the best medically. That was my real priority. I had very, very advanced talks with West Brom. But I found Marseille was better. I thought: why not come back to France?

“I don’t want to draw emotional conclusions. The reality is different. I haven’t played for two years. I need to rebuild myself, to put myself in a good place to play football again. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was my choice.”

“I had hard times in those nine years, but some beautiful moments. I had the chance to get to know Arsene Wenger, who is a truly great coach and a great man, too.

“I regret that I wasn’t able to show all my qualities and potential. Now, a new chapter begins.”

His time at Arsenal was riddled with injuries and he has identified Marseille as a club that could help him medically. I wish him the very best in this new chapter of his life and I hope he realizes that potential we couldn’t see at Arsenal because of his injuries.

Sayonara.

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