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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.

Sayonara.

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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

Arsenal

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

Chelsea

  • 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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Chelsea v Arsenal Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Chelsea players celebrate their final goal in last season's 6-0 win against Arsenal

Arsenal’s last visit to Stamford Bridge was a torrid affair

Waking up on a Sunday morning with the thoughts of the ram meat you ate last night can be a very nice feeling. Just when I thought I was going to have an uneventful Sallah day, I got a call from one of my Muslim bosses at work that stated that he was having a ram barbeque party in his spot. I quickly removed my suit (went for a wedding) and geared up for the ram-fest. The rest they say was history…

To non-ram related matters, Chelsea and Arsenal host each other in what proves to be a pulsating encounter. When you think about the history between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger, you’d know that they’d want to give everything to get a victory. Their personal head to head record speaks in huge volumes as Mourinho hasn’t lost in 11 encounters with his French counterpart. Instead, it has eendedwith six Mourinho victories and five draws. Would Wenger get that elusive victory today? #QuestionForTheGods

Chelsea and Arsenal are the only unbeaten sides in the Premier League and I have a hunch that one team would lose that record today. With six league games gone, Chelsea has won five of them and managed a draw against Manchester City (Frank Lampard haha), while the Gunners have won two and drawn four. Today’s game kicks off at 2.05pm, and as I’ve learned, those extra five minutes are for revenue from ads.

The Blues are unbeaten in their last six league and cup games against Arsenal (W4, D2), scoring 12 times and conceding just twice. The Gunners haven’t kept a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge in their last nine visits. Chelsea has also kept nine clean sheets in their last 11 home league games but this season, their goalscoring form is the best in the division as they have banged in 19 goals, with a certain Diego Costa scoring eight of them. It’s also awkward to know that it took Fernando Torres 48 games to score eight league goals for Chelsea (Costa did it in six games) and he cost 18 million quid more than the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard.

Arsenal’s goalie, Wojciech Szczesny, has revealed that keeping Costa quiet will be vital to the Gunners. Well, it’s simple – all with need to do is to inject the DNA of Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala in the Gunners’ central defensive pairing. Capiche!

The Gunners need no introduction about Cesc Fabregas, that currently leads the assists charts this season (with Swansea’s Gyifl Sigurdsson) and he has 76 league assists in total which ranks him seventh in the all-time Premier League list.

His transfer saga from FC Barcelona to Chelsea was well documented and some Arsenal fans have refused to agree that he has moved on. Funnily enough, he still talks about how he loves the club from time to time but he can only ‘prove’ that love by gifting the Gunners a goal. I’m sure that would be hilarious.

Team News

Despite the fact that the Gunners have a shambolic record at Stamford Bridge, they can still take solace in the fact that they have beaten Chelsea there more than any other Premier League side (seven times). Nigel Winterburn blasted a surface-to-missile that won the tie for the Gunners in 1997, Kanu Nwankwo scored a scintillating hat-trick in 1999 and who can forget the Robin van Persie-inspired victory in 2011.  Arsenal have lost just one of their last 14 Barclays Premier League games since defeat at Stamford Bridge in March.

I expect to see the same lineup that featured against Galatasaray but I have the feeling that Jack Wilshere might be fit enough to start ahead of Santi Cazorla in midfield. One would be hoping that Mathieu Flamini brings his A-game and thank heavens that Andre Marriner wouldn’t be the referee today, because Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be playing.

Injury Updates

Chelsea: Didier Drogba (ankle, thank Heavens) and Ramires (groin)

Arsenal: Matt Debuchy (ankle), Olivier Giroud (foot), Serge Gnabry, Theo Walcott (both knee), Nacho Monreal (back), Yaya Sanogo (hamstring), Mikel Arteta (calf), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Abou Diaby (hip)

Team Form

Chelsea

  • Last Five League Games: W W W D W
  • Last League Result: Chelsea 3 Aston Villa 0

Arsenal

  • Last Five League Games: D D D W D
  • Last League Result: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 1

Predicted Lineups

Chelsea 4-2-3-1 football formationArsenal 4-1-4-1 football formation

Gooner Daily Prediction  Chelsea 2 Arsenal 2

It’s time to go pray for those rams that were slaughtered yesterday.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0: Gunners Miss Out on Chance to go Top

Arsenal, Arsenal team news, Arsenal news, Arsenal transfers, Arsenal transfer news, AFC, Gooners, Gunners, Mesut Ozil, Arsene Wenger, Wenger, Chelsea, CFC, Chelsea team news, Chelsea transfer news, Chelsea transfers,

Emirates Stadium (Premier League)

Player Ratings – Match HighlightsWenger’s Press Conference

After the spanking in the hands of Manchester City, the Gunners had nine days to recharge some batteries, right some wrongs and come up with a performance worthy of a team vying for the Premier League crown in May. The Gunners had failed to turn up in some “big games” this season and their performances against both Manchester clubs was nothing to write home about.

Wenger made four changes from the side whooped by Manchester City as Kieran Gibbs replaced the atrocious Nacho Monreal, Thomas Vermaelen replaced the injured Laurent Koscielny, Mikel Arteta replaced Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky filled Jack Wilshere’s boots.

Early on, the Gunners started feeling the pressure as Gibbs gave out a cheap corner. Shortly afterwards, Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta worked in tandem to create a chance for Frank Lampard but his miscued his shot. The Chelsea players tried to match the Gunners pound for pound and there were some heated challenges and rash tackles that saw a couple of Gunners hit the deck.

Arsenal launched an insightful attack from the left with Gibbs floating in the final ball but John Terry was on hand to make a good block. Aaron Ramsey threaded a neat through ball to Bacary Sagna that took the ball on his stride before swinging a deep cross but Gary Cahill got to the ball before Giroud.

Ramsey was culpable of giving the ball away and Chelsea launched a counter attack through Hazard but Ramires blasted the final ball over. The Chelsea onslaught continued with Hazard at the thick of things yet again as he deftly chipped the ball to an onrushing Lampard whose shot slammed the underside of the bar.

In the build up to an Arsenal attack, Mikel Obi made a rash lounge at Arteta but the ref waved play on. Mesut Ozil made a run with the ball before finding Theo Walcott. The Englishman tried to evade his marker and was slightly nudged but he hit the turf like someone that had been shot by a sawn-off shotgun. Arsenal’s penalty appeals fell into deaf ears.

Right at the end of the first 45 minutes, Ozil had a shot that was blocked by a brick Chelsea wall. Rosicky hit the rebound but his effort sailed wide off the mark. In the second half, Arsenal had a few half chances but Lampard fired a long range shot that was easy pickings for Szczesny.

Ozil was involved in an altercation with Branislav Ivanovic after the Serbian’s boot almost hit the German schemer on his face while defending a throw in. Ramsey got himself some stick from some of his players and the crowd when he sportingly cleared the ball out for Ramires to receive some treatment. 

The chance of the game appeared when Ramsey noticed an unmarked Giroud on Ivanovic’s blind side. The Welsh phenom dinked the ball to Giroud’s path on his favorite left foot but the forward wasted the golden opportunity.

Olivier Giroud missed chance vs Chelsea

It was truly a terrible miss from the forward and he was going to miss another clear cut opportunity when Gibbs worked hard with Rosicky to square the ball to Giroud but his shot was parried by Cech. For a striker that was anonymous in front of goal all game long, these two quickfire chances presented him with a chance to write his name in Arsenal folklore but as expected, he was found wanting.

For those that want Arsenal to invest in a new forward, I guess Giroud has given them a chance to increase their decibel levels. At the twilight of the game, Sagna had a header that was blocked on the line by Azpilicueta. The ref’s whistle was met with a groan of disappointment from the Emirates faithful as the Gunners failed to capitalize on yet another golden chance to return to the summit of the Premier League.

The poor run of form continues and we can only hope that the Gunners return to winning ways against West Ham in Upton Park at Boxing Day.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal 0 Chelsea 2: Mourinho’s Dominance Over Wenger Continues…

No cigar: Mesut Ozil (centre), Aaron Ramsey (right) and Laurent Koscielny look dejected after going two down

Looks of shame on their faces

Emirates Stadium (Capital One Cup)

Chelsea – Azpilicueta 26′, Mata 67′

With half an eye on the crucial top of the table clash with Liverpool this weekend, Arsene Wenger fielded a relatively strong squad ahead of the Capital One Cup encounter against Chelsea with fringe players like Thomas Vermaelen, Nacho Monreal, Carl Jenkinson, Ryo Miyaichi and Nicklas Bendtner all getting run outs as well as some first team regulars.

It’s also worth noting that Bendtner made his first start at the Emirates in nearly two and a half years and in the entirety of the game, he was a peripheral figure in attack. His first telling contribution of the ball was a tame header that went straight to Mark Schwarzer in goal after Monreal had lofted a cross that was deflected off Cesar Azpilicueta.

Chelsea threatened through Kevin de Bruyne but his effort went straight to Lukasz Fabianski’s path. Ryan Bertrand skinned Jenkinson and crossed the ball to a Samuel Eto’o that was tightly marked by Laurent Koscielny but the Cameroonian forward still managed to get a back-heeled attempt on goal that skewed wide.

Aaron Ramsey found some space in midfield and chipped a delightful ball for Miyaichi, but the young Jap dinked the ball over Schwarzer and Gary Cahill was on hand to clear the ball to safety.

With close to half an hour gone, Chelsea launched a counter attack through Eto’o and when Michael Essien latched onto the ball, he was tackled by Tomas Rosicky and the ball sailed effortlessly into orbit. Jack WIlshere had his eyes on the ball but he left it for Jenkinson that decided to have a Nastastic moment as he made errant header to Fabianski but the ball was intercepted by a determined Azpilicueta and Chelsea was one to the good.

In it goes: Lukasz Fanianski (left) is unable to get off his line quick enough to close down the Spaniard

Azpilicueta almost changed from a Chelsea hero to zero when he misplaced the ball to Monreal’s path but the Spaniard’s shot missed the goal by a lick of paint. At the start of the second half, Willian fashioned a chance for Eto’o but his rasping drive went wide off the mark.

Shortly after a deflected Ramsey shot, Arsenal had a chance to level the contest when Koscielny intercepted the ball in midfield before feeding Cazorla. The Spanish magician fed Bendtner with a threaded ball but the Dane backed the goal and fed Ramsey instead of having a bite at the cherry. With Ramsey quickly smothered by a Blue wall, he attempted an impudent chip but it was too far off.

Ozil’s introduction into the game was meant to serve as a catalyst to change Arsenal’s game for the better but things got worse as Chelsea doubled their money through Juan Mata. A swift Bertrand throw-in was headed by Eto’o before Willian cushioned the ball for Mata. The Spaniard used his “weaker” right foot and smashed a piledriver past Fabianski.

Not again: Fabianski picks the ball out of the net for the second time in the evening

Fabianski picking the ball out of his net for the second time. What a shame

Wenger decided that he had seen enough from Bendtner and summoned Olivier Giroud in his stead, Giroud almost made an instant impact when he latched on to Wilshere’s loose ball but he fired a shot from an acute angle that was blocked by Schwarzer. Chelsea almost rubbed salt on Arsenal’s wounds when Azpilicueta feed Essien who in turn teed up an onrushing Ramires. The Brazilian eaed past a lounging Vermaelen and lobbed Fabianski but Koscielny blocked the shot on the line.

Wilshere attempted a long range effort that sailed over the bar and there was a comic moment when David Luiz, Eto’o and Azpilicueta all suffered infectious muscle strains simultaneously. Late on, Wenger withdrew Ramsey for the forgotten figure, Park Chu-Young and after weak efforts from Santi Cazorla and Ramires, Phil Dowd decided that he had had enough.

****

Player Ratings

Fabianski (6) didn’t show enough bravery to block the first and might had done a bit better for the second.

Jenkinson (3) put up his worst performance since that humiliating 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford. As if the problems in this world are not enough, Jenkinson commits a blunder that led to a goal, was torn apart defensively and his crosses in attack are downright erratic.

Monreal (7) tried to make things happen from the left and even had a shot that drifted wide.

Koscielny (8) made interception after interception and he was always alert to potential dangers.

Vermealen (6) didn’t really stamp his authority on the game as he would have liked.

Ramsey (7) was industrious in midfield, had a couple of shots and almost created a lovely assist for Miyaichi.

Wilshere (7) had a few neat touches all game long and acted as a fulcrum to instigate attacks from midfield.

Rosicky (7) was as sleek as grease. As always.

Ryo (6) was probably overawed by the opposition as he failed to make any impact all game long.

Cazorla (7) didn’t really influence the game as expected but he had a couple of shots that drifted away.

Bendtner (5) was a ghost in attack and offered no threat whatsoever in attack.

Ozil and Giroud (6) failed to influence the game when they were brought on.

****

After a long time out of the English game following stints with Inter and Real Madrid, Mourinho’s impeccable record against Wenger currently stands at zero losses, four draws and five wins.

With the Capital One Cup out of the way, Wenger would have to reevaluate his team and make some key decisions ahead of the Liverpool game this weekend. Bendtner’s lethargic performances has shown that a new striker would be needed in January and Jenkinson’s naivery was exposed yet again as he has proved that he has a lot to learn. Sagna should sign da ting already!

It’s sad to see how things panned out but the real business starts now with quickfire fixtures against Liverpool, Dortmund and Manchester United. It’s fair to say that Arsenal’s ambitions will be put to the test in these fixtures.

Sayonara.

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