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Tomas Rosicky Unhappy About Lack of First-Team Action

Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky fires the winner past Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in their English Premier League game, 16 March. Reuters

Tomas Rosicky has been at Arsenal longer than I can remember. Arsenal was smart enough to sign him just before the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the Gunners licked their lips as they watched Little Mozart decimate defenses in the soccer fiesta with his sleek style of play, wonderful passing range and one hell of a thunderbolt from his right foot.

It didn’t take him long to announce himself to the Emirates faithful with a surface to goal missile against Hamburg SV. Rosicky rose to prominence in the 2007/08 season when he was part of that midfield quartet that almost won the Premier League. A nasty knee injury robbed Arsenal off his services for the best part of 18 months and on his return to full fitness, he suffered a couple of niggling injuries here and there.

With his advancing years, Rosicky had a renaissance in the tail ends of the 2011/12 season where he replaced an Aaron Ramsey struggling for form, fitness and confidence. Rosicky played a similar role in the 2012/13 season and he has endeared himself to the fans in more ways than one.

I and many other Arsenal fans out there were happy when Rosicky signed a contract extension and it was heartwarming to know that he’d will continue to grace the Emirates for a couple of more years. Some may say he’s 33, I know he’s ageless. In nine years at Arsenal, Tomas Rosicky has amassed 221 games and he has spent a large chunk of his Arsenal career on the sidelines with niggling injuries ranging from his groin to his knees and ankles.

He scored his three goals last season (a brace against West Brom and a screamer at White Hart Lane) and he featured consistently for the Gunners, predominantly in the attacking midfield position. The rise to glory of the Welsh Jesus, Aaron Ramsey, the irreplaceable Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere has limited the Czech’s chances of playing week in week out but from time to time, injuries and suspensions pave the way for Little Mozart to get run-outs.

As an elder statesman in the team, Rosicky’s influence has been a major positive off the pitch but on it, he hasn’t been afforded a chance to make his mark this season. Shortly before Czech Republic’s win over Holland, Rosicky took some time out to talk to the Press and he shared his current predicament at the club,

I am sorry that I did not get a chance, it’s a shame. While the team isn’t playing very well, I thought that I could help but if you’re not on the pitch there’s nothing you can do.”

They pressed him on whether or not he’d spoken to Arsene Wenger about it, and he replied, “I don’t want to talk about it. We had a little conversation! He does not want me leaving Arsenal, butof course for me it’s not easy.

“It is is too soon [to talk about a transfer]. We played five games, the season is still getting going.The Champions League starts, the schedule will be great“We’ll see how it looks in the coming weeks, months. I am disappointed that I did not get a chance, but that’s the only thing I can be.

I have to be poised for the moment, and to take my chance when it comes. That’s the only thing I can do.”

A simple case study would be Arsenal’s last Premier League encounter against Leicester City. The Gunners were playing in circles and a lot of the playing personnel struggled on the pitch. Laurent Koscielny suffered a gashed head and had to be replaced by Calum Chambers. Mesut Ozil had a torrid outing on the left hand side and Santi Cazorla was off the pace. Even the mecurial Aaron Ramsey didn’t turn up.

Ozil suffered an injury against Leicester. He also had a very poor game

This was the sort of game that needed a Tomas Rosicky but the manager opted to bring on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the ineffectual Cazorla and Lukas Podolski for the putrid Yaya Sanogo. Ox came on, had a couple of attempted dribble on the byline but he struggled as he suffered a knock. Podolski, on the other hand,waste of a space and he didn’t have any influence on the game whatsoever. Rosicky’s determination, drive, energy, work rate, sleek movement, technique and delightful passing might have come in handy for the Gunners.

He’s reaching the twilight of his career but Rosicky is a player that would give you 110% when he’s on the pitch.

With the Gunners challenging for multiple trophies this season, there’s a lot of football to be played and I’m sure that he’d get his chance. Rosicky is one player I admire and I hope that his first-team chances would come sooner than they later.


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New Offer for Sagna, Selfies and Post-Tottenham Ramblings


Last weekend, the title race took a new twist as Chelsea dropped some points while the chasing pack behind the all gained crucial victories as Manchester City eased past Hull with 10 men, Liverpool added more misery to David Moyes and the folks at Old Trafford and Arsenal got that crucial win over Tottenham.

In the wake of the victory, Arsenal’s derby hero, Tomas Rosicky, has been on the news lately, stating that Arsenal are gonna ignore their doubters and he can score more “big goals” for the club,

I am not a big goal-scorer but I can score big goals. I would like to get on the score-sheet more but for me it’s not easy.
“The team is more important so even if someone else scored I would be glad as long as we won the game. It means a lot because it is a derby and everyone knows how the fans feel about games like that so it is a great win.
“Defensively we were very good but we have to improve offensively if we want to win the league.”

It’s worth noting that Rosicky steps up for the Gunners in big games and he scored a brilliant solo effort when both North London rivals locked horns in January.

Elsewhere, Kieran Gibbs spoke about the teams ‘character’ and stated that it could lead the team to success this season. The collective defensive performance at White Hart Lane was exemplary and kudos must go to the Mertesielny combination for another amazing outings in the heart of Arsenal’s defense. Mertesacker had an amazing 20 clearances which would go down as one of the highest in a game.

You can’t speak about Sunday’s North London derby without talking about THAT SELFIE. Arsenal’s No. 1 shot stopper, Wojciech Szczesny, has taken out some time to talk about his selfie with some teammates that have become an Internet phenomenon among Arsenal fans.

Szczesny has stated that he wanted to pay the fans back for that awesome support in the NLD,

“I asked Paul Johnson [our equipment manager] to bring my phone on to the pitch after the game and grabbed a selfie with the Arsenal fans, which was brilliant,” Szczesny told Arsenal Player.

“They were fantastic all afternoon. They sang their hearts out and I am sure they enjoyed themselves. It was fantastic for us too and we wanted to give something back to them.”

As for the game itself, Szczesny accepts Arsenal were under pressure for long periods but he paid testament to the defence that protected him.

“It has been that way away from home sometimes,” he said. “We concentrated on defending.”They did not create any chances and the only one they did have [from Nacer Chadli] I pretty much gifted them.

“We were fantastic defensively. We scored early so they were always going to dominate the possession. But the two centre backs were outstanding then Thomas Vermaelen came on and we played with three centre back. He did well as well.”

“Overall it was a huge win for us. We knew that Chelsea had dropped points against Villa and we have to take advantage of that. It was very pleasing to get a win at White Hart Lane after quite a few years.”

The feeling of winning in a ground that has been a thorn in the flesh is heartwarming and I can only imagine how the players would celebrate winning Chelsea in Stamford Bridge. That would also be Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game for the club and it would be iconic. I wonder when his own statue would come up.

Finally, there’s an update concerning the Bacary Sagna contract saga and’s Wayne Versey, has reported that the Gunners are set to offer the French full-back an improved offer.

“@wayneversey: Arsenal make Sagna improved contract offer – £75,000-a-week, 2-year deal with option of 3rd year. #AFC”

This would seem like the Gunners last stand with the French star and I hope he agrees to these new terms even if it’s believed that he might have bigger offers elsewhere.

I’ll keep you posted on the contract situation.


Arsenal Duo Sign New Deals and Bendtner Confirms Departure

Despite all the doom and gloom that crept into the world of Arsenal after a disappointing loss to Stoke, some off the pitch proceedings have brought smiles back to the faces of Arsenal fans worldwide.

Unless you’re living under a rock with no access to Internet, colored TV or any social media platform, you must have heard that the Gunners have handed new long term contracts to two influential players, Tomas Rosicky and Per Mertesacker.

Shortly after both players put pen to paper, the club released this statement,

We are delighted that Mertesacker and Rosicky have committed their futures to the Club. They are players of exceptional quality and experience, and have consistently proven themselves at the highest level. There is a great feeling of togetherness and belief in the group and this news will only help to strengthen this further.”

With the way things are going with the Bacary Sagna contract situation, the Arsenal hierarchy were mindful of avoiding another scenario of that nature, so it was paramount that they secured the long term futures of valuable assets such as this pair.

Tomas Rosicky has been at Arsenal longer than I can remember. Arsenal was smart enough to sign him just before the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the Gunners licked their lips as they watched Little Mozart decimate defenses in the soccer fiesta with his sleek style of play, wonderful passing range and one hell of a thunderbolt from his right foot.

It didn’t take him long to announce himself to the Emirates faithful with a surface to goal missile against Hamburg SV. Rosicky rose to prominence in the 2007/08 season when he was part of that midfield quartet that almost won the Premier League. A nasty knee injury robbed Arsenal off his services for the best part of 18 months and on his return to full fitness, he suffered a couple of niggling injuries here and there.

With his advancing years, Rosicky had a renaissance in the 2011/12 season where he replaced an Aaron Ramsey struggling for form, fitness and confidence. Rosicky played a similar role last season and he has endeared himself to the fans in more ways than one.

I and many other Arsenal fans out there (especially Austin Onono) will be happy to know that Rosicky will continue to grace the Emirates for a couple of more years. Some may say he’s 33, I know he’s ageless.

Per Mertesacker on the hand arrived as a “panic buy” following the 8-2 capitulation in the hands of Manchester United. The Big Friendly Giant is ridiculed for his lack of pace and agility but he made up for it with his intelligence, height, composure, coordination and ability to read the game superbly.

Alongside Laurent Koscielny, both players have forged a strong understanding and their joint attributes have made them impregnable and indispensable, even to the extent where the club captain can’t even command a first team berth.

Rosicky, 33, and Mertesacker, 29, have donned the captain’s armband for their nations on several occasions and even at club level from time to time. Having these leaders on the pitch for a long time would have a positive influence on the team, especially their advancing ages.

I wish both players all the best in their future endeavors with the club.

While Rosicky and Mertesacker would be basking in the euphoria of extending their futures with the club, the same cannot be said for Nicklas Bendtner that has suddenly found himself out of favor again.

As expected, the outspoken Dane was quick to voice his concerns,

I’m not going to stay at Arsenal – first team football is what I’m after. 

The plan is for me to move on. I’m ready for a new challenge. I know of the conditions.

To keep my spot I need to play regularly. My self-esteem and my confidence as a footballer has not changed, but there are many who think all I do is party. 

That I am completely indifferent to football, and it’s the wrong version of reality.

When I find my right club, I am sure that everything will be all right in itself, if there are no more injuries.”

The tale between Bendtner and Arsenal took a twist when Arsene Wenger offered him a chance to return to the team after he had declared that he wasn’t going to play for the club. With his Samurai looks, ponytail and the awkward looking beards, the fans saw a player that looked like a ‘new signing’ and he did pretty well against West Bromwich in the Capital One Cup.

After a couple of substitute appearances, Bendtner had a rear start against Hull City and scored a neat header from a Carl Jenkinson cross. Bendtner won a place in the hearts of the fans when he scored that vital late goal against Cardiff but injury hampered his chances of getting a consistent run of games.

Since his return to full fitness, he has seen his Giroud deputy role occupied by Yahaya Sanogo and after seeing the young lad get a rear start ahead of him in the FA Cup clash with Liverpool, Bendtner’s fears of losing his place we’re realised when Sanogo was favored ahead of him in the vital clash against Bayern Munich.

With the Gunners trailing against Stoke, Wenger had already thrown Mesut Ozil and the Ox into the fray, so his last throw of the dice was either Sanogo or Bendtner, and we all know who he brought on.

As my buddie, Bhydemi Brainz stated,

“Why give confidence to a player who would probably  end up in another club this simmer when you can give confidence to someone who has a future with us?”

The nail has been driven into the coffin of Bendtner’s career with Arsenal and as a free agent, a player of his ‘talents’ would be used elsewhere. He’s a decent striker that could do well in another club that gives him regular game time but that club would not be Arsenal.


Rating Arsenal’s Midfielders in the 2012/13 Season

The Matadors of Arsenal’s midfield

In the yesteryear, Arsene Wenger lined up a formidable 4-4-2 formation that had the right balance in defense, midfield and attack.

Using the Invincibles of the 2003/04 season as a classic example, the defense had rock-solid personnel that instilled fear in opposition forwards, the midfield had a mix of doggedness, aggression, panache, flair and creativity and the attackers smashed in goals with ruthless and clinical efficiency.

As the years went by, Wenger changed his approach, fixing his focus on his team’s technical side, which involved passing the ball around intricately before unlocking defenses with that killer through ball for a teammate. With this approach, the manager sacrificed a striker to accommodate an extra midfielder, thus the 4-2-3-1 formation came into fruition.

Wenger used this formation to bring out the best in his prized asset, Cesc Fabregas, and his 19 goals as well as numerous assists in the 2009/10 season epitomized the fact that Arsenal had resolved its football around its Spanish creative hub in midfield. After his flirtations with Barcelona, El Capitan departed North London but the formation remained intact.

Soldiers come and go but the barracks still remain intact, I presume.

Deploying Aaron Ramsey as the creative outlet in the 2011/12 season with Mikel Arteta and Alex Song providing the fulcrum was regarded as a failed experiment as the Welshman became a lightning rod for vitriol from the Arsenal faithful. Tomas Rosicky’s renaissance was a bright spark in a relatively dark campaign and a third place finish was meant to pave the way for good things to come.

This season, the Gunners acquired the services of Santi Cazorla and to everyone’s surprise, Arsenal made their second major sale, when Alex Song joined Barcelona, rather their bench, for £15 million. Song’s shock departure caused a stir but with Arsenal not bringing in any replacements, Arteta took one for the team, curbing his attacking instincts to become the team’s primary holding midfielder.

As the season progressed, Cazorla became the team’s creative lynchpin while Abou Diaby and Arteta provided the pivot supporting defence and attack. Diaby had his trademark injury layoffs but players like Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Francis Coquelin put in decent shifts while Jack Wilshere made his comeback from a lengthy injury.

This is the third installment of a four-post series focused on Arsenal’s performances in the 2012/13 season. I’ve already published my ratings on the performances of the goalkeepers  and defenders but today’s post is focused on Arsenal’s fulcrum in the middle of the park.

Feel free to share your comments.

Abou Diaby – 15 Apps, No Goal, One Assist

Abou Diaby’s career went downhill after that horrific tackle in 2006 when Arsenal visited the Stadium of Light. After seeing different specialists all over the globe, Diaby finally managed to get some preseason games under his belt  and it was widely believed that he was going to realize his potential with a consistent run out this season.

He began the campaign in the curtain raiser against Sunderland (home) and his physicality was highly welcome when the Gunners visited that Rugby playing lot. After his Man of the Match performance against Liverpool (away), everyone ran out of superlatives for the midfielder and comparisons between him and Patrick Vieira came in faster than Usain Bolt’s 100m Olympic World Record.

He was largely disappointing in Arsenal’s away draw against Manchester City (away) but when we thought that Diaby was going to get an extended run of games, he suffered an injury and was sidelined for a considerable chunk of the season. The lanky Frenchman finally made his return in the home fixture against Manchester City and his rustiness was glaring as he struggled in the game. His poor form continued in the Chelsea loss (away) and he was dropped from therein.

His hot and cold season continued when he followed up an outstanding performance against Stoke (home) with a rather disappointing outing in the nervy win over Sunderland. (away). His season came to an abrupt end when the club announced that he had ruptured his cruciate ligament on his knee and he’s to be out for nine months.

As they say, a picture speaks more than a thousand words

What’s the point of having a Lionel Messi in your team if he cannot play. In my honest opinion, I feel very sorry for Diaby but its high time the club cuts its losses with the Frenchman, as he cannot be banked upon to stay fit when his services are needed.

Rating – 4/10

Francis Coquelin – 22 Apps, No Goal, One Assist

After his stellar performances as a utility player last season, many had hoped that this would be the year of the Coq and with Song out of the equation, everything seemed to be in place for the young Frenchman to finally make his breakthrough. The midfielder featured sparingly in the Premier League but got run-outs in the domestic Cup competitions as well as some game time in the Champions League.

As for his performances, the midfielder didn’t light up any fireworks and his sporadic amount of games didn’t help his cause either. Coquelin managed to play 90 minutes in only five games this season with his remaining appearances being bit-part roles as the season progressed.

Till this day, I’m still struggling to understand his introduction for Olivier Giroud when Arsenal needed a goal against Aston Villa (away).

With Schalke reportedly linked with the midfielder, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t jump ship this season.

Rating – 4/10

Aaron Ramsey – 47 Apps, Two Goals, Five Assists

If words could kill, Aaron Ramsey would have been in the other realm.

He battling hard to come back to playing football after he was Shawcrossed but replacing the departed Cesc Fabregas in the attacking midfield role was a big burden for his shoulders as he struggled with form and fitness. With Santi Cazorla given the mantle of creativity, Ramsey had to make do with a place on the dugout as he appeared as a substitute in his first five games this season.

Like last season, there were games when Wenger tried to make Ramsey a jack-of-all-trades but he still a master of none. However, he put up a very decent shift when he was deployed as a right winger in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City (away). Abou Diaby’s unfortunate and untimely injury in the game against Chelsea (home) afforded Ramsey a chance to get more games under his belt.

He marked his return with a delicious chip against Olympiakos but thankfully, no famous figurehead gave up the ghost.

Jack Wilshere’s long-awaited return to the team saw Ramsey spend some time on the bench but the lad always put up good shifts when he was summoned. He supplied an inch-perfect assist to Theo Walcott in the 1-1 draw against Everton (away) and a neat assist to Gervinho in the win over Swansea (away).

Unlike last season where Ramsey tried to over-complicate things by being too stylish on the ball, he kept things simple this season and this improved his game. According to WhoScored, Ramsey had a pass completion percentage of 88.3 percent in the Premier League and he also created 44 chances for his teammates. His carefully-weighted pass against Everton (home) certainly caught the eye but Olivier Giroud’s wayward finish couldn’t match the excellent buildup.

Since his return to the squad in the holding midfield position, Ramsey became a refined player and worked in tandem with Arteta, balancing defense and attack. His performances were so good to the extent that he was voted as Arsenal’s Player of the Month for the month of April, which is a welcome return from the same fans that rained curses on him in the past.

Ramsey ended the season in full bloom, I certainly hope he builds on this.

Rating – 7/10

Tomas Rosicky – 16 Apps, Three Goals, Two Assists

Tomas Rosicky was one of the best things that happened to Arsenal in the tail end of last season.

After suffering a niggling injury that halted his progress for his nation in Euro 2012, the Czech midfielder went under the knife and didn’t make any appearance for the Gunners till the winter, and to be honest, he wasn’t missed. The fans had been wowed by the excellent Santi Cazorla, and with his age becoming a factor, a few felt it was high time for Little Mozart to call it quits.

In Rosicky’s first full game this season, he put up a Man of the Match performance in that dead-rubber game against Olympiakos (away) that ended in defeat. He featured sparsely after that game but he came to life in spring when the Gunners visited Munich to rock the football world with that spirited victory over Bayern.

With Jack Wilshere out injured and Santi Cazorla drifted to the left, Rosicky had more games under his belt and was instrumental in Arsenal’s win over West Brom as he scored a well-taken brace. He also supplied an assist to Theo Walcott in the league match against Manchester United.

With Wilshere failing to regain his form after his return from injury, Rosicky continued his extended run of games till the end of the season. At the age of 32, Rosicky is living on borrowed time but Arsenal fans can be thankful for Little Mozart as he delivered when he was summoned in the business end of the season.

Rating – 7/10

Jack Wilshere – 33 Apps, Two Goals, Six Assists

14 months out of the beautiful game.

For a player like Jack Wilshere that’s known for his passion and zeal for the game, it must have felt like an eternity. With Robin van Persie leaving for Manchester United, the No. 10 shirt was vacated and it seemed as if Lukas Podolski was odds to take the jersey but it was specially reserved for Wilshere and he expressed his delight in being bestowed with the honor.

When he made his long-awaited return against Queens Park Rangers (home), every touch was appreciated by the Emirates crowd as they saw their No. 10 strut his stuff for the first time. Things turned sour for the Englishman when he received his marching orders against Manchester United (away) but he learned from those events and scored a goal against Montpellier after some good work from Olivier Giroud.

He continued to put up stellar performances and the assists were flowing in as well, with some defense-splitting passes against Newcastle (home), West Ham (home) and Liverpool (home). The English Press sang his songs in the wake of a high-profile friendly against Brazil in Wembley, and he didn’t disappoint with another magnificent outing for the Three Lions.

Amid all the justified hype around the midfield maestro, things turned very sour when he suffered a thigh strain against Sunderland. Arsenal had harbored hopes of the midfielder playing the home clash against Bayern, so the club doctors had to work their magic on Wilshere.

Wilshere was on the end of some rash challenges against Sunderland

Wilshere played the game against Bayern and even supplied an assist on the night but he and his teammates were powerless as teh Bavarians outclassed Arsenal at the Emirates. Wilshere missed the second leg through an injury and he never rediscovered his form afterwards, with uncharacteristically appalling outings against Norwich and Everton.

He was replaced by Rosicky and made a couple of substitute appearances towards the end of the season. It’s believed that he requires a surgery this summer to fix up an injury but it’s good to know that Wilshere’s performances weren’t unnoticed as he was nominated for the 2013 Young Player of the Year award alongside Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku, Danny Welbeck, Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale.

Rating – 7/10

Mikel Arteta – 43 Apps, Six Goals, Six Assists

With a pass completion percentage of 91.5 percent, Mikel Arteta ranks among the best passers in European football. With Thomas Vermaelen promoted to the rank of captain, Arteta assumed the mantle of the Verm’s second in command and he led the troops whenever the Verm wasn’t available.

With Alex Song leaving for the sunshine of Barcelona, Arsene Wenger tasked Arteta with an unfamiliar holding midfield role, and he excelled admirably in the role this season. In 34 Premier League games, Arteta made 108 tackles, 97 interceptions and 2,750 passes with 2,517 passes reaching its intended target.

Arteta also had the coolest of heads from the penalty spot, converting spot kicks against West Brom (home), Wigan (away), Norwich (home) and Reading (home). He will forever rue his late penalty miss against Fulham (home) that was the difference between three points and one.

His influence on the pitch was unrivaled and I must confess that my heart skipped a beat when he was forced out of action with an injury in Arsenal’s game of the season against Newcastle.

Rating – 9/10

Santi Cazorla – 49 Apps, 12 Goals, 16 Assists

Arsene Wenger was puzzled to know that Santi Cazorla didn’t make the PFA Team of the Season and he’s not alone on that argument. Arsenal fans have been blessed with the sheer brilliance of Santi Cazorla in his debut campaign with the club, and he’ll probably be a good pick for the signing of the 2012/13 season.

The Spanish magician has been a model for consistency this season and he’s the only player in the team that has managed to play every Premier League game thus far this season. The manager also spoke about how Cazorla has surprised him this season with his consistency and amazing fitness levels in a physically demanding league like the Barclay’s Premier League.

In my honest opinion, he has been a joy to watch and in as much as many Gooners have endeared Tomas Rosicky to their hearts, he has spent a considerable chunk of the campaign on the bench due to Cazorla’s imperious form. Cazorla’s versatility has also seen him displace Podolski with Jack Wilshere moved further up the pitch to hone his attacking prowess, which is still a work in progress.

His ambidexterity is a stuff of legends. Like the great Pavel Nedved in the yesteryear, Santi Cazorla can release a surface to goal missile from both feet with consummate ease.

12 goals and 12 assists in his debut Premier League campaign is no mean feat and it’s fair to say that Cazorla has exceeded every expectations. According to WhoScored, Cazorla fired 115 shots, created 96 chances, attempted 86 dribbles, was fouled 50 times, made 184 crosses, passed the ball 2,471 times with a pass completion percentage of 86.8 percent.

Even if he failed to be recognized by the FA for his amazing exploits this season, you don’t need any soothsayer to tell you who Arsenal’s best player is this season.

Rating – 10/10 #Shikenah

So there you have it, the penultimate posts focused on different playing positions in the team. The final post on the attack comes up next.

The voting sequence for the 2012/13 End of Season awards is still ongoing, so feel free to make your votes count in the polls.


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More Injury Woes, 2012/13 Fixtures Out and Euro 2012 Roundup

What a shame!

Apologies for the lateness of today’s post.

I’ve had one hell of a day but I’m not going to bore you with the Chronicles of enigma106. I certainly won’t tell you that I had a scary dream where I saw Greedenko…Arjen Robbish…Robben supplying a through ball for van Persie in the 93rd minute but Arsenal’s Flying Dutchman shot the ball right at Huntelaar’s face instead of the goal. At that point in time, Holland was 2-1 up and they needed that goal to qualify but van Persie opted for Huntelaar’s nose instead of a gaping goal.

In the post-match interview, van Persie stated Huntelaar unveiled that Arsenal was linked with him and he was odds on to replace him at the Emirates, a bit of info van Persie didn’t take likely I guess.

Switching back to reality, it’s really awkward to know that two years ago, the Netherlands was 90 minutes away from winning the World Cup. Yesterday, a team that had a large chunk of that 2010 World Cup squad became the most under performing Dutch side since the days Attila ruled the Huns.

Bert van Marwijk had to go for broke against Portugal with a simple incentive; score two goals against Portugal, hope for the worst against Denmark and Bob’s your uncle.

The egotistical chums in the form of Rafael van der Fart and Klass-Jan Huntelaar were handed chances to prove why they didn’t deserve to be benched. The former proved his mettle with a sweetly curled effort that put his side on the driving seat, while the latter was as peripheral as a ghost in white surroundings.

I’m not going to bore you with a detailed match report because it certainly won’t change the fact that Holland’s defense was crappy in every sense of the word but I must say that Cristiano Ronaldo killed his demons to produce a stellar performance for his nation. The hair-gel master bagged himself a brace and clipped the post twice.

Shortly after the debacle, Robben has stated that unrest undermined his team’s campaign.

In my opinion, Van Marwijk got his tactics right in his first game against Denmark, but Lady Luck wasn’t on his side as his team kept spurning chances as they came. Up next, his team came up against a tactical astute and efficient German side that were clinical with their chances.

He buckled under some pressure to tweak his starting line-up to include what seemed like his best attacking side but people like Robbish…Robben continued his selfish play, much to the detriment of his team. Nigel de Jong was overrun in midfield, Wesley Sneijder was out of position and it’s fair to say that the van Persie-Huntelaar combo was utter shite.

Elsewhere, Your Royal Cockiness, Nicklas Bendtner, crashed out with his Danish teammates after their loss to Lukas Podolski’s Germany. However, Bendtner found himself in more hot soup as he was fined a whooping £80,000 by UEFA for showing off his Paddy Power pants after scoring against Portugal.

Display: Nicklas Bendtner pulled up his shirt to reveal Paddy Power pants

I’m the World’s Best….and I got me some Paddy Power!!!!!

To add to Bendtner’s misery, he was also banned for one international fixture by Europe’s football governing body.

Like Robin van Persie, Bendtner has a long summer to sort his future out with the club and we can only fold our arms and see the route the Great Dane is going to take. He’ll probably be below Lukas Podolski in the pecking order and the potential arrival of Olivier Giroud won’t certainly help his cause.

He had a great European Championships by his standards and I’m pretty sure that a few European predators out there will want a cocky beanpole forward that wears pink boots and shows off his undies when he scores. If he could show off his Danish butt for scoring a brace against Portugal, only the good Lord knows what he’ll do if he scores the match winner in a Champions League final.

Still sticking with news from Euro 2012, two Gunners are scheduled to have spells on the sidelines with their teams still active in the competition. Czech Republic’s captain and star player, Tomas Rosicky, has gone back to Prague to treat his Achilles tendon injury that has been a problem for him throughout the tournament.

Czech Republic’s manager, Michal Bilek, has declared that Rosicky is “irreplaceable” but the Czechs will have to make do without their captain, as they gear themselves up to take on Portugal in the quarterfinals.

Arsenal’s Usain Bolt, or Theo Walcott, as he’s known in this part of the world, is also doubtful to start England’s game against Ukraine. He quit a training session when he picked up a hamstring injury. A concerned Woy Hodgson had this to say:

“Unfortunately Theo had a slight setback in training, and that’s the major concern with him. He felt the hamstring that, of course, kept him out for so long at the end of last season and we were slightly concerned about that when he came to us. But we’ve been lucky that nothing occurred with that [since then].

We had to take the precaution of taking him from the field because he felt a slight tightness there.”

Walcott made a real difference when he came off the bench against Sweden to make a cameo appearance that paid dividends. He scored a lovely goal and provided the assist for a splendid Danny Welbeck finish.

England will take on co-hosts Ukraine while France will lock horns with Sweden. Both sides will want to take top spot to avoid a duel with defending champions, Spain, in the quarterfinals.

To wrap it all up, the Barclay’s Premier League fixtures for the 2o12/13 season are out. Arsenal raises its Premier League curtains with a home tie against Sunderland, a match that brings fond memories about Robin van Persie. Many will hope that he’ll be the one to lead the Gunners on August 18, but if he doesn’t, the world as we know it won’t come to an end.

After reviewing the fixtures, I’m a bit concerned about Arsenal’s run of matches in January 2014, as Arsene Wenger’s men take on Manchester City (H), Chelsea (A), Liverpool (H) and Stoke (H). There’ll also be a potential Capitol One semifinal as well as a FA Cup Fourth Round fixture as well.

Notwithstanding, it’s good to know that we’ll be bracing ourselves for another exciting Premier League campaign.

Apologies again for the lateness of today’s post.


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