Monthly Archives: October 2011
This is a special blog post that comes at the tail end of every month or the start of the next month. It’s a culture I’ve developed where I engage my readers in an interactive voting session for them to place their votes for those special moments October as a month had to offer.
The month of October has been a jolly good month for Arsene Wenger and his men because it can be regarded as Arsenal’s month of resurgence. The club is currently on a streak that has seen them win eight of their last nine matches and Arsenal won five in the six games that were played in the month of October.
Save of the Month
Just like last month, Lukasz Fabianski only featured in the Carling Cup tie against Bolton while Wojciech Szczesny had a run that saw him concede seven goals in the five games he kept for Arsenal. However, there were some saves both goalies made that stood out in the month of October.
Feel free to vote in the section that you feel was the best.
The nominations are Szczesny’s save from Frank Lampard’s free kick when Arsenal played Chelsea in Stamford Bridge, Szczesny’s save from Lee Cattermole’s close ranger when Arsenal played Sunderland at the Emirates and Fabianski’s save from Gael Kakuta’s free kick when Arsenal played Bolton.
Assist of the Month
The attacking play of Arsenal was much improved in the month of October because some members of the team did well to create 14 assists that were dispatched goalwards by the forwards. There were three assists that caught the eye in October.
They are Johan Djourou’s cross for Aaron Ramsey when Arsenal played Olympique Marseille, Gervinho’s pass for Robin van Persie when Arsenal played Stoke and Aaron Ramsey’s pass for Gervinho in the same game.
Goal of the Month
Arsenal smashed in 14 goals in the month of October and there was a player that had a large chunk of those goals. Robin van Persie scored half (seven) of the goals for the month of October while Aaron Ramsey scored two. Gervinho, Andrey Arshavin, Park Ju-Young, Andre Santos and Theo Walcott had to settle for one goal apiece.
Three goals were the pick of the bunch from the 14 scored this month and the nominations are Robin van Persie’s third goal against Chelsea, Park Ju-Young’s curling effort against Bolton and Robin van Persie’s free kick against Sunderland.
Match of the Month
Arsenal played six matches in the month of October and they were victorious in five games. However, there were three matches that left gooners with very fond memories in October and the nominations are Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Stoke, Arsenal’s late 1-0 win over Olympique Marseille and Arsenal’s incredible 5-3 victory over rivals Chelsea.
Worst match of the Month
In a very happy month for Arsenal, there was a game that stood out as the worst match and it’s more or less a unanimous decision because no other match was as horrible as it. The Gunners were sloppy in the match and Bacary Sagna fractured his leg in the same game.
Tottenham’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal was the only game that was regarded as Arsenal’s worst match this month.
Most Improved Player
A lot of players featured for Arsene Wenger in the month of October but there were three Gunners that performed in an improved manner. The nominees for this award were Andre Santos, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey.
Most Disappointing Player
This is an award that goes to the Gunner that failed to impress in the entire month. Andrey Arshavin has been the most disappointing player for August and September and it’s unfortunate to know that he has been nominated again this month following his below-par performances. However, he has been joined by Johan Djourou and Per Mertesacker.
Player of the Month
This is the prestigious award for the Gunner that was regarded as the best for the month of October with performances that were simply breathtaking. This month’s nominees for the Gunner of the Month are Laurent Koscielny, Robin van Persie and Gervinho.
The voting sequence will last for a week and the results will be published on Sunday. The link to this post will be added at the end of my posts during the week.
Have a great Sunday ahead.
If an AfricaMagic herbalist, a soothsayer or Pastor T.B. Joshua told me on Friday that Arsenal would run riot against Chelsea in Stamford Bridge, I would have given off the kind of laughter villains give in modern-day movies. When teams visit Chelsea’s home ground, they tend to park the bus but the game between Chelsea and Arsenal was one of the most open games I’ve witnessed as a football fan.
Arsenal’s defense was shambolic at the start of the game and the club’s defense was torn open by the team wearing blue. Cashley Cuntly Cole was in behind the Arsenal backline but Fernando Torres couldn’t capitalize on it. However, Chelsea broke the deadlock when the Lampback of NotreDame headed a Juan Mata cross after he skinned past Andre Santos.
Mikel Arteta chipped a lovely ball for Robin van Persie but his control let him down. Cole was free outside the box before letting one rip but Wojciech Szczesny was equal to the challenge. Arsenal pegged the hosts back when Alex Song and Aaron Ramsey combined well before giving Gervinho a through ball. The Ivorian was one-on-one with Petr Cech but he unselfishly fed Robin van Persie who wasted no time in dispatching the ball to an unguarded net.
A few months ago, Gervinho had the chance to feed van Persie at Ewood Park in August but he chose a miserly approach and that turned out to be a turning point in that game.
Ramires the Great Lizard waltzed past Andre Santos before teeing up Daniel Sturridge who wasted no time in sending the ball home but he was ruled offside. Theo Walcott was fouled by John Mikel on the edge of the area but van Persie’s free kick went over the wall. With the game easing off to a close, Frank Lampard swung in a corner from the right and it was converted by that ex-girlfriend shagger John Terry.
Per Mertesacker was at fault for both goals and Arsenal went into the break behind in the London derby. Arsenal began the second half as the brighter with Gervinho showing some good movement on the right hand side before sending a ball to Ramsey but his effort went over the bar.
Chelsea attacked again but Laurent Koscielny did well to win the ball then undid his good work with a poor clearance that arrived on Lampard’s feet who laid the ball on for Torres but the striker’s effort was tame. Arsenal equalized the contest when Alex Song provided a lovely pass for Andre Santos and the Samba Boy showed good composure to slot the ball under Petr Cech.
A ball played over the top for Cuntly Cole then out of the blue, Wojciech Szczesny ran out of his box to anticipate the ball only to foul the full back. The Pole got a yellow card for his troubles but he made a splendid save from the resulting Lampard free kick.
Arsenal’s third goal was a real puzzler. Theo Walcott was fouled on the right hand side then he stood up to receive it only to make a jinking run that saw him go past Chelsea defenders before smashing it past Cech. In the build-up to the goal, Walcott actually fell on the ground, stood up quickly before making a quick footed move to ease past John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic and the rest was history.
Chelsea pushed on for an equalizer so their manager Andre Boa-Constrictor brought on Romelu Medusa for Ramires the Great Lizard. Arsene Wenger also brought in reinforcements to his side with Carl Jenkinson and Tomas Rosicky replacing Johan Djourou and Theo Walcott.
In the 80th minute, Arsenal gifted Chelsea a goal when Andre Santos’ sloppiness at the back gave Juan Mata a chance to strike one from distance and that was some hit. With few minutes to spare and the game tied at 3-3, the next goal was of utmost importance and Chelsea decided to return the favour to Arsenal by giving them a goal on a plate.
Florent Malouda was crowded by an Arsenal midfield so he decided to give a back pass to John Terry who decided to slip in the best possible time so the ball fell gracefully to the wrongest person on Earth in such a situation, Robin van Persie. RVP ran at Petr Cech before attempting a “Box and X” Playstation move on the goalie to place the ball to the empty net.
I became very wary late on but Wenger steadied the ship by bringing on Thomas Vermaelen to see off the tie. As Chelsea pushed on for another equalizer, the y left enough pore spaces at the back so a final counter attack for the Gunners was enough to put the game beyond doubt.
Lampard swung in a free kick at the death; Szczesny went for the ball then put a hand to it. Mata smashed the ball goalwards but Koscielny put his body on fire to block the shot. Rosicky won the ball before feeding Song who gave Arteta. The Spaniard moved with the ball before providing a ball to the red-hot van Persie who rifled the ball past the hapless Cech.
A super hattrick from a super player and this feat made him the second only player to record a hattrick in Stamford Bridge with the first being Aston Villa’s Dion Dublin in 1997. In Arsenal’s last 14 goals, van Persie has nine. That strike was 28th Premier League goal in 27 Premier League games and his 33rd goal in 37 games in 2011. This striker is simply amazing.
Van Persie’s match clincher ensured that Chelsea received five goals in Stamford Bridge. A record that was last achieved in 1934 and it’s heart-warming to know that Arsenal was the last team that made it possible.
Szczesny (8.0) made a number of good saves as the game progressed.
Djourou (6.0) was exposed countless times in a position that he’s not too familiar with.
Andre Santos (8.5) scored a brilliant goal and put up a lovely number of quality tackles on the left.
Mertesacker (6.5) had a torrid first half but he did well to redeem himself in the second half.
Koscielny (7.0) did well to make some goal saving tackles.
Song (7.0) worked hard in midfield.
Arteta (8.0) was heavily involved in Arsenal’s attacking play.
Ramsey (8.5) put up a stellar performance.
Gervinho (7.5) provided an unselfish assist to van Persie.
Walcott (8.0) scored a magical goal.
Van Persie (10.0) burnt Stamford Bridge with a stunning hattrick.
Jenkinson (7.0) did well when he came on.
Rosicky (7.0) has involved in play.
Arsenal was clearly written off when Manchester United humiliated them and it seemed as if they were going to be doomed with no hope of a Champions League berth but this win has propelled the club to 6th place and they are just three points behind Chelsea.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
The tweet of the day goes to ChiEbuka Nworah’
“HEY CH3L5EA! WHAT’S D MATA? U LOOK TERRYFIED. DID U CECH THE TIME? IT SAYS 3 PAST 5!”
In England, there are teams that stand out from the crowd for more reasons than one. London will be divided yet again as Chelsea and Arsenal battle for bragging rights in a contest where the winner always emerges as the ‘Pride of London’ for that day at least.
The last time these teams met Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott contributed immensely as Arsenal recorded an overdue win for Arsenal over their West London neighbors because Chelsea had been the top dog in recent meetings between the sides.
Chelsea hosts Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League’s lunch-time fixture and I’ll like to give an analysis of each player in different positions on the pitch to see how the fixture can be predicted from the eyes of an Arsenal blogger. I intend to be unbiased in my analysis though.
My analysis will be done on the potential first team for tomorrow’s clash.
GOALIES: Petr Cech vs. Wojciech Szczesny
The records and experience speak for itself. Petr Cech is regarded as one of the best goalies in the business and he has proven himself over the years. A potentially serious head injury almost thwarted its career but it certainly played a small role because the Cech with a Rugby helmet after the injury isn’t nearly as good as the Cech that conceded only six goals in Stamford Bridge and nine goals away all season long to create a Premier League record for the best defense.
Wojciech Szczesny on the other hand is a young goalie that rising higher with each passing day and will certainly get to Petr Cech’s level in the foreseeable future. He has great reflexes and his command of his area is very impressive and his best years are certainly ahead of him.
Winner: Petr Cech
RIGHT BACKS: Branislav Ivanovic vs. Johan Djourou
Both teams go into the match without their regular right backs that have missed out due to suspension (Jose Bosingwa) and injury (Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson) so both managers will have to make do with their deputies. Branislav Ivanovic is a very strong centre back that’s also adept as a right back and he certainly uses his attributes as a centre back to great effect on the right flank. His strength and stamina are powerful tools he uses against opposition wingers and he’s also a threat from corners and free kicks because of his aerial prowess.
Like Ivanovic, Johan Djourou is also a centre back that has been redeployed as a right back to help the club in an injury crisis currently suffered by the recognized personnel in the right back position. Bacary Sagna fractured his leg while Carl Jenkinson has knee troubles so Djourou will have his work cut out in Stamford Bridge as he continues to play in such an unfamiliar position.
Winner: Branislav Ivanovic
LEFT BACKS: Ashley Cole vs. Andre Santos
Cashley Cuntly Cole was a player with 100% Arsenal DNA and he marauded the left hand side with Robert Pires when Arsene Wenger coached his second generation of Arsenal stars. Pace, resilience, determination, work rate as well as bone-crunching tackles were attributes that are possessed by Ashley Cole and it was used to great effect by Arsenal.
Arsenal bought Andre Santos as a replacement for the departed Gael Clichy and he has even got his name of the score sheet when Arsenal hosted Olympiakos in the Champions League group stages. Even though Kieran Gibbs has selected above the Brazilian in recent weeks, injury has paved the way for the Samba boy to strut his stuff.
Winner: Ashley Cole
CENTER BACKS: John Terry vs. Laurent Koscielny
One can fault John Terry’s ability off the pitch; girlfriend shagging, racist abusing, you name it but on the field of play, John Terry is a general that put his body in the line for the entire 90 minutes for his side. His dedication to the cause almost cost him a lot when Arsenal played Chelsea in the Carling Cup final of 2007. Not many players would have fared better with a Shaolin Kick from Abou Diaby but the English captain was still fit enough to celebrate with his teammates when they edged their North London neighbors out with a 2-1 win thanks to Didier Drogba.
Laurent Koscielny arrived in the Premier League last season and he played close to 4000 minutes of football in his first season as he featured in all competitions but Laurent has really improved on his game and has become a threat in the air when defending high balls over the top. Koscielny will give Per Mertesacker a run for his money when Thomas Vermaelen becomes fully fit.
Winner: John Terry
CENTER BACKS: David Luiz vs. Per Mertesacker
The £21m man hasn’t spent up to a year in England but I’m pretty sure that the Chelsea faithful already have a theme song for the bloke whose hair reminds me of Ivan Campo and Carles Puyol. He’s a strong individual that has an attacking prowess likened to the great Lucio and he has done well to make the second center back slot his own.
Per Mertesacker is an experienced individual that has been there and done that in international football. With a height ranging up to two meters tall, Mertesacker is a very intelligent center back that reads the game like a novel before taking action to a move he always comes out on top.
Winner: Per Mertesacker
HOLDING MIDFIELDERS: John Obi Mikel vs. Alex Song
In the World Youth Championships of 2005, there was only one player that was better than John Mikel Obi in that tournament and that player has gone on to take the world by storm with his breathtaking goals, assists, dribbles and overall play. Mikel on the other hand was heralded as Nigeria’s Number. 10 after the retirement of the legendary jay Jay Okocha but the attacking midfielder was converted to a holding midfielder and has excelled in that role to the Nigerian national team’s detriment.
Alex Song is a gem that was carefully nurtured by Arsene Wenger and he has turned out to be a holding midfielder that can command a first team place in any team in the world. His close control and skills has certainly caught the eye but he needs to work on his passing though.
WINNER: Alex Song
CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS: Raul Meireles vs. Mikel Arteta
This Portuguese chap certainly takes his fashion seriously in his own personal way and his hands, body, back and even his neck have gone under the ink to have drawing that are probably permanent but his footballing abilities can’t be questioned. He may not be the best passer of the ball but he has a very high work rate and he’s a major threat from outside the area because he has a very sweet right foot that is technically blessed.
Arsenal’s new signing has vast of experience in the Premier League and forged his way into Evertonian hearts with his cultured style of play that ranges from passes, shots as well as his ability with a dead ball. He has been a major hit at Arsenal and has also played in every game since his arrival with the exception of the Carling Cup encounters.
WINNER: Mikel Arteta
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER: Frank Lampard vs. Aaron Ramsey
The old dog has refused to lie down and see younger Chelsea puppies take his place from him. Frank Lampard is one of those players that will certainly be celebrated in all corners of the globe when he decides to hang his boots. His contribution to Chelsea and football at large has been so immense and I’m sure that I’ll miss the Hunchback of StamfordDame, England’s own Quasimodo.
He’s certainly one of the younger ‘puppies’ at the Emirates but this ‘dawg’ already has vast levels of experience because he started playing at the highest level at a very young age. Injury almost halted his career last year but Aaron Ramsey worked tirelessly to gain full fitness and he has grown in his new ‘Fabregas-esque’ role at the club. His pass to Gervinho last week was a stuff made in dreams.
WINNER: Frank Lampard
LEFT WINGERS: Juan Manuel Mata vs. Gervinho
The little winger from Oviedo decided to take a big step in his career and he hasn’t been half bad in the start to his Chelsea career. He has also done well to hand on some assists and score some goals himself
The ‘foreheaded’ one has been an inspiration for Arsenal and he has picked up where he left off in his LOSC Lille Metropole days. Gervinho is a bag that has bags of tricks and he came into the party to hand on two assists for Robin van Persie when Arsenal hosted Stoke. Certainly Arsenal’s signing of the season in my books.
RIGHT WINGERS: Nicolas Anelka vs. Theo Walcott
These players have contrasting styles of plays and I’m pretty sure that most of my readers might not agree with my final outcome. Nicolas Anelka is a striker-turned winger that has a canny style of play and can pop up with the goods when they are needed while Theo Walcott is an explosive forward that has improved in his contribution on the pitch to Arsenal. Goals, assists as well as good tentative play.
WINNER: Theo Walcott
STRIKER: Fernando Torres vs. Robin van Persie
There was actually a point in time when these two strikers were incomparable but Fernaando Torres was still wearing a jersey that had the same colors with Robin van Persie’s jersey but after making the British transfer record to London and changed his jersey from Red to Blue, his career suddenly found the Blues but he’s picking his feet slowly and could be a real threat tomorrow.
Robin van Persie. Six goals in Arsenal’s last nine games, 25 goals n his last 26 Premier League games and 30 goals in 36 games in 2011. Enough written; for once, the records ‘speaks’ for themselves.
WINNER: Robin van Persie
After juxtaposing of the potential first team of both sides, Arsenal had six points while Chelsea had five. With the Chelsea backline winning with a victory that seemed flawless and Arsenal’s attack knocking Chelsea’s out with a technical knockout, a draw might just be the settler for such a tie but tomorrow will tell though.
Remember that I made this analysis with my own judgment but I tried my best to give reasons to justify my final outcome. Feel free to prove me wrong with your comments.