Monthly Archives: February 2012

Arsenal’s “Worst” Team in 15 Years Decimates Tottenham’s “Best” Team in 50 Years

5PUR2

“What better way to set things straight again than to beat Spurs. I would rather be playing them now than on any other day, and we know that a win is absolutely vital” – Robin van Persie

The stage was set for what seemed to be like a game of the season contender for Arsenal. The fans were rightly unhappy following the recent run of results that ensured that the club’s trophy hunt will continue next season and Arsene Wenger had added a wrinkle or two to his face thanks to the performance of his boys.

Arsenal’s defense was a lot more solid following the return of Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs but a few eyebrows were raised when Yossi Benayoun and Theo Walcott got the nod ahead of Gervinho and the Ox. Tottenham kicked off the game and went off to a flyer when the defense opened up allowing Emmanuel Adebawhore to tee up Louis Saha with a chance to put the visitors ahead. The Frenchman’s shot deflected off the Verm into Arsenal’s net just after four minutes.

Arsenal almost pegged Tottenham back when Robin van Persie received a drilled cross from Bacary Sagna but his effort was blocked. He had a second bite of the cherry but it fizzled wide off the mark. Tomas Rosicky also came very close with a header from van Persie’s corner but Brad Friedel in goal pulled up a magnificent save.

A bad start got a whole lot worse when Luka Modric sent in a through pass in behind the defense leaving Kieran Gibbs to contend with the world’s best left-footed Chimpanzee Gareth Bale for the ball. The Chimp got the better of Gibbsy and nicked the ball past Wojciech Szczesny in goal. Some may feel that the Chimp dived like a sack of potatoes but the ref pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Arsenal’s pantomime villain Emmanuel Adebawhore to dispatch the spot kick and he sent the visitors two up despite the fact that Szczesny followed the ball. The Togolese forward has a knack for scoring in the North London Derby but it was unfortunate to know that goal number nine went into Arsenal’s net.

Theo Walcott broke away before sending a pass to his captain, van Persie dallied on the ball and was robbed off possession. Van Persie had another shot late on that clipped the post, Gibbs ran onto the ball and fed Mikel Arteta who in turned dinked a cross into the danger area. Up stepped Bac the Man to head his effort past Friedel.

Sagna’s goal sparked a revival that saw the Gunners equalize in stunning fashion. Benoit Assou-Ekoto sent a panicky clearance that arrived at van Persie’s feet. Surrounded by Spuds, Arsenal’s talisman still managed to find some space before curling the ball sweetly past Friedel. When it seemed like a familiar story going into half-time, the Gunners stepped up the plate to give their fans something to cheer during the interval.

Who's your daddy?

Twitchy ol’ ‘Arry made two halftime substitutions bringing on Rafael van der Fart for Louis Saha and that Brazilian bloke that mistakes a football field for a boxing ring as he keeps on wearing teeth guards. Maybe in his fantasy world, tackles on the ground are the equivalent of punches to his face.

The Gunners didn’t take their foot off the pedal and almost went three up when Arteta cannily guided a through ball to Benayoun with Gibbs as a decoy. The Isreali placed his effort to the far corner but Friedel rolled back the years to make another magnificent save.

Within minutes, Song and Gibbs worked well on the left hand side before delivering a cross-field ball to Rosicky. The Czech captain fed Sagna and continued his run to the box only to cap up the delightful attacking move with a deft finish that made Ledley King and Friedel look like buffoons.

In just 13 and half minutes, Arsenal had overturned a 2-0 deficit to a 3-2 lead. It was fair to say that Theo Walcott was shite throughout the first half but he extended Arsenal’s lead with a finish that would have made his predecessor wearing the No. 14 jersey proud.

Benayoun won the ball from the Chimp in Arsenal’s box before launching a counterattack courtesy of a long pass to Rosicky. Rosicky gave Arsenal’s captain the ball and van Persie took on two Tottenham defenders before giving a well-cushioned pass to Walcott. The pacey winger mis-controlled the ball but he attempted an impudent chip past Friedel and Arsenal was four goals to the good.

While the Gooners were basking in euphoria following their team’s scintillating performance over Spurs, Walcott threw the final firework that ignited party mode at the Emirates. Alex Song noticed that he was in behind the defense and the African gem sent in a peach of a pass to Walcott who controlled the ball superbly and placed it past Friedel to make it five.

The boss brought on Carl Jenkinson to replace Kieran Gibbs and Walcott almost changed from scorer to provider when he executed a neat one-two with Tomas Rosicky but the Czech surprisingly used his left leg to shoot the ball wide. I actually thought that he’ll give us one of his Ricardo Quaresma “outside of the boot” moments.

Late on Wenger brought on Le Forehead and the Ox for his impressive first choice wingers but there was a dark moment when Scotty Parker lounged into Vermaelen to receive his marching orders for a second bookable offence. The sound of the final whistle was like music to everyone’s ears as the Gunners let out their recent frustrations against the old enemy.

Szczesny (7.5) hardly put a wrong foot all game long and was he was blameless for both goals conceded.

Sagna (8.0) nullified every threat Bale the Chimp posed and scored the goal that sparked a revival.

Gibbs (7.5) was brilliant in his role, making wonderful tackles and he was more than a handful in attack.

Vermaelen (8.0) was a colossus in defense, breaking up play and he showcased his aerial ability from time to time.

Koscielny (8.0) passed his fitness test to put up another confidence performance alongside the Belgian and was a far better selection than the disappointing Johan Djourou.

Song (8.5) was a standout performer in midfield and he crowned it up with that peach of a pass for Walcott.

Arteta (8.0) had a great game and showed off his defensive prowess with various tackles in the middle of the park.

Rosicky (8.5) joined the party when Arsenal needed him the most and is certainly looking like the Little Mozart purchased from Dortmund who’s renowned to be an orchestrator in midfield.

Walcott (8.5) had two shots on target, two goals, three key passes, 100% through ball accuracy but he was utter shite in the first half. 😛

Benayoun (8.0) was the “trump card” that worked perfectly well for Wenger. He helped his full back a lot but there were times he had a touch to many.

Van Persie (9.0) produced a goal that epitomized his class and outstanding quality and did well to lay on an assist for the goal that gave Arsenal some breathing space.

Jenkinson, Le Forehead and the Ox didn’t play long enough to have ratings.

I’ll end this post with post-match words culled from Twitchy ol’ ‘Arry himself:

“At 2-0, I didn’t feel comfortable and at 2-2 I felt even less comfortable and the momentum was with them at half-time. They came off to a standing ovation and you knew it was going to be a very tough second half”

“Van Persie with the second goal was amazing. He had a foot to aim in and he struck it in the top corner. They had a bit of quality about them today, they were busy in the middle of the park and it was one of those days for us”

Few skeptics like Roy Keane labeled this Arsenal side as Wenger’s worst in his 16-year tenure with the club. They just mauled Tottenham’s best side in 50 years.

A team that is currently having its best season since the world started witnessing Colored TV

Dear 5PUR2, North London is Red and White

Hi 5-2 all Arsenal fans out there

Sayonara.

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The North London Derby Without the Little Russian Assassin

Andrey Arshavin has returned back to Siberia to represent the club he made over 300 appearances for and was instrumental in their league win in 2007.

He also gave the two assists that were needed to sink Rangers in the 2008 Europa League final. In the same year, he dazzled Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup to win the trophy for his Russian side.

On the international scene, he helped his country to win the bronze medal in the last European Championships that took place in Switzerland and Austria in 2008. He was very distraught when his country missed out of the 2010 World Cup but he played a major role in his country’s bid to win the hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup even though he won’t be among the 23 men that will represent his country by virtue of his age.

He’ll be 37 in 2018 and he’s certainly no Roger Miller.

In his first season at Arsenal, he took the Premier League by storm with his account opener being at the hands of Arsenal’s goal scoring maiden, Paul Robinson. His highest point in his Arsenal career was the incredible four-goal affair he had at Anfield in the spring of 2009.

The first goal was from a Cesc Fabregas pass after some good work by Samir Nasri, he worked the second himself after some poor Liverpool defending, his hat-trick was gifted to him on a platter thanks to more atrocious defending from Liverpool and his fourth came from a brilliant counter attack that was launched by Theo Walcott. His first full season with Arsenal was last season and he came up with the goods scoring 10 league goals in 30 appearances but he got injured when Arsenal played Barcelona in that 2-2 draw at the Emirates.

Last season, he wasn’t that little magician we all felt he could be but he still did well enough to score 10 goals and lay on a lion’s share of assists for his teammates. The most notable finishes were his match winners against Everton and FC Barcelona.

This campaign, Arshavin’s lethargic performances saw him go further down the pecking order and many Gooners asked for his head on a plate. Despite the fact that this move may be considered as a “breath of fresh air” to many, I’m quite bewildered to know that Arsene Wenger left Arshavin go with a considerable chunk of this season left to play.

Arsenal’s “first choice” wingers are Gervinho and Theo Walcott with the Ox and Yossi Benayoun raring to go on the sidelines. Judging from Arsenal’s recent injury woes, sending a player of Arshavin’s quality out on loan was a poor piece of judging from Arsene Wenger.

That’s my opinion though.

I wish Andrey all the best in his new club and I hope the Italian baldy Lucciano Spaghetti…Spalleti would play to his strengths. Shame he won’t be able to represent Zenit in the Champions League because he’s cup-tied.

The Emirates is all set to host the next edition of the North London Derby. This fixture brings North London to a stand still and it would be the 172nd meeting between these two giants. Twitchy Ol’ ‘Arry got the better off Wenger in October thanks to a superb handball controlled finish from Rafael van der Fart and a long range belter from Kyle Walker.

It’s actually puzzling to know that Arsenal is currently 10 points behind their fierce rivals and a loss today would certainly be too much distance to cover. Besides, the team plays this game on the back of two disappointing defeats so another loss would certainly cause some uprising.

So much has been made about Tottenham’s ascension but some fail to believe that Arsenal will always be better than them. For starters, Tottenham is having their best season since the world started witnessing Colored TV.

I don’t even want to to write about the amount of League titles they’ve won or the amount of years they’ve been in the Champions League. St. Totteringham’s day seems unlikely as Arsenal is running out of games but a win would go a long way in restoring the balance to North London.

To team news, I expect Wojciech Szczesny to replace Lukasz Fabianski in goal. The elder Pole has probably been shortlisted among the Gunners that may be axed this summer but I’ll prefer him to stay because he still has some glimpses of quality in him.

The club is sweating over the fitness of Kieran Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny but this game might come too soon for them. Bacary Sagna would man the right flank while Thomas Vermaelen would be deployed on the left flank. This would mean that Alex Song may be dropped back to partner the shaky Johan Djourou in the heart of Arsenal’s defense.

Song’s potential exit from the midfield would mean that the trio would certainly pick itself with Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky taking their positions in the middle of the park.

The exit of Arshavin might have raised a few eyebrows (mine included), but I expect Robin van Persie to lead the line and he’ll be supported by Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on both flanks.

A schematic illustration of the possible starting XI would be:

Szczesny

Sagna-Song-Djourou-Vermaelen

Ramsey-Rosicky-Arteta

The Ox-RVP-Le Forehead

To be frank, I’m not too optimistic about Arsenal getting a victory because a part of me has lost some faith in this team’s ability…till the summer at least.

Enjoy the game wherever you are.

I’ve bled for Arsenal but I urge you all to read @zaynab123 ‘s post on how she lost her virginity to the club.

Sayonara.

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5 Reasons Why Arsenal Has To Stick With Robin van Persie

Le Van-tastic

Arsenal’s quest for silverware was found wanting for the sixth year in a row but the start of the 2011/12 season brought fresh optimism among the manager, the players and most importantly, the fans. Last season, the club was very close to winning the Carling Cup and locked horns with Manchester United for title honors before being swept away in the business end of the league.

The summer saw the loyal stalwart Gael Clichy move to the moneybags of Manchester City and the long saga involving Cesc Fabregas and FC Barcelona finally ended with Arsenal’s El Capitan moving back to a place he once called home. Samir Nasri was touted as the ideal replacement for the departed captain but Manchester City came sniffing around again and the lure for the greens was enough for the French maestro to wave his goodbyes.

The exit of Fabregas and Nasri made Arsenal seem like a confused flock of sheep so Arsene Wenger assigned a new shepherd in the form of Robin van Persie. The Flying Dutchman joined the club in 2004 but his career has been blighted by countless injuries.

Van Persie was certainly not in the commanding mold of  Tony Adams or Patrick Vieira but his exploits on the pitch has been nothing short of sensational. He opened his goal scoring account this season with an easy tap in against Udinese and this was followed by a consolation goal in the 8-2 mauling in the hands of Manchester United.

September saw the Dutchman smash in Arsenal’s only goal against Borussia Dortmund in Germany and a brace against Bolton followed. He scored a landmark goal in that game that made him join the League of Extraordinary Centurions that has the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Cliff Bastin, Ian Wright and King Thierry Henry.

Van Persie spared Arsenal’s blushes with a brace against Sunderland and he came off the bench to score another brace against Stoke City. This was followed up with a scintillating hat-trick against Chelsea in Stamford Bridge and it was fair to say that van Persie was on supernova at that point in time.

He picked up where he left off in November with a stellar performance against West Brom that saw him score a goal and hand two assists to his team mates and he crowned the month with back to back braces against Norwich and Dortmund. He joined the party against Wigan, scored a goal of the season contender against Everton, smashed in a penalty against Aston Villa and ended the year on a high with a calm effort against Queens Park Rangers.

In a somewhat dark year for Arsenal, Van Persie shone through with his goal scoring outlay of 2011 that saw him smash Thierry Henry’s Arsenal Premier League goal scoring record to bits and was a goal shy of the great Alan Shearer’s record. He kicked off his 2012 with a  goal against Swansea City before offering Arsenal a glimmer of hope against Manchester United.  He scored a brace from 12 yards against Aston Villa and smashed in his second hat-trick of the season in the 7-1 demolition of Blackburn.

Despite these outstanding goal scoring contributions that has seen Robin van Persie smash in 28 goals, Arsenal is effectively out of every competition football has to offer this season…expect the club wants to put up a 5-star performance against AC Milan at the Emirates that would see them score five goals to qualify to the quarter finals of the Champions League.

Van Persie stalled his contract talks till the end of the season and skeptics feel that he may face the same fate with Samir Nasri but the club’s hierarchy has announced that he’s going nowhere. This is the same club whose manager reiterated that ‘big clubs don’t sell their big players‘ but he went on t0 sell Fabregas and Nasri to some predators.

Robin van Persie’s importance to Arsenal is unquestionable and here are five reasons why Arsenal has to stick with the Flying Dutchman:

He is Arsenal’s Talisman

Down the years, many football clubs have done transfer business with their peers but questions are always raised when the club’s go as far as selling its best player. Patrick Vieira left Arsenal for Juventus in 2006 but there were many ‘leaders’ in the team despite the fact that he was the captain.

When Fabregas followed suit this season, Van Persie assumed the role of the captaincy and he presently epitomizes everything Arsenal stands for this season. Selling off van Persie would signal a downward spiral that can be reminiscent of the club’s performances after the Carling Cup final loss to Birmingham City.

His Vital Experience

Robin van Persie joined Arsenal in the summer of 2004 and he has fused himself into the nucleus of the team. In his eight seasons at Arsenal, he has played 181 League games, 31 Cup games and 54 games in Europe summing up to 266 appearances and he already has 123 goals to show for it.

Van Persie is a vastly experienced forward that has locked horns with defenders all over the globe and his age (28) paints the picture vividly for everyone. It would hurt Arsenal really hard if the club loses a player of his experience because it will certainly create a big vacuum another striker has to come in to fill.

His Style of Play

In his Feyernoord days under the tutelage of Bert van Marwijk, van Persie played as a left winger and possessed exceptional dribbling skills but was also a talented striker of the ball. Touted as the long-term replacement for Dennis Bergkamp, van Persie began his Arsenal career as a supporting striker behind Thierry Henry.

This made van Persie a hotshot as he contributed immensely to Arsenal with countless goals and a boatload of assists for his team mates. The exits of Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo da Silva coupled with Wenger’s tactical switch to 4-2-3-1 has seen van Persie deployed as the sole striker and this has made him to harness his goal scoring skills. Like Midas…everything van Persie touches turns into goals.

His Replacements Are Not Capable Enough To Lead the Line

Arsenal has scored only 48 League goals this season and for those that don’t know, van Persie has 22 of them. Luckily for Arsenal, the demons of injuries have decided to settle with the club’s defenders instead of their regular victim from Rotterdam.

Van Persie’s present deputies in the centre forward department include a Moroccan clearly bereft of confidence and a Korean that hasn’t been deemed good enough to start a League game yet. Should anything happen to the Flying Dutchman, the club would activate its ‘panic mode’ because these players can’t even ‘score’ in a brothel even with a nympho doing a lap dance on their laps.

His Goals

I just had to save the best for last.

In the next dictionary coming out in stores, a Robin van Persie would be defined as a “perpetual goal scoring machine of the first kind“. This Van-tastic striker can score a goal in any possible manner and this was shared by the great Alan Shearer when he tipped him to break his record:

“He will beat my total of 36 Premier League goals in a calendar year — a record, by the way, I was unaware of until it was mentioned to me on Match of the Day at the weekend. “Records are there to be broken and I can think of no better striker than the Dutchman to write his name in the history books.”

“Van Persie can score goals any way you like. He puts away headers, tap-ins and rockets.”

Feel free to check out my collection of van Persie’s top 20 goals for Arsenal.

Should Robin van Persie decide to leave Arsenal this summer, the Gunners shouldn’t begrudge him. Here are five reasons why.

Sayonara.

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