Daily Archives: January 29, 2013
With the FA Cup fixture against Brighton a done and dusted affair, the rewards of the battle has turned out to be a fifth round clash with npower Championship side, Blackburn Rovers. All attention will be switched to the Premier League with the world keeping half an eye on the newly-found French Revolution in Newcastle.
Arsenal will host Liverpool in what will be a feisty encounter as all Arsenal-Liverpool clashes are. Last season, it took a late Robin van Persie strike to settle the tie right at the death, but with the Dutchman now part of Arsenal’s history, all focus will be firmly fixed on the man on form, Olivier Giroud.
The French forward had a very slow start to his Arsenal career and the comparison with van Persie didn’t help his cause either. After that chipped effort against Coventry in September, he waited for two games before his smart toe poke against West Ham in Upton Park. Shortly afterwards, he came off the bench to score a header in that unbelievable 7-5 win over Reading.
He went through a purple patch in November, scoring five goals in four games for both club and country. Then the goals dried up a bit before his brace against Newcastle. In Giroud’s last two games, he has smashed in four goals and has taken his tally of the season to 13.
The forward has stated that he chose to come to England because of the intensity and determination has been key to his newly-found success in front of goal. Giroud’s recent exploits in goal haven’t gone unnoticed, as his manager has come out to say that he offers the club something different.
When Arsenal hosts Liverpool tomorrow, Giroud will be under the spotlight to continue his recent goalscoring form but his attack partner, Theo Walcott, has acknowledged that the game is going to be intense. The club may be languishing in mid-table but on their day they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Let’s not forget that they have the dangerous Luis Suarez in their ranks and he has been a constant thorn in the flesh of several defenses this season. Per Mertesacker wasn’t too impressive against Brighton and with Thomas Vermaelen not deemed fit enough just yet, the Gunners will have to stick with the Mertesielny combo again.
While Giroud has been getting the plaudits for his ever-increasing goal count, Aaron Ramsey has been a joy to watch in recent times, unlike the disappointing Ramsey we have become used to. Against West Ham and of course, Brighton, Ramsey was deployed in an unfamiliar holding midfield role, where he has excelled admirably, much to the player’s delight,
“I think I’ve played well in the last two games. That’s pleasing for me and hopefully I can keep myself in the team and carry on. Hopefully I get picked for the next game. I had a meeting with the boss the other week and he explained to me what’s required for this role. I think I’ve done that in the last couple of games and I feel good in myself.
“[I’ve been] getting stuck in and winning the ball back, been involved a lot more and got a lot of touches of the ball so hopefully I can continue the form I’m in at the moment. You always have to be wary of the hole you’re leaving behind you, but there are occasions when I can get into the box and one of the other midfielders sits.”
Against West Ham, Ramsey’s distribution was inch-perfect and he earned his week’s wages when he raced back to block the ball off the line to keep the scoreline intact. Against Brighton, Ramsey was efficient, didn’t roam around much and was always available for a pass.
While many fans cry for a holding midfielder in the mold of Alex Song, Arsenal has proven that technique and positional discipline is also as important as tackling and breaking up play. Mikel Arteta has manned the holding position as season long and his stats have been pretty much encouraging to say the least.
With the Spaniard still out injured, and of course, Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to buy a new holding midfielder, the club will have to make do with what it has in the forms of Aaron Ramsey, Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin. In all fairness, Ramsey hasn’t put a foot wrong in his last two games.
If he starts against Liverpool, it will be a real test for the lad as he’s odds on to lock horns with Steven Gerrard, his countryman, Joe Allen, and the rest of the lot in the Liverpool midfield.
A Liverpool preview will come up in tomorrow’s post.
Bonus Reading: My latest post in WhatCulture tagged, Premier League: 10 Most Important January Transfers So Far.
Let’s see how Newcastle’s French contingent will fare tonight.
You can download the Gooner Daily BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.
You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back
Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page and click on the like button.
You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button