Daily Archives: March 19, 2013
I know that these “Oga at the Top” jokes are getting ‘stale’, but I urge you to check out this video of how Adolf Hitler responded to the Oga at the Top escapades by Shem. It’s goddamn hilarious and epic in every sense of the word.
Every Arsenal fan couldn’t have wished for a better weekend.
Tottenham lost yet again and to make it sweeter, they were doomed by a player they once loved. I’m pretty sure that the soundtrack at White Hart Lane after the game was “Somebody I used to Know” by Gotye
However, the weekend didn’t begin too well as Everton’s surprise victory over a shockingly lack-luster Manchester City made the Toffees leapfrog over Arsenal temporarily, making the game against Swansea a must-win clash. With Chelsea and Tottenham playing the next day, Arsenal had it all to do against a Swansea side that has been a thorn in their flesh this season.
We all know how the game panned out as the usually dependable Miguel Michu was locked in a cage and the keys were thrown away. The manager also had some big balls in benching Wojciech Szczesny and his captain, Thomas Vermaelen which has coincided with two clean sheets on the trot – a rare feat in this part of the world, judging from our “usual defensive displays” all season long.
The manager has spoken about the urge for competition, and it will definitely bring the best out of his players. When Szczesny won Fabianski’s shirt in the tail end of the 2010/11 campaign, he put up a lot of breathtaking displays and his league debut was one to remember, as Wenger thrust him into action in one of the league’s most feared grounds – Old Trafford.
Fabianski couldn’t command a starting berth when he made his long-awaited return from injury despite putting up great displays prior to that unfortunate shoulder injury that halted the little progress he had made. After battling hard to finally secure Manuel Almunia’s jersey, it must have hurt the Pole really badly to see a new player take his place with such consummate ease.
One of the harsh realities of football – Fabianski isn’t the first to lose a place in a team, and he will certainly not be the last at Arsenal.
Wenger placed his undying faith on Szczesny and to be fair to the young Pole, he repaid his boss with some great outings in goal but after realizing that his position wasn’t threatened, complacency crept into his game, and he was culpable for some glaring errors last season and this season as well.
There’s a lot of football to be played and Wenger knows what’s best for his team. If it requires Mr. Szczesny to continue some time out in the bench, I have no qualms with it – provided Fabianski doesn’t revert to the “Flappyhandski” of old, which would prompt the fans to call for Szczesny’s return faster than Usain Bolt’s 100m Olympics world record.
Laurent Koscielny’s return to the heart of Arsenal’s defense has shored things up at the back, and the return of two clean sheets in a row is highly welcome. The Big Friendly Giant, Per Mertesacker, recently spoke about the team’s new approach to defending, and it’s highly encouraging to say the least,
We saw ourselves as a unit on the television and I think it was a good thing to do because sometimes you have a different view on the pitch and you feel different. We all had the feeling there was something to do so everybody was involved and everyone felt we needed to improve and speak more.
The most important thing we learned was to cover each other more. There were a lot of situations where there was no pressure on the ball and the back four was not prepared for any balls between us.
Times without number, we have seen how Arsenal’s back line has been exposed when there wasn’t adequate cover for a teammate under pressure.
Take the home Champions League tie against Schalke for instance, Andre Santos may seem as a shitty defender in every sense of the word but Jefferson Farfan and Astuto Uchida ravaged the Brazilian and his captain, Thomas Vermaelen, failed to cover up for him when he was left for dead. It was only befitting for Ibrahim Afellay’s match clincher to come from good wing play by the visitors.
Things have changed for the better, as the defenders drop deeper while the midfielders close the opposition higher up the pitch.
Just like that early run of clean sheets at the start of the season, I don’t intend to get carried away by Arsenal’s newly-found defensive stability, but the unanswered question would be whether Arsene Wenger would be ready to leave out Vermaelen for some more games in the future.
His able replacement, Koscielny, hasn’t put a foot wrong though.
Elsewhere in defense, Carl Jenkinson had some sweet words to say about Nacho Monreal, as the newbie opened his Arsenal account with a somewhat scrappy goal against Swansea. To be honest, I didn’t care about the nature of the goal – the bottom line was that it went past Michel Vorm to give Arsenal a vital lead before Gervinho sealed the tie.
Speaking of Gervinho, Wenger hopes that his late match clincher would give him some confidence in the run-in for a Champions League finish. Gervinho, quite rightly, has come under some serious criticism for his below-par performances this season and his manager hopes that he can build on this in the coming weeks.
Before his moment of glory in the climax of the game, Gervinho showed great pace and directness to skip past his marker on the wing only to deliver a shambolic cut back that didn’t go beyond his first marker in the box. That horrible pass epitomized what the Ivorian had been all about this season and it’s really sad to know that he was Arsenal’s highest goalscorer with five goals early on in the season.
I really like the lad because of what he offers to the team – he’s fleet-footed, quick, agile, has good dribbling skills and runs at defenders drawing them out of their comfort zones but if he had some threatening output in the final third, he would have been a valuable asset to Arsenal, rather than the liability he seems to be.
With crucial games against Reading, West Brom, Norwich, Everton and Fulham coming up, players like Gervinho will have to do their bit to contribute immensely to the team’s cause.
One player that won’t be around anytime soon is Arsenal’s influential midfield maestro, Jack Wilshere, as Goal.com reports that he’ll be out for another six weeks,
Jack Wilshere has been ruled out for six more weeks in a savage blow to Arsenal’s top-four hopes, Goal.com can reveal.
The midfielder is facing an uphill battle to play again this season after his ankle injury was assessed by a specialist in Dubai last week and, then, again when he returned to the club.
Goal.com understands that Wilshere has been told he needs an enforced spell of rest that will keep him on the sidelines for a minimum of six more weeks, until at least the start of May.
Arsene Wenger had initially stated that the midfielder had an inflamed left ankle and it is believed (via Goal.com) that he might be having a recurrence of the ankle injury that kept him out for an eternity. The club doesn’t plan to send the midfielder to go under the knife just yet, but the manager feels that he might have overplayed him.
According to Wenger, Wilshere told his manager that he feels ‘perfect’ whenever he’s asked out the condition of his ankle but a recent scan conducted showed that the lad had bone bruising on the heel of his right foot.
At this point in time, Arsenal will have to make do without their star man but there are able replacements in the forms of Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and even Aaron Ramsey.
I’ll keep you posted as the events unfold but I wouldn’t want to tell you one thing while my Oga at the Top would say another one.
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