Monthly Archives: November 2014
West Brom 0 – Arsenal 1 (Welbeck 60′)
The win against Dortmund was definitely going to serve as a confidence booster and with the heavy December fixture list coming up, it was paramount for the manager to rest a couple of players which saw the young English duo of Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain get some time on the bench. The return of Laurent Koscielny to the first team was pleasing to see and with the commanding center back returning to the mix, Nacho Monreal returned to his favored left back position. There was also a change in attack as Olivier Giroud was flanked by Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez.
The game began with the Gunners controlling possession but like the Manchester United game, there were a series of spurned chances but thankfully, it didn’t come back to haunt us. Or maybe it did if Saido Berahino’s header was a few inches lower (more on that anon). One of the most notable highlights of the first half was seeing Aaron Ramsey’s desperation to score that elusive goal. Since his strike against Everton way back in August, Ramsey has not been on the score sheet and it’s glaring that it’s starting to get to him. His primary task on the day was to provide adequate support for Mathieu Flamini but there were times he left the team exposed, especially that particular moment when he was sloppy in possession which allowed West Brom a swift counter attacking chance but he had his defense to thank for mopping things up at the back.
Sadly, there was yet another injury concern as Monreal looked to be in some discomfort and he was replaced by Gibbs, a player Wenger may have preferred to rest throughout the game given his fitness record. However, his introduction turned out to be a stroke of genius as the young lad put up an all-action efficient performance. It was no surprise when Arsenal’s goal came from that flank with some intelligent football from Santi Cazorla. After receiving a pass, he turned on the afterburners to make mincemeat of Andre Wisdom before showing off his ambidexterity with a left-footed dinked pass to Danny Welbeck that powered his header home. That was Welbeck’s first goal in eight games so it would have done his confidence some good bearing in mind that he has been shifted to the left wing to accommodate Giroud.
It was good seeing the Frenchman start a game for the first time this season and he offered the Gunners a focal point in attack, holding up play and offering a physical presence both in attack and defense. He almost marked his start with a goal when Ben Foster decided to take off a page from the Chronicles of Almunia up but Giroud failed to punish the goalie as his shot missed the goal by some margin. Even when the Frenchman got substituted for the Ox, I’d noticed that Welbeck still stayed on the left wing, with Alexis Sanchez spearheading the attack. The Chilean hotshot had a rather tame afternoon with his only noteworthy contribution in attack being that lovely pass he chipped for Ramsey but the Welsh Jesus chose to use his legs when his head would have been the better option.
Then of course, there were the West Brom chances. Berahino has been on the spotlight after his run of games with goals but recently, that well has kinda dried up. West Brom’s first chance of the game arrived when Berahino cut in from the left but his attempt hit the side netting. There was also a clean strike from Craig Gardner that took a deflection of an Arsenal player (Ramsey I think) but it seemed as if Emiliano Martinez had it covered. West Brom’s best chance arrived when an unmarked Berahino leaped in the air to nod the ball goalwards but the cross bar spared Martinez’ blushes. The young lad has kept two clean sheets in succession and this is down to the fact that the players in front of him have offered him better protection. He also grew in confidence as the game progressed and this was epitomized by the Argentine goalie claiming a cross even with Koscielny odds on to head the ball away to safety. That act made the French defender hit the turf with Martiniez falling like a heap on him, but he and Mertesacker commended the young goalie for commanding his box, which is what you’d expect your goalie to do
The end of the game had a rather nervy feel but getting three points from the Hawthorns was a step in the right direction. With the game against Southampton (a team above Arsenal) coming up, it would afford the Gunners a chance to continue to surge for a top four place, because challenging for the title is more or less out of our hands, despite Chelsea dropping points in the Stadium of Light. The Gunners currently have 20 points and are just two points off fourth placed Manchester United. With Southampton currently six points ahead of the Gunners, reducing the gap to three points would go a long way in building up the confidence of the lads.
Winning breeds confidence and it feels so good coming back to winning ways in the Premier League.
Thanks to that guy, Danny Welbeck.
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Arsenal 2 (Sanogo 2′, Sanchez 57′) – Dortmund 0
‘Solidarity’. That’s what the manager called for in the wake of the saddening loss to Manchester United. With Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny out injured, coupled with the whispers that Danny Welbeck was going to miss out due to a knee problem, many fans watched as Yaya Sanogo led the line and before we go ready the torches and pitchforks to wail about why Lukas Podolski wasn’t given a run out, it took Sanogo just 73 seconds to finally open his Arsenal goalscoring account. Now he’s 73 goals behind Lionel Messi in the all-time Champions League goalscoring records.
The passing play from Arsenal was simply amazing. Santi Cazorla may be on the spotlight for not scoring a goal since when Merlin was the Chief Wizard in Camelot, but he was outstanding on the night creating chances for his teammates. Despite soaking up a lot of pressure, Dortmund did have the odd sniff at the Arsenal goal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan firing a shot that was saved by the young Emiliano Martinez in goal.
The match clincher arrived when the inhumane Alexis Sanchez was at it again, latching onto a Cazorla pass and sweetly curling the ball past Weidenfeller. That was his ninth goal in eight games for club and country. What an addition he has been to this club!
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers were awesome in every sense of the word, wreaking havoc down the right flank to devastating effect. The Ox put up another all-action performance and performed his duties like the admirable winger he is. He almost had his moment of glory when he controlled the ball magnificently before slamming Roman Weidenfeller’s bar. On the downside, there was yet another injury to Mikel Arteta and you have to feel for the Arsenal captain that has struggled to stay fit this season. Sanogo also pulled up short as the game reached its climax which must have dampened his spirit that was lifted following his opening goal.
This ultimately meant that the bench-laden duo of Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell got chances to play some football. A third goal would have been the icing on the cake but beating Dortmund with such a good performance would go a long way in restoring some measure of confidence to the lads.
I’m so sure that they can’t wait to get to the Hawthorns to have them some West Bromy meat!
On this day in 2010, this blog was formed and it has been four years of a wonderful experience writing about the club I love and support. I’d like to use this medium to thank everyone that has played a role or two in making Gooner Daily a success story. Let’s keep the flame burning.
Moving to the business of the day, Arsental host a Dortmund side on the back on a poor run of results. Before the international break, the Gunners famously surrendered a comfortable 3-0 lead against Anderlecht at the Emirates and this was followed with another dismal result against Swansea in the league. The match against Manchester United last weekend was one of the best attacking displays I’ve seen from the team in a long while but as always, the Gunners shot themselves in the foot as a Gibbs own goal and a Shrek clincher was enough to give the visitors their first away victory since April.
Tonight the Gunners come up against a Dortmund side that has been hot in Europe but cold in theteam Bundesliga. For a team so formidable in recent years, picking up just 11 points from 12 games has seen the German outfit have their worst start in a very long while. The Gunners are also struggling in the Premier League notching up 17 points from 12 games as well.
To injuries, the Gunners are very likely to be without the duo of Wojciech Szczesny and Jack Wilshere that suffered injuries in the defeat to Manchester United. The regulars are still out and with Theo Walcott suffering a groin strain, he’s going to miss tonight’s clash. On the bright side, Arsenal’s French pair of Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud are back but the HFB is going to miss tonight’s game as well as the game against Galatasaray next month because he’s ineligible. Dortmund have injury concerns of their own with the influential Marco Reus suffering an injury in the game against Paderborn. The Germans will also ne without the likes of Sven Bender, Mats Hummels, Oliver Kirch, Nuri Sahin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Jakub Błaszczykowski.
To team news, Emiliano Martinez is odds on to start in goal but the question remains whether Arsene Wenger would throw Koscielny straight into the mix instead of sticking with the Mertesacker – Monreal central defensive combination. Say what you want about the Spaniard but he has been better than Mertesacker in the recent games they’ve played together. The English pair of Kierab Gibbs and Calum Chambers would maraud the flanks.
Mikel Arteta would obviously start ahead of Mathieu Flamini and he’d be odds on to play alongside Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman hasn’t hit top gear this season but he recently stated that he’s getting fitter with each passing game. Santi Cazorla is a player going through some struggles as well but with Wilshere out injured and Tomas Rosicky clearly out of favor, the diminutive Spaniard would have another chance to get a run out. I expect the pacey attacking combination of Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and the Ox.
Enjoy the game wherever you are