Daily Archives: November 16, 2014
I traveled for a conference for a couple of days so I wasn’t chanced to blog. It’s one of the things I’ve come to terms with as I’m still trying to strike that balance between working in an Oil and Gas company and blogging about Arsenal. We should obviously know what takes precedence. Irrespective though, not much has happened since I last published a post three days ago.
International football has taken center stage and as a Nigerian, I watched the Super Eagles take on a Congo side with a hostile crowd backing them. The Eagles needed a two-goal cushion to help their cause in their bid to qualify for the 2015 AFCON that’s now scheduled to take place in Equatorial Guinea and goals from Ikechukwu Uche and Aaron Samuel helped Stephen Keshi’s side achieve that. Sadly, the Congolese fans attempted to attack the Super Eagles but the police and other authorities had to intervene. What a shame. Such poor losers.
Moving over to European football, Arsenal had its contingent on the international stage and many eyes were on the England vs Slovenia game that featured many Gunners. Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and “Dat Guy” Danny Welbeck played all 90 minutes with the Ox coming on late on. The visitors grabbed the lead when Jordan Henderson nodded in a hilarious own goal but things were leveled when Shrek won a penalty and blasted in the dead ball past Samir Handanovic. The Three Lions went ahead when Welbeck showed good anticipation to the rebound the ball after some good work from Adam Lallana and the game was settled when Welbeck connected well with Raheem Sterling to place the ball home. I certainly hope that his confidence will be boosted ahead of the all-important clash against Manchester United and he hasn’t been on the goals lately so he needed this.
Elsewhere, Arsenal’s man on fire, Alexis Sanchez, opened the scoring in Chile’s 5-0 demolition against Venezuela. It wasn’t the neatest goal you’d see Alexis score but it was a very good team goal all round that involved intricate passing play before Alexis (that got ahead of his teammate, Gary Medel) nodded the ball home from point blank range. Santi Cazorla played for 70 minutes in Spain’s 3-0 thumping of Belarus before he was replaced by Jose Callejon. Goals from Isco, Busquets the Diver and Pedro settled the contest.
Lukas Podolski played 90 minutes for Germany and created an assist in their 4-0 victory over minnows, Gibraltar. With a population of just 30,000 people, Gibraltar doesn’t have much ‘professional footballers’. The illustration below speaks louder than words.
In four qualifiers played thus far, Gibraltar has shipped in seven goals against Poland and Ireland, three goals against Georgia and yesterday, four goals against Germany. They are yet to score in the qualifiers and only God knows how they’d celebrate when they score. Hope it won’t be like Tahiti’s boat paddling when they scored Nigeria in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Wojciech Szczesny kept a clean sheet for Poland in their 4-0 drubbing of Georgia and the Poles are in pole position in the group ahead of Germany, which has been a major highlight of the qualifiers thus far. Time will tell to know if they can keep up but Robert Lewandowski and co. are in a rich vein of form. Joel Campbell also got involved in some international action as Costa Rica endured a pulsating encounter against Uruguay before winning on penalties. It was 3-3 in normal regulation time.
Off the pitch, there has been some encouraging news in regard to fitness of some players. When Olivier Giroud fractured his leg against Everton, even the most optimistic of fans expected him to return to action in early 2015 but in his absence Danny Welbeck has pretty good job. The Englishman has scored five goals in 12 games for the Gunners but he has notched up a couple of assists as well. Having a striker like Giroud back way ahead of schedule is a major plus, because the Handsome French Bloke is integral to the Gunners style of play.
With 17 goals in his first season and 22 goals in his second, Giroud’s progression has been good and it’s also worth noting that Arsenal has missed Giroud on the pitch, especially his headed clearances when the Gunners defend dead balls. The amount of goals the Gunners have conceded to headed balls have been appalling. Giroud’s return will also put Welbeck in some measure of pressure, that would spur the Englishman to perform better knowing that his place in the team will be threatened by the HFB.
Finally, there’s also some good news on Matt Debuchy, as the fullback hopes to return to action as soon as possible. He suffered a bizarre injury against Manchester City but in his absence Calum Chambers has done a decent job, well, until the game against Swansea where he was taken to the cleaners by Jefferson Montero. In all honesty, I’m not looking forward to seeing the duel between Chambers and Angel di Maria but hey, that’s football. Who knows if he’d put the angel in a cage and throw away the keys.
That’s it for Sunday folks.
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