Monthly Archives: July 2015

Arsenal 6-0 Lyon: Match Report and Player Ratings

The Wales international is congratulated by Olivier Giroud after putting Arsenal into an unassailable lead before half-time 

Arsenal 6 (Giroud 30′, Oxlade-Chamberlain 34′, Iwobi 35′, Ramsey 39′, Ozil 62′, Cazorla 85′) – Lyon 0

Match HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference (via Arsenal.com)

There’s this feel an Arsenal fan gets when they see the magnificent Emirates Stadium every season. The magnificent arena with a great fanbase cheering the lads up to do better. After the long-standing trophy drought, Arsenal has won two FA Cups in their new home ground and the fans would be wishing for more.

The Emirates Cup is a decent competition that offers the fans to watch their team play against Europe’s finest and down the years, some great teams have featured in the tournament. As fate may have it, there are also times when an ex-Gunner gets to visit the home ground of a place he once called home and depending on his departure from the club, the reception the player gets varies.

Take Mathieu Flamini for instance, that departed acrimoniously because he wanted some extra coins of silver. When he played for AC Milan in the 2010 edition of the tournament, his every touch was met with jeers and boos from the crowd. Two years later, King Thierry Henry and his New York Red Bulls visited the home of football and as you’d expect from his adoring fans, he was treated like the King he is. Yesterday, the egotistical and cocky Lord Nicklas Bendtner led the line as VFL Bendtner Wolfsburg lost to Villarreal but the fans seemed to be happy with the Lord and his every touch was greeted with a cheer.

The fans welcomed their heroes for the first time at home and when I saw the lineup, I expected a good game of football. What I witnessed was an awesome game of football. Arsene Wenger did ever so well to find a balanced side as the lads continue to build their fitness for the forthcoming campaign. While I expected to see the experienced heads on the pitch, the likes of Alex Iwobi and Emiliano Martinez offered a different dynamism to the team.

Lyon actually drew first blood when Njie fired a shot straight at Martinez after receiving a neat flick from Alexandre Lacazette. There were some injury concerns as the game progressed – some bloke called Lindsay Rose used his knee to smash Le Coq at the back but Clement Grenier pulled his hamstring after attempting a simple pass, much to his disappointment as the look on his face showed that he was in great discomfort.

After that early spell came the blitz! Arsenal smashed in four goals in eight minutes and I was absolutely stunned with the breathtaking football on display. The first was rather routine – Mesut Ozil swinging in one of his superb dead balls that was headed shouldered home by Olivier Giroud. Following his struggles in the Everton game, as well as the club’s links with Karim Benzema, I was hoping for Arsenal’s alpha dog in attack to come up with the goods and its always nice when you see your main striker opening the scoring.

Former Montpellier striker Giroud opened the scoring after the ball appeared to loop in off his shoulder as he leapt for a header

Giroud opening the scoring

The second goal came from the exciting Ox. Wenger was hoping that the lad adds some end product to his game and I’m sure the manager was very pleased to see the Ox get on the scoring act. After latching onto a brilliant pass from Aaron Ramsey, the Ox guided the ball to the goalkeeper’s far post to make it two.

England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fires past Anthony Lopes in the Lyon goal to put Arsenal three ahead

Ox making it two

A minute later, some intricate passing play saw Ozil and Ramsey combine before Iwobi smashed the ball into the back of the net. That was his first goal for the club, albeit non-competitive but the lad expressed his delight after the game. Iwobi even scored a second of the day but the offside flag denied him.

Ramsey’s fourth goal was another living proof that Ozil is such a fantastic footballer. The German schemer dallied on the ball and waited for Rambo to make a darting run before executing one of his orgasmic passes to the Welshman. Ramsey obliged and gave the finish the buildup deserved.

Aaron Ramsey slides in to put Arsenal 4-0 ahead five minutes before half-time to round off an incredible spell for the Gunners

Ramsey poking the ball home

Arsenal took their foot off the pedal in the second half but there was still time for Ozil to get the goal his game deserved and the cake received some icing when Santi Cazorla used his left foot to guide a free kick under the wall to make it six. For a team playing Champions League football this season with Arsenal, Lyon was absolutely demolished and I wouldn’t want to be in their dressing room, even though it’s a pre-season encounter.

The manager stated that the entire squad had the responsibility to add more goals to their team and he must be very excited with having six different goalscorers in yesterday’s game. It was an awesome game of football as I said earlier and I’m obviously looking forward to today’s action against Lord Bendtner and Wolfsburg.

 

Player Ratings

Defense

Emiliano Martinez kept his concentration levels in check and made many superb saves in the course of the game. 8/10

Per Mertesacker had a relatively untroubled afternoon. His only notable highlight was jumping into orbit to stop an aerial ball from going past him. 6/10

Laurent Koscielny made a couple of interceptions but it was bread and butter stuff for the Boss. 6/10

Mathieu Debuchy looks really nice with his new hairstyle but he didn’t offer much from an attacking perspective. He did alright though. 6/10

Kieran Gibbs was a bit sloppy at times and didn’t really contribute much to his team’s attacking play. 6/10

Midfield

Francis Coquelin had a very tidy game protecting the back four and I also noticed that his passing has improved. Maybe it’s just me. 7/10

Aaron Ramsey put up another virtuoso performance in the middle with his goal and two assists proving that he’s a vital asset to the team when playing from the middle. 9/10

Mesut Ozil was a class act, dictating the tempo of the game and providing two assists for his team mates. His goal was well deserved too. 9/10

Attack

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put up another commanding performance and I was happy he scored a goal too. 8/10

Alex Iwobi showed some measure of confidence and he even scored a good goal too. I’m so happy for the lad. 7/10

Olivier Giroud was brilliant as ever, linking up play and doing his thing in attack. 8/10

Substitutes

Mikel Arteta offered his calm presence in the middle of the park and it was nice seeing the captain getting more minutes under his belt. 7/10

Chuba Akpom was unreasonably selfish and was trying too hard to impress. He even had a shot that clipped the post. I feel he needs a loan spell though. 5/10

Theo Walcott had one half chance after receiving a magnificent reverse pass from Cazorla but the goalie denied the Englishman. Bar that highlight, he was largely peripheral. 6/10

Santi Cazorla showed his class as he made an influence on the game and capped it up with a brilliant goal. 8/10

Rene Adelaide is one skillful lad. He even earned himself some sweet words from his manager after the game. 7/10

Isaac Hayden didn’t play long enough to get a rating. N/A

Sayonara.

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Lyon Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

An audition for Lacazette?

It’s time for another environmental sanitation in Lagos State so we all have to stay indoors till at least 10 am, so I figured it would be a time to publish a preview before getting ready to leave for Yaba. After coming back home from Warri, I served myself some good game time with Witcher 3 and more plots unfold as I progress in the game. Lovely stuff.

The Emirates Cup has hit our screens yet again with VFL Wolfsburg and Valencia kicking the tournament off by 2 pm. Gooner of Steel took some time out share some facts about the tournament as well as the scoring system. It’s worth a read. The Gunners have not won the tournament since 2010 and with the kind of form the team showed in the Barclay’s Asia Tour, the fans would be hoping for more of the same in the home of football, Emirates Stadium.

The only time both teams met in a competitive game was as far back as the 2000/01 season, where the Gunners were paired in the same Champions League group with Bayern Munich, Spartak Moscow and Lyon. When the Gunners visited the Stade de Gerland, Thierry Henry scored the only goal that gave Arsenal all three points but when the French giants visited Highbury, Dennis Bergkamp scored what would have proved to be the winner but Edmilson equalized with a very late strike to give Lyon a share of the spoils. Arsenal and Lyon finished below Bayern with eight points each but the Gunners better head to head record saw them qualify in the French side’s stead. Sadly, the Gunners were eliminated in the Knockout Stage in the hands of Valencia thanks to a John Carew goal.

Arsenal Team News

The Gunners would be in buoyant mood following their BAT success and they would be keen to impress in front of their home supporters in what would prove to be a good encounter against a formidable foe. The manager has confirmed that Wojciech Szczesny is leaving the club to join AS Roma on loan, so he’d be a notable omission from the squad. So far the young Pole has made 189 appearances for the club. The game could also see Petr Cech make his non-competitive home debut and I’m expecting him to get the kind of rousing reception he received in Singapore.

Wenger took 27 players to the Asia Tour and he managed to give every single player a piece of the action but I expect a more conservative approach in the Emirates Cup. With the Community Shield coming up next week, and the Premier League starting the week after, Wenger would want to ensure that his first team players are considerably fit for the encounter, so I wouldn’t expect to see much youngsters in the tournament. Then again, what do I know?

Arsenal Injury News

Wenger confirmed in his press conference that everybody is fit but Mathieu Flamini is carrying a knock on his ankle. Flamini has been on the end of some stick from the fans as many are hopeful that the club sends him packing sooner rather than later but this insightful piece by Arseblog’s Tim Stillman on the holding midfielder is worth a read.  The manager also confirmed that Danny Welbeck is still a long way from full fitness, and he stated that the Copa America superstars, Alexis Sanchez and David Ospina, are still on holidays.

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Lyon Team News

Hubert Fournier and his Lyon charges have began the new campaign rather tamely and would be hoping for their star man, Alexandre Lacazette, to stay at the club and lead them to glory. Lacazette scored a career-best 31 goals last season, with 27 of them coming in Ligue 1. The club brought in two players this transfer window – Jeremy Morel from Marseille and Claudio Beauvue from Guimgamp. A couple of players were released by the club including a certain Yoann Gourcuff, that used to have the world at his feet in his Bordeaux days. How sad.

Lyon Injury News

The only major absentee from the Lyon team is Milan Bisevac, that ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in February last season. Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are players in Arsenal that have suffered such a fate and we know how long the lads to return to full fitness.

Lyon Predicted Lineup

Olympique Lyonnais 4-4-2 football formation

Team Form

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: D W W W W
  • Last Result: Everton 1 (Barkley 74′) – Arsenal 3 (Walcott 22′, Cazorla 58′, Ozil 62′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Chuba Akpom (3)

Olympique Lyonnais

  • Last Five Games: D W L L W
  • Last Result: Lyon 2 (Fekir 24′, Lacazette 80′) – AC Milan 1 (Poli 75′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Nabil Fekir, Alexandre Lacazette (1)

 

Gooner Daily says 2 – 1 to the Arsenal

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Szczesny on Loan to Roma: Good for the Player and the Club

Here I am at Osubi Airstrip in Warri as I wait patiently for my flight back to Lagos to be announced. My stay in the city was worthwhile as I got to hang out with my friends as well as having a successful alignment meeting with the Department of Petroleum Resources. It’s always good to have meaningful engagements with your regulators you know.

When Wojciech Szczesny followed AS Roma, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Florenzi on Instagram, many fans thought that he had done it because things were in place for him to leave the club and play for the Romans. Their thoughts seem to be true.

ESPN recently published an article that AS Roma officials have began negotiations to secure the services of the Polish shot stopper on loan. It is believed that Roma harbored some faint hopes of making the deal permanent, but Arsenal was quick to quash to faint hopes. Szczesny will play on loan for the Italian giants for an entire season, and that’s it.

For the Romans, getting Szczesny would be a superb short-term fix for the club as they aim to challenge Juventus for the Scudetto and go far in this season’s Champions League. Morgan de Santics and Bogdan Lobont are currently on the club’s books but they are aging veterans that have given their all to the club and in Szczesny, the team would have a goalie that is ready to challenge them for a first-team berth.

It’s funny how things change in the twinkle of an eye. While David Ospina was busy flying his country’s flag, Arsenal secured the services of Petr Cech and if you pay £10.9m for a legendary veteran like Cech, you’re not going to put him on the bench. So rumors started flying that Fenerbahce had agreed personal terms with Ospina and all that crap and it brought mixed opinions, as some Gunners wished that it was Szczesny that got the boot instead – I guess their wishes came through.

Szczesny was somewhat elated with the arrival of Cech as he hoped to learn a lot from the Czech goalie but with the Pole moving to Italy, I think he has to put a rain check on his Goalkeeping 101 for Dummies class with Cech.

On the short term, a move to Roma would allow Szczesny experience new surroundings, and a new style of football that is Serie A. He has been around far too long at Arsenal and an air of complacency fell into his game as he saw the likes of Manuel Almunia, Vito Mannone and Lukasz Fabianski leave the club.

Moving to Roma will see Szczesny come back in the 2016/17 season refreshed and Wenger would assess his situation and make a decision on what his forward path would be.

I wish Woj the very best in his imminent experience in Italy.

Sayonara