Monthly Archives: May 2016

Giroud Inspires Arsenal Victory as the Fans Celebrate St. Totteringham’s Day

15/16: Arsenal v Aston Villa - Olivier Giroud

Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

Arsenal has been trolled times without number for always finishing in fourth place and some have even gone as far as saying that the manager, Arsene Wenger, regards it as a ‘trophy’, but at the start of the game against Aston Villa, a third placed Arsenal could potentially end the game in second place or even fourth place, based on the outcome of other games. Already relegated Newcastle hosted Tottenham while Manchester City traveled to Wales to take on Swansea in Manuel Pellegrini’s last match in the club.

From the onset, Arsenal came out firing on all cylinders and got ahead when Nacho Monreal lofted a delicious ball that was headed home by Olivier Giroud. After going through that long spell without finding the back of the net, that was two in two for the Frenchman. Something to give his national team manager to think about, bearing in mind that Karim Benzema wasn’t invited to the French party.

The first half had some dullness about it, but the fans came to live when they heard that Tottenham had gone two goals down in St. James Park. I’d not seen the Emirates faithful that loud in quite some time but it was good for banter. Then there was a red card to Aleksandr Mitrovic that came around the period Tottenham pulled one back and there was some anxiety shown by the fans, especially with the fact that Arsenal had a narrow 1-0 lead.

Then Mesut Ozil turned up the style with a lovely pass to Giroud that was blasted him to make it two. While the fans were basking in the euphoria of getting a comfortable lead, Hector Bellerin sent a sumptuous through ball that was guided home by Giroud for his second Arsenal hat-trick. For all the stick he gets from his own fans, it’s worth noting that Giroud now has 82 goals in 188 games for the club and I’m backing him to hit 100 next season.

Mikel Arteta came on for one last hurrah and you could see the reception he got from the home fans. It was almost fairytale stuff when he latched onto Alexis Sanchez’s pass to blast the ball into the underside of the bar before the goalie conceded an own goal to put some icing on the cake. Arteta was really emotional at the end as he let out a tear or two as the fans sang his songs and screamed out his name. In an interview with Arsenal player, he said that he will never forget the club but he confirmed that he’s going to hang his boots. It is rumored that he might join Pep Guardiola in Manchester City next season.

There was also a guard of honor for Tomas Rosicky

The players wore ‘Rosicky 7’ shirts and welcomed the legend to the pitch one final time as he bowed out. It was really nice stuff.

To top off a wonderful day in the office, Tottenham were thrashed resoundingly by a 10-man Newcastle and the fans celebrated St. Totteringham’s Day for the 21st year in a row. At the sound of the referees whistle, it was 21 years, five days, 23 hours, 11 minutes and 20 seconds since Tottenham finished above their North London rivals in the league.

There would be a couple of reviews and all as the months without Arsenal football go on. Gooner Daily will also have some coverage of Arsenal’s stars at the upcoming European Championships in France.

Sayonara.

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Aston Villa Preview: Goodbye Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky

After a long Premier League campaign, we are at the last game of the season, in front of the Emirates faithful, that have supported the team all season long. Some finally got to make their feelings known to the manager with organized protests and what have you, but today is about three stalwarts that will be bowing out after giving their blood, sweat and tears to the Red and White.

Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini made a combined total of 460 appearance for the club and were very influential members of the squad. Rosicky and Flamini were part of that fantastic four in midfield that almost won the Premier League in the 2007/08 season. Injuries halted Rosicky’s progress and it became a struggle with one injury or the other. Sadly, he never got to showcase his talent for a full campaign but his renaissance in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 season were breaths of fresh air for the Arsenal fans.

As for Matt Flamini, he grew from a fringe utility player to a defensive colossus that ousted Gilberto Silva from the team before he left for the riches of AC Milan. After five years in Italy, Arsene Wenger gave him a chance to resurrect his waning career and for the most part, he was a dependable holding midfielder.

Finally, club captain, Mikel Arteta – coolest head in the club, great personality, magnificent hair. Joined in a crisis period, shortly after the club got thrashed resoundingly by Manchester United. Gave the best part of five years to the club but the twilight of career was plagued by series of muscular injuries – an indication that his body couldn’t cope any longer with the rigors of Premier League football.

With already-relegated Aston Villa visiting the Emirates with their sights sets on SkyBet Championship football, it would be a great occasion to showcase the three stalwarts one final time in front of an appreciative crowd. To team selection, I expect Petr Cech to get the nod ahead of David Ospina and the defense will pretty much pick itself with Gabriel and Koscielny in the central defensive pairing while Hector Bellerin will continue his stint on the right hand flag. We could potentially see a left back berth for Kieran Gibbs but it’s highly unlikely.

In midfield, the El Neny – Ramsey combination could potentially be sacrificed to give way for either Arteta or Flamini, except if the boss wants to introduce them as substitutes. There is also a Santi Cazorla itching for some game having been out for quite a long time. According to the boss, Mesut Ozil has recovered from his hip problem and is available for selection. In attack, Welbeck’s injury has paved the way for Olivier Giroud to be the unanimous selection in attack and Theo Walcott will be lurking around too.

It promises to be a relaxing encounter.

Here’s to a good game of football.

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Matt Debuchy Ruled Out of Euro 2016

I can still remember Matt Debuchy’s first game for the Gunners in the 2014 Community Shield. Ironically, the man Debuchy replaced was playing for the opposing team and the Gunners went on to win the game with a commanding three-goal margin. He also had a solid league debut and earned his first red card for the club in a Champions League playoff against Besiktas. For the most part, he looked like a good replacement for Bacary Sagna as he marauded the right flank providing assistance offensively and defensively.

Then injury struck. In a very unfortunate incident at the Emirates in September, he damaged his ankle ligaments and was administered Oxygen on the pitch before he was stretched off. Following a successful surgery, Debuchy was ruled out for three months and that paved the way for young Hector Bellerin to make his breakthrough for the Gunners. Debuchy made his comeback and struggled to break into the first team setup but due to paucity of options in central defense, the Frenchman found himself playing as a center back and even scored a nice header in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield. When he finally got a run-out on the right, he was shoved into the stands by Marko Arnautovic, dislocating his shoulder in the process.

That’s when Debuchy’s Arsenal career went downhill. In a season where a competitive team like Arsenal plays up to 50 – 60 games, the Frenchman managed just 15 games and with Bellerin rising to glory, it was going to be interesting to see how Wenger was to manage both players in the 2015/16 season. With Carl Jenkinson shipped out to West Ham, the right back berth was between the elder Frenchman and the young Spaniard but the manager favored Bellerin and Debuchy found games hard to come by.

As expected from a player that has been used to playing regular football in his Lille and Newcastle days, Debuchy resorted to moaning and spoke about the possibility of leaving in January. He harbored hopes of featuring in Euro 2016 and with the likes of Bacary Sagna and Christoph Jallet ahead of him in the French national team pecking order, he needed regular football to convince Didier Deschamps to give him a chance.

After notching up nine appearances for Girondins Bordeaux since his move from Arsenal in the winter transfer window, Debuchy has suffered a thigh injury in the 1-1 draw with PSG and will be unavailable for selection in the summer’s tournament. Bordeaux manager, Ulrich Rame, confirmed his absence at a press conference.

In addition to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck, Debuchy would join the list of Gunners that would miss the soccer fiesta in France this summer. With Jenkinson returning to the club (still injured) and Calum Chambers still in the fray, Debuchy will have to make a decision on his future this summer, even though he still has two years left on his contract with Arsenal.

Sayonara.

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