Category Archives: Arsenal

Disappointing Injury News as Santi Cazorla Remains Sidelined for Rest of the Season

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Mesut Ozil dominated the back pages for his sensational hat-trick against Ludogorets at home but the game would also be remembered for that injury sustained by Santi Cazorla to his Achilles. This had been a niggling problem for the Spaniard but we hoped it was going to be a minor issue. The days turned into weeks as the diminutive midfielder required surgery to rectify the issue and it was expected that he was going to be out of action going into the new year.

We are approaching the third month of the year, with the Gunners out of the Premier League title racer and more or less out of Europe, with the FA Cup offering some hope of silverware this season. But it’s likely that the lads will have to soldier on without Cazorla as he would be out for the rest of the season, courtesy of that Achilles problem and is now scheduled to return in August.

Just like Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta before him, Cazorla has now taken the mantle as the injury torch bearer for the club. It seems easy to forget that he had such a lengthy injury layoff last season as well, following a nasty tackle in the draw against Norwich City at Carrow Road. He was out from November till May, before making a comeback in the final game of the campaign against already-relegated Aston Villa.

This is a real cause for concern, as the midfielder has shown that he can’t be relied upon to stay fit, and with Aaron Ramsey and more recently, Mohamed Elneny still having fitness issues, Wenger can only call on the erratic Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin and our newest central midfield option, Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain.

Nonetheless, the club has explored the option of extending the 32-year-old’s contract by an additional year, which is a huge show of faith from the Arsenal staff. Santi Cazorla is such an important asset to the team but with his continued absence, the club may have to move on without him.

I wish him a speedy recovery in his bid to gain full fitness.

Sayonara

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Bayern 5-1 Arsenal: Another Capitulation Yet Again in Europe

Team v Bayern Munich

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

At half time, it was actually 1-1. The Gunners went into the break on the ascendancy, getting a deserved equalizer as well as two good chances late in the half that should have punished Bayern. We knew what was expected of us – a committed defensive performance and counter attacking football, as the team selection showed, with Alex Iwobi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain producing some guile and width from the flanks to support Alexis Sanchez. I among other Arsenal fans was hoping for Mesut Ozil to have a good game as well as a strong performance from a well-rested Granit Xhaka.

The opening goal was quite avoidable and Francis Coquelin has to be blamed for allowing Arjen Robben brace himself up on his left foot before executing a sweet curler past a hapless David Ospina. Bayern dominated the game as expected, threading pass after pass and the Gunners looked so weak without the ball but when they sprung on the break, it was too devastating effect. Alexis Sanchez used his pace to evade Javi Martinez and got fouled right on the edge of the area. Ozil’s resulting free kick was tame but Manuel Neuer fluffed his lines and made a poor save but after a couple of ricochets, the ball went wide.

Arsenal got an equalizer when Laurent Koscielny was fouled in the box by Robert Lewandowski. Alexis stepped up and fired a poor penalty that was parried by Neuer but Alexis showed some determination to get a second bite at the cherry, leveling the contest for the Gunners. Granit Xhaka was clean through at the edge of the box after some good work from the Ox but his shot was fired straight at Neuer. Late on, Alexis found Ozil on the edge of the box but his shot was fired an angle and the German goalie was equal to the task.

Level at half time, the result favored Arsenal but the second half began on a very sad note with Koscielny suffering an injury, so he had to be substituted. In came the erratic Gabriel Paulista and just four minutes after Koscielny left the pitch, Arsenal conceded the second goal. Kieran Gibbs was left exposed on the left and a lofted cross was floated into the box. An aerially dominant keeper like Petr Cech would have gone to anticipate the ball and command his area, but in Ospina, you get the opposite. Ospina showed some indecision and stayed on his line as Lewandowski beat Mustafi on the air to head Bayern to the lead.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Gabriel was ball watching as Lewandowski teed up Thiago Alcantara whose one timed drive was drilled past Ospina to make it 3-1. All the good work in the first half was undone. The team offered nothing going forward and Ospina had to be at his best to prevent the game from having a tennis scoreline. However, the much talked-about zonal marking was on the spotlight as the Arsenal defense were in sixes and sevens in trying to clear their lines, leaving an unmarked Thiago on the edge of the area whose shot was deflected via Xhaka into the net. Ox rounded a terrible night at the office by losing the ball in Arsenal’s danger area, which allowed Thomas Mueller to score his first goal in ages.

Bayern 5-1 Arsenal. An exact replica of the mauling the Gunners received in November 2015. After the game, Koscielny said that he didn’t know what went wrong but Wenger answered the captain, stating that the team lost their organisation and looked mentally jaded. He sure has a way with words. Simply put – Arsenal was cow dung and are out of the Champions League for the seventh season in a row.

This just goes to show how weak this team’s mentality is, especially at ‘big games’. It’s more concerning to know the team continues to struggle at away games, especially against big sides and this is quite embarrassing. As expected, there will be meetings and the players would start making some much fuss of how they’d bounce back and get better in the media.

We really have to get things right against Sutton United, since the FA Cup is the only realistic target.

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Bayern Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

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Arsenal’s last trip to Allianz Arena was horrible

Did you guys see what happened last night?

So we were paired in the same group with Paris St. Germain and they literally ran us ragged in the course of both legs (we still drew both games heh!) but they gave Barcelona a footballing lesson at the Parc des Princes and I don’t see the Catalans coming back from that resounding defeat. Hell, if PSG decides to forfeit the game, they would still win on aggregate. Elsewhere, a profligate Borussia Dortmund lost by a lone goal to Benfica but it’s a deficit that can be overturned in Germany, provided they find their scoring touch again. The German side was uncharacteristically wasteful, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being the waster-in-chief.

The Gunners reward for winning their group is a clash with Bayern Munich, a team they have become all too familiar playing with. The Germans have edged past Arsene Wenger in recent meetings, knocking the Gunners out on two Round of 16 occasions, as well as the 5-1 demolition in the group stages last season. In Arsenal’s five trips to Germany, they have managed one win, one draw and three defeats.

Since Carlo Ancelotti took over from Pep Guardiola, the Bavarians haven’t been commanding in Europe, losing to Atletico Madrid and even minnows, FC Rostov, which earned them a second place finish. They struggled to beat Inglostadt last week but that victory sent them seven points clear of this season’s Bundesliga surprise package, RB Leipzig. Ancelotti will be hoping for his big guns in attack to turn up but in Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller, they have a considerable threat even though both forwards have found it hard to get on the scoring act in recent weeks.

On the injury front, Bayern will be without Jerome Boateng that is still nursing a shoulder problem but they will be boosted with the fact that Franck Ribery has been passed fit to feature for the first team.

Predicted Lineup: Neuer; Alaba, Hummels, Javi Martinez, Lahm (c); Kimmich, Thiago, Vidal; Robben, Lewandowski, Mueller.

Wenger has already confirmed that David Ospina would remain in goal despite the quality of the opposition, stating that the team is where it is because of Ospina. His performance against PSG away was out of the top drawer and he has gone on to put some impressive showings in this season’s Champions League. Granit Xhaka come be in line for a return against German opposition and he will be pretty familiar playing at the Allianz Arena from his Borussia Monchengladbach. It seems like he would start but the manager will be hoping for a better performance from Mesut Ozil. The German has been in shocking in recent weeks and I am hoping he will pick up some form.

Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are still out injured, while Per Mertesacker and Matt Debuchy aren’t match fit enough for selection. Nacho Monreal returns to the team after getting a breather against Hull. It is believed that Lucas Perez has picked up a knock as news surfaced that he didn’t train with the squad.

Predicted Lineup: Ospina; Bellerin, Koscielny (c), Mustafi, Monreal; Xhaka, Coquelin, Ozil; Iwobi, Sanchez, Walcott

It’s going to be an interesting game and I only hope the Gunners get a positive result.

We have had our fair share of negativity this season.

Sayonara.

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