Category Archives: Fanzone

Our FA Cup Title Defense Starts at Nottingham

Image result for lucas perez nottingham goal

Winning three FA Cups in the last four seasons is really one of the best feelings in life knowing that despite our usual consistent shortcomings in the Premier League, the FA Cup has offered the Gunners some solace and our lads then to turn up in style when we play in this competition. I still vividly remember celebrating the 2014 FA Cup in Bheerhugs, Ikeja City Mall that ended our long trophy drought for nine years. Emotions ran wild and the 250,000 fans attendance in the bus parade showed how much it meant to everyone.

Four years later, Arsene Wenger has added two more FA Cup trophies, taking Arsenal’s count in the competition to 13, much more than any other club. It’s also worth noting that Wenger is the competitions most successful manager. Good times, yeah.

Like every campaign, most Premier League teams start from the third round and we have already seen some unique results over the past two days. Liverpool’s 75 million quid man, Virgil van Dijk, earned a spot in the back pages when he headed in what proved to be the match winner in the FA Cup Merseyside derby. Romelu Lukaku returned from his scare injury to score the match clincher for Manchester United as Jesse Lingard continued his mean goalscoring streak. Then there was the imperious Manchester City that sent Burnley to the cleaners with their bamboozling style of attacking football that leaves no prisoners. There were also some interesting draws as Fleetwood Town held Leicester City to a stalemate, Bournemouth had to leave it late to salvage a draw against Wigan Athletic, while last season’s beaten finalists, Chelsea, could only muster a draw against Norwich in Carrow Road and earn themselves a replay at home. On a sad note, struggling Stoke City lost to Coventry City, adding to their wretched vein of form and it was too much for the owners to handle as Mark Hughes finally lost his job.

After several top half finishes in his four-and-a-half year spell in the club, things went awry for the manager and his side and we know how cruel and unforgiving this beautiful game can be. I guess I’d be seeing him on SuperSport Premier League MatchDay Live with the other failed coaches. Oh well.

Today’s opponents, Nottingham City, clashed with the Gunners last season in the Carabao Cup and were on the end of some lethal finishing from Lucas Perez. Shame things didn’t pan out so well for the Spaniard as he currently plies his trade in Deportivo de la Coruna. Nottingham is currently managed by Gary Brazil after Mark Warburton lost his job and the caretaker manager’s first game against Leeds United ended in a draw. They are currently 14th in the SkyBet Championship and while today’s clash against Arsenal offers a nice spectacle for the fans, they would be hoping for some improvement in the coming weeks as they search for a new manager. From an ex-Gunner perspective, Armand Traore would be looking to catch up with the lads from the team he spent the formative years of his career in.

It has been confirmed that Arsene Wenger will not be at the dugout for this game as he starts his three match ban from the FA, but the boss has confirmed that he will shuffle his pack ahead of the fixture,

“I will rotate a little bit because we have also come out of a very high-loaded period,” he said. “We played three big games in six days and twice we were away, followed by a big game at home.

“We have to keep our level of focus, of urgency, because the third round is very difficult especially when you play away from home against a Championship team.”

The Gunners would be without Nacho Monreal (ankle), Sead Kolasinac (ankle), Laurent Koscielny (Achilles), Granit Xhaka (groin) as well as the long term absentees, Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Olivier Giroud (hamstring) and Santi Cazorla (Achilles). With half an eye on the Carabao Cup semifinal against Chelsea, I’d expect the manager to feature the likes of David Ospina, Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, Mo Salah Elneny, Francis Coquelin, Reiss Nelson, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott. I believe these guys would be good enough to do the job required of them.

Sayonara.

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Thoughts on Gnabry’s Move to Bremen: A Fan’s Perspective

Image result for gnabry olympics

Serge Gnabry joined Arsenal as a 15-year-old in 2010, but had to wait for almost three years before he made his mark in the team. With the team suffering one of their trademark injury crises, Gnabry was plunged into the depth and he handled himself pretty well, scoring one goal in the 2-1 win against Swansea and winning that penalty against Crystal Palace. His performances that season earned him a nomination for the UEFA Golden Boy award that was eventually won by Juventus’ Paul Pogba. In the club’s bid for the youngster to get competitive football, he was loaned to West Brom and that turned sour.

After a successful Olympic Games campaign that saw him score six goals for the Germans, Gnabry has been on the back pages recently, with ESPN reporting that a transfer to Werder Bremen is in the works. With Gnabry’s contract expiring this summer, Arsenal is at the same point they were with Robin van Persie where they are left with just three options – give the lad a new long term contract, let the lad run out his contract and leave on a Bosman, or everyone’s least favorite – sell him off and make some money of him.

Werder Bremen has been quite confident on Twitter, expressing their optimism in signing the player.

To this end, I have gathered some thoughts from some Arsenal fans, and it’s worth sharing in today’s post

 

Chuks Tristan – @Chuks_Tristan

Even if he wants to leave next summer, he should sign a new contract in appreciation of what Arsenal has done for him. That way we can get a decent transfer fee for him.

King Martyn – @mayorbaze

Gnabry has not done enough in England to hold Arsenal by the balls. I don’t like players with that kind of attitude. This is someone that couldn’t even get into West Brom’s team.

Eric – @daviruz

If Gnabry is holding Arsenal to ransom, it makes me wonder if Arsene Wenger should continue keeping the faith in some of his players. Because he shined at the Olympic Games, does it give him any right to put us in this situation?

Dondeon – @DondeonBeke

Gnabry is a talented kid, no doubt. He has had his injuries and the club has stood solidly behind him for years. The only reason he was allowed to go to the Olympic Games when the likes of Alex Iwobi wasn’t allowed was because he needed games. If because of that Olympics, he thinks he is more than a squad player, he can move on. No hard feelings, but I don’t like these kids acting this way after all the faith Arsene Wenger has had in them.

Anayo – @K_Sturna

The only issue I have with Gnabry leaving the club is that we would get peanuts from the transfer.

Bhydemi Brainz – @bhydemi

I would like Gnabry to stay, now that we sent Joel Campbell on loan to Sporting CP. I believe he can get into the team this season, especially on the left wing. If he decides to go to the Bundesliga, I don’t see him getting any better than he is already.

Bola – @Bolagunner

Loan? Yes. Selling him would be quite ridiculous because in three to four years time, Arsenal would have their ‘Gnaback’ like Manchester United did with ‘Pogback’ to sign Gnabry for $100m.

Wilson – @wheelsindk

Gnabry should not be sold. If Arsenal wants to sell him, he must have a reasonable buy back clause. I’d rather we loaned him instead

Amos – @amoscp

With a year left on his contract and at 23, Arsenal has to be decisive with Gnabry. If he thinks his performances in the Olympic Games are enough to push a move, then Wenger has to decide. Give him a new contract and send him out on loan, or just sell him to the highest bidder. Right now, I’m not bothered about Gnabry. Does Lord Nicklas Bendtner have a club?

 

There you have it. Lot’s of mixed opinions about the lad’s potential exit.

Sayonara.

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Quick Roundup of Gunners on International Duty

Elneny would feature against Iwobi today

There’s usually this dullness that comes with international football, but it’s always nice to see some players strut their stuff on the international scene. The hope as always, would be that the players come back to North London unscathed.

Gooner Daily gives a quick update on Arsenal’s ambassadors on international duty.

Wojciech Szczesny

He may not be playing for the Gunners this season but his progress is being monitored by the Arsenal staff. After leaving his Roma duties, he got the nod ahead of his Polish rival and former teammate, Lukasz Fabianski, in Poland’s 1-0 win over Serbia yesterday. The Poles have a match against Finland tomorrow but it’s down to the manager to decide whether Szczesny features again.

Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud

Didier Deschamps has called up the Arsenal duo for France’s friendlies against Netherlands and Russia. The Dutch team will contend with the embarrassment of not qualifying for the European Championships holding in France but Giroud would be hoping for get some goals under his belt as he’s currently in a drought of two goals in his last 13 or so.

Mesut Ozil

The German superstar has been called up for Germany’s high-profile friendly against England. He’s also odds on to feature in Germany’s friendly with Italy. The last time both sides met in a competitive fixture, the Azzurri got the upper head, so there would be a bit of revenge in the air.

David Ospina

Ospina played 90 minutes in Colombia’s World Cup qualifier win over Bolivia but he had to take the ball out of his net on two occasions. He will play in Colombia’s second game against Ecuador that comes up next week.

Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck

The Arsenal attacking duo have been called up by Roy Hodgson for England’s friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands. There have been some concerns about Welbeck’s fitness as he missed out on some training sessions but it’s quite expected having been out of the game for so long. Walcott will offer an attacking outlet for the Three Lions and will want to play his part for his nation.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis played the full game for the South American champions but he could not help his side avoid defeat to their superior opponents. Both teams met in the finals of the Copa America last year but the Chilean triumphed in that fixture. Revenge, they say, is a dish best served cold, and the Argentines have gained three points on enemy territory. Alexis will feature again for the Chileans as they visit Venezuela next week.

Joel Campbell

The winger has found himself on the bench yet again following the emergence of Alex Iwobi but at international level, he’s undroppable. Costa Rica has a double-legged affair with Jamaica and I expect Campbell to do his best for his nation in both encounters.

Alex Iwobi and Mohamed Elneny

It’s always nice when two club teammates find themselves on opposing sides at international level and that’s what is going to happen with Iwobi and Elneny lock horns at Kaduna, Nigeria and Alexandria, Egypt in the next couple of days. In what has been tagged as a ‘do-or-die’ affair, Nigeria and Egypt are set to fight it out to end the right to be at the 2017 African Cup of Nations. I will follow this game with keen interest, bearing in mind that my blood bleeds green.

Chuba Akpom, Calum Chambers and Isaac Hayden

Gareth Southgate has called up these Arsenal youngsters for England U-21 qualifiers against Switzerland. Chambers is quite a regular at U-21 level but a part of me is still hoping for Akpom to pledge his allegiance to Nigeria instead of England.

Hector Bellerin

The speedster turned 21 last weekend and he’s approaching his final year at U-21 level because there would be a time where he would be no longer available for selection at this level. Nonetheless, he has been called up for Spain U-21’s qualifiers against Croatia and Norway.

Serge Gnabry

It has been a disastrous campaign for the young German but he was called up by Germany U-21s for the clashes against Faroe Islands and Russia.

Sayonara.

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