Blog Archives

Guendouzi to Marseille – Well, That Was Expected

Arsenal agree deal with Marseille for Matteo Guendouzi | Metro News

The latest transfer rumors surrounding the club is the imminent departure of Matteo Guendouzi to Olympique Marseille for a measly £10m. For a player that had the huge potential tag hovering around his shaggy hair, losing him for 10 million quid is downright shameful for the folks at the Arsenal negotiation table, but that’s not news, as Arsenal has a poor history when it comes to player sales. However, one has to consider the fact that Guendouzi isn’t a player that would command a mammoth fee, as his performances have shown at Arsenal and most recently, Hertha Berlin.

Guendouzi, on the other hand, didn’t cover himself in glory, and should have been in contention to make the central midfield position his for the taking with Granit Xhaka leaving for Roma but he burnt his bridges with Arsenal gaffer, Mikel Arteta, to the point of no return. That debacle at Brighton two seasons ago should not have escalated to the level it did, but hey, football has its own drama, and we are here for the show.

Guendouzi is set to leave Arsenal after only 82 appearances and the solo goal in the convincing win against Qarabag in the Europa League. It is believed that he ruffled some feathers from a disciplinary standpoint while at Hertha Berlin last season and with him returning to the club this summer, many believed that his time was up at the club. At 22, he clearly has his best years ahead of him, but they will not be at the Emirates Stadium.

I hope he does well for himself at Marseille, and try to ‘grow up’ because his disciplinary issues will place an unnecessary dent on his reputation. It’s meant to be about the football, you know.

With Guendouzi and Xhaka leaving, having some new bodies at central midfield is an absolute must, that’s why I am drooling at the prospect of Manuel Locatelli joining us, which will be a very welcome addition to a playing position currently deficient in quality and quantity. 


Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily.

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

Arsenal 2 Marseille 0: L’ OM Destroyed by Shere Wil-power

Jack Wilshere

Wilshere bags a brace

The destiny of the Group of Death, as it’s fondly known, was set to take another twist as all three teams vying for qualification needed victories to give them a likely chance of achieving that feat. However, Olympique Marseille has been appalling throughout the matchday fixtures and with no points in the bag, they were already eliminated prior to yesterday’s game so they had nothing to lose than to become party poopers.

Arsene Wenger rotated his squad, bringing on Nacho Monreal for Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Flamini for Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky for Santi Cazorla. Right from the kick off, Aaron Ramsey was culpable for losing possession in midfield but Laurent Koscielny covered his tracks before teeing up Mesut Ozil. The German schemer fed Bacary Sagna who in turn located Jack Wilshere with a carefully-threaded ball.

The Englishman waltzed into the box, evaded his marker, picked his spot and sweetly curled the ball into the net after just 29 seconds to get his team off to a flyer. With barely a minute gone, Arsenal had already knocked Marseille to the ropes with a left-handed uppercut from Jack Wilshere.

Pick that one out: Wilshere's left-footed curler eluded Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda

Wilshere almost turned from scorer to provider when he was on the end of Olivier Giroud’s perfect pass and he quickly squared the ball into the path of Ramsey of all people, but the Welshman missed from point-blank range, a feat that seemed unfathomable taking into account his goalscoring haul this campaign.

Marseille’s left back, Morel, was having a torrid time and Arsenal capitalized on his frailties. Wilshere was in the thick of things again and he sent Sagna through on the right. The Frenchman latched onto the ball and drilled it to the path of an onrushing Giroud but Lucas Mendes was on hand to make a vital interception or else it would have been curtains!

Marseille made a rare foray at goal through Abdullah on the right flank but his tame attempt of a cross was headed wide off the mark by Andre-Pierre Gignac. Ramsey noticed Ozil making an intelligent run in behind the defense and the Welsh Dragon dropped a few jaws when dinked the ball over the top but Ozil’s first touch was rather heavy and a good chance went begging.

Monreal suffered a lapse in concentration and the ball was robbed off him before losing the ball to Gignac. Szczesny charged the striker and made himself big to anticipate the ball much to the delight of the Emirates faithful. Arsenal continued to probe the Marseille back line and a moment of controversy occurred when Lucas Mendes wanted to rip Giroud’s jersey off him inside the box. However, the Gunner’s persistence paid off as Ramsey was impeded in the box by N’Koulou after a superlative spin.

Mesut Ozil stepped up and decided not to take a considerable distance but he was left egg-faced by Steve Mandanda saved the spot kick.

At the start of the second half, Arsenal didn’t take their foot off the pedal with Ozil flicking the ball for Giroud. The forward was adjudged to be offside by the linesman although replays proved that it was the wrong decision. Wilshere was having the game of his life and he chipped the ball over the Marseille defense to Ozil. The German controlled the ball superbly by Mandanda was on hand to make another good stop.

Monreal made a foray forward and lofted the ball for Giroud but he had no clue where it was as it bounced off his back before Mandanda smothered the loose ball but Arsenal gave themselves some breathing space when Ramsey played the ball in behind the defense to Ozil and his one-timed pass to Wilshere was finished aplomb by the English maestro to make it two.

Game over: Wilshere converted his second goal of the night to ensure Arsenal grabbed all three points

L’ OM responded with two attacking substitutions in the forms of Mathieu Valbuena the Hobbit and the red-hot Florian Thauvin, and both players laid their marks on the game as the young French starlet headed Morel’s cross over.

Khalifa clipped the ball for Thauvin and he used his technique to control the ball superbly then he lashed a shot but Szczesny made himself big to make another magnificent save. With the ball sailing effortlessly in the air before dropping towards the net, Monreal was very alert to clear the ball into orbit.

Arsene Wenger took out Rosicky and Wilshere (that earned a rousing reception) for Santi Cazorla and the returning Theo Walcott. Abdullah crossed the ball for Thauvin and he smashed in another goal-bound shot by Szczesny dived low to make another brilliant save before Koscielny mopped up the danger.

Wenger’s last throw of the dice was to bring on Mikel Arteta for Ozil to sure things up in midfield. After some patient buildup, Walcott drilled a ball that hit a defender before falling kindly into Cazorla’s path but his left-footed volley missed the target by a far mile. Late on, Ramsey executed a neat back-heeled pass to Sagna that sent Walcott through but he failed to connect well with the ball and sent is shot wide.

Arsene Wenger’s post-match conference had it all, ranging from Wilshere’s performance to Marseille poor showing in the competition and most importantly, the fact that Arsenal has 12 points and haven’t still qualified to the Knockout Stages. With Dortmund ending their streak of defeats with a vital win over Napoli, the group is going down to the wire and Arsenal has to be very alert to avoid defeat in San Paolo if they want to top the group, bearing in mind that Dortmund is likely to get the result they need against Marseille.

It’s one game at a time and all focus will be fixed on a Cardiff side that have gotten points of both Manchester outfits but have lost at home to Chelsea and Tottenham, two London-based teams.

Last night, Marseille was destroyed by some ‘Shere Wil-power’. Let’s hope his good run of form continues.


Gooner Daily has been nominated for the Best Sports blog category in the 2013 Nigerian Blog Awards. Please vote!

You can download the Gooner Daily  BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page and click on the like button.

You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button


Marseille Preview: Opportunity to Gain Stronghold on the Group

Arsenal hosts Olympique Marseille in a vital Group of Death clash and a victory would aid their cause in qualifying from the group, as Borussia Dortmund and Napoli will lock horns in the other fixture in the group. The group has definitely lived up to its billing as the Group of Death as the top three teams have secured results against each other while the bottom team currently serves as the whooping boys.

Following the disappointing loss to Manchester United before the international break, the Gunners have bounced back with a comfortable home victory against this season’s over-achievers, Southampton, and Arsene Wenger’s men sit at the summit of the League table with a four point cushion over Liverpool and Chelsea.

The Gunners are also in pole position in their Champions League group after a historic victory against Dortmund in their feared home ground. They are currently joint top with SSC Napoli at nine points, while the German high flyers aren’t far off with six points. Marseille, however, have failed to register a single point with four games gone.

The visitors were in a poor run of form, losing three in four games but they are back to winning ways again, as they sealed victories in their last two Ligue 1 games. The French outfit is also in a very bad run of form in Europe’s elite competition losing all four games in the Group of Death. Their away form in Europe is equally appalling with four losses in their last six away games in the Champions League while Arsenal on the other hand, have won six of their last seven home games in Europe.

Arsene Wenger’s team will be high on confidence in the wake of such a weaker opposition but Santi Cazorla has promised that the team would avoid complacency,

“The main problem I see is everyone thinks it’s going to be an easy game for us to win. There is nothing at stake for Marseille because they have zero points but they are going to make things difficult for us

“It may be tough and if we’re not careful we might slip up and then we might not be able to get through to the next round. We need to understand it’s a vital match. If we obtained a bad result then it would make things very complicated for us to go to Napoli and win there.”

This is the kind of attitude we as fans expect from the players and I hope their concentration levels will be on check tonight. Arsenal will vividly remember that it was Aaron Ramsey’s lapse in concentration that cost the team a goal against Dortmund at the Emirates. It was only befitting that it was Ramsey that scored the match winner at Germany to atone for his error in the first leg.

The Gunners would have to be very wary of the threat Marseille’s attacking midfielders could pose as Mathieu Valbuena, Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet, all skillful and treacherous with the ball at their feet.

Valbuena’s low center of gravity is a huge asset for him, as he skips past players with consummate ease and France’s qualification to the World Cup could spur him on to put up a better performance. The world also witnessed the skill set Thauvin possesses in the recently concluded Under-20 World Cup. His outing in France’s triumphant campaign saw him move from LOSC Lille Metropole to L’ OM and he has scored four goals and supplied two assists in his last five games.

To injury news, With the absence of the usual suspects (Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Yaya Sanogo (back), the Ox (knee) and Abou Diaby (diabytes), Arsene Wenger’s squad has no major fitness issues ahead of this game. Influential talisman, Mikel Arteta, took a knock against Southampton, but he is fit enough to play.

Mathieu Flamini missed the last match against the Saints due to suspension, the Frenchman is expected to take the midfield. Theo Walcott is fully fit but he’ll need to get a run of games to get on his stride and I have a hunch that Wenger probably won’t start with him for this tie.

At Marseille, key player, Andre Ayew, and strong center back, Rod Fanni, are also going to miss out.

To team news, I’d expect both lineups to look like this,

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formationOlympique de Marseille 4-3-2-1 football formation

This is a perfect opportunity to gain stronghold of the group.

I hope the Gunners seize it.


Gooner Daily has been nominated for the Best Sports blog category in the 2013 Nigerian Blog Awards. Please vote!

You can download the Gooner Daily  BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page and click on the like button.

You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button