The Offside - Arsenal Archives for January 2007

“It Was All Us”

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Arsene Wenger on Sunday's away draw with Liverpool:

"It was a big test today but we have shown tremendous quality.
...
Overall it was a great football game, a bit of an edgy start and we were a bit nervous and punished quickly.
...
But from then on it was all us and it was a question of not conceding a second and coming back.

Half Time: Liverpool 1-0 Arsenal

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Thanks to a Gerrard goal off of a set piece. The wall needs some work, there, fellas.

Anything less than a win today and Arsenal will lose their spot as lone leaders.

UPDATE: Fabregas equalises in the 79th minute. A bit of a toe poke from the Spaniard. 1-1.

Full Time: Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal

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Goals from Gerrard and Cesc Fabregas. Arsenal finished the match with a nice flourish or two, as Cesc hit the bar just a couple minutes from time. The rebound should have been put away, but such is life.

In all, a good result for Arsenal. They've got a point from their fist big test of the season, and share the top of the table with Manchester United (with a game in hand).

Now This is a 4-4-2 We Can All Get Behind

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Makes sense, right?

Video of the Carnage

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Thanks to the Arsenalist, you can watch videos of each of the seven goals from last night Champions League win over Slavia Prague.

The fellows at left are celebrating one of the four goals they scored between them. They seem mildly chuffed.

As for my personal man of the match...Given my preseason concerns about Alex Hleb, and given his performance so far this year.

Full Time: Arsenal 7-0 Slavic Prague

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A sweet demolition of an outmanned competitor. A stated earlier, Alex Hleb was the man of the match for me, and his two goals were joined by two from Cesc, two from Theo, and the coup de grâce from Nik Bendtner, who came on as a sub. Good lord, what a display of football.

The perfect start continues apace. More as the dust settles from this one.

Half Time: Arsenal 3-0 Slavia Prague

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Well. Things are not going well for the visitors in this Champions League tilt. Cesc Fabregas slotted home a Hleb cross just 5 minutes in. Ever the gentleman, the Spaniard repaid the favor by assisting on Hleb goal, which made it 2-0.

To top things off, Theo Walcott netted a 30-yard strike into an empty net as the 'keeper was unable to corral a back pass.

Champions League Tonight

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Arsenal resume Champions League play tonight when Slavia Prague visit the Emirates Stadium. The hosts will be heavily favored, and Arsenal already two points ahead in Group H, a win tonight would all but assure them safe passage to the knockout stage.

Arsene Wenger hopes that less nailbiting in Europe will allow the Gunners to better focus on their next two heavyweight Prem matches: Liverpool and Manchester United.

Arsenal 2-0 Bolton

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A nice, professional win for the Gunners today as Bolton are pushed to the bottom of the table. Arsenal maintains its lead at the top over Manchester United.

Kolo Toure's 67th minute goal was enough for the home side, but the rumoured-dead Tomas Rosicky added an insurance score 9 minutes from time.

Arsene Wenger specifically gave props to Theo Walcott for helping to turn the tide in favor of Arsenal.

Wenger Shows Off His Bust, RvP Crocks His Knee

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It's been a mostly quiet week or two for Arsenal, unless you count Spanish press accounts of Cesc Fabregas' imminent and inevitable move to Barcelona. Or is it Real Madrid?

During this down time, Arsenal gaffer Arsene Wenger enjoyed a new bronze bust himself, unveiled by the club in recognition of his charmed service since 1996. The pic you see here is actually an exact replica of the final piece, but you get the idea.

International Round-up

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Not a lot of Arsenal news these days, it being another international week and all. Unless you count even more Lehmann drama, which I am not at the moment.

In Euro 2008 qualifying, Croatia defetaed Israel 1-0 thanks to Arsenal striker Eduardo's 52nd-minute goal. Israel's loss is good news for England, by the way, who look to be in the driver's seat for a qualification spot.

Where in the World is Jens Lehmann?

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Not physically, of course. Franz Beckenbauer long ago implanted a GPS chip in all German national team players. How else would we know where Michael Ballack is?

No, I mean, what's his status with Germany, with Arsenal, and with his fellow players. For one, it seems as if he and Oliver Kahn have rekindled their flirting. Ollie got the ball rolling this time, lamenting that there would never be another keeper as good as the older starts or, well, him, again in the national team.

Chinese Fans’ Long National Nightmare Ends

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They are 1.3 billion strong, have a rapidly growing economy, and are awaiting the 2008 summer Olympic games. But thus far, Chinese football fans have had to settle for Chelsea-specific web sites and Manchester United tours. Mercifully, the Arsenal have now launched their own web site in China (and in Chinese), and Arsene Wenger hopes it's the first step to every Chinese supporter being an Arsenal supporter.

The Handsome Taunter

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Clearly, Arsenal are doomed. Sure, the Gunners are atop the table, two points in front of Manchester United (with a game in hand). But it's early, of course. And now Carlos Tevez and Patrice Evra have put Arsenal on notice that ManYoo will crush them in due time.

The handsome (red) devil Tevez claims that

"Arsenal are the leaders in the table but Manchester United should be favourites for the title and the Champions League.

A Close Call: Arsenal 3-2 Sunderland

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It seemed as if Arsenal would cruise to yet another win after opening up a 2-0 lead over Sunderland after just 14 minutes. Goals from Robin van Persie and Philippe Senderos looked to be more than enough to handle the visitors.

But then...the Black Cats pulled one back in the 25th minute courtesy of Ross Wallace. And shortly after halftime, Kenwyn Jones equalized to make it interesting.

Bucharest Calling

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The videos on YouTube kept getting zapped before I could post them, but better late than never, here's some footage from Arsenal's Champions League win over Steaua Bucharest, thanks to OleOle.

Something Special, It Is

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So here we sit, heading full on into Autumn, with the Gunners atop the League and on a nine-match winning streak. Although that equals the record set by the "Invincibles" of 2003-2004, it seems a wee bit silly to start comparisons with that legendary squad.

Robin van Persie, who scored on Tuesday to ensure Arsenal's 1-0 Champions League win against Steaua Bucharest, is, let us say, an unusually confident fellow in most situations.

Full Time: Steaua Bucharest 0-1 Arsenal

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Right score below, but the wrong scorer. Instead of my guess, Adebayor, it was Robin van Persie who ensured victory with a sweet second-half finish.

Two Group H matches down, and Arsenal have already nearly qualified for the knockout stages.

Knock on wood, but the season(s) really couldn't have started any better thus far.

Also, it looks like God decided to sit this one out.

Half Time: Steaua Bucharest 0-0 Arsenal

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Several yellow cards, but no goals yet in sight for either side.

Only God Can Beat Arsenal: Steaua Bucharest Preview

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The Arsenal get back into Champions League mode this evening away to Steaua Bucharest. The Gunners have not had a mound of success in Eastern Europe lately, but it's undeniable that the club has had a smashing start to the season. Still - are Arsenal good enough to beat the Creator of Heaven and Earth? Inquiring Romanian minds apparently want to know.

Wenger Favors Retroactive Punishment

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Last Saturday, West Ham man Mark Noble did his best to reduce Aleksandr Hleb's working joints by one with a over-the-top tackle during Arsenal's 1-0 away win. The Belarussian's knee was knocked, and he was stretchered off of the pitch.

For his troubles, Noble received only a yellow card on what looked to many observers like a straight red offense.