The Offside - Arsenal Archives for January 2008

What?

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The enigmatic season continues. Stay tuned for more today or tomorrow. Share your thoughts on a surprising win.

Stamford Bridge Awaits

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Morning. It's been a long week and I apologize for not getting something up after the win against Kiev. It was a hard-fought match, and Arsenal was quite lucky to come away with a win. They didn't play particularly well for long stretches of the game. The ball Cesc played to Bendtner for the winner was great; but you can't help but admit the refs handed us a break.

Arsenal v Dynamo Kiev Preview & Game Thread

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Matchday 5 of the Champions League is upon us, and after a short respite, the nerves must be high for Gunners fans around the world. With title aspirations waning, competitions like the Champions League and the FA Cup seem to be the only likely sources for silverware this season. The record has been woeful as of late, with just one win in the past six fixtures - EPL and CL included.

Title Out

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'Nuff said in this picture.

Gunnerblog gives a great read on the appointment of Cesc as captain. More tomorrow.

Manchester City Preview & Game Thread

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Kickoff is in t-minus 10 minutes so there isn't much time for a preview. Consider this a thread to leave your thoughts before and after a must win game for the Gunners. Hard to see how this season could get much worse, but if this squad has any character, they can bounce back and win this game. Here's a look at the squad changes via the BBC Live Text

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger leaves skipper William Gallas out of the squad after the player made derogatory comments about his team-mates this week - and Emmanuel Adebayor is also excluded.

What Now Mr. Wenger?

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An interview came out today with captain William Gallas and, if reports are accurate, it's far from good news. This isn't the kind of bold leadership this young squad is in need of, but perhaps it is. But how do you take it from a player who hasn't shown the consistent mettle you'd expect from a captain?

Theo out for Three Months

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This sucks. Walcott was injured in England training, getting ready for a pointless international friendly. He's set for surgery soon, and if there was a player aside from Cesc who we couldn't afford to lose, it was Theo.

Wenger, please sign someone in January. I feel like all we can do is hold on until reinforcements can be brought in.

Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa

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These recaps aren't fun to write after another loss. I feel like it's deja vu all over again - another loss against a team that needed to be beaten, especially if this side claims to have title aspirations. It's hard to think about what keeps going wrong, because the same problems are showing up over and over again.

Aston Villa Preview plus Other Odds and Ends

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There's a fair amount of news heading into the weekend, with a big game against Aston Villa on the schedule. A quick look at the standings shows that the Villains are just two points behind us in the UEFA Cup slot - it'd be good to have a little breathing room between them and us, especially as the season goes on.

Arsenal 3-0 Wigan Athletic

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I know that these titles are boring and lack any kind of originality, but forgive me, I've already used the title of The Who song 'The Kids Are Alright.' However, like the previous Carling Cup fixture, it applies once again, as a squad of 19 year olds saw off a decent Wigan side. Household names like Jay Simpson and Fran Merida were pulling the strings for the Gunners, and Simpson nabbed a brace while Vela scored a goal that was a thing of beauty.

Young Guns to Feature Today

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Today's Carling Cup match up with Wigan kind of snuck up on me. I didn't know that this week was another fixture. To nobody's surprise, Wenger has announced that it will be a similar squad to the one that faced Sheffield United a month ago or so. Like every Arsenal Carling Cup match, it will be an opportunity to get a glimpse at the future of the club and will give them valuable experience.

Nasri’s Official Website

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Is a gem. Totally worth checking out. Make sure you watch the introduction - don't skip it. If it's not the terrible rap music, the numerous translation errors, the awesome introduction of a plain flying from Marseille to London, or the wacky cutout of Samir, it's gotta be the "Welcome in London" that greets you at the end of the intro.

Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United

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What a match. What a match. In a fixture that was about as important as they get in the early part of November, yesterday's Manchester United match had just about everything. Countless chances. Glorious build up. World class finishing. Dodgy referee decisions. What counts is the end result on the scoreboard, and what that can do for the morale of every Arsenal fan, coach, and player for the rest of this season.

These are the breaks

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It's Friday and tomorrow's match against Manchester is tomorrow. I mentioned a few things to look for in my previous post, and a few more things have come up today. The first is the shocking news of Wenger exit, something he denies. I know that people are rumbling and grumbling that his philosophy and stubbornness is starting to cost Arsenal, but isn't it a bit too soon to really dive into that?

Arsenal 0-0 Fenerbahçe

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Another calamity. Well, maybe not a calamity. But it's a continuing trend that seems to be marking a significant decline on this season. And with Manchester United looming over the weekend, it's not the right result. It never is.

Yesterday's match brought back recurring themes. Lots of ball control, slick passing, poor finishing in the final third.

Arsenal v Fenerbahçe LiveBlog

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For today's match, I'm trying out the CoverItLive blogging software that other places sites. I hope that it beats the constant refreshing that is required. Also, I'll probably be streaming this game so it might be delayed? We'll see how it goes.

Arsenal v Fenerbahçe Preview

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Greetings, and it's Matchday 4 today. A big one in London with the Turks coming to town, and they'll be gunning for us. With a 5-2 win in Istanbul a few weeks ago, they'll no doubt be seeking revenge. It's something of a must-win game with two poor results setting things back in the league.

A win tonight would be huge to ensure qualification to the next round, something that would be encouraging for a struggling club.

Tuesday Thoughts

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Today is a day of rest for the Gunners, and with the injury list beginning to read more and more like a first XI, it's a welcome sight for a team that is already looking weary. All you can do is shake your head and wonder why the boss was so stubborn as to not bolster the squad. I'm not going to squabble about Hleb, Flamini or Gilberto, but the likes of Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs providing depth ahead of the latest CL fixture, it's a growing concern.

Stoke 2-1 Arsenal

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Um, ok. After a dreadful performance mid-week, this is not the response you look for from a team with title aspirations. A dominating blowout? That would be something to take pleasure in. That would be a sign of encouragement. Instead, it's another result where all you can do is sigh, make your displeasure known in whatever manner you feel, and move on with it.