The Offside - Arsenal Archives for January 2009

Spurs Preview

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Tottenham Hotspur

Position: 4th, 6-1-3 (19 points, +7 goal differential)

Recent Form: LWDWL

Away Form: 3-1-1

Last Meeting: Tottenham 0-Arsenal 0 (2/8/09)

It's here. The North London derby.

Fabianski Injured, Merida Negotiations Continue, Gibbs for England?

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Just several random things going on today, none of which really deserve their own post, so I figured I would just dump them in here together.

First, Lukasz Fabianski, who many were predicting would become Arsenal's # 1 goalkeeper when he returned to health, hurt his thigh in last night's Carling Cup fixture and will be out until after the international break in November.

Arsenal 2-Liverpool 1

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Well, as the Who said, "The Kids Are Alright"

Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-1 to go through to the quarterfinals of the Carling Cup. And look: sure, it wasn't Liverpool's first team, either; we were playing at home; and it wasn't like this was a purely youth team Senderos, Silvestre, and Eduardo can all rightfully be called veterans, and Bendtner, Fabianski, and Nasri are all young but have a lot of first-team experience.

Liverpool (Carling Cup) Open Thread

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Lineups are in:

Arsenal: Starters: Fabianski, Gibbs, Silvestre, Senderos, Gilbert, Eastmond, Nasri, Ramsey, Merida, Eduardo, Bendtner. Subs: Szczesny (Gesundheit!), Bartley, Coquelin, Frimpong, Randall, Sunu, Watt.

Liverpool: Starters: Cavalieri, Degen, Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Insua, Kuyt, Spearing, Plessis, Babel, Voronin, Ngog.

Liverpool (Carling Cup) Preview

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Carling Cup tomorrow, with a home matchup against Liverpool.

As I've said previously, I feel a little conflicted about the competition. Do I want to win? Yes, of course. But I have mixed feelings about how we treat the competition. Because, to be clear, Arsene Wenger does not really care about winning the Carling Cup.

West Ham 2-Arsenal 2

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Oof. This one stings. Remember when I said that the midweek draw against AZ would be a good thing because it would teach players a lesson about taking other teams seriously and finishing off games? I guess now it's fair to say that the team did not learn either of those lessons. We had this game in hand, and then we let up, got sloppy, and dropped 2 points as a consequence.

West Ham Open Thread

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London derby time. Lineups are in:

Arsenal: Starters: Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Fabregas, Song, Diaby, Eboue, van Persie, Arshavin. Bench: Almunia, Eduardo, Nasri, Ramsey, Silvestre, Gibbs, Bendtner.

West Ham: Starters: Green, Spector, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble, Collison, Cole, Franco.

West Ham Preview

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West Ham

Position: 19th, 1-2-5 (5 points, -3 goal differential)

Recent Form: LLLDL

Away Form: 0-1-2

Last Meeting: Arsenal 0-West Ham 0 (1/31/09)

London derby match against West Ham tomorrow.

Looking Out for Number One? (UPDATED)

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So almost without us (or me, anyway) even realizing it, we appear to possibly have a goalkeeping controversy on our hands.

After Manuel Almunia went down a few games into the season with a "chest infection", and last season's number two, Lukasz Fabianski, was also out with a long term injury, we had to hand the gloves over to young Italian Vito Mannone.

Happy Birthday, Arsene Wenger

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60 years young today.

What's he doing to celebrate? Probably having some kind of big, lavish party, with Elton John playing songs while young starlets mill around drinking champagne? How about it, Arsene?:

No, I have nothing to celebrate. It will be very quiet. I have the AGM.

AZ Alkmaar 1-Arsenal 1

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AZ v Arsenal
by acidsaid10

Well, as Peevish said in the comments, that wasn't much fun.

To start with, though, let me just say that this is not a bad result for Arsenal. Yes, we're a much better club, but AZ are the defending Eredivisie champions, and has now played 35 home matches in European competition, and has lost just once.

AZ Alkmaar Thread

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Lineups are in, and I was right about everyone except for keeper:

Arsenal: Starters: Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Eboue, Fabregas, Song, Diaby, Arshavin, van Persie. Subs: Almunia, Silvestre, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Vela, Merida.

AZ: Starters: Romero, Moreno, Moisander, Poulsen, Jaliens, Schaars, Mendes da Silva, Martens, Holman, Dembele, El Hamdaoui.

AZ Preview; Walcott Out 3-4 Weeks

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Champions League matchup tomorrow against AZ Alkmaar, and for some reason I can't look at that name without thinking of Azkaban prison from Harry Potter. When I imagine what their home pitch is like, I picture it being a desolate little island in the middle of the cold sea. When you finally get there, with your ticket, you're led to your horrible, cramped little bleacher seat (amongst their fans, who I imagine are probably all Death Eaters) by a Dementor usher, and if you sit in the wrong seat or yell too loudly, the Dementor usher quickly comes to your seat and does that face-sucking thing, and leaves you a drooling vegetable with no soul.

A quick update

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Howdy folks. No, this isn't a mirage, but it's me. Tendering a quiet explanation as for my lengthy absence. I'm not really going to be posting here much do to time commitments and the need to be paid even a little bit for writing.

But since I got my first start here at the ol' Arsenal Offside, I wanted to drop by as I will be doing from time to time to do a bit of self-promotion and updates.

Arsenal 3-Birmingham 1

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Well, 3 more points, and we're back into the top 4, with 18 points from 8 games. And functionally, you could make the argument that we're in 2nd place, since we're only 3 points behind 2nd place Chelsea, with a home match against Bolton in hand, and a goal differential advantage over the Blues (and everyone else in the Premiership, for that matter).

Birmingham Thread

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Game time. Lineups:

Arsenal: Mannone, Eboue, Gallas, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Fabregas, Song, Diaby, Walcott, van Persie, Rosicky

Birmingham: Hart, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, Carsley, McFadden, Jerome

The fact that Mannone isn't starting ahead of Almunia isn't so surprising, given that Almunia probably isn't quite up to game fitness yet.

Birmingham Preview

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Birmingham

Position: 14th, 2-5-1 (7 points, -3 goal differential)

Recent Form: LLWLL

Away Form: 1-0-3

Last Meeting: Birmingham 2-Arsenal 2 (2/23/08)

How can two weeks seem like such a long time?

And We’re Back

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Players report back to London today, and hopefully by the end of today or early tomorrow we'll have an inventory of who picked up knocks playing in internationals. At the moment, the only one I've heard is Gael Clichy, who injured his thigh playing for France yesterday. This must have frustrated Wenger, who was actually commentating on the match for French television, noted that Clichy was hurt and should be substituted, only to watch him struggle through to the end of the game.

Poll: Club vs. Internationals

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This is something I've often kind of wondered about, so I figured it would make a decent poll. And, since there isn't much going on in the way of actual Arsenal news and probably won't be until the players report back at the end of the week, it at least gives us something to discuss.

The basic question is, which do you care about more, your club or your country?

International Preview + Bendtner’s Spectacular Grace

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Well, the international matches are almost upon us. The official site has a full round-up of all Gunners who will be participating in internationals this weekend here. No fewer than 20 Arsenal players are listed on international rosters for tomorrow's matches.

There's no point in covering every match, but some of the highlights:

Clichy, Diaby, Gallas, and Sagna look to get France into at least a playoff match for the World Cup in what should be a romp against Faroe Islands and a mid-week home match against Austria.

International Break News (Yawn)

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Sigh. International breaks are so boring. Not too much going on in the lead up to the games over the weekend, but a few things have popped up so I thought I'd do a roundup/link dump of what's been going on this week.

First, Adebayor said he "regrets" stomping on former teammate Robin van Persie's face last month.

Arsenal 6-Blackburn 2

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Woooooo. I know the scoreline was close for much of the game, but I think this was a pretty dominant performance by us. The fact is that both of Blackburn's goals were a bit lucky the early header managed to fortunately hit the perfect angle and arc, and the second goal would have been saved by Mannone had Gallas not deflected it back in towards the middle of the goal.

Blackburn Thread

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Lineups are in:

Arsenal: Starters: Mannone, Sagna, Vermaelen, Gallas, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Diaby, Rosicky, van Persie, Arshavin Bench: Szczęsny, Gibbs, Silvestre, Eboue, Ramsey, Walcott, Bendtner

Blackburn: Starters: Robinson, Chimbonda, Givet, Olsson, Jacobsen, Nzonzi, Dunn, Andrews, Emerton, Diouf, Di Santo Bench: Brown, McCarthy, Pederson, Salgado, Kalinic, Hollett, Jones

Not sure what Arsenal's formation will be it will either be a 4-4-2 with Rosicky playing as a "true" winger, or a 4-3-3, with Rosicky playing a "forward" winger role alongside van Persie and Arshavin.

Blackburn Preview

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Blackburn

Last Season: 15th, 10-11-17 (41 points, -20 goal differential)

Recent Form: LDWLW

Away Form (last season): 4-4-11

Last Meeting: Arsenal 4-Blackburn 0 (3/14/09)

Back in league action early tomorrow against Blackburn.

There’s Only One Arsene Wenger

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Thirteen years ago today, Arsene Wenger officially became Arsenal's manager. This officially makes him Arsenal's longest-tenured manager, so I thought it might be worth taking a second to look back at what he's meant to the club.

It's worth noting that at the time, most pundits thought this move was a bad one on Arsenal's part.