The Offside - Arsenal Archives for January 2009

Arsenal 0-Chelsea 3

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Well, that was a devastating loss. And it's hard to deny that Chelsea didn't deserve to win. But as far as I'm concerned, the 3-0 scoreline definitely flattered Chelsea, and I don't buy that it was "men against boys" out there. We had 12 shots to Chelsea's 14; we had 56% of the possession; more corner kicks than Chelsea; and most of the match action took place in Chelsea's half of the field.

Arsenal-Chelsea Match Thread

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Lineups are in:

Arsenal: Starters: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore, Fabregas, Song Billong, Denilson, Nasri, Eduardo, Arshavin. Subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Vela, Walcott, Ramsey, Silvestre, Eboue.

Chelsea: Starters: Cech, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Mikel, Essien, Lampard, Joe Cole, Anelka, Drogba.

Arsenal-Chelsea Preview

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Chelsea

Position: 1st, 11-0-2 (33 points, +25 goal differential)

Recent Form: LWWWW

Away Form: 4-0-2

Last Meeting: Arsenal 1-Chelsea 4 (5/10/09)

Well, it's here. The big one. The London derby game that will go a long way to determine the league title this season.

Arsenal Supporters Series: Spike Lee

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So, if you're like me, you may have seen the "Arsenal Supporters Series" tag along the right hand of the page, and wondered "what is that?"

I'm a bit ashamed to admit I had no idea. And I run the damn site. But one of our regular commenters, Gigi, mentioned in the comments section a few weeks ago that he had clicked on it, and wondered what happened to it.

Arsenal 2-Standard 0, Injuries Continue to Mount, Song Signs New Contract

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Well, first, as is customary, the good news. We won. In doing so, we not only clinched advancement to the knockout stages, but won our group, ensuring the more beneficial draw of clubs which finish second in their groups. Since we did this with a game to spare, we have the luxury of being able to rest some key players for the December away fixture at Olympiakos, which can be a tough trip and tricky fixture.

Arsenal-Standard Thread

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Champions League is here lineups are in:

Arsenal: Starters: Almunia, Eboue, Gallas, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin, Vela Subs: Mannone, Silvestre, Sagna, Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott, Traore

Standard: Starters: Bolat, Camozzato, Sarr, Felipe, Mulemo, Goreaux, Witsel, Mangala, Carcela-Gonzalez, Bezua, Dalmat Subs: Rocha, Nicaise, Moussa, Van Hout, Cyriac, Ramos, Gershon

Looks like Arshavin is getting a run out as the center forward.

Arsenal-Standard Preview

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Home to Standard Liege tomorrow. A draw would clinch advancement to the group stages, and a win would win the group outright. As I've said previously, I think winning the group this season is definitely in our best interests more so than in past seasons, some of the clubs that look likely to finish second in their groups are not traditional European powers.

Thierry Henry Handball Video Game; Most Epic Rant in Football History?

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This flash game regarding the Thierry Henry handball is great. Play it and let me know what your high score is in the comments section. I got up to 57.

In other good stuff on the internet, a supporter of League 2 Grimsby Town FC, currently second from bottom and thus in very real danger of being relegated out of League football all together, wrote a rant against his club's players which is truly epic and very entertaining.

Sunderland 1-Arsenal 0

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I opened up my preview for this match with the following paragraph:

Back in action at the Stadium of Light tomorrow, for what I expect to be a very tricky match. Seriously–this match scares the hell out of me. For one thing, it's a road match against a top half side with a very good home record–those matches are always tough, no matter what.

Sunderland-Arsenal Thread

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Lineups are in:

Sunderland: Starters: Fulop, Bardsley, Mensah, da Silva, McCartney, Henderson, Reid, Cana, Richardson, Henderson, Bent. Subs: Nosworthy, Healy, Zenden, Murphy, Ferdinand, Campbell, Carson.

Arsenal: Starters: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore, Fabregas, Song, Ramsey, Rosicky, Eduardo, Nasri.

Sunderland-Arsenal Preview

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Sunderland

Position: 8th, 5-2-5 (17 points, +1 goal differential)

Recent Form: DWLDL

Home Form: 4-1-1

Last Meeting: Arsenal 0-Sunderland 0 (2/21/09)

Back in action at the Stadium of Light tomorrow, for what I expect to be a very tricky match.

(Now) I Know What You Did (Since) Last Summer, Part III

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Finishing up our "what did we miss out on?" series today:

FELIPE MELO Arsenal were probably linked with Felipe Melo this summer more than any other player. The biggest difference between Arsenal's 2007-2008 season and our 2008-2009 season, which saw the club take a large step backwards, was the absence of Mathieu Flamini.

Emmanuel Eboue: World Class Striker

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If you haven't seen it already, Eboue scored a goal for Ivory Coast in an international friendly against Germany yesterday.

The goal was brilliant showing he may very well be the perfect striker: the strength of Drogba, the creativity of Henry, and the finishing of Owen. He's the complete package, folks.

Main d’un dieu?

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It's not strictly Arsenal-related, I know, but by now I'm sure you've all seen the controversial goal which put France into the 2010 World Cup.

If you haven't: there was a cross into the box which fizzed past the far post, and looked like it was headed over the touchline for a goal kick. But off one hop, it hit the arm of Thierry Henry, and deflected back into play in a perfect spot for him to center it directly into the path of the oncoming William Gallas, who headed home the winning goal.

News Round Up

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Okay, I know, 3 posts in one day is a bit excessive. But one was part of a planned thing, the other was new injury news, and there are several things here that I thought you find interesting.

First, and most importantly, Kieran Gibbs did not break his foot, only suffered brusing, and is expected to be back and ready for action against Chelsea on the 29th.

(Now) I Know What You Did (Since) Last Summer, Part II

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Part II of our "What did we miss out on?" series continues today:

EDIN DZEKO Arsenal were heavily linked with the 23 year-old Bosnian striker early in the transfer window. He was coming off of a wonderful season in the Bundesliga, in which he led Wolfsburg to a surprise championship and led the league in goals, with a phenomenal 26 strikes in 29 appearances.

Thirteen

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Well, it never ends. Apparently Aaron Ramsey has also picked up a knock on international duty, meaning we now have fully thirteen players injured.

If you're curious, we have 29 players listed in our first-team. Which means we are only a few injuries away from having literally more than half our team injured.

Poll: Where Would Arsenal’s Injury List Finish?

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As you know, we complain about injuries, even though a lot of other clubs (Liverpool, Chelsea) have plenty of injury problems of their own. But we now have fully eleven players injured, and crying doesn't help, so why not have a little fun with it?

Our 11 players could be configured into a lineup:

Fabianski

Traore-Djourou-Clichy

Denilson

Walcott-Wilshere-Diaby-Vela

Bendtner-van Persie

An unconventional formation, sure.

What Impact will van Persie’s Injury Have?

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Well, I just finished gnashing my teeth, rending my clothes, and dropping down to my knees, head thrust upward, yelling "Why, God? Why?!" I think now I can almost think rationally about this.

The big news is that the injury is not quite as bad as it had been first thought. Originally, everyone was reporting 2-3 months, some of the more sensationalist English papers were saying out for the season.

van Persie Out Injured; In Other News, I HATE International Friendlies

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Most of you have probably already seen this, but Robin van Persie tore an ankle ligament today, an injury which will keep him up for around 2 months..

What, you may ask, super-important match was he playing in to take on such an injury? Was it the World Cup? Nope. The European championships?

(Now) I Know What You Did (Since) Last Summer

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Did you ever do that thing where you meet a girl (or guy, if you're one of my female or nontraditional male readers), strike up a conversation, realize she's kind of into you, but then for whatever reason, you decide not to make your move? And then, a couple months or years later, you meet a guy who either is dating her or dated her for a while?

International Call-Ups

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This happened a couple of days ago, but, you know...(shrugs). 15 Arsenal players have been called up for duty over the international break. The entire list can be found here.

Of the 15, only 5 Diaby, Gallas, and Sagna for France, Arshavin for Russia, and Song for Cameroon are playing in meaningful senior international matches, as all of their nations are trying to qualify for the World Cup.

I’m Pretty Sure I Had a Crazy Dream Like This Once

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(Summary is not available.)

Exclusive Arsenal Offside Interview with Darren Fletcher

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On the heels of third-place Manchester United's loss to Chelsea yesterday, Darren Fletcher made the claim that he had only been called for a foul on Ashley Cole because of comments Arsene Wenger had made in the media two months ago (comments which did not even mention Darren Fletcher's name). We here at the Arsenal Offside found these comments curious, and it seemed like a bizarre and misguided attempt to deflect attention from third-place Manchester United's shortcomings in the match and to try to drag Arsenal into the discussion.

100 Best Players of the Decade

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The Offside's Main Page decided to compile a list of the "100 Best Players of the Decade." I thought it might be of some interest to you, especially since Arsenal is out of action for a couple of weeks. It was voted on by all of the Offside's bloggers, as well as readers. I will say that I thought the criteria was a little vague it was simply to name the 20 best players who played in the decade.

Wolves 1-Arsenal 4

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Or should I saw Wolves 3-Arsenal 2? We come away with 3 points on a scoreline which flatters us a little bit, on the back of 2 early Wolves own goals which put us up 2-0, a vantage point from which we never looked back.

Wolves strategy was pretty obvious, and wasn't a bad one as far as these things go.

Wolves Thread

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Lineups are in:

Arsenal: Starters: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Ramsey, Diaby, Arshavin, Fabregas, Eduardo, van Persie. Subs: Mannone, Senderos, Rosicky, Nasri, Song, Silvestre, Eboue

Wolves: Starters: Hennessey, Zubar, Craddock, Berra, Stearman, Edwards, Henry, Castillo, Milijas, Doyle, Ebanks-Blake.

Wolves Preview

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Position: 17th, 2-4-5 (10 points, -7 goal differential)

Recent Form: LLDDD

Home Form: 1-2-2

Away to the midlands tomorrow to face Wolves at the Molineaux. Wolves are a solid side I picked them to stay up this season, and I actually hope they do.

Arsenal 4-AZ 1; Kroenke on the Brink

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Arsenal v AZ
by nineinchmail

There's not much else to say other than that that was a sublime performance by Arsenal. The trophy draught is frustrating, but honestly, when Arsenal plays like they did last night, dominating another club through sheer skill, technique, and teamwork, it just reminds me how lucky I am to root for Arsenal.

Arsenal-AZ Open Thread

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Lineups are in:

Arsenal: Starters: Almunia, Eboue, Gallas, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Fabregas, Song, Diaby, Nasri, van Persie, Arshavin. Substitutes: Mannone, Silvestre, Rosicky, Senderos, Eduardo, Sagna, Ramsey.

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

Cesc Crowned October’s Player of the Month

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It was just announced that Cesc Fabregas edged out Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba as the PFA Player of the Month for the month of October.

Ultimately, of course, such awards are pretty meaningless, and Cesc would probably be the first to say so. But it is nice that his superb play all month was recognized, as he was consistently pulling the strings for a club which was undefeated on the month.

AZ Preview; Clichy Injured; RvP Speaks

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Well, just as my preview for the first match against AZ announced a monthlong injury to Theo Walcott, I'm afraid I've got more bad injury news to report here.

Gael Clichy reportedly has a stress fracture in his back, and will be out for about a month. Two weeks of that month will be the international break, but he will, at the very least, miss league fixtures against Wolves and Chelsea and Champions League matches against AZ and Standard.