The Offside - Arsenal Archives for January 2010

Arsenal 1 – West Ham 0: It Doesn’t Have To Be Pretty

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The Gunners sure don't make it easy on themselves do they? Even playing the team at the bottom of the table at home isn't going to be a given for Arsenal. Luckily our team pulled through in the end, but not without my nerves being shredded to bits for 90 minutes.

It all started well enough.

Arsenal – West Ham Match Thread

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Lineups are in:

Arsenal: Starters: Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Denilson, Fabregas, Arshavin, Chamakh, Nasri Bench: Szczesny, Djourou, Rosicky, Walcott, Eboue, Bendtner, Vela

West Ham: Starters: Green, Jacobsen, da Costa, Gabbidon, Ilunga, Parker, Behrami, Noble, Boa Morte, Obinna, Piquionne Bench: Stech, Reid, Tomkins, Cole, Barrera, Kovac, Faubert

No surprises in our starting XI.

Arsenal – West Ham Preview

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West Ham

Position: 20th, 1-5-3 (6 points, -10 goal differential)

Away Form: 0-2-2 (-6 goal differential)

Recent Form: DWDDL

Last Meeting: Arsenal 2 West Ham 0 (March 20, 2010)

Our league campaign marches on tomorrow with our 10th fixture of the season, as we host cross-town rivals West Ham.

Newcastle 0 – Arsenal 4: Player Ratings and Post Match Interviews

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Player Ratings:

Szczesny 8.5 Decided to come out when Ranger was through on goal, but missed getting the ball. Luckily he bounced back quickly and made some excellent saves during the game. Also, I'm pretty sure at one point he punched a ball out clear to the other side of the pitch almost!

Newcastle 0 – Arsenal 4: Theo Brace Sinks Magpies

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Sorry for the lack of a post of any kind yesterday. As I've probably mentioned, I am in the process of moving, and internet connectivity at my new apartment is still a bit .

Newcastle – Arsenal (Carling Cup) Preview

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Back in action, in that competition we love to call a "Mickey Mouse Cup" and say we don't care about . . . until we actually see we have a chance to win it, in which case we start to get excited. We're starting to ease towards the latter category, and if we can win tomorrow, I think we're looking at a real chance at silverware.

Cesc Shortlisted for Ballon D’Or; New Deal for Nasri

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Two stories today featuring young midfielders, after the jump:

First, the shortlist for FIFA's prestigious Ballon D'Or award, annually given to "the world's best player," has been released. I put it in quotation marks because it's not actually for the world's best player, it's for the "player who played well as his team won a major international competition.

Looking Backward, Looking Forward

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A couple of thoughts on yesterday's victory over Manchester City, and looking forward to Wednesday's match against Newcastle:

Sairax did a great job writing up yesterday's match, but here are some stray thoughts I had on the match:

Great performance, and great result. Match of the year for us so far.

Manchester City 0 – Arsenal 3: Red Cards and Fouls and Clean Sheets, Oh My!

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Three points and a clean sheet. It was a win we badly needed and one that escaped us last season. This moves us level on points with both Manchester teams, but ahead of them both on goal difference, which sees us sit in 2nd place.

The game started out with a bang. In the fifth minute Boyata brought down Chamakh who was in on goal from a fabulous defense-splitting ball, and he was sent off.

Manchester City – Arsenal Match Thread

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Lineups are in:

Man City: Starters: Hart, Richards, Boyata, Kompany, Boeteng, DeJong, Yaya Toure, Barry, Silva, Tevez, Milner Bench: Given, Bridge, Vieira, A Johnson, Lescott, Adebayor, Balotelli

Arsenal: Starters: Fabianski, Sagna, Djourou, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Denilson, Fabregas, Arshavin, Chamakh, Nasri Bench: Szczesny, Koscielny, Rosicky, Walcott, Eboue, Gibbs, Bendtner

Looks like I was pretty close with our starting XI.

Manchester City – Arsenal Preview

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Manchester City
Position: 2nd, 5-2-1 (17 points, +7 goal differential)
Home Form: 3-1-0 (+5 goal differential)
Recent Form: WWWWDL
Last Meeting: Arsenal 0 – Manchester City 0 (April 24, 2010)

It's the team that's spending cash like it's going out of style versus the team with their hands firmly in their pockets.

Happy Birthday, Arsene Wenger; Looking Ahead to Manchester City

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Not too much going on today ahead of this weekend's clash with Manchester City:

First off, though, happy birthday to le boss, who turns 61 today. I would say I hope he has a good birthday, but knowing what an obsessive he is, I expect he'll be watching old UEFA Cup match tapes. I previously wrote about what Wenger means to the club, and to me as a fan of the club, here, so check that out if you want a more in-depth tribute.

JET in Talks to Go to QPR on Loan; Vermaelen Injury Now “Long Term;” Cesc, Rosicky Talk Ahead of Man City Clash

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A couple of things today:

First, Arsenal are apparently in talks with crosstown club QPR in a move which would see JET go there on loan, probably for the remainder of the season. As I mentioned yesterday, JET has been absolutely dominant in the reserves this season, scoring 8 goals in just 4 games, and is clearly deserving of some first-team action.

Will Liverpool Finally Admit They’re Not So Great?

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Last week we all witnessed an extraordinary series of events involving Liverpool. As things were unfolding, I noticed a lot of rhetoric from the media and Liverpool fans alike. They were glad to be finally rid of their owners (and rightfully so), but there was also a sentiment that because "they're Liverpool" that they will now somehow be back to winning ways with a new owner.

Arsenal 5 Shaktar Donetsk 1 – Player Ratings and Highlights

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Player Ratings:

Fabianski 7 Didn't have too much to do, particularly in the first half. Could do nothing really for Eduardo's goal. Seems to be less jittery, more confident, and is having a consistent run of good games, which is great for us.

Clichy 6 Was really getting forward at times, particularly in the second half.

Arsenal 5 – Shakhtar 1: Five-Star Gunners Demolish Woeful Donetsk as Eduardo Gets Storybook Ending

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Well, that really was a walk in the park, huh? And think some idiots were worried that we might not be able to find enough goals to win the match.

I obviously couldn't have been more wrong in my prognosis for this one. Arsenal grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck pretty early, didn't really let up, and waltzed to victory.

Arsenal – Shakhtar Match Thread

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Lineups are in, and the rudder of the Arsenal is back:

Arsenal: Starters: Flaps, Eboue, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy, Song, The Peacemaker, Cesc, Rosicky, Nasri, Chamakh Bench: Wojo, Gibbs, Bendtner, Theo, Diaby, Denilson, Arshavin

Shakhtar: Starters: Pyatov, Rakitskiy, Kucher, Rat, Srna, Gay, Hubschman, Willian, Teixeira, Mkhitaryan, Adriano Bench: Eduardo, Jadson, Chygrynskiy, Khudzhamov, Costa, Kobin, Stepanenko

Well, the big news for us is that Cesc is starting again.

Arsenal – Shakhtar Donetsk Preview

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Back in Champions League action today as we welcome Shakhtar to London.

The big storyline that's dominating all the pre-match build-up is the return of Eduardo to the Emirates. This has been covered a lot elsewhere Arseblog in particular has a good roundup of the relevant quotes. To briefly sum it up, it's a huge love-in.

Mannone Heads to Hull on Loan

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Well, we've talked quite a bit about how it doesn't make sense for us to have 4 goalkeepers hanging around, and today we finally did something about it.

The Godfather himself, Vito Mannone, is headed to Hull City on loan until January 3, according to Hull City's official website. We know Hull City well, after the past few seasons their shock victory over us at the Emirates in 2008-2009, Phil Brown and "spit-gate" in the FA Cup match, etc.

Special 1 TV Returns; Rooney to Leave United in January?; Eastmond Arrested; Brum Highlights Video

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Not much happens on Sunday generally, but there are a couple of big things going on in the wee late hours of Saturday night (U.S. time) that bear commenting on.

First and foremost, a hearty "welcome back" to Special 1 TV. To call it the best internet soccer show thing would be both accurate yet falling far short of the mark.

Arsenal 2 – Birmingham 1: Dive, Bad Tackles Mar Deserved Comeback Victory

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Well, it's a much-needed 3 points, taking us temporarily into 2nd place. And all in all, we played pretty well today. But as usual, we had a few defensive lapses and wasted good opportunity after good opportunity. And one of our goals came on a blatant dive and we had several pretty bad challenges, one of which resulted in a red card, which is going to give Arsenal-haters plenty of ammo, methinks.

Arsenal – Birmingham Match Thread

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Lineups are in:

Arsenal: Starters: Flaps, Eboue, Squillaci (c), Djourou, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Nasri, Diaby, Arshavin, Chamakh Bench: Wojo, Gibbs, Rosicky, Walcott, Denilson, Vela, Bendtner

Birmingham: Starters: Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, Fahey, Hleb, Zigic Bench: O'Connor, Phillips, Taylor, Derbyshire, Michel, Murphy, Jiranek

No real surprises there, I guess.

Arsenal – Birmingham Preview

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Position: 16th, 1-4-2 (7 points, -2 goal differential)

Away Form: 0-2-1 (-3 goal differential)

Recent Form: DDLDL

Last Meeting: Birmingham 1 Arsenal 1 (March 27, 2010)

Real football is back.

Wenger Gives Injury Update; Cesc Says Team Lacks “Winning Mentality”

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A couple of things ahead of our clash with Birmingham on Saturday:

First and foremost, Wenger has given an injury update as to the squad ahead of the match, and there is some surprising news. I'm eating a bit of crow after doubting Bendtner's confidence yesterday. Wenger has backed him up, saying that Bendtner is in top shape and will be included in the squad on Saturday.

St. Nick, Rambo, Cesc, Theo Near Returns; Wenger to PSG?; Reader Poll on Commenting System

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Several things today:

First and foremost, we have some actual tentatively positive news on the injury front.

My boy St. Nicklas is apparently finally nearing a return. After reinjuring the groin injury which hampered him at the end of last season while representing Denmark in the World Cup, the Great Dane is back in contention.

Gunners on International Duty

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Not too much to write about today the standard "guys are playing in international matches" stuff, and one very interesting, although not as of yet credible, transfer rumor.

First off, there are the international commitments. We have 9 first-team players possibly in action today. The Peacemaker is listed in the England squad against Montenegro, but if he plays at all, it will likely be just as a late-game substitution.

Sagna Injured; Afobe Hat-Trick Hero for U19s; Media Twists Nasri’s Words; YES Network to Carry Arsenal Content

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A couple of stories to get to while I'm fighting a bout of allergy-induced insomnia on this early, early Monday morning:

First, Bacary Sagna has picked up a thigh injury. It isn't known whether he actually picked it up on international duty (likely) or was carrying a knock picked up playing for Arsenal into international duty.

Nasri and Clichy win with France; PHW Says We’re Not Liverpool

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We have come through another day of international duty unscathed. No one was injured yesterday, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Well, at least until Tuesday.

Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy started for France in their qualifier against Romania yesterday. It was a bit like watching Arsenal; pass the ball, keep possession, don't take your chances, get caught on the break.

Arsenal Do Well in Internationals (No Injuries!)

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First things first, no one was injured yesterday. There are still a few days left in this International break so let's keep our fingers crossed. As for yesterday's matches, here's a quick round up:

Don Vito Mannone was in goal for the Italy U21s against Belarus U21s. He did a solid job from what I saw and I hope he gets some playing time soon so he can continue his progress.

Chamakh Says What We Were All Thinking

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Just a few things today:

Chamakh was asked about Jacky Boy and had the following to say: "I have been very impressed by Wilshere. Wilshere is a great player and I think he is only going to improve further. As well as being a great player he is adorable off the pitch."

And that's about the long and short of it, isn't it?

Vito Makes Case for Loan Deal; Thoughts on the Liverpool Saga; Arsenal to Do Preseason US Tour?

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Another slow news day today, Arsenal-wise:

The story making the rounds seems to be that the Godfather actually wants to play, and is slightly discontented with the current state of the goalkeeping situation:

"I am happy in London. I love the Premier League. Last year I played nine games and with me, Arsenal never lost.

Eleven Gunners Get Call-Ups; Cesc Nears Return; Pires Back; Nasri Speaks Out; Wenger Sticks Up for Jack

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I know I complain about the international break so consistently and unwaveringly that it veers into self-parody, but it really is the worst thing since unsliced bread. Sigh. Just 10 more days, just 10 more days, just 10 more days...

Eleven Arsenal players have been called up for international duty.

Chelsea Highlights & Fallout; Schwarzer Hoping for January Move; Wilshere Called Up to England Senior Squad

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Chelsea v Arsenal
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A couple of stories today:

First, thanks to Sairax for handling all the Chelsea match blogging and liveblogging yesterday in excellent fashion.

Weirdly, I guess, I wasn't all that distraught after yesterday's game, I have to say.

Chelsea 2 – Arsenal 0: Drogba Strikes Again

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Same as it ever was eh? We go into Stamford Bridge with the spine of our team out injured, play a decent game, don't finish our chances, and Chelsea bide their time and lay two killer punches to finish us off. That was the game in a nutshell. No excuses about the referee or inept goalkeeper. This was a combination of an Arsenal team that hasn't quite reached its peak, and a Chelsea team that is completely on top of their game and playing with confidence.

Liveblog: Chelsea v Arsenal

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Hey guys, its Sairax running the show today so bear with me! I'll try to get it going around a half hour before the match starts.

Chelsea v Arsenal

Chelsea – Arsenal Preview

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Position: 1st, 5-0-1 (15 points, +19 goal differential)

Home Form: 3-0-0 (-7 goal differential)

Recent Form: WWWWL

Last Meeting: Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0 (February 7, 2010)

I don't know how to write an intro for a match like this.

Cesc Out for Sunday; Wenger Says Chelsea Not Unbeatable

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A couple of big stories today from Wenger's Friday press conference:

First and foremost, Wenger confirmed that Cesc Fabregas will not play against Chelsea on Sunday. It's bad news, no doubt, as he's our captain, talisman, and best player. Our chances of beating Chelsea would have been better with a healthy Cesc in the lineup.