Monthly Archives: August 2011

Aftermath of the whooping, lessons learnt and many players linked

Arsene Wenger sleeps on his bed and hears his radio say,

“It’s 9 o’ clock already.”

He suddenly wakes from his slumber and screams,

“I thought it was only 8 goals we conceded?!!!”

He bumps his head somewhere and fails to return to sleep…

If Arsene Wenger didn’t have such a nightmare, I’m pretty sure that one of the fans that made the trip to Old Trafford did.

How would you feel if you brought your 7-year old son all the way from London to Manchester only for him to witness his team get obliterated in grand style in the hands of the old enemy?

I remember when I laughed so hard when Feyernoord’s 10-0 loss to PSV Eindhoven made them shut down their website temporarily. It was one of the marvels football offered the world last season.

Arsenal visited Old Trafford on Sunday and 10 goals were dished out like hot food on a plate but Arsenal opened the floodgates to receive 8 and they managed to dish out 2 to the opponents.

This debacle also brought out the creativity in Arsenal’s enemies and quotes like this surfaced from thin air:

“I’ll 8-2 be an Arsenal fan right now.”

“Gooners, I’ll 8-2 to break it to you guys but its gonna be a long season ahead.”

It even sparked my creative juices:

“Szczesny (4.5) refused dinner because he already ’8′ at Old Trafford.”

Manchester United resigned Arsenal to the club’s biggest defeat in the 21st century and a lot has been learnt in the aftermath,

- Arsenal is nowhere near ready to challenge for the Premier League title

With just three matches gone, Arsenal is already 8 points off the pace with the clubs from Manchester setting the standard for others to follow.

- Wenger’s philosophy and project has failed massively in the worst possible manner

Despite being touted as the alchemist of world football who turns young talent from lead to gold, Wenger had a lot of eggs thrown on his face when his young guns were spanked comprehensively by his smarter rival, Sir Fergie.

- Arsenal has clearly struggled after the loss of Fabregas and Nasri in the middle of the park

Arsenal sells its talisman and another want-away French midfielder to generate £60m+ but the squad was clearly lacking in creativity. This tweets explains it all:

“@cesc4official 2 games, 2 goals, 1 assist. @Nanas08 1 game, 3 assists. @Arsenal: £60m, first 2 games, 0 goals, 0 assists”

- Arsenal’s squad is very thin and something has to be done

You lose Alex Song to suspension due to his stupidity, Frimpong emerges from the shadows.

You lose Emmanuel Frimpong due to his inexperience and carelessness, you…..

hand a debut to young Francis Coquelin.

Let me give you the same instance in Manchester United’s present squad,

You lose Anderson, you get Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Darron Gibson, Ashley Young, Park Ji-Sung, Phil Jones. Even Hugh Giggs Hefner can play in that centre midfield position.

Attempting the same analysis with Liverpool,

You lose Steven G, you get Charlie Chaplin, Necky Henderson, Raul Meireles, Lucas, Maxi Rodriguez, Joe Cole, Alberto Aquilani, Cristian Poulsen, Jonjo Shelvey, Jay Spearing.

That’s enough written on this particular issue.

- There’s no self motivation within the squad when the chips are REALLY down

Going 3-1 down at Old Trafford was the perfect score line for Manchester United to get sloppy and Arsenal to wake up.

As the second half began, Rosicky sent a teasing ball to the young Aaron Ramsey in Man Utd’s box. He dallied on the ball and the chance went begging. If he made it 3-2 that early we would have had a game on our hands.

- Arsene Wenger’s tactics proved to be his undoing once again

As bad as you feel debutant Coquelin was on his debut, he played pretty well against Anderson and Cleverly in that midfield.

Mr. Wenger withdraws him for the Chambered Ox and Manchester United pump in five more goals.

- Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny do not deserve to start week in week out

Thomas Vermaelen stands out as Arsenal’s best defender but when he’s not on the pitch, the defense lacks coordination. Times without number on Sunday, the Arsenal back line pushed too high and was exposed.

Wenger needs to sign a hatchet defender that will bring the best out of this duo.

- Andrey Arshavin needs to be flogged or sent back home for therapy

It’s so unfortunate to know that AA23 has become mediocre in all his matches and has not shown signs of improvement despite the fact that he’s regarded as one of Arsenal’s “senior” players.

It’s high time Wenger gives Miyaichi or the Chambered Ox a run for the their money.

- Robin van Persie needs a creative midfielder that will be supplying killer balls to him

With the likes of Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott and Wilshere behind him, rVp had an amazing goal count of 18 goals in 17 games and scored for fun but that streak his dried up this season.

Wenger has to sign an attacking midfielder that has the killer edge like Fabregas and Nasri because rVp is suffering on the pitch right now.

There are a million and one reasons that can be written on this post as lessons learnt from Sunday’s whooping but I’ll allow you to leave your comments after reading this post.

They’ll be much appreciated.

Moving over to Arsenal news, Wenger has said that he’s not quitting his job in the wake of his biggest defeat as a football manager.

A lot of football managers have been sacked for being at the end of such a dismal result while others have saved themselves the embarrassment by resigning from their post as managers but Wenger has reiterated his desire to stay in the club..and win things.

Staying in the club? Yes.

Winning things with this present crop of players? Be the judge of that.

Fabregas was probably watching his darling Arsenal torn to pieces by Manchester United so his idol and the best football manager on Earth, Pep Guardiola came to Wenger’s defense in the wake of the defeat.

He said a lot of things to the media Vultures but here’s my pick of the bunch.

“You must remember Wenger has done great things with this club, Thanks to him, Arsenal is a great club”

“With so many injuries, those things can happen, especially against such a team as Man Utd.”

However, Arsenal’s captain Robin van Persie has said that his team will not use injuries and suspensions as an excuse:

“We need to come back’.

‘We have Swansea in two weeks, which is a good opponent and I look forward to that.’

‘This was the strongest team we had on Sunday. We gave our maximum but it clearly wasn’t good enough.

‘I don’t think we can hide behind injuries and suspensions. Its no excuse. They had injuries too. This is football.”

He also took out time to talk about the Arsenal faithful that visited Old Trafford to cheer their team up:

“The fans were great. They were cheering us up all game for 90 minutes. We really appreciate that.’

‘Sometimes you see fans leaving early but I did not see that. We went to the fans to thank them after the game. It looked like every seat was full.’

‘That was a good feelin, it really cheered us up.”

Arsenal will write to those faithful fans who went to Man Utd on Sunday offering to cover cost of match ticket at a future Premier League away game.

A Club statement issued today said:

“Sunday’s result was obviously disappointing for everyone connected with the Club. Our travelling fans were magnificent throughout and we want to recognise their fantastic support.”

That is a thoughtful idea from the Arsenal hierarchy.

The transfer window began in June and is a day away from shutting down till January and with Arsenal’s present predicament, the media Vultures have gone on a frenzy linking players to the club.

With the present thin state of the squad, it’s funny to know that Armand Traore is on the verge of joining Queen’s Park Rangers after completing his medicals yesterday.

Armand Traore joined Arsenal from AS Monaco in 2004 at the age of 15 and waited for three seasons before his league debut in the 2007/08 campaign. With the likes of Clichy ahead of him, Traore was loaned to Portsmouth in the winter of 2009 to gain match fitness as well as Premier League experience.

In Portsmouth, he was primarily deployed as a left winger and he used his great reserves of speed to good effect notching up 18 appearances.

This loan spell bolstered his confidence to challenge for a place in Arsenal’s first XI but he couldn’t shove off the threat of Kieran Gibbs. Injuries to Clichy and Gibbs made Traore play nine league matches for Arsenal in the 2009/10 season.

He was loaned at the start of last season to Juventus and he played 19 league games but he didn’t do well enough for the Bianconeri to make the move permanent.

Traore is close to the exit door while Gibbs is still out injured so there are emerging reports that Arsenal is set to sign Andre Santos from Fenerbahce for a fee close to £7m or so.

Andre Clarindo dos Santos is a 27-year old Brazilian that renowned as an attacking full back. The Sao Paulo born player began his career in 2002 at Figueirense making a total of 61 league appearances scoring eight goals in the process.

During his time at Figueirense, he was sent on loan to Flamengo (2005) and Atletico Mineiro (2006) and he made a combined total of 22 league appearances. While in Figueirense, he won the Brazilian Santa Catarina state Championship in 2004, the Brazilian Cup in 2006 and the Brazilian Second Division in the same year.

After 6 years with the Figueira, he moved to Corinthians for a fee of £500,000 making 38 appearances, scoring 9 goals.

In his time at Corinthians, he won the Brazilian Second Division (2008), Brazilian Sao Paulo state Championship (2009) and Brazilian Cup (2009)

Fenerbahce snapped him up for £6m at the start of the 2009/10 campaign and he has been with them ever since. On the international scene, he has made 22 caps for the Samba Boys of Brazil and he was part of Dunga’s squad that won the Confederations Cup (2009) in South Africa following that amazing comeback after going two goals down in the first half to USA.

At the age of 27, Andre Santos is a seasoned professional that has played for many years in his native Brazil before moving to Turkey and he’ll clearly be better than Kieran Gibbs.

As a player, he’s a full back that’s also adept playing as a left winger and like every average Brazilian with the exception of Denilson and Lucas Leiva, he’s very skillful and he has an amazing technique.

He’s also a decent free kick taker and he has a flamboyant style of play. Just like the Brazilian legendary left back Roberto Carlos, Andre Santos can unleash a surface-to-goal torpedo from his left boot and he can also place the ball when he’s close enough to goal.

His major flaw as a player is his overzealous attacking nature and he’s not that fast enough to track back should a counter attack surface and he tends to be selfish at times because he loves dwelling on the ball but in general, I can write that Andre Santos will be a brilliant signing for Arsenal Football Club.

Arsenal’s imminent attacking signing Park Chu-Young has stated that he will not regret signing for Arsenal ahead of LOSC Lille Metropole. Park CY was undergoing a medical in the French club before leaving his hotel to arrive at London Colney but Park is presently in at Korea because of their international fixture coming up in midweek.

Korea Republic’s national coach Cho Kwang-Rae expressed his delight in his captain’s immiment move to Arsenal:

“He will be playing many games in the EPL and he will grow into a better player and it might be helpful for the national team.”

I don’t expect Park CY to start week in week out with the presence of the captain and star player in the squad but Park will give Chamakh a run for his money.

Park’s introduction would definitely be the end of the line for Nicklas Bendtner and it’s sad to know that all his potential suitors have left him at bay throughout this summer.

Park’s move to Arsenal will definitely sever the club’s ties with Lille after hijacking the player right under their noses and it will have an effect on Arsenal’s links with the BioHazard of Eden.

The media Vultures reported that Hazard is set to sign for Arsenal but I believe that the wonderkid would remain at Lille for one season at least.

Arsenal has also been linked with a 19-year old Portuguese midfielder from Lazio called Danilo Pereira. Danilo Luis Helio Pereira is an untested Guinea-Bissau born player that naturalized in Portugal. He started his career in Benfica before arriving in Lazio on a free transfer.

That’s certainly not the type of player Arsenal needs at this point in time.

The transfer news dominating the headlines is a shock swoop for Chelsea’s Yossi Benayoun by Arsenal. I regard Benayoun as football’s Harry Potter because he plays as if his feet are magic wands.

Liverpool are also planning on re-signing him while Lille is also involved in the thick of things so it has turned out to be a 3-horse race for the out-of-favor Chelsea midfielder.

Benayoun is a very versatile player that can play in any and every position in midfield so he won’t be a bad signing for Arsenal but his age (31) will be a major factor because we knw how Wenger acts up when he’s linked with a player in that range.

The media Vultures have done their part so it’s left for Wenger to do his because he has a day left to save Arsenal’s season.

The quote of the day goes to @ArsenalShorts

@ArsenalShorts: “We have enough money, let’s buy Fabregas”

Yer right.

Please check out this track by Endos called African Girl. It’s a lovely song that epitomizes the dude’s talent.

You can also ƒølløώ him on Twitter @endos_iFreshBoy

If this would soothe any Arsenal fan, check out this Facebook Page of a bloke that says that he was alive to see Olympique Marseille beat Manchested United with a similar 8-2 score line inflicted on Arsenal last Sunday.

That’s all for now.

Sayonara.

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back :)

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Man Utd 8 Arsenal 2: Red Devils simply gr-eight

As a blogger of a club like Arsenal you’ll have to gear yourself for the good times, the bad times and the horrible times because they’ll always be there.

As every season progresses, Arsene Wenger and his men….boys start with renewed optimism and fresh hope but Wenger has lost the plot this time.

I must say that I’m happy with the FA for giving Arsenal this kind of fixtures early on to show Wenger that he has a lot to do this season. With two days left in the transfer window, he will definitely act fast because he has been embarrassed beyond measure at the hands of his greatest rival.

He sold his first choice left back and was faced with the option of purchasing Leighton Baines or Jose Enrique.

What did he do? He decided to promote an injury prone player to take on the position as the number 1 and he also decided that his deputy would be an inexperienced French turned Senegalese that has been disappointing in his loan spells at Benfica and Juventus.

His team conceded 21 goals from set pieces last season and the Emirates was the only stadium where no goal was conceded outside the box so it was imminent that a new center back was supposed to be signed to pair up with Vermaelen.

The media Vultures scavenged the footballing galaxy and decided to come up with names like Chris Samba, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Per Mertesacker, Scott Dann, enigma106, Professor Xavier and Shao Kahn of Mortal Kombat but Wenger decided that he was okay with an aging Frenchman that was cloned from Silvestre, an upcoming Frenchman that played a shitload of games last season and a Swiss brown-haired Mohican that has a loose nut in his cerebral column.

That wasn’t enough, he decided to sell the player that represented everything Arsenal stood for. A player that gave a century of assists in eight years at the club. A player that’s regarded as Arsenal’s Optimus Prime in the CyberTron realm.

Optimus Fabregas Prime actually wanted to go and play with his fellow transformers in Planet Catalunya so Wenger respected his wishes and decided to tell him sayonara.

Optimus was the All-Spark of the club so a replacement was badly needed to ease the creativity burden off players like Jack Wilshere but the boss decided to stick with the present lot that had the likes of a washed up Czech midfielder, an inexperienced GhanEnglish mohican, a Welsh captain, a Cameroonian superstar and loads of other youngsters.

Wenger handed the arm band to Arsenal’s most lethal finisher and Flying Dutchman who led his team out on the 13th of August in St. James Park. The boring stalemate was marred by a red card that was brandished to a debutant.

Udinese visited the Emirates for a vital qualifier on a cold Tuesday night and it took a Walcott finish to separate the sides for the next date in a week. Arsenal played poorly and showed signs of the defects that were created from the key players were sold to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

King Kenny put his money where his mouth was and splashed the cash for the positions of his squad that needed improvement. After offloading Torres for a record British transfer fee, he grabbed a considerable chunk of that money to purchase a player that looks like WWE’s Edge for a whooping £35m. He also got extra funds from his superiors to purchase Ajax and Uruguay’s hitman Luis Suarez.

Suarez turned out to be an amazing signing as he paid for his huge outlay with breathtaking performances. This season Dalglish was at it again with more signings such as Mr. Downs Syndrome, Charlie Chaplin, Jose Enrique and the Necky Henderson.

When King Kenny arrived at the Emirates with his Red Army, Arsenal was involved in another boring showing after Frimpong foolishly got himself red card but it took a £23m Suarez to be the difference between 3 points and 1 as Liverpool broke their 11-year drought in Arsenal’s home to emerge as victors.

Lessons were learnt from the weekend’s encounter and Arsenal’s game of the season was to take place in Frulli on a Wednesday night. After Di Natale’s heroics in the entire two-legged affair, Arsenal had the last laugh and proceeded to the group stages for the 14th season in a row.

The chums at UEFA did their thing and Arsenal was paired in Group F with Olympique Marseille, Olympiakos and Borussia Dortmund. All attention was turned to the North London vs Manchester Sunday.

Arsenal’s bitter rivals and neighbors Tottenham had the task of hosting the money bags while Wenger and his depleted squad were to travel up North to the Theater of Dreams.

Edin Dzeko stole the show when both clubs locked horns and $amir Na$ri was pretty awesome in his debut with three assists.

When I saw the lineup that was about to play a Man Utd side that whitewashed Tottenham, I hoped for the worst but I was in the opinion that Arsenal was about to commence a damage limitation exercise.

As expected, the impressive Wojciech Szczesny was in between the sticks and his confidence was boosted after that fantastic penalty save from Di Natale.

Sagna has been playing in an unfamiliar left back position for the past two games but he became unavailable for selection because he fell ill so Traore was given the nod in his stead.

Vermaelen suffered an injury when Arsenal played Udinese so Koscielny had to pass a late fitness test to play beside Djourou in the heart of Arsenal’s defense. Jenkinson continued at right back.

Questions were raised about the player that was to assume the holding midfield role because of the unavailability of Song and Frimpong so Wenger produced the answer in the form of an untested Francis Coquelin.

Van Persie led the attack and was assisted by Arshavin and Walcott on the flanks. The Man Utd side that played yesterday was the exact lineup that played against Tottenham.

From the start of the game, Arsenal looked nervy. Koscielny gave a back pass to Szczesny but the keeper dallied a bit before blasting the ball on Welbeck’s body for a goal kick.

Cleverley had half a chance and sent his effort wide. Rooney also had a snap shot saved by Szczesny. On the other end, Arshavin sent a pass to Traore but the attack was defended well with consummate ease by the Man Utd back line.

Ashley Young was a constant threat on the left hand side and he fed a ball to Welbeck who tried to chip the goalie but his effort went wide. Young also teed up Rooney but the striker was blocked by Djourou.

Arsenal offered no real threat up front and clearly lacked ideas in the final third. Walcott launched a counter attack and fed Arshavin. The Russian made a glorious mess of things and another chance went begging.

Traore managed to get loose off the clutches of Nani to make a run forward. With van Persie on his left and Walcott on his right, Traore kept on going aimlessly with the ball and it was taken away from him the way a bully takes candy from a kid.

The first talking point arrived when Young received a pass from Welbeck. When Young controlled the ball, Coquelin charged him but won the ball fair and square so Howard Webb was having none of it.

Rosicky linked up with Walcott but his shot was very tame. Arshavin has being criticized in recent times for not getting “stuck in” so he got himself into trouble after a poor lounge on Phil Jones leaving Mr. Webb no choice but to brandish a yellow.

Arsenal built up attacks from the right hand side but Walcott’s final ball didn’t find any Arsenal player. With Arsenal messing up with their chances, Man Utd showed them how it was done thanks to more atrocious defending from Arsenal.

Evra crossed a ball into the danger area but Koscielny headed it away to safety that arrived in the form of Anderson. The T-Pain look-alike lofted the ball back into the box in between Djourou and Koscielny and both players didn’t take charge of the ball so Welbeck popped up with a simple header and the floodgates were set to be open.

While the Man Utd players were basking in euphoria shortly after going one up, they were brought down to Earth when Howard Webb awarded Arsenal a penalty for a foul on Walcott from Jonny Evans.

Arsenal’s captain Van Persie had the chance to equalize from 12 yards but his effort was saved by de Gea. Van Persie knelt on the ground in despair while de Gea’s teammates rushed unto to congratulate him for keeping the lead intact.

Arsenal was made to rue that golden chance because Man Utd scored shortly afterwards. Rooney crossed a ball into the box but it was nodded away by Armand Traore. Young got the ball at the edge of the box before curling it into the far corner.

In as much as I’m an Arsenal fan and it was my club that conceded that goal, it was a thing of beauty and a classic example of a goal you would score in Pro Evolution Soccer when you tap the R2 button after shooting.

With Arsenal going two goals down, they had to step up but the Gunners had a double chance that was saved by de Gea. Arshavin smashed the first shot and the ball was parried straight to RVP who lashed it at the goalie.

Minutes after that, Welbeck pulled his hammy when he chased after an intended through pass so the 2010/11 signing of the season, Javier Hernandez replaced him.

Arsenal’s defense was playing with a very high line so the back line was exposed with over the top through balls from Man Utd’s midfield.

Cleverley sent a lovely over the top ball to Young but he was fouled on the edge of the area by Jenkinson. Mr. Webb awarded a free kick and booked the young lad.

Rooney, Young and Nani stood with the dead ball and it seemed as if the players were bent on executing a move practiced in training and it came to effect in the best possible manner.

Rooney brought the ball to life before Young killed it again then the £250,000 per week man used his technique to curl the ball over the wall. Szczesny put a hand to it but it wasn’t a strong hand. 3-0 already in the first half and it was getting embarrassing.

With the half easing off, Arsenal finally got off the mark with its first Premier League goal thanks to Theo Walcott. Ramsey and Arshavin connected well before giving Rosicky who sent a through ball for Walcott. His first time shot went through de Gea’s legs and Arsenal went into the break with a two-goal deficit.

The bench didn’t even help matters, Wenger had Fabianski, Miquel, Sunu, Ozyakup, Lansbury, Chambered Ox and Chamakh to call upon. Five players present in the bench had not started any game for Arsenal. Helpful innit?

Arsenal started the second half brightly with Ramsey wasting another chance created by Rosicky. Young had a shot that was saved by Szczesny. Nani got in behind Traore but chose to chip the goalie instead of passing to an available teammate.

Walcott was on the left hand side when he passed the ball to Rosicky who chipped the ball in for a free RVP but Arsenal’s captain uncharacteristically took a first time shot instead of bringing it under control. De Gea made the save and another chance went with the wind.

Cleverley executed a neat one-two with Chicharito but his finish down. Nani also missed a glorious chance from point-blank range after receiving a pass from Young.

Wenger removed Coquelin to bring on the Chambered Ox and his midfield crumbled from there. A very bad tactical error by Wenger. Arshavin wasn’t playing so well as usual so if there was any player that was to replace the Chambered Ox with, it would have been AA23.

As soon as Coquelin left the midfield, Anderson and Cleverley ran riot. Another free kick was to take place at the edge of the box again and the usual suspects stepped up again. Rooney played the ball to the far post and the hapless Szczesny watched as the ball slammed the net to give Man Utd that three-goal cushion.

Nani made it 5 when he chipped Szczesny from close range and Park JS made it 6 with his first attempt on goal.

Arsenal looked very demoralized but there was still time for the Gunners to add to their count. Jenkinson was free on the right and he sent a cross into Man Utd’s box. Jones headed it away but the header came back to Jenkinson who nodded it straight to the path of RVP who smashed the roof with his effort.

If he scored that penalty in the first half, the game might have had a different outlook. Rooney was on a hattrick when he received the ball from outside the box. He noticed that Szczesny was off his line so he sent an audacious lob goalwards that hit the post to spare Szczesny’s blushes.

Another over the top pass was Arsenal’s undoing as Jenkinson saw red for foul on Chicharito. For the third league match in a row, Arsenal had another player that was sent off.

Rooney’s free kick went over but he sealed his hattrick when Walcott fouled Evra in the box to win a spot kick that was dispatched clinically by the striker.

When Man Utd went 7 up, Wenger took out two of his most important players before they would fall victim to injuries or getting sent off because these are the latest trends that are associated with Arsenal.

Chamakh replaced RVP while Lansbury came on for Walcott. With Arsenal dead and buried in the game, Young poured the final grains of sand in the Arsenal grave with another sumptuous curled effort that beat Szczesny to leave the final score line at 8-2.

Shortly after the final whistle, my BlackBerry device was subjected to different forms of torture from my friends and enemies alike. Man Utd fans that’d not called me since the days Yar’ Adua was ruling Nigeria decided to remember the good ol’ enigma106 and laugh hysterically before cutting the phone.

Twitter was another avenue where people went haywire by mentioning me and other Arsenal fans to taunt us. BlackBerry messenger had its own set of nutjobs that sent a million and one broadcast messages about Arsenal.

Wenger said:

“It was a terrible day for us. A combination of weakness in certain areas and we collapsed physically in the second half”

Szczesny (4.5) refused dinner at home because he already ’8′ at Old Trafford.

Jenkinson (5.5) was torn apart by Young but he still managed to give an assist.

Traore (4.5) was shambolic in defense and was exposed countless times.

Koscielny (5.0) made some vital interceptions but kept a very line with his partner.

Djourou (4.5) was at fault for the match’s opener and was missing in action in the defense at times.

Ramsey (4.0) had one touch too many in several occasions and squandered many goal bound opportunities.

Rosicky (6.5) was Arsenal’s brightest spark, gave an assist and supplied many good passes that were not utilized.

Coquelin (6.0) had a tough debut but did well under the conditions.

Arshavin (4.5) was a a pain to watch.

Walcott (6.0) had a well taken goal

RVP (5.5) missed a spot kick but got his name on the score sheet.

Chambered Ox (4.5) showed why he was worth £12m. Thanks Arsene.

The last time Arsenal lost with 8 goals, Zeus, Hera and the other Greek gods were giving their blessings to Greece for the first ever Olympic Games in 1896. 53 years before Wenger was born.

Our league form since the Carling Cup final loss to Birmingham:
17 games
3 wins
9 draws
5 loses

That’s 18 points out of a possible 51

I’m very distraught but it’s kinda funny to know that it’s just matchday 3 in the Premier League and everybody is panicking. They tend to forget that the other ‘big boys’ will play each other. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool will still lock horns and I’m stilll optimistic that new players will arrive before Wednesday.

With what Wenger witnessed at the back, he’ll probably beef up his offer for Cahill.

Gooners, don’t fret.

There are 35 more league matches to go.

But I can’t deny that Manchester United was

Simply gr-eight.

Sayonara.

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A tale of Wenger, Coyle, Gervinho and 3 more players + Man Utd preview

Apologies for not publishing any post yesterday but as I wrote a few days ago, blogging with a BlackBerry has its limits.

In Nigeria, calling, text messaging, pinging, facebooking, tweeting and of course blogging are all children of a big y’ello telecom dad called MTN. There are other dads like Etisalat, Airlet and Glo but once the dad is down, the children become inactive.

Without further ado I’ll give a detailed roundup about the proceedings dominating the world called Arsenal.

With three days left before the transfer window gets shut like the lid of an ancient relic that will be opened eons later, Arsene Wenger has decided that its time to act fast to buy the players that will add quality to his squad.

He has finally admitted the need to spend swiftly and he has declared that he’ll like to buy three more players:

“It’s important that we strengthen up front. It’s important that we find one midfielder and defender as well.”

With just three days left, Wenger is odds on to acquire the lucky three and I’m very happy to know that he wants to add them in the places that their services will be badly needed.

I’ve reiterated that Arsenal needs a center back that can make Vermaelen play as a left back, a holding midfielder that will be a good back-up for Song and a striker that can deputize for rVp when his glass bones decide to give up on him.

However, Wenger is a bit anxious about these potential signings because bringing them into the club this late and expecting them to be instant hits will definitely be asking too much of them.

They have a long season ahead of them so they’ll have enough time to settle at the Emirates and strut their stuffs when called upon by the manager.

The player that’s odds on in filling the defensive signing loophole is Bolton’s Gary Cahill and we know how long his saga has drawn on. It’s incomparable to Fabregas’ saga but Arsenal and Bolton have given the media Vultures things to write about all summer long.

The media Vultures have reported that Wenger has hit out at Bolton over the Cahill situation and it will only add fuel to fire on the issue.

However, Bolton’s boss Owen Coyle has stated that a step up is okay for the bloke. He has done his bit for Aston Villa and he has also served Bolton so a move to Arsenal will be a new benchmark in his career and it could bolster his chances of playing for the national team because Ferdinand’s time is running out and Terry will need an able replacement at the heart of England’s defense.

It was reported that a £6m bid for the chap was rejected by Bolton but Owen Coyle has come out to say that the club is open to a second bid. I’m confident that Wenger will approach Bolton again with an improved offer but I don’t believe that it will be up to the £17m that Bolton is requesting. He has a year left in his deal and Arsenal is no Man City.

Coyle is also resigned to losing Cahill to Arsenal or any other interested party:

“If something happens prior to Wednesday and Gary’s to leave the club, I as a manager will wish him all the best.”

“But if it doesn’t Gary is all heart and he’ll give everything for Bolton.”

“Gary wants to play at the highest level and there is nothing wrong with that ambition and he has been a terrific servant for Bolton.”

But Coyle hinted that he’ll let Cahill go to the highest bidder:

“The bottom line is, if someone out there has a price that I think is the right value for Gary Cahill and they make an offer, then there is a chance business will be done.”

“If they don’t, there is nothing to talk about.”

I would really love to see Gary Cahill wear the Red and White because he’ll be a great acquisition for Arsenal. He’s in his mid-twenties, he’s English, he has a massive leap and he’s a no-nonsense center back.

We could do with that at the back.

Gervinho is a player that has wowed the gooners with his famous magical dribbling skills and he had a thing or two to say about the greedy one, $amir Na$ri. He said that Na$ri coaxed him to join Arsenal but he broke his Ivorian heart:

“I wanted to play with Samir because he’s a big player. His exit has left me in pain. He promised to stay here this season….and he changed his mind.”

“This is a new Arsenal. A team without Nasri and Cesc. We need to forget that and turn to a new page. Now we must only think about the future.”

Just like he said, Nasregas is a phrase that’s now sealed in Arsenal history but the club’s hierarchy should understand that Wenger did what he could to keep them at the club but it was futile.

One followed his heart while the other relished the prospect of having a pocket greener that the Grinch who stole Christmas.

Gervinho also told the media Vultures that he’ll like to see his former teammate, the BioHazard of Eden in Arsenal:

“I haven’t spoken to Wenger about Hazard, but Eden was my companion at Lille and if Arsenal can complete the deal then I’ll be content.

“Wenger has had some difficult moments and each match comes with big pressure. But the coach is one of the best and I’m convinced we will find a solution to the situation.”

“I haven’t had many problems adapting to the Premier League. It’s a different level and style but I’m convinced that soon I will play as well as I did in France.”

“Now the problem for Arsenal is to score goals. We’re creating opportunities but we need to take them.”

Arsenal will be without Gervinho in today’s game and it’s definitely going to be a bitter blow to Arsenal’s chances because the Ivorian is slowly growing to become an important first team player, especially when the inconsistent Arshavin is not showing any signs of improvement.

There’s a player that could join Cahill in Arsenal and he’s about to put his name in the history books as the first Korean to join Arsenal FC. He was the player that scored a decisive free kick in the World Cup when Korea Republic drew with my Nigeria. I’m still not over that Yakubu miss though :(

This Korean in question is a very popular figure for video gamers that played the Master League in Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 and 2009. He’s one of the cheapest strikers that can be bought in the game and his learning curve is very steep.

This Korean began his career back home in FC Seoul before making his transition to Europe in the Principality of Monaco in 2008. He has notched 91 Ligue 1 matches for the recently relegated club and has scored 25 goals. He’s currently Korea Republic’s captain, gained 53 caps and has scored 17 goals for his nation.

At club level, he won the K-League Cup with FC Seoul in 2006 and he was a silver medalist in the 2010 Coupe de France. On the international scene, he has won trophies in his days as an Under-19 player but he hasn’t won anything with the Korea Republic senior team.

I’m pretty sure that you’re getting bored with the suspense so I’ll let the Korean out of the dojo.

He’s simply known as Park Chu-Young in the world I live in and there are emerging reports that he’s set to sign for Arsenal.

Its speculated that Park CY will wear the No. 9 jersey vacated by Eduardo da Silva but there’s a major challenge Arsenal might face with the signing of the Korean. There are debates that have been reignited over the mandatory military service all Koreans above 20 years are supposed to serve for two years.

Park CY is a 26-year old chap and he hasn’t served yet but he’s hoping that he could be exempted because of his services to football.

An official called Cho has decided to address the issue:

“All able bodied men 20 and older are required to serve in the armed forces for two years at least. This means the 14 players in the 23-man roaster are subject to the mandatory service which includes Park Chu-Young and Ki Sung-Yeung.”

“What the players want is exemption….and the association will do its best to realize this.”

Every country has its own laws and creeds that they follow but telling a footballer to serve in the army is a bit unfair. Tomasz said that the 2002 World Cup squad was exempted because of their brilliant performance in the tourney that was hosted by Korea and Japan. Park CY has worn the Korean jersey 53 times and scored goals against countries like Greece, Paraguay, Serbia and of course Nigeria and it will be very awkward if he’s deployed to some battalion instead of doing what he’s already good at.

Seeing someone like Park CY in the army would remind me of that scene in the movie 300 when Leonidas asked the Arkadians what their occupations were. Some said that they were traders, others said carpenters. When Park CY is asked, he would say that he’s a footballer instead of the awoo sound that we got accustomed to in the movie.

In other Arsenal news, Wenger has stated that Arsenal’s season starts at Old Trafford and Arsenal’s away form will be very crucial this season.

This is just the third Premier League of the season but Arsenal has to avoid a defeat to their rivals because it’s too early in the season to be eight points behind Manchester United. Arsenal had the best away form in the league but their patchy home form made them pay and they have already started with a home loss to Liverpool.

The Carling Cup 3rd round draws are out and Arsenal got a favorable contest with Shrewsbury. Man Utd got Leeds while Chelsea got Fulham.

To round it all up, Sol Campbell has talked about what Arsenal needs, Joel Campbell’s work permit application was rejected and Blackpool’s Ian Holloway gives reasons why Arsenal lacks the will to win like Man Utd.

A manager that brought in a carefree style of football to the Premier League got relegated in his club’s only season in the Premier League in centuries yet he has the balls to talk about a team that has collective wage budget could be a transfer budget for his own club.

It’s his opinion by the way and I’ll always say:

“Opinions are like arseh*les, everybody has one.”

To team news, Rosicky and Djourou are fully fit while Vermaelen and Koscielny will face late fitness tests.

Gibbs and Wilshere are still out with injury while Song and Gervinho will be serving the second match of their suspensions.

I’m writing this post with my BlackBerry so there’ll be no graphical illustration again. Sorry about that. :(

My expected lineup should be:

Szczesny

Sagna – Koscielny – Djourou – Vermaelen

Lansbury – Rosicky – Ramsey

Walcott – RVP – Arshavin

That’s enough for today

Come on you Gunners.

Sayonara.

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Van Persie wants reinforcements and Arsenal books a date with Olympique Borrupiakos

At 11.59pm yesterday, I was still convinced that there was still time left in the transfer window but as soon as my clock’s pendulum hit the 12.00am mark, I realized that Arsene Wenger has only FIVE days left to bring the much needed quality that is still lacking at Arsenal Football Club.

I’m pretty sure that Wenger has a certain starting XI in mind and he doesn’t want to dent the learning curve of Ramsey, Koscielny, Wilshere among others but he has to delve into the transfer market because Arsenal is a squad that have players that are susceptible to injuries.

Gibbs seemed okay when Arsenal played Newcastle in the club’s Premier League curtain raiser but at the stroke of halftime, everybody learnt that he had done his hammy. Koscielny was meant to be Vermaelen’s partner in crime this season but after 30 minutes of play against Liverpool, he kicked the ball away and held his waist like a woman that’s going into labor.

These early season injuries should have sent a spark to Wenger’s head to let him know that if he truly wants to end the trophy drought, he needs to add a quality player or two quality players.

Vermaelen is also adept as a left back and is more than capable enough to play when Gibbs gets injured so Wenger has to purchase a center back that will be able to play with Koscielny or Djourou as the case may be.

Alex Song is Arsenal’s No. 1 defensive midfielder and Emmanuel Frimpong has shown signs of progress but his inexperience will definitely take its toll on him in the course of the season. We all witnessed what happened at the Emirates when Liverpool came around. Alex Song would have been intelligent enough to know that he has been booked earlier on so there’ll be no need for any reckless challenge so as not to incur the referee’s wrath.

Song will leave Arsenal for the best part of one month when he represents Cameroon in the 2012 African Cup of Nations that’s taking place in Gabon and Equitorial Guinea so it’s a priority for Wenger to buy another holding midfielder that will be a good cover-up for Song because I can’t lay all my eggs in Frimpong’s basket at the moment.

Finally, Arsenal Football Club needs a striker that can deputize for Robin van Persie when his glass bones decide to give up on him. Carlos Vela has gone back to Spain on loan while Nicklas Bendtner has been sitting on the bench with his eyes firmly fixed at the exit door. Chamakh is all that Arsenal has and he hasn’t proved his mettle this season but Wenger is still hoping that he’ll come good.

It would be a pity if Nicklas Bendtner does not find a club within these five days because he now looks like a deserted figure at the Emirates. A young striker that showed so much promise decided to open his chewing-gum occupied mouth to tell the world that he deserves to play every week in a top club like Arsenal.

If he was backing this up with goals and Man of the Match performances, I would’ve nodded my head like an Agama Lizard in support of him. He scores when he feels like and misses when we need him the most. If he fired that shot from Wilshere’s pass, it would have gone anywhere and the last time I checked, the net can be classified as anywhere or somewhere in the field of play.

Not withstanding, Arsene Wenger needs to get it right with the few days he has left. No more fabled tales of not finding the right player because no matter how many goals you score in a game, you’ll still go home with 3 points.

Arsenal’s skipper rVp met Wenger earlier on about the possibility of making signings but the media Vultures reported that Wenger told his new captain that he’s happy with his squad. However, Robin van Persie has come out to tell the media Vultures that strengthening is vital:

“It is vital for Arsenal, we lost Fabregas and Na$ri which is hard for us because those are two great players.

To come up with that performance in the second half is special. If you look at the team, people questioned our mental strength but we showed loads of that.

It was Jenkinson’s best game, we played very well, Szczesny was on fire and he saved almost everything.

Frimpong is doing well. I’m happy that we are in so let’s go from there.”

With Nasregas now a forgotten phrase, the next big thing in Arsenal is Robin van Persie so if he wants his boss to buy a player or two, Wenger has to heed to him even if it means signing another quality striker that can put his place under threat.

The media Vultures continued doing what they do best by linking Arsenal with potential arrivals and with little or no news of the departures because the usual suspects are all gone.

I’ll start with the most hilarious of them all. I usually generalize the English Press and journalists alike as the media Vultures but I’m going to point out the faction of the lot that came up with this funny tale. The Mirror reported yesterday night that Arsenal made a meager £6m bid for Bolton’s Gary Cahill.

Bolton’s boss Owen Coyle has been in a standoff from June and has slammed a £17m price tag on the player’s head so a £6m bid would be regarded as an insult to Bolton and Cahill. It reminded me of how Arsenal felt when Barcelona brought the initial £26m or so for Fabregas.

After reading this tweet, I felt that there was a little bit of sense in it so I decided to share it:

“@Jimmy_Chilides: The bid for Cahill was missing the 1 when he sent it over,Wenger wanted to bid £16mill not £6mill but apparently there was a miss type LOOL!”

Everyone was informed that Wenger was lining up a £16m bid so I’m in the opinion that it was an error from The Mirror but if it’s true……

The media Vultures also reported that Arsenal is after a bloke from Sochaux called Kevin Anin. The last Sochaux player Arsenal was linked with was the tall and technical Marvin Martin but his stories have died down faster than the way it took Ledley King to score that goal against Bradford City in 2000.

Kevin Anin was also linked to Arsenal’s fierce rivals, Tottenham and there are tales surfacing that he skipped training at the club to force a move out. That’s not the type of player I would like to see wearing the Red and White. You can afford to be rough as a player but football managers in general do not tolerate indiscipline.

See what happened to that GhanItalian Mohican, Mario Balogoat that said that he didn’t know who Jack Wilshere was. After all his on the pitch and dart-throwing off pitch shenanigans, he spends a lot of time wearing a hood at the bench. That’s what indiscipline can do to a player’s career.

They’ve also reported that Valencia and Malaga are closing in on Arsenal’s target Mikel Arteta. Valencia is a club that has £26m to spend after the sale of Mata to Chelsea and Malaga is a club that has the money to buy 10 Matas so if Arsenal messes up with their proposed hunt for Arteta, these clubs will snap him up.

Arteta is an accomplish player that hasn’t really gotten the chance to wear the Red of the Spanish national team so he might be in the opinion that a move back home would help his cause but a move to Arsenal would be a brilliant bargain by Wenger because he has vast Premier League experience as well as a good passing range and a dead ball specialist. Having an Arteta in Arsenal would mean that birds would be able to fly past the Emirates again because van Persie has killed a considerable chunk of them with his free kicks.

The media Vultures have also reported about the kind of news that the gooners are accustomed to. They have unveiled that Arsene Wenger is after an 18-year old French teenage sensation called M’ Baye Niang

Niang plays for Caen in France and has been touted by the French media Vultures as the next Thierry Henry and I have a hunch that Wenger might go for the lad. For starters, he’s French, he’s young, he’s a prospect and he’s fabled to be the next Thierry Henry.

C’mon, its Arsene Wenger I’m writing about now. We all know that he has a thing for players of this sort.

Moving over to news regarding departures, the media Vultures have reported that Arsenal’s 3rd choice goalie Vito Mannone is about to go on loan to Chievo Verona. It’s not yet Don Vito’s turn to shine at Arsenal so another loan move would do wonders to his confidence. It’s even better for him because he’s heading back to his Italy where he would eat a lot of pasta and take his girlfriend to the Leaning Tower of Pisa when he’s free.

They’ve also reported that Rosicky is considering abandoning Arsenal for Wolfsburg. If there’s any player in the club that owes Arsenal his services, it’s Tomas Rosicky because Arsenal stuck with him for the best part of two pregnancy periods when he was out with his hamstring injury. Many clubs (especially in Italy) would have rescinded his contract in that period.

In other related news, Emmanuel Greedybayor has completed his loan move to Sp*rs, Morten Olsen is keen for Bendtner to leave Arsenal and $amir Na$ri has stated that Arsenal lacks ambition.

After the grueling process of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, the suit wearing chums led by Platini decided that it was time for the grouping for the 2011/12 season. The show was anchored by CNN World Sport‘s Pedro Pinto and a few football figureheads graced the occasion with their presence.

The 2001 FIFA Golden Ball winner and Champions League with Real Madrid, Luis Figo was the first person to honor the show with his fresh presence. He and another football great Paul Breitner did the draws for the top seeds and the results where:

A: Bayern B: Inter Milan C: Man United D: Real Madrid E: Chelsea F: Arsenal G: FC Porto H: Barcelona

Manchester United’s Sir Bobby Charlton was the next figurehead to reach the stage and after doing the draws for the 2nd seeds the results where:

A: Villarreal B: CSKA C: Benfica D: Olympique Lyonnais E: Valencia F: Olympique Marseille G: Shakhtar Donetsk H: AC Milan

Euro 88 winner and former Chelsea player/coach Ruud Gullit was next in line for the draws for the 3rd seeds and the results where:

A: Manchester City B: Lille C: Basel D: Ajax E: Bayer Leverkusen F: Olympiakos G: Zenit H: BATE Borisov

1990 FIFA Golden ball winner Lothar Matthaus did the final draws and the final group stages looked like this:

Group A:

Bayern, Villarreal, Manchester City, Napoli

(Group of Death)

Group B:

Inter Milan, CSKA, Lille, Trapzonspor

Group C:

Man United, Benfica, FC Basel, Otelul Galati

Group D:

Real, Olympique Lyonnais, Ajax Amsterdam, Dynamo Zagreb

Group E:

Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk

Group F:

Arsenal, Olympique Marseille, Olympiakos, Borussia Dortmund

Group G:

Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St. Petersburg, APOEL Nicosia

GroupH:

Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov, FC Plzen

The last time I checked, this is an Arsenal blog so I’m going to lay emphasis on Group F.

Arsenal has been landed in a group with French heavyweights Olympique Marseille, Greeks superpowers Olympiakos Piraeus and German champions Borussia Dortmund.

The group is not as hard as Group A but there are some tricky encounters to be played. Arsenal has some history with Olympiakos and the memories of playing the Greek outfit are quite fond but the two-legged affair with Dortmund will be the peak of the bunch. Rosicky will get another chance to return to the place he once called home and stars like Lucas Barrios, Shinji Kagawa and Mario Gotze will have a chance to shine at the European stage.

Arsenal would have to ensure that it tops the group to avoid the likes of Barcelona again.

Sticking with Barcelona, a website called The Gaffer has dropped a bombshell regarding Arsenal’s former captain, Cesc Fabregas.

The site revealed that Fabregas has admitted that he has made a HUGE MISTAKE by joining Barcelona.

Barcelona is a club that I really hate so I took the liberty of publishing the entire article in this post to save my readers the stress of clicking on the click but please feel free to do so if you want to.

SPANISH SENSATION Cesc Fabregas has revealed that moving to Barcelona was the biggest mistake of his life and is desperately lobbying the Champions’ League winners for an immediate return home to his teenhood club Arsenal.

During his last three seasons in north London Fabregas made no secret of his desire to play for Barcelona, changing his first name by deed poll to ‘Wantaway’ and training in a Barcelona replica kit paid for out of his own pocket.

But in an emotional interview with Heat, the playmaker revealed how his dream move has turned into a nightmare.

“My dream move has turned into a nightmare”, he said. “It is like I finally kissed the girl I have been fantasizing about for years, and then opened my eyes and realised she was Carlos Puyol.”

He continued: “Nothing about this as good as I hoped it would be – it is too hot, they all speak too quickly, and everybody has their dinner at midnight.”

Fabregas is reportedly disappointed by the level of Barcelona’s famous continental sophistical, describing it as “merely a diguise for a lack of banter”.

Friends of the star hinted that Fabregas had arrived for his first day training gleefully expecting a team mate to cut up his socks, set his trousers on fire or sleep with his girlfriend for a joke. When his initiation failed to materialise Fabregas is said to have flushed his own head down the toilet so he could feel like one of the lads.

Fabregas is also unhappy with his lack of playing opportunities: “When I signed for Barcelona Guardiola promised me an automatic first-team place, but I am the worst player at the club.

“I spend most of the day carrying out undemanding administrative tasks. It has been terrible for my self-esteem. I have begged the manager to sign Nicklas Bendnter so I can get my confidence back.”

Fabregas confessed that his nostalgia for England has led to disturbed sleep and erratic behaviour. “Last night, I dreamt that I was being kicked through the middle of Stoke on a wet Wednesday night. In the dream I was so happy, but when I woke up and remembered all the photocopying I had to do, I was devastated.

“I am so lonely I have even started phoning Emmanuel Frimpong. We weren’t really friends during my time with the Gunners, but now the thought of never partnering him in another shuttle run makes me feel like crying. I just want to go home.”

Although Arsenal are thought to be interested in ending Fabregas’ Spanish exile, manager Arsène Wenger is unwilling to meet the Catalan giant’s £35 million valuation of the player, and instead targeting several rough diamond French teenagers who might be good in 2016

The Gaffer is a satirical site by the way. However, I wish that this kind of a thing would happen to $amir Na$ri.

I hope that someday, he would call all the media Vultures and say:

“I really hate it here at Manchester City. The money is too much and Clichy forces me to watch Arab porn with him.

I also hate the fact that everything is Blue here. They remind me of my Marseille days and my memories are not too fond because Ribery bullied me a lot with his evil scar and his style of play that saw him take all the glory

Diaby broke my leg in 2009 in training and I’m really scared about training on the same pitch with Nigel de Jong. He was the evil man that broke my friend’s (Hatem ben Arfa) leg and I could be next”

I wonder how that got into my head. Maybe I was caught up with the moment.

That’s enough for one blog post.

Sayonara

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Udinese 1 Arsenal 2: Wojciech Szczesny makes his mark

Football is a sport that leaves its fervent followers with memories that dwell in their heads for years to come. Football fans keep memories of breathtaking goals like Thierry Henry’s goal against Tottenham, epic headbutts like Pope Zizou’s infamous classic on Marco Materazzi, flying Chinese Shaolin kicks like Jonny Evans fatality on Didier Drogba, awkward own goals like Lauren’s own goal against Manchester City, theatrical dives like Yuri Zhirkov’s movie audition when Chelsea played Manchester United and horrible goal keeping howlers like Fabianski’s error against Porto. Wojciech Szczesny added his name to the list with a save that will sink in the hearts of gooners worldwide.

Yesterday, Arsenal was faced with a do-or-die situation when they visited Frulli with the uphill task of avoiding defeat at all costs with the aim of qualifying to the Champions League for the 14th season in a row.

Wenger was handed a two-match ban by UEFA but I was perplexed when I saw him on the bench with his faithful sidekick, Patty Ol’ Rice. Wenger had it in mind to strengthen his midfield so Frimpong got the nod above Rosicky as I predicted in yesterday’s post.

Gervinho enjoyed a full weekend’s rest thanks to his man-killing slap on Joey Hitler so he showed very good signs of sharpness when he was on the pitch. Early on, he evaded a marker to tee up RVP but the ball was intercepted.

Walcott created some space for himself outside the box before stinging the keeper’s hands with a shot. Udinese threatened in attack but di Natale’s goal was ruled off for an offside. A correct decision.

Udinese was enjoying a good spell of possession and almost made it count. Giampiero Pinzi passed the ball to Udinese’s captain on the edge of the box and di Natale wasted no time in crossing it into the danger area. A bloke nodded the ball and it hit the post but Kwadwo Asamoah was offside when he attacked the ball so a free kick was awarded to Arsenal.

Jenkinson was adjudged to have fouled an Udinese chap on the right hand side of the area so they were awarded a free kick by the ref. That was the same position where Tranquillo Barnetta scored Joe Hart in that European Championship qualifier in June so di Natale decided to fire it straight at goal instead of creating a chance for his teammates but Szczesny was equal to the challenge with a good save.

Antonio di Natale was giving the Arsenal defense a torrid time and it was him again that had Udinese’s next shot on target. A pass from a bloke called Badu arrived at his feet, he lashed one at Arsenal’s goalie but he made another decent save.

Song waltzed forward and exchanged passes with Ramsey but he killed a bird with his proposed effort. Di Natale showed why he was a constant thorn to the flesh of Arsenal’s defense by smashing the post with a first time volley.

Sagna was playing in the uncomfortable left back role but he showed good skill by making mince meat of an Udinese defender before passing the ball to Gervinho but it was intercepted by another defender.

Arsenal was getting a foothold of the game and it showed in the chances they created. Ramsey and Sagna worked well on the left before feeding Walcott. The winger used his left foot to cross the ball but it was headed away from danger and came straight to RVP who smashed it with his choco-leg. The ball went over the bar though.

The best chance of the game from an Arsenal point of view arrived late on when Vermaelen cleared the ball out of the defense only to get tackled in the follow-up. The ref waved play on so Gervinho decided to play the role of Harry Potter as he started executing magic tricks on all the defenders and they watched helplessly as he dribbled past them.

With the goal on sight and Walcott available for a pass, Gervinho unselfishly teed up the Englishman with the hope that Arsenal was about to go one up but the winger fired the ball straight at Samir Handanovic. RVP followed it up with a shot but Handanovic was on ‘hand’ to make a double save.

Shortly after making those saves, Udinese went on the counter and were very close to making arsenal rue the missed chances. A bloke sent a through ball to You-Know-Who (Udinese’s Lord Voldemort, di Natale) and he used his left boot to send a shot across goal. Szczesny dived to his near post and made a good save.

Udinese’s one-man army continued his barrage on Arsenal’s defense and it finally paid off when Giampiero Pinzi sent a cross to di Natale’s path. With no Arsenal defender close to him, he used his experience to send a dipping header across Szczesny’s goal. Arsenal’s goalie watched with despair as the ball hit the post before entering the goal.

Udinese had leveled the tie on aggregate and it was Lord Voldemort himself that broke the deadlock. While Arsenal fans on my BlackBerry Messenger changed their statuses revealing their anger and frustration, the commentators added more fire to the fuel that was burning rapidly:

“Arsenal’s youth on show again but it took Italian experience to bring the game wide open. A 30-year old Giampiero Pinzi pass to a 32-year old Antonio di Natale.”

That was it for the first half and Wenger had to show his mettle again because a loss to Udinese would have been disastrous to him, his players, the fans, the Board and it would have hampered Arsenal’s potential signings.

At the start of the 2nd half, Wenger summoned Tomas Rosicky to add bite to the midfield in place of the inexperienced Ghanaian Mohican.

Everybody expected the Gunners to panic early on but it was the exact opposite because there was this air of confidence in their play.

Song was under extreme pressure in the midfield but he showed his amazing footwork and close control to shove off the threat of some Udinese blokes before chipping the ball for Walcott. The winger decided to sidefoot the ball from well outside the area so it was easy pickings for Samir Handanovic.

Arsenal’s black dreadlocked Harry Potter with the big forehead started again after receiving the ball from a deflected Rosicky shot with his Expecto Patronums and the Udinese players watched again as he waltzed past them. His final ball found Robin van Persie and Arsenal’s captain and Flying Dutchman did the rest with a neat left-footed finish.

Arsenal had scored the goal that was needed to calm everybody’s nerves down so Udinese was faced with the monumental task of scoring two more goals to win the game and they had a chance to score another goal in an acrimonious fashion.

A player crossed a corner kick into Udinese’s hand and after a scramble in the box, the ball hit Vermaelen’s hand. Rosicky cleared the ball away to launch a counter attack but the ref stopped play, pointed to the spot, searched for Vermaelen before brandishing the card to him.

Van Persie went to protest but Vermaelen was silent because he seemed guilty. The fact that he looks like an assassin with the low cut didn’t do well to help his cause.

Minutes after Arsenal had gone ahead on aggregate, Lord di Voldemort had another chance to bring Udinese closer to Champions League qualification with Italy, the Udinese fans, Francesco Guidolin and his fellow death eaters…..teammates watching with hope.

Di Natale wiped away the sweat from his face before gearing himself up for the spot kick. He rattled Szczesny’s bar from 35 yards a week ago so 12 yards was more than close enough to bury the ball at the back of the goalie’s net but Arsenal’s keeper had other plans.

With Szczesny’s eyes firmly fixed on the ball, di Natale smashed an unstoppable shot but as the saying goes:

“When an unstoppable shot meets an immovable object, something has to give.”

Szczesny turned out to be that object and the save was the W in world class. With Fabianski crying out loud that he wants to fight to the end to win his place back from Szczesny, that save would have done enough to tell Flyin Fabbi that the bench is not a bad place after all.

Szczesny said this after the game but I felt that it was befitting to put it here:

“I felt a little silly after the save because I gave a lot of stick to Di Natale before the kick was taken. It’s something that shouldn’t be said on TV but it worked and he came to me after the game and and said ‘well done’ so I felt a little bit stupid because he’s quite a nice guy”

Gervinho still had a trick or two left in his forehead…..the bag, so he created a chance to score again but Walcott was free on the left hand side. He wanted all the glory this time but he made a mess of his effort on goal.

The next goal was going to be the most important but it was heartwarming to know that it was scored by Arsenal. Rosicky fed Jenkinson who switched play to the left hand flank. Vermaelen teed up Sagna before he connected well with Theo Walcott.

With Udinese playing with the unorthodox 3-5-2 formation, there was certainly going to be a point when they’ll be exposed for the lack of standing full backs. Walcott used his pace to evade the wing back and was closing in on goal and one of the center backs was trying to close down on him. He sent Handanovic the wrong way and the joyous screams from the Arsenal fans in Frulli could be heard on the Moon.

Di Natale had one last effort but it went wide. There were late substitutions for Arsenal as Traore replaced Harry Potter….Gervinho while AA23 replaced TH 14.

With the game dead and dusted, Arsenal wanted to add insult to injury by scoring a third goal but Handanovic had his pride to protect. Van Persie created a chance for himself before letting one fly. Handanovic saved the ball but the follow up went to Traore but his own attempt was weak.

At the sound of the final whistle, Antonio di Voldemort looked liked a very disappointed figure but the Gunners congratulated him for his stellar performance against them in both legs. It’s unfortunate to know that a player of such class is already in the twilight years of his career so a move elsewhere can hardly be on the cards. I wish him and his death eaters all the best in their Europa League adventure.

Szczesny (9.5) made saves of outstanding quality and topped it up with one of the best penalty saves I’ve witnessed as a football fan

Jenkinson (7.0) had a decent outing in his first Champions League start.

Djourou (6.5) didn’t do too much but helped the Gunners by making himself available for this tie. Squillaci or Miquel might have had a precarious outing.

Vermaelen (7.0) played well but almost threw Arsenal’s lead away with the handball.

Sagna (7.5) played better than the way he did on Saturday.

Song (8.5) was a beauty to watch in midfield

Ramsey (7.5) was ubiquitous in midfield and made himself available for passes.

Frimpong (6.5) did his tackling thing. At least he didn’t give Piers Morgan something new to tweet about.

Gervinho (9.0) showed why he’ll be badly missed when Arsenal visit Old Trafford. Another inspired signing by Arsene Wenger.

Walcott (8.0) missed a few chances but had a well taken goal.

Van Persie (7.5) opened his goal scoring account. We now expect the floodgates to open.

Rosicky (7.5) played like the TR7 of old.

Traore, Arshavin (N/A)

Wenger hailed the Gunners for their strength in the game and said a thing or two:

“Tonight, for 14 years on the trot, we play in the Champions League. We have a new stadium, a fantastic training ground, a very good financial situation and a very strong team. It was important today because we were under pressure so it was important to keep calm, composed and not do anything stupid.”

He also talked about potential signings:

“We have excellent players who are 18 or 19. If we dont find replacements (for Cesc& Nasri) we’ll show faith in them”

In other Arsenal news, Frimpong earned himself an England Under-21 call up, Arsenal has made a £22m bid for Yann M’ Vila and Real Madrid has rejected Kaka’s loan bid and has told the club that they can get the 2007 FIFA Golden Ball winner for £17.5m on a permanent deal.

Today, there’ll be two quotes of the day.

The first sets of quotes came from Kunal De:

“So we qualify for the Champions League, Udinese gave a good fight, everyone who loves the club are CURRENTLY PLAYING for the team.

Hopefully cesc is also happy but the people who are sad include Manuel Almunia, the referee as he couldn’t show a red card to an arsenal player, Udinese players and supporters and Samir Nasri.

I bet he wished that Arsenal was losing the match while he was enjoying watching some arab porn with Gael Clichy”

The second quote came from Jake white:

“So we got £25m for Nasri, £35m for Fabregas, £20m for qualifying for the Champions League and £10m for Clichy and Eboue. Thats £90m. Lets put in a bid for Messi”

Arsenal fans are one of the most faithful, passionate, ambitious and optimistic fans on Earth.

Your manager hasn’t even gotten Hazard, he couldn’t even get Mata….now you’re actually dreaming of Lionel Messi.

Oh well.

In Wenger we trust.

Sayonara.

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