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New Offer for Sagna, Selfies and Post-Tottenham Ramblings

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Last weekend, the title race took a new twist as Chelsea dropped some points while the chasing pack behind the all gained crucial victories as Manchester City eased past Hull with 10 men, Liverpool added more misery to David Moyes and the folks at Old Trafford and Arsenal got that crucial win over Tottenham.

In the wake of the victory, Arsenal’s derby hero, Tomas Rosicky, has been on the news lately, stating that Arsenal are gonna ignore their doubters and he can score more “big goals” for the club,

I am not a big goal-scorer but I can score big goals. I would like to get on the score-sheet more but for me it’s not easy.
“The team is more important so even if someone else scored I would be glad as long as we won the game. It means a lot because it is a derby and everyone knows how the fans feel about games like that so it is a great win.
“Defensively we were very good but we have to improve offensively if we want to win the league.”

It’s worth noting that Rosicky steps up for the Gunners in big games and he scored a brilliant solo effort when both North London rivals locked horns in January.

Elsewhere, Kieran Gibbs spoke about the teams ‘character’ and stated that it could lead the team to success this season. The collective defensive performance at White Hart Lane was exemplary and kudos must go to the Mertesielny combination for another amazing outings in the heart of Arsenal’s defense. Mertesacker had an amazing 20 clearances which would go down as one of the highest in a game.

You can’t speak about Sunday’s North London derby without talking about THAT SELFIE. Arsenal’s No. 1 shot stopper, Wojciech Szczesny, has taken out some time to talk about his selfie with some teammates that have become an Internet phenomenon among Arsenal fans.

Szczesny has stated that he wanted to pay the fans back for that awesome support in the NLD,

“I asked Paul Johnson [our equipment manager] to bring my phone on to the pitch after the game and grabbed a selfie with the Arsenal fans, which was brilliant,” Szczesny told Arsenal Player.

“They were fantastic all afternoon. They sang their hearts out and I am sure they enjoyed themselves. It was fantastic for us too and we wanted to give something back to them.”

As for the game itself, Szczesny accepts Arsenal were under pressure for long periods but he paid testament to the defence that protected him.

“It has been that way away from home sometimes,” he said. “We concentrated on defending.”They did not create any chances and the only one they did have [from Nacer Chadli] I pretty much gifted them.

“We were fantastic defensively. We scored early so they were always going to dominate the possession. But the two centre backs were outstanding then Thomas Vermaelen came on and we played with three centre back. He did well as well.”

“Overall it was a huge win for us. We knew that Chelsea had dropped points against Villa and we have to take advantage of that. It was very pleasing to get a win at White Hart Lane after quite a few years.”

The feeling of winning in a ground that has been a thorn in the flesh is heartwarming and I can only imagine how the players would celebrate winning Chelsea in Stamford Bridge. That would also be Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game for the club and it would be iconic. I wonder when his own statue would come up.

Finally, there’s an update concerning the Bacary Sagna contract saga and Goal.com’s Wayne Versey, has reported that the Gunners are set to offer the French full-back an improved offer.

“@wayneversey: Arsenal make Sagna improved contract offer – £75,000-a-week, 2-year deal with option of 3rd year. #AFC”

This would seem like the Gunners last stand with the French star and I hope he agrees to these new terms even if it’s believed that he might have bigger offers elsewhere.

I’ll keep you posted on the contract situation.

Sayonara.

Tottenham 0 Arsenal 1: Rosicky Screamer Ignites Arsenal’s Title Challenge

Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky fires the winner past Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in their English Premier League game, 16 March. Reuters

White Hart Lane (Premier League)

Arsenal: Rosicky 2′

Player Ratings - Match HighlightsWenger’s Press Conference

The Gunners went into the game on the end of quite an appalling record in White Hart Lane, with just one victory in their last eight games.

Arsene Wenger opted for the same team that gave a good account of themselves in Germany with the only exception being a returning Kieran Gibbs ahead of Thomas Vermaelen.

Arsenal were the quickest off the blocks when the Ox and Tomas Rosicky combined well to launch an attack from the right. After the Ox miscontrolled the ball, Rosicky lashed an unstoppable shot past Hugo Lloris.

Arsenal’s defence went to sleep as Sandro dinked a neat ball to Emmanuel Adebayor but he couldn’t get the ball under control. Shortly afterwards, Giroud got a kick to his face by Jan Vertonghen.

Arsenal would have been two up when the Ox went clear of Nabil Bentaleb and suddenly he was one on one with Lloris. He had the option of feeding Lukas Podolski or going round the goalie but he inexplicably chose to chip the goalie and wasted the glorious chance.

Giroud was sent through on goal but Lloris took the role of a sweeper and got to the ball before his compatriot. Tottenham launched an attack through Andros Townsend but nobody capitalised on his drill across the face of goal.

In the wake of some officiating decisions this season, Bacary Sagna could consider himself lucky to stay on the pitch when he lounged at a player after losing the ball. Sandro attempted another chip to Adebayor but he was riled offside.

Santi Cazorla teed up Podolski who in turn drilled The ball across goal to Rosicky’s direction but the ball feel kindly to the Ox that blasted a shot that was deflected wide. Podolski smashed a ferocious drive from an acute angle a la Bayern Munich but his shot hit the side netting.

At the start of the second half, Szczesny showed off his erratic side as he failed to deal with crosses into his box and he had Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker to thank as they blocked a shot off the line.

Tottenham continued to use the wings but their passes in the final third were not converted. Wenger summoned the services of Mathieu Flamini in Rosicky’s stead to ads steel to the midfield.

Arsenal had a claim for a penalty turned down and PM4 fired a one-timed shot straight at Lloris. The Verm came in for Chamberlain as Wenger signalled his intentions of holding on to the narrow lead he had.

At the sound of the ref’s whistle, the Gunners were in celebratory mood as Podolski ran to mix up with the fans. There was even time for Szczesny and Gibbs to take a selfie and the narrow victory proved that the Gunners aren’t out of the title challenge just yet.

All thanks to the superb goal by Rosicky. A player that really deserves to lift that trophy.

The last time we won 3 times in one season vs Spurs was back in 88/89 and we lost on opening day to Villa but we won the title in the end.

I love such omens.

Sayonara

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Tottenham Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

13/14: Arsenal 1-0 Tottemham Hotspur - Olivier Giroud

The Premier League showcased its unpredictability yet again with Aston Villa grabbing maximum points against the table toppers and with Manchester City getting a favorable result against Hull, the onus will be on the Gunners to secure the victory that would be absolutely vital to their title challenge as any result bar a victory would make the Gunners lose further ground on the leading pack.

Both teams didn’t fare too well in Europe with the Gunners earning a creditable draw in Germany but the damage done in the first league was more than enough to send them packing from the Champions League in the Round of 16 for the fourth season in a row. Tottenham on the hand, were gazumped by SL Benfica and it seems very likely that they would be beaten in the home of the Champions League final when both sides clash again.

Arsenal’s form in White Hart Lane is rather disappointing with the Gunners failing to win in their last five encounters (W0 D2 L3) on this ground. Funnily enough, Tottenham has gotten the upper hand in this fixture at home and last season, two quickfire goals from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon were enough to hand Spurs victory.

However, Tottenham’s last result in the Premier League was a 4-0 trouncing in the hands of Chelsea in a game marred by school boy defending. Jan Vertonghen and Sandro were culpable for horrendous mistakes in the game and the Gunners would be hoping for more of the same, I guess. Tottenham have suffered four defeats in their last six outings in all competitions, will also be aware that the likes of Manchester United and Everton sit within touching distance just below them and harbour ambitions of snatching continental football for next season.

Tottenham are in a poor run of form

For those interested in stats, Tottenham have kept four clean sheets in their last five Premier League games at White Hart Lane. One goal in this game will see it become the joint-highest scoring fixture in Premier League history, level with Liverpool vs Newcastle (126 goals). Emmanuel Adebayor is the highest scorer in the history of North-London derbies with eight for Arsenal and two for that lot down the Lane.

To injuries, there would be doubts of the fitness of Kyle Walker (groin), Moussa Dembele (hamstring) and Emmanuel Adebayor (ankle) but they’d be odds on to face late fitness tests ahead of such a crucial encounter. However, Tottenham will be without the services of Vlad Chiriches, Erik Lamela, Etienne Capoue and most recently, Michael Dawson. At Arsenal, the usual suspects, Abou Diaby (Diabytes), Aaron Ramsey (thigh), Jack Wilshere (foot) and Theo Walcott (knee) will be joined by Mesut Ozil (hamstring).

My expected lineups will be,

Tottenham Hotspur 4-4-2 football formationArsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

With Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal still having difficulties staying fit, Thomas Vermaelen can be given another chance to deputize in their stead. This would be a fixture the Verm would want to put up a good show because it was after a horrible performance in the North London Derby he lost his place to Laurent Koscielny and the French defender never looked back.

The Ox put up a great shift through the middle against Bayern Munich but I suspect that the manager would opt for the Mikel Arteta – Mathieu Flamini combo to offer more protection to the back line. This ultimately means that Lukas Podolski would miss out as I see the Ox, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky playing behind Olivier Giroud.

This would be an epic encounter. Enjoy the game wherever you are.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal vs. Tottenham Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

London boy: Olivier Giroud scores and celebrates the opening goal of the game at the Emirates

The North London Derby is one of the most anticipated clashes in England because of the heated rivalry between both sets of fans. The Gunners take serious pride in the fact that they have been celebrating St. Totteringham’s day since 1996 and the trend isn’t stopping anytime soon as the Gunners are currently eight points above their rivals in teh Premier League this season.

The last time both sides met at the Emirates in September, Andre Villas-Boas, the players and the fans alike were buzzing from the fact that they had splurged in the transfer market to buy a lot of quality players following the deadline day departure of their talisman, Gareth Bale. The Gunners just came off two victories over Fulham and Fenerbahce, and all it took was an Olivier Giroud deft finish to settle the contest and give the Gunners bragging rights again.

At this point in time, AVB doesn’t exist to the Tottenham faithful and the new gaffer, Tim Sherwood, is doing a great job, as he has won three in their last four which includes a 2-1 away victory over struggling Manchester United. Sherwood has also brought Emmanuel Adebayor from the doldrums of the Reserves and has rejuvenated the lad’s career that had reached an all-time low under AVB. The Togolese forward has repaid that faith with a handful of goals in his few games thus far.

Adebayor and Arsenal have their fair share of history and since he departed the Emirates for greener pastures, he has clashed with the players in his Manchester City and now, in his Tottenham days. The last time Adebayor played at Emirates Stadium for Tottenham, he scored early and dominated Arsenal’s defence before disgracing himself with a lunge on Santi Cazorla that led to a straight red card.

That paved the way for a 5-2 mauling, which went down well with the home support.

Arsene Wenger is hoping that Adebayor would be treated with “respect” if he plays today,

“When I signed him he was playing in the reserves at Monaco. He had a huge impact and, with Thierry Henry, he was such a success that when Thierry left for Barcelona, we felt it was okay, Adebayor can take over.

“He scored over 30 goals in the first season. Only he can say whether he regrets leaving.

“I don’t want him to get stick, I just want us to play well. I always say the same thing: when players come back to the club you want them to be respected.”

Arsenal have won their last three home games against Tottenham. Spurs last won at Arsenal with a 2-3 victory in 2010. Arsenal won the last time these teams met in the FA Cup, triumphing 2-1 in the 2001 semi-final. Spurs’ last FA Cup win over their rivals also came in the semi-finals, 3-1 in 1991.

Arsenal still have to be mindful about Tottenham because they have won their last five away games in all competitions. However, the NLD is always a heated encounter as the last three games between these sides at the Emirates have produced 15 goals and two red cards.

This is the sixth meeting between Arsenal and Tottenham in the FA Cup. Arsenal have won three and Spurs two of their previous five meetings. Arsenal have won the Cup 10 times. Only Manchester United have won the competition more times than the Gunners. However, Tottenham has won the competition eight times with the most recent being in 1991.

This game would also promise to be a high scoring encounter as Arsenal have scored 11 goals in their last three matches against Spurs at Emirates Stadium.

To injuries, the Gunners have a host of players nursing niggles and knocks here and there, and they would be without Olivier Giroud (illness/ankle), Nicklas Bendtner (ankle), Kieran Gibbs (calf), Aaron Ramsey (thigh) as well as the long-term absentees, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Yaya Sanogo (back) and Abou Diaby (knee).

Mesut Ozil could face a fitness test but Wenger has revealed that the game is too soon for his German schemer with his focus solely on getting him fit to play Aston Villa on Monday.

Tottenham also have their injury problems to contend with as they would be without Paulinho (ankle), Sandro (calf), Andros Townsend (hamstring), Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Younes Kaboul (ankle), Kyle Naughton (hamstring), Erik Lamela (hip/thigh), and Gyifl Sigurdsson (calf).

Wenger has promised to treat the encounter like a Premier League match, so expect to see the big Guns in the lineup.

My predicted starting lineup for both sides would be,

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formationTottenham Hotspur 4-4-2 football formation

 

Arsenal would be hopeful that Jack Wilshere comes to the party again after his blistering performance against Cardiff. Theo Walcott would be expected to be among the goals but the fans would be hoping that Lukas Podolski does better because he’s all they have in attack right about now.

The Gunners would have to be mindful about Adebayor’s movement and the wing plays of Christian Eriksen and Aaron Lennon. Moussa Dembele is another player in fine form but it promises to be an interesting encounter.

Enjoy the game wherever you are.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0: Dear Spurs, Your Money Can’t Buy Class

London boy: Olivier Giroud scores and celebrates the opening goal of the game at the Emirates

Giroud’s exquisite finish

Emirates Stadium (Premier League)

Arsenal: Giroud 22′

Tottenham: 0

The buildup to the North London Derby was centered around how Tottenham had spent wads of money in the summer in contrast to their fierce rivals, Arsenal, that had spent money equivalent to the amount of hair on Howard Webb’s head.

At the start of the game, the Gunners were trailing Tottenham by three points and the visitors proudly fielded their some of their new big-money recruits alongside some familiar faces while the Gunners featured the same ol’ lot that has been massively impressive in recent weeks. There was a late introduction for the Gunners as Carl Jenkinson deputized for the ill Bacary Sagna.

Tottenham’s Andros Townsend returned to the club after a successful loan spell at recently-relegated Queens Park Rangers and he was a constant thorn in Kieran Gibbs’ flesh all game long. Early on, he made mince meat of the full-back as Gibbs slipped on the turf but he had Laurent Koscielny to thank as the defender read the game well and intercepted the ball for a corner kick.

Tomas Rosicky waltzed with the ball into Tottenham’s danger area and was scythed down by Etienne Capoue. Santi Cazorla curled the resulting free kick goalwards but Hugo Lloris was on hand to parry the ball to safety. Shortly afterwards, Theo Walcott won another free kick in a more dangerous position and Cazorla showed great improvisation to fire the ball under the jumping wall but the ball missed Lloris’ far post by a whisker.

Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose connected well on the left leaving Jenkinson for dead but Chadli’s cross was easily intercepted by Szczesny. Townsend got in behind Gibbs and teed up a pass for Kyle Walker. The English full-back drilled a cross into the box and Roberto Soldado (or Penaldado) was the quickest to react with a shot but Per Mertesacker but his body in the line of fire to make an outstanding merteception.

After some good work in midfield from Aaron Ramsey, the Welshman found Rosicky on the right and the Czech maestro wasted to time in sending Walcott through in behind the Tottenham rearguard. Walcott looked up and fashioned a chance for an onrushing Olivier Giroud whose finish was sheer class. An exquisite deft touch that was more than enough as it skipped past Lloris in goal.

London boy: Olivier Giroud scores and celebrates the opening goal of the game at the Emirates

Giroud: A man in red-hot form (look at Lloris…lol)

Giroud showed great work rate to win the ball in midfield before passing the ball to Ramsey. The Welsh man-machine went on a slalom run before sending Walcott through and the Englishman was left with no choice but to shoot the ball from an acute angle. Lloris parried Walcott’s shot but no player in red was in the box to blast in a rebound and that good chance went begging.

Arsenal continued to huff and puff the Tottenham back line and almost went two up after some lovely footwork between Cazorla and Walcott. The ball fell kindly to Ramsey but he killed a bird in the sky with his attempted shot on goal. The Arsenal barrage continued as Walcott was through on goal but Lloris swiftly raced off his line to intercept the ball.

Arsenal’s good work was almost undone when Gibbs carelessly gifted the ball to the opposition but he showed great determination to win the ball back. Townsend had a couple of tame efforts that were easy pickings for Szczesny but there was a cause of concern with Jack Wilshere was substituted for Mathieu Flamini in what was believed was an injury, but it was later communicated that he was ill.

Arsenal began the second half with some urgency and some after intricate passing between Flamini and Rosicky, the Czech orchetrator laid up a chance for Ramsey but the Welshman was certainly without his shooting boots as he blasted his effort well wide off the mark.

Roberto Penaldado made claims for a penalty was believed that he was pushed in the box by Koscielny but unfortunately for him, Michael Oliver was having none of it. If Penaldado played for Aston Villa on gameweek 1 and was faced in the same situation, I’m positive that the pathetic ref, Anthony Taylor, would have wasted no time in pointing to the spot.

Arsenal launched a counter attack with Cazorla and with several options ahead of him, he chose to feed Giroud but the Frenchman’s deflected shot was saved by the impressive Lloris. Cazorla was also involved in a clash with Capoue and the Frenchman towering holding midfielder came out second best as he had to be stretched out.

Jermaine Defoe was summoned to salvage a point for the visitors and he almost delivered when he fired a shot that deflected off Koscielny’s shin but Szczesny showcased his class with another top-drawer save that looked better with each passing replay.

9644365175 3131799ddb o GIF: Wojciech Szczesny makes a brilliant save to deny a deflected Jermain Defoe effort

Rosicky was replaced by Nacho Monreal and he almost extended Arsenal’s lead with his first touch but he failed to react quickly to a loose ball that came to his path after Lloris had saved Walcott’s shot in his near post. Defoe lofted a lovely ball to debutant, Eric Lamela, but his effort on goal was very tame.

The climax of the game became a nervy affair as Tottenham went all guns blazing for an equalizer and Arsenal invoked the spirits of the tail end of last season as they defended valiantly, their organization at the back was top-notch and their resilience was a major plus. The introduction of Bacary Sagna late on added some steel to the defense and they absorbed Tottenham’s pressure right to the very end.

Arsene Wenger was obviously elated in winning another North London Derby as he had only suffered five defeats in 41 NLDs thus far. He also lauded the performances of Giroud and Flamini, then confirmed that Wilshere had a stomach bug.

Despite spending £109m of several players this summer, Tottenham had to rely on the penalty spot twice to get their victories in their opening Premier League games of the season. They came up against a better side that had been all about free deals all summer and if they didn’t have a good goalie like Hugo Lloris in their ranks, they would have been on the end of some spanking.

It just goes to say that despite Tottenham’s splurge this summer, Arsenal has proved that their money can’t buy class.

Tottenham’s squad isn’t better than Arsenal’s, it’s just bigger.

Congratulations to the Gooner Daily 2013/14 Fantasy Premier League Log leader for the month of August, Crispin D’sa of Gunners_XI with 191 points thus far. Please send me your email address so that we can arrange for an exclusive interview on the blog,

If you want to join the Gooner Daily 2013/14 Fantasy Premier League, drop your email in the contact page and you would be invited. The log leader at the end of December 2013 will be rewarded with a branded jersey of his/her choice and it would be delivered to any location he/she is in the world.

Lest I forget, today is another transfer deadline day. Keep your fingers crossed folks.

Sayonara

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