Friday, 15 September 2017

GOONERS START LIFE IN EUROPA LEAGUE WITH A WIN


Arsenal staged a fightback during their first Europa League match against Cologne.

It was a delayed start to the Europe second tier continental tournament at the Emirates due to some safety concern. Perhaps that influenced the sluggish that saw the Germans took the lead after ten minutes through Jhon Cordoba.

Arsene Wenger changed things around in the second half with Bosnian Sead Kolasinac coming on for  Rob Holding.

The change paid off handsomely when Kolasinac levelled things up in the 50th minute. Seventeen minutes later, Alexis Sanchez opened his Europe goal account with a sublime finish.

Hector Bellerin wrapped things up with eight minutes to go to make the final score 3-1 to the home side.

I gave the match a miss again though retrospectively I should have stayed up to watch the match.

Hopefully there will be more to come on the continental stage for The Gunners this season.

COYG!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

ONE NIL TO THE ARSENAL

Playing against relegation threatened sides are not easy.

Norwich City came to Arsenal tonight looking to emulate what another relegation candidate did last week, taking a point from their encounter with The Gunners.

At first, it seemed like The Canaries were succeeding when they managed to hold Arsenal to a goalless first half and created the better chances that forced Petr Cech to be alert all the time.

Arsenal striker, Olivier Giroud seemed determined to be the creator than the scorer of goals tonight when almost every pass directed to him was put into the path of his team-mates, including the winning goal by Danny Welbeck.

Giroud headed the ball into the path of Welbeck who just came on to replace Alex Iwobi and the striker effort was enough to beat John Ruddy.

We could have scored on a number of occasions after that but Arsenal players could not find the finishing touch to their moves.

As the score remained 1-0 there was fear as we went into the last ten minutes that we would let the lead slipped from our grasps once again, just like what happened against Crystal Palace.

Thankfully, the match stayed true to the chant of 'One Nil to the Arsenal' and the three points collected made St Totteringham Day still a distant possiblity.

During the match both pro-Wenger and anti-Wenger camps made their feelings clear, showing a divided stands of Gooners on whether the most successful Arsenal manager of all time should stay or leave.

It hurt seeing signs saying "Wenger - 12 years of excuses; Ranieri - 9 months Premier League Champions" but at the same time glad to see "Wenger still know more than you".

Personally, I feel that the Frenchman still has what it takes to be competitive in the Premier League but not in the long run. He has done enough for the club and perhaps should consider calling it a day, perhaps after delivering to us Gooners another Premier League title and also the Champions League trophy.

That wouldn't be asking too much of the old man, right?


#COYG

Monday, 25 April 2016

GOOD POINT AT SUNDERLAND



Many would have thought it was going to be an easy match against Sunderland especially they are a candidate for the drop from the Premier League.

However, in the English Premier League nothing is clear cut and as easy as that.

Going to an opponent who were willing to fight throughout the ninety minutes for their survival in the top flight was not easy. It was never easy.

Sunderland away was never easy and with their survival in the Premier League is at stake, the task for Arsene Wenger's men just got tougher.

Three points against WBA at home was a formality, with The Baggies could make the safety in the next few matches. Sunderland were different. They were in the bottom three and a win would lift them nearer to safety.

In the end, they got a draw which was good enough to get them out of the relegation zone on goal difference against Norwich.

Many were saying that some of the Arsenal players were not giving their all especially the internationals.

As much as you hate to admit it, these players already have their eyes on the EURO 2016 finals squads with their respective nations.

Picking up an injury at this juncture would put their place in the squad in jeopardy.

Thus the way they pulling out of challenges was understandable though somewhat disappointing for the paying fans who expect their players to give their all in every match.

So for me, a point from Sunderland managed by Sam Allardyce who was fighting relegation is most welcomed rather than suffering defeat there.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Good Performance Against City

Last night 2-2 draw against Manchester City gave me a number of reason to be cheerful this morning.

We showed good mental strength to come back from going down to sucker punch Sergio Aguero goal to equalise through Jack Wilshere's deft chip over Joe Hart to taking the lead when Alexis Sanchez wonderful volley hit the back of the net.



The only letdown perhaps the zonal marking did not work according to plan letting DeMichelis to head home from a corner.

Debutant Danny Welbeck could have had a scoring debut but his chip over Hart just clipped the post but he put himself about to put pressure on the City defence.

I would not hide from the fact that throughout the match I was quite disappointed with the performance of Mesut Ozil who kept giving the ball away, sometimes almost bringing dire consequences to us.

However, Arsene Wenger put his faith in him and I hope the faith will be rewarded soon especially with the trip to Borussia Dortmund this Tuesday.

Monday, 11 August 2014

A Shield of Hope

It was indeed heartening to watch Arsenal concluding their pre-season with a win in the FA Community Shield, a convincing 3-0 win over League Champions, Manchester City at Wembley Stadium last night.

It was heartening too to see the turnout among GanuGooners at our viewing party. We may not chant as our counterparts in the west coast do but to be among friends watching the match was indeed a good experience.

Wosciech Szczesny looked commanding during his first appearance at Wembley this year with a number of good takes when City players managed to cross the ball into the box. He was also alert enough to stop a stiff shot from David Silva in the second half.

With Thomas Vermaelen departed for Barcelona, Arsene Wenger gave the armband to Mikel Arteta, a natural choice for me to succeed the Belgian defender. Per Mertesacker will be his deputy and the duo, in my opinion are the best choice for the job.

Mathieu Debuchy and Callum Chambers were among the new faces taking the field and quite a few were surprised when Wenger opted to start with four goals hero against Benfica last week, Yaya Sanogo in front with Alexis Sanchez, another new acquisition during the close season.

Unlike our encounters with City last season, this time there was an air of confidence about Arsenal this season, something that was missing quite a number of times which resulted in big score thrashing at the hands of our close opponents.

Despite the new faces on the field, it was an old face that opened the scoring when Santi Cazorla turned to beat City new custodian, Willy Caballero with a low shot after a good work by Sanogo in the 21st minute.

Then Sanogo was heavily involved in the second goal too when his physical attribute enabled him to hold off the challenge from a City defender before setting up Aaron Ramsey whose two touches saw the ball ending up in the net for the second time.

However the highlight of the match came on the hour mark when Olivier Giroud who came on as a substitute, struck a sweet shot from outside the penalty area that arched wonderfully over the outstretched hands of Caballero to give The Gunners their third goal.

City staged a rally towards the end of the match but could not get past what seemed to be a makeshift Arsenal defence with Chambers partnering Nacho Monreal as centre-halves with Debuchy and Kieran Gibbs as the full-backs.

Maybe it was just a glorified friendly but to register a pretty convincing win over one of your strong opponents would certainly boost your morale and confidence.

COYG!


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Monday, 14 July 2014

Germany Champions of the World!

Germany were crowned as World Champions early this morning after winning their match against Argentina at the Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro.

It might have taken the Germans 112 minutes to break the deadlock but it turned out to be the decider and that certainly what mattered.



Argentina were presented with at least two excellent opportunities to score but Gonzalo Higuain wasted one early in the first half by failing to hit the target after a misplaced header by Toni Kroos had him clear with just Manuel Neuer to beat.

Higuain managed to get the ball into the Germans' goal and he celebrated like crazy before realising that it was in futility as the referee assistant had raised his flag for a clear cut offside offence.

Then in extra time, Alex Sabella's men was presented with another opportunity when substitute Rodrigo Palacios was sent clear but he could not control his lob which went wide of Neuer's goal.

Perhaps it was meant to show the efficiency of the Germans when they took the most clear cut chance that came their way when substitute Mario Goetze chested the ball wonderfully from an Andre Schurrle cross from the left before slotting the ball past Sergio Romero.

The win was the fourth for Germany but the first as a unified country (The three titles prior to this were won as West Germany). Joachim Low's men also became the first European team to win the trophy in South America with Holland coming close in 1978 in Argentina.

Neuer was named as the Best Goalkeeper, an award which I think he fully deserved with his efficient and calm goalkeeping, making saves looked easy when they were not the case at all.

However, the choice of Lionel Messi as the Golden Ball winner was a bit off the mark in my opinion as Thomas Muller or Bastian Schweinsteiger was the more deserving recepient.

Colombia James Rodriguez won the Golden Boot award as the tournament topscorer with six goals to his name.


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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Dutch Took Third Place

Things got worse for Brazil after suffering their worst ever defeat during the last four match against Germany, Brazil now equaled another unwanted record when they lost for two consecutive matches on home soil, something that had not happened since before the second World war.



Brazilians who thronged the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, Brasilia could be forgiven for thinking "Here we go again!" after seeing the Algerian referee, Djamel Haimoudi pointing to the spot after just two minutes after Arjen Robben was deemed to be fouled by the returning skipper, Thiago Silva.

A former Arsenal player slotted the ball past Julio Cesar and soon to be Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal rejoiced by the sidelines.

As much as the host tried to make a game of it, they looked like a bunch of players who were just playing for the first time with misplaced passes and not reading each other's game.

It went from bad to worse when David Luis attempted header to clear the danger fell to Daley Blind who slotted the ball past Cesar.

However, credit to Luis Filipe Scolari's men, they attempted to make a comeback in the second half and saw much of the ball as they attempted to break down the Dutch defence.

Ironically though, it was the Netherlands scored again when Georginio Wijnaldum ended a move he started with a sweet strike past Cesar to make it 3-0 in added time.


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