Posts Tagged andrei arshavin

The Perilous Plain Arsenal Treads: The Fount or Wilderness


… at this point, the other part of the picture comes to display. Arsenal’s whole play is centred on Fàbregas and should he so happen to leave the Emirates, it would require Arsène Wenger either overhauling his (increasingly annoying yet sometimes laudable tip-tap) match-day game plan or placing 20 year old Jack Wilshere in Fàbregas’s position as the nucleus of this tactic of his.

Wilshere has blossomed immensely in the past year and the bonus of it is he is English but that’s an aside. His progress last season is just the start of a process that could see him become the Xavi of the Arsenal squad. However, placing the load of the Arsenal game on him can potentially stunt his potential as if he is to become the Xavi, none of Andrei Arshavin thanks to his lackadaisical approach to the game most times, Samir Nasri who actually remains unproven and Tomas Rosicky that has seen what should have been his best years thwarted by injuries can be trusted to be Wilshere’s Iniesta.

The above picture hopefully captures just how much of a massive disappointment Denilson has been, and why Abou Diaby and Alex Song either need to gain more consistency and composure in their respective games or become redundant.

Yes a club is not about one player and in reality, Arsenal have four now in my opinion – Fàbregas, Robin van Persie, Wilshere and Thomas Vermaelen – and in losing Cesc, only Wilshere seems guaranteed from being prone to long term injuries unlike van Persie while Vermaelen has also shown he isn’t immune to being a Persie on the injury front.

Fàbregas’s exit, with all the aforementioned, would inevitably lead to a seventh season without a trophy, a trepidation that would leave the already disgruntled atmosphere at the Emirates further sunk in disillusion. Also, Wenger’s philosophy is unfortunately not the kind just some random calibre of new signings can fluidly adapt to.

There are players of top quality that could adapt on time to the Arsenal game we can buy? Will Wenger go out of his way to get any of Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Gonzalo Higuain, Giuseppe Rossi, René Adler, Juan Mata, Luka Modric, Diego, Eden Hazard or Leighton Baines among others? No! He has a transfer policy and a wage system to abide by.

Hence, I feel now is not the time to let go of Fàbregas. Wenger will just need to keep building another invincibles and I’ll admit, he is probably just two or three appropriate players away from achieving it.

P.S: Aaron Ramsey looked to be on the ascendency when he got that horror injury at Stoke City season before last and now that he is back, I’ll be watching him in the hope he impacts on the team as Wilshere did last season.

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Arsenal, Chelsea Ease to Champions League Wins


Lot’s of criticism has come in light of the quality of clubs that now find themselves getting swept aside in a stroll by their more established counterparts following Wednesday’s round of Match Day One fixtures in the UEFA Champions League.

In Group E, AS Roma held its own until a barrage of unrelenting pressure from Bayern Munich earned the Germans a well deserved 2-0 win thanks to goals in the closing ten minutes from youngster Thomas Müller – with an exquisite finish with the outside of his right – and veteran Miroslav Klose. The Bavarians now lead the group ahead of CFR Cluj that held on for a 2-1 win over visiting FC Basle in Romania.

In Group F, a first half brace from Nicholas Anelka helped Chelsea on its way to a 4-1 win at MSK Zilina with Ghana midfielder Michael Essien opening the scoring for the Blues early on while Daniel Sturridge got the visitors fourth three minutes into the second half. The group’s other match saw Spartak Moscow leave France with all three points in a lone goal win over Olympique Marseille thanks to an own goal nine minutes from time; those three points could prove quite crucial for Spartak at the climax of the group stage.

Group G saw 2-0 wins for favourites Real Madrid and AC Milan over Ajax and Auxerre respectively. At the Bernabeu, Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain was in form for los Merengues as he sealed the win for Real 20 minutes from the end after his first half opener was credited as an own goal. At the San Siro meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked himself from a missed penalty over the weekend with a brace for the Rossoneri to down the French debutantes.

And finally from Group H, where Arsenal barely needed the second gear in the 6-0 thrashing of Sporting Braga with captain Cesc Fàbregas the star of the night with two goals and two assists. Andrei Arshavin got a goal and two assists, Marouane Chamakh scored his first with the foot and third for Arsenal in competitive football and substitute Carlos Vela got a brace, including a well executed chip over Braga ‘keeper Felipe. Arsenal lead ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk that pipped Partizan Belgrade by the lone goal.

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With Arsenal’s Injured Front, all Eyes on Chamakh?


Arsenal are no strangers to having its treatment table warmed by the injured ones and this time round, it crucially has the bulk of the forward men on it with Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner – out till November at worst – joined by Dutch man Robin van Persie till mid-October at least and painfully Theo Walcott till the end of September; painful seeing he was in good scoring form for Arsenal before the internationals from where he picked up the injury…not like he was in exceptional form for England, but that’s by the way.

These injuries give room for young Mexican forward Carlos Vela to stake his claim for a serious look-in when starting eleven names are being pondered on every other week by manager Arsene Wenger. I particularly have a bias for Vela and believe he’ll become quite an asset at the Emirates, with opportunities as this the sort of platform he must take full advantage of to get that look-in; as well as the ‘respected’ League Cup…and he’s getting old for that competition I dare say, knowing how the Arsenal ‘calendar’ ticks.

But the person that really must take full advantage of this window of injuries is Moroccan forward Marouane Chamakh. I mentioned having a bias for Vela…scrap that! I prayed, dreamed, day-dreamed and so much advocated for the signature of Chamakh so my happiness knew no bounds when he arrived – on a free as well, much pleasing to the Monsieur is my guess for that – on the back of a memorable personal season with Bordeaux. For Chamakh, it’s not a matter of gaining experience – several French league and cup wins as well as a quarter final finish in the Champions League last season is good enough vouch – but getting his feet firm for Arsenal and equally importantly his head which would be immense in improving the return of goals from set pieces; the Moroccan has a good head and the one against Blackpool proves so, quality of opponent notwithstanding.

That quest begins full frontal at home to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday. We all know how the players like to stress the importance of the team winning more than individual performance…scrap that too! Chamakh will be looking to score a real goal this time round, captain Cesc Fàbregas has a mission I won’t bother boring about, Andrei Arshavin hasn’t impressed me this season, Manuel Almunia has some demons to shush, Laurent Koscielny, Sebastien Squillaci…all ingredients adding up nicely to an Arsenal slowly desperate to end that frustrating drought of titles; the pains of being a Gooner!

Ah well, action they say speak louder than words and the lad in question has, probably, a relatively easy opponent to deal with seeing as they’ve overcome the man (Sam Alladyce) and his new club that formerly was a pain in the ‘bazongas’ of Arsenal in the past…good old ‘rugby tactics’ Bolton. Well no more!

You may contact this jolly fellow at:

E-mail ~> deleke.afolayan@yahoo.co.uk
Twitter ~> @d_oA

Cheers! And have a good Eid el Fitri celebration.

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With a Long Way Ahead Still…Arsenal, Calm Down!


In my “Premier League Preview – The Challengers” post here http://wp.me/puIC6-34, I talked about the competitiveness of last season’s Premier League that among other things, saw one of the fabled ‘Big Four’ – Liverpool – finish in seventh place behind Aston Villa, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in ascending order. Liverpool’s poor finish coupled with the near alarming number of losses recorded by the other three – Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal – could also be traced to surprise defeats to teams these four would normally chalk all three points off such as Wigan Athletic, Birmingham City and a few others.

Two rounds into this season however, I like to think it’s safe to say three of the Big Four have taken good note of the value of getting the three points where it is expected of them and getting those points with authority. Champions Chelsea scored just over a hundred last term and don’t look like slowing down up front having scored a dozen goals in two games already without giving one away; half of the goals coming a few hours earlier at Wigan’s JJB where the Blues as well as the other Three struggled last term. Arsenal, following a typical lion’s-share-of-possession-comes-to-nothing draw against Liverpool, as should be expected brought Ian Halloway’s new boys Blackpool right down to the football field reality from the cloud nine highs of a four-nil win over Wigan (that’s ten conceded for the Latics…relegation candidature as stated in the note referred earlier). A major talking point was Theo Walcott’s performance which was enjoyable to all watching (Fabio Capello though fancied Wolves trip to Goodison Park instead) and the team performance was all the more impressive more so that Cesc Fàbregas and Robin van Persie played the final half hour with scores at 5-0. What Arsenal fans should however truly note from this good win is that five goals came after Blackpool were reduced to ten men, Andrei Arshavin chose the weaker opposition to perform against when a semblance of same was really expected and much needed in the Liverpool encounter and finally, it was Blackpool. Had it been Everton like it happened in last season’s opening day, I then would’ve rated it a top draw win but alas…it’s just what should be expected of a club of Arsenal’s stature. If Arsenal can perform like this against similar opposition and pick the vital points where expected (against the likes of Wolverhampton, West Brom, West Ham, Birmingham Sunderland and Stoke) as well as against the stubborn ones such as Villa, Bolton and Blackburn Rovers that the Gunners visit next week, it will stamp firmly Arsenal’s title credentials. That then allows for games against rivals (the other Three, free spending Man. City and Tottenham, especially the latter two) to be real contest where a win would truly make Arsene Wenger’s talented lads mature and make the step to returning Arsenal to winning trophies in May and not August as they’re becoming accustomed to!

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