Archive for November, 2013

24
Nov
13

Arsenal Get Back To Winning Ways

  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal rounds goalkeeper Artur Boruc of Southampton before scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on November 23, 2013 in London, England

The Premier League swung back into full force yesterday with League leaders Arsenal hosting the surprise package of the season so far Southampton. It was important for Wenger’s men to get back to winning ways after the loss to title rivals Manchester United just before the International break. 

 

The Gunners started brightly taking the incentive as the home side to press Southampton from kick off, Jack Wilshere who capitalised on some slack defending by Saints Centre back Fonte attempted an audacious chip over Artur Boruc who saw the ball cannon back to him gratefully off the upright. Aaron Ramsey saw his impudent back heel come back off the same post just a mere seven minutes later. 

 

Enter the Polish calamity that is Artur Boruc, The Southampton keeper failed to clear a simple backpass trying several cruyff turns to try and lose the pressing Giroud who dispossessed the keeper and tapped into an unguarded net, Saints boss Pochettino looked furious as he had every right to be. 

 

This seemed to wake Southampton who created a few good chances of their own from England new boys Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez who brought out some good saves from Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny who for most part was untroubled.

 

The second half was much of the same and quite even, it was not until the 86th Minute when Arsenal put the game out of Southampton’s reach, Fonte was adjudged to have pulled Per Mertesacker’s shirt and Arsenal were awarded a penalty, Which Giroud converted with aplomb. 

 

This was not a vintage Arsenal display by any means but was a professional performance which appears to now be in their locker. These were the type of games a year ago that Arsenal would be dropping points in. Szczesny looked comfortable all game, the back four looked solid and are working as a unit, The Midfield has been the cornerstone of success for Arsenal so far this season and the main reason why they sit top after 12 league games. Giroud lead the line well again, his work rate is sensational he does not stop making runs for 90 minutes game in game out. 

 

Arsenal will now look to Tuesday night and the visit of French side Marseille and could wrap up top spot in the “Group of death”. Marseille boss Elie baup is expected to rest players ahead of clash with his side sitting bottom and with zero chance of qualification from the group and have not taken a single point so far.  An Arsenal win and a slip up from Napoli against Borussia Dortmund will see Arsenal clinch qualification. 

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02
Nov
13

Arsenal’s Approach For The Visit Of Title Rivals Liverpool Must Change

  Mikel Arteta (2ndL) of Arsenal celebrates scoring his penalty with team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on October 26, 2013 in London, England

Arsenal currently have no less than seven players on the treatment table (who you would consider as being part of the first team) probably the most important one is comeback kid Matthieu Flamini who has proved many wrong with his performances since returning to the Emirates, they say you should never go back, Flamini (out with a groin problem) has proved there is an exception to every rule, he along with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil have been the main protagonists in Arsenal good early form.

 

So where does this leave the shape of Arsenal’s midfield for the visit of title challengers Liverpool. With there being no recognisable Defensive Midfielder currently in the first team, is it time to try something a little different? maybe playing Mikel Arteta deep alongside Thomas Vermaelen, Arteta’s passing has never been in question you just have to look at his passing stats from the last two seasons to aid weight to that claim but defensively he has a lot to prove, he is not the strongest and playing him alone with another creative midfielder has often left Arsenal’s back four an easy target for visiting teams at the Emirates. Someone like Vermaelen could add that stability and allow Arteta to concentrate on what hes good at.

 

There are other possibilities he could go back to the good ol’ days of the much maligned 4-4-2, this would be an interesting one, but with the lack of wingers available it would call for playing creative players out of position, square pegs in round holes if you will.

 

A system that I recall Wenger using very infrequently but has used when down to 10 men strangely last season was the 3-5-2 (or 3-5-1 as it was) this is flexible and with Liverpool recently adopting a 4-4-2 system themselves to accommodate the return of the biter Luis Suarez this could be a valid option. 

 

3 centre backs

 

This would consist of Vermaelen Left, Per Mertesacker central and Koscielny on the right.

 

In effect the side would operate with wing backs which would be ideal for Kieran Gibbs on the left and likewise Bacary Sagna on the right.

 

3 Midfielders,

 

this would allow a little bit more freedom with the centre of midfield so you could get away with only playing one deep lying creative player in the place of an enforcer that is where Arteta would come in, ahead of him would be Ramsey and a pick of either Santi Cazorla or Jack Wilshere with Mesut Ozil in support of the main man Olivier Giroud.

 

Wenger seems scared to adapt from one game to the next and as every football fan knows that is a sign of a good tactician. Arsenal have the players to play various systems but Wenger just sees change as a sign of weakness, it is not it is a sign of a strong and talented squad. It will be interesting to see how both sides shape up in what is to be quite a cagey affair but also has the possibility of also being mouth watering.

 

Provisional Squad: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Giroud, Fabianski, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Bendtner, Monreal, Jenkinson, Miyaichi.

Head-to-head

Four of the last six league meetings in north London have ended in draws, with one win apiece. Arsenal scored twice inside three minutes through Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott to earn a draw from 2-0 down in the corresponding fixture last January.

 

Liverpool’s only win in their last 12 league games against Arsenal came at the Emirates Stadium in August 2011. 

 

An Aaron Ramsey own goal and Luis Suarez strike gave Liverpool their only win at Arsenal in the last 13 years.

 

This is the 215th meeting between the clubs in all competitions. Liverpool lead by 82 wins to Arsenal’s 76.

 

Arsenal

 

The Gunners have earned 22 points out of the last available 24.

 

They are the only team to score in each of their Premier League matches this season.

 

Arsene Wenger’s side have taken the lead in eight of their nine league fixtures, the best record in the division.

 

November is Arsenal’s least productive month in Premier League history – they average only 1.55 points per game.

 

Aaron Ramsey has five goals and three assists in his last six league appearances.

Liverpool

 

Liverpool’s tally of 20 points after nine games represents their best Premier League start since 2008. 

 

They have double the number of points they had at this stage last season.

 

The Reds have conceded in each of their last six league games, having started the season with three successive clean sheets.

 

They have hit the woodwork a league-high eight times this season.

 

Daniel Sturridge has scored 14 goals in his last 14 league appearances.

 

Luis Suarez has scored six goals in four league games since returning from suspension.

 

Simon Mignolet will make his 100th Premier League appearance. He has kept 33 clean sheets.