Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm Going to Marry Cesc's Sister, Portsmouth Preview

Hello everybody. How's your Friday going? First home match of the year is tomorrow, and we're playing Portsmouth, who are shite. In face, they're probably going to get relegated. I've put some money on Arsenal to win -2 goals, so we pretty much need to win by three for me to get paid. I'd very much appreciate it if you could pull that off Arsenal.

Theo Walcott, Rosicky, Djourou, and Nasri are all out with injuries, and Carlos Vela is apparently sick at home with Spattergroit. I really have no idea what has happened to Vela, but I wish he'd get a chance to play sometime, yet there's been no sign of him. Eduardo is passed fit for tomorrow's match though and he could maybe make a start.

We need a win, simple enough. For one, I can't handle seeing Sp*rs at the top of the table, and for two, we need to keep ahead of Man U after their loss to Burnley. We play them next weekend too so this match is really important to take all three points from. I don't think that sentence even made sense but you know what I'm getting at.

There's really not a whole lot more to say about the match. Let's just get three points and get it done and get out of there. That's like the shortest preview I've ever done but I really can't think of a lot to say about it. I'd expect to see most of the same team we've had for the other two matches to play, but maybe we'll give Song or Denilson a rest along with RvP. Diaby could start or Ramsey could start, but we'll see.

Now on to more important topics.

I've figured out how to be related to Cesc Fabregas. It's going to be tricky, and take a lot of work since she lives in Barcelona, but I've got the right attitude and resolve to see that I complete this goal of mine. You see, I've decided I'm going to marry Cesc's sister, Carlota. How am I going to pull this off you ask? Well. That's the tricky part. I suppose I'll just move to Barcelona and woo her with my delightful American charm. I haven't really thought it through much more than that, but that's the plan anyway. I can cook pretty well too, seeing as how I do attend culinary school. Now I just have to learn to speak Catalan. I believe with hard work and perserverance and a lot of luck, I'll soon be related to the Arsenal captain. Love it.

Wish me luck.

C'mon you Gunners.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Celtic 0-2 Arsenal Thoughts

Hello all, two posts in two days, bit crazy isn't it? It's lucky I'm in a good mood, probably because Arsenal has put me in a constant good mood with their performances. We had another win yesterday, 2-0 over Celtic in Glasgow, which is a great result. We've been to two very tough venues this year already, and we've won both fairly easily. It's fantastic. Today I'm just going to give you all my thoughts on the match yesterday, and my thoughts on whatever else pops into my head as I'm writing, because I can't very well write just about the Celtic match for thirty minutes.

I thought we controlled the game for the most part. Song was once again fantastic, winning the ball back over and over without fouling, and his distribution was pretty good as well. He'll never be a passer like Cesc, but he's good at getting the ball to the attackers quickly and winning it back when we lose it. Vermaelen was once again immense in defense, and I think almost 100% of the Arsenal supporters have already fallen in love with him. When he tracked back for that Celtic counter attack when it could have been an easy goal for Scott Brown and made the tackle, I cheered out loud I'll admit. He looks like a great signing and like Wenger said, it's interesting having someone left footed back there and it really makes a nice contrast to William Gallas. I also really love the way he isn't scared to smoke fools and light up chumps in the tackle. He's all business when he's going for the ball. I wanted someone on the team that kills people, and he sure does that. Love the Verminator already.

On the attacking side, we weren't great. RvP, Arshy, and Bendtner did ok at times, but I didn't think any of them really stood out today. Arshy eventually came off for Diaby, who didn't really have a great game when he came on, except for one shining moment of brilliance where he evaded the defender and fed the ball to Clichy who crossed for the own goal. It's typical Diaby, he has a rare moment of brilliance then he loses the ball because he dwells on it too long. I think he's one of the weakest players in our squad honestly.

The weirdest thing this season so far (yes it's still really bloody early, but still) was the goal from William Gallas off of Cesc's free kick. He tried to duck to get out of the way of it, it hit off of his ass and into the net. But nobody complained, the away goal was important and the second was even more so. It means Celtic have to score at least 2 goals without reply to even force extra time at the Emirates. It's a great position to be in, and I'm supremely confident that we'll be going through to the group stages. That was crucial, and we got the job done.

Bakary Sagna had thoughts on the atmosphere, saying:

"I think the atmosphere is one of the most amazing in Europe and it was great to play in front of those fans. It was hard to stay focused on the pitch. It's difficult to play against this kind of atmosphere."

"It is one of the most amazing I have ever witnessed. But we did quite well with it. The danger was to come here after such a good win and take it easy but we stayed focused and defended as a team and played as a team."

And that's the bottom line, is that our defense is playing well and we're playing as a team. We look dangerous. It's early and I don't wanna set my expectations too high yet, but God it's exciting to look this good so early in the season isn't it? When you think of how we still have Walcott, Nasri, and Rosicky still to return, it's just scary.

That's about all I've got for the day. If you have a facebook and you like the blog, click here to become a fan of it. I'd appreciate that. Cheers all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thoughts on the Everton Match, Celtic Preview

Morning all, hope you're well. Been a bit busy over the last week or so so I haven't had much of a chance to write quality articles, and in my opinion it's better to post a few quality articles than post shite ones all the time.

What a start to the season we've had then, eh? I'll admit I was worried that we might draw or even lose at Everton to start the season. It's a tricky fixture every year and I'd say by far the toughest first match of the season out of the big four clubs. Some would argue that Liverpool had it tougher but since we haven't lost to Sp*rs in the league since about 2000 I don't really think of them as being any good. What a performance though by the Gunners. 6-1, and the 1 was in the 90th minute. I will say that I was a bit pissed off when we allowed that goal right at the end, because 6-0 looks just ridiculously good and a clean sheet would have given Almunia and the defense a lot of confidence going forward. But 6-1 is still bloody good and we're top of the league!

Just a couple of thoughts from the match then. I thought Alex Song was absolutely terrific, his work rate exceptional, his passing good, and his closing down extremely good. Something happened to Alex last year that completely turned him around and now he's become almost essential to the team. The problem is, he'll be leaving for the African Nations Cup in January...

I love the 4-3-3 system that we're using now. While I'd maybe consider putting Bendtner up top and RvP on one of the wings, I'm not Arsene Wenger so I have no say. I thought having Denilson and Song in there as defensive players behind Cesc was fantastic, because you saw what Cesc can really do when he can play openly and not worry about tracking back quite so much to cover in front of the back four. Cesc was immense, as he always is when we play well, and it's amazing to think that we scored 6 goals yet none of them came from RvP, Bendtner, or Arshavin. 2 from Cesc, 1 each from Gallas and Vermaelen (who had a very solid debut), an absolute gem from Denilson, and a late one from Eduardo who came on as a sub. That's what we've been missing the past few years is goals from players other than our strikers, and we really got it done against Everton.

Everton were clearly not at their best, and yes it was only one match, but it's just what we needed to start off the season. It should raise the squad's morale and confidence in the team, and push us going forward. Top of the league is a nice place to be, so let's keep it that way lads.

So in just over two hours we play Celtic in Glasgow. An intimidating place to go for sure, but you'd have to say that we are the better team if each team was playing their best on a given day. Injury worries are for Sagna, Denilson, and Cesc, who are all questionable according to Arsene Wenger. It's a problem if both Denilson and Cesc aren't able to go, although I suspect that Cesc at least will be out there. If neither one of them are able to go, who plays in the center of midfield? Song and Diaby, most likely with Aaron Ramsey, who looked good in the preseason but Celtic Park is a tough place to play for anyone, especially someone as young as Ramsey. He and Jack Wilshere exude the same confidence though in almost any situation you see them in, so if he is in there I have all the faith in the world in him to get the job done.

Walcott, Rosicky, Nasri, Djourou, and Fabianski are all still out for sure. The best news of all though is that Andrey Arshavin can finally make his Arsenal debut in the Champions League. Of course last year he was cup-tied after playing in the CL for Zenit St Petersburg, so this will be his first taste of contenental action for the Gunners. I'm going to go ahead and pick Andrey and RvP to score goals as Arsenal win 2-1. Looking forward to the match immensely, and I'll try to get a match report up tomorrow.

Cheers all!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Arsenal Draw Celtic, Arsenal Ratings By Position

Morning all. Let's get right to it then. Yesterday was the Champions League 3rd Round Qualifier draw. The general consensus was we wanted to avoid Atletico, Fiorentina, and Celtics. Well, two out of three's not bad, we drew Celtic. Seems to me that a lot of people are worrying when I don't really think they need to. Yeah Celtic are a decent team but with fresh legs, another year of experience under our belts and a good preseason, we should be able to beat any Scottish team. Atletico and Fiorentina would have been much worse draws than Celtic in my opinion, and I do think that we'll get through Celtic fairly easily. If we don't, then you can blame it on me for being so confident, but I just don't see us struggling that much.

The first leg is supposed to take place in Glasgow on Tuesday, August 18th, but due to a U2 concert there on the same night, they may have to move the match to Wednesday the 19th. Isn't that just wonderful, we have a match later in the week because of f'ing Bono.

So we've got seven days, just one week, until the Premier League season kicks off away to Everton. How we got that as our first match I haven't the slightest idea, because that's a pretty tough one. So while a lot of the transfer talk has died down, yeah we still may sign Chamakh or maybe someone else out of the blue, we pretty much know the squad we're going to have for the new season. So I wanted to try and break it down a little bit and see where we think our strongest/weakest areas are heading into the new year.

Goalkeepers: Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski - I'd give us an 7 out of 10 here. I think Almunia is pretty solid. He's shown over the past two seasons that he is an above average Premier League goalkeeper who generally makes the saves he's supposed to make. If you were ranking him among Premiership goalkeepers, where would Almunia rank for you? I think I'd have him behind Reina, Van der Sar, and possibly Robert Green and Petr Cech, but nobody else. That's not that bad considering for a long time he was a career backup for us. Fabianski is a good backup, who with some playing time can be good for us down the road.

Right Backs: Bakary Sagna, Emmanuel Eboue - 9/10 for me. Sagna is clearly one of the best if not THE best right back in the league. Solid defensively and good going forward, even if his crosses are sometimes a bit lacking. Eboue is also a much more effective right back than anywhere else on the pitch.

Center Backs: William Gallas, Thomas Vermaelen, Mikael Silvestre, Johann Djourou - I'm going to go with a 7/10 here, although I'll say it's still an incomplete judgement on this group. We haven't gotten to see enough of Vermaelen to know how he'll do when he's up against players like Drogba and Torres. Without Toure on the team, Djourou needs to make this be his breakout year, and Gallas needs to really step up and be a leader on the back line. I just hope they glue together and we find a good partnership in there.

Left Backs: Gael Clichy, Armand Traore, Kieran Gibbs - Before last year I would have said this was a 9, but this year I'll say it's an 8. Clichy had some sketchy moments last year, but I still think he's a great player for Arsenal. He's great getting forward (even if he hasn't ever scored for Arsenal yet) and he's pretty good defensively, not to mention he's still definitely young enough to improve. Gibbs and Traore are both super pacey players who are in the same mold as Clichy and Cole before him. I think they can both be great, although Traore may be moved up to the left wing.

I'll get to the midfield tomorrow, so we can make this process last through this week that will undoubtedly be full of anticipation for next weekend, and it'll culminate with my season preview, which will probably come on Thursday.

Just one more thing today. I went to see Green Day in Orlando this past Wednesday, and we had tickets in the pit. Amazingly, I ended up right next to a fellow Gooner, Dan from London. So it was great to be able to talk Arsenal in such a random place so far away from London. He even wore an Arsenal wrist band, so I have to give him a shout out. Cheers Dan, and up the Gunners!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vieira Coming, Senderos Going, Toure and Wilshere

Morning all. I'll be the first to admit I haven't been posting nearly enough this Summer, but I've been reinvigorated by the upcoming start of the season and so I'm back and I wanted to give my thoughts on everything that has happened in the past week or so while I've been in New Hampshire.

So first off we had the Kolo Toure transfer to Manchester City. My thoughts on this are that, while it's a shame that Toure left after all these years, he hadn't been at his best ever since he contracted Malaria on that African Nations trip. So I think it was good business to sell him. When you look at our center back situation now, do you feel that it is a strong enough area without him? Arsene is clearly convinced that Thomas Vermaelen is the real deal and is ready to go right away, and he also must have a lot of faith in Johann Djourou as a back up for both him and Gallas. After that I think it's a little weak, as Silvestre is just terrible and Senderos looks to be on his way out. (more on that later) Of course Alex Song can cover at the back if need be but that isn't ideal. So while in terms of numbers I don't think we have a lot of cover at the back, but I think in terms of quality, losing Toure isn't a huge deal. He's been a great servant to the club and always had the right attitude, but it was time for him to go. I wish him the best of luck when he's playing United, Sp*rs, the scousers, and Chelsea, and of course horrible luck when he plays us.

Speaking of great servants for the club, there's been a lot of talk in the past week about Patrick Vieira returning to Arsenal! This one is a really tough one for me, because I love Patrick Vieira. He's probably in my top three players of all time. But didn't we sell him 4 years ago because he was getting older and wouldn't be able to play at the same level much longer? And now he's 32 years old, has a lot of trouble staying fit, and Arsene is saying he may bring him back. No offense to the legend that is Patrick Vieira, but is he good enough at this point? Even on a pay as you play deal, surely we should be able to find someone younger, healthier, and better to play as a defensive midfielder? Maybe Wenger thinks Vieira can still get it done, or he just wants him to play sparingly in some of the big matches, which I'd love. To clarify, I would love to see Patty back at Arsenal, I just wouldn't want to leave the midfield too thin if Vieira gets injured or isn't up to the level we need to compete for honors.

So earlier I mentioned Philippe Senderos, and it looks like he may be on the way to Everton. There have been lots of reports that the deal has already been done, but I won't believe it until it's on I kind of think we'd be better off keeping him, but if we can get 7 or 8 million quid for him I wouldn't be too upset about it. I do think he's always gotten a bad rap though even though he's a pretty decent player, but it doesn't look like he'll be an Arsenal player much longer.

So on to what everyone is talking about at the moment, and that's Jack Wilshere, who's performances in the Emirates Cup were nothing short of magical. And they would still have been magical if he was 27 instead of 17. The guy is just so far ahead of his time it's ridiculous. Arsene Wenger has moved to calm everyone's expectations about Jack, seeing as he hasn't even made it onto the pitch in many first team matches yet. At the same time though, you've got to wonder how long we can afford to keep this boy off of the pitch. He brings so much to the table, that especially with Nasri out early on, I think we need to get him on the field. His composure and skill on the ball rivals that of Cesc and Arshavin already, and frankly I'm obsessed with him. I've already put in my order for a Wilshere kit for this year. At the same time, we need to not do like we did with Theo Walcott, and put unneccessary and unrealistic expectations on Jack at a young age. He's not always going to have fantastic games and score crazy goals and make much more experienced pros look like schoolboys. We can still be excited for one of our home-grown talents though!

That's about it for the day. I'll probably post again tomorrow, amazingly, and I intend to keep that going too. A couple more quick things, make sure you sign up to win tickets to World Cup 2010! It's really easy so don't pass up that chance. Also, I recommend you all have a look at ThirdGen's Portal e-mag. It's good already and it's only going to get better. Alright everyone, have a good one. Cheers!