Wenger’s Prayers, Monaco Answers

Arsene Wenger walked into that Cathedral in the North London with a heavy heart and a pitiful face, shoulders beaten and countenance worried. He had walked pass Jose as they opted to go diving on a December sunday. He shook his head as Mourinho absolved Cahill of any blemish following his heroics against Hull.
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Wenger came in with his thanksgiving offering following Cazorla’s birthday brace and Giroud’s brace despite fielding the “makeshift-est” defence in recent time. He walked through to the Altar and dropped his offering.

It has been ages since he attended a church service but today was special, he needed help. His white hair were becoming transparent. And the Champions League draw was to be in 24hrs. He felt unholy to sit in the 1st row but was comfortable with the 4th pew.

During the prayer session, Wenger asked for forgiveness for failing to replace Vermaelen. He seeked help against injury and prayed for his beloved Diaby. He asked for a sign and Lord Bendtner appeared to minister to him leading him through his Monaco days when he puffed Cigar on the bench.

Wenger was revived off his trance as the service ended. He left church but had a good laugh at Rodgers who was rolling from the east end to the west possesed of some Lovrenic spirit snd other legion.

When the draws came out, Wenger liftes his hands acknowledging the Monaco trance he had a day before. Arsenal was to face Monaco while Borussia Dortmund will travel to Turin to face Juventus. Chelsea have PSG while Basel have Porto.
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If Arsenal was told to throw away a 3-0 lead to face Monaco, those unbelievers on the train station would have rejoiced. we would never understand the will of the gods of football.

Whether he sold his scrotum as speculated by a crazy dude in goonerdaily’s bbm group or his prayers were answered by the gods of football, Arsenal will be excited to have avoided Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Welcome Monaco. We have no excuse. February looks far.

Enjoy.

4-1 Again? The Five: Arsenal 4-1 Newcastle

Arsenal reproduced the same result as they did away at Galatasary as they whisked past Chelsea’s last week conquerors, Newcastle.

1. Galatasary Replica.
The timing of the goals may differ with the UCL result in Turkey but the 4-1 scores and the double player braces makes it uneasy to differentiate. Ramsey and Podolski handed the brace barton to Cazorla and Giroud.

2. Makeshift Defence, No-shift.
The defensive problems at Ashburton Grove took another shift as Wenger fielded a different back four for the umpteenth time this season. Debuchy returned to the Arsenal team after about 3 months out but had to partner Metersacker in the heart of defence. Debuchy trained as a CB for the 1st time before the match and he didn’t put any foot wrong.
Bellerin ran the right flank like a boss and provided an assist for Giroud’s flicky goal. Gibbs was outstanding with Metersacker as the captain. Cisse and Ameobi were neutralized by this back four.

3. Flicky Brace and Birthday Brace
Giroud scored a flick of goal with his left foot to get his brace, a technique only a very few have in football currently. The toons goalie was just rooted to the spot. His towering header opened the floodgates, showing a glimpse of how he loves to attack every round object in the air. When will he get his first Arsenal hattrick.

Santi Cazorla has found his scoring boots. A beauty of goal for his first and a penanka penalty to get his brace. How else would he have loved to celebrate his birthday? Happy birthday Santi.

4. Nearly-man Welbeck.
Welbeck put the ball into Newcastle’s net but Lee Mason judged him to have infringed Dummet. The Englishman got another chance but played it wide. Other chances and half chances went begging for the lad who is in need of premier league goals. 5 goals in 2014 doesn’t seem like what he would like to put on his CV. He did win the penalty that made it 4-1 but will be desperate to add goals to his game.

5. One Arsene Wenger.
The fans at the Emirates sang “One Arsene Wenger” when they saw that the 3 points look safe and sound. A week ago, the prof was abused with some of the fans calling for his head on a platter. A banner flew at Stoke but the chants at the Emirates must be a soothe to those pains.

Other mentions include Coquelin return, Premier League debut for Maitland-Niles,  the ever biased English press and commentators that see nothing good in Arsenal.

Nevertheless, i am going to Church with Wenger. The Champions league draw is on Monday.

Enjoy.

The Five: Galatasary 1-4 Arsenal

A brace each from Aaron Ramsey and Lukas Podolski earned Arsenal a 4-1 win over Galatasary in Istanbul. Podolski opened scoring in the 3rd minute before Ramsey doubled Arsenal’s lead in the 11th minute. The Welsh Jesus scored a superb goal in the 29th minute from a half volley off a corner. Sneidjer grabbed a consolation for the Turks in the 88th but Podolski scored with the last kick of the match.

The Five:
1. Ramsey Finds his boots
Aaron Ramsey grabbed a brace tonight days after scoring a consolation for Arsenal at the Brittania. The midfielder had failed to score in 16 games before the Stoke game but showed his clinical skills in Turkey. Well taken goals especially the 2nd. Even the opposition fans had an applause for him with Podolski romancing his boot and Szczesny hands on head.
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2. Podolski Finishes as Expected
Lukas Podolski opened and ended scoring for Arsenal in the 3rd and 92nd minute respectively. The former was a trademark thunder bolt, the latter a cool finish. How this brace will increase hid chances of having more games under hid belt is only known to Arsene Wenger. He is undoubtedly the best finisher.

3. Welcome Debuchy and Szczesny.
Debuchy returned from his injury layoff after a 3 month absence. The french right back showed what Arsenal has missed and will sure grab his starting shirt against Newcastle with the suspension of Chambers.
Szczesny also returned to his poles and picked up all lose balls but could do little as Sneidjer roofed his free kick for a consolation. Is this the end of the Martinez era?

4. Debutants.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Stefan O’Connor made their Arsenal debut today. They put up a modest display and would be glad to play a part in today’s win. Zelalem also made his Champions League debut. They all had little impact on the game but gave opportunities to rest the more senior players. Niles came on for Ramsey, Zelalem for Flamini and O’Connor for Debuchy.

5. Second Best.
The 4-1 win was not enough for the gunners to finish tops with Dortmund and Anderlecht settling for a 1-1 draw. The gunners will continue to rue the 3-3 draw against Anderlecht at the Emirates. Arsenal would be hoping for a good draw and may face the big shots.

Other mentions includes the pressure invitation in the 2nd half, Sanago’s quest to be a footballer, Campbell’s game etc.

Waiting for Newcastle.

Enjoy.

The Five: Stoke City 3-2 Arsenal

2nd half goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey was not enough for Arsenal to salvage a point in Brittania after going down by 3 unreplied goals in the first half. Sanchez’s late goal against Southampton on Wednesday was a relief but Stoke took no prisoners on Saturday.

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Poked, Choked and Stoked

Match reportWenger’s CommentPlayers Rating.

1. Expectations and counter – expectations.
Brittania has always proven to be a difficult place for the gunners to get all three points. The last time Arsenal got three points there was when Ramsey was shawcrossed. Was the trend to continue? Well, it did. Even if Arsenal were not win, i expected at least a point and not going down by 3 goals by half time. Records and trends have psychological effect. The momentum generated before the game depleted within the 1st minute of game.

2. Advantage Not Taken
Chelsea quest to match Arsenal’s invincible record was Cissed away at St James Park. Alan Pardew got a better of bitter Mourinho who could only complain about the fans at the park. Fabregas even described it as a joke to equal Arsenal’s record. But the current joke is that Arsenal could not cut short the 13pts difference. The joy of seeing Chelsea lose equals the pain of failing to take advantage.

3. Unlikely Scorers.
Santi Cazorla capped his relative good form by grabbing a goal albeit from the spot. The magician wasted no time in grabbing the ball after Flamini was fouled in the box, as if he owned the ball. Sanchez hovered like a hawk around Santi but Cazorla was looking at a metaphysical bush.
Ramsey scored the goal he has been trying to. Sanchez’s corner flew to him and kpatakupum, he volleyed beyond Begovic. Hope he will improve in his primary duties.

4. Chambers is Red.
Inexperience will continue to haunt Chambers and Arsenal. Two silly yellow cards and the 19 year old defender became red on my FPL team. His suspension adds to Wenger’s ever increasing headache.

5. Flamini is Right Back
Bellerin’s woeful play and substitution made Wenger to tinker his team with Flamini shifted to the right side of the defence. Flamini did well in the few minutes he anchored the right back position. His crossing may have been awful but he looked like a natural right back. He was tripped in the box to start Arsenal’s failed comeback.

Other notable mentions include Per’s invisibility, Sanchez upright shot, Charlie Adams strangling Alexis etc.

Galatasary next.

Enjoy.

African Footballer of the Year: BBC Award Winner and CAF’s Shortlist

BBC African Footballer of The Year 2014

Yacine Brahimi has been voted the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2014. The 24-year-old midfielder becomes the first Algerian to win the award, which is decided for by football fans. The Porto winger had a great 2014 for both club and country.

Yacine Brahimi

After a record number of votes were submitted from fans in 207 Fifa-registered countries, Brahimi came out on top ahead of Nigerian Vincent Enyeama, Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ivorian pair Gervinho and Yaya Toure.

CAF’s Shortlist

The football ruling body in Africa released its final nominees for the CAF footballer of the year award. They trimmed down the initial 25 man list to 5. The five nominees are Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow and Nigeria), Vincent Enyeama (Lille and Nigeria) , Asamaoh Gyan (Al Ain and Ghana), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borrusia Dortmund and Gabon), and Yaya Toure (Manchester City and Ivory Coast).

ES Setif duo of, Akram Djahnit and El Hedi Belameiri, Congo’s Firmin Ndombe Mubele, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef of Tunisia and late South African captain and goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa made the last five for the best palyer based in Africa.

Nigeria continued its dominance in the nomination as Desire Oparanozie and Asisat Oshoala made the final five in the women category. Others include Annette Ngo Ndom of Cameroun, Portia Modise of South Africa, and Zenata Coleman of Namibia.

The winners will be decided by votes from the head coaches and technical directors of the national associations affiliated to CAF and the awards ceremony will take place on Thursday January 8, 2015 in Lagos, Nigeria.

The Five: West Brom 0-1 Arsenal

Danny Welbeck’s powerful second half header gave Arsenal all three points at the Hawthorns.

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Match reportWenger’s CommentWhoscored.com Players Rating.
1. Wenger Tinkers
Arsene Wenger made 5 changes to the starting line up that lost 2-1 to Manchester United. Martinez came in for injured Szczesny for his 1st premier league start; Koscielny returned displacing Monreal to left and Gibbs to the bench for a rest; Flamini for injured Arteta; Cazorla for injured Wilshere; Giroud for Chamberlain for a three-prong attack. Noone would have guessed wenger’s lineup against Westbrom. Will he continue to tinker the team to get positive results?

2. A Goal For Welbeck’s Drought.
Danny Welbeck has been on a fine run of form for the Three Lions but seemed to have forgotten where the net is for Arsenal. The former United striker powered his header from Cazorla’s cross towards Forster who flapped it in. It was a relief for the English man who most probably felt bad last week with Giroud returning with a bang. With the schedules piling up, the goal will durely boost his confidence.

3. Koscielny Returns, Defensive Stability.
Kos the boss finally returned after about 8 weeks off to partner Metersacker in the heart of Arsenal’s defence. He tidied up all loose ball, shading off Berainho and co, providing cover for Martinez. Koscielny’s return offered Monreal back to his default position.

4. Cazorla Getting His Magic Back.
Three assists in two games and Cazorla seems to be getting back to form. His twinky ambidextrous feet continue to cause problems to opposition. The magician found his magic to create an assist for the winner on a day Sanchez failed to deliver. Arsenal may have had other goals if Cazorla had converted the chances that fell to him. He will need to get his scoring boots on to add to his assist tally.

Cazorla’s class got us that goal. He had a few opportunities in the first half. He cannot finish at the moment but in providing he is still top class. -Wenger.

5. The Injury gods visit again.
What do Arsenal need to do to appeal to the injury gods in hades? Three knocks today and it is a problem that hopefully will be resolved before midweek.

Gibbs struggled a little bit with an ankle problem and Monreal with a knee problem. Oxlade-Chamberlain also had a knee problem.
I don’t know(whether the injuries are serious (. We have to see how they recover on Monday. We have Oxlade-Chamberlain, Monreal and Gibbs who have knocks but I don’t know how bad it is.

– Wenger.

3 points is all that matters. Awaiting the midweek game against high flying Southampton. Let me check my FPL team.

Enjoy.

The Five: Arsenal 2-0 Borussia Dortmund

14/15: Arsenal 2-0 Borussia Dortmund - Yaya Sanogo

Yaya Sanogo got his first competitive goal for Arsenal as the gunners defeated Borrusia Dortmund 2-0 at the Emirates. The big forward grabbed Arsenal’s opener in the 2nd minute before Sanchez scored an R2 in the 57th minute to seal victory.

Match ReportWenger’s commentPlayer Rating.

The Five:

  1. Sir-No-Goal, Sir-One-Goal

An hour before the encounter with the yellows from Dortmund, the starting line up showed that Yaya Sanogo will lead the line for Arsenal. After misfiring against the Red Devils, Wenger had to depend on a striker that hasn’t opened an Arsenal goal account to lead the battle against Klopp’s BVB. And to everyone’s surprise, Yaya Sanogo grabbed his first goal in the 2nd minute of the game to set the tone for the victory. The goal was so important especially seeing that the gunners wasted similar early chances against Manchester United some days ago. This goal will indeed boost the striker’s confidence. Hopefully, he will be the beast he is trolled to be.

  1. Sanchez Continues

Sanchez curls his 57th minute strike between two Dortmund defenders to double his side's lead

Alexis Sanchez’s 57th minute goal is a beauty to watch. It is like playing PES 2015 on cheat mode on PS. How this Chilean continues to grow in every gooner’s heart is unimaginable. The 25 year old has now scored 13 goals in 20 Arsenal games. You just feel Sanchez will save Arsenal if they need a goal. Hopefully, he keeps up the workrate and stay injury free.

  1. Cazorla’s Best Game of The Season.

Cazorla have been poor this season and have been on the end of some fans bashing in recent weeks. The ambidextrous twinkle feet Spaniard was awesome last night. Two superb assists indicates his best performance so far this season. With a low center of gravity and high intelligence, Santi mesmerized Dortmund, sending them to the cleaners for pick up his laundries while he drove away toward their goal. He must continue at this level to help Arsenal get vital result. Wenger just keep playing you until your shit turns gold. Most probably my man of the match.

  1. Arsenal and Injury.

Captain Arteta was solid throughout the game, neutralizing attacks upon attacks and even had to grab a yellow for his worries. But he added to Wenger’s worries when he signified to the bench to be subbed off. The former Everton midfielder is the preferred option to the defensive midfield role with Flamini a barking general and Coquelin an out-of-favour Corporal.  His injury may bring back Arsenal to the pre-Manchester United-match era. Sanogo even hobbled off with an hamstring injury. Wenger will need to tinker is lineup to bring the best out the team. Wilshere’s injury against Manchester united will keep the young off the game for about 3 months. Hope he learns. Hope we learn. We need to banish these injury demons. Thank goodness Giroud came back earlier than expected. The work of Shad Forsthye?

  1. Good Game, Better Result.

A worker deserves his wages. Arsenal got less than they worked for against United as they lost a game they were in total dominance. In sincerity, the gunners played well against the Devils but were punished for few errors. Against Dortmund, everything went well: We converted our first chance (Sanogo), we closed down the opposition, the defence made Immobile and his gang immobile, the attack had their defenders breathing through their pants, we got the second goal, Martinez got his saves, Arsenal kept a clean sheet, we are through to the knockout stage.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is tackled by Gibbs during the Champions League Group D clash

The possibility of finishing first is very slim but we must continue with this momentum and get our acts together. For now, the critics looked to have been silenced but they are waiting for another chance. I was impressed with the team last night.

Enjoy

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