The Five: Leicester City 1-1 Arsenal, Gunners Foxed.

Arsenal put up an average performance against newly promoted Leicester City to get a point from the King Power Stadium. Days after earning a very late point at Goodison Park, the Gunners failed to grab a win. Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring in the 20th minute but the foxes got back 3 minutes letter, thanks to a header from Ulloa.

Match Report. Wenger’s Comment. Players Rating.

The Five:

Sanogo needs a Loan, Arsenal needs a Striker.

Giroud’s injury a week ago at Goodison Park handed Sanogo another chance get his first competitive and first Premier League goal. The young french striker unfortunately did not get on the score sheet although he had 7 lame shots, including blocked shots. Sanogo does have a wonderful workrate but his first time touches have been horrible. 3 months without Giroud would spell disaster for the Gunners.

Relying on Sanogo would be bizarre. Sanogo needs to go sharpen his skills on loan, take off those rough edges and return a refined striker. For now, Arsenal should not breed him upfront at the expense of precious points. Arsenal need a point man as soon as possible. The transfer window will short within the next 24hrs, will Wenger get a new striker? or would he try out Chuba Akpom or Joel Campbell?

Wasted Chances, Tame Upfront.

Arsenal had a total of 24 shots, 6 on target, 5 off target and 13 blocked according to whoscored.com. Yaya Sanogo had 7 shots, including blocked shots but could not find the back of the net. Aaron Ramsey had a couple of shots off target. Cazorla’s free kicks and shots were lame. Ozil had no shot. It is high time the Gunners start taking all chances seriously.

Our game was not quick enough, not sharp enough, not simple enough. We had plenty of opportunities but didn’t look like we could finish the game off – Wenger

We just weren’t clinical enough in front of goal today to convert the chances into goals – Ramsey

In as much we pride ourselves as a side that creates chances, it is useless when these created chances are not converted to goals. 69% ball possession with just a point to show.The gunners must be clinical in front of goal if they are to make any title challenge.

Sanchez Ascendancy.

Alexis Sanchez has now scored a goal in each of his last two games. The South American is beginning to get his feet in Emirates. His work-rate is high but can tire him out with time. The defenders in the Premier League are more physical than those in the La Liga. Nevertheless, the signs show that he would score more goals for the red and white half of North London. He is on the ascendancy and his team mates must ascend with him.

Romance with Injury.

Can Arsenal play a game this season without getting one or two players injured? Gibbs, Arteta, Giroud got injured consecutively in the first 3 games of the season. And now, three players didn’t finish the game as they started it.

We had Ozil with an ankle and Oxlade-Chamberlain with a calf. Of course Koscielny as well.

We still could have won the game if we had not conceded the goal after the injury to Koscielny. If he wasn’t injured we would not have conceded the goal.- Wenger.

Koscienly had a head injury which may have caused the conceded goal. Ozil injured his ankle just after Wenger had finished his 3 subs and Chamberlain, one of the subs had a problem with his calf late on. All this had a share of Arsenal’s problems at the King Power stadium. We may need to appease the gods somewhere to free the gunners from this injury romance.

2 Points Lost, 4 Points Behind.

The Leicester City game can be summed up as two points lost. The gunners could not hold the 1-0 lead for up to 3 minutes and failed to score afterwards. The missed chances, coupled with injuries made the team look so lame and even vulnerable to concede.

We lost two points but we have to respect the performance of Leicester and be realistic – we could have lost the game in the end. – Wenger.

With Chelsea’s 6-3 bashing of Everton, the gunners are now 4 point behind the leaders. Swansea also have maximum points. Liverpool took Spurs to the cleaners.

So the international break comes up shortly but the transfer window closes within the next 24 hours. who else is coming in? Will anyone leave? Only Wenger knows.

Enjoy

Arsenal Drawn to Face Dortmund, Galatasary and Anderlecht in the UCL

After getting over Besiktas at the Emirates, Arsenal progressed to the UEFA Champions league group stage.

Seeded in pot 1 alongside the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, Arsenal will face Borussia Dortmund, Galatasary and Anderlecht in group D.

Fixtures:
Matchday 1
Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal FC
Tuesday 16th September 2014
Kick Off: 19.45 UK
Venue: Signal Iduna Park, Germany

Matchday 2
Arsenal FC v Galatasaray A.S.
Wednesday 1st October 2014
Kick Off: 19:45 UK
Venue: Emirates Stadium

Matchday 3
R.S.C. Anderlecht v Arsenal FC
Wednesday 22nd October 2014
Kick Off: 19:45 UK
Venue: Constant Vanden Stock Stadion, Belgium

Matchday 4
Arsenal FC v R.S.C. Anderlecht
Tuesday 4th November 2014
Kick Off: 19:45 UK
Venue: Emirates Stadium

Matchday 5
Arsenal FC v Borussia Dortmund
Wednesday 26th November 2014
Kick Off: 19:45 UK
Venue: Emirates Stadium

Matchday 6
Galatasaray A.S. v Arsenal FC
Tuesday 9th December 2014
Kick Off: 19:45 UK
To be played at Turk Telekom Arena, Turkey

So how will the gunners fare? A top place finish will be expected.

Other groups include:
Group A: Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Olympiakos, Malmo

Group B: Real Madrid, FC Basel, Liverpool, Ludogorets

Group C: SL Benfica, Zenit, Bayer Leverkusen, AS Monaco

Group D: Arsenal, Dortmund, Galatasaray, Anderlecht

Group E: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, CSKA Moscow, AS Roma

Group F: FC Barcelona, PSG, Ajax, APOEL Nicosia

Group G: Chelsea, Schalke 04, Sporting Lisbon, Maribor

Group H: FC Porto, Shakhtar, Athletic Bilbao, BATE Borisov

In other news, Manchester United have hoping to be drawn in group I alongside MK Dons, Sunderland and Swansea but Van Gaal is not surprised.

None of business.

Enjoy

The Five: Arsenal 1-0 Besiktas, Gunners Through to the UCL Group stage

Arsenal took on Besiktas at the Emirates for a place to take part in the group stages of the money spinning UEFA Champions League. A goalless stalemate had given this tie a do-or-die game for Arsene Wenger. With Aaron Ramsey suspended and the duo of Mikel Arteta and Olivier Giroud injured, Arsenal had to sweat it out to get a hard earned 1-0 victory over the Turks thanks to Alexis Sanchez’s first goal for the North London side.

The gunners could have added more goals to their 1-0 victory but Santi Cazorla, Chamberlain, Wilshere and Debuchy will count their missed luck or chance. The gunners did end the game with 10 men just like in Instanbul after Debuchy got his second yellow card of the game.

Match Report. Wenger’s Comment. Players’ Ratings

The Five:

1. Sanchez Breaks his Arsenal Duck.

Alexis Sanchez finally opened his Arsenal account as his goal separated the two sides at the stroke of half-time. The Chilean huffed and puffed but found it difficult to be a lone man upfront, merely troubling the center backs. Just as Wenger had said, he is yet physically fit and yet to understand his team mates. The Chilean put the miseries of his Goodison Park performance behind and muscled his way around the Turks. A well placed goal from the former Barcelona made the difference. Can the flood gates open now? Burnley next.

Alexis Sanchez: Celebrates giving Arsenal the lead

2. Flamini Misses his Meal for Debuchy

Flamini has craved a niche for himself as the Balon D’Yellow card of Ashburton Grove. The French midfielder has collected a yellow card each in every game he has played this season. His rash and awkward tackles earns him the caution card as he bids to do his defensive duties. It is surprising and surely heartwarming that he didn’t receive a card despite the fact that the referee was having a card bonanza day on the pitch. Keep it up Elijah. Unfortunately, Debuchy got two of Flamini’s favoured meals and had to take an early shower.

Mathieu Debuchy's clumsy challenge on Mustafa Pektemek earns him a second yellow card and an early bath.

3. Wilshere’s Slick

Jack Wilshere seems to be playing better as the day comes by. The England international was at the helm of affairs as the gunners worked their socks out to get this victory. He slalomed his way into the Besiktas box in the 8th minutes but dragged his shot wide after keeping off two men in black.

Jack was on again for Sanchez’s goal. The goal came after good work from Wilshere on the edge of the box to collect a loose ball, play a one-two with Ozil and find Alexis, who slotted home coolly into the bottom corner. Wilshere made a lot of quick footed runs towards the opponents goal but will count himself lucky not to give away a penalty in the 1st half.

4. Nervy End, Tight End

The last 15 minutes of the game was lived on the edge of the great cliff. Besiktas looked rejuvenated and had threats on goal. With the sending off of Debuchy, Chambers had to come in for tired Ozil as the gunners aimed at keeping their sheet clean. The pressure continued to mount with last gasp tackles from Koscienly and the defense. Sanchez was left ipfront alone as the red army sustained waves of black attacks. Szczesny collected a couple of aerial balls but Ba would rue his missed headed chances.

This strong will and verve to hold on to 1-0 leads will be very important for the gunners in their quest for a trophy this season. This could have been avoided if the gunners had converted their chances earlier on in the game. A conceded goal would have started an uprising that would ruin all that has been built.

5. 17 Again, Not 4th Again

So, the Gunners have now qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 17th straight time. The gunners have needed the services of the play-offs in recent time to achieve this feat but must move one step to avoid this type of tension and added stress to the fans and players respectively. Finishing above fourth will spare the gunners a lot of rest in a new season. Winning the premier League will make things easier. Goal from jersey number 17, and Arsenal are in their 17th consecutive UCL group stage.

Giroud is out for 3-4 months and have undergone a surgery. Alex Song will not return. Wenger will not buy Zigic or Welbeck or Falcao. – according to his comment after the game.

So, it is transfer and Leicester next. Anyone coming in? we sure do need a striker. But let us also watch out for the draws on Thursday.

Enjoy

The Five: Everton 2-2 Arsenal

Olivier Giroud came in from the bench to grab a late equalizer for the gunners as Martinez’s Everton let a 2-0 lead slip off in 7 minutes.

Match report.
Wenger’s Comment. Arseblog Ratings.
The Five:
1. Poor First Half.
Arsenal were very poor in the first half of the game, conceding two goals and having no shot on target. Misplaced passes, off target shots, flat footed going forward. It was sore sight to behold. The German returnees didn’t add much. The Ox hurriedly missed two good chances to put Arsenal ahead or draw level. Ramsey even misplaced some passes. Arsenal were just outplayed by the Toffees.

2. Better Second Half.
The second was better than the first with the introduction of Giroud. Arsenal needed a man upfront to pressure the back four. The introduction of Campbell and Cazorla may have added to the betterment of the half. Two late goals sums it up. The Toffees will feel hard done by the two late goals.

3. Giroud’s Redemption.
The twitter-o-sphere was awashed with how poor Giroud was against Besiktas and how bad he has become. He was labelled all manner of names forgetting the fact that he is Arsenal’s best striker for now. He may be clumsy at times but he does comes up with the much required goal. His 90th header was exact and had Howard look cowardly. Will this goal buy his redemption from his haters and fans alike. Sanogo may score 4 emirates cup goals but will need to do more to usurp Giroud.
image

4. Ever present Ramsey.
2 goals in 2 premier league games and Ramsey seems to have continued from last season. Despite having a poor game, the Welsh Jesus started Arsenal’s comeback. He always arrives at the right time at the right place. A definite starter and the number one name on the team list, Arsene Wenger will hope he keeps fit and avoid injuries.
image

5. Chambers, Besiktas and Others.
Chambers kept his place in the heart of defence, partnering Metersacker. He had shown a lot of promise but must learn alot to really become a great player. A yellow card for his trouble, he was found in noman’s land as Everton ran roit in the first half.

Giroud picked up an injury making it 3 injuries in 3 games for Arsenal. Campbell made his Premier league debut. When will Rosicky feature? What awaits Besiktas on Wednesday?

One points gained, the gunners must now focus on the most important game of the month on Wednesday.

Enjoy.

Condemned, Giroud Gets his Redemption

2 goals down and the ghost of last season seem to have resurrected at Goodison Park, the last venue Arsenal lost a competitive game. A well taken header and an offside goal had rendered Arsenal like sheeps without a shepherd.

Two germans returned to the team but they could do little or nothing as Martinez seem to be getting the better of Wenger. The French prof started Sanchez upfront but had to bring in Olivier Giroud at the start of the 2nd half.

Giroud has become a recent scapegoat by many fans following his performance against Besiktas in Turkey. But the condemned stone became the stone that gave Arsenal a point.

Minutes after his introduction, he missed a wonderful chance to the glory of those that have written him off, despite posing more threat than the man he replaced. Sanchez never had such chance.

He continued to be at the helm of affairs in terms of near chances and missed half chances until Ramsey scored in the 84rd minute.

Giroud will finally spare Arsenal’s blushes in the 90th mimute as directed Monreal’s cross into the net, rooting bearded Howard to the spot. A relief, A miracle, A point. Hos jubilation said it all: A slide on the Goodison turf, hands spread wide, beating the air, saying “I am all you have”.

image

Redeened

Olivier Giroud is all Arsene Wenger has for now. He must get the maximum support despite his flaws. He is not immune to criticism but must build on today’s goal and enforce fear of God in the opponents defence.

Let’s give it to Giroud. He has had his treatment.

Enjoy.

The Five: Besiktas 0-0 Arsenal

Arsenal began their quest to be in the group stage of the UEFA Champions league with a 0-0 draw in Turkey. The gunners finished the game with 10men with Aaron Ramsey getting two yellow cards with 10 minutes to play.

Match report, Wengers comment, ratings.

Canons from Turkey.
1. Arsenal cannot rely on Giroud and Sanogo.
Yaya Sanogo was all over the place against Crystal Palace with clumsy touches, rough edges and no shot on goal. In came Giroud, back to the starting line up only to equate himself with his country statistically and clumsy-cally. Olivier Giroud completed less than 60% of his passes having no shot at goal.

“@EPLStatman: Olivier Giroud failed to have a single shot on target against Besiktas and only completed 52% of his 29 passes #AFC #Arsenal”
“@enigma106: looool RT @eromzy: Lmaooooooooooo “@f_osa: Abi arsenal de owe Giroud money? What on earth is this nonsense?!””

Can Wenger rely on these frenchmen to win the Premier league? I strongly doubt that. Their potency is woeful, and their clumsiness is amongst the best in the League. Just when you think Giroud will get better, he gives gooners worldwide a plate of bile to digest. Giroud has to be awake. A new, sharper striker may help. What of Campbell? Wenger….

2. Clean Sheet, Ba Sheet.
Two names sounded familiar in the Besiktas team: Demba Ba and Oguzhan. The later, an Arsenal youth FA cup winner and the former, prevented from joining Arsenal. Ba tested Szczesny twice in the game but the Pole kept his sheets.

This is Arsenal’s first clean sheet of the season, although it came in the 2nd game. Clean sheets promotes the confidence of the goalie especially after he has made some fantastic saves. Ba may have not scored but he was a threat unlike his counterpart in red and white.

3. One Game, One Injury.
Captain Mikel Arteta wobbled off the game due to injury and was replaced by Flamini. Few days ago, Gibbs had to give way for Monreal. We are yet to know the extent of Arteta’s injury but these injuries call for some concerns.

Has the injury gods visited Arsenal again? Well, we have a new physio. I hope he fixes this. Even Koscielny looks like he is carrying a knock. Arsenal will benefit from a full squad. Hope we don’t another player in a 3rd game of the season against Everton.

4. Red Aaron, Yellow Elijah

Two cheap yellow cards and Arsenal’s balon d’or got his matching others. The first red of the season. A shirt tug and an easy route made difficult will deprive the Emirates faithfuls the opportunity to watch Ramsey run the show in the return leg. Hopefully Ozil is back and fit by next week.

As for Elijah, he rains brimstone everytime. Elijah Flamini is always sure of drinking a yellow label tea in the name of defensive duties. The hatchet man, returning from industrial attachment will need to be more careful else he fugacity and over the top agility will cost Arsenal dearly. Afterall, he doesn’t need to cut his shirts again.

5. The Return leg will be easier.

Yes, the gunners were not at their best, misplacing passes, mistiming runs, unlucky shots but the return looks certain for a goal harvest. Chambers and Koscielny were solid. So ware the full backs.

At the luxury of the Emirates, hopefully Sanchez will get his 1st goal and Ozil will feature. Tonight’s game was poor and looked like Arsenal’s first preseason game.

A draw is better than a lose. For now, let’s focus on Goodison Park.

Enjoy

Nigeria Wahala: Keshi, The NFF List and The NPFL

Yes, the gunners are in Turkey and hopefully they have turkey for dinner. But as Nigerian, Nigerian football still takes a percentage of my footballing mind. Nigerians love football and do follow the Premier League with intense passion.

Since the ouster of the Super Eagles in the 2nd round of the Brazil 2014 world cup, so many things have happened to my dear country. The NFF chairman have been impeached, reinstated and maybe re-elected. FIFA has banned the country, albeit for few days and Stephen Keshi sits on the fence on whether he continues to be the coach of the team or he takes up another offer from a better-paying country.

While Keshi and the Nigerian Football Federation are at cold war over paid or unpaid or projected salaries, the business of the pitch draws closer with the AFCON 2015 qualifiers in about two weeks time. The Nigeria populace awaits the outcome of this tussle but Congo DR doesn’t care. They will hope that the Super Eagles are in a state of fugacious lack of coordination to cause a big damage to the defending champion’s hope of being in Morocco.

By hook or crook, a list was realeased by the NFF and behold some new, relative new names with respect to the just concluded world cup were on the team. My favourite returnee is Schalke’s Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke. I am yet to understand why and how he missed the trip to Brazil. The NFF also invited Sone Aluko and Joel Obi. The list also has 5 home based players making waves in the Glo Nigeria Premier League. Premier League trio of Osaze Odemwingwe, Brown Ideye and Victor Moses were left out.

So behold the list….

Goalkeepers:
Vincent Enyeama (Lille OSC, France), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United, Nigeria)

Defenders:
Elderson Echiejile (Monaco FC, France), Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod FC, Israel), Efe Ambrose (Celtic FC, Scotland), Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor FC, Turkey), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves, Nigeria), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough FC, England), Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars, Nigeria)

Midfielders:
John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England), Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy), Ramon Azeez (Almeria FC, Spain), Joel Obi (Inter Milan, Italy), Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis, Spain), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Omatsone Aluko (Hull City, England)

Forwards:
Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey), Chinedu Obasi (Schalke 04, Germany), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen FC, Netherlands), Nnamdi Oduamadi (AS Varese 1910, Italy), Gbolahan Salami (Warri Wolves, Nigeria), Christian Osaguona (Enugu Rangers, Nigeria)

So who will coach the boys against Congo DR?

The Glo Premier League was lit last weekend by the Abia Classico, the Abia version of El Classico. Dubbed as the Abia Derby, it was an opportunity for Enyimba FC of Aba to get a revenge over their neighbours Abia Warriors but the game ended in a 3-3 draw. The game was more exciting than most of the games in the opening day of the premier league.

Other results include:
Abia Warriors 3 – 3 Enyimba International FC
Bayelsa United 3 – 0 Kaduna United FC
Sunshine Stars 0 – 0 Dolphins FC
Warri Wolves FC 2 – 1 Kano Pillars
Lobi Stars FC 1 – 0 Nasarawa United FC
Akwa United FC 1 – 0 El-Kanemi Warriors FC
Heartland FC 2 – 0 Gombe United FC
Rangers International FC 1 – 0 Giwa FC
Taraba FC 1 – 1 Nembe City
Crown FC 2 – 0 Sharks FC

That is my Nigeria. Don’t forget the girls will play against Korea DPR in the Semi finals of the U-20 Female worldcup. Let me catch the game in Turkey. The Falconets dispatched New Zealand 4-1 in the quarter final and would hope to achieve a similar result over Korea DPR.

Enjoy

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