The Five: Arsenal 2-2 Hull City

The FIFA international break came to a halt with European club football at the center of affairs. Bayern Munich ran roit over Werder Bremen while Real Madrid had no mercy for Levante and Southampton made mincemeat of Sunderland.

On the red half of North London, Hull came visiting and the memories of the 2014 FA cup came afresh but Bruce was having none of it. The Tigers came from behind and almost went home with a three points no thanks to Welbeck’s late strike. Sanchez had put the gunners ahead in the 13th minute before Diame pulled Hull back minutes later. Immediately after the break Hull went ahead with a header from Hernandez.

image

Match report. Wenger’s Comment.  Player Ratings.
1. One Point.
Half bread is better than none just as one point is better than none. Arsenal is becoming consistent in enjoying half-breads and one points. Relief was all over the Emirates and beyond because the gunners had come from behind and had managed to score in added time. Is 3 point an abomination to these present team? The gunners have only won 2 games from 8 in the league.

2. Play To The Whistle
Mathieu Flamini was guilty of losing the ball once again in his own half resulting to another goal. Albeit, it should have been a foul but the gunners failed to play to the whistle as the Tigers grabbed the equalizer. The gunners must realize that it is not over until the whistle is blown. You just don’t switch off infront of your goal. Flamini must step up his game and use his experience to work his way through.

3. Makeshift Defence
Injuries and suspension had a great chemical reaction and robbed Arsenal of a tested back 4. Wenger may have been the catalyst for that reaction but surely not the provider of the injuries nor suspension. Koscielny niggling injury made him unavailable and Chambers new yellow romance had him suspended, leaving us with slow Metersacker.
The back had youthful Bellerin and Gibbs with Monreal playing as a center back, one of Wenger’s preseason experiment. The experiment failed with Diame bulldozing his way to grab a goal. Will Hayden or Ajayi have partnered better?

4. Arsenal and statistics.
With over 65% ball possesion, Arsenal was expected to have made that count. It is becoming customary that the gunners bask in the aura of having all the possession of the milky way but can’t convert that to a goal. 25 shots with just 9 on goal calls for medical attention. 10 wasted corner kicks may suggest the gunners may have to overlook them since they have been as productive as Yaya Sanogo.  The gunners must realize that they are 11pts behind leaders Chelsea, and are behind City, United and Liverpool. The top4 chase is already on and the gunners have even started late. The only stats that matter is the goals scored.

5. Ramsey Returns, Wilshere Injures
It was positive to see Ramsey return from injure, although he added little or nothing to unlock the Tigers cage. The Welsh Jesus will definitely be in Belgium for the Champions League tie against Anderlecht. Wilshere was subbed off and adds a little worry to Wenger’s injury headache.
Injury is not an excuse says Monreal ahead of the UCL tie:

The Champions League is THE competition for club teams.
“Injuries are a handicap to us but if we do want to go through we are going to need everyone playing at the top of their game.
“We will not use injuries as an excuse. The squad is 24 or 25 players and the rest of the squad has to come in and maintain our level. We won’t use it as an excuse.
“I haven’t played much as a central defender, I’m naturally more of a left-back, but if the manager wants me to play there, I would do my best.
“Injuries affect all teams but we have had some bad luck. Many of our important players are out and that obviously has an impact.

It was warming to see Campbell too and the gunners will hope to see Theo in a few days time.

It is sad that we are still in preseason mode but the Anderlecht game should be more than a mourinho-like shove but an encounter that will spring us to this season. Enough of mediocrity.

Enjoy.

The October International Break Five: Euro Shocks, Serbia Game, AFCON 2015, Keshi Sack and Arsenal

This October segment of the FIFA international break seems longer than others. It seems like ages since Arsenal wore their red and white. But the break had a lot of talking points that may linger for months. I have my five to share.

1. Euro Shockers.

My joy knew no bound seeing Slovakia grab their first win over Spain. The former world champions are yet to get over their dismal showing in Brazil some years ago. The tiki-taka generation may be undergoing a phase but players with oldies like Casillas refusing to leave the pitch for the younger generation.

I was also delighted with Berti Vogts and his Icelandic gang as they grab maximum 6 points from 2 games winning Turkey away and Netherlands on the ice. The Eskimos had Turkey for dinner before denying Robben and his Dutch lords the luxury of skating on their ice.

Germany rounded up my Euro shocker with a 2-0 defeat to Poland, thanks to Arsenal’s Szczesny. The German machine thought they had grabbed 3 points in Ireland but were denied by a late late goal. It is early days but being 6 points away from the leaders in your group doesn’t look good for Holland. I was not interested in other Euro qualifiers but it was good news seeing the Arsenal players featuring for their teams viz England, Czech, Poland etc. I had an eye for Lord Bendtner too.

2. The Serbia-Albania Fracas

I may have gotten an F in history but UEFA should have known better in avoiding this kind of high volatility game. Serbia and Albania have been at political loggerhead for quite a while with a lot of bad blood. In as much football is aimed at being non-political, care must be taken to manage a given situation like that of the Serbs and Albanians. UEFA made sure Spain and Gilbratar were not in the same group, so was for Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russia and Georgia

The violence broke out after a drone, dangling a map of Albania enlarged to include areas of neighbouring Kosovo and Serbia, circled over the field towards the end of the first half, sparking the scenes which led to the match being called off.

The drone hovered mockingly over the pitch for a few beats, before descending. Serbia’s Stefan Mitrovic grabbed the flag, prompting a brief melee. Albanian forward Bekim Balaj emerged with it and was carrying it off the pitch when he was met by someone — probably a fan, pictures are inconclusive — who struck him with a plastic chair. This set off a brawl on the pitch which, in truth, was briefer and less violent than you would expect (though, worryingly, at least one steward appears to strike an Albanian player). Within 15 seconds of the Balaj chair shot — check the video — fighting appeared to have stopped on the pitch. To their credit, many of the players on both sides tried to remain calm and defuse the situation.

UEFA opened disciplinary cases against both countries over the match. Besides the brawls on the pitch, the Albanian anthem was loudly jeered by Serbian fans before the game in Belgrade and derogatory chants were heard throughout. Serbian supporters also threw flares and other objects at Albanian players, as well as attacking them on the field.

3. African Tussle.

The AFCON 2015 is getting closer and the African continent look set to get the other 15 teams to join hosts Morocco – that is if they finally host it – to battle for the Cup. With the rise and reign of Ebola, the Moroccan FA have suggested they postpone the tournament to a latter date. CAF would sit to make a final decision.

Prior to CAF’s upcoming discussion, the continent watched as some giants killers had their victory while others struggled to get a win with very few enforcing their game and grabbing the early ticket to the Nations Cup. Cape Verde and Algeria booked their tickets within the break. Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Mali tasted defeat and victory. The tussle is still on and will resume finally in November. Who will miss out?

4. There is A country called Nigeria

Nigeria finally got their first qualifiers victory after defeating Sudan 3-1 in the Abuja stadium. Goals from Aaron Samuel and a brace from Ahmed Musa gave Stephen Keshi a reason to smile but his smile was short-lived as he sacked hours later. The former Super Eagles captain had been coaching the Eagles without contract and have had bad results in recent times must have been stunned to be shown the doors out of the glass house. With 2 games to go, the Super Eagles had their destiny in their hands and many expected the NFF to allow Keshi fall woefully or perform a magic to get Nigeria to AFCON 2015. But it seems, new NFF Chairman Amajuvu had other options and needed to flex his muscles.

So for the 5th time, Nigeria has appointed Shuaibu Amodu as the coach, although in the caretaking role to see the Eagles to AFCON 2015. If he doesn’t, he surely will fall back on “I took a poor team”. If he does, the NFF will forget the 3-1 victory. If he does and is sacked, the statiticians will say “for the umpteenth time, He qualified the team for a tourney without participating in the tourney”

For me Keshi should have been allowed to at least finish the remaining two games of the qualifiers. Who knows, he may have taken us their. For now, Amodu is the new bride. NFF, recycling coaches since 1860.

5. Arsenal – Walcott, Ozil and Injuries.

The Arsenal interest is always there even if there are no games to see the darling team showcase their skills on the favoured green turfs across England and Europe. Ozil’s injury soured Arsenal’s start to the break with news that he will be out for 12 weeks. Wenger claimed he heard a crack in the Chelsea defeat but played on with the minor discomfrot. The less-worse news is that, he will be out for just 6 weeks instead of the earlier 12 weeks.

Walcott Gnabry

Walcott returned to full training during the break after over 9 months sidelined with an injury. The speedster returned to training with Serge Gnabry and may feature for the U21 or against Hull at the Emirates. Ramsey is expected to return for the Champions League game against Anderlect. Koscienly is off for about two weeks. Arteta is back to reduce Flamini’s flaminization. There is even an odd news of Diaby mentoring Sanogo – injury mentor?

These injuries will gave chances to some young players since the Prof refused to fortify his defence in the transfer window. Expect to see Isaac Hayden partner Metersacker in the heart of defence with Hector Bellerin hugging the right wing.

That was my internationl break. how was yours?

ICYMI: Suarez is back.

Enjoy

 

Finally Nigeria Gets A Win With Ahmed Musa’s Brace

Nigeria defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina in Brazil to progress to the 2nd round of the 2014 World Cup. That was the last time Nigeria knew how it felt to celebrate a win. Several games down the line, the Super Eagles have struggled with getting a win and have had to make do with defeats to lowly rated teams in Africa. The AFCON 2015 qualifiers started poorly for the Super Eagles with just one point from three games. With 3 games left, Nigeria had only one option: “Win The Last Three Games”

Ahmed Musa scored a brace in the Abuja National Stadium as Nigeria got their first win in the qualifiers. The CSKA Moscow forward who also grabbed a brace against Argentina in the World Cup opened scoring in the 48th after collecting a pass from Mikel Obi, technically easing through the Sudanese defence to place the ball beyond the goalie.

Ahmed Musa-Keshi

The Eagles were stunned 7 minutes later as the Sudanese got a breakaway equalizer through Salah Ibrahim. China based Aaron Samuel scored a difficult volley from his left foot to restore the African Champions’ lead in the 66th Minute following a defensive mix up between the Sudanese goalie and his defender. Musa made sure of all three points late on following a defensive lapse on the 90th minute before being substituted to a sounding ovation from the crowd.

Lessons from the Victory:

  • Ahmed Musa is Nigeria’s current best player.
  • Mikel Obi can be better if he wishes to be
  • Aaron Samuel had a great game. So did Juwon Oshinawa and Raheem Lawal.
  • There is something wrong the center backs.
  • Emenike needs striking help
  • Destiny in the Eagles’ hands

In the other group game, South Africa and Congo played out a goalless draw in South Africa. The result keeps South Africa on top of group A with 8 points, closely followed by Congo with 7 points. Nigeria is third with 4 points with Sudan bottom with 3 points.

Other interesting results from the African continent includes Congo DR’s 4-3 win away to Cote D’Ivoire. The Ivoirens came from behind twice to level scores at 3-3 but the Zaire boys grabbed a late winner to deny the Elephants a home victory. 10 man Ethiopia also grabbed a win in Bamako with a 3-2 victory over hosts Mali. The east Africans lost the first leg 2-0 few days ago at home.

The Full Results (Match day 3 and 4):

Group A
Congo 0-2 South Africa
Sudan 1-0 Nigeria
Nigeria 3-1 Sudan
South Africa 0-0 Sudan

Group B

Malawi 0-2 Algeria
Ethiopia 0-2 Mali
Algeria 3-0 Malawi
Mali 2-3 Ethiopia

Group C
Lesotho 0-0 Angola
Gabon 2-0 Burkina Faso
Angola 4-0 Lesotho
Burkina Faso 1-1 Gabon

Group D

DR Congo 1-2 Cote d’Ivoire
Sierra Leone 0-0 Cameroon
Cameroon 2-0 Sierra Leone
Cote d’Ivoire 3-4 DR Congo

Group E

Guinea 1-1 Ghana
Uganda 0-1 Togo
Ghana 3-1 Guinea
Togo 1-0 Uganda

Group F
Niger 0-0 Zambia
Mozambique 2-0 Cape Verde
Cape Verde 1-0 Mozambique
Zambia 3-0 Niger

Group G

Botswana 0-2 Egypt
Senegal 0-0 Tunisia
Egypt 2-0 Botswana
Tunisia 0-2 Senegal

As it stands, Algeria continued from where they stopped in the World cup. They are yet to drop a point in this qualifiers winning all of their 4 games played. Algeria has qualified for Morocco 2015. South Africa, Gabon, Cameroon, Ghana and Tunisia are the remaining unbeaten side in the qualifiers. Giants Egypyt, Cote D’Ivoire and Nigeria have a lot of work to do if they are to be in Morocco come January 2015. Kudos to Cape Verde, Mozambique, DR Congo and Congo for making the qualifiers more difficult for the bigger teams.

What an African Break.

The Wingless Eagles And The International Break

My football knowledge started with Nigeria’s exploit in Africa (1994), the world cup (94) and the Olympics (96). I had grown with any football game that has a Nigerian tag on it. The age grade competition and female competition have consistently given Nigerians joy but the Senior team has been a major concern.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria played their 3rd AFCON 2015 qualifiers away to Sudan but came home with no points thanks to a 1-0 loss. The Super Eagles are now rock bottom of the group with a single point. The chances of qualifying is very slim. Nigeria will need to win all of the remaining 3 games to stand a chance of being in Morocco.

It is saddening that Nigeria have gone wingless and have managed just one victory in their last 12 games, losing 5 and drawing 6. The 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Worldcup was the last win. Keshi’s reign has taken a twist and all his initial success has been splashed with this recent failure spiced with his contract issues with the NFF. A return leg win against Sudan will be a better way to go for the Eagles.

While the male team continue to suffer defeat in the hands of minnows, the female team started their African Women Championship on a flying note. The Falcons defeated Cote D’Ivoire 4-2 with Desire Oparanozie grabbing a brace. The Falcons will hope to regain their lost trophy.

In Europe, some unexpected result made neutrals like me excited. Diego Costa continued his Spanish curse as the former world champions were beaten 2-1 by Slovakia. Germany also got their 1st qualifying defeat in years as Poland beat the Worldcup winners 2-0 with Szczesny grabbing the Man of the match award keeping the Poles ahead.

In England, Welbeck continued his international form as he grabbed a goal before being subbed as England beat San Marino 5-0. Chamberlain got two assists with Wilshere effecting the game positively.

The first half of the international break broke the hearts of the Gunners after news that Ozil will be out for about 12 weeks. The gunners have been severly hit by injury. It is now becoming a norm, sadly. Just when you think that Walcott will return to benefit from Ozil, the German goes out on injury. The gods of injury have been unfair.

The Nigeria Premier League continued over the weekend with week 32 games played across the nation.
Gombe United 2-1 Enyimba
Bayelsa United 1-2 Warri Wolves
Sharks 1-0 Kano Pillars
Kaduna United 0-0 El-Kanemi Warriors
Crown FC 1-1 Giwa FC
FC Taraba 2-0 Dolphins
Heartland 3-0 Sunshine Stars
Nasarawa United 3-2 Nembe City
Lobi Stars 2-0 Rangers
Akwa United 0-0 Abia Warriors

The 1st half of the break have been mixed for me: Roger Federer’s Shanghai win, Hamilton’s Sochi win, Bendtner’s assist, Iceland victory and Nigeria’s defeat.

Enjoy

The Five: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal

Chelsea ended Arsenal’s unbeaten premier league run with a 2-0 victory at SW6. Hazard converted a penalty gifted by Koscielny in the 1st half before Costa made it too in the 2nd half from Fabregas’ assist.

Match Report. Arsene Wenger’s comment. ESPN FC Player Ratings.
The Five :

1. Unbeaten Ends.
Arsenal’s unbeaten start to the Premier league season came to an end in Stamford Bridge. The gunners had 4 draws and 2 wins from the previous 6 games but tasted their first defeat of the season in thr League to Mourinho’s Chelsea. 2 wins from 7 is bad, 10 points from 21 is below average. The gunners will have to do better to mount a better challenge if they are to be taken serious.

Chelsea now sit five points clear of second-place Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table

2. The Fear of Whitewash
The 6-0 drubbing last season still hung over the gunners and gooners worldwide. Many conceded defeat even before kickoff, hoping on diety to save Arsenal. With the acquisition of Costa and Fabregas, this Chelsea team looked more capable of repeating the whitewash but a 2-0 scoreline was a respectable defeat scoreline compared to 6-0. What we feared befell us but we must rise.

3. Arsene Should Have Signed Fabregas.
Fabregas was given the Man of the match award after he racked in his 7th assist of the season for Costa’s goal. Arsenal had the 1st option to buy their product back from Barcelona but the presence of too many 10s made Wenger to overlook the option. Wenger should have brought Fabregas back atleast for the sake that he was going to add much quality to his rivals. Welbeck will surely have benefited from Fabregas ‘ assists but it may have relegated Ramsey to the bench.

This Daily Mail graphic shows how the deadly duo - Fabregas and Costa - combined to score Chelsea's second

4. Yellow or Red?

Tackles went flying at Stamford bridge with Cahill choping Sanchez off from behind in the first half. Atkinson deemed it fit to give the Englishman a mere yellow card for a red card offence. Koscienly escaped being sent off as he gave away a penalty. Was he the last defender as he brought Hazard to the turf? Yellow or red? Calum Chambers walked a tight rope a through the game, bagging a yellow card and will count himself lucky to finish the game despite an above average display. Chambers will definitely miss the next game due to accumulated yellow card suspension. How flamini finished the game without a yellow is a mystery for Zeus and co. Welbeck will count his stars that his two footed challenge was just yellow carded. Fabregas will be grateful that his handball was overlooked in the box.

Cahill goes through Sanchez to get the ball and it started the feud between managers Wenger and Mourinho

5. Wenger’s Shove but awaits his first Jose Win

Arsene Wenger shoved Jose Mourinho as their long-running feud turned physical in a 2-0 win which saw Chelsea take a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League. Wenger refused to take a backwards step in the 20th minute after leaving his technical area following Gary Cahill’s tackle from behind on Alexis Sanchez. Mourinho told the Frenchman to “back off” as their rivalry endured another ugly episode, with the Gunners boss firmly planting two hands on the Portuguese’s chest – risking Football Association disciplinary action – and the pair also eye-balling each other in close quarters.

Arsene Wenger shoves Jose Mourinho in the chest with about 20 minutes gone at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 

No, what is there to regret after that? I wanted to go from A to B and somebody confronted me in between without any sign of welcome. B was Alexis, to see how badly he was injured.

…I can try to push you and when [I do] you will see what my [pushes are really like]. It was a little one. – Wenger on Shove

Wenger may have won the shoving contest but he awaits his win over Mourinho. When will that be?

It is the international break. Away from Arsenal. The gunners can lick their wounds and unleash their vernom on Hull. For now, my heart goes to the Super Eagles of Nigeria as they take on Sudan in the 2015 AFCON qualifiers.

Enjoy.

The Eleven Epistles of Wenger and Mourinho; The 12th Game.

Arsenal and Chelsea will put their unbeaten English Premier League season to a test on Sunday at Stamford Bridge as the Blues host the Gunners from North London. Mourinho’s Chelsea is favoured to beat Arsenal following last season’s 6-0 white-wash on Wenger’s 1000th game anniversary. Jose Mourinho seem to have the antidote to Wenger’s tactics and is yet to record a loss from the Frenchman.

Mata, Juan Mata, Chelsea, Juan Mata Chelsea, Mata Chelsea, Abramovich, Mourinho, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho, Mourinho Chelsea, Barcelona, Rea

The Sunday game will be the 12th time the two managers have squared up against themselves. All of the previous games has been between Chelsea and Arsenal. So how did it all start?

Game 1: Arsenal 2 Chelsea 2, Premier League, December 12, 2004

Chelsea twice came from behind against defending champions Arsenal, with John Terry (17′) and Eidur Gudjohnsen (46′) cancelling out Thierry Henry’s double (2′, 29′).

Game 2: Chelsea 0 Arsenal 0, Premier League, April 20, 2005

Chelsea were held to a stalemate as they matched towards League glory for the 1st time in 50 years with an 11 point lead with 5 games in hand.

Game 3: Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2, Community Shield, August 7, 2005

Didier Drogba scored his first of many goals against Arsenal as his brace (8′, 51′) helped Arsenal to the Community Shield. Fabregas pulled one back for the gunners in the 65th minute.

Game 4: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0, Premier League, August 21, 2005

Drogba continued from where he stopped 2 weeks before. He grabbed his third goal against Arsenal in the 73rd minute.

Game 5: Arsenal 0 Chelsea 2, Premier League, December 18, 2005

Arjen Robben and Joe Cole help Chelsea to a 2-0 win in Highbury. The win left the Gunners 20 points behind the Blues and losing their 3rd straight league game in a row for the first time in 10 years.

Game 6: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 1, Premier League, December 10, 2006

After almost a year since the Gunners traded tackles with the Blues, Flamini’s 78th minute goal seemed to have brought Wenger his first taste of victory over Mourinho. But, Essien’s thunderous wavering strike 6 minutes from time kept Mourinho unbeaten against Wenger. So close. Phew.

Game 7: Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1, League Cup final, February 25, 2007

Theo Walcott scored his first Arsenal goal in the 12th minute but Drogba continued to haunt Arsenal as he got his brace in the 20th and 84th minute. The League cup final was marred by red cards to Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Mikel.

Game 8: Arsenal 1 Chelsea 1, Premier League, May 6, 2007

Arsenal hosted Chelsea for the first time in their new stadium but failed to win as Micheal Essien’s 70th minute goal cancelled Gilberto’s 43rd minute penalty. The result was a bad result for Mourinho as Manchester United capitalized on the dropped 2 points at the Emirates to lift the Premier League trophy. The gunners couldn’t still grab a win despite playing with a man advantage for over 45mins with Boulahrouz getting his matching orders in the 43rd minute.

Game 9: Arsenal 0 Chelsea 2, League Cup, October 29, 2013

Mourinho returned to England after conquering Italy and Spain but Wenger still found it difficult to get a better of the Portuguese. Juan Mata 66’and Azpilicueta 25′ got the goals that sent Arsenal out of the League cup.

Game 10: Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0, Premier League, December 23, 2013

Arsenal failed to reclaim top spot in the Premier League as they played out a dreadful stalemate with Chelsea at Emirates Stadium. Mourinho came with a double Decker bus and got the result he wanted.

Game 11: Chelsea 6 Arsenal 0, Premier League, March 22, 2014.

Arsenal were beaten black and blue in Chelsea’s biggest ever victory over the gunners. Two goals in 7 minutes set up the disaster for Wenger. A red card to Keiran Gibbs for Chamberlain’s offence added pepper to the injury as the Gunners were 4-0 down by half time. They managed the damage in the second half but conceded two more to the delight of Mourinho.

The result will latter prove insignificant to Mourinho as he ended the season without a trophy while Arsene Wenger, labelled by Mourinho as a “Specialist in Failure”, got the FA Cup.

Game 12: Chelsea Vs Arsenal, Premier League, October 5, 2014.

So we are in the 12th Epistle of the Wenger vs Mourinho battle. Will Wenger get his first victory over Mourinho? Will Mourinho continue his unbeaten record against Wenger? Chelsea looks more likely to get all three points with Diego Costa and Fabregas in their ranks. But Football is about the 90 minutes played on the pitch where records are disrespected and names overlooked.

The Gunners will have to dig deep to get Wenger’s first victory over Mourinho. A victory will be remembered for a long time.

COYG.

Enjoy.

The Five: Arsenal 4-1 Galatasaray, Welbeck Hattrick

Champions League football returned after the 1-1 draw with Spurs and the Gunners made mince meat of their Turkish opponent. Danny Welbeck got his first senior career hattrick as the gunners won 4-1 at the Emirates over Galatasaray. Sanchez also got on the scorers sheet but Cazorla’s effort was cleared off the line in the dying stages.

Danny Welbeck 1st goal

Match Report. Wenger’s Comment. Player Rating.

The Five:

1. Welbeck Gets His Hattrick

Danny Welbeck got his first career hattrick tonight as the gunners ran riot over the Turks. The deadline day signing from Manchester United opened scoring in the 22nd minute after a nice lay-off pass from Sanchez. The England international got his second 7 minutes later in a Henry-esque fashion before grabbing his hattrick early in the 2nd half. The 23 year old exhibited pace, power and intelligence as he won the Man of the match. What the gooners missed in Giroud, they now have in Welbeck. He forgot the ball though, but he joins Nicklas Bentner and Thierry Henry as the only Arsenal players have scored a hattrick in the UEFA Champions League. What would have been Arsenal’s fate if Sanogo was all that was left?

2. Red Again.

4-0 and Arsenal geared on smooth cruise control until Szczesny was judged to have brought a Burak the Turk down. The Pole had an early bath just like against Bayern Munich last season. Szczesny is now becoming a red card specialist although not fully his fault. He will have to sit out the next game against Anderlect. Flamini on the other hand continued from where he stopped by getting his regular yellow card per game for a needless foul. Felipe Melo is lucky to still be on the pitch after a two-footed challenge on Sanchez.

3. Good Deputy, Worthy First Choice

David Ospina made his debut for Arsenal in the 2-1 defeat to Southampton in the Capital One cup. The Colombian may have waited till January for an action in an Arsenal jersey but Szczesny’s red turned the fate around. The stopper could not stop the penalty but was on hand to prevent Sneidjer and co from getting another goal. He did make a great save from Burak the Turk with 10mins to play. Arsenal look assured between the post with a worthy deputy in Ospina, strong enough to push Szczesny to his toes. Well done Ospina.

4. No Injuries.

It is becoming customary that every game takes an Arsenal player injured with it. It was good news today with no injuries encountered during this game. Ospina had a class but was able to complete the game. sanchez was hacked, Ozil was hazzled but all came unhurt. Wilshere even had a feel of the game despite coming off injured against Tottenham. With Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott, Giroud and others out, No injury is great news for Arsene Wenger.

5. Happy #Wenger18.

Arsene Wenger joined Arsenal 18 years ago and this victory will be a present to the prof. Through thick and thin, Wenger has remained with Arsenal, winning trophies before the 7 years drought and coming back to trophy-winning ways by lifting the FA Cup last season. Can Arsenal provide Wenger with the Champions League, a trophy he has never won? One game at a time.

Well, Let us head to Stamford Bridge for the crunch tie with Chelsea. A victory will be immensely celebrated. Hope the gunners play like this on Sunday.

Enjoy.

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