88 Seconds of Vitality

After over 5 hours of Premier League football without a goal, the Gunners had double within 88 seconds. Mesut Ozil opened the scoring with a volley in the 24th minute. 88 seconds later, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his first away premier League goal for Arsenal.

Arsenal did go ahead when Ozil slammed high into the net after Olivier Giroud headed into the playmaker's path

The gunners needed to win at the Vitality stadium with results at the Etihad and White Hart Lane going in favour of other title challengers. Leicester City were 3-1 winners over host Manchester City and were 8 points clear of the gunners before the game at the Vitality stadium. Spurs had a late win over Watford with Odion Ighalo firing blanks. These put pressure on the Gunners to respond.

They had gone ages without scoring despite creating so many chances that should have been converted to goals and ultimately points. There was tension in the air and the opening stages of the game was with mixed reactions with Flamini lucky to still be on the pitch after a two footed challenge. He got a yellow and still managed to finish the game. The power of a billionaire.

Mesut Ozil’s last goal for Arsenal was in the reverse fixture in December and it was nice seeing him add more misery to the red and blacks. It was first goal since he started using those green lace-less boots. We would surely need to see more goals and assists from the German lord.

The two goals were scored in the first half with 88 seconds separating them. Ramsey laid the pass for the Ox to grab the second. The tension was doused and Arsenal took their legs off the pedal till the end of the game. Alexis did try to score and but you could see he is not there yet. The Coq also had some minutes under his belts as he continues to build fitness. The gunners could have gone three goals up but somehow Ramsey failed to convert. Cech was called to duty late on as he made a double save to keep his 12th clean sheet of the season.

Three points taken, two goals scored but 5 points behind the leaders. Leicester City will visit the Gunners on Valentine’s day. Hopefully, it becomes a lovely day for the Gunners by cutting the lead to 2 points.

Till then, enjoy the 88 vitality seconds.

Ooh Rosicky! My Heart!!

Scintillating and Sizzling

These words were used to describe Tomas Rosicky’s goal against Tottenham Hotspur in March 2014. It was the only goal of the game and was scored after just 76 seconds. It was his trademark goal – outside footed. There was ecstasy in the land. It was among my best moments of 2014. He sure loves to score against Spurs.

wpid-spurs-arsenal-gallery-043.jpg

After bossing the FA Cup victory over Brighton in January 2015, Rosicky was defined by an all-smiling Wenger:

He was wonderful. A player we all love. If you love football, you love Rosicky

Rosicky returned from the sidelines on Sunday, coming on as a substitute for Alex Iwobi as the Gunners defeated Burnley 2-1 in the FA Cup. It was an emotional return for the Czech international.

“It was unbelievable, something I didn’t expect,” he told Arsenal Player. “Since the moment I started to warm up on the sidelines it was exceptional. Honestly, I had tears in my eyes after such a long time being out”

But his return was short-lived after he picked up a thigh injury few minutes after being on the pitch. According to Wenger, he stayed on the pitch for the team. There was no other opportunity for substitution. It was devastating for the little Mozart. It was too much for my heart.

rosicky

I watched his interview on Arsenal’s website and you could see how much he is broken by this injury. It hurts. This is the player I love the most. Not even Thierry Henry could take his place in my heart with all his goals. The love he received while he warmed up and for every touch he had on the pitch tells how much he has grown to be loved and cherished by the fans.

I was out for a long time so obviously the relationship with the fans after 10 years was always great and they always knew I played my heart out and they always appreciated me and I appreciated them.

As I said it is heartbreaking I can’t give them anything back after the reception they prepared for me, but in life things will be thrown at you and you have to deal with it. You are defined by how you deal with these things and I will deal with it again and I will be back again.

It’s been a hard few days for me to accept. Sometimes you always say that you can always do better or that you can always improve more and more, but I don’t know what more I could have done.

I’ve always come back from everything and I will come back again, I will not give up. I will make it happen once more, I will have the strength to make it, I will find it and I will be back again.

It is hard for him but he will keep fighting. He may still feature for the Gunners this season as his contract expires at the end. He has given his best and nothing more. He is like the symbol of Arsenal in the last 10 years – great but hampered by injury.

Even if he fails to kick a ball for Arsenal – he has a testimonial to play – he needs to lead Czech one last time to the Euros before calling it quits at the international level. He is 35 but surely loves to play.

I will miss my accelerator-in-chief, my heart, one of my role models. Banana-lomo. Razaky. The Little Mozart. TR7.

Just believe.

On the pitch latter today, Arsenal have to beat Bournemouth. The gunners are now 8pts behind the Foxes after they defeated Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad. Tottenham are currently 2nd on 48 points. There will be no excuses today. Three points or the league is over.

Remember Benik Afobe.

@AmosCP

5 Points Behind, Familiar 4th Place Again

If Arsenal was a movie, what will you call it?

image

Since finishing 2015 as leaders of the Premier League, the gunners have slowly ridden back to a familiar city – Fourth Upon Tyne. With just one league win in 5 games, Arsene Wenger’s lieutenants have found themselves 5 points behind Leicester City, 4th behind bitter rivals Tottenham and just 5 points ahead of Manchester United.

The gunners fired blanks last night with so much profligacy in front of goal. Arsenal made Forster look superb with saves. There were different shades of misplaced passes, mistimed runs and fruitless flicks.

Ozil created and had more chances than before, but German failed to score nor assist. Can we blame his laceless boots? Alexis huffed, puffed and mis-puffed. The crosses from the full back was a shame. Giroud and Walcott… hmmm… we need a striker please. Just look at Vardy. God.

It was and is still disappointing. Arsenal will take positives from the clean sheet by the defenders and Cech. The game ended 0-0. Arsenal took just 3 points from a possible 18 from Liverpool, Chelsea and Southampton. I hope this trying time ends soonest. Can we have our Coq back in the middle now?

The next fixture may be the easiest in February – Bournemouth. How Arsenal will survive February is a story yet to be told.

Move On.

@AmosCP

Nigerians and The FA Cup Exploits

The FA cup last weekend had no upset unless you classify replays as one. The Cup was painted in Green and White by the sons of Nigeria.

image

Alex Iwobi took on the Ozil role for Arsenal and he deputized very well. The injuries to the team may have helped but he is surely taking his chances. When he was subbed off for Rosicky, you could see the significance with a master coming on for the rookie. Rosicky was cheered on but he unfortunately picked up another injury. Sad for Tomas.

Iwobi is making the Emirates a home slowly making the gooners forget the American Zelalem. He has been joined by his compatriots Nwakali and Chukwueze. The Nigerians are building a fort at the Emirates years after Kanu left.

Another Nigerian gooner grabbed his first professional hattrick as he lead Hull City to a FA cup win. Chuba Akpom on loan to Hull City, will now face Arsenal in the next round. Will he play the Super Eagles of Nigeria? Hopefully he does. He may need some advice from Gabriel Agbolahon. He is currently an U21 international for the Three Lions.

Will there be a game where Iwobi, Akpom, Nwakali and Chukwueze will feature at once? The NFF will be proud on that day.

A more senior Nigerian came from the bench and grabbed his 15th goal of the season for Watford. Odion Ighalo is the man. The pundits are still not giving him his credit but he keeps popping up with the goods for Watford. We hope he transfers that form to Nigeria when they face Mohamed El Neny and his Egyptian brothers.

Away from the FA cup, Emmanuel Emenike has joined Westham on loan. Hope he tears England apart. Debuchy has gone to Bordeaux on loan. He surely wants to be at the Euros. Good luck Mathieu.

Don’t miss out on the #NPFLSUPER4 on twitter.

Enjoy.

By @AmosCP
Posted from WordPress for Android

Green Gloom, Doom and Silver Linings

If there is one week I need to pass away so fast, that week has to be this week. Both club and country had found a way to piece my sides in anguish.

Arsenal’s poor display against Chelsea on Sunday left them 3pts behind Leicester City and thus planted a seed of unbelief among the fans regarding the Premier League title. Worry not, we are still in the race to win it. Our generals are back except Cazorla. Coquelin and Rosicky for the FA cup game against Burnley by weekend.

I looked up to the Super Eagles in their bid to qualify for the quarter finals of the African Nations Championship hosted by Rwanda. Nigeria needed just a point but Oliseh chose the “wrongest” time to lose his 1st competitive game. A 1-0 loss to Guinea was excruciating for Nigerians and is surely not the true picture of the 3 years of steady improvement in the Nigerian Premier league.

The Eagles started like a house of fire, scoring 4 past Neighbours Niger, earning $10,000 from the LMC for the flash in the pan. They couldn’t hold up a 1-0 lead to Tunisia, thus sharing the points. One point was all that was needed. Oliseh’s Eagles failed to get any. His credibility is up there for debate. His predecessor, Keshi got to the semifinal. Have we taken 2 steps back? The current CHAN Super Eagles were better than the squad 2 years ago.

It was a Rwandan Disaster as ThatEnyimbaFan posted few days ago. Oliseh have loaned Mourinho’s excuse software – the boys were not motivated, Usman did not train, I am sick, the boys are hungry, I bought food for them, Oil price is low, the dollar exchange rate is not high enough, the stadium is too loud, the NFF is not helping etc. Maybe Keshi was right. Maybe Keshi was treated badly. It is time to look at the administration of the NFF. The records will not keep all these excuses. Nigeria lost to Guinea for the 4th time in 8 games. Shikena.

The week was not all that gloom and doom, I had a couple of silver linings. Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala have joined the Arsenal Ladies. The 2014 African Player of the year moved from Liverpool Ladies. We wish her the best at Arsenal. Kelechi Nwakali is  also expected to join Arsenal on a 4 year deal. Samuel Chukwueze is to join too. Good news to every Nigerian Gooner.

We could have two more Nigerians in the Premier League. Ahmed Musa is wanted by Leicester City while Emmanuel Emenike is expected to join Westham on loan.  I love to see Nigerians in the Premier League. Odion Ighalo is the king of Watford just as Yakubu Aiyegbeni bossed Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Everton. Let us paint England green.

Maybe I wanted a Stoke City vs Everton final but it will be Manchester City vs Liverpool in the final of the Capital One cup. It may be the only trophy for the winner this season.

Thank Goodness it is Friday. I will talk about the $10,000 later.

Enjoy.

@AmosCP

Blue Rants and a very Red Disappointment

Moving on is harder than I expected, especially after losing a game to a Mourinho-less form-less Chelsea at home, thus losing the opportunity to return to the top of the table.

Per Mertesacker was shown a straight red card by Clattenburg after he swiped the legs of Costa

This is a Chelsea that are 14th on the log, shared points with Everton, Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion and beaten by Leicester City. The gunners could not muster more than a shot on goal. When last did Arsenal score a league goal against Chelsea?

Every match, something stupid happens. It is either the referee looks the other way or his judgement is questioned. Too many times, the Gunners play like they are under a spell and a red card to a Gunner is always on the cards. I will need to drop a good wager for the next of such fixture with a high expectation of a red card to one of Arsene’s boys. In the games that we were 11 at the end of game, we have always played better against Chelsea.

Sometimes I wonder what experience is. Do we ever learn from them? Do we derive joy in repeating same thing every year that produces poor result? We had two experience centre backs but we allowed Costa to reign. Would Cech make the save if Per let Costa go? We had an experienced defensive midfielder but he was seen more at Chelsea’s post fluffing chances. I miss Coquelin and Cazorla.

The man that captained the team was a joke on his 10th year anniversary. It was as if he had learnt nothing over the years. He only made up the number, lost so many balls that evening with little or no presence in the Chelsea box. Where was Walcott? Flamini was found more in the box than that Englishman. Monreal was frustrated. Nobody to find in the box. Bellerin did his part.

Why was Giroud subbed off? What was Walcott doing on the pitch? What of El Neny? Who am I? Definitely not Wenger. I am a Nigerian gooner and it hurts to lose in such fashion. In the last 10yrs, we have won just 5 games against Chelsea.

No matter how hurt you feel in football, there is a reason to move on. Enyimba ended the 1st phase of the Super Four with a 2-0 win over Warri Wolves. The Super Eagles of Nigeria need just a point to progress to the quarter finals of the African Nations Championship. They play Guinea today. Watch out for Chikatara.

Time to watch a replay of Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal.

Enjoy.

@AmosCP

Thursday Musings: Ozil’s Laces, #10YearsofTheo, CHAN and The #NPFLSuper4

In the beginning, God created man and football. Football was without form and was played barefooted. And God gave man the intelligence to make football fun and men began to wear boots to play football. The boots had laces and were off various shades, undergoing numerous transformations from steel-toed-steel-studded to modern day simpler boots.

Mesut Ozil has been trying to lessen the impact of laces on his football boots throughout his career

The drive to go one step further and make the game one step classier and superb drove our dear Mesut Ozil to approach Adidas for Change

“I revealed to Adidas in 2014 that in the changing room I knot the laces over and over again and then tuck in the ends, that way they do not interfere with my touch”

‘I think that if you tie your laces in the traditional way it’s harder to control the ball as the surface area is not flat.

The midfield maestro has provided 16 assists this season and is expected to launch his lace-less boots on Sunday against Chelsea. The German believes his strongest attributes will be enhanced by the Adidas Ace 16+ Purecontrol.

‘I’ve tried my whole career to minimize the impact of laces on my game. To have a lace-less boot is a dream come true.’ ‘I cannot wait to wear them on the pitch.’

Yesterday on twitter, it was all about Theo Walcott’s 10 years stay with Arsenal. It was an anniversary to the day he joined the Gunners as a baby and have grown to be a man and a father. The England international scored his first club goal against Chelsea in the League Cup final of 2007 with Petr Cech in goal for the Blues. He has gone on to score many great goals for the Gunners – hat-trick against Newcastle, goals against Chelsea, Champions assist against AC Milan and Liverpool.

No player have scored more hat-tricks at the Emirates stadium than Theo Walcott.

Walcott is the first Arsenal player since after Dennis Bergkamp to score in 10 successive season. More stats can be found here.

His career has been hampered by numerous injuries and it seems he is yet to fulfill his potentials with Arsenal. His pace is electrifying but with age catching up, he has but a short time to be a Legend. 10 years with the Gunners, he surely has a testimonial loading just like my best Gunner – Tomas Rosicky – at the end of the season. Hopefully Arsenal will bombard the twitter-o-sphere with #10YearsofTomas in May. Will there have been #10YearsofNicklas if Bendtner was still with the club?

There were actions on the pitch across the globe. Liverpool and Tottenham made it to the next round of the FA Cup. But the real buzz is in Rwanda where 16 African Nations are slugging it out in the 2016 African Nations Championships strictly for home based players.

Nigeria opened her account on Monday with a 4-1 victory of Niger. The Super Eagles were denied of a chance to play in the 2011 edition by Niger but unleashed their revenge via Chisom Chikatara’s hat-trick and Osas Okoro’s opener. Enyimba’s Chikatara becomes the first Nigerian to score a hat-trick in the tournament and the 2nd player in the tournament’s history. Nigeria will play Tunisia next tomorrow.

At home, the NPFL Super 4 is on in Kaduna to prepare Nigeria’s four representatives in the continent. Warri Wolves pipped Akwa United 1-0 while Enyimba played out a 1-1 draw with Nasarawa United. There will be another set of matches tomorrow.  Enyimba are current Nigerian champions and will represent the country in the CAF Champions League with Warri Wolves. Akwa United are the cup champions and will play in the CAF Confederation cup with Nasarawa United.

In other musings, Daniel Amokachi will coach a 2nd division Finnish side JS Hercules for a year. He was coach of IfeanyiUbah FC for a brief period after he was in charge of the Super Eagles for a couple of games. In other news, IfeanyiUbah FC will have 8 Brazilians – 6 players and 2 assistant coaches – in their team for the 2016 league campaign. Will they win the league? This tea is sweet.

So much football. Time to shop for my lace-lass boots.

1 Nil Down 2 One Up

"Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent"

soccer326

Soccer Made For Soccer Lovers

The Exceller Blog

Early start with Christ, Excellence for life

Kelsey L. Munger

"We're all just stories in the end."

diaryofperseus

The pursuit of even the best of things ought to be calm and tranquil.

One Short Corner

Collection of footballing articles, with an emphasis on the tactical side of the beautiful game

Amoscp's Blog

Life's veiw from a unique mind

G.D. FPL

Fantasy League of the Best Blackberry Group on Earth

Akinola Rotimi's Blog

Nigeria ain't just no country...she's a mindset

Chibuike Ogwogwo

...to change the world, be an agent of change and be the change.

Agùntáṣǫólò

Take the current when it serves, or lose your ventures

True Blue

The rantings of an Enyimba Fan

Neymarketing

Football is a game of opinions. Here are mine.

Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth

The stars of tomorrow, today

Movie Reviews

Reviews of movies from a high-level geeky sociopath.

CYBER PEN

...where the truth lies

Bobbygee's Blog

Futebol world walk about

Sports Life

Mainly football related articles, but will feature other sports too.

NAIJANOMICS

Understanding Nigeria through Economics

Poznan In My Pants

an Arsenal blog

UBrave

Akinlade.net Blogs - Musing, writing & documenting hard-copies of this life.

GOONER OF STEEL

Victoria Concordia Crescent

Football, Talk, Life.

Passionate about Life, Passionate about Football, Passionate about Debate

TCY

The church youth blog. . .making impacts in your life

Hope, Honor, and Happiness

A blog for the book “Kingdom of the Sun” and discussions on finding the Hope, Honor, and Happiness in education, life, and the seemingly impossible.

SportsFanatik

Perspective that keeps you Sporty...

ArsenalHeart

Arsenal View From a Gooner

Punkenstein's Blog

Football thoughts, random yarns and a tale to tell every now & then...

SoccerGunz

Footballing thoughts of a Nigerian Gooner

Leye Aduloju

From 'expert analyses' to 'utter rubbish'; they're all here! Enjoy...

My Football Musings

From 'pure genius' to 'utter rubbish'; all my thoughts on the beautiful game are enclosed within this little internet space. Enjoy...

Pointmancarl's Blog

Nigerian Football and some little more

A Gentleman's Arsenal

Form is temporary, Class is Permanent.

BackPageBanter

FOR ARSENAL FANS. BY ARSENAL FANS

Blazing Cannons

Not Just Any Other Arsenal Blog!

Solving Problems, with fun

Solving life's daily problems (mostly computer and IT-related), step by step... and a few other unrelated stuff, by Kelechi C. Emenike

Gooner Daily

Your Daily Arsenal Digest

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 955 other followers