The Five: Arsenal 2-0 Everton

Arsenal picked up the pieces from Monaco’s visit to forge ahead in the Premier League race. A goal in each half from Olivier Giroud and substitute Tomas Rosicky gave Arsenal a 2-0 win to stay in third.

Match ReportWenger’s comment – Player Ratings

1. One Goal, One Relief for Giroud

The missed chances against Monaco may still haunt the French striker but he converted Ozil’s corner to put the Gunners ahead. He sure hasn’t shaken off that ability to miss but a goal is such a tonic that brings a level of inner peace to the scorer. Hopefully this goal will spur him up to grab a hattrick *spills coke over my keyboard* in Monaco. He grabbed a late equalizer earlier on in the season after which he was away due to an injury he sustained late on in the game. The Toffees will be weary of Olivier Giroud but Giroud must overcome his wasted chances. For now, let him enjoy the relief just as he grieved after Monaco. He went one further by damaging Coquelin’s nose.

2. Two Assist, One Ozil.

How Ozil stays up till the end of 90 minutes is becoming a mystery only him and Wenger can reveal. The German who recently returned from injury had a poor game against Monaco but rose hope today to grab two assists to his name to bring his League tally to 5. His corner kick was converted by Giroud for the first goal. His second assist showed how wide his vision is and how eagle eyed he is. Picking out Tomas Rosicky from afar was great. Hopefully, he would grab more assists and goals before the season runs off.

3. A Clean Sheet Finally

The last time Arsenal kept a clean sheet in the League was the 5-0 drubbing of Aston Villa on the first day of February. Arsenal were shaky but held on as a team to keep Ospina’s sheet clean. I had expected Ospina to be dropped for Szczesny but Wenger kept his faith with the Colombian, and he sure was repaid with saves that kept Arsenal alive.

Gabriel came in for Metersacker after the latter’s awful display in the Champions league. Gabby-no-joy made just one notable error but Ospina cleaned up for him. He went on to make life miserable for Lukaku and Everton. Will he continue to keep Metersacker on the bench?

4. Four Points Behind

Manchester City lost 2-1 at Anfield which meant Arsenal’s win over the Toffees reduced the gap between City and Arsenal to just 4 points with 11 games to play. Manchester United are a point away from Arsenal, with Liverpool a further 2 points behind. Chelsea had Capital One cup glory to savor after defeating Spurs 2-0 to lift their first trophy of the season. The gunners are 9 points away from Cheslea’s 60 points albeit the Blues have a game in hand. If the gunners continue their premier League form, they may usurp City from the 2nd spot and even Chelsea, if Mourinho falters.

5. Tomas Rosicky.

I am always excited whenever Tomas Rosicky scores for Arsenal. It is always emotional and his celebration is just energized. Can you dislike this Czech?

But has anyone seen Alexis Sanchez? Hopefully Coquelin is back without a nose surgery.

 

Arsenalic view: Spurs vs Chelsea Capital One cup final

The first silverware is up for grabs this weekend with two of Arsenal’s enemies in the final waiting to shine in glory.

Chelsea will line up against London rivals Spurs in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on Sunday

Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea will lit up Wembley stadium for the last time this season after they were kicked out the FA cup by lesser opposition. Bradford’s victory at Stamford Bridge still gives me a good reason to smile at Mourinho.

This is a repeat of the 2008 final where Jonathan Woodgate grabbed a late winner for Spurs, in a season where Jose was sacked. Avram Grant was in charge.

Harry Kane had made mincemeat of Chelsea’s defence this season in that 5-3 goal haven that left Mourinho dumb. Will he rise again this weekend? Will Mourinho get his revenge? Chelsea is expected to grab the trophy but football is done on the pitch.

Without being involved, Arsenal fans will need to choose who they prefer to lift the trophy. For a Nigerian Gooner, the choice is quite easy: Spurs. There are no chickens around to troll us and the sight of seeing Chelsea lose especially under Mourinho is like Christmas.

I would love our little mischievous Spurs get the victory over Chelsea. Hopefully we retain the FA cup with Manchester City winning the EPL with Chelsea knocked out of the UCL in the semis. Another trophyless season will be great for Mourinho. But all are mere wishes.

I would love a game full of cards, especially red ones. I will love the ripple effect in the Top4 and title race. *Grabs a cold home made juice*

7 days Arsenal Rant

Arsenal had two London games in the last 7 days: A narrow nail-biting win away at Selhurst Park in a game that the gunners could have grabbed more goals before the Eagles made Arsene sit on the edge of his seat. 2-1 it ended despite having 3 center backs and 3 full backs at the end of the game. Lucky to have returned to Ashburton Grove with 3 points.

The other game was at the Emirates that had nothing to do with points but the 1st leg of a two-legged knockout game in the glorious UEFA Champions league.

While we glorried in the Selhurst escape, the media wanked at the possibility of Arsenal going one step further than previous years, especially after finishing 2nd in the group. Every gooner heaved a sigh of relief when Arsenal were billed to play a French team.

No one talked about Monaco’s tight defence but many emphasised on the number of goals they had scored in 6 group games: 4. The English press and the deep-lover-cum-surface-critics dreamt of an Arsenal appearance in the final. Unfortunately, you can’t make Omelette without breaking the egg.

Arsenal’s twitter romance with Monaco ended in shameful display at the Emirates. I had read canoncrested’s UCL post and hummed the anthem in anticipation before going ahead to predict a 2-0 victory for Wenger’s army.

Just when you think, the team is beginning to gel, Arsenal always have away to let the fans down. The love for the self-destruct button is so legendary in Arsenal’s recent history. The barren years may have been subdued by the FA cup victory but the UCL voodoo remains real. Belleti and Eto’o will continue to haunt Arsene and Arsenal till they bring the trophy to Ashburton Grove.

So we got the best draw but had the worst result for the 1st legs. We had the more simpler task but will now take the hard and long way of turning a 3-1 home defeat in Monaco.

Everything went wrong against Monaco. Monreal’s omission raised eyebrows but many agreed it was for Monaco’s pacey full backs. Metersacker had a cup of Silvester juice mixed with a soured Senderos-a-la-Drogba drink, putting up a great display for all to applaud in Sarcasm.

Gibbs lost the ball easily but the gunners conceded 3 goals from 3 lost balls thanks to Welbeck, Alexis and Chamberlain. Ospina didn’t help matters as he danced to Metersacker’s deflection like a DJ in a Nigerian club. He was like thin air for Berbatov’s goal and the 3rd was just there, too short to strech. Can we have Szczesny back? I think we may have had enough of this Oooooospina. Would Szczesny had performed better?

Upfront Ozil couldn’t trap the ball, Alexis Sanchez could give a simple pass after lingering on the ball for so long, Coquelin got a quick yellow, Cazorla ran into a mob, Welbeck ignited his red-devil-ness and Giroud had a hattrick of misses. A striker in form indeed.

Arsenal is just too predictable except for Wenger’s zippers and the exact method of self destruction. Enough of all this “mental strenght” crap and “Angriest Wenger”. How often does Wenger need to give the hair dryer treatment? How often is he going to shut the dressing room doors to ecpress his vexation?

The sour taste of the defeat still lingers on my tastebuds. An Everton bashing may help the taste. But i hear we have not won any of our last 5 premier league against Everton. I need to verify that but i am too hurt to care now.

The gunners may take solace in City’s defeat, Liverpool’s penalty loss and Spurs dead Europa end (where was Kane), but we must live above such mediocrity.

3 points is a must on Sunday. It is time to change timezone.

Yipee… The UEFA Champions League is Back

In the last 2 months, something was missing. I could feel it but couldn’t put it in black and white. I stumbled upon my email after days of neglect and lo and behold, I saw a mail titled: UEFA Champions League.

I quickly raced through my browser opening my regular football site and app and yes, the Champions League is back, hogging the headlines for reasons best known to the teams involved.

I was looking forward to seeing Monaco at the Emirates on Tuesday or Wednesday but my bubbles were burst seeing that Arsenal’s fixture was billed for the upper week. Nevertheless, the theme song of the UCL is a joy to listen to. It heals footballing wounds and prepares the mind for battle buttered with upcoming events on the pitch and old memories to savour.

Just in case you still feel lost, this infographic from guaranteetickets may help you tune in to the UCL spirit.

 

 

 

A Near Perfect CAF Weekend For Nigeria

Footballers across the world look forward to two periods of the week to enjoy football: Weekend and mid-week. In Europe, mid-week is associated with the UEFA champions league and Cup games. In Africa, the weekend summarizes football.

Last weekend, Nigeria were on all footballing front in Africa. After missing out of the AFCON 2015 and dethroned by the Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria faced the other facets of football to exhibit their love for football: The U-17 African Championship, The CAF confederation cup and The CAF champions league.

The U-17 African Championship Niger 2015.

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets kicked off their campaign in Niger as they defeated the hosts by two un-replied goals. Goals from Osimhen and Nwakali gave the World Champions the first 3 points of the tournament. Nigeria will face Guinea on Wednesday and a win will be enough to grab a ticket to Chile for the world championship.

 

CAF Champions League.

Kano Pillars grabbed their 2nd ever away victory as they won 2-0 away to Al-Malakia in South Sudan with goals from Gambo Mohammed and Christian. The groundnut boys were in fine form and kept a clean sheet to kick start their season. The Nigerian champions will be looking at qualifying for the group stage for the 2nd time ever.

The other Nigeria representative, Enyimba, grabbed their 30th home win of the CAF champions league with a 3-0 victory over Buffles De Borgou of Benin Republic. Goals from Daniel Etor, Kingsley Sokari and Peter Onyekachi was enough for the Aba Millionaires despite missing many chances. The peoples elephants are determined to have a go at the title this season.

Enyimba 3-0 Buffles du Borgou: Peoples Elephants daze visitors in Aba

via Goal.com

 

CAF Confederation Cup.

It was a mixed feeling for Nigerian club sides in the CAF confederation Cup. Dolphins lost 0-1 away to Leones Vegetarinos of Equatorial Guinea while Warri Wolves defeated Racing De Bobo 1-0 in Burkina Faso with Azeez grabbing the solitary goal.

The return legs for the CAF competition comes up in a forthnight and Nigerians will be expecting the 4 teams to progress from the preliminary rounds of the competitions. It is high time we make waves again in Africa.

Away from Africa, Nigerians grabbed important goals for their clubs. Brown Ideye grabbed his first brace for West Brom as they defeated West Ham 4-0 weeks after he nearly left for Qatar. Yakubu Aiyebgeni returned to England with a goal. The Yak grabbed the winner coming in as a sub as Reading beat Derby County 2-1. Reading and West brom are through to the Quarter finals of the English FA cup.

Kenneth Emeruo heroics was not enough as Arsenal dumped Middlesborough out of the Cup. Emmanuel Emmenike also reignited his scoring form in Turkey.

It was a great weekend for Nigeria.

Enjoy 9ja football.

 

8 days After: Arsenal skip past City and Boro

About 8 days ago the cock down the lane escaped the canons and crowed all through the weekend because they kane-d Arsenal and grabbed maximum point. They temporarily overtook the gunners but few days later, the “crises” as many anti-Arsenal pundit labelled the loss, was only seen as a bleep in the impressive form for the gunners.

Xbox in the box.
Deployed to a location void of proper internet connection, i made do playing FIFA on xbox, using Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund to cause problems on a ship. I won many, draw few and lost a couple. P16 W9 D4 L3. Not bad after a 1yr break on xbox. My thumb still aches.

Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City.
Arsenal grabbed a shakey-Nervy 2-1 win over Leicester City with goals from Koscielny and Theo Walcott. Ospina failed to keep a clean sheet and Theo was more of a passerby. Sanchez struggled with a knock and my FPL points were badly affected. Hot Chile 2 points.
The gunners leapfrogged Spurs to 5th and are 2 points away from United in 3rd. City seem to be sliding especially without Yaya Toure. But the beast is back from the jungle.

The FA cup continues.
Olivier Giroud grabbed a brace in 2 quick first half minutes to give Arsenal a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough at the Emirates. The 1st goal involved all 11 gunners on the pitch with 17 passes finally converted by the Frenchman. Click here to see the goal.

image

The 2nd had “technique” written all over it. Giroud french-kissed the ball into the Boro net from a quick Sanchez free kick.


Gabriel grabbed a nice debut going home with an old fashioned yellow card for his worries. He had the highest number of clearances in the game. The no-joy Brazilian didn’t need to open his mouth all through the game. One game, one clean sheet. Ozil, Cazorla and Sanchez were too much for the lads from the Riverside.

You can’t talk of clean sheets without checking out the goalie. Sir Szczesny returned to the FA cup goal as expected and did little as Boro were castrated upfront. His ball work was good and there is this confidence when he comes for the ball and he rarely punches waywardly. He started the move for the 1st goal. Will he regain his spot from Oooooospina? That chant must be excruciating for his eardrums.

So we await the draw tonight with Bradford the giant killers still in the draw. Arsenal is geared up to retain the FA cup. They are one match away from a semi final in Wembley. Who do we face next?

Irrespective of who we face, the depth in the second oozes ounces of confidence, despite having Wilshere, Ramsey and Arteta out with Theo yet to be fully fit. Diaby? Ehhh….

Have nice draw and day.

@Amoscp

Follow @soccergunz on twitter

Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal: Gunners Kane-d

Two second half goals from Harry Kane doomed Arsenal to their first defeat in ages.

I have been unable to get a good way to start this post after numerous attempts. The bitterness from White Hart Lane still abuses my taste for even sweeteners.

Arsenal set up like they did at the Etihad at invited pressure from Spurs. But they were outdone by two goals from Harry sugar Kane. Two well taken goals left Arsenal as blank as losing at Stoke. Ozil had given the gunners the lead, thanks to Welbeck’s pace and Giroud’s pseudo-shot.

Arsenal sat deep, inviting pressure from Spurs. They managed to keep Harry Kane and his gang at bay in the first half with so many gung-ho style of defending. Against the run of play the gunners took the lead in the 11th minute.

Ospina had a moment with the medic but the sight of Szczesny jogging on the touchline was a pain reliever as the Colombian jumped to his feet. The goalie would spill out shots from Rose et al but was lucky in the first half that no white shirt was quick enough to have a good rebound.

The second half lasted just 11 minutes before Kane grabbed the equalizer. Ospina flew in the sky, punched the ball away but it fell kindly to Harry Kane who smashed the net to the delight of Spurs fans, his first North London Derby game, his first North London goal.

The pressure continued to mount and it paid up few minutes from the end of the game as Harry Kane rose higher than Koscienly to head home with Ospina rooted to the ground watching the ball rolling out of the net. He finally has been beaten in the Premier League.

A late push from Arsenal was aimless and toothless with Walcott doing little and Akpom not even touching the ball.

My Top Five: Ospina’s clean sheet gone, Gung-ho defending, Loose passes and ball retention, Kane-d and Less attack attempted.

Down to earth, the gunners were brought. A reality check before we welcome Leicester City. Momentum dropped but hopefully not lost.
The loss was painful for me but seeing Atletico Madrid sending Real Madrid to the cleaners was a great.
Enjoy your weekend.

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