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.

The Five: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham

The much awaited first North London Derby of the season didn’t turn out the way the red half of North London wanted it. With 5 Englishmen in the starting lineup the gunners were hit by injuries to Ramsey and Arteta and fell behind to Chadli’s well placed goal. Chamberlain drew level for the gunners to give the gunners a point which is better than a home loss to bitter neighbours Spurs.

Match Report. Wenger’s Comment. ESPNFC Player Ratings.

The Five

1. One Point relief, Two Points Grief

When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain smashed into the top left hand corner of Hugo Lloris’s net, there was great relief and that was exhibited by his celebration mingled with immense excitation, sliding a la Giroud, boxing the corner flag with bottomless happiness. The goal came in the 74th minute, about 20 minutes after Chadli had put Spurs ahead. Taking no point out this game would have been disastrous irrespective of any circumstance. This is the North London Derby and their are no prisoners to be taken. The goal was a relief and offers a degree of satisfaction when compared to having no points especially after having as much as 70% possession.

Kaboul and Chadli spoilers

On the other side, why have so much possession and yet feel relieved to have just a point when there is a maximum of three points to be grabbed. It is grieving to see Kaboul blocking every attempt that was created by Arsenal. And where he missed, Lloris was on hand to save. The gunners had every opportunity to grab all three points. Falling behind made one point a victory.

2. Two Injuries Too Many.

In the 28th minute of the game, Captain Mikel Arteta succumbed to injury and had to come off for Flamini. There was more injury to come. Just before half time, Aaron Ramsey pulled his hamstring to make matters worse for Arsene Wenger. Santi Cazorla came in for the Welshman reducing Wenger’s substitution to just one by half time. Wilshere even twisted his ankle and may not feature in the midweek Champions League. Ramsey and Arteta are out of the Chelsea game.

Aaron Ramsey lies on the ground after injuring himself in the north London derby

Suddenly we are short because if we lost three players today, and let’s not forgot that we already have two out long-term plus Walcott, that’s six. Diaby is not ready so it starts to become a worry. – Wenger, after the game.

Since the beginning of the season, we have had one injury or the other from every game we have played save the Capital One loss to Southampton and 3-0 victory over Aston Villa. It is yet to be fully understood as to the romance Injury and Arsenal have had over the years. You can win a big bet by expecting Arsenal to be hit by injuries. We are yet to have a full house this season to compound Wenger’s selection headache.

3. Unbeaten and Draw-kings

The gunners remain unbeaten in the Premier League for the first time since 2007 but have won just two games from six, drawing the remaining four. They have scored in every League game this season.

It’s frustrating. I think the positive is that we are unbeaten but the negative is that we’ve missed four points from the quality of the games we’ve played. Somewhere we have to keep that unbeaten record and I think at some stage we will win the games instead of drawing. I think today we would have won had we not conceded the first goal. – Wenger.

4. Who is the Four.

Arteta’s injury made way for Flamini to feature as the defensive midfielder. The agile Frenchman did his part but was robbed of the ball for Chadli’s goal. It is disappointing that such would happen to a player of such experience. He sure is on his diminishing curve and won’t offer the best he did at a younger age. Too many times we have asked who trully can anchor the midfield for the gunners. Wenger failed to secure the services of a joy-less DMF in the transfer window putting his faith on aging Arteta and Flamini.

Will Wenger use Chambers as the Four and play Bellerin in coming games? Or will start his lab experiment on Abou Diaby as the chosen one? Arsenal is indeed toying with fire and fate. Can he deploy Francis Coquelin or call on Isaac Hayden. This is going critical especially with the level of injury in the squad. Arsenal need a four. How will Arsenal face Chelsea?

5. Five English Starts

Arsene Wenger featured five Englishmen in his starting lineup for the first time since 2003. Calum Chambers, Keiran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck donned the red and white to face Spurs. Ox did score to get a point for Arsenal. There was a time when Arsenal where you would see just one Englishman starting for the gunners but the quintet will surely have more games this season if they stay fit.

Other worthy mentions include, Welbeck’s swing cum miss, Arsenal’s high spirit, Gibbs’ step up.

It sad not to win the North London Derby especially seeing that Chelsea and United got victories over the weekend. Attention shifts to the UEFA Champions League as we welcome Galatasary.

Enjoy.

The Five: Arsenal 1-2 Southampton

Arsenal were booted out of the Capital One cup last night after a spirited display by Southampton at the Emirates. The gunners opened scoring from Alexis Sanchez’s freekick but Rosicky gifted a penalty minutes later with Tadic scoring from the spot. The gunners fell behind from Clyne’s screamer after a corner kick was cleared.

Match report. Wenger’s Comment.

1. One in a dozen.
Prior to yesterday night, Arsenal had progressed to the last 16 of the League cup in the last 11 seasons. Behold, the 12th season came but unfortunately, the gunners could not keep there 3rd round record.

2. Visibly terrible and terribly invisible.
The fans clamoured for Wenger to feature Rosicky and Podolski but they didn’t put up their best to justify their start. Rosicky started but was terrible, misplacing some paces and tripped Mane in the box. On the other hand, Podolski was just invisible. The camera gunner was like air although had his shot saved to bring the gunners level. It still baffles me how Podolski played 90mins. Was it his last 90mins for Arsenal?

3. Little or No More Opportunities
Yes, it is the League Cup, the least important of the four trophies Arsenal aim for in every season since Arsene Wenger joined. Nevertheless, the cup had always been an opportunity for the younger players and fringe players to get some games under their belts. It has been a breeding ground.

Szczesny, Wilshere, Gibbs et al grow through the cup. Campbell, Akpom, Hayden, Coquelin will find it difficult to get games now. There will be no capital one to look forward to. Ospina, Podolski and co will just get an Emirates certified seat belt for now.

4. Impressive from the Young Gunners
Hayden was impressive at , Chambers was cool, Coquelin covered up well at the back and even helped limit the deficit. Many gooners had wanted Le Coq to move on but he put up a great display.

Bellerin ran his heart out, Campbell was much more mobile and possessed a lot of threat, Akpom had little time but you could see his pot was boiling. I wonder why he wasn’t brought on earlier.

5. Clyne’s screamer
The winning goal came out to be Clyne’s screamer in the 1st half of the game. A right back’s surface to roof missile. What a beauty of a goal. Do Arsenal have such goal scoring full backs. How many of the corner kicks have been successful? In years to come, it will continue to be said that Arsenal was clyned out of the League cup. That screamer brought sadness to many gooners especially seeing that the gooners couldn’t get another goal.

Other notable features of the game includes the return of diaby, Sanchez’s freekick, Jack’s crowded runs, etc.

Well, the Capital One cup is over for Arsenal. Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City are still in the competition. For now, the North London Derby takes priority.

See you in North London.

AFCON: Cameroun 2019, CIV 2021, Guinea 2023

The annual meetings of the Confederation of African Football ended Saturday night in Addis Ababa, with the announcement of three host nations for future AFCON tournaments the highlight of a successful fortnight of gatherings in the Ethiopian capital.

Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea were unveiled as Nations Cup hosts for 2019, 2021 and 2023 respectively at a packed press conference at the AU headquarters.

Both Cameroon and Ivory Coast have hosted the competition previously, in 1972 and 1984 respectively, but Guinea will get to stage Africa’s continental showpiece for the first time ever.

CAF president Issa Hayaotu in revealing the hosts commended the bidding nations and the unity of the African football community in perusing excellence for the continent’s game. The other bidding nations were Zambia, who were in the running for 2019 only and Algeria who eyed both 2019 and 2021.

The decision on the 2017 tournament is yet to be reached, and Algeria are in pole position following the ceding of hosting rights by Libya. Voting on the hosts for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in the first quarter of 2015.

Predicted Capital One Cup Line Up As Arsenal Welcome The Saints

Manchester United began their quest for Silverware away at MK Dons but were taught a footballing lesson as the lower league side won 4 goals with Arsenal’s Benik Afobe scoring a brace. Sorry about that, this is not a Red Devil blog.

image

Diaby Returns?

On the sunny side of North London, the gunners will be begin their quest to give Arsene Wenger a cup he has never gotten. The gunners will look to bank on the threesome display at Villa Park to ride on the saints.

The Capital One cup is an opportunity for the younger ones to test first team action, the fringe ones to prove their worth and the key ones to rest. With 18 players on the list, who ll feature:

David Ospina is expected to debut with Martinez on the bench. Calum Chambers is likely to face his old club partnering Isaac Hayden. Hector Bellerin will man the right with Keiran Gibbs on the left.

Abou Diaby should return, partnered by Francis Coquelin,  the forgotten duo. Rosicky is likely to be flanked by Chamberlain and Campbell with Podolski as the man upfront.

Bench: Martinez, Semi Ajayi, Chuba Akpom, Zelalem, Wilshere, Sanchez, Welbeck.

Predicted score: 3-0. Campbell, Rosicky and Podolski.

Enjoy.

The Five: Aston Villa 0-3 Arsenal

Arsenal shook off the disappointment of their woeful performance in Germany as they blitzed through Aston Villa at Villa Park. The two sides were unbeaten but goals from Ozil, Welbeck and Cisokho ended Villa’s impressive run of the season.

image

Match Report. Wenger’s comment. Player Ratings (goonerdaily).

The Five:
1. #PlayOzilAt10
Mesut Ozil joined Arsenal in the wee hours of last season’s transfer and carved a niche for himself by supplying various assists. Since returning from the world cup, Ozil has been played ineffectively on the left. Against Villa, Ozil was in the hole behind the striker. He opened scoring and returned the favour to Welbeck.
In as much as Arsene Wenger claims he has 1001 players in the team that can play as 10, Ozil is his best and should be refrained from playing from the wings. Wenger always knew Ozil will silence his critics. The Villa display answers it all.

2. Danny Opens An Arsenal Account.
Rejected and left out in the Manchester rains by Luis van Gaal, Danny caught a train to Ashburton Grove where he had to join the red and white half of North London. Few days after joining Arsenal, Welbeck scored a brace for England, a hint of things to come for Arsenal.

Welbeck tried to open his account against Manchester City but the post-man failed to deliver his chip-y application. In Germany, he spelt his name wrongly but made amends days letter at Villa Park. A goal and assist is a good day at the office. This will boast his confidence and ready him for the North London derby. In other news, Sanogo is yet to score a competitive goal. He still has a kiddy’s Arsenal Account.

3. A game of 3s
Arsenal scored 3 goals in 3 minutes 12 seconds to grab all 3 points at Villa Park. This was Arsenal’s 3rd clean sheet of the season, although 1st in thr league. There were 3 different goal scorers and 3 different assists from 3 shots on target. The gunners amassed 3 yellow cards in the game and started the game with 3 changes to the team that lost to Borussia Dortmund. Wenger the 3 changes at once in the game too.

The gunners had 71% ball possesion, almost 3 times that of Aston Villa. They also had a 75% aerial succes, 3 times that of the host.

4. Ramsey’s Worries.
Aaron Ramsey had been on a poor run of form in recent games. His passes have been questionable and his shots at goal wayward and less threatening like last season. It is worrying that Arsenal’s player of last season is going through the valley of shadow of death. The Welsh may need to die a 2nd death by keeping things simple to rejuvenate his wailing start to the season.
Ramsey had been poor but it is expected that he doesn’t stay in the valley for too long. We need him up their at summit.

5. Rosicky Finally.
Tomas “little mozart” “razaki” Rosicky finally got onto the pitch for the first time this season. The Czech captain was yet to feature for the gunners despite increasing the temperature of the bench behind Wenger. It was a joy to see Rozza race through the greens of Villa Park, energized like an electron on the outermost shell of an atom. His one touch and quick passes was an ice to the 3-0 cake. A goal would have been great but so many Arsenal hearts were lifted seeing an Arsenal number 7 on the pitch.

The Ozil-Beck combo is looking sharp, Szczesny saves and temptation, Kos bossing, Chambers looming red, Gibbs balance, Ox directness are worthy mentions.

A win lifts the spirit. Southampton next in the Capital One cup. Time to mix the team up and watch Joel Campbell.

Enjoy.

Ooh My Arsenal, Arise!!

Immeasurable amount of water have passed through numerous bridges since Arsenal lost two points at the Emirates to Manchester City. The gunners took solace in the shared points especially seeing that the Citizens nearly grabbed all three points that Saturday. With great hope and good memories of Germany, the Gunners took their canons and set stage in Dortmund.

Klopp was having none of Arsenal’s pride in their new away cup kit. Besieged by injuries, the gunners were a shadow of the team that got all 3 points a year ago. Out-paced, out-played, out-muscled, the gunners were beaten despite donning their victorious jersey for the first time. Two goals on each side of the break were enough to give Borussia Dortmund all three points.

The Five: Injury continues, It could have been worse, Arsenal need a joyless defensive midfielder, Kos and Per can do better, When is the next Arsenal Victory? Arsenal summed up my birthday with that woeful loss. This open letter sums it up.

The game caused Arsenal Wilshere and we can only hope he gets fit enough to face Aston Villa. Too many questions are being asked about Ozil’s play. Wenger has consistently played the World cup winner on the left where he has been woeful. The buzz that came with his arrival a year ago has gone sinusoidal and is at the minimal now. The critics are doing their jobs but Wenger and Ozil must give a better performance.

Ramsey has been playing below par. He cannot complain of fatigue. He wasn’t in the world cup yet his passing and final balls have been found wanting. As much as we love Ramsey, as much we remember his goal scoring exploits last year that gave us the FA cup and he contributed immensely to Arsenal’s final position in the league, the Welsh Jesus must step up his game.

With so much rigmarole on the pitch, i keep wondering why Rosicky is yet to be featured this season. How much i miss his acceleration and drive. Oooh my Rosicky. What of Campbell? He must have hatched a lot of chickens if he was a hen. Podolski has been so accustomed to not playing for the gunners that he was looking for his sheen guard. He came and showed his rustiness.

Can Arsenal step up and mount a challenge? The gunners are bottom of their UEFA Champions League group (well, after just a game), 6 points behind Leaders Chelsea (Blessed with Fabre-Costa) in the league. Will Kosicenly and Meterseacker get back to the form of last season? Vermaelen is gone and it seems the lack of competition for the two center backs may have a hand in their current form. Will Yobo or Lugano join on free transfers?

The past is past. We can only hope for the better starting from Villa Park. Anything short of 3 points is a defeat.

Merci.

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