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Archive for December, 2009

With less than 30 min substitute appearance, Captain Fabregas changed the game for us by scoring two wonderful goals! And I especially liked that celebration he had after the first goal, where you can clearly see how passionate he is.

The first half was rather boring with few actions from both teams. Our midfield trio of Denilson, Diaby and Song were decent but clearly lacked ideas on how to penetrate Villa’s defence despite having superior possessions. The introduction of Cesc at second half immediately changed the tempo of the game and we started to become more threatening and penetrative in our attacking moves.

Our front three once again was quite disappointing. Eduardo really looked rusty and if he don’t step up his performance soon, I reckoned he would lose his place in the starting lineup despite the absence of RVP. Arshavin and Nasri were over elaborate in their moves sometimes, and the front three didn’t really work as a compact unit. Vermaelen had done a fabulous job of keeping Argbonlahor quiet and was surprisingly fast enough to keep up with the pace. Traore had a very good game, defensively solid and much more dangerous going forward than Sagna. Its amazing that our third choice left-back is this good.

Diaby scored a wonderful solo goal. I loved the way he run at defenders. Diaby is clearly an central attacking midfielder with excellent dribbling skills, very good shooting ability and superb physical strength. It is always his defensive ability and work rate that were suspecting. It is nice to see him on the pitch offering a more direct aspect to our attacks, but the lack of defensive skills might work against him if he were to claim a spot in central midfield beside Cesc and Song.

We are now four points behind Chelsea with a game in hand. That’s a rather good position at the end of the year and hoped we can keep up the good form and beat Portsmouth in our next game.

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After a disappointing draw away at Burnley, our lads responded with a convincing victory at home against Hull City. With Man United registering their 5th loss (against Fulham) and Chelsea forced to draw against West Ham, we found ourselves back at third place with only 6 points behind leader Chelsea with a game in hand. If we win our game in hand, we shall overtake Man United and only 3 points behind Chelsea. This season is really getting exciting, with so many teams racing cloesly and the top 4 teams dropping points even before halfway through the league. And once again, Liverpool dropped further down with a lost against mighty Portsmouth. Its gonna be a long season for them.

Ok back to the Hull City game. We were playing without two of our best players (RVP and Cesc) and we did reasonably well. Eduardo got a tap-in goal and I really hoped it would do good to his confidence and he can finally prove to us that he is the lethal finisher that we bought him for. Arshavin and Nasri were quite average in this game. Diaby and Denilson, both heavily criticised by Arsenal fans, each scored a goal. Denilson scored a very good free kick. I believed this is the third time in the season that he scored from long range shots. Diaby was very good in his dribbling and forward runs, offering something different from our usual passing game. I do understand why Wenger liked to play Diaby, as he brought something different to the team. He has the strength, the pace and the dribbling ability. The only thing I questioned about Diaby is his consistency, his work rate, his decision making and his attitude. He could be a great asset to us if he can sort out all those issues.

Its good to keep a clean sheet. Gallas and Vermaelen did reasonably well. Silvestre was too slow to play as leftback. Hoped Traore can return for the Villa game. Eboue was very dangerous offensively, offered us much more variations in attack than Sagna. Almunia managed to save a penalty, but I still have my reservations regarding his calibre as our first choice keeper.

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Liverpool 1:2 Arsenal (A)

Its a great weekend in terms of our results and our opponents’ ones. Firstly, Man City was again back to their drawing routine, this time having a 3-3 draw with Bolton. Then, Chelsea was held to a 3-3 draw with Everton, while Man United lost to Aston Villa at home. And lastly, Spurs also lost to Wolves 1-0 at White Hart Lane.

The win over Liverpool at Anfield brought us back to third place, with a game in hand and six points behind leader Chelsea. Which means, if we win our game in hand, we would be only 3 points from the top of the league.

Frankly speaking, we didn’t have a great game at Anfield. Our first half was horrible, and were lucky only to be down by one goal. Almunia, once again, caused us a goal. I had always thought that Almunia is an average keeper. He is never confident in his handling of aerial balls, and this is especially important considering the height of our centre backs.

Song and Vermaelen were solid as usual. Denilson was ok, while Walcott really needed to up his game to live up to his hype. Arshavin once again, provided us with the magic upfront that we badly needed since the departure of Thiery Henry. The shot was powerful and Reina simply had no chance.

Now, hope this win will give us the boost we needed and pushed for the trophies which had been lacking for the past few years.

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After three straight losses (including the one in Carling Cup), the lads have a point to prove against Stoke City. The players started brightly, launching attacks wave after wave. Arshavin’s cool strike gave us the lead. But subsequently, when we saw Cesc’s penalty being saved, while another shot at open goal blocked accidentally by Eboue, I feared that we might eventually loses points undeservedly. Ramsey’s late goal somehow settled the nerves of the fans, and ended Stoke City’s hope.

Arshavin was great in this match, and hope to see more from him. Cesc was dispossessed quite a number of times, and seemed frustrated at Stoke’s physical approach. Rosicky had a quiet game, Eboue offered some directness apart from all our central playmakers, while Nasri was pretty good with the ball too. Denilson was awful, and incredibly weak for a defensive midfielder. The defence stood their ground though I feared for the worst everytime Delap was doing his long throw-ins. Traore was very good offensively and didn’t make any mistake defensively either. Hoped his injury wasn’t serious. And finally, Almunia was still the average keeper that he always was. We really could do with a better and more commanding keeper.

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