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Its a hard-fought victory over the team that is famous for their “Delap-long-throw”. Aaron Ramsey suffered a terrible injury that would rule him out for the season, thanks to Shawcross’s reckless tackle. Hope Ramsey is able to get over this terrible injury and come back stronger.

This match somehow reminded me of the Birmingham match two seasons ago, where Eduardo suffered a similar career-threatening injury because of a “display of passion” of an opposition player. We drew the match eventually and did badly for the next few matches. Its sort of a turning point in our title race, and that match was the match that lose us the title. But this time, we responded well and showed our character and determination. Hope that at the end of the season when we looked back, this is the match that win us the league.

After two crushing defeats against title rivals Man United and Chelsea, we somehow managed to remain in contention for the title after two straight wins over Liverpool and Sunderland, although our performances weren’t that good. With Everton beating Man United over the weekend, we are now six points behind Chelsea and just two points behind Man United. And the rest of our fixtures are much easier compared to those two teams. So, it’s still early to write us off and who knows we may surprise all our critics?

Its nice to see Bendtner back but thus far he has reminded us that he is never the lethal striker that some of us Arsenal fans imagined him to be during his absence. Sol is a pleasant surprise and a very good addition to our thin defence. And Eboue has really done very well recently in right-back position. Attacking-wise he is miles ahead of Sagna.

Let’s hope the lads will perservere and showed the world their hunger for trophies!

Another disappointing result, another defeat against a title rival. We lost to Man United and Chelsea both home and away, and that somehow reinforces many people’s perception that we are not a title contender. We will have an easier fixture after the Liverpool’s game, but can we bounce back from all these crushing defeats? We will have to wait and see how the lads react at the next game.

We suffered yet another crushing defeat at home to our title rivals, this time the opponent being Man United. Our records against Man United and Chelsea had been very bad in recent years, to the extent of embarassing. I was hoping that our lads could respond to last season Evra’s claim of “boys against man”, but was yet again disappointed.

So what exactly is wrong with us?

1. Lack of defensive organization and discipline

We have two excellent centre backs (Gallas and Vermaelen), and a very solid right-back in Sagna. Our left-back Clichy may be susceptible to occasional lapse of concentration, but overall he is rarely beaten in one-on-one situation. We do have a very average keeper Almunia who doesn’t command his area and inspire any confidence in his defenders, but that’s just one part of the equation. One problem with our defenders is that, they often bomb forward at any chance, even the centre backs! Someone should tell our defenders that their jobs first and foremost is to defend! The lack of discipline to stay in position makes us susceptible to fast counter-attacks. And if our fullbacks (Sagna and Clichy) do not add significant impact to our offensive moves, I think its better for them not to move forward so often.

If our defenders are more defensive-minded and stay in their position, together with our defensive midfielder, we would be able to deny opponents of the space they currently have.

2. Lack of ball winner

We used to play with two ultra defensive central midfielders in our unbeaten season. Patrick Vieira was an excellent ball winner, while Gilberto’s positioning and reading of game often denies opponents of space and options. Their backups, Palour and Edu, were all capable of winnning back possessions. Our current team is lacking ball winners, especially in midfield. The closest we have is Song. And that’s all we have. Cesc is trying hard but he isn’t strong enough. Denilson is average in everything he does. Diaby is not known for his defensive skills, while Ramsey and Eastmond are still very raw.   

3. Lost of fast counter-attacking ability

We used to be famous for our fast counter-attacking abilities. But we no longer possess that ability now. The ability to launch fast counter attacks will put your opponents on back padels, causing them to think twice before over-commiting on attacking us. It is both a defensive and offensive weapon.

To execute fast counter attack, you need either one of the following:

A. Long ball tactics plus a tall and strong target man

B. Fast wingers with great dribbling skills

C.  Telepathic combination among the front men

We do not have any of the above. We don’t play long ball and we do not have tall and strong target man (except Bendtner who was injured for most of the season). We do not have fast wingers, what we have is a bunch of attacking midfielders and playmakers. The closest we have is an off-form Walcott who have lost his abilities to beat his markers. We also do not have telepathic combination among our front men like we used to have in Henry and Pires, as they still don’t look like they are one attacking unit.

4. Too many similar players

How many playmakers do we have? Fabregas, Nasri, Rosicky, Arshavin, and even Denilson and Ramsey. Wenger accommodates them by playing some on the wings and as a result limiting their strengths. We also have too many supporting strikers and too few main strikers. Bendtner, RVP, Arshavin all likes to play supporting strikers. Vela and Eduardo can be main strikers, but both are not physically strong enough.

This coming weekend we will be facing Chelsea at Stanford Bridge. I can’t really see us winning this one, but hopefully we can put up a fight and nick a draw.

Top of the league

We fought back from 0-2 to overcome Bolton with a final score of 4-2, and now we are top of the league. Even though this most probably is short-lived, as Chelsea need only to draw their game in hand to reclaim the top spot, but it may well be a morale booster to our players.

To go down 2 nil to Bolton at Emirates Stadium is rather shocking, and I felt that Almunia had to take a big part of the blame. Rosicky had played really well and scored the first goal to kickstart our revival. Despite all his injuries, he still has this excellent change of pace that is very useful in attacks. Arshavin was working very hard and scored a beautiful fourth goal. Fabregas continued his superb form to score the equalizer, and I believed if he can keep up his good form we have a very good chance of lifting the title.

Eduardo was involved in the buildup of the goals, but I was quite disappointed that he was still not scoring. Eastmond came on as a sub and did well. But I am not so confident if he is to start against teams like Aston Villa, Chelsea and Man United. Its great to have Clichy back.

To comeback from 2 nil down to a 4-2 victory requires a lot of conviction and self-belief. Man United always has this self belief. Our invincibles also has this self belief. And I hope this current batch of gunners have the same self belief.

Its so good to have Fabregas around. Another superb performance from our captain saw us overcoming rough opponents at Reebok stadium.

No surprise, Bolton players resorted to using very physical style of play, and on a few occasions I think they had really cross the line. Our third-choice leftback had a very bad game, giving away possessions countless of times, allowing that korean winger to have a field day. Lucky for us, we did not concede and Clichy is close to coming back. Gallas did not have a good game either, where else Verminator was rock solid and covered for Traore’s defficiency. Sagna was decent, and while Almunia did manage a few good saves, he also committed some silly mistakes that could prove costly if we are facing a better opponent. Its apparent that our defence don’t have confidence in Almunia, as in one occasion Gallas was forced to give away a corner because Almunia did not come out to claim the ball, and the look that Gallas gave to Almunia afterwards clearly indicate some displeasure.

In midfield, Eastmond was given his debut much to my surprise. He did ok, but as a defensive midfielder he needed to grow more physically. Diaby had a decent game and added some much needed physical strength to the team. Arshavin and Rosicky were rather quiet and I think they really need to step up their games. Eduardo had two assists but overall I think he had lost a bit of pace and wasn’t strong enough to play centre forward against such physical opponents. Its good to see Merida getting a goal. A player with good potential, hope that he can be patient and doesn’t leave for Atletico Madrid.

Right now, the top three teams are starting to pull away from the 4th to 8th teams. We need to keep winning to keep pace with Man United and Chelsea.

The first game we played after Alex Song was away for the African Nations Cup ended up in a 2-2 draw with Everton at home. I watched this match with anticipation, eager to see how we cope without our three most important players RVP, Cesc and Song. When RVP got injured, our frontline became blunt as there is no one else in the front three who is strong enough to hold up the ball and clinical enough to score goals consistently. We managed to cope somehow utilizing Arshavin and Eduardo with the help of assists and goals from Cesc. Then when Cesc got injured too, we lost much creativity from the center, but the emergence of Diaby and Ramsey somehow manage to see through the difficult period. Now without defensive midfielder Song, we are kind of exposed in the centre of midfield, especially against teams that adopt an aggressive pressing approach.

Credit to Everton, they had been pressing us throughout the match and denying our players of any space. Ramsey looked nervous and lose possession quite a few times. Denilson, though scoring a goal, showed that he was not strong enough to be our defensive midfielder. Diaby continued his good performance but he was also not the answer to our defensive midfield position. Third-choice leftback Traore was getting exposed for his inexperience by Everton’s Donovan. With the absence of so many crucial players, we were quite lucky to scrape a draw, and even more lucky to see Man United settling for a draw against Birmingham so that we don’t drift away from the other title contenders.

Almunia was still very average and never inspired confidence among our defenders. But I was quite sure that Arsene Wenger will not buy any keepers this January or even in the summer. Will we buy any players this January? I am not quite sure.  To me, our front line needs a strong and clinical striker, our midfield can do with an additional defensive midfielder to cover for Song’s absence, and our defence would certainly benefit from an additional central defender seeing that our backup for the first choice CBs is Silvestre. But knowing Wenger, we would probably just sign a couple of teenagers who would only feature in the first team after two years time.