Friday, April 18, 2014

Mikel Arteta - The Fallen Spaniard ?

Mikel Arteta Amatriain joined Arsenal F.C in the ill-fated summer of 2011. With the club reeling under the after-math of the 
debilitating loss (8-2)inflicted at the hands of Manchester United. Arsene Wenger was forced into making a wild dash in the transfer market which. Signed from Everton for a reported fee of 11 Mn. pounds, the Spaniard was dubbed as the poor man's Cesc Fabregas. 
However with the club in a desperate need of a player to fill their celebrated El-Captain's boots, the signing (at that time) seemed a wise one. After all the player was a star at Goodison Park voted as the Toffees best player for consecutive seasons in the previous years.
Upon departing Everton, Arteta said "I am 29 years old so I haven't got much time left to take a chance like this one. I have done by best for Everton." 
  Arteta's movement on the ball especially his ability to act as a bridge between the back four and the forwards was touted that coupled with his eye for making a complete pass and composure on the ball was hailed as second to none at the club And for that he was appointed as the club’s vice-captain in 2012. in the same position first along with Alex Song and then with the likes of Jack Wilshire, Matheiu Flamini allowing the other players to move forwards with his side-ways passing. His style of play as a ‘pivot’ which was said to bring a certain calmness to the teams play has been branded as 'slow' by the fans. 
      Also this season the  players natural position has come into threat with return of Matheiu Flamini, and with Arteta not getting any younger his performances have drastically suffered leading to many calling for the Spaniard to be benched in favour of the aggressive Frenchman

In light of his abyssal performances against Liverpool(A) and Chelsea(A), wherein the gunners shipped a mammoth 11 goals in these 2 games alone. Many at the Emirates feel the spaniard who’s contract runs out in the summer should not be offered a new deal. This coupled with the rise of a certain Frenchman and Aaron Ramsey’s ability to play in the defensive role as further strengthened the reasons for Arteta’s departure at the end of the season.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

We've got a Ox (Fox) in the box

2nd Feb'14, Arsenal hosted Crystal Palace at home, the game marked the onset of a daunting run of games which could prove decisive if the North London club were to harbour any hopes of ending their much maligned title draught.

The match against the eagles also saw 'Marouane Chamakh' home-coming at the Emirates after his switch the previous summer. Despite the strikers failure to establish himself due to a certain Dutchman. The home fans applauded for their previous hero.

Arsenal started neatly dominating possession in the first half with a massive 79%. However as they say that numbers don't always tell the complete story, the gunners managed to neatly move the ball around the oppositions 18 yard box without making any further progress. 

This was Tony Pulis's palace side, a Welshman with a previous history of frustrating the gunner's with his derided defensive and long-ball tactics. The night certainly headed for a draw but for one man. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, the Englishman made his first premier league start since the opening day of the season and took the chance quite well nipping in two beautiful goals and securing not only 3 points but a massive physiological boost ahead of a crucial fixture list.

Is Wenger playing a dangerous game?

August 18 ’2013, Arsenal were hammered 1-3 in their own backyard. The hosts took the lead courtesy a Giroud goal before falling prey to all too familiar awful defending at the back.
Not only were the Arsenal faithful embarrassed, but the loss signalled something greater than the humiliation inflicted by the villains.
The resentment in the eyes of those present in North London was for all to see. A chorus of jeers & ‘boos’ filled the stadium as the final whistle blew.
Much water has flown under the bridge since. 5 months later, Arsenal find themselves in a seemingly unfamiliar position perched at the top of the league in what has been an extremely scintillating season.
‘1-0 to the Arsenal’, sang the fans as the men in red & white famously beat Tottenham in the first leg of the North London Derby. Thousands of miles away Ivan Gazidiz the clubs much loathed chief sat in the exquisite board-room of the Bernabeu trying to prize away Real Madrid’s  and arguably Europe’s best play-maker to Ashburton Grove.
Mezul Ozil’s arrival sparked a frenzy across the globe as football fans were left in awe (Not if you’re a spurs fan) of what was being called the best transfer business done by one man ‘Arsene Wenger’.
Arsenal sits pretty at the summit with 48 points. However the team has not just Ozil to thank for this amazing transformation. From Ramsey’s resurgence to a newfound discipline at the back, fans watched with bated breadths as the revitalized team scrapped and (finally) learnt to win-ugly.
However amongst all the fan-fare one problem has not gone un-noticed, the absence of quality striker not only to support the over-worked French man but to spear-head the attack in his absence. Wenger’s recent comments bring a all too familiar feeling in the fans, as the manager has kept silent on any new talent coming in Jan despite many pundits and surprisingly even first team regulars calling for the club to sign another striker.
While Lukas Poldolski has returned from the side-lines after a long layoff which the saw the German miss the opening 5 months, ‘Sir Nickalas Bendtner’ is the only other recognized senior striker and he too has succumbed to an injury after scoring the crucial goal against Cardiff at home.
With the road-runner ‘Theo Walcott’ out after sustaining a calamitous ACL tear, the club is indeed acutely devoid of a quality striker.
Is Wenger indeed playing a dangerous game?, by toying with the prospect of  signing a new striker in what is undoubtedly the gunner’s best start to a league campaign since the invincible(s) I leave it to you to answer…

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Arsene Wenger- A stiff-necked manager?

30th September 1996, Arsenal F.C confirms the appointment of Arsene Wenger. David Dein the then Arsenal vice-chairman was the brains behind this move. At that time Wenger was anonymous in England

The Evening standard newspaper greeted his nomination with the headline “Arsene Who?”

The Frenchman succeeded Bruce Rioch who was ousted in august 1996. In his first season in charge arsenal finished third behind Newcastle united.

In his second season in charge arsenal won both the league and the FA cup. It was the second Double in the clubs history. They won the league with two games in hand.

The following seasons were unfruitful and led by near-misses. In the year 2002 Arsenal again won the double and went an entire season unbowed away from home.

The 2003-2004 season is perhaps etched in every Gooner’s mind as it was in this momentous year that Arsenal completed an entire season undefeated, the only side in English football to have done this after Preston in over a century. In doing so Arsene Wenger’s legendary side rightly earned the tag of INVINCIBLES.

The following year Arsenal won the FA cup after canning united on penalties.

 Total trophy count till date under Wenger’s dominion:
A.      3 League titles
B.      4 FA cups
C.      4 FA community shields

In the year 2006 Arsenal moved to the 60,000 plus state of the art Emirates Stadium from their iconic stadium in Highbury. The man behind the making of this suave and spacious stadium was again Arsene Wenger.

Now what a large section of fans omit to see is that in making this transition from Highbury to the Emirates, the club incurred a massive expenditure which directly led to a colossal debt.  

There are certain questions that any gooner who has called for Arsene Wenger’s sacking should ask himself?

1.       Has Arsenal always been devoid of trophies?
2.       After the construction of the Emirates, did the manager have vast resources at his disposal?
3.       Is the manager solely to blame for the teams adversaries
4.       Can anyone else foster young talent and turn obscure players into world-class players?
5.       Can anyone else replicate the legacy this man has built?

If yes, the following are the answers to the above questions

1.       The club has been second best once in the champion’s league, Five times in the premier league, once in the FA cup, twice in the FA community shield and twice in the league cup. Thus it is not reasonable to say that Arsenal have not been on the top. The manager cannot be trounced for near-misses at the summit; the recent 2-1 defeat at the hands of Birmingham in the league cup final was purely a defensive error and not a tactical error made by a manager.
2.        The construction of the new stadium came at a monumental expense. With arrears of 470 million pounds to be repaid, it is unwarranted to say that the manager had a vast array of funds at his disposal. The absence of major-signings can only be attributed to the paucity of funds available.
3.       Thiery Henry, Denis Bergramp, Cesc Fabregas, Nicolas Anelka, these are some of the umpteen green talents that have been reared into first-rate players by the French-man.
4.       Is Wenger only at fault, I think not. The manager can only galvanize the players off-the pitch but on the pitch it is the players who have to render. A classic illustration of this is Chelsea F.C- last season Carlo Ancelotti won Chelsea their first double and this season his exit is being speculated, so has the manager’s competence diminished or the player’s performance weakened.
5.       The answer to the last question is a simple NO

       Agreed that the fans have been frustrated by this drought and their behavior is justified. But it must be understood that sacking Wenger is not an option. His obstinacy has been a hindrance at times but his contribution cannot be trivialized. His removal will only add to the chaos as his successor might not attune to the clubs pre-set philosophy and style. 

      People sieve Wenger as a penny-pincher. But his frugal nature has made this club a financial power-house. Would you fans like Arsenal to be thrown into the hands of selfish and profit-oriented owners like that of United and Liverpool?  Aren’t the examples of notorious owners like the glazers and hicks & Gillet testimony to the fact that financial solidity is of utmost importance to a club’s long-term prosperity    
All said and done, as a staunch supporter i strongly feel that the manager has been despairing by continuously placing his faith in under-performing players, and this is one grey-area which needs to thoroughly rectified..
Trophies are perhaps the most important yard-stick to measure a clubs eminence and it would be na├»ve to suggest otherwise. 

   However I ask all my fellow gooner’s to be resolute in their adhesion of our manager. For this forbearance will unmistakably guide the path towards laurels soon.
      In  “Arsene we trust”

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Are Arsenal's claims becoming shallow with each game ?

 Please Note-This article is a gooner's reaction to a highly frustrating and dismissal performance by his team after they failed to beat a team that is battling relegation.  

14th February 2011 Arsenal recorded a historic win against the mighty Barcelona. Andrei Arshavin carved his name in history books with the winning goal. The magnitude of this victory was so big that it seemed to be-little arsenal's 5 year trophy drought.

A month later the very same arsenal team which was earlier touted to achieve a quadrupole crashed out of  three tournaments in a span of two weeks. Mounting injuries and successive defeats have brought arsenal's season on the brink of disaster.

Arsene Wenger is undeniably  arsenal's most successful manager, his contribution towards building the club cannot be replicated. If any one deserves credit for making Arsenal a role-model for other clubs with regards to management and financial stability it has to be him.

However his policy off-late has back-fired with catastrophic results. Arsenal's defence is pathetic to say the least, the french duo signed in the summer form anything but a strong partnership at the back. Sebastian squilachi, Abu Diaby, Denilson and Thomas rocsicky are certainly not competent enough to be playing for this club.

Although a lot of people might dis-agree with me, But diaby and denilson should be sold as soon as possible. The former is never fully fit and certainly cannot cope with the premier leagues physicality and the latter is simply not that good. His passing has been dreadful and he just cannot do any justice to his role of a holding mid-fielder.

Although fans would like me to be patient and wait till wenger's youth team blossoms and brings laurels to the club. I certainly feel that this attitude has led us down, just by concentrating on the development of the youth the club has been turned into a training-ground.

Unitl the manger starts taking some tough decisions, there is no way the situation will improve. If Fabregas wants to leave for Catalonia this summer let him LEAVE. The club is better off without a player who's heart is not where his mind his. Let Fabregas leave gracefully and he shall always be remembered by fans as a faithful.

SELL under performing players, if a player has been consistently under performing sell him. this would do the club as well as the player a whole lot off good. Start bying some proven players who can stand up in times of crisis and take the role of a leader and inspire others to victory.
It is not so much as this teams lack of quality that is appalling but its lack of a winning mentality that has led it down. The ability to grind out victories against the most resilient opponents is completely missing.

In the end it seems fair if rival fans mock Arsenal right now. It is hard and bitter to digest but the club has absolutely nothing at present to boast about.
The era of the INVINCIBLE' S has gone,stop hanging on it and look at the present.Struggling against relegation threatened teams is certainly not a mark of champions.

Banish the excuses, injuries and  poor refereeing are faced by every team on the planet and are inevitable. A team worthy of becoming champions is one which fight's and wins despite things going against it and currently Arsenal is far from anything close to being called a champion.

Call me a pessimist but i certainly don't see any positives until we start admitting and working on our weaknesses 

P.S- This might be Manchester united's worst team to win the EPL, but if you look at it the other way, Arsenal's current team which is said to be its best in recent times is not even good enough to beat Manchester United's worst squad. Its not a star on United but a matter of shame for ARSENAL

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A gooner's life.

As i write this a part of me is crying.

27th March 2011..Arsenal lost the carling cup final to birmingham city, they squandered their biggest chance in six years to end the trophy drought.

8th April 2011..Arsenal were sent packing out of the champions league by arguably the best team on the planet. barcelona defeated arsenal at the camp nou in a match where the visitors failed to take a single shot on goal.

12th April 2011..Its the FA cup Quarter final, and arsenal face the daunting task of visiting Old trafford. Needless to say they lost the tie and are out of the FA cup.

The gunner's season is over..

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fabregas to leave Arsenal for Chelsea?

Roman Abramovich is planning a big money move to bring Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea.
The billionaire has plans to hijack Barcelona's summer bid to bring the Arsenal captain back to Spain, according to reports in the Sun.
Further reports indicate that the Blues see Fabregas as the perfect partner for Frank Lampard in their midfield, and Abramovich has sanctioned a £50 million bid in order to lure him over from Arsenal.
This could just be the opening bid, as Arsene Wenger has slapped on a £60 million price-tag, which would not be too far a stretch for Chelsea's owner.
It could be harder to persuade the player himself, as he is keen to return home to play with his childhood friends at home in Catalunya.
Fabregas said to the Sun that returning to Barcelona to play for his idol Pep Guardiola and alongside the world's greatest players like Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Leo Messi is what he seeks, but although the La Liga giants do want him, there are doubts they can afford to outbid Chelsea.
Although most Arsenal fans would consider the move impossible, it is interesting to note that Liverpool fans would have not imagined Fernando Torres in a Chelsea shirt a mere month ago.

Roman Abramovich clearly does not understand that there players who value their club over other things.
Agreed that Fabregas wanted to depart for Catalonia but that was mainly beacuse of his desire to play for his boy-hood club.He has reiterated time and again that the only club he'll ever play for after Arsenal is Barcelona.
Moreover Arsenal boss has always insisted that their captain is NOT for sale. And if a transfer does happen the Spanish outfit will have to pay a hefty sum.
The Russian Czar is deluded in believing that he can buy Fabregas for 50-60million pounds.But in reality Arsenal is way better off than Chelsea financially so the question selling him for money does not arise.