Arsenal Down Borussia Dortmund 2-0

One thing that cannot be denied about this Arsenal team is that they do respect and have an affinity for Arsene Wenger. Whenever there has been mounting pressure on the manager in recent seasons the players have responded on the pitch, and this 2-0 home win over Borussia Dortmund proved that again.

A torrid run of results has put question marks firmly on Arsene Wenger’s future with many in and around the club claiming the Frenchman has taken the Gunners as far as he can. That, of course, is a debate for another day, but it is certain that he still knows how to motivate his troops, even if the quality is sometimes lacking.

Yes, Borussia Dortmund came to the Emirates in even worse form than Arsenal, third from bottom in the German Bundesliga and suffering key injuries to big name players. However, the Germans remain a dangerous and potent force, especially on the continent where they have already beat the Gunners in the reverse Champions League fixture.

Credit then must go to Arsenal for managing to defeat the team (at the fifth time of asking) to progress to the Last 16 of Europe’s elite competition. The hosts had a wonderful start courtesy of a second minute goal from French U21 international Yaya Sanogo, a late addition to the starting 11 after Danny Welbeck picked up a knee injury before the game.

Sanogo linked with Santi Cazorla for a tidy one two combination on the perimeter of Dortmund’s penalty area, before receiving the ball back and slotting home a cool finish past the visitors’ goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. Admittedly, replays showed that the striker was marginally offside, but it was a well worked goal with the impressive Cazorla the architect.

Alexis Sanchez has been a revelation since his summer move from Barcelona, and he continued his good form by securing Arsenal’s second and ultimately the winner. The Chilean curled a beautiful effort into the Borussia net in the 57th minute to claim his 13th goal in just twenty appearances for the North London club.

Dortmund of course proved a threat during the game, but Arsene Wenger will be pleased with the way his defence handled the German contingent. The second goal seemed to finish the contest against a team very low on confidence and the Gunners will now look to the final group game to ensure they finish top of the table.

Arsenal wins the FA Cup for the 11th time in the Club’s history

Arsenal wins the FA Cup for the 11th time in the Club’s history following a glorious win over Hull City.

Arsenal matchwinner, Aaron Ramsey, hands credit for Cup success to Arsene Wenger- who himself admits ending trophy drought was ‘a relief’ and a turning point for the Gunners.  Wenger has now won the FA Cup five times as a manager – a record he shares with Sir Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United manager

An open-top bus parade set off from the the Gunner’s Emirates Stadium at 12:00 BST, and thousands line the street for Arsenal’s victory parade.

Arsenal Plays well to Crush Hull

Arsenal´s Premier League season is back on track after the Gunners eased to victory over Hull City on Sunday. The North London giants held on to fourth place, staying one point in front of Everton in fifth, with three games of the season remaining.

It was a comfortable afternoon for the team as Hull failed to mount any real danger. However, Arsene Wenger will be happy that the players put in a solid performance after weeks of indifference on the pitch. The cruising 3-0 win came over the clubs´ FA Cup Final opponents and it served as an encouraging dress rehearsal.

Indeed, if Hull plays like this in the cup showpiece in May it will be a very easy final for Arsenal as the club looks for its first trophy in 8 seasons.

Hull started well, but Arsenal recovered after a slow start and quickly put the hosts under pressure with slick passing and possession football.

Arsenal´s dominance was confirmed when the visitors took the lead in the 31st minute when Aaron Ramsey fired the team in front. The Welshman was making his first start since returning from a hamstring injury suffered in December. Ramsey showed how important he is to the Arsenal midfield when he latched onto the end of a slick passing move from Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla to fire low past Hull´s Steve Harper.

The Gunners were in charge of the game, but there was enough about Hull on the break to suggest Wenger´s charges would need another goal. The second duly arrived on the stroke of halftime as Lukas Podolski scored from a Ramsey assist. The home team players were incensed as they felt a free kick should have been given, but Arsenal instead broke and Podolski doubled the lead.

The second half continued Arsenal´s hold on the game, with the away team playing some quality football. Podolski´s brace and Arsenal´s third goal did not take long to come when in the 54th minute the German caught on to Ramsey´s assist and turned the ball into the net  to secure the win. The Gunner impressed for the remainder of the game and Ramsey had put in a game winning Man of the Match performance.

Arsenals Look to Get Close to Fourth Place

What a difference a week makes. Just seven days ago Arsenal had gone four games without a win and had conceded fourth place in the Premier League to Everton. Fast forward to this weekend and the Gunners are in the FA Cup Final, beat West Ham to go fourth, and saw Everton lose, meaning qualification to the Champions League is now in Arsenal´s hands.

Arsene Wenger has spoken this week about how the players now need to focus on the job in hand. With the potential of Champions League next season and a first trophy in 8 seasons, this campaign could end up being a success, despite the undoubted problems the last few months have thrown up. However, first Wenger´s men must pass Hull in this week´s away Premier League game.

As well as giving Arsenal chance to get one step closer to securing fourth place, the game will also be a test run of the FA Cup as both these teams will compete in the showpiece final in May. Hull is still fighting in a relegation battle, so Steve Bruce´s charges will be no pushovers. Although, the Northeast club is unlikely to get relegated and perhaps the players have one eye on that final, especially as the club could play European football next season.

Wenger will be hoping that the Hull players are distracted by a once in a lifetime opportunity to win the FA Cup. The problem is Steve Bruce is unlikely to accept complacency, so the Tigers will pose a threat, especially with dangerous strike duo Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long coming back into the team. As for Arsenal, the North Londoners will likely shuffle the pack, with Kim Kalstrom likely to make way for Aaron Ramsey to start. Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud will probably continue to be the go to guys for goals as Arsenal look to get close to that fourth place.

Arsenal goes Fourth

Arsenal´s bid for a Top Four finish received a boost on Tuesday night as the Gunners overcame West Ham United 3-1 in a London Derby. The win came courtesy of a solid display at the Emirates Stadium as the club puts it recent poor form behind it.

This was certainly the most comfortable win for Arsene Wenger´s team in some time and now the club can concentrate on trying to get that all important Champions League place. Wenger´s men now move above Everton into fourth place, but the Merseyside club still has a game in hand. All Arsenal can do is keep winning and hope that Everton drop points somewhere in the final four games of the season.

Given the recent form of the Gunners, there were gasps and plenty of tension in the Emirates before kick-off. That air of worry got even worse when West Ham took the lead in the 40th minute. The Hammers took advantage of Kim Kallstrom failing to track Antonio Nocerino when the Italian supplied Matt Jarvis to head home. The goal came five minutes before halftime and filled the stadium with plenty of nerves, while Arsene Wenger was probably preparing another difficult team talk. Luckily the gaffer never had to give that talk as Arsenal responded in the 44th minute when Lukas Podolski drilled a low shot into the net to make it 1-1.

We suggested before the game that the linkup between Podolski and lone frontman Olivier Giroud would be key to success during the rest of the season. The duo proved that against West Ham as Giroud gave the Gunners the lead in the 55th minute with a stunning drag down and shot from a Thomas Vermaelen long ball.

Aaron Ramsey arrived to replace Thomas Rosicky, and the Welshman looked sharp on his road to recovery from an injury suffered in December. Ramsey was the architect of the third goal as he found Podolski with a cushioned header. The German controlled and fired the ball into the West Ham net to secure the three points and ease the tension inside the Emirates.

Three Points Essential for Arsenal against West Ham

There is no time for the Arsenal players to celebrate reaching the FA Cup Final on Saturday as the games are coming thick and fast. Today the Gunners will play host to West Ham in a game the club and the fans hope will breathe new life into the Premier League season.

An admittedly tough March brought with it abject displays that all but ended Arsenal´s charge towards the Premier League title. Worse still, the club now sits outside the Top 4 and needs Everton to drop points to qualify for the Champions League next season. The season now stands on the brink of being a disaster or a success, but the run in of the Premier League season will decide which. If Arsenal get fourth and claim the FA Cup, the season could be viewed as one of progress, but if Champions League football is not acquired for next term, not even a Cup win could mask what would be a disaster for the club.

So, fourth position remains ever important (the fans will have to hold off disappointment from a fallen title push) and West Ham is the first hurdle for the club. The Hammers are a typical Sam Allardyce team; strong, robust, hard to break down, and able to disrupt from set plays. In other words, the South London club plays the type of football Arsene Wenger teams struggle against. Nevertheless, the Gunners will be favourites at the Emirates Stadium, but recent form would suggest the players will need to raise their game to get three points.

West Ham will not attack with pace, so Per Mertesacker will have plenty of time to get to grips with an in form Andy Carroll. With Everton winning on the weekend, Wenger needs to approach this game with the intent of winning comfortably, so could the Frenchman be tempted to pair Lukas Podolski up front with Olivier Giroud? That is unlikely, but a more attacking approach from the midfield will be needed if Arsenal are going to maintain pressure on Everton in the race for fourth place.

FA Cup Final Booked for Arsenal after Wigan Win

Arsenal booked a place in the FA Cup final by beating Wigan on penalties to put a first trophy in eight years in sight. However, the match did little to expel the current worries over Arsenal´s form, but a final is a final and that trophy drought could be about to be snapped.

Recent poor form has dogged the Gunners, and the match itself was hugely disappointing. The fact Arsene Wenger´s men struggled to see off a Wigan team with its own problems in the Championship will send fans into meltdown. It was simply another awful display from the team, with the simple truth being Arsenal should not need to go to penalties against a team in a division below. Sadly this kind of form does not bode well for the remainder of the Premier League season.

For now though the club and the players can celebrate getting to the FA Cup Final where they will play against either Hull or Sheffield United. The Gunners have put themselves as strong favourites to lift the trophy in May, but another abject performance like this could spell disaster in the Wembley showpiece.

Arsenal started the semi final on top, passing the ball nicely and creating chances. However, it was clear that Wigan had come organized and when they got the ball the players remained calm and carved their own chances in the game. After a goalless first half, the underdogs took the lead when Callum McManaman had been brought down by Per Mertesacker. Jordi Gomez stepped up and scored the penalty in the 63rd minute.

Wenger´s men struggled under pressure for the next 20 minutes, but an equalizer arrived in the 82nd minute when Mertesacker headed home at the back post, making amends for conceding the penalty earlier. The teams continued to trade throughout the remainder of the game and through extra time, but the stalemate could not be broken. Lukasz Fabianski was the hero in the shootout for Arsenal as he saved two penalties to send the Gunners to the final, and the fans can now dream of that long awaited trophy.

Arsenal Looking to Cruise to FA Cup Final

Today’s FA Cup semi final against Wigan has become the biggest game of the season for Arsenal, as they look to keep their season alive. It has been a bitterly disappointing two months for the Gunners as the team has slipped out of the Premier League title race and crashed out of the Champions League.

The FA Cup remains the only glimmer of hope as the club might even miss out on Champions League football next season thanks to the humiliating defeat at Everton last week. Now the cup has become a chance to win a long awaited piece of silverware and possibly put some gloss on what has admittedly turned into a disastrous season.

However, Arsenal will first have to pass Wigan. On paper, playing a Championship side in the semi final of the cup looks an easy task, but two factors make this a worrying match for the club as it travels to Wembley Stadium. The first is the fact Wigan beat Manchester City to get to this stage, and as defending holders will be no pushovers. The second consideration is Arsenal´s own recent woeful form.

With everything to play for, Arsene Wenger will undoubtedly play his strongest possible 11, and Aaron Ramsey could feature more prominently after returning from injury. The problem remains how to get Olivier Giroud more into the game, with the midfield struggling to find the French striker enough. Wenger will also be looking for more pace and urgency in the passing to catch a Wigan team that likes to foray forward in numbers.

The good news for Arsenal is that Wigan´s league form has also been poor of late, so with that in mind it should be a relatively easy day out at Wembley for the Gunners. Although, who knows with this club!

Arsenal’s Top Four Ambitions Hang in the Balance

Arsenal´s Premier League season continued to crumble on the weekend as the Gunners crashed to another humiliating defeat against a Top Four rival. The team traveled to Goodison Park to play fifth placed Everton and was soundly beaten 3-0 to put qualification for the Champions League in doubt.

Picking apart the when´s and why´s of Arsenal´s decline is no easy task, but it seems a simple case of being another season where the club has flattered to deceive. Just two months ago the club was top of the league and this campaign had the air of something different about it. Now in April the Gunners are out of the title race and are clinging onto 4th place. Just as worrying is the fact Arsenal has shipped 20 goals against rival Top Four clubs (6-3 Man City, 6-0 Chelsea, 5-1 Liverpool, and 3-0 on Sunday). It is a humiliating run that shows that the current squad is not up to the task of a sustained title challenge, at least mentally.

Sadly, Everton deserved to win the game, looking sharper and more skillful, and actually reminding of Arsenal teams of old. You know, the ones with a steely heart that could mix it with both skill and brawn. We have known for some time that Arsene Wenger´s current assembled ensemble is no match for his perfectly built teams of old, but this season has served as a starker wakeup call than most. The FA Cup may deliver a long awaited trophy, or it may not, but even a cup win would not stop the campaign from being a relative failure.

Everton took the lead in the 14th minute when the ever threatening Romelu Lukaku had a shot saved by Arsenal stopper Wojciech Szczesny. The ball kindly found its way to Steven Naismith, who slotted home for 1-0. The Toffees doubled their advantage 10 minutes before half time when Lukaku dazzled with a run and finish. The rout was completed in the 62nd minute when former Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta scored an own goal for 3-0.

In between the goals Everton was the better team. Driven by the ever impressive Ross Barkley, the Merseyside club pressurized and outplayed the Gunners, despite the stats seemingly favouring Arsenal. The win put Everton one point behind Arsenal with a game in hand, their quest for 4th place now in their own hands. Arsenal will need to hope Everton drop points in the remaining five games to qualify for the Champions League.

Arsenal Faces Stern Test against Everton

Another weekend brings another crunch match for Arsenal as the Gunners prepare to take on Everton on Sunday. The team will make the journey to Merseyside to play an Everton team that is Arsenal´s nearest threat in the fight for fourth place and qualification to the Champions League.

Manager Arsene Wenger has made it clear that the players will fight for the title until it is impossible to win, but the gaffer must also look over his shoulder and secure 4th place in the Premier League. Everton represent a strong challenge and have been on a roll of late, with home advantage also giving the Toffees confidence.

The Arsenal players will know that success on Sunday will all but secure fourth place and they can then concentrate on finishing as high as possible. A loss would be disastrous, placing Everton just one point behind with a game in hand, with their fate in their own hands. In such a high stakes situation, Wenger could be forgiven for being happy with a draw.

Form suggests Everton will fancy their chances against an Arsenal team that has been missing Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, and Aaron Ramsay of late. However, when Arsenal welcomed Everton to the Emirates for the FA Cup just a few weeks ago, the Gunners run out comfortable 4-1 winners. Wenger will be hoping for the same kind of result on Sunday, but much will depend on the supply to Olivier Giroud who has cut a lonely figure up front in recent weeks.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez will expect a better display than that FA Cup collapse, and the Spaniard has brought sexy football to the Toffees; so much so he is being touted as the next Barcelona manager. Romelu Lukaku will be a danger for the Blues, as will the ever dynamic and classy looking Ross Barkley.

This will certainly be a tough test for Arsenal, and a draw would probably be a good result considering Everton´s recent form.

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