Offensively we were certainly not ruthless enough.Maybe the confidence isn’t quite there in this team yet, but you could see the green shoots at times. The Iwobi goal, a move in the first half which presented another chance to the Nigerian, and a really slick second half break which saw a close-range Ramsey effort well saved were evidence of the kind of football Wenger wants his team to play. However, there were plenty of other moves and decisions which lacked that incision, and two goals from 25 shots isn’t quite as efficient a return as you’d expect. We are on a run of fixtures from which there’s an expectation of three points, so we’re doing what we need to do. It wasn’t exactly thrilling yesterday, and while there are no bonus points for artistic impression we might just need to think a little more about goal difference and being a bit more emphatic when there’s an opportunity to move that in a positive direction. Still, when it comes right down to it it’s three points, another win, and another clean sheet – that’s four in a row in the Premier League and we haven’t conceded a goal since Anfield. It’s also about the nicest complaint you can have when you can say you won but didn’t quite do it well enough. Ultimately it’s points on the board and that really is the main thing. All in all though, a decent win and we’re now into 5th in the table, level on points with Chelsea. The players go away now on international duty – bar the injured ones like Koscielny and Ozil – and we’ll pick up again in a couple of weeks time with a trip to a currently high-flying Watford. James and I will be here later with an Arsecast Extra for you. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, please send to @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra. We’ll have that before lunch for you, until then. The post Arsenal 2-0 Brighton: Alexis provides a moment of magic as Gunners win again appeared first on Arseblog ... an Arsenal blog.
Our recent results make us a bit more confident but as well we want to keep a level of urgency that allows you to perform at your best. If you look at the performances I believe that what’s most interesting is that we looked like we are consistent now and the results are always the consequence of the performances.As we head into an Interlull after this game, there’s just that little bit extra riding on today’s result. The last Interlull was preceded by that visit to Anfield, a game many of us would like to forget but one which remains indelibly etched onto our brains (yes, I’ve tried wine and beer). The last thing we need is two weeks of introspection and anger because we couldn’t do what we should do, and that’s take three points today. A win would take us to 13 points, level with Chelsea, and 6 behind the two Manchester clubs who are ominously out in front with 19. I watched some of both their games yesterday, and while United have been fairly ruthless in swatting away the mid-table chaff, City’s performance at Stamford Bridge was worryingly good. It’s why games like today are so vital for us. I think we need to look at it first as one from which we take the points, but also one that could improve our goal difference if we play as well as we can. I don’t think there are any easy games in the Premier League, but you can make some of them look easy if you’re efficient and organised, and hopefully we’ll be that today. —
Live blog and arses updateJust a quick update for those of you who use the arses – the bespoke comments system we have on the site – and the live blog. Unfortunately we’re having some real problems getting things back up and running again. We had hoped to have it back for today, but not only have we hit a brick wall, the brick wall has hit us back. Tom and I will be looking at various options, and I’ll be able to give you a more in-depth update shortly. I’m also aware that people paid their subscriptions for live blog chat, so if anybody wants a refund we’ll sort that out without question. Just drop me an email to thearseblog at arseblog dot com with your live blog username and email, and we’ll get that sorted for you. Once again, really sorry about this, but as much as technology makes our lives easier, it can sometimes complicate them too. Like I said though, we’ll have a fuller update for you, hopefully early in the week. As ever though, we’ll have a match report, stats, players ratings and the rest over on Arseblog News after the game. Until then. The post Gunners have to ensure Brighton don’t rock + live blog/arses update appeared first on Arseblog ... an Arsenal blog.
I said on Monday night after the game that I would play an experienced team with a young bench. We have a very tight schedule and it is an important game, and that’s why there is only one or two young players who will start the game.As for tonight’s opposition, who sit third in the league in Belarus ahead of the likes of Torpedo BelAZ, Slutsk and Neman Grodno, I don’t know a lot about them, but Wenger says they’re a strong outfit that we will have to take seriously:
We watched them yesterday. They are a team with good quality, technically strong, so we will need a good performance to have a chance.They’d certainly enjoy the prospect of taking a big scalp at home. Even if it’s not the strongest team we’d ever put out it’d be a great thing to beat a side like Arsenal. There ought to be enough experience to do the job tonight, but it’s very hard to predict what might happen and how we’re going to play. Coming in a tricky week this could be a potential banana skin but fingers crossed we can get the win, because the quicker we get the points on the board to qualify from the group, the less impact these games will have domestically as there’s even more scope to rotate and play youth. Live blog update: At the moment it doesn’t look like we’ll have the live blog back up and running for today, sorry about that. It’s a bit complicated but hopefully we can get up and running again for Sunday’s Premier League game against Brighton. We will, as ever, have a report and all the post-match stuff over on Arseblog News. — Meanwhile, back home, comes news that Sky Sports are showing their true contempt for fans by scheduling Arsenal v Liverpool for Christmas Eve. They actually requested a 4pm kick off (!), which was refused by police – probably because they couldn’t get the staff – and have since revised that and are currently looking for a 12 noon start. Discussions remain ongoing apparently, and Arsenal have already checked with their own staff to see if they have the numbers to do it. Aside from permanent employees, Arsenal have hundreds and hundreds of part-time staff who work for every home game, so it’s about being able to provide all the required services of a match-day. However, once more it’s an example of television not considering the fans, this time though taken to another level. Without wanting to be all sentimental, and bearing in mind there are many who don’t celebrate Christmas at all, it is a day when many focus on family, their kids, their preparations for the next day (LAST MINUTE HALF-DRUNK SHOPPING!), and all the rest. Then think about what it means for the travelling supporters, who will have all those things as part of their lives, but are then asked to spend most of the day making their way from Liverpool to London and back to Liverpool again – especially with the curtailed travel services on Christmas Eve. Then, let’s look at what we’re being asked to do from a sporting perspective. Arsenal are scheduled to play four games between December 23rd – the current date for the Liverpool game – and January 1st when we host Chelsea. As it stands, this is what we’re looking at: Saturday December 23rd – Liverpool (H) Tuesday December 26th – Crystal Palace (A) Saturday December 30th – West Brom (A) Monday January 1st – Chelsea (H) Four games in 9 days is difficult enough, but to rob us of one more day of ‘rest’ during this period is absurd. There’s already a very good case to be made for playing at least one game fewer at this time of the year, and when more and more evidence tells you this kind of schedule is bad for players, bad for the spectacle, and that a winter break is actually the direction we should be heading in, to try and squeeze these fixtures into even fewer days is something that both fans and the club needs to resist. We all know that television calls the shots, they pay so much money there’s now an expectation that they can do what they want when they want, but there has to be a line. There has to be. Arsenal have a responsibility to do right by their players, right by the club from a sporting point of view, and right by the fans (even if we all know we are the easiest group to ignore in all this). At a time when empty seats are a very real issue for this club right now, to ask people to accept this kind of schedule would be a mistake. People are already choosing other things over Arsenal, and you can be quite sure that many more will choose family first on Christmas Eve. It’s one of those situations that demands solidarity between fans, both Arsenal and Liverpool, who can see very well they way they’re thought of by the fact this idea is even being proposed. It’s not good for Arsenal or Liverpool from a sporting point of view, and it’s terrible for fans. There’s football almost every day of the week now. Weekend games, Friday night football, Monday night football, Premier League games take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, there’s European football midweek, can’t there just be a couple of days that are sacrosanct? Particularly at a time of the season when there’s a glut of football for us to enjoy? Let’s see what happens, but I suspect this might be one that pushes people too far, and they’d be wise to listen to, and show some respect for, fans on this one. — Right, that’s your lot. Some extra reading for you this morning from Tim Stillman as he looks at the Arsenal Trident. Have a good one. The post Arsenal look to BATE Borisov : Sky’s Christmas Eve plans should be resisted appeared first on Arseblog ... an Arsenal blog.
Alexandre Lacazette fell short of his first Premier League hat-trick only in his fourth game for Arsenal, but not many will doubt that it’s just a matter of time he gets it. The club record signing scored a double either side of the break to move Arsenal to seventh in the league after six matches.
But that’s just half the story. West Brom might argue the game could have turned out differently as they were denied a blatant penalty by referee Bobby Madley.
It happened halfway through the first half when Jay Rodriguez found himself on the receiving end of an intelligent Gareth Barry pass with the forward penetrating into the penalty box only to be swiped off his feet by sliding Shkodran Mustafi.
Rodriguez immediately stood back up and crossed to Jake Livermore who, in reality, is probably writing ‘I should’ve scored’ a thousand times for homework. Madley remained silent. The Gunners did too.
Then, two quarters into the game, Alexis Sanchez linked up with Lacazette, albeit indirectly, when he took a free-kick from the edge of the box. Diving Ben Fosters deflected the ball into the post, but could only watch as Lacazette’s rebound header rolled into goal.
Perhaps West Brom felt they should be in front instead because they launched forward in response, and Rodriguez came very close, again. Receiving a pin-point cross from the left, he headed past Peter Cech, but the ball was cleared off the line by Nacho Monreal.
As the game resumed, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny slowly but surely claimed the middle of the park. Elneny in particular impressed with constant movement on the pitch, and soon the Egyptian found his way into the box and passed to Lacazette – the striker’s shot deflected by Kierran Gibbs.
Pulis looked on as his midfield continued to chase shadows. His attempt to change things: a double substitution. Arsenal, however, had grown too comfortable on the ball by then, getting closer and closer to West Brom’s box.
On one such occasion, Allan Nyom used slightly more force than necessary on Ramsey inside the box and referee Madley pointed to the spot. Pulis was shaking his head.
With Lacazette being one of Europe’s top penalty converters last term, it came as little surprise that he was behind the ball. The striker sent it into the low right corner and beyond the reach of Fosters, 2-0.
Lacazette then had one more chance for a hat-trick before Wenger replaced him with Olivier Giroud, with Ozil also replacing Sanchez.
But that was it. West Brom would be feeling hard done by as the game might have turned out differently with the penalty claim going their way. But few would argue that this was a well-deserved victory for the Gunners. And even fewer observers would remain untouched by Alexandre Lacazette’s early Premier League exploits – three goals in four matches.
*The image in this post courtesy of arsenal.com website.
There are similarities. Maybe Lacazette is a bit less aggressive than Ian Wright but hopefully he will get that because in England you have to survive. Up front is a very difficult position because you get harsh treatment sometimes. He looks to have shrewdness and overall I believe if the team plays well he looks always to be at the end of some interesting movements.He looks a smart player from what we’ve seen so far, and while you don’t want him careering around like Vinnie Jones on PCP, you could see how a bit more edge to him might benefit him and the team. But that aggression doesn’t have to be crunching tackles, it can be seen in how hard he works, and you think back to the third goal against Bournemouth the other week. It was his persistence that won the ball back in the first place, and that’s part of it too. In games like tonight’s, where there’s bound to be a lot of Arsenal pressure in their final third as they defend well and stay organised like a Tony Pulis team does, it’s the ability to convert the chances that becomes so important. He’ll know he should have scored against Chelsea, and while he’s done well enough so far, he’s nearly two months into his career in England and it’s time for him to start making his mark consistently – especially against the teams below the top 6. Overall, we know what to expect from West Brom. They’re solid, physical, and have some quality that can hurt you if you switch off in defensive situations. We know they’ll make it tough for us, but after an indifferent start to the season, these are the games we have to win if we want to be in the ballpark of competing for the top four at least. There was a lot to like about the way we played against Chelsea, so if we can bring much of that into tonight’s game then I think we should be happy come 10pm tonight. We will have all the match coverage for you this evening, with reports, stats and the rest on Arseblog News after the game. There’s no Arsecast Extra this morning for obvious reasons, but James and I will have a podcast for you tomorrow. Join us for that. Catch you later for the game. ARSES UPDATE: All going well we should have the arses back up and running for you today, and with it the live blog too for tonight’s game. The post Three points a must but West Brom will make it tough as always appeared first on Arseblog ... an Arsenal blog.
I believe that we started well and in the first 25 minutes had a good pace in our game and good flow and slowly lost a bit our cohesion and our speed in our passing and decreased our level. After that I think we did the job even if we had not anymore the style we want to play and the flair to kill the game off.If there was anything positive to take from the game, beyond the functional victory, it was Jack Wilshere doing 90 minutes. He was the stand-out player in the first half for us, and you could see the extra bit of quality he had, although fitness is still clearly a bit of an issue. Playing the full game will have done him some good, and hopefully he won’t have any adverse effects afterwards. Looking at our squad, I think there’s a chance for him to make an impact in the Premier League, but of course it’s all fitness permitting. His touch looked good, even if his legs got a bit heavy towards the end, but that’s understandable considering how long it’s been since he played a full game. The other interesting thing was a debut for the exciting Reiss Nelson, and while I understand the manager playing him at right wing-back (mostly because we don’t have anyone else right now except Hector Bellerin), I think it’s fair to say it’s not his natural position. There is a need to learn the defensive side of the game, and I think we could see that there’s a bit to do in that regard from his point of view, but it also makes it hard to assess him as he is very much an attacking player. Like Ainsley Maitland-Niles being deployed on the left, we had two youngsters out of position in key areas. We saw how much using Bellerin and Kolasinac in their natural roles helped the fluency of the team against Chelsea, so those selections last night played their part in the overall display. It’s not to criticise either of the young men, but it didn’t help too much. There was also another start for Alexis Sanchez. It’s just me speculating, of course, but it just felt there was something more to this than getting him match fit. Not quite a punishment, but I didn’t expect him to play and especially not for 90 minutes. Maybe it is what he needs, to be revved up, and to have those minutes under his belt, but I guess we’ll see what kind of team we see on Monday against West Brom. We finished the game with two injuries. Calum Chambers went off at half-time and will miss another couple of weeks with a hip problem, while Theo Walcott got a kick on the back of the knee. The duration of his absence is, as yet, unknown. The draw for the 4th round was made afterwards, and it’s a home game against Norwich. Another chance to play some youngsters, at least. Now we head into a weekend with no Arsenal, we don’t play until Monday night, so let’s hope everyone else loses in the meantime. That’s that. Back tomorrow with some kind of Arsecast. Until then. The post Arsenal 1-0 Doncaster: Gunners do the job on a low quality night appeared first on Arseblog ... an Arsenal blog.
Arsenal battled Chelsea to a draw in an entertaining cat-and-mouse showing at Stamford Bridge which saw the hosts finish with ten men.
Brazilian David Luiz received late marching orders for a rash challenge on Sead Kolasinac to make it Chelsea’s third successive game to finish with reduced numbers against the Gunners.
The match saw the return of most of the regular first eleven, apart from Mesult Ozil who was ruled out with a late muscle, while Alexis Sanchez started on the bench.
That was soon left behind as both teams started with intensity rivalling their last official encounter from May.
Spurred by the home crowd, Chelsea came up with something first. Cesc Fabregas lobbed the ball to Pedro releasing him for one-on-one, but the Spaniard fell short against Cech.
Then, in the 40th minute, Arsenal received arguably their best chance of the game when Aaron Ramsey slalomed his way into the penalty box and whipped a shot past Thibaut Courtois; The ball hit the post and fell to Alexandre Lacazette, but his attempt flew wide of goal in front of the disbelieving looks of the Arsenal bench.
After the break, Chelsea launched forward with regained enthusiasm. But the Gunners’ mifield duo of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey seemed to have done their homework from the defeat to Liverpool from several weeks ago as control of the centre of the park remained steady.
Two thirds of the game had passed before both dug-outs pulled their aces out: Wenger by bringing in Sanchez, while Conte – Hazard.
In the 75th minute, Arsenal reignited memories from the May FA Cup final when Shkodran Mustafi headed the ball in after a cross, only for the linesman to flag it offside.
Chelsea’s piled on pressure in the dying stages with Hazard coming close on a couple of occasions. But, in the 87th minute, Chelsea’s momentum was cut short by a Luiz red card for a brash chop on Sead Kolasinac.
As the final whistle blew, Wenger could clearly feel happier. His team’s performance showed none of the faults that caused them to concede four at Anfield. And even though they didn’t score, they also prevented Chelsea from scoring at Stamford Bridge for the first time under Conte. And that is something to build upon.
Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal of season to help Arsenal jump-start their Europa League campaign with a victory against German outfit FC Koln.
Sead Kolasinac equalised shortly after the break while Sanchez and Hector Bellerin shaped the final 3-1.
Some 20,000 enthusiastic Cologne fans had travelled to London on the night, delaying the game by an hour due to chaos outside the Emirates.
Backed by the numbers and passion of their supporters, the Cologne players started the game with urgency and assertiveness. The built-up energy became too much to bear for David Ospina who misplaced a clearance in the ninth minute, and the ball fell to Cordoba whose long-range effort broke the deadlock, 1-0 for the visitors.
As the game progressed, Wenger’s choice of back three looked increasingly shaky with veteran Per Mertesacker on the receiving end of frequent dashing runs. Things looked similar up front with Theo Walcott and Hector Bellerin impotently aiming balls at Olivier Giroud’s head from the sides.
The half-time whistle came with the shock of the visitors leading at the Emirates subsiding to the sense of acceptance for the fairness of the result.
Undoubtedly, Wenger had taken notice of his back three’s struggles to contain the speedy runs because he opted to add another body at the back for the second half.
Results followed soon after. With less than five minutes gone, Sead Kolasinac volleyed a rebound past the Cologne keeper Timo Horn to equalise the game.
By then, the visitors’ initial charge had still not worn off, but as the game progressed, it became apparent that Wenger’s tactical changes were taking effect. Cologne’s time on the ball decreased while Arsenal found it easier to exploit the open spaces.
Within this frame, Sanchez, who had been quiet on the night thus far, received the ball on the left, cut inside and executed a stunning curler to complete the comeback, 2-1.
The beauty of the goal must have sapped all the remaining energy out of Stoger’s men because the Gunners sailed to a third and final goal through Bellerin eight minutes from time.
At the final whistle, the Arsenal supporters had all the reasons to congratulate their club’s players for a well-deserved comeback, and perhaps the third of them, those who didn’t go home before the end, did.