Author Archives: arsenal34

Is the Prem Getting Weaker?

Recent results have shown that the English Premier League is going to have one heck of a climatic finish.  The season has been a roller coaster, with no team looking strong, especially from the “big teams” like Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United.  Fans of the league, like myself, see this as a positive, seeing that every team is now getting better and better (all except West Ham United).  But it really begs the question: are the lower teams getting stronger, or are the big boys getting weaker?

Why would I believe the big boys are getting weaker?  Look at Chelsea.  Due to their lackluster buying over the past few years, Chelsea has forgotten about their youth team.  The first team for Chelsea is getting older, and with age comes frequent injuries when playing sports.  John Terry can’t keep playing through pain for the next couple years, and we are already seeing Frank Lampard having difficulties with his injuries.  There is no real successor for those two players in their youth team, at least none that is brought to my knowledge.  Manchester United will have fewer problems so long as SAF is in charge, but even he can’t seem to figure out the team’s away form.  Although they have not lost yet, no team can win the league by drawing as many times (7) as they have already.  Arsenal is getting stronger, but they lack maturity even after so many years of hype.  They also lack a true leader, and Vermalean is that guy, but he has been out for two months with one of the most threatening injuries (Achilles).

However, let’s give credit where credit is due.  Bolton is by far the best and most improved team in the league.  They are creeping up without anyone noticing.  They are sitting in 4th of the table due to goal differential.  They are red hot, all in part to the team’s togetherness and from a group of players.  Any team that deserves any praise is this team.  West Brom and Blackpool are playing great football as well.  And Blackburn is looking very tricky.  Birmingham showed great togetherness to beat Chelsea yesterday.  And Newcastle, although very up-and-down, will be staying up and challenging other teams for more years to come.

But I ask you all: what do you think?  Is the league getting stronger, or is it getting weaker?  Does this say anything about the talent in England, or the need to spend more on international players to make teams stronger?

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Gunning for Nothing

The match between Arsenal and Tottenham will be a game that will forever be played over and over again due to the sheer magic that was displayed in the second half.

Unfortunately for me and my Gunners, this sucks.

Within 45 minutes it went from a cakewalk to a meltdown, with a great first goal, a stupid penalty for the second, and my man of the match heading in from a great free kick.  What does this all mean for Arsenal?  For Tottenham?  For the league?  Who knows, because quite frankly, no one seems to want to win it.

If Arsenal wants to win it, then they have got to shut up and play.  Too many times the media, the team, and Arsene Wenger hypes things up, only for the team to throw a game away or half-ass it throughout the match.  The first half was fantastic, but not the best.  The second half, well it was pathetic to say the least.  The team lacks someone to drive them forward, they lack discipline, and the fans deserve better.  They deserve better than for the team to say “we will learn from this” because it is getting old.  The first goal for Tottenham was because someone wasn’t man enough to head the ball away, only instead to let it bounce and then Tottenham trounces us.  The second was stupidity and immaturity from our “captain” Fabregas, who thought that it would be a great idea to stick out his arm and block the kick with the ref right in full view.  A captain of a team no less, someone who is to set and example and lead us, and here he is blowing the game for us.  Pathetic.  Crap.  Stupid.  But lazy is probably the best way to put it.  No guarantee that kick was going in, but not like he cares.  Not like the team cares.  They have given up 9 points at home, a place they want to make a fortress out of, and yet the fans keep coming back and watching the same bull crap.  We the fans deserve better than this.

No Arsenal player or manager will ever see this, but my frustrations are not alone.  It can be seen over in London, with all the Arsenal fans in the stadium leaving under 2 minutes.  I know it is only November, and we are still 2 points from first in the league, but to play the way this team plays at home, we won’t win the league.  Not like this.

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Ivory Coast v Portugal Review

After watching the match today between two teams who are looking to try to become that second team to move on past the group stage with Brazil, it became clear to me just how one of these teams can advance. I also was able to make some key distinctions about the two teams, so first I will start with Portugal:

Cristiano Ronaldo is NOT a captain

The first thing that I recognized is that Portugal needs a new captain, someone like Deco or Ricardo Carvalho. Ronaldo, for one thing, is ruining the sport by flopping like he has just been shot by a sniper. He falls too easily and whines like a little school girl. Don’t get me wrong, he is of such great talent, but he doesn’t utilize it when he starts to get frustrated. His only bright spot was hit screamer that hit the post, but other than that he was of no factor. The sad part is, is that without him trying to make some impact on the game, the team starts to struggle. Yes he is the driving force of the team, but a captain should not carry himself in the manner in which he is carrying himself as (diving, whining, trying to get the players on the other team yellow cards, etc.).

No Simao?

The absence of Simao Sabrosa was a huge shock, due to his great year at Atletico Madrid and his stellar performance in the World Cup qualifiers for Portugal. When he came on the field, he made an immediate impact on Portugal (however it was spoiled thanks to the introduction of Didier Drogba for the Ivory Coast). Whether there was locker room issues, or whether he was to be used as a super sub to begin with, or whether if Danny did better in training before the match, whatever the case may be, Simao was hugely missed in the first half.

For the Ivory Coast:

Gervinho

Gervinho

Gervinho was probably the best player on the field on either side. He was a constant threat and used his pace and skill to abuse the Portugal defense. Him being substituted at the end of the match must be to keep him fresh for the next match, as I can’t think of any other reason. While Drogba was out, Gervinho was the one to step up, and the 23 year old certainly did. Be sure to look out for Gervinho during the two matches, because if the Ivory Coast is to score whether Drogba is on or off the field, it will be provided or assisted by Gervinho.

Early Crosses/More in the Box

It was clear that the Ivory Coast was the most dangerous during the match, but if I was Sven, I would be very upset with the lack of crosses in the box. While it is fine to try to beat an opponent a few times, it is unacceptable, and sometimes unnecessary, to try to beat the whole team by yourself. Salomon Kalou is one of the players that comes to mind. Many times he could have either passed it off or put the ball in the box, but instead he opted to try and dribble his way into the box. Early crosses was lacking in the side, but that also could have been because there was, most of the time, only two players in the box to receive the cross.

The last thing for the Ivory Coast is simple: shoot the ball. Too many times the Ivory Coast had opportunities to shoot the ball from far out, but instead they tried to dribble the ball in the box. I believe I only say Yaya Toure and Kalou try to shoot the ball from outside the 18. That’s easy for any defense, so some things are needed to be changed.

While I know this was the first game, it is clear that these teams are the only other team to advance with Brazil (sorry North Korea, although they did do very well today).

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Filed under Opinion, Soccer, Uncategorized, World Cup 2010

Chamakh Completes Move to Arsenal

Arsenal.com has reported that they have completed the singing of free agent striker Marouane Chamakh, making him the first signing for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal in this summer’s transfer window.  Chamakh has been under Wenger’s radar for a long time, and Chamakh has long since been a fan of the Emirates side.  A huge aerial threat, the 26 year old played a huge part in the 2008/2009 season with Bordeaux, netting 14 goals en route to a Ligue 1 title.  He was also a big reason for their Champions League run during the 2009/2010 season.  He will wear the number 29 for Arsenal this season.  More facts of Chamakh can be found at Arsenal.com

Marouane Chamakh (picture taken from Arsenal.com)

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Chamakh in London

According to Sky Sports News, Marouane Chamakh is in London meeting with the Arsenal board and Arsene Wenger on putting pen to paper on a deal for Arsenal.  Chamakh has been a long-time admirer of Arsene Wenger and over the past two seasons Chamakh has expressed his desire to play in England, and just over the past few months has openly admitted to desire a chance to play for the Gunners.

Chamakh on the way to the Emirates

This will be Wenger’s first signing for the Emirates side if Chamakh agrees to play for Arsenal.  This will also spell troubles for out-of-favor player Eduardo, who has not been able to get back to his goal-scoring ability prior to his horrific leg injury.  Although Chamakh will bring plenty of fire power up top, Wenger is still in need of a few players at the back, with the necessity for the goalkeeper position as well.  For Gunners fans, though, the signing of Chamakh will be a great start to the summer transfer, and it will be time for Wenger to also secure the signing and devotion of captain Cesc Fabregas.

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Ballack to miss World Cup

Michael Ballack is set to miss the World Cup after being injured against Portsmouth in the FA Cup final.  Ballack, who is 33, was tackled recklessly by Kevin-Prince Boateng.  After an MRI, it was revealed that Ballack sustained ligament damage to his ankle.  Unfortunate news for both Germany and Ballack, for the captain will not be available for what could have been his final World Cup.

Michael Ballack

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Terry out as captain of England

ESPN Soccernet has reported that John Terry has been stripped of his captaincy for England by Fabio Capello, the FA said.  Terry has been

John Terry

hammered by the English media following a report that he had an affair with the then-girlfriend of Wayne Bridge during the time Bridge was Terry’s teammate at Chelsea.  Personally, I hate to see this happen to someone who worked so hard for his team and country and having to go through the struggles he has had to go through over the past couple of weeks.  However, Terry is a man of pride and commitment towards his club and country, so I can bet that he will come back strong and continue to show his desire to play.  Hopefully people can forgive him; but if they cannot forgive him, at least don’t take away his commitment to England, because he IS the rock of that defense.  Much like how Tiger has fallen in the States, I hope that Terry will not be viewed like this in England.  Although I am an Arsenal fan, I am also a football fan, so I have no doubt that Terry will come back and continue to lay it all on the line for his club and country.  Let’s just all leave his personal matters aside and let him and his family figure it out.

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