Posts Tagged ‘Johann Djourou’

1) Congratulations to Arsenal for a fantastic performance and a brilliant comeback. They players played really well and they deserved their victory.

2) Jack Wilshere – 19 years old and playing some of the best football I’ve seen. He was absolutely fantastic last night. He was composed, calm, showed quick feet and good movement, released the ball at all the right times. Ran with the ball when required and generally held things together in midfield. Song was doing the dirty work, but his yellow card early on meant he was treading a really fine line. Wilshere was picking pass after pass. He was instrumental in controlling the speed of the game during times when Arsenal had large spells of possession.

3) Its funny how the English press went on about Theo Walcott and how the entire Barcelona defence was pissing their pants because they had to face him. He was largely ineffective. He had some good moments early on, particularly when he danced around the Barca defenders just outside the box (atleast, that’s what I think he was doing), then squaring the ball for Fabregas who looped it to Van Persie. This was Arsenal’s first chance of the night and RVP was on target, but Valdez made a save.

But coming back to Walcott, he was quiet throughout most of the game otherwise. One other moment comes to mind was when he played in Fabregas who then crossed to RVP but Abidal managed to head out. I can’t remember him doing too much. He wasn’t using the full space of the pitch. He needed to go out wide, but he was coming in. He was eventually substituted by Wenger for Bendtner, which was surprising at the time, but in retrospect it looks like a really good change.

4) Laurent Koscielny had a cracker of a game yesterday. His reading of the game last night was top class and he spotted some of Messi’s runs before Messi himself perhaps. This is a really good signing by Arsene Wenger and it’ll be interesting to see who his Center Back pairing will be when Vermaelen is back from injury. One thing is for sure though, it won’t be Squillaci. Back to Koscielny, I thought he was really in command of the defence yesterday. I actually thought the entire Arsenal defence looked at ease for large parts of the game. For some time between 20-40 minutes, Barca were playing some really good football, keeping the ball, making the English team run around. But they were able to soak up most of the pressure and defended like a unit.

Perhaps its because they had Szczesny in goal who according the Djourou is always shouting instructions and takes charge of his defence really well.

5) Lionel Messi had a shocking game last night, by his own ridiculously high standards of course. He was wasteful in front of goal and seemed to be lacking drive and desire in the second half of the game. Andres Iniesta didn’t stamp his authority on the game either. Nor did Pedro really, who spent most of his time falling over. David Villa looked good and Barcelona’s best chances came when he was on the field, I felt. Perhaps it was a night of substitutes, because David Villa was taken off for Keita, a defensive move, whereas Arsene Wenger made two very astute changes – Arshavin for Song and Bendtner for Walcott.

6) Andrei Arshavin is having a poor season. Despite this, he has the most number of assists for Arsenal this season according to ESPN Soccernet, with 11 assists. He’s also scored 5 goals for Arsenal, including the decisive strike against Barcelona last night, I believe. ¬†Another decisive strike earlier on in the season at Blackburn. A goal and an assist in a 2-2 draw against Wigan and recently pulled Arsenal level against Everton in a game Arsenal went on to win 2-1. What a horrible season he’s having.

Didn't really silence the crowd last night, made them erupt more like

7) Robin Van Persie was a little off form last night I though. He had everything yesterday, except end product. Of course, he did eventually go on to score, but the point is against Barcelona, you have to take all your chances and make the most of every half chance. His link up play was good, he held up the ball really well, but it was just end product that was missing. A vital requirement when playing as a lone striker. He did eventually score of course. Valdez really has to be questioned though for that goal, it was really dodgy keeping. How on earth can you get beaten at the near post from that angle? Well, ask Valdez. I don’t know if RVP meant to hit there though, it looked like he did, and Arsenal fans will swear on their mothers that he meant it.

8) It was a fantastic victory for Arsenal last night without a doubt, but I still feel that Barcelona are favourites. You’ve got to fancy them having a go at the Camp Nou. Of course, they can’t put out a much stronger side than they did at the Emirates. In fact, Pique is suspended for that game, so its definitely not their strongest side. Regardless, certain things will be different, for example -David Villa won’t be substituted after 60 odd minutes. The crowd at the Camp Nou will also be tremendously important not to mention the referee. Barcelona aren’t out of this tie by any stretch of the imagination, they have an away goal as well, which may prove vital later on. However, Arsenal now have the belief that they can beat Barcelona if they stick to their own tactics and gameplan. There’s no reason they can’t do it again.

 

Hurray! The assorted knick knacks column is back after a really really long time. Snow prevented me from putting up updates for the past few weeks. I mean, what is up with that? Damn global warming. Or is it global cooling? Anyway, back to more important matters.

Man United beat Sunderland to stay on top

That’s the way its done best, if you’re on top, but you still have to come first if you know what I mean. Dimitar Berbatov bagged a brace in a game that started off with a bang for the Red Devils. Anderson hit the frame of the goal once and so did Berbatov. Berbatov took his chances quite well and played a very good role linking up play with the midfield.

Rooney too looked sharp, at least he did in the first half with some glorious cross field balls. However in the second half, Roonaldo was anonymous. Its a good thing United didn’t win a penalty though.

Anderson had a really good game. His midfield runs sometimes leaves the opposition wondering as to how to stop him – its somewhat like a bull charging at you. His touches could be better and his execution when it comes to passing should definitely improve. He sees the pass, but when he releases the ball, its a fraction too late or a shade too powerful. Evra has challenged him to make consistent his sporadic pieces of brilliance. I hope he proves Evra wrong.

Like a bull in midfield (at times)

All in all a good game for Man United, not so much for Steve Bruce though. Bruce was without a lot of players especially in the Center Back role. Danny Welbeck was also ineligible as per the conditions of his loan deal, meaning Bruce was without a real goal scoring threat. Darren Bent was largely anonymous and Gyan just ran around a lot.

London Derby

It is official. Chelsea have forgotten how to win. And Drogba has forgotten how to score. Hah! I’m glad United aren’t the only team where the main striker has lost his goalscoring touch. Even he missed a penalty, mind you.

Lets be very fair, on the topic of Arsenal versus Chelsea, Arsenal deserved to win. They were the better team, they looked more incisive and most importantly they scored more goals.

Frank Lampard made his long awaited return for Chelsea but even he couldn’t inspire the Blues to a win or even to snatch a draw. It was a cracker of a game for neutrals, even in the first half to be honest, where only one goal was scored.

Chelsea started out better, with a little bit of creativity and some forward runs by Lampard. However once Arsenal got off first gear, there was no looking back. It was a really good move by Arsene Wenger to play Johann Djourou along with Koscielny as his Center Back pairing. Djourou was commanding in the air and won a lot of the air balls, and perhaps even negated the physical threat of Didier Drogba.

Good move, Mr Wenger

After Alex Song scored the first, I was pretty sure Arsenal were on their way to winning the game. Then when the second half kick started, Arsenal scored again through Fabregas. Chelsea had the ball nicked off them in midfield, well not really, but they did lose the ball in that area. Essien’s tackle put the ball in Walcott’s pass who squared the ball to Fabregas in order to avoid Cech’s charge and the Arsenal skipper made to mistake.

The third goal happened within two minutes of that. Chelsea had the ball nicked off them in midfield. Feels like I just typed that. Oh wait, I did. This time Fabregas played in Walcott who put it in the net.

Chelsea did look like they might recover actually. Ivanovic headed a goal home from Didier Drogba’s free kick and you wondered whether Arsenal were going to, well.. do an Arsenal. Ivanovic later on made another charging run only for Drogba to take the ball off him at the crucial moment and hit an Arsenal defender from his shot.

It didn’t look like Chelsea’s day and to be very fair, Ancelotti didn’t have too much on the bench to change things around. Mikel had started but was anonymous so he was subbed at half time for Ramires (who did close to nothing). Malouda lost the ball for Arsenal’s third and he paid the price by making his way for – – GAEL KAKUTA, an experienced youngster – isn’t that an oxymoron? Ancelotti’s third attacking move was to bring on Bosingwa for Fereirra. Bosingwa’s only contribution was to shoot from really far out and miss completely.

On the Arsenal squad – Van Persie did a good shift as center forward. Held the ball up, good link up play. Only disappointed with him for this one chance where maybe he could have played in Walcott but instead decided to go for it himself from a really difficult angle. He didn’t get a goal, but his contribution wasn’t unnoticed, for sure.

Walcott was good, his pace troubled the Chelsea defence. Although initially he struggled to get the better of Ashley Cole, but towards the second half it could be fair to say he made Ashley Cole his bitch – much to the delight of all the Arsenal fans, world over!

Fabregas was really good, even though he started off with a few misplaced passes. One of his turns in particular was simply sublime and he left two Chelsea players in his wake with that. Arsenal are glad to have him back I’m sure. Alex Song also put in a really good shift and even had a goal to his name at the end of the day.

Glad to have him back

Jack Wilshere ought to take a bow for his performance. I thought he’s be easily bullied out of the ball by the likes of Essien and Mikel, but he did really well to hold off the physical threat of Chelsea’s three man midfield. In particular there was an instance where he held off Essien and Ramires and eventually won a free kick for the Gunners.

Even Clichy didn’t look as vulnerable as he always does and you know that means that Arsenal are going to win the game.

So that means that Arsenal have gone to second place two points behind leaders Manchester United and on top of Man City because of superior goal difference.

Tottenham’s victory over Aston Villa

Just a small note on Arsenal’s arch-rivals as well. They were fantastic against Villa. Period. Even after Jermaine Defoe got sent off, they kept the ball really well and to be honest it looked like Villa was the team that was down to 10 men. Modric has rarely been given credit for the Lilywhites’ performances thus far. But hear this – Modric is sublime, they’ll miss him more than Gareth Bale in my opinion, some of the balls he picks out is simply beautiful. If you don’t believe me, go watch Spurs’ first goal against Villa and check out his pass to Alan Hutton, just before the goal was scored.

Take a bow, Luka.

 

Arsenal are known to play a beautiful style of football. You can’t deny that they play very attractively, although not with the best results at the most of times. However, now it seems that Wenger has managed to find a mix of flowing football with a hunger to win. Perhaps it is the long trophy drought that has spurred the players on to playing this well.

A 3-0 win at the City of Manchester Stadium is not the easiest to achieve even if you are playing 11 versus 10 as was the case last weekend. Forget that, they seem to be disposing of their opponents in style. 5-1 against Shakhtar in their last Champions League game, 4-0 against Newcastle last night in the Carling Cup. They’ve also won some tricky fixtures – away at Blackburn, away at Man City and also managed to salvage a point away against Liverpool on the opening day of the season thanks to a Reina howler.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter how you get the points, so long as you manage to get them. People were quick to write them off as title contenders after they lost their game against Chelsea. And also some doubts arose after the home defeat to West Brom, but these are just blots on the landscape. I feel Arsenal have the capacity to launch a title challenge this season (barring any horrible injuries to their squad).

Since I mentioned the squad, lets talk a little bit about the players that Arsene Wenger has at his disposal. Heart and soul, Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard is essential to the team and many felt he wouldn’t give his best given what happened during the summer, but he seems to be enjoying his football and going about his business.

Claims he'd love to beat Barca at Wembley

Jack Wilshere is a brilliant player to have in your squad (so long as he doesn’t keep taking tackling lessons from Paul Scholes) and Aaron Ramsey’s return will definitely boost their creative options in the center of the park.

On the right they have Samir Nasri, who was absolutely outstanding against Man City and can also play in the same role Fabregas plays. I think he will have a really good season and his goal scoring contribution will be more than welcomed by the Gunners. They have Andrei Arshavin on the left who in spite of not being in his best form has 5 goals and 6 assists to his name. Funny how his doubters are the same person who were singing praises of the¬†diminutive Russian when he first arrived and after his stunning four against Liverpool. He’s having a bad run of form in my opinion (granted, it has lasted for a while) but once he finds his form, he will definitely be a threat).

Walcott also a threat for Arsenal. The pace that Walcott (once dubbed Wallclock by yours truly) possesses is phenomenal and he always causes opposition teams trouble when he runs at them. He could do with improving his crosses though.

Up front, the return of Nicklas Bendtner is a boost for the Londoners. The acquisition of Maroune Chamakh is fabulous for the team and if Le Grove is to be believed, he’s played 12 games, scored 6 goals, got 4 assists, won 5 penalties and got 4 players sent off for fouls against him. Do not forget that they have this player called Robin Van Persie who’s capable of scoring some really impossible goals. Jay Emmanuel Thomas (lovingly nicknamed JET by Gooners) is also a good option and Wenger has been drooling about him in recent times, although the manager does say he’s one for the future.

Impossible! - RVP goal against Charlton at the Valley 06-07

One position I foresee trouble for them is a strong holding player in the middle. I don’t know what has happened to Song. After he coloured his hair he seems to think that its okay to run with the ball. I think he’ll be a much better player if he just cleaned up in front of the back four. However, the thing is if Song is out, Arsenal don’t really have many options in that position. Denilson is a joke, I remember a certain cunt in a Man United jersey running past him easily last season. Diaby is.. wait, where is Diaby?

The defence isn’t Arsenal’s strongest point, then again it isn’t as bad as it was last season. Koscielny and Squillaci might not be world-class defenders but they’re good. Vermaelen will be back soon. Djourou is just a fill in, but expect the other three to be fighting for starting berths so long as they’re fit.

Those who are going to fuss about Arsenal’s goalkeeping options, well.. lets just say that Almunia isn’t going to be number one after Fabianski’s recent performances. He’s been quite solid to be honest, but then even Almunia went through a similar period and I remember one game in particular where Almunia was stunning – Champions League semi final against United at Old Trafford. Arsenal fans will be hoping this isn’t another false dawn. Szczesny (is this how you spell it?) was fantabulous last night against Newcastle and will definitely do well so long as he is given enough games.

Expect Arsenal to pick up silverware this season. I don’t know what trophy they’re going to win. I don’t think they’ll be able to win the Premiership, they generally tend to lack consistency towards the second half of the season, but I think they will definitely win one of the cup competitions. Having said that, I don’t think I would be very surprised if they win the Premiership this season either..