Posts Tagged ‘Samir Nasri’

Before I start of my weekly entry, I have to apologise to Dimitar Berbatov for not putting one up last week. I’m sure he’ll feel really bad that his 5 goal haul against Blackburn wasn’t mentioned on the illustrious blog that is Fever Pitch.

I’m sorry, Dimi.

The reason I didn’t update last week was because I thought I would do it after the Carling Cup ties and after the mauling United took at West Ham, I think I was just too depressed. Arsenal are now clear favourites to go on and win the Carling Cup and just as I predicted are on course to win a trophy, unless they really screw up like United did.

On to this week’s action though..

Manchester United’s tough game at Blackpool

I am, of course, joking. There was no game at Blackpool because their ground was frozen and they do not have under soil heating. I had read reports about this early in the week, last week and I was hoping they’d thaw it out in time. I think its ridiculous that Blackpool do not have under soil heating and and since they don’t, United should be given 3 points and consider the game a walkover. This is just my two cents of course, Ian Holloway will tell you something else.

Super Samir

Arsenal were playing at a place they’re not very comfortable playing at against Fulham this weekend. Most Arsenal fans were worried since the game was at the Emirates. Eventually the match was settled by two super strikers by Samir Nasri who showed such fantastic composure that you would be forgiven for thinking that he was an out and out striker.

Superman

Arsenal started off really well and created chance after chance after chance but failed to put them away until Samir Nasri’s strike gave them the lead. Fulham shockingly equalized very quickly after Kamara found himself onside and one on one with the keeper. It was quite amazing, both center backs just switched off and the score was 1-1. Arsenal looked like they might throw away a lead at home again.

Arsenal, however, managed to grind out a win, something they haven’t been able to do in previous seasons. Winning matches like this keep you in contention for the title. Van Persie played a gentle ball to an oncoming Samir Nasri who danced past the defence and maybe should have taken a shot, but then he made space for himself after luring out Mark Schwarzer but kept his cool and finished from a really tight angle. Any football fan should definitely watch the two goals.

That win propelled Arsenal to the top of the table since United didn’t play this weekend and now next weekend when Arsenal take on Man United at Old Trafford its a 1st versus 2nd clash like back in the good old days.

Champions still struggling

Another title contender and current Premier League champions only managed to pull of a draw at home against Everton. The last ten minutes or so of that game felt like they were playing at Goodison. Its rare that you see Chelsea on the back foot at Stamford Bridge, unless you saw the Sunderland game, that is, but here they were getting pushed back and back by Everton’s attack. Drogba put Chelsea in front through a penalty after Howard brought down Anelka in the box. Jermaine Beckford equalized for the Toffees and Everton earned a very good point at Stamford Bridge, but that makes it their 6th game without a win.

Serie Ahhh

In Italy, current European champions and league holders Inter Milan slipped to 6th place after losing to Lazio. Lazio are now in second place and AC Milan are top courtesy of a crushing victory over Brescia. Rafael Benitez has managed to screw things up at Inter Milan so lets all give him a big round of applause and a pat on his back. All I hope now is that he becomes the next Barcelona manager.

The one man who can screw up any utopia

Speaking of Barcelona..

What about the Clasico piece you ask? Well, what’s there to write about? Madrid got hammered and humiliated and Jose Mourinho claimed otherwise. Who is he kidding? It definitely was a humiliating event. If that isn’t humiliating, I don’t know what is.

But they managed to brush off their defeat to the Catalans and overcame Valencia thanks to a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo. However, Barcelona too won their match against Osasuna 3-0 courtesy of a brace from Lionel Messi and one from Pedro.

And to finally round off things..

Reigning Champions aren’t doing too well anywhere except in Spain. In Germany, Bayern Munich suffered another defeat and are in 7th place with 23 points. Leaders Borussia Dortmund are on 40 points, a good 17 points clear. So one good season and thats it?

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┬ádiminutive 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..

Let me tell you first off, that as a United fan, I’m relieved! Finally an away win. But we shall get to that in a bit. I’ll just shed light on Saturday’s fixtures first before going into Sunday’s.

Chelsea won against Wolves to keep their position up at the top of the table. Goals came from Malouda and Saloman Kalou who has targeted 20 goals in the season for himself. So that put pressure on the other big teams.

He wants 20 goals

Spurs and Everton played out a 1-1 draw. Spurs looked like they were suffering from the much used cliche – “European hangover”. It will take them time, definitely to get used to playing the Champions League in mid week and the Premiership in the weekend, especially considering they played the European Champions midweek. Van der Vaart scored another goal, although to be fair, it was already on its way to the back of the net. I don’t care, because he’s there in my Fantasy football team!

You know, I wasn’t really sure about Arsene Wenger’s comments about Stoke playing rugby instead of football cause I hadn’t seen the game to which he was referring. However, after last night’s game against United, I think I have to agree. Ferguson was forced to play 4 defenders who at various points of their career have played a Centre Back – John O’Shea, Vidic, Ferdinand and Neville. What puzzles me is why Neville started when Wes Brown was available (he did come on later for Gaz). According to Ferguson, he’s the best center back in England when fit. He must have had his reasons of course.

Hahahaha

Hernandez scored a brilliant header with the back of his head. I have no idea how he managed to arch his back that much to score, but he clearly did, cause he got enough power on the header to take it past Sorenson. Tuncay scored a brilliant goal after Scholes gifted possession to Stoke. Hernandez got his second later on to take United to their first away win of the season.

Brilliance!

Man City got a man sent off almost before the match began. Boyata got sent off for tripping Chamakh after he was played in by Fabregas. I don’t think anybody can say anything about the card – which was definitely deserved.

Arsenal took the lead through Nasri, after a brilliant build up to the first goal. The 1-2 that he received was brilliant and Yaya Toure wasn’t close enough on Arshavin who returned the ball to Nasri. Gareth Barry (England’s defensive hope!) did an equally poor job of marking Nasri as he ran in to receive the pass. The Frenchman kept his cool and put the ball past Jo Hart. Arsenal’s second chance in the game came from the penalty spot but wasn’t converted. Fabregas was tripped by Kompany in the box for reasons best known to the Belgian. Fabregas tried to put the ball in the right corner, but Jo Hart made a superb save after guessing the right way. The penalty was at a good height, but still it was a phenomenal save.

Arsenal seemed to have been playing a different system which works in a parallel dimension. Song kept pushing forward leaving Fabregas in midfield. I have no idea why, but maybe I’m not meant to know because Song got on the score sheet later on. Arshavin chipped a ball from the left to the right to Nasri who gave it to Fabregas who then tried to play in Chamakh with a beautiful weighted pass but the pass was intercepted by Wayne Bridge (second half substitute for Yaya Toure). The interception teed up the ball for Song who obliged with a brilliant finish.

Nasir celebrates after Arsenal's first goal

Nicklas Bendtner, the poster boy of Denmark came on later on in the night and scored his first goal for the season. I’m sure Arsenal fans are delighted to have Barbie back, especially considering his finishing. Although I’m sure they would be more happy to see their Vice Captain – Van Persie returning. Walcott too made an appearance and his contribution was to run around really fast.

My least favourite player was taken off just after half time and Emmanuel Adebayor came on instead. No doubt Man City missed their captain who would’ve just run throughout the game.

Goal deluges across Europe

Real Madrid hammered Racing Santander for 6 in their weekend fixture at the Bernabeu with Cristiano Ronaldo (self proclaimed best player in the Universe) netting four. After a performance like that though, I think he has every right to call himself the best player in the Universe.

I have been a little critical of Angel Di Maria, but I think he played quite well against Racing and I can see him improve under Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager looked very relaxed as his side took control in the first half itself with Higuain netting the first, and Ronaldo scoring two. In the second half, within minutes of restart, Ronaldo got his hat trick thanks to a brilliant run by Di Maria. He netted his fourth from the penalty spot a little while later.

Mesut Ozil too got on the score sheet after a brilliant pass from Xabi Alonso split the entire Racing team in half. Ozil for his part, kept cool and provided a brilliant finish to make it 6-0. Sergio Canales came on for Ozil later on and looked very lively. The youngster is definitely a good talent and its only a matter of time before he becomes a brilliant player. Diop got a consolation goal for the visitors but refused to celebrate (for obvious reasons)

In the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven absolutely HAMMERED Feyenoord 10-0. Yes you read that correctly. 10-0. Feyenoord are supposed to be one of the better teams in the Dutch League. PSV has been receiving Champions League payments for nearly the past 10 years except last year when they were pipped to the title by Steve McLaren’s FC Twente. Does this mean that PSV are a really powerful team in Europe? Hardly. However in the Netherlands, you better look out for them.