Arsenal 3 – 1 Plymouth Highlights. Cardiff next in the FA Cup & Walcott’s contract frustration

Arsenal 3 -1 Plymouth: Van Persie 47, Gray 50 og, Duguid 53, Van Persie 85. Highlights here.

Arsenal put themselves through to a 4th Round tie at Ninian Park in the FA Cup after a 3 – 1 victory over Plymouth.

The first half was all Arsenal, but to little effect. We had few shots on goal and the possesion we had didn’t have an impact. It was good to see Ramsey play, I thought he had a good game, Gunnerblog has a few points about him here.

The second half started with a bang, two Arsenal goals, RVP got the first from a corner and then a Gray own goal just minutes later.

Plymouth came back with a goal and their 8,500 fans went mental. It was quite refreshing to see some more enthusiatic support in the Emirates this season. The sombreros went flying through the air to shouts of ole! when Vela came on, and to good effect.

Our third goal was deserved, RVP attempted a lob, the keeper deflected it, and RVP went round him to put the ball in off the underside of the bar.

In other news, all is quiet on the transfer front, but Walcott’s agent claims Theo is frustrated that Arsenal have not continued contract talks started in November. He still has 18 months remaining, but it would be sad to lose another player on a free.

Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool: Dealing with Long Balls

Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool: Robin Van Persie 24, Keane 42

I have to agree with Arsene Wenger. Had Adebayor not been given a second yellow in the 62nd minute Arsenal could have won today, however, the score ended 1 – 1.

Van Persie scored a lovely first half goal, after a long pass from Nasri put him into the box, and he slotted it past Reina. Liverpool responded just before half time. They were hoofing massive high balls down the pitch the whole game, and this time it fell to Keane, being chased by Djourou and Gallas, and he put it away, not much we could do.

Cesc got injured before half-time, and it seems that he has injured his knee ligaments which is grave news, meaning Diaby replaced him after half time, and went on the wing, with Denilson in the centre.

We didn’t have any of the ball early in the second half, which suprised me, as I thought that we would push for a goal. Just when we were getting a grip on the game Adebayor was sent off. A disgraceful decision, a second yellow. The first and second for nothing almost, neither were yellow cards, and this handicapped us.

After the incident the atmosphere intensified. It was like being in Turkey, Liverpool were booed and whistled whenever they were in possession, and we fought very hard.

I was proud of the way we played in the second half, and I totally agree with Wenger’s comments, that had Ade not been sent off we could have won. There was the feeling round the stadium that we were heading for a goal. The fact that Fabregas is injured, and Ade will be suspended makes me feel that we will be fighting for 4th place this season and nothing more.

Middlesbrough 1 – 1 Arsenal Highlights: Did you expect any better?

Middlesbrough 1 – 1 Arsenal: Adebayor 17, Aliadiere 29. Highlights here.

Arsenal came away with a point from the Riverside this afternoon after another poor display. An early Adebayor header was cancelled out after Aliadiere put in an equaliser, Tuncay picking up a deflected Clichy clearance to cross in.

Update: After pondering over the game I’ve decided I was a little harsh. We did create a lot of opportunities, but we don’t seem to have the strength to be able to get all 3 points in games like this season.

You would have thought that Arsenal having rested players during midweek would have been out of the blocks and at Middlesbrough. But although we played good passing football we yet again lacked any incsiveness or width.

Luckily we are not out of the running for the title, due to Man U and L’pool both drawing today, showing just how good the rest of the Premier League are getting.

However, our inconsistent form, mistakes, and weak squad will never win us trophies. We lack any balance in midfield at the moment, and we desparately need the return of players like Eduardo and Rosicky. Wenger needs to reinforce this team in January, and wisely.

Wenger told the BBC:

“Nobody believes in us but we can show we still believe and keep going. At the moment, my team needs encouragement more than anything.

“Today was a game we would have lost at the start of the season. But now we have a better defensive balance and we are more of a team.

“We just lacked a little bit of that extra little thing that comes with confidence but we are a young team and that is why it is important we just keep belief and keep going.”

I think Wenger has a point, we do lack confidence, the team has a lot of talent, and we are playing better than some games earlier this season, but this isn’t good enough at the moment. We played some good football at times today, but we didn’t get the result.

Arsenal have the potential, but to be winners you need results, and we need that now.

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Porto 2 – 0 Arsenal Highlights: Little meaning in lacklustre performance

We lost for the seventh time this season last night, with a pretty abject display against Porto. Highlights here.

Not very much to cheer about, I’m pretty glad I’m not one of the fans who travelled all the way to Portugal for this one. We started alright but the passing was decidedly poor, and apart from a bit of magic form Ramsey we looked crap. Eboue started and was indifferent, but then again so was just about every other player.

The thing that worries me about last night is that we actually had a reasonable team out, but performed awfully. The defence wasn’t first choice, but Silvestre, Djourou, Gallas, Eboue is probably one of our stronger choices, and up front we had Bendtner and Vela who have both shown great potential, while in the middle Ramsey, Diaby, Denilson and Song also all have potential. But the team didn’t gel and players didn’t put the defensive effort in. Take Gallas’ sliced clearance in the second half, or Diaby’s bad defence when we conceded.

A mere point from this game could have put us first. It doesn’t make a huge amount of difference in terms of who we draw next round, they will all be hard games, but you would have thought we could have put a bit more effort in. Hopefully we will see some first teamers back and a good performance against Middlesbrough on Saturday away.

Arsenal 0 – 2 Aston Villa highlights – Arsenal don’t have what it takes..

Arsenal 0 – 2 Villa: Clichy 70 og, Agbonlahor 80

Today didn’t start well for Arsenal, we lost the coin toss, and Villa chose to switch sides, so we were attacking the north end in the 1st half, the players prefer to attack the north in the 2nd! Overall I witnessed a a very disappointing Arsenal lose to Villa, with two goals in the last 20 minutes.

It could have gone better for Arsenal, we had most of the possession, but we couldn’t break into Villa, who defended in numbers, and cut out our passes. In the first half Villa got a penalty which was badly taken and Almunia saved, but apart from the goals they didn’t have many chances. Villa’s goals came on the break, both times an Arsenal player was fouled in the build-up.

The refereeing was shocking all game, Denilson got a yellow within minutes of kickoff, while Villa went unpunished for their fouls for much of the game. One of our best chances of a goal was ruined by Riley stopping play for a VIlla player down, while Sagna went down seriously injured in the second half and play didn’t stop – leading to Villa’s first goal.

Agbonlahor and Young’s pitiful celebrations right in front of our section didn’t really do much for my impressions of them, Agbonlahor taunting Arsenal fans, and they wonder why people throw things at them?

I think all in all we can say that Arsenal aren’t consistent enought to win the title this season. We still have defensive frailities which haven’t been resolved, and when we have Adebayor and Van Persie both out we don’t look like scoring.

Bendtner is a player with potential, but he can’t play on his own up front. On that point, I don’t think we got the tactics right today. Starting with 5 in midfield and Bendtner upfront worked against Man Utd, but we could have exploited Villa’s weaknesses better if we had started with Adebayor and Vela paired, which is what the Boss did at the end of the game.

A poor result, a 10 years ago we were a very different team, and I wouldn’t expect us to drop points at home. We are now 9 points adrift. Arsenal can challenge for the title still, but right now we haven’t got any consistency at all. I’ll leave you with Wenger’s comment (BBC):

“We can play very well, but at the top level performances have to be consistent. I always say the first sign of quality is consistency, so this was frustrating after beating Manchester United.”

Highlights here

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Arsenal 2 – 1 Man Utd Highlights: Update, and the 5 man midfield

The highlights from the Man Utd game can be found here! Enjoy watching, I did! Click here for the first article.

Wenger has also been talking about the 5 man midfield and its benefits for our poor defensive record:

“I will use it again because going forward we have scored many goals but defensively we have conceded too many from outside the box,”

“I don’t know [about what will happen when all the strikers are back]. I took this decision because I tried to balance the team with the players that were available.”

This is absolutely true, we need more support for the defence at the moment as they seem to be struggling with just Fabregas and Denilson in front of them.

The 5 man midfield has been very successful us, and although I wouldn’t recommend it for every game of the season, a strategic deployment when needed is very wise.

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Arsenal 2-1 Man Utd highlights, super Sam!

We did it! I still can’t quite believe it, but we beat Man Utd 2-1 at home. Nasri’s two fantastic goals gave us 3 points! We played with a weakened side, and we had just come off the back of some awful results and we still did it! The lift this will give the team will be amazing. The game started tentatively, but we got into our game as it went on. We defended hard throughout the match, and we did close the game, bringing on the likes of Toure and Alex Song. We still conceded in the 90th minute, to a goal which we couldn’t have saved, and that put us in for 6 horrible minutes of injury time. But a great win and special mentions to Nasri, Gallas, Fabregas and Diaby who all played fantastically!

Arsenal 0 – 0 Fenerbahce highlights, dull draw..

Its not often that Arsenal don’t score in a game, especially at home, and tonight was one of those days. Missing Theo, Ade and others through injury, we seemed to lack incisiveness.

Fenerbahce came to play defensive football. After the humiliation in Istanbul they wanted a point at least, and to regain their pride. I think they did that. The game was almost all Arsenal pressure, but it didn’t really come to anything.

Ramsey looked alright, Djourou and Silvestre had a great game together in my opinion. Bendtner’s passing wasn’t great though, and we just lacked speed and cutting edge in front of goal. Nasri wasn’t on great form either.

Highlights here.

Arsenal 4 – 4 Tottenham Highlights. How did we draw?

Click here to comment on the game..

I returned from watching the North London derby feeling a little deflated, although I have to say it was one of the most exciting Arsenal games I have seen.

There was an electric atmosphere at the Grove, Bentley was abused as you might expect, and there were plenty of goals.

Tottenham scored first, Bentley (who else?) lobbed Almunia from about 40 yards. We couldn’t get the ball down in midfield and we were all over the shop.

The goal provided the usual wake up call, and we pressed back, getting a few good opportunites, with lovely passing moves, Theo and RVP linked up well. Then came our reply on ’37 – Silvestre got a goal from a corner – Gomes got nowhere near the ball, he looked very weak at corners.

We were hoping for a quick start after half time and we got it, RVP was felled and the freekick was swung into the box for Gallas to head in, 2-1 on ’46.

Things were looking up, and we went into cruise control as Ade put Nasri’s stunning chip over the line and made it 3-1.

THIS IS WHERE WE SHOULD HAVE CLOSED THE GAME.

Spurs then went on to get a lucky goal within 3 minutes, Almunia spilled a strong shot from Huddlestone, and Bent picked it up, 3-2 on ’67.

We went back up the other end and scored straight away, Hutton gifted Ade the ball, and he set up RVP for a beautiful goal, everyone went wild, 4-2..

Eboue, Diaby and Song all came on as Theo, RVP and Nasri got a rest. We seemed to relax a little – in the 89th minute Clichy (who was fantastic all night) slipped on the ball, presenting Jenas with an open run on goal, his shot went past Almunia – 4-3.

Now panic set in, and Arsenal looked in disarray, the feeling in the crowd was that we couldn’t hold on, and it was only to true, in stoppage time Modric shot took a deflection off Silvestre, which put it onto the post, it bounced back out perfectly for the onrushing Lennon who easily put it away. The few remaining Spurs fans went mental.

Tonight was very disappointing, there were positives, Denilson had a fantastic second half, and RVP played amazingly, but our defensive mistakes cost us yet again. We were unluck, but all of their goals could have been prevented by more astute defensive work.

Interestingly, two of our goals came from centre backs today – maybe representing how much more of an attacking team we are!

In all, it was an amazing Arsenal performance, but the last 4 minutes where we lost focus cost us 3 points which we thoroughly deserved.

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West Ham 0 – 2 Arsenal, highlights and analysis!

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Arsenal won 2 – 0 today after a fantastic London derby against West Ham. The game was brilliant – fast-paced, and attack minded. I give credit to West Ham for attacking and playing good football. It was end to end stuff.

Click here to view the highlights. Faubert’s own goal, Adebayor’s goal.

We had some great passing moves. Walcott looked dangerous and Van Persie deserved a goal – hitting the post with a great freekick – Rob Green played really well and it took an own goal from Faubert to put us ahead in the 75 minute as Adebayor came off the bench and made an instant impact.

Everyone played fantastically, and the second goal was the icing on the cake!

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