13 September 2014

Ballots and Brickbats: Arsenal 2-2 Man City

From devastation to exhiliration to somewhere in between, that was quite a match. To be honest, after Agüero scored halfway through the first half, my heart sank as I pondered what lay ahead. To that point, we had bossed City, having generated a half-dozen shots on goal. Agüero's goal came on a blistering counter-attack, and might have been their very first shot on frame. However, Wilshere found a delicious equalizer, Alexis put us ahead, and it looked positively rosy...until Demichiles headed home to level the score. How are we to feel? Relieved? Gutted? We conceded first—again—and conceded yet another set-piece goal, yet we either (a) fought back or (b) let it slip. Which is it? In any case, take a moment to rate or slate players, manager, and more below (if the layout doesn't behave, you can also click on this link to open the same poll).

How do you stop an offense like Man City's? A tactical dossier...

It's hard to go into Saturday's clash without suffering a certain déjà vu, a sinking feeling that the wheels will come off in drastic fashion as they did last season at the Etihad when we were so thoroughly demolished. Even if we maintain that we should have tallied a few more goals but for some dodgy offsides calls and that Citeh should have had a goal or two disallowed, the result stands. Our more-recent 3-0 victory over them notwithstanding (nor Stoke's 0-1 win at the Etihad), we still have to figure out how to stop one of the Prem's most prolific scoring machines if we expect to take something from the match.

12 September 2014

Welbeck tries to figure out Van Gaal's thinking...

Having been snubbed once in his youth by Man City, Danny Welbeck was thrilled to get snapped up in short order by their rivals, Man U. Having grown up with the club, then, he was naturally a bit disappointed when he became surplus to their needs. Despite a stable of ageing, increasingly injury-prone and sulking scorers in Rooney and van Persie, Welbeck, who had started to see himself as the face of Man U's future, was instead shunted aside when the club brought in yet another ageing, injury-prone scorer, further blocking his progression and development as a player for the club he had grown to love. However, he realised and rationalised to himself that this is modern football—no room for such sentimentality, for it is a cold, hard business. It was then that he read Van Gaal's assessment of him...

11 September 2014

Can Man City stop Welbeck, or will Arsenal avenge last season's mauling?

6-3. Despite not being the most horrific scoreline of Arsenal's 2013-14 campaign, it stands out as the first of far too many, followed in short order by 5-1 to Liverpool and 6-0 to Chelsea. On its own, it seemed to stand alone as a shocking, shambolic departure from an otherwise stellar start that had us atop the Prem for 13 weeks in a row. But for a few dodgy offsides calls at the Etihad that disallowed Arsenal goals, we might have seen a different result. So it goes. A we look to Saturday's clash we'll go in with a lad with points to prove on several levels—Danny Welbeck, passed over by City and cast off by United. Can he make good on the promise he's tantalized us with but only rarely delivered?

08 September 2014

Man City's players dropping like flies to avoid the Emirates...

Ahead of Saturday's visit from Man City, it seems that Citizens left and right are finding excuses to avoid the fray. Usually, players manufacture their injuries to avoid international friendlies; this time through, however, it seems that the mighty Mancs might be suffering a bit of pre-match malaise as player after player has picked up an unfortunate knock or niggle, relegating them to observer's status, rather than reprise the thumping they absorbed in the Community Shield. As with that match, Citeh may field an XI full of back-benchers, this time by necessity rather than by choice. So it goes...

Man U's Paul Scholes calls on Welbeck to score 25-30 goals for Arsenal...

In news as incontrovertible as it is inspiring, Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has apparently set a high bar for former teammate and freshly-minted Gunner Danny Welbeck, saying that "i shows how highly regarded Danny is that a club as big as Arsenal signed him. He will be a good signing for Arsene Wenger. Danny will never be a 20-25 goals-a-season man." The only logical conclusion to draw from this is that Welbeck will rise above that pedestrian level and go for 25-to-30 goals. No other prognostication is remotely possible. Sit back, Gooners, and watch as the shots go marching in.