13 December 2014

Arsenal 4-1 Newcastle: Rate the Players!

Olivier Giroud scored in the 14th minute, Mertesacker had hit woodwwork, and Welbeck had a nifty goal disallowed and we went into halftime leading at home for the first time this season. Ten minutes after half, Cazorla cut a tight angle to chip Alnwick for the second. A brilliant counter-attack resulted in Giroud netting a second time from close range. Newcastle scored on a well-taken free-kick, flicked in by Ayoze Perez, denying us the clean sheet. In the waning minutes, Welbeck earned a penalty, which Cazorla panenka-ed home, and that just about did it.

Have your say in the player-ratings poll below the fold, and feel free to share deeper thoughts in the comments-section as well!

11 December 2014

An open letter to Newcastle ahead of Saturday's clash...

When the 2014-15 season began, we at Arsenal looked down our collective, perhaps Gallic noses at Newcastle, deeming the Magpies as unworthy of the gaze. Surely, we thought, we would have to focus our attention on the crème de la crème—Chelsea, Man City, Man U, perhaps Liverpool—but we assumed, as always, that a fourth place finish, if not higher, would be our birthright. The early returns suggested that it would these presumptions were prescient. Tottenham and Everton stumbled out of the gates. Liverpool and Man U staggered. Despite our own sluggish start, we at Arsenal could reassure ourselves that it would be only a matter of time before we set things right.

10 December 2014

Ramsey's Resurgence (or how 2013 almost ruined him).

By now, you've seen or at least heard of the astounding goal Aaron Ramsey scored in the first half of Galatasaray. If you haven't, it is perhaps because you live under a rock in the back of a very deep, dark, and dank and cave that lacks reliable wi-fi, in which I have several questions. These, sadly, will have to wait. For now, we'll have to content ourselves with looks to be Aaron Ramsey's resurgence, or perhaps his resurrection. "Welsh Jesus," and all. This wonder-strike may serve as the most vital sign of his return to form. Yes, it was against a Galatsaray in disarray (pity that doesn't rhyme better...), but it's often against such opponents that an out-of-form player has a breakthrough. So it may be with Ramsey.

09 December 2014

Galatasaray 1-4 Arsenal: Blimey, did we blast 'em!

Arsène sent out a mixed squad against Galatasaray, perhaps figuring that Dortmund's draw with Anderlecht would be enough to win Group D and eyeing Newcastle on Saturday. Nevertheless, we blitzed aside that makes us look like defensive geniuses, with Ramsey and Podolski bagging braces, the former with a brilliant, jaw-dropping strike from about 30 yards, volleying through a thicket to beat the Bolat. It was an astounding shot, a nifty counter-balance to his first shot, a well-slotted roller on a brilliant breakaway. Perhaps Ramsey is finding the form that was so crucial to our success a season ago. Not to be outdone, Podolsk had opened the scoring with a quintessentially Podolskian goal, collecting a through ball, taking one touch, and simply blasting it through Bolat much as he had done to Neuer. Poldi added his second in stoppage-time and might have had a hat-trick had he not struck the woodwork. Though it wasn't enough to see us win the group, it might be enough to restore some confidence. We'll have a closer look at those implications later. For now, relax and enjoy the highlights!

08 December 2014

After staggering against Stoke, where does Arsenal stand in the Prem?

Busy, busy, busy. I had hoped to offer an update midweek but it’s just been too hot to handle. As it turns out, I probably should have as it would have at least given us at Arsenal a chance to celebrate. As it currently stands, we have to settle for schadenfreude after stumbling ignominiously at Stoke. However, never underestimate the almighty power of spite, as we get to celebrate the downfall of Chelsea, the slumping of Southampton, and the possible irrelevance of Everton. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops, but it ain’t stormclouds and pitchforks either. Added is Newcastle but still waiting on the wings is West Ham.  To the rundown!

07 December 2014

It should've been 6-0. Still, there's a silver lining...

Wow. That was terrible...and the scoreline flatters us. But for a goal-line clearance, a goal-disallowed to an offside call, and a generous penalty against Stoke, this debacle would have gone down as one for the ages, along the lines of the 8-2 loss to Man U or 6-0 to Chelsea, the key difference being that Stoke don't have the resources or the World Cup-quality players to hang such a scoreline on us. We knew that going into the Britannia Stadium would be difficult; I don't think any of us predicted Stoke scoring not one but three goals (and very nearly four) in the first half. Don't delude yourself, though: the fightback we showed, such as it was, amounts to a bit less than the final scoreline showed.