24 October 2015
23 October 2015
Few clubs have had a tougher start to their season than Everton. Recent weeks have seen them draw at White Hart Lane, demolish Chelsea 3-1, earn a 1-1 Merseyside derby draw...and get thrashed 0-3 by Manchester United. There may not be a more-schizophrenic squad than this one, and that's saying something, coming from a Gooner. At a broader level, though, it's difficult to discern which club we'll face: will it be the 2013-14 outfit, the one that pushed us to the brink before settling for fifth place, or will it the 2014-15 crew, the one that flirted with relegation before climbing to 11th?
Arsène has taken the blame for exposing Aaron Ramsey to the hamstring injury that will keep him out of Saturday's clash with Everton. Despite his apparent ineffectivenes while playing on the right, Ramsey has been an instrumental cog in Arsenal's success to date, and his absence might matter more that it would seem to those who doubt him. Ramsey's hamstring injury will knock him out until December (we all know how estimates go around the Emirates). In fact, this might stand as the first "preventable" injury we've seen in the current campaign, thanks in large part to the efforts of Shad Forsythe. First, let's get to Arsène's confession of culpability...
20 October 2015
¡Bellerííííííííííííííííííííííííííííííííííííííííínnnn!!!!!!!!! Holy ecstatic orgiastic surges of gloriousness, Batman. How many times has a player been abused so thoroughly by his opposite only to end up the conquering hero? Time and time again, it seemed, Douglas Costa would unleash some filthy abuse on our still wet-behind-the-ears right-back, and it was looking increasingly likely that, at some point, Costa would hit pay-dirt. It was only a matter of time. Even after Giroud had scuffed some kind of "header" past Neuer, it was still looking like Bayern would find an equaliser, most likely down our right flank. Then, in the extra time that Bayern's men had bayed for so lustily, Bellerín pounced. In doing so, he upended the Bavarian behemoths and staked his claim to being—pardon the hyperbole—the best right-back in the Prem.
Arsenal held off Bayern Munich until the 77th minute when Olivier Giroud nodded home from a Cazorla set-piece. We hung from tenter-hooks as Petr Čech turned away several shots, including a tough one from Lewandowski, to deny Bayern despite their 73% possession and 21 shots. Then, in added time, Héctor Bellerín made an interception, sped down the right flank and found Mesut Özil lurking in the box, and Özil, perhaps remembering previous miscues against Neuer, made no mistake to make it 2-0. Who would have thought our first three points would come against Bayern? We still have our work cut out for us, as Olympiakos won 0-1 in Zagreb, but we've kicked the door open a bit more with this result. Let's reward the lads for their efforts in ratings poll below the fold!
What's there to say other than that our Champions League campaign crashed and burned before it even left the hangar? A disappointing trip to Zagreb was followed by an astonishing loss at home; meanwhile, Bayern thrashed those same two by a combined 8-0 scoreline. We now sit at the bottom of Group F, peering up meekly at Bayern, who, just two matches in, look to have booked a spot in the knockout stage already. Another three points or so should be enough to see them through. Will they claim these points on Tuesday at the Emirates? It wouldn't be the first time we suffer an indignity at the hands of the Bavarian barbarians. Our hopes of advancing hang by a thread (if only we could suffer the sword of Damocles...). Perhaps it's best then that we let Bayern have their way with us while we abandon all hope. Bollocks.