02 January 2016

Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle: Vote for Player-ratings/MotM!

Arsenal slogged through a turgid 70 minutes of football as Newcastle sat back behind a parked bus. Then, during a scramble in front of Newcastle's goal, Koscielny pounced on the ball and slotted past Elliot. It might have been an undeserved goal, but there's value in winning ugly. For as unpleasant as it was, we scraped by and scrapped our way to three points to put a bit of distance between us and Leicester, who couldn't see off ten-man Bournemouth. We'll haev to wait to see how Man City fares at Vicarage Road, but we're up to 42 points and have earned a spot alone top of the league. Let's get down the poll and rate the lads...

Newcastle's McLaren throws down the gauntlet. Will Anthony Taylor conspire?

Ahead of what should be a lay-up for Arsenal, a few familiar forces are aligning against us—a desperate squad already scrambling to avoid relegation, an embattled manager facing the sack, an incompetent referee hankering for a spankering—it's enough to create concerns of a conspiracy. Anthony Taylor, he who oversaw the travesty that was Arsenal's loss to Aston Villa in 2013 (and whom the FA dropped from Prem matches the following weekend), will oversee. Newcastle's Steve McLaren, he who might outpace Louis Van Gaal for quickest ouster, has issued a bit of a warning for our apparently effete footballers. Can we answer the call?

01 January 2016

Suffering from a Sánchez-shortage? Suffer no more...

The diminutive Chilean has been laid low by a nagging hamstring problem, causing him to miss our last five matches. Although we've won four of them, it's hard to ignore how much of a spark he might have provided in that fifth one, and I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to see him back on the pitch as soon as possible he's fit. To learn that he'll miss the Newcastle match might feel like a cruel absention, the kind of post-New Year's resolution to display more discretion than valour  than in years past. With the Energizer bunny that is Alexis Sánchez, waiting one more week might indeed be wise even if it leaves us wishing he were back. We'll have to wait at least one more week. To tide you over as you tighten your belts, then, feast on of this impressive highlight-reel/biopic: Alexis Sánchez: The Movie.

Against Newcastle, Giroud will rise head and shoulders above the rest...

Happy New Year, Gooners! We've earned a spot atop the table to ring in the new year, but we've been here before and know how fleeting the moment can be. Even with Chelsea's collapse, Man U's malaise, and Liverpool's lollygagging, our position is tenuous. On paper, we should have little trouble dispatching Newcastle, who are suffering through a truly monumental injury crisis with no end in sight. However, if' we're to make good on our ambitions, we can show no mercy and must make mincemeat of these Magpies.

31 December 2015

Predictions Poll: How will Arsenal fare in the second half?

As the New Year dawns, we can look back over the first half of the Prem season with a bit of fondness. We are, after all, top of the league (saidwearetopoftheleague!) and have done quite well against other Champions League contenders. With another 19 matches in front of us, plus a Champions League run-in with Barcelona and a chance to win a third straight FA Cup, do we have a chance at winning the Prem? With Chelsea's collapse, Man U's malaise, and Liverpool's malingering, the field is wide-open. Step into the breach and predict how Arsenal will fare between and the end of the season. Below the fold is a predictions-poll; predict the outcome of our remaining Prem fixtures and assess whether or not we can win the Prem. Let's get to it!

28 December 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, the comedic stylings of Per Mertesacker...

It was just minutes after Gabriel had opened his Arsenal account, mere minutes after he had become the latest of three Arsenal defenders to score more Prem goals this season than Eden "better than Ronaldo" Hazard—joining Koscielny and Gibbs—that Per Mertesacker threatened to make it four. That's right—but for the bouncing of the ball, Arsenal could have conceivably fielded a back four consisting of defenders who have outscored last season's PFA Player of the Year. Sadly, it was not to be. Gabriel, perhaps hungry for his second, sent a glancing header towards the far post, leaving Bournemouth keeper Artur Boruc flailing rather helplessly. The ball bounced once and headed to that far post. Enter, stage right, one Per Mertesacker!

Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth: Vote for Player Ratings/MotM!

Gabriel headed home his first Arsenal goal in the first half from Özil's corner-kick, to which Özil coolly delivered a goal of his own in the second (assisted by Giroud), and Arsenal eased past AFC Bournemouth and to the top of the table, at least for a few days pending the result of Mancester City's visit to King Power Stadium to visit Leicester. That one could be a barn-burner—I'm still of a mind to hope Leicester win there—but we can only take care of the squad in front of us. Thankfully, we're back to winning ways. Petr Čech gets his record-setting 170th clean sheet in the Prem, Özil has his 16th Prem assist, and Gabriel opens his account. Good times were had by all. Get down to the poll to rate the lads' efforts!

27 December 2015

Freddie "the legend" Ljungberg predicts a battering of Bournemouth...

Shrug off, if you can, the loss to Southampton. While we've missed a chance to go top of the table, there are no trophies associated with being there on 26 December. The three points dropped may matter more in the long run, although we're still two points better off than we were at this point a year ago. Man City are three points off their pace of last season (something we may have played a small role in...), so there's some solace in that. However, there's no hiding the fact that we suffered a hiding on Saturday, and we do have to turn things around with a quickness. Thankfully, no less a legend that Freddie Ljungberg has some words of wisdom for us as we host Bournemouth on Monday evening...