28 April 2017

Oi, Tottenham! What do we think of you? (This could be an epic derby...)

They're 14 points clear of Arsenal. They have a glimmer of a chance of winning the Prem. They havn'et lost at White Hart Lane in 15 straight matches, having scored 49 an conceding just nine. With a win on Sunday, they kill whatever last embers of hope we have of finishing above. They're undefeated at home in their final season at White Hart Lane. It's looking more and more like Tottenham will end Arsenal's 21-year run of painting the town red. Could there be any more storybook elements to this derby? After all, all the stars seem to be aligning for Tottenham.

26 April 2017

Arsenal 1-0 Leicester: Vote for player-ratings and MOTM!

For 86 stultifying minutes, it looked as if Leicester would escape the Emirates with a well-earned point. For close to an hour and a half, it looked as if Arsenal's hopes of scraping into the top-four were done and dusted. Then, along came Nacho. He sluiced a pass into the box for Alexis. He tip-toed around the scrum. He caromed a shot off of Huth's chest. He scored. Score, Nacho; score. And so on. The process was a bit tetchy, but I think we can all live with the result. After all, it keeps alive the hope that we can still find that mythic, legendary top-four finish. Along those lines, we have a tense, taut trip to White Hart Lane to prepare for. In the meantime, let's get down to the player-ratings poll!

25 April 2017

Shakespearean tragedy: can Arsène out-fox foes to finish top-four?

Let's face facts: defeating Man City this weekend does little if anything to change our fortunes in the Prem. That said, there has to be some kind of boost in confidence and determination from having won. For those inclined to wonder about these things, Arsenal have now defeated Guardiola at Camp Nou, Allianz Arena, and Wembley, surely, the only club to stake that claim. However, if there's no carry-over to the Emirates, well, we're whistlin' past the graveyard. Enter Leicester. After a brief resugence under new skipper Craig Shakespeare, the Foxes have risen from the relegation-fray for now. Their Champions League adventure came to a cruelly close ending. Waste no time lamenting their losses, though; we simply must take maximum points from here on out.

24 April 2017

About this 3-4-3 of ours, is it the Arsènor's New Clothes?

It was a shift borne of desperation. Having conceded 25 goals across nine fixtures, some kind of shake-up was desperately needed, if only for the sake of shaking things up. After all, it's one thing to conceded five to Bayern. It's quite another to concede three to West Brom. Or again to Crystal Palace. Whatever the case, the shake-up had to happen. The only real question was whether this would happen in the squad or the front-office. With Arsenal's fortunes fading fast, we at least got the former. Whether the latter is still necessary is an open question. For now, let's take a closer look at how well this 3-4-3 worked. After all, we won two in a row for the first time since January. Surely, there's something in it?

23 April 2017

The FA Cup: where Mancs' hopes go to die...

It wasn't supposed to be like this, not after trudging just barely past Middlesbrough and being embarrassed at Selhurst Park. We were supposed to fold, to crumble, to pull up tent-stakes. The early signals were there: we went down 0-1. City had a goal wrongly disallowed and struck woodwork not once, but twice. That new 3-4-3 formation was getting picked apart. However, from somewhere, from the deepest of depths, we summoned something. Maybe it's the magic of the FA Cup. Maybe it's something to do with Wembley. Maybe Guardiola's a bit of a fraud. Whatever the proximate cause, the effect is that Arsenal's going to Wembley for the FA Cup final! Whether that's enough to resurrect a season is another question for another day. For now, it's enough to announce that we defeated Guardiola's Man City squad, denying him silverware for the first time in his managerial career. Whatever. For now, let's get to the player-ratings poll!

21 April 2017

Urgency, Intensity, Desire: can Arsenal one-up Man City?

Be careful what you wish for, the tired old saying goes. And so it is with the FA Cup semifinal. Given a selection of drawing Tottenham, Chelsea, or Man City, how many of us heaved a sigh of relief at drawing City? At this stage of the FA Cup, of course, it's rare that one gets to choose a non-League side. Still, such are the state of things that we'd prefer to avoid our North London rivals, at least for now, preferring to face a side that was finished first or second in the Prem in four of the last five seasons. Man City may not intimidate the way they used to, and we've actually done tolerably well against them of late, perhaps well enough to engender a bit of hope if not confidence?

20 March 2017

The perfect solution to Arsène's situation!

It's Sophie's Choice. It's Solomonic. It's having our cake and eating it, too. For years, as the debate over Arsène's tenure and legacy have waxed and waned, we've pondered what it might mean for the club's fortunes to see the manager of the last 20 years—the only manager many fans have ever known—step down. Would we fall out of the top four? Would we see an end to the twenty-year streak of celebrating St. Totteringham's Day or of qualifying for Champions League play? After all, we've watched it unfold over at Old Trafford even as they've spent bucketloads on transfers and cycled through managers. Wouldn't it be better for Arsène to stay on long enough to win one more trophy and hand the reigns over to someone who can build from momentum? After the debacle at the Hawthorns, however, we might just have our compromise solution...

05 March 2017

And, lo, the scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight...

So. It's come to this, at long last. I'm done with Arsène. I've stood by him through some of the leaner times, defended him with by-now battered canards such as "consistency matters" and "Champions League qualification is an achievement", parried his critics by pointing out that he financed a stadium. I've finally reached my limit. I accept what many others have long ago decided: it's time for Arsène to go. It's not even about the result at Anfield. Or the Allianz Arena or Stamford Bridge. Losses at any one of those is understandable, and losses at three might even be acceptable. However, it's how we've lost that's shaken me.

03 March 2017

Let's make like Leicester and lay waste to Liverpool, shall we?

For those still suffering from the Bayern battering, it might come as some consolation to learn that Liverpool found a way to lose to Leicester, becoming in the process just the sixth such squad to do so. Enough with the alliteration. Such is the state (sorry) of our own squad that the tea-leaves suggest that Liverpool's loss only primes the pump for us to get clobbered at the Kop. Again, apologies. On a more optimistic level, there are few squads more frail at the moment than Liverpool's; it is therefore all the more essential that we turn the screws on their season and, at the risk of mixing our metaphors, drive home one more nail in the coffin of their campaign.

23 February 2017

Tottenham bottle it again, or, on the perils of schadenfreude...

Oh, to be a Gooner. Am I right? Tottenham have not only been dumped from Champions League play, they've now out-Tottenhammed themselves out of the Europa League, courtesy of a 2-3 aggregate loss to Gent, occupiers of the eighth spot on the highly esteemed Belgian First Division. What's more, Chelsea, shorn of any European entanglements whatsoever, square off against Man U in the FA Cup's fifth round. On top of that, Man City face a dicey FA Cup replay against Huddersfield and an even dicier second leg in UCL play after winning 5-3 over Monaco. In short, our Prem rivals are on the ropes, are they not?

13 February 2017

13 matches. 10 points. It's not too late for Arsenal to chase Chelsea down...

There's still time. Saturday's result over Hull, though there may have been a certain "hand of God" element to it, resurrected some small sliver of hope that we could still be in the title-chase. Fast forward to Sunday at Turf Moor, and Burnley—blessed, blessed Burnley—managed to earn a draw against Chelsea. While one one hand this does make our home-loss to Watford feel all the more wasteful, it still has to revive that sliver of hope. After all, Chelsea has had to be damn-near perfect to go ten points clear, and we've been very wobbly of late. They can't keep play to perfection every week—but it's up to us to put the pressure on them.

11 February 2017

Arsenal 2-0 Hull: Alexis lends a hand [VIDEO]

Handballs or the lack thereof) were the order of the day as Arsenal wasted numerous chances against Hull's packed-in defense. Finally, in the 33rd minute, Alexis scored a ball-to-hand after a flurry on Hull's line. That would be about it as far as clear-cut chances until stoppage time when Hull's keeper had come off his line, full-Fabiański, leading to a scramble in which Lucas's header forced Hull defender Clucas to extend his arm to attempt the goal-line clearance. Clattenburg issued the red, and Alexis slotted the penalty to make it 2-0. It wasn't ever pretty, but it's a result, and we'll take it. Enjoy the highlights below!

10 February 2017

"It's all going according to plan", or "we are Hull's Bayern..."

Don't worry, lads; the master-plan is still coming together as originally drawn. The loss at home to Watford, followed by the capitulation at Stamford Bridge, are but gambits in larger chess-match. The Prem title is not only still up for grabs, we have it right where we want it. Trust me on this. It feels better than acknowledging reality. Reality, of course, has us trailing Chelsea by 12 points with just 14 matches left. While it might at first seem a relief to host Hull, stranded as it were in the relegation dog-fight, they've shown some fight of late and seem more than ready to upset a few apple carts.

09 February 2017

Worried about Walcott: why hasn't the Arsenal stalwart ever quite hit the big time?

Last year, Theo Walcott celebrated ten years as an Arsenal player. And in an era where so many players are attracted by the brighter lights and heavier wage packets of the foreign leagues, that’s a pretty impressive stint. It doesn’t appear to be in danger of ending any time soon, either. At the time of writing, Walcott has scored fourteen times in twenty-seven appearances this season and has been in stellar form. Despite this, his place as an Arsenal legend is still debated. Many will say he isn’t strong enough (despite clearly spending a considerable amount of time in the gym of late), lacks desire, or doesn’t have the football mind that many of his peers have been born with.

13 January 2017

Will Arsenal shake their Swansea-struggles? Lucas Pérez says si...

At first blush, a trip Swansea might be just the balm to sooth Gooners' frayed and tattered nerves after leaving it awfully late in recent weeks at Dean Court and Deepdale. However, a closer look at Arsenal's record at home or away to the Welsh side suggests that we'd do well to be wary, even if they've now named a fourth manager in one season, have shipped 45 goals across 20 matches, and are likely paying closer attention to goings-on in the Championship than in the Prem.

12 January 2017

Arsenal sign three key Frenchmen to bolster title-tilt!

With the January transfer window now open, and with Arsenal's hopes in the Prem, FA Cup and Champions League each suffering to varying degrees, it should come as some consolation that Arsène has seen fit to loosen the purse-strings ever so slightly to shore up the squad. The signings of three vital French players, long a hallmark of Arsène's transfer policy and priority, may not strengthen the squad per se but should at least solidify it for the near-future. I'm referring of course to the new contracts signed by Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin, and Laurent Koscielny.

07 January 2017

Pérez puts Preston in their proper place; is he ready for prime time?

It wasn't meant to be like this, not for a second match in a row, as Arsenal limped into halftime on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline—scratch that, at least this second time, we'd retreat down only 1-0 at halftime. Even though the narrow escape from Dean Court should have inspired our squad going into Deepdale, we got off on the wrong foot entirely, and it was Preston who looked much more likely to advance to the fourth round on the strength of their first-half showing. Such a summary would overlook the industry of one Lucas Pérez. Yes, he assisted Giroud for the winner, but it was his overall workrate and industry that, once again, seized the day.

06 January 2017

FA Cup Preview: Preston vs. Arsenal in "Invincibles" Clash!

The FA Cup's Third Round Proper throws together two behemoths of British football, the only two clubs to have ever completed a full campaign, the only two—eh, that's enough of that. I'm sure you'll have read quite enough of the "Invincibles" angle already, so that's about as much ink as I'll devote to it here. After all, for both clubs, that's history, ancient or otherwise. Let's turn our attention instead to the present, one in which Arsenal should look quite keen to advance and Preston might have more to worry about than this competition.

04 January 2017

All hail Spurs, or why Arsenal ❤️ Tottenham!

At first blush, it seems like an embarrassing admission. After all, for the better part of a century, Arsenal have lorded it over Tottenham, whether it was who was admitted to the First Division in 1919 or the more-recent twenty years during which Arsenal have finished higher than their North London counterparts. It therefore does seem strange for Gooners to celebrate a Spuds victory—especially one that elevates those self-same Spuds above the Gunners. That's an ironic inversion if ever there was one. Still, it's an entirely positive result, one that Gooners have numerous reasons to feel good about. Let's get to those reasons, then...

03 January 2017

Bournemeuth 3-3 Arsenal: EPIC comeback [VIDEO]

Arsenal put in a depressing performance for the first 70 minutes, going down 3-0 to the impressive Cherries, and it looked like we'd crumble in an embarrassing final scoreline. However, goals from Alexis and Lucas (both assisted by Giroud) restored hope, and Giroud equalised in the first minute of stoppage-time. That's where it would despite six extra minutes, and Arsenal escape with a point we sorely needed but hardly deserve. It'll keep us hot on Man City's heels for now, and you can think later about how you want Wednesday's clash between Tottenham and Chelsea to play out. For now, enjoy the thrilling comeback at Dean Court!

01 January 2017

Giroud, sexy beast cum scorpion, wins it for Arsenal [VIDEO]

Olivier Giroud delivered a stunning, goal-of-the-year wonder strike to make it 1-0, and earned for himself Man of the Match honours as Arsenal won comfortably over Crystal Palace. Alex Iwobi lofted in a cheeky header early in the second half to make it 2-0, and that was that. Petr Čechkept his 184th clean-sheet, extending his Premier League record, and Arsenal climb to third as Man City lost to Liverpool. Check out the highlights below!