A Great End to a Disappointing Arsenal Season (2016 – 2017)

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It’s Memorial Day today and after returning from a quaint little Jazz festival in Alexandria, Virginia, I just thought I need to make a few blurbs about Arsenal.  I originally wanted to write another hate-filled speech about Cheetos Emperor Donaldore J. Trumpfuckery the 15th and his ties to a secret cabal of one-eyed KGB kickboxers, but that’ll be for another day.  Today is for the vets, and it’s also for me to celebrate Arsenal’s victory over Chel$ki F.C. to win the 2017 F.A. Cup.

Our season in the Prem started out well, and things were looking good between November 2016 and January 2017.  However, losing Santi Cazorla was a massive blow, and as you already know, the wheels started to come loose a little later in the campaign.  Losing to Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Tony Pulis F.C., and Watford, along with ties to fucking Bournemouth and some offsides bullshit with Citeh dented both our hopes and our top four chase, making us 5th for the Europa League.  A big blow to us for sure, but I really REALLY want to stay positive and hope that there’s a silver lining in that as well.  If Chel$ki and United fall into the Europa League with little ire from the press, why can’t Arsenal, right?  (I’m being sarcastic of course)

However, I’m still not in the Wenger Out camp.  I’d only do so in order for Uncle Arsene to be spared of all this stuff.  That’s not to say that Arsenal aren’t without problems.  I’m as sick of it as anyone else when it comes to our pattern of implosion, but to visibly vent our frustrations on Wenger does him or us no justice.  Protest the way we play, or get in the board’s face about investment or even a change in tactics, but for reals folks, please don’t dis Uncle Arsene.  He doesn’t deserve it.

So give the old man credit for that back three.  Give him credit for his selections.  Give him AND the players some cred for smacking Mourinho in the face after beating ManU in the Prem and give him his due for giving us one helluva F.A. Cup final.

If you watched the final, then you know how exciting it was.  I was screaming at Arsenal all day to make sure they didn’t fuck anything up and sure enough, they didn’t.  The first 5 minutes was all Arsenal with some amazing possession and, handball or not, a neat goal from Alexis Sanchez.  I’m glad we got in Chel$ki’s faces and I’m glad we got some fortune for once.  Ramsey offside?  Yeah right.

However, with all the chances we had throughout the first half, the game should’ve been out-of-sight with 4-0.  We dominated the midfield battle and for all the excuses Chel$ki fans can make about not being at the races, save it.  You guys put out THE title-winning eleven and for an occasion like the F.A. Cup final, you guys looked ordinary.  Oh, and that Ozil tackle on Hazard?  Priceless.

The second half saw the Blues amped up with a few more fouls, penetration and pace, which only made David Ospina look cooler and cooler with some fine saves.  Per, Rob and Nacho held Neaderthal Costa back pretty well for the most part.  Well, except for his goal of course.  But that was after the Victor Moses dive.  Which he got a red card for.  Sweet.  Again, you’d think Arsenal would be safe after that but then we got Costa’d.  I kicked a box at home as my head boiled with fury.  For an Arsenal fan like me, this usually means that we would not only implode, but  Per would break all three of his legs somehow, Ox would get a Red card for being Gibbs (again) and Phil McNulty would begin masturbating at the thought of writing another thinly-veiled ‘Arsenal-are-weak-get-Wenger-sacked’ fluff piece.

However, in only a few short minutes, Phil would have to go limp and clean his chin in disgust because when Olly Giroud came on, he made made a beautiful cross to an unmarked Ramsey, where he cannoned a header past Courtois (the best GK in teh Prem mind you).  The roar of the Gooner faithful thundered the air, the blue poop of London groaned and the Red Sea parted in Divine Rapture.  I wasn’t the only one jumping for Joy.  I clutched my Wife, I held on to the sky and was ready for Arsenal to defend for their life.  What a feeling, and what a goal!

Ospina and the rest of the defense had to then pull in one helluva shift to make sure the game didn’t turn into 2-2, with a brilliant save to keep us all in.  Mesut should’ve scored when Arsenal broke free but had to settle for the post, Courtois’ leg and a corner and I wished to God Giroud got his 100 goals for the club, but when that final whistle came, I didn’t care.  We saw through the challenge.  We beat the deserved Champions of England.  We won the F.A. Cup.  And we did it with our BFG Captain making his FIRST START OF THE SEASON!

I’m not so sure if this ‘saved’ our season because there’s just sooooo much that we still need to work on.  Injuries, motivation, mentality and, overall, contracts.  It sounds like the ‘same old Arsenal’ tag that most shit pundits like to beat us with, but it all happened at the latter half of the season, not the tail-end of November like usual.  We’re starting to slowly find a way to play without Santi, but we need to really rethink our defensive transitions because teams are finding out how to exploit us in our own half.  It’s my hope that the maturation of Xhaka in the Prem will help in that regard, but like many new signings at Arsenal, they usually don’t mature until they take a pounding.  Keeping Sanchez and Ozil are should be the main target of the club this summer, and if we do, we need to drill Sanchez to avoid turnovers at all costs.  I also personally think Giroud and the Ox should still stay at the club, with the former being a beast from the bench and the latter shining as a wing back.  Finally,it’s my hope that with a win like this, we can take a serious look at our problems, use Spurs’ current form as a kind of jealous motivation, and our sinking into the Europa doldrums as a silver lining for experience as we try to recoup ourselves to do something big next season.

Until then guys, let’s savor this win and tell the rest of the naysayers to piss off.

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Arsenal vs. Chelsea: EPL (9/24/2016)

Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League

The last time I saw Arsenal whoop Chelsea was in 2011 during the RVP days.  The last few times, it’s been Diego Costa getting away with being a complete jerk without any penalty.  The last few times, it’s been too many goals against us and not enough against them.  The last few times, it was Mourinho being a dick wad.  Specialist in failure anyone?

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It’s Just a Thriller: Arsenal vs. Leicester City (2/14/2016)

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My heart was in my throat for 95 minutes as I watched Arsenal duke it out with League leaders Leicester City.  I’m not going to go for the specifics of the match but it was a roller-coaster of emotions for me as Welbeck came on to nod in the winning goal.  From elation to tears, I couldn’t believe it.  Simply put, football can be a beautiful thing where you ride a tidal wave of feelings from beginning to end.  Despair from Vardy’s dive to pure love for the Cannon on your badge as Danny ran into the crowds for his first goal in forever.  It’s moments like that where legends rise, and I hope for Danny and Arsenal, it will happen.  On to the next game gents!

Win Ugly: Arsenal vs. Newcastle United (1/2/2016)

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Watching yesterday’s game reminded me of our mauling in Southampton on Boxing Day, yet Arsenal (thanks in no small part to Petr Cech) stood as the victor in what would’ve been a game that we’d normally lose or draw.  Koscielny’s goal was the difference in a scrappy affair where the Magpies had the better chances to score.  Mitrovic was unlucky to some degree, but Cech did the business to snuff out the danger as Newcastle squeezed past our defenders to fire.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the ref.  The man was atrocious.

Oh, and Ramsey….please, if you’re clear on goal and if your lane blocked, GIVE IT TO CAMPBELL!!!!

Arsenal have always been beaten by the cudgel of “mental fragility” by many a pundit over the years, but it’s nice to see that we can dig out an ugly win with a set piece and get 9 out of a possible 12 points during a very hectic timeframe.  With us still retaining our place at the top of the table, it will become more of an imperative to grind out wins as the next set of fixtures approach (along with an FA Cup tie).  Yes, we’ve got some injuries, but our depth is there (barely).  The worry I have is that our defense and midfield was left exposed quite often against Newcastle so personally, I really think we need to tighten up with some structure / shape.  We’re missing Coquelin’s physical presence in midfield since both Southampton and Newcastle have proven that they could bully us in midfield with little consequence.  Here’s to hoping that we can dig deep and make it happen as we wait for the rest of our troops to return.

 

Steamrolling Southampton: Arsenal vs. Southampton F.C. (EPL, 9-15-2012)

Saturday’s game with Southampton called for the Gunners to bring a win home at the Emirates without the influence of the reinvigorated Abou Diaby, who was absolutely exceptional against Liverpool before the international break.  Regardless of that, the Gunners brought in that much deserved win, as they ran rampant across the newly promoted Saints with all the attacking prowess they could muster.

The Gunners piled on layers of attack onto the Saints and were given their first goal as Gibbs’ cross was slipped in by Hooiveld for an own goal.  The goal itself was made possible thanks to some impressive build-up between Podolski and Gibbs.  Prince Poldi made it 2-0 however, with an impressive free kick that curled in away from the top corner in top class quality.

And as noble as the Saints were in defeat, things got worse as Gervinho became the central threat on the field, where he squeezed off quite a few chances early into the first half.  However, it was Arteta’s simple throughball that got the Ivorian onto the score sheet as he dashed away carefully and smashed the ball into the net with all the confidence he could muster.  Let it be known that this blogger was thoroughly happy with that goal as it is quite clear that Gervinho has always demonstrated a great deal of skill with some below par finishes, but on that day, he proved he can finish well.

It soon became 4-0 thanks to another own goal from a Gibbs cross as the Gunners pushed yet again.  However, the Saints briefly pressed on and pulled one back as a lapse of judgement from Szczesny allowed Fox to shoot one in.  By the end of half time, the score was 4-1.

As the second half started, the Saints began to show more bite as they pressed forward more, and looked much better compared to the first half, but Arsenal continued to create the chances.  Arteta held well as the DM while Cazorla created havoc once more.  Ramsey came on as a sub and showed some brilliant stuff.  Yes, he skyed another chance, but he’s getting there, the Welshman.  Gervinho soon made a double thanks to Aaron’s pace in the box as he eluded a defender and tried to slide it into the net.  Though he was not quite there in goal, Gervinho was in place to simply tap it in.  The nails were finally set in as Walcott subbed the Ivorian and took one home as he shot a deflected attempt from Vermaelen.  Man, what a day.

The Saints fought hard, and you have to give a rousing clap for Adkins and his boys.  They were down, but kept on trying.  For them to give trouble to both Manchester clubs is something worth noting, but as Adkins himself pointed out, “We turned it over far too cheaply.”  As for Arsenal,  the Gunners are looking great domestically, and are showing fine spirit in both defense and attack.  The worry right now is whether or not they’ll run out of steam as they go toe to toe with the likes of Merc City this Sunday.  Arsenal’s win against Montpellier (which, I for one have not seen aside from a glimpse of the second half) seemed to be a tough one as the fightback in the first half was turned on its tiptoes as the French champions began to dominate the second half.  If there’s any chance for us to tap up the depth we’ve amassed, now is the time.

For now however, let’s hope the Gunners rest up, bring in some of the other boys who are itching to play (I smell Santos and Koscielny!!), rest the ones that have done well for us, pray for a Giroud hat-trick and look forward to what we can offer as we face up against the Champs.

Will the Last Song be Sung?

With RVP whisked away to the realm of the Red Devils, we now find ourselves, as Gooners mind you, with the possibility of losing another long serving player (who just happens to be one of this blogger’s favorites), Alex Song.

In the span of two seasons, Alex has improved his game dramatically since he first wore the red and white in 2005, but with the recent flaunts from the now classless Catalans at Barcelona, it seems that Song may have to retract his “I’m happy at Arsenal” statement.  It’s a bit of a shock when just a few words from Barca can jaunt you to do anything from joining them (along with that ass of a man Dani Alves) to kicking your grandmother in the teeth.  It’s ambition after all, right?

I remember when I rekindled my interest in watching Arsenal, and the first game that showcased the glory of Song was during the 2010-2011 season as we defeated Chelsea at home.  It was Song’s tough run and scrummy goal in the box that opened the scoring that night, and it was fantastic.  He can tackle, break up plays, and he assists quite well for a DM.  Yes, he does give away the ball in very bad, spot-kick-ish areas, and he’s a bit more physical than what the Catalans would prefer (in my opinion), so Barca’s interest in him is a bit puzzling to say the least.

The worst part about all of this is that we could be saying bye-bye to someone who stood by us from his youth and onwards for seven years.  Maybe seven to eight years is too much to ask for in regards to serving one club, and I wouldn’t want to force any player to do so if they feel that their “ambitions” won’t be fulfilled, but let’s be honest, we are NOT a lower tiered team in the Premiership, and it’s not like we are NOT challenging for anything.  Alan Pardew finished 5th and apparently he seems to be lauded a lot more than Wenger’s lot.

In addition to all of this, the negative comments surrounding the club have swirled back once more.  The trolls that comment on anything that is Gunner related have always had the nerve of not only dismissing anything that could potentially be fitting or “good” for the club (i.e. new personnel like Giroud and Cazorla), but they hover around with a cloud of negativity that apparently seems to equal good hits on any one of your run of the mill football rumor spewing web-blog.  Song’s situation seemed insignificant when I first heard of Barca’s interest several days ago, but with Darren “Fuck You Arsenal” Dein at the helm, along with every other cunt of a football journalist whispering all over the place about how shitty Arsenal is, it’s no surprise that the rest of us sane Gooners are shaking our collective heads.

Whatever happens to Alex, I hope he doesn’t lose his cool with Arsene any further than what has been rumored already.  Once he goes to Barca, let’s hope he goes with some class, some dignity, and at least with an ounce of gratitude to all of those that have seen him grow into the fine player that he is now.  With all the good and bad that has happened at the Emirates during this year’s round of the silly season, the last thing that Alex Song should do is pull an RVP.

A Blurb about the New Boys at Arsenal

I don’t have many fancy things to say right now, but to have Cazorla unvelied at A.F.C. on MY BIRTHDAY yesterday is quite something. With Giroud & Podolski in the mix, I am super happy with what we are seeing right now.  Hell, from the photos you’ll find at Arsenal.com, I’d say Arteta’s MORE happy than I am about Santi. With Cesc and others praising his abilities, it’s no doubt that Cazorla will set the EPL ablaze.

Couple all of that with Giroud’s tenacity in the box and Lukas’ physical presence going forward, and you might just have yourselves a great group of Gunners in this season’s lineup.  Yes yes, it’s a bit early to say that things will improve instantaneously for us, but I’m simply describing my excitement about the whole thing, along with the rest of the Arsenal fanbase.  I’m sure we could do for a few more signings, but we’re not Chelski or the Mancs for chrissake, so let’s all just cool down a bit about wanting ANOTHER CB, LB, RB or QB, okay?

Otherwise, it’s a damn good time to be a Gooner.  Cheers guys!!