Tag: Arsenal

Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal: Wenger proves a point

So far this Arsenal have won all their home games and lost both their away matches without scoring and given their record at Stamford Bridge this looked a home banker, but we were about to see a very different Arsenal.

Antonio Conte went with tried and tested with the recovering Hazard kept on the bench, whilst Arsenal Wenger resisted the temptation to start Sanchez which looked odd given the absence of Ozil.

In the early states Arsenal stayed compact but Willian’s pace from deep threatened to undo them. Fabregas & Kante probed but Arsenal appear to have learned from their shelling at Anfield.

On 15 minutes a quick Arsenal counter sae Bellerin pick out Welbeck on the edge of the box but his glancing header fell just wide and then Bellerin again got in behind and almost set Lacazette up but Luiz got in front of the Frenchman.

Then on 21 minutes a beautiful Fabregas pass saw Pedro through who beat the offside trap only to fire an effort straight at Cech. As the first half wore on it became apparent that Arsenal weren’t going to be outmuscled by Chelsea as has often been the case in recent meetings between these two with Xhaka and Ramsey showing resolute discipline in midfield.


Then on 41 minutes Ramsey turned Azpilicueta inside out and pushed an effort onto to the lefthand post. Chelsea were struggling to impose themselves with even Kante lacking his usual composure on the ball. But Morata always looked a danger on the countermand almost forced Monreal into an own goal before half-time but they went into the break at 0-0.

For the second half Bakayoko entered the fray for Chelsea and the game immediately became stretched. Tempers started to flare and on 52 minutes Luiz was booked for an attempted bicycle kick that (accidentally) wound up in Koscielny’s face.

5  minutes later Ramsey was teasing Chelsea again combing with Welbeck but Courtois snuffed it out. The game continued in the spirit of a derby with neither side finding the moment of quality needed to break the deadlock. On 66 minutes Sanchez was on and 2 minutes later Hazard was on. the 73rd minute saw a hefty challenge from Luiz on Welbeck saw the Arsenal forward replaced by Giroud.

Then Mustafa headed home from a free kick only to have it correctly chalked off for offside. Hazard then danced around the Arsenal backline only to shoot straight at Cech. Hazard provided the greatest threat in the last 10 minutes but on 87 Luiz followed through on Kolasnic and for the third straight time in this fixture Chelsea were down to 10 men.

With little time left Arsenal didn’t have the time to exploit their advantage and it finished 0-0. Arsenal will be the happier- a point at Stamford Bridge is always a point gained. They were disciplined and a world away from the shambles we saw at Anfield. That said without Ozil they lacked the incision to cut Chelsea open.

Chelsea themselves will not be too disappointed. For all the noise coming out of Manchester this season, The Blues are better defensively than City or United and have their most dynamic weapon coming back to fitness with only a 3 point deficit on top spot. They’ve also taken 7 points from games against Spurs, Arsenal and Everton. Would you bet against Hazard when the run in arrives?






Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal: It’s grim up North London

It’s Groundhog Day at Arsenal, after the usual loss at Stoke came the gutless first visit to a top 6 rival.

The build up was dominated by two selection shocks, Liverpool dropping of keeper Simon Mignolet and Arsenals’s of record signing Alexandre Lacazette.

The early skirmishes saw Arsenal struggle to cope with Liverpool’s pace and movement leading to an Emre Can header whilst Danny Welbeck blew a presentable chance for the gunners. On 10 minutes the ever dangerous Mo Saleh should have made the breakthrough with a close range effort saved by Petr Cech.

The inevitable Liverpool goal duly arrived after just 16 minutes, the inventive Can sent Joe Gomez away down the right and his inch perfect cross was nodded home by Roberto Firmino.

Arsenal looked toothless and Liverpool were threatening to run riot. But Arsenal got a foothold in the game via a typical Karius goalkeeping mix up that although cleared sent a shudder through the crowd and Liverpool defence.

But the nerves were short lived, on 40 minutes Liverpool broke from their own box through the power of Can then the pace of Firmino and finally the beautiful angled finish of Sadio Mane.

Coquelin came on at the start of the second half and Arsenal at least showed early bite and application, but the only threats to Karius’ goal were again self inflicted as Welbeck almost got in from a casual back pass.

But on 56 minutes Liverpool sealed the win when they broke from an Arsenal corner and the excellent Salah burned past the Arsenal defence and picked his spot 3-0.

From then on it was just a case of how many as Liverpool passed their way around the training cones in blue shirts posing as Arsenal’s midfield.

Daniel Sturridge came on after 73 minutes and 4 minutes later he’d scored after another devastating counter orchestrated by Firmino and Can and ending with a fizzing cross from Salah nodded home for Sturridge’s 99th Liverpool goal 4-0 and that’s how it finished.

For Liverpool early season scepticism has given way to euphoria having moved up to 2nd in the League and a new Champions League adventure ready to begin. If they could add a top class keeper say Jack Butland and a dominant centre half say a certain Southampton player they will be in title contention.

As for Arsenal the next phase of Groundhog Day will see a trolley dash this Thursday and the ‘Wenger Out’ banners adorning the Emirates Stadium.

There was little for Wenger to take from this, with only Welbeck showing any hunger or fight. Arsenal’s midfield simply didn’t track back and Alexis Sanchez looks to have given up.

Arsenal’s FA Cup final display illustrated there is a good side in there somewhere but whether it’s the manger, players or boardroom malaise there’s something fundamentally wrong, I doubt it can be fixed over the international break.

Scouting England’s winners & losers- Premier League Week 1

It’s a World Cup season so which England hopefuls caught the eye this weekend and who wishes they hadn’t.

Jamie Vardy

After a poor 2016/17 campaign Vardy looked to be slipping out of England contention whilst Leicester signed Iannacho and retained Slimmani. But against Arsenal Craig Shakespeare opted for the old money of Vardy & Okazaki- they repaid him with 3 goals. Vardy torched Arsenal’s shaky back 3 with his searing pace and deadly finishing. Only 13 PL goals last season suddenly feels a long time ago.


Wayne Rooney

This was always going to happen, Rooney does love a debut goal and from his number 10 role Rooney not only scored, he produced his best all round display for well over a year at Goodison Park. It’s too early to talk about a recall but Rooney remains in contention, it’ll be fascinating to see how he gets on at the Etihad next week.

Premier League - Everton vs Stoke City

Kyle Walker

Man of the match on debut, Walker couldn’t have asked for much more. Far tougher defensive tests await but Walker confirmed what we already knew- he’s the best right back in the country.


Kyle Walker-Peters

The under 20 World Cup fullback was one of only 2 members of that squad who started this week. He gave an assured debut display for Spurs at Newcastle.  Maybe worth checking if there’s a Kyle Walker III in the Tottenham academy.

Jay Rodriguez

After 3 horrendous injury ravaged years Rodriguez gave a fine, energetic performance on his West Brom debut. Didn’t notch a goal but an encouraging display none the less.

Marcus Rashford

Playing as a left forward rather than central striker, Rashford terrorised West Ham’s backline with his pace and direct running, Lukaku rightly grabbed the headlines but Rashford was sensational.


Rob Holding

Ok playing in a back 3 with 2 leftbacks (1 on debut the other Monreal) always looked like a hiding to nothing, but Holding was rotten. He looked caught in no mans land between Mark Albrighton (who he failed to close down for Leicester’s second goal) and the front 2, he gave away possession looked uncertain throughout and was subbed after 66 minutes. What on earth was Callum Chambers thinking sat in his suit on the Arsenal bench, ‘where’s my agent?!b*$tard must have died’ at a guess.

Demarai Gray

Reports of Riyad Mahrez’s demise appear greatly exaggerated. Gray needs minutes but he won’t get them sat behind Mahrez.

Jermain Defoe

Needs to score 15 goals this season to get one last shot at a World Cup, not easy to do if you’re sat on the bench, can he play in tandem with Josh King? Eddie Howe appears to have his doubts, worrying.

Gary Cahill

Red carded 14 minutes into his club captaincy, at least there’s no danger of him being injured when Southgate announces his first squad.

Jonjo Shelvey

Utter fool! Shelvey has always been prone to a meltdown but his straight red for standing on Dele Alli was barmy. No danger of those 2 playing together for England anytime soon.


England Playing Stat

Number of player available to England starting PL games this week- 70 (32%)

England internationals currently unavailable: 5- Clyne, Trippier, Rose, Shaw, Lallana, 




England’s fullback options

Probably the strongest unit England have at present there should be strong competition for places between now and the World Cup:

Leftbacks– One player is nailed on, but there’s a lot of competition behind him.
1. Danny Rose– Developed beyond anyones expectations last season with Tottenham, looks the best left back in the Premier League and unassailable for England. Will miss the September internationals but will be guaranteed the start on his return.


2. Ryan Bertrand- Solid and dependable at club level, Bertrand has looked at ease with international football and remains England’s best left back going back towards his own goal. Not great with set pieces though.

3. Luke Shaw- Since being hailed as Ashley Cole’s heir apparent Shaw has endured a rotten time at Man United through poor form, horrific injury and worst of all the wrath of Jose Mourinho. Will miss the start of the season with injury but will be favourite for the left back slot at Old Trafford following a softening of his manager’s stance. If this season doesn’t work out a January transfer wouldn’t be a shock.


4. Joe Gomez- Another young player who’s suffered with long term injuries, the difference being Gomez has the confidence and support of Jurgen Klopp. With only the more attack minded Andy Robertson as a direct rival Gomez should get plenty of starts this season, a first cap might not be far behind.

5. Aaron Cresswell- The good news is he finally got a game against France, the bad news is Southgate didn’t trust him with anything more than a cameo. At 27 it’s hard to see him improving much and the defensive concerns are not likely to go away. Has 2 caps though!


6. Leighton Baines- Great going forward, useful with a dead ball, flawed in defence, only an injury crisis would see him recalled.
7. Ben Chilwell- Had a good tournament with the Under 21s this summer. Chilwell has a good chance of dislodging the wonderfully named Christian Fuchs at Leicester this season. Defensive work needs improvement but a fine crosser of the ball, more likely to stay in the Under 21s for now.

8. Ryan Sessegnon– The 17 year old was England’s star man in the Under 19s summer triumph. Sessegnon is a special talent but the World Cup will probably come too soon. Either through promotion or transfer Sessegnon will be a premier league starter in a years time, by which time he’ll have 70+ senior game behind him. A starter for England at Euro 2020.


Right backs– in truth this looks like 2 from the top 3, but there’s plenty of young talent coming through the ranks.
1. Kyle Walker-  He’s worth £50 million! In reality he isn’t but he has developed into a top class right back. Walker will start at City and with England, has power and pace although does suffer the odd brain fart. A World Cup certainty.Kyle+Walker+England+v+Netherlands+International+7lnMl2Kgwiol
2. Nathaniel Clyne- Needs to improve after an underwhelming year at Liverpool. His last good game I remember was against Slovakia at the Euros! Currently injured and may have to fend off Joe Gomez to regain his Liverpool place. On uncertain ground.

3. Kieran Trippier– impressed on debut and usurped Walker at Spurs toward the end of last season. Has Superior crossing ability to Walker & Clyne but defensive concerns continue, will be under the microscope this season.

4. Mason Holgate- Underwhelmed with his crossing at the Euro Under 21s but retains a strong chance of a regular start at Everton. Will stay with the Under 21s for now.
5. Jonjoe Kenny- Had a great summer with the Under 20s but yet to make a first team impression at Everton. May need a loan move to the Championship this season but looks a future star.


6. Carl Jenkinson- Desperately needs a move having failed to make an impression at Arsenal, perhaps he moved up the leagues too soon, but there is a good player there for someone. Has been sat on a solitary cap for 5 years.


7. Ainsley Maitland-Niles– It’s way too soon to be in line for a senior call up but could be a breakout player this season. His talent is clear to see but for now it’ll be Europa League group games and the league cup.