Tag Archives: Koscielny

Mega Contracts Ahoy; Ramsey, Cazorla, Zelalem and Maybe Koscielny.

Great, but what about Sagna?

Morning, folks.

Yesterday, like a bolt from the blue, there was joyous news. Not entirely unexpected enough to warrant my use of the phrase “bolt from the blue” but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. It was confirmed by Arsenal that both Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazolra have signed extensions to their current deals and youngster Gedion Zelalem has signed his first professional contract with Arsenal.

Great news. Superb. Wonderful. Awesome and a whole plethora of superlatives I’m, quite frankly, not inclined to list any further.

It get even better when you consider that there is a lot of talk flying around about Laurent Koscielny also eager to put pen to paper on a improved contract. Continue reading

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The BFG And Koscielny Immense, Giroud A Bit Pants And Rosicky’s Howitzer Wins The Day.

Tim Sherwood displaying what a NLD victory means to the fans.

Morning, folks.

I shan’t lie to you; sitting through those 90 minutes wasn’t one of the more pleasurable experiences I’ve encountered as an Arsenal fan. Mercifully, for all their ‘heroic’ huffing and puffing, Tottenham Hotspur remain irredeemably bloody hopeless.

In many sectors of the media, yesterday’s performance will be branded as “hanging on” or “backs to the wall”. In all honesty; I can’t say I was especially comfortable throughout, nor was I particularly nervous. I resided in a state of football purgatory where my emotions cancelled each other out, leaving a stark, listless stare on my face as I awaited the jubilation of a confirmed result. When that moment arrived, glorious elation swept over me. There is little that feels as good as beating Tottenham.

It certainly wasn’t vintage Arsenal. Spurs were given too much to cling too when, but for Chamberlain’s profligacy, we would have had considerable distance between us and them on the scoreboard. Classing the team’s performance as “hanging on” might seem accurate, but it does warrant mentioning that the only two chances to score Spurs managed to get were gifted to them by Szczesny having one of his flappy days.  Continue reading

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Giroud, Rosicky and Koscielny Administer Sunderland Walloping.

Celebrating a magical third.

Morning, folks.

This may well be the briefest match review you’ll read. Don’t hold it against me; I’m suffering with an astonishing lack of sleep and instead of heading to bed where I should be, I’m taking a few moments to ensure my run of posting every day in 2014 stays intact.

I’ve managed to see as much of the game as possible. Yesterday I worked a 12-hour shift and missed everything of the match as it occurred live – checking Twitter and live scores services whilst serving wedding food is extraordinarily tricky. It also tend to go down rather poorly with those expecting you to actually be performing the tasks you’ve been assigned. You’d think it was obvious where my priorities lie…

In order to keep things short, here’s a handy bullet-point list of a few things I managed to glean whilst checking around for footage of the game:

Continue reading

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Giroud answers critics (kinda), SuperRosicky and another impressive away victory.

“1 goal gets you tickets to the gun show, ladies”

Morning, delicious and ebullient individuals.

Recently, I was discussing my beloved team’s fortunes with a friend of mine and I used the following point; Arsenal have not played exceptionally well for quite a while. Now, that might sound like a fairly strange thing to say, but it’s something I stand by absolutely, and a statement intended to highlight a very good thing.

Yesterday at St James’ Park we battled and dug our heels in to get a very, very good result. Resolute defending and togetherness against a side capable of giving anyone a game is what saw us past the finishing line. Yet, we didn’t play well. Our attacking players created little and there was a litany of unnecessary blunders and the cheap giving away of possession – Szczesny was almost left with egg splattered all across his face when he adopted a blasé approach to clearing the ball. Oh, silly Wojciech… Please stop doing that. Please. One of these days, you’re not going to get away with it.  Continue reading

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Big Match Day: Chelsea (h) – team news, predictions and starting XI

Kick racism out of football.

Morning, folks.

The Manchester City result aroused something in me. That something is the ability to worry about a defence that, up until recently, has been solid, organised and performing to an extremely high level. Perhaps that game was one of those silly moments in football where things just happen without any logical or rational explanations. Perhaps. Regardless of that, I get the impression I shall omit a whimper of some sort the moment any balls arc ominously toward our penalty area.

“Must win” – that’s how the game is described by many, and I’m inclined to agree. Having seen our glorious top spot taken from us by a one-man army in red and a decent points lead whittled away very quickly, the best way to get ourselves back on track is to dispatch a Chelsea side that have floundered and look beatable on their travels. Continue reading

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Arsenal go get Higuain and those irksome Spaniards are at it again.

Which Arsenal player does the chairman want us to bid for? “EVERYONE!!!”

Morning, you splendid little creatures, you.

No summer would be complete for an Arsenal fan without the customary feculent advances of Barcelona. In a story that I am pretty sure doesn’t have a great deal of weight to it, it’s being alleged that the Catalonian club see Laurent Koscielny as the perfect signing to solve their defensive troubles.

If you read the piece, the part that immediately jumps out at me is when it states Arsenal wouldn’t be averse to letting Kozzer leave. That smacks of total nonsense. After having had such an impressive season, I seriously doubt there’s anything other than a strong desire to keep him here.

We know all too well that no player is beyond being moved on should an irresistible offer be placed on the table, but I’m keeping my absolute faith in the board and manager ensuring the nucleus of the team stay together. Having formed such and impressive partnership in central defence with Per Mertesacker, Koscielny is very much part of that.

Elsewhere today (or yesterday if you saw it when it initially broke), a source that’s actually reputable has a bit of insight on which type of players top Arsenal’s summer wish list:

And that comes from someone working at BBC Sport, someone who could very well have contacts in football, sources and insider knowledge.

I personally would be very happy with Higuain. He’s a prolific striker, strong and with a good work ethic. He’d score goals in English football, of that I have absolutely no doubt.  Olivier Giroud’s contribution to the cause last season was impressive, but placing the burden on him, and him alone, to lead the line was never fair. I wouldn’t view Higuain as a replacement, but as a player to add greater options to our frontline – something that certainly needs to be addressed.

The defensive midfielder I would hope to be Fellaini, and the attacking midfielder comes as something of a surprise. Perhaps the Boss wants to add a little freshness to our creativity, or have a new spearhead centrally to enable Cazorla to wreak havoc from the flanks – a position he can play very well, and from where it is arguable he is more effective.

And best of all, it appears we are not in the race to sign Wayne Rooney. I know many of you would see him as the ideal marquee signing, but I do not. Shattering our wage budget for a decidedly over-rated player isn’t something we should consider. We might have to pay a hefty price to entice Higuain over to London, but I think he’d be far more worth the trouble.

My faith in our transfer dealings has been given a fresh boost. That faith has yet to wane. I’m certain we will see big things materialise and head into a new season buoyant and with hope. A few choice additions will change our squad from also-rans to genuine contenders for silverware.

All we have to do is wait…

That’s all for today, folks. What do you think about the potential of signing 3 players in those positions. Happy? Sad? Would you consider a new keeper a priority also? Let me know in the very handy comments section I’ve provided below.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

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Alarming Koscielny quotes and Arsene is backed to improve the squad

“Seriously, they use those words to make you click on the link. There’s nothing sensational about what lies within”

Howdy y’all (I don’t know why I’m lapsing into Cowboy vernacular).

At a time of year us Arsenal supporters are accustomed to a barrage of stories linking our players with moves away from the club, this summer is refreshingly different. Walcott, Ramsey, Jenkinson, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain have already penned new contracts, Vermaelen intends to fight for his place, and now Rosicky and Koscielny have stated their desire to remain at Arsenal.

I almost miss Barcelona sniffing around, and their deplorable minions spewing their thoughts in the media at every available moment. Had that occured this season, I actually think I may have travelled to Catalonia just to punch Dani Alves or Xavi in the face.

With only one year remaining on his contract, Tomas Rosicky states he won’t be returning to Sparta Prague and is very much in the managers plans for next season. Good news, as Tomas adds a little bit of urgency to our midield, and I’m nothing but an unabashed fan of his.

Laurent Koscielny, however, stated his desire to stay, but it came with a caveat of sorts. I’m far from the type to want players at Arsenal who aren’t hungry for success, but I can’t help but worry slightly when vastly improved members of the team say things like this:

“I feel good at Arsenal, if we have ambition to fight against the other teams of course I want to stay here.

“It’s hard psychologically. We are constantly pressured because if Arsenal is not in the Champions League it would be a catastrophe.

“It is hard to not win titles year after year. We are competitors, professionals, we want to win.

“I want to add to my list of achievements. If Arsenal cannot allow me that, I’ll seek a move elsewhere.”

I’m not sure how much of that last part is genuine. I’ve read the same story in various places and the end does tend to read differently depending on how bombastic the website likes to be. However, the general message conveyed remains the same, and I can’t say I hold anything against Laurent for saying it.

He wants to win titles. Arsenal should employ players with that mentality. We’d be foolish not to. However, I can’t help but be a little disappointed every time I hear/read it. It’s one thing to have ambition, it’s another thing entirely to state your desire to move elsewhere if your current team doesn’t succeed. At the end of the day, some things are best left unsaid, as people will invariably blow those things out of proportion when they are.

Elsewhere today, Arsene has received the backing of one-yime confident and friend, David Dein – a man sorely missed at Arsenal, in my opinion. Dein says:

“I think there is plenty to celebrate in finishing fourth. Arsene has yet again waved his magic wand to come fourth and get into the Champions League as he has done for the last 16 years.

“It was quite remarkable because it was not the greatest squad he has ever had, they are certainly talented, but I think for what he had working with him this season he has done really well to get into the Champions League.

“To a lot of Arsenal fans, of course, that’s not good enough, because in the final analysis they still finished 16 points behind Manchester United, and that’s not classed as success.

“I know Arsene will try to improve the squad if he can. It’s up to the scouting network around the world – they are looking to find the best players possible for Arsenal.

I wouldn’t say a great deal of wand waving took place to get us to 4th. You could make an argument saying we wouldn’t have had to lower our standards had the club done a little more to compete in the transfer market. You could also agree it’s remarkable to accomplish Champions League qualification with such regularity whilst keeping the club financially stable.

Such things depend on your stance with Arsene. Some folks are frustrated and yearn for a change of direction, others stand firmly behind a man responsible for some of our team’s finest moments. I’m somewhere between the two; I love Arsene for what he has done, but there will come a point where past glories don’t cover up mistakes and shortcomings in the present.

As it stands, I have absolute faith we will see a greatly improved squad come kick-off in August, and I’ve high hopes a greatly improved season will come also. If those points turn out to be wrong, then a change in the hot seat might not be as bad an idea as some believe.

And that’s all for today. I know the Arsenal family tends to be split down the middle regarding Le Boss. The comments await a head-to-head battle between WOB and AKB – and whichever set of initials I’ve missed out. I consider myself a BHTIAGABS.; bloody hell, this is all getting a bit stupid.

I look forward to reading a few of your thoughts.

I shall return with more tomorrow. As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

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Vermaelen, Koscielny, Zaha, Big Ted, news, rumours, and other bits.

A fully grown man who still has his teddy bear? Yes – I am peculiar.

Morning folks.

A while ago i considering having a mascot for this blog – the bear I’ve had since birth, Big Ted. Having initially decided against that idea, I’ve now changed my mind. The Armchair Gooner has a mascot – he’s a dapper gentleman bear with a deep-seeded love for Arsenal, and an unrivalled hatred for Piers Morgan . You can follow him on Twitter. Make him feel welcome…

Onto Arsenal matters.

It was confirmed today that Laurent Koscielny’s groin strain will keep him out of the first team for a period of 3 weeks – a time frame I ignore completely as, in Arsenal terms, it could mean anything from 20 minutes to eternity. It’s a shame for Koscielny, as he’s just started to show signs of his best form, and he doesn’t seem as blunder-prone as Sagna and Vermaelen do at the moment.

Most of today’s news isn’t much of anything. There’s a few brief quotes from our capatain about how the team need to improve, and the odd transfer rumour that I refuse to believe – getting my hopes up about a possible bid for Fellaini will only lead to disappointment.

With a great deal of chatter mounting up regarding Arsenal proposed bid for Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, Ian Holloway has had a bit of a pop at Wenger, who may, or may not, have mentioned his admiration for the young forward:

Holloway said to The Sun(rag):

“Why is he talking about my players? It’s not the game,”

“I will be picking up the phone to talk to him as I don’t think it is right and proper with the greatest respect. That is totally bad etiquette.

“Wilf is a big part of our season and we have such a strong contract others can go and whistle.

“He won’t be available, no matter what the price is in January.”

Poor old Ian must be suffering from a stressy-pants moment. Arsene has hardly gone the full Barcelona route and made remarks about hostages and DNA. He’s mentioned his admiration for a player – a player who I doubt Palace will keep if big money is thrown at them. Seems to me Holloway might already know this.

And that’s about it out there in Arsenal news.

It’s a brief post today. Tomorrow’s will cover the Swansea game in detail. I’ll leave you with a bit of pleasent reading – Daniel Cowan produced this splendid article on North London Is Red, and I strongly recommend you give it a read – especially if you’re one of those who likes to blame things on Aaron Ramsey.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

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Wilshere, Podolski, Koscielny, the abuse of Ramsey, and comfortable qualification.

Arsenal 2-0 Montpellier: The whole stadium was awe-struck by Podolski’s volley – except The Ox, who had a bit of a nap.

Afternoon, folks.

We’ve qualified. Wether we top the group, or finish as runners-up remains to be seen, but Arsenal are heading into the last 16 where we’ll most probably have to play Barcelona.

Last night was something of a rarity; a fairly bland and comfortable win, and one that came with no concession. We took the points with two superb goals from Wilshere and Podolksi – Olivier Giroud’s contribution to both shouldn’t go unnoticed – and we never looked in any danger of losing to Montpellier. With Schalke also winning, they go into the final round of games a point ahead of us – finishing 1st will depend on us taking 3 points in Olympiakos, and Montpellier taking points off Schalke.

Whilst it would be difficult to offer monumental praise to anyone after such a routine and formulaic display, I though Laurent Koscielny looked immense at the back. He’s struggled on occasion to find his best form, but he looks like the best centre-back at the club when he’s on his game. With Gibbs now fit to play, it leaves Arsene with a selection problem; does he drop Koscielny in favour of returning Vermaelen to the centre. or leave out Mertesacker and risk upsetting the balance of the central pairing? It’s a tough call to make, especially since the captaincy hasn’t brought out Vermaelen’s best form.

All in all, it was good to see victory achieved without too much exertion, and even better to see us progress where Chelsea (most probably) and Manchester City have failed  - it goes to show that money cant always buy you everything.

Elsewhere, that oh-so alarming trend of Ramsey bashing has reared it’s ugly and unwelcome head – this time before a game even started. In yesterday’s comments section, a thread discussing team selection quickly descended in a stomping ground for the “if Ramsey plays we’ll lose” club.

Now, I’m all for criticism of players if it’s constructive and has merit. No player should be above that. However, It’s often seen about the Goonersphere that our Welsh midfielder gets his, and everyone else’s, share. His form has been patchy – yes. But there has to be a point where we realise that singling him out for blame at every opportunity is both counter-productive and foolish.

I like Aaron. I see bags of potential in him, and I think some fans conveniently forget that he’s been through a lot for someone so young when they’re on the hunt for a scapegoat. I wouldn’t dispute he should be playing better, but my reason for saying so is simply because I believe he is more than capable of it. He isn’t a “championship player”, or the one reason most likely to make us lose. He’s a young guy with talent that needs our support. We should give it to him.

That’s all for today folks. I’ve opened up a fresh avenue for more Ramsey bashing here, but I’d like to see the other side of that argument, too. Do you think Aaron is unfairly treated? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. I shall return tomorrow.

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Koscielny, Giroud, Walcott, Chamakh, Arshavin, Martinez, and I’m at a loss for words.

Reading 5-7 Arsenal: “Holy sh*t! I’ve scored TWO goals!”

Morning folks.

Blimey. Where do I start?

If someone had told me yesterday that Arsenal would concede 5, score 7, and Chamakh would score not one, but two really good goals, I’d have quickly labelled that person as bonkers, and moved to have them sectioned. Football is a bizarre and wonderful game, isn’t it?

I had to work a long day yesterday, and I got home around the point we had just gone 4-0 down. At that moment, being really tired , I decided not to endure any of the match and have a quick nap – I do like the occasional nap. When I arose from my well-earned and short slumber, it was 4-4. I shan’t be taking my eyes off Arsenal games again.

It was a game that showed the best of Arsenal – and some of the worst. It may have taken a breathtakingly shit defensive showing to put us 4 goals down in 37 minutes, but I am prepared to put that to one side in favour of discussing the extremely positive elements. We won, after all. There’s no real need to be gloomy and pessimistic, although, if we defend like that on Sunday….

At 4-0 down, we showed fight and determination. The players didn’t sulk, they didn’t mope around and start bickering or trying to assign blame; they rolled up their sleeves and collectively took the game by the scruff of the neck. They forced a different outcome to what me, and the few who left the ground early, assumed was a formality.

Okay, we did put ourselves into that position, but we had the tenacity and drive to get ourselves out of it, and it was glorious, wasn’t it? After such a terrible start, the night ended with many good things to discuss.

Theo Walcott, a player I’ve lambasted in the past, looked every inch someone capable of filling a striking berth. He scored a hat-trick, and showed when he plays on instinct, he is a very, very good finisher. Giroud came on and made a difference, but the two players I was happiest for were Arshavin and Chamakh.

Our diminutive little Russian has talent – he has it in spades. Even if it wasn’t one of his better games, it shouldn’t be overlooked just how much he contributed in the attacking third – he got 3 assists and most of our good play went through him. Most pleasing for me was Chamakh. His goal to put us 5-4 ahead showed that he does have ability, and his second showed that, with a bit of confidence, he’ll score goals. For reason I can’t quite explain, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for our Moroccan shisha enthusiast. Good to see him contributing and looking happy.

There were bad performers – Koscielny and Martinez didn’t have the best of games – and it does concern me slightly when we defend that poorly. But on the whole, I couldn’t care less about the bad points. What I took from the game when it ended was exhilaration and great pride in my team. Most importantly, I think we may have done something that’ll bury the memory of the 4-4 against Newcastle for good – pundits and fans alike can now constantly remind us of the comeback we were on the right side of.

All in all, a brilliant, brilliant game of football. I’m exceedingly proud of my team today, and who knows? Maybe, just maybe, our name is already on that trophy.

That’s all from me today. The comments are below, and I’d love to read a few of your reactions from the game; what emotions did you go through? Who impressed you the most? What do you think of Theo as a striker? Let me know.

Thanks for reading, you wonderful kings of the comeback. I shall return tomorrow.

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