Arsenal Blow It Again – But This Time They Have Valid Excuses

We’ve seen it many times before, Arsenal are in a position where they could top the league table by winning a match but then bottle it. But to say that happened yesterday would be unfair.

Hey look, I’m as disappointed and infuriated as you are that we didn’t beat West Brom yesterday but it was always going to be a tough day for Arsenal. And let’s look at Manchester City and Real Madrid this weekend – they could have had worse days at the office.

Arsenal took the lead after another Mesut Özil assist, with an emotional Olivier Giroud heading in from close range. The early signs looked good.

But after that it went pear shaped.

And you could consider all the factors as bad luck:

  • Our main enforcer Francis Coquelin got injured and his replacement Mikel Arteta was well off the pace and scored an own goal.
  • Laurent Koscielny gave Rondon far too much space to burst into the box and deliver that decisive cross, which you could possibly excuse him for considering the tragic events of last week.
  • The goal that West Brom did score was a bit of a fluke, lets be honest. Morrison would whack that over the bar 99 times out of 100.
  • The Santi Cazorla penalty – two points here. The first was that there were 2 West Brom players about 4/5 yards into the box before Santi even hit the ball. And the second is obviously the condition of the penalty spot – you can’t blame Cazorla for the penalty spot collapsing.

I would be the first person to condemn Arsenal if they were poor and threw away the 3 points, but considering all those factors that went against us, you can excuse them this time.

Added to that the horrendous injury list we have, it was always going to be an uphill battle yesterday.

Ronaldo The Movie: My Honest Review

Film: Ronaldo [IMDB Link]
Released: 9th November 2015
Runtime: 102 minutes

First of all, I’d like to start off this review by saying that I am a huge Cristiano Ronaldo fan. We all know that you either love him or hate him (he even references this in the movie) but it’s clear to say that I am in the love camp. He played in the Premier League for Manchester United for 6 seasons and even though I hate United, you couldn’t dispute the talent and ability of Cristiano Ronaldo. He won the 2008 Ballon d’Or and deservedly so that year.

A question a lot of people ask me then is how do I rate Ronaldo against Lionel Messi? That’s a tough one. I am a Ronaldo fan but appreciate Lionel Messi is a unique and special talent – a player who has captured the imagination of the footballing world and will rightly be considered one of the greatest players of all time alongside legends such as Pele and Maradona. But if you ask me who intrigues me as a player and a person, then it’s Ronaldo.

The thing I like about Ronaldo is that he has worked ridiculously hard to get where he has got to and for me that is inspirational. He clearly had some talent as a youngster but what sets him apart is his sheer dedication and work ethic. He always believes he can be better and is never satisfied with what he has achieved. Anyone can have footballing ability but it takes someone special to give it 110% every single day – and that is what Ronaldo has done, he strives to improve.

When you think about the other 99% of footballers around he puts them to shame. Far too many footballers are comfortable, satisfied with what they have. They get the money, the mansion, the cars and the women and at that point they think they’ve made it. But Ronaldo has never been satisfied and while many players perhaps started with a similar skill-set as Ronaldo in their teens, very few have gone on to achieve what Ronaldo has achieved.

Another thing I like about Ronaldo is that he’s honest. He doesn’t play a certain persona – he is who he is. He’s a born winner and doesn’t hide the fact that he is arrogant. I think too many football fans buy into the fact that footballers are overly humble – to be the best you need to believe you’re the best. Thierry Henry is probably one of the nicest people you will meet but you can believe that behind closed doors he felt he was the f*cking man. That he was better than anyone else that stepped on the same pitch as him, because that’s what his performances were like. To play in front of thousands of people in the stadium, be seen on TV all over the world by millions – you need to be arrogant to be the best.

So onto the movie. What did I think of it? Well when I heard about the film and the fact that it was made by the people who made Senna (which is a really fantastic film by the way) I was excited to see “Ronaldo”. But in the end, even being a massive Ronaldo fan, I hate to say that I was left pretty disappointed.

I was expecting an intimate look into the man behind the phenomenon, a glimpse into his world. And while we did see his family, his friends and Ronaldo himself off the field – in the end we didn’t really see much.

I already knew the kind of relationship he had with his mother, father, brothers and son so it didn’t really give anything extra about his family life. You did see a lot of his agent Jorge Mendes and everything he said seemed to be a big PR opportunity – you didn’t see any arguments or any real decisions being made in the life of Ronaldo. Most of the scenes with Mendes in all seemed way too scripted and false.

And then Ronaldo himself. He offers some insight to his life but nothing revealing or new, and as a big Ronaldo fan that left me disappointed. There wasn’t anything interesting and he was far to nice about pretty much everything. There’s nothing wrong with having a great life where nothing goes wrong but to have a truly intriguing documentary film there needs to be at least some vulnerability. But there is none.

And maybe that’s the problem the filmmakers had – maybe Ronaldo is perfect and that’s how his life is. But it was hardly insightful or intimate as the tagline suggests. There was nothing about his relationships, or even about how he felt about certain football matches or players – there was nothing new to interest me.

I suppose the best way to describe the movie would be to compare it to a biography a footballer will publish when he retires from the game. You have Roy Keane for instance, who had a few interesting opinions about his career at Manchester United, and didn’t hold back in his thoughts about Sir Alex Ferguson. Even Steven Gerrard had some interesting insights into his relationship with Rafa Benitez, and I’m sure there have been countless other biographies from former players that made headlines – but here in lies the problem.

The bottom line is Cristiano Ronaldo is a current player so there’s no way he can be controversial about players, coaches or football teams, because at the end of the day he still needs to work with these people. But the big problem is, is that you’re left with a “documentary film” that has slick production but has no real substance. It’s an over-scripted, PR movie that gives nothing of interest and ultimately leaves you wanting a lot more.

Really, it’s a big surprise that there isn’t a Nike advert played every 15 minutes.

So overall? Unfortunately in the end I would give the film 5 out of 10, and that is coming from a big, big, Cristiano Ronaldo fan.

Only people like me who are Ronaldo fans would want to see this movie in the first place, but it’s sad to say don’t bother. If you’re not a Ronaldo fan then I can’t see you making it through the first 30 minutes without switching it off or leaving the cinema.

Theo Walcott or Olivier Giroud? Vote Here!

So far Arsenal have had a decent season, level on points at the top of the Premier League with 22 points alongside Manchester City, and although we’ve had an indifferent Champions League campaign, we did manage to beat European heavyweights Bayern Munich last week.

And things could be worse, as our friend Jose Mourinho could testify to.

But who should be Arsenals Number 1 striker?

Theo has certainly grown into the striking role this season, improving in every game. Olivier Giroud has also done well this season, despite being second fiddle to Theo for the most of our games this season.

Theo has scored 4 goals so far this season, in 9 games, while Olivier has scored 6 goals in 14 appearances. A few of those have been as substitute (for both players) so their records aren’t too bad. There was this statistic going around recently that Theo had 11 goals in 11 starts but that was slightly misleading as that went back to the 2013/2014 season as he was struggling with injuries last season.

Anyway, who do you think should be Arsenal’s first choice striker? And why?

Leave your comments in the section below and don’t forget to take part in our poll!

Can Arsenal Win The Premier League? Vote Here!

So after 10 games, Arsenal are top of the Premier League (although Manchester City and Manchester United still have a game to play today in the Manchester Derby) and things are looking positive.

We currently have the best defensive record in the league, have 4 wins in a row and look like a team with a huge amount of confidence.

Our defence has improved dramatically this season – with Petr Cech the main reason why we have done so well recently. After he shaky start against West Ham United on the opening day of the season, he has looked phenomenal.

Football matches hinge on key moments and Petr Cech has always made the difference. John Terry along with a few other football pundits said that Cech would earn us an extra 12/15 points in a season and it would be hard to argue against it.

His ability is world class and against Bayern, he made a string of vital saves before we scored late on to win the game. And against Everton yesterday, with Arsenal protecting a narrow 2-1 lead, he saved well from ex-Barcelona player Gerard Deulofeu – that secured 3 points instead of just gaining 1.

Our backline looks solid, with Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin looking excellent defensively and offensively, and Mertesacker, Gabriel and Koscielny all look established and comfortable with which ever central defenders are paired together.

In midfield, we have an embarrassment of riches but it is upfront where the most encouraging signs are. Theo Walcott is improving in the role of lone striker every week and Olivier Giroud is also looking good, scoring on a regular basis despite having limited game time.

Arsene Wenger has pulled off a fantastic system regarding the striker role – he now has two real options and can rotate when needed. Theo has been performing well of late, linking up well with Özil and Sanchez, but Giroud has looked very good when called upon – Arsenal finally have a Plan A  and Plan B and Arsene can interchange these systems game by game or even during a match. These two distinct styles of attacking play both Theo and Giroud give us is invaluable over the course of a season, and will give opposing teams a real problem when trying to nullify our attacking threat.

And the other real advantage the Theo/Giroud options is that we should be able to keep both of our strikers fresh and fit throughout the course of a long season.

Arsenal look like they are finally in a position where Premier League glory can be achieved.

But what do you think?

Leave your comments in the section below and don’t forget to vote!

Theo Walcott Is The Key To Our Title Challenge

Well I don’t think many Arsenal supporters saw that coming.

Arsenal were sensational. If we’re going to slate them for being awful when we get a poor result, we have to praise them when they get an excellent win – and that’s exactly how it was yesterday against Manchester United.

The league leaders were blown away and we fully deserved it. The team which were top of the Premier League looked completely lost as we attacked time and time again – if you wanted to be picky you could argue that Arsenal should have scored 5 or 6 goals at least.

Alexis Sanchez was, well, Alexis Sanchez. There are no more superlatives to describe the guy – he is simply outstanding and we are blessed to have him in an Arsenal shirt. He makes the extraordinary look simple and he is truly a world class player.

Mesut Özil looked excellent as well, although he had chances to score a second goal in the 90 minutes. Özil needs to put in a top class performance week in, week out, if he wants to help Arsenal win the biggest trophies. Is this his season? Only time will tell.

But the most encouraging performance for me was from Theo Walcott.

The main striker role is the position we were having the most problems with as it was clear that Olivier Giroud is good to an extent, but doesn’t perform in the biggest games and fails to make the difference when we really need him. The Monaco home game last season was a match with summed up his talent – tries hard but doesn’t have the quality to score enough goals or get us to win the big games.

But with Theo, the signs are promising.

In the last 10 seasons this is the first where Theo has been given a starting berth as Arsenal’s main man. We only have one main striker and he has been given the chance by Arsene to prove he can make it there – and at the moment, he is doing excellently.

Walcott has been criticised for not having a football brain but this season he has shown he has the ability to adapt. Already in this campaign, his hold up and link play has improved dramatically, and his football intelligence has improved ten fold.

He brings others into play, can find a decisive pass and although he didn’t score yesterday, still has an eye for goal. If you want to be super critical you could say his finishing could improve, but don’t forget he is still relatively new to the role.

Like against Leicester last week, he was excellent again against Manchester United. His link up play was good and he made two assists – one for Özil and one for Sanchez. His movement off the ball has improved a lot and his overall game is much much better than before.

He obviously has the blistering pace and the way Walcott, Sanchez and Özil were passing the ball between themselves was mesmerising at times yesterday. And if they are that impressive in early October how are they going to be once they get used to each other in a few months time?

There has to be no doubt whatsoever that Theo is Arsenal’s main man this season – and the bottom line is our title challenge this season relies on his performances.

We all know that Olivier Giroud is not good enough to lead Arsenal to a title, but with his improving performances and adaptation to the role, Theo Walcott is.