Can Arsenal Go On A Run And Win The Premier League?

As it stands, Arsenal are 8 points behind the leaders Leicester City with 9 games remaining. In terms of the title race, and with Leicester in excellent form, it would take a minor miracle for Arsenal to pip them to the Premier League title.

But can Arsenal do it? And what do Arsenal need?

Essentially, Arsenal will need to win 8 out of the 9 games to stand a chance of Premier League glory. And that means going on another winning streak – which Arsenal have done before.

We have a lot of tough fixtures coming up, and our remaining games are:

  • West Brom (H)
  • Everton (A)
  • Watford (H)
  • West Ham (A)
  • Crystal Palace (H)
  • Sunderland (A)
  • Norwich City (H)
  • Manchester City (A)
  • Aston Villa (H)

It’s an old cliche (but a correct one) that there are no easy games in the Premier League. But for me, there are 3 games in particular which will prove to be very difficult, which are the Everton, West Ham and Manchester City matches – all away.

Can we go on a winning run? Of course we can but whether we do is another question. It’s not out of the realms of possibility but it would take an extraordinary effort from the team to pull it off. We need to make up 8 points on a team which is in form and full of confidence.

And even if we did win our last 9 games, there’s still no guarantee we would win the title.

So do you think Arsenal can still win the league? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

“Smug” Untold Arsenal Blog Probably Shouldn’t Be So Smug Anymore!

Just over 2 years ago, I wrote a post entitled “Olivier Giroud is f*cking awful. Why Arsenal need to get rid of him“. It was a post which funnily enough, given our recent plight, still resonates even 2 years on.

The fact of the matter is he is not good enough for a club that has aspirations of winning the Premier League or Champions League.

You need a world-class striker to win the major honours and I feel like I’ve made this point a million times. Manchester City have Aguero, Manchester United have Rooney and Martial, Chelsea have Diego Costa, Liverpool have Sturridge (sometimes) and even Tottenham have Harry Kane. Okay, some of those are not world-class, but they are at least big players who score on a regular basis (bar Costa obviously in a struggling Chelsea side, but last season when they won the league he scored for fun).

But Olivier Giroud? It’s fair to say he wouldn’t get in any Top 6 team.

Which brings me to Untold Arsenal. I don’t know who they are and never read their blog, but they published an article in January which has only just been brought to my attention. They ended up referencing the aforementioned blog post I wrote about Giroud (which fair to say, was not the most complimentary) and essentially mocked my post.

The “smug” Tony Attwood (he actually included the “smug” part in his name) couldn’t contain his smug-ness at those protesting that some people had the audacity to claim Olivier Giroud is shit. He cites a lot of facts and figures, including one which claims that only Lionel Messi has a better goals to minutes ration and that Olivier Giroud’s scoring record is better than Cristiano Ronaldo’s?

Anyway, he essentially laughs at those who dared to question Olivier Giroud’s quality and mocks those who think he’s crap.

The funny thing in all this is that “Smug Tony Attwood” wrote this article only 2 months ago. We can all agree I think that Olivier Giroud is nowhere near good enough for Arsenal yet I saw this two years ago! He “smugly” posts two years later and still gets it completely wrong!

This is the “amazing” striker that hasn’t scored in his last 12 games?

So I’m not sure you should be so “smug” any more, Tony.

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.

How Arsenal Can Win The League – Without Giroud Or Walcott!

I think the vast majority of Arsenal fans (myself included) were pretty gutted that Arsene didn’t sign a new striker during the transfer window. With Danny Welbeck now out for 4/5 months, the need for another forward was even more desperate.

After last season, hopes were high that Arsenal could mount a real title challenge this time out. The key areas Arsenal needed to strengthen were in goal, defensive midfield and up front. Arsenal promptly signed Petr Cech (which was a massive coup) and found their defensive midfielder in young Francis Coquelin, who has proved to be a fantastic option. So really the only place we needed to improve was in attack.

We have a wealth of attacking and creative midfielders, and in defence we are pretty solid. We have Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gabriel and Chambers fighting for the central defender positions and have two decent fullbacks on each side; Gibbs and Monreal on the left and Bellerin and Debuchy on the right.

So if we are so close to creating a genuine title challenging team, then why didn’t we get a striker? Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud are pretty much have the perfect attributes to create a world class striker – it’s just a pity that we can’t merge them both together and create a mutated “super striker”. I don’t buy for a second that there are no quality strikers available – especially with Arsenal’s comprehensive scouting network – that managed to find some really fantastic players over the years.

But we’re going over old ground now. We don’t have the world class striker we all crave so we’re stuck with what we’ve got so to speak. So what is the solution?

As we’ve seen already this season (and over previous seasons to be fair) it is clear that Olivier Giroud is not the solution. He offers something different but is just not clinical enough. Arsenal create so many chances that a real top quality forward would be putting away at least 30 ever season – and that would just be in the Premier League. You should be aiming to get at least a goal a game, if you play up front for Arsenal.

And what about Theo Walcott? The Stoke City game summed him up. He’s got electric pace but his finishing is not good enough. If you give me the option of playing Theo or Giroud as the lone striker then I would always pick Theo. That’s because our most expensive and talented footballer, Mesut Özil, needs an outlet to play his probing through balls – and Giroud is not ideal for that at all. At least Theo can run on beyond the opposition back line – like for his goal on Saturday.

I very rarely agree with anything Alan Shearer has to say, but he was spot on at the weekend when he said that Theo Walcott was “too nice”. He is and his finishing shows this – he should be smashing shots and firing bullets into the net like Alexis Sanchez does. But too many times on Saturday he was firing blanks as his limp shots were easily saved. He took his goal really well, but could have scored at least 3 or 4 goals that day.

So what’s the solution?

Olivier Giroud is not the man to count on and neither is Theo. And if Arsene isn’t going to change his system to accommodate both of them (i.e. play two up front) then this is how we should line up:

We should line up without a striker.

Spain managed to win a major tournament without a striker in 2012 (playing Fabregas as the “striker”) and other team such as the Dutch team of 1974 operated without a traditional “centre forward”.

So why couldn’t we do it?

I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work, and the advantages would be that:

  • We’d be less predictable and become a more difficult team to face.
  • We wouldn’t create chances for a striker that needed 15 opportunities to score.
  • We have players who are intelligent enough for it to work effectively.
  • Ramsey, Özil, Cazorla, Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain are all clever enough and have the ability to interchange and play in any of the attacking positions at any one time.
  • All 5 of those “attacking players” – with the possible exception of Özil – are all excellent finishers.

The reason why we have a striker in the team is because he is supposed to score goals (seems logical enough doesn’t it?). So if we don’t have a player who is good enough, but we have a bounty of attacking talent then why not play to our strengths? Our passing and movement is the best in the league and with 5 players of the calibre of Ramsey, Özil, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sachez running riot then we would be formidable. The opposition would have no idea what to do and that would create even more space for our intelligent attackers.

But will Arsene Wenger do it? I can confidently say it wouldn’t have even crossed his mind.

What Can You Say About That? Emotional Isn’t The Word!

We all knew how massive yesterday’s FA Cup final was in the history of Arsenal Football Club.

Ever since the move to The Emirates, we’ve been restricted financially and over the last 8 seasons have had to sell our best players. World class talents such as Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Ashley Cole and Samir Nasri have all left and won trophies elsewhere – and very good players such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure and Alex Song have all departed and had mixed success at their new clubs but have still managed to add medals to their personal collection.

So this was a defining moment in Arsenal’s history. Winning the FA Cup would in a small way justify Arsene Wenger’s approach and ethos which has seen us trophy-less for the last 8 seasons, but seen us consistently “win” the other trophy which is 4th place in the Premier League.

We managed to successfully book our place in next years Champions League (providing we successfully negotiate a qualifier) so it was all on yesterday’s final. And in true Arsenal fashion, we could not have made things harder for ourselves.

Arsenal were clearly nervous in the first few minutes and obviously decided that on such a massive occasion as yesterday, the best approach would be to feel their way into the game and let our overall quality shine through over the 90 minutes. Unfortunately, Hull City had other ideas and they came out of the block flying. A combination of their determination and our lacklustre start, Hull City found themselves 2-0 up inside the first 8 minutes.

The millions of Arsenal fans watching couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Not even in their worst nightmares could they have imagined something like this. Some could probably have seen us concede the first goal, but not to be 2-0 down within 10 minutes of kick off.

The only real consolation was that Hull City scored their goals early and with a lead like that, against opposition like Arsenal they got deeper and deeper, happy to get us on the break or score from set-pieces. And don’t take that as any kind of criticism – for me Hull City almost executed the perfect game plan yesterday and they deserve a huge amount of credit, and it’s hard not to feel sorry for them yesterday. In the end there can only be one winner but Hull City couldn’t have pushed us any further.

With the goals coming early we had 80 minutes to get our act together, but at 2-0 Hull City had a headed chance cleared off the line by Kieran Gibbs who stopped a Alex Bruce header from going into the top corner. If that goes in, it’s thank you and goodnight.

We rode our luck and on 17 minutes Arsenal scored. Santi Cazorla stepped up after being fouled (I don’t care what you say, it was a clear foul) and rifled in a stunning freekick into the top corner. You could say McGregor should have saved it but take nothing away from Santi’s strike – to score at that time does not even describe the magnitude of the importance. If that doesn’t go in and we go in at half time 2 goals down, who knows how the day might have ended.

We fashioned a few chances and in the second half it was much of the same. For me, there were 2 blatant penalties which weren’t awarded and 1 other incident where I’ve definitely seen penalties given. At 2-1 down, you just thought that the curse was never going to be broken but on 71 minutes we found the break through and it was Laurent Koscielny that almost broke his leg.

From an Arsenal corner, the ball bounced to Koscielny who did well to swivel round and clip the ball in between the goalkeepers legs and into the net. During the goal however, McGregor flew out and caught Koscielny in a bad challenge. It looked like the defenders leg took the weight of the goalkeeper as he jumped into him but fortunately The Boss was okay enough to continue after some treatment.

Then at 2-2 you’re at that strange place where you don’t know whether to stick or twist. If you attack too much you might get caught on the break but you can also nick the game and win the cup. Kieran Gibbs had a glorious chance to score in the final moments and Olivier Giroud hit the bar in extra time (I think, it’s all still a bit of a blur!).

9 times out of 10 (don’t quote me on the accuracy of that statistic) when it goes into extra time you usually expect both teams to consolidate and the game generally goes to penalties. But Arsenal didn’t want that and kept pressing for the winning goal – and it came on 109 minutes.

The ball was played into Yaya Sanogo from Jack Wilshere and the ball bounced into the path of Olivier Giroud, who skilfully back heeled the ball into the path of Rambo. There is no-one else on the pitch you would rather the ball fall to into that position and Arsenal’s player of the season by some way managed to cutely finish into the bottom corner with his right foot.

At that stage, every Arsenal fan watching went into raptures and that was the moment Arsenal made history. The first major trophy in 9 years was finally coming to The Emirates and I cannot describe how happy I am. To me, the FA Cup victory represents so much more than a major trophy. It represents the future and hopefully buries those barren years that we’ve all had to endure over the last few seasons.

You could tell the players were over the moon, and Arsene Wenger just looked relieve more than anything. Maybe perhaps the FA Cup win means he can stay at Arsenal now?

Hopefully this means we can kick on and win more trophies over the next few seasons. Of course, Arsenal fans more than other football supporters know that you can’t take anything for granted in this game but today is about enjoying the absolute hell out of this and having a wonderful summer.

I definitely have a happier outlook now Arsenal have won the FA Cup and I’m sure that goes for all Arsenal fans across the world. I’ll still be enjoying this going into next season! Arsenal Football Club, FA Cup Winners 2014. It has a nice ring to it!

I can’t really describe how emotional I am right now. The first trophy for 9 seasons. It has been a long time coming and I don’t care if people think I’m over celebrating this!

Enjoy it, savour it and #COYG!