Why Everton Will Demolish Arsenal Based On This Season Alone

So here we are, another massive game for Arsenal.

As it stands, Arsenal are in 4th position in the Premier League after having played 32 games with 64 points. Everton sit in 5th after 31 games, and have 60 points.

So the situation is clear.

If Arsenal win, they are well on the way to finishing in a Champions League spot come the end of the season. A draw gives us a theoretical 1 point buffer over Everton (if they win their game in hand) and a defeat… Well that’s not worth thinking about.

The problem is that we’ve been in this exact same situation 3 times before this season and every time, spectacularly failed.

Regular readers will know that I have repeatedly made the same old point over and over again. When Arsenal are ahead of a team in the league, and only need a point to keep a nice distance between them, they collapse is unbelievable fashion.

Against Manchester City, we were several points clear and should have kept it tight and played for a draw. What happened? We played an extremely naive and open game and lost 6-3.

Against Manchester United, we were well ahead of them but somehow managed to lose against the worst Manchester United side in the last 20 years. And a Manchester United side with the worst home record over the last 2 decades.

Against Liverpool, we were 7 points ahead of them and what happened? We lost 5-1. Before Anfield we were 7 points ahead and now we are 8 points behind. That is a massive 15 point swing in the matter of less than two months.

And then we have Chelsea. You would think Arsene would have learned his lesson but no. Once again we play a ridiculous system and end up losing 6-0. In a game where a draw would have kept us in the race, we spectacularly lose.

So why is there any hope against Everton?

Every time we’ve faced a top opponent, and every time that has been away, we’ve lost the plot. We’ve collapsed, we’ve capitulated, call it whatever you want. For whatever reason, we haven’t turned up and had a hiding.

Is it because Arsene Wenger has lost the dressing room? Is it because we need Ramsey and Walcott?

Whatever the reason is, Arsene needs to sort it out because once again we face a top Premier League side in their own back yard. And in the 4 times that’s happened already this season, we’ve completely collapsed and given that side a massive boost in the process.


Predictions For The Manchester City Game? Will Arsenal Lose 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0?

Arsenal go into today’s game on the back of a disappointing draw at home against Swansea, and a disastrous defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The level of opposition doesn’t let up as Manchester City come to town. The blue side of Manchester completely outplayed Manchester United (something we failed to do at two attempts), beating them 3-0 at Old Trafford.

So it’s going to be a big ask today.

If we can’t keep a clean sheet against Swansea, then what hope do you have against Edin Dzeko who is on form, Yaya Toure who is a beast and David Silva and Samir Nasri, who are pulling the strings.

If Manchester City turn up, then it could be another embarrassment.

The small consolation is that it is away from home Arsenal have been a shambles. At home, we’ve drawn against Chelsea, Manchester United but also managed to beat Tottenham and Liverpool.

So all hope is not lost.

But Arsenal are well out of the title race while Manchester City are in a fantastic position to win the league.

If Arsenal do manage to win, then they still have a slight chance to making a late charge for the title. It’s a small chance but it would still be possible to nick it if the other teams slip up – but it would take a near impeccable rest of the season, which on recent weeks looks hugely unlikely.

So predictions for the score this afternoon?

My heart says 1-1, but my head says 4-1 to Manchester City.


Why Arsenal Can Beat Bayern And Progress Tonight

So tonight is the big one. After losing 2-0 at home against the reigning European Champions, we face a the though prospect of going to the Allianz Arena needing to score at least 2 goals to stay in the tie.

Impossible? No, but there’s no doubt the odds are heavily stacked against us.

We won 2-0 there last season and Bayern went on to progress on the away goals rule. We scored an early goal, they missed a few chances and things got nervy at the end when Koscielny scored with 5 minutes to go. We couldn’t nick that vital third goal but we showed that we’re no pushovers in Europe.

In our last 5 visits to Germany, we’ve won 3 games and drawn 2 which is an excellent record. It shows how resilient we can be and that when it matters, we can get a result.

I would be much more confident if we had our first choice back four, but Gibbs is injured. A defensive line of Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Gibbs is one of the best in Europe in my opinion. The four of them defend so well as unit and regular readers will know that I don’t rate Monreal, since he featured in the heavy defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool. And for me, he was also one of the major reasons we conceded the two goals against Bayern in the first leg.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Monreal is also injured meaning that our options are to put Thomas Vermaelen at left back, or to move Sagna to that position and play Carl Jenkinson at right back. Vermaelen has only just come back from injury so could be a risk and people forget that Jenkinson played in the Bayern game last season. What will Arsene do? I suspect he will play Vermaelen even though I think it’s a risk.

Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are certain to anchor the midfield with a bit of fight and organisation and further up the field Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud are nailed on to start. So the last midfield position is between Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and I have a feeling he might start with the Czech. He’s played in Germany before and sets the tempo in the big games, as well as being able to track back and throw his weight around in midfield.

Obviously, tonight hinges on the first goal. Like at Dortmund, we had to withstand a lot of pressure before nicking a goal at the other end. If we can keep a clean sheet anything is possible but like tonight, if Dortmund scored first you just know that would have opened the floodgates.

If we can keep it tight, then Bayern will feel the pressure and we can slowly edge our way into the game. But if they score early then our heads will drop and it will be one long, tough evening indeed.

In a way, if Bayern did score it wouln’t make a huge different in terms of an aggregate score as 3 goals would see us through. But obviously that is something we need to avoid.

They say you need some luck on nights like these and tonight is no different. If the Gods of fate are playing fairly then we are definitely due some luck in the Champions League. One top of the harsh decision to send of Szczesny in the first leg, we also had a petty sending off at Barcelona (Robin van Persie) and another in the Champions League Final (Jens Lehmann) so we’re due some good luck.

Perhaps Bayern will have their goalkeeper sent off and some of their defenders will score a couple of unfortunate own goals. But maybe that’s asking a little too much.

As long as Arsenal put in a determined, focused performance and give it everything they have, then that’s all you can ask for. And if we do manage to surprise everyone and progress, then that’s a bonus.

You can say many things about Arsene Wenger but one thing I will say is that no matter which team we face, I believe that Arsenal can always win. I have never gone to watch Arsenal thinking they had no chance of winning that game. Because of the style of play Arsene adopts, I always think we can score goals.

So tonight we’re going to need a bit of faith and a bit of luck.



Do Arsenal Have What It Takes To Beat Stoke City?

As February comes to an end and March begins, tomorrow marks the start of another massive round of games this month. Tomorrow we have Stoke City away which is always a tough game, then Everton, Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and finally Manchester City.

If you wanted a tougher month of football matches in a single month, you would find it hard to every find a month as difficult as that.

So a positive result tomorrow is massive. It gives us confidence going into what I like to call, “the month of death”. The experts will come out and say that this month will define our season, and to a big extent it’s hard to disagree. With the Bayern game aside, the others are ones we have to win. For me, if we didn’t progress in the Champions League then it wouldn’t be the end of the world – overturning a 2 goal deficit against the World Champions is a monumental ask at the best of times, so you can’t have a go at Arsenal if we don’t make it. We’ll give it one hell of a go I’m certain, but in terms of realistic trophies we can win this season, our priorities should be the Premier League and FA Cup.

We are only a single point off Chelsea and we need to make sure that gap doesn’t increase in March. Again, that’s a massive ask given the fixtures we have coming up, but not impossible. The must-win games for me this month are Stoke, Everton and Tottenham – draws against Chelsea and Manchester City would not be a disaster.

So do we have what it takes tomorrow?

Stoke City have always been awkward opponents for us and tomorrow will be no different. Mark Hughes has a different style to Tony Pulis, but the side pretty much has the same physical approach. They have players like Peter Crouch, Robert Huth, Charlie Adam, Jonathan Walters and Cunty McCunterson (previous name Ryan Shawcross). And since Mark Hughes has taken over, they’ve had the most cards issued in the league and given away the most fouls.

So don’t think they’ve turned over a new leaf.

Tomorrow will be decided on which Arsenal turn up. To win all 3 points Arsenal need to be aggressive, decisive and give 110%. This is not a game we can play badly and nick all 3 points. Stoke never let you settle and if too many Arsenal players are off their game, we will lose.

Arsene unusually gave the players 2 days off so I think he knows the players need to be both mentally and physically ready for the challenge that faces us tomorrow.

It is one of the most toughest away days the Premier League can offer, so Arsenal need to make sure they’re fully prepared for the battle that awaits.


Why Arsenal Have No Excuse Against Manchester United Tonight

Arsenal host Manchester United tonight in a game which will be at the very least, intriguing. It’s a game that both Arsenal fans and Manchester fans will watch with a hint of trepidation after the weekend – Arsenal reeling from a 5-1 drubbing from Liverpool and Manchester United disillusioned after Darren Bent’s last minute equaliser at Old Trafford.

The position in the league, the bookmakers odds and the experts opinion will all favour an Arsenal win. The problem is that we know that on any given night, anything can happen.

We were top of the league when we played Manchester United at Old Trafford and a sucker punch goal from *ahem* Robin van Persie gave them all three points. And in the defeats against Manchester City and Liverpool, we started the matches slow and heavily paid the price.

So it is extremely important we have a right go at Manchester United from the first whistle and after the disaster at Anfield, Arsene Wenger and the players will know that better than anyone.

Perversely as things stand, Arsenal are only two points behind Chelsea after their surprising draw at West Brom. With all of the drama on Saturday and the world collapsing around us, we can still end the week top of the Premier League.

That’s how crazy football is.

And that’s why Arsenal have absolutely no excuse tonight. They should be still licking their wounds from the massive embarrassment at the weekend and now, will have the added motivation of being able to take the Premier League title challenge by the horns and regain top spot.

Arsene’s team selection will be decisive factor in how Arsenal perform tonight. Nacho Monreal has proven he isn’t on the same level as the rest of the back four. He started the Liverpool and Manchester City games, the two games we conceded an embarrassing amount of goals. Whether Gibbs was rested or injured at the weekend, we have to pray that he is available tonight.

Tomas Rosicky was also another player who should have started against Liverpool. In the big games, like tonight, he is the man who sets the tempo for the whole team. He is full of energy and his desire and determination rubs off on the other players.

Another question Arsene has to ask is should Lukas Podolski start? He’s been mainly on the bench this season and surely with our limited options up front, he has to be considered? Manchester United’s back line isn’t the most mobile and his pace could hurt them. Olivier Giroud however, would be the player Manchester United would like to defend against because of his lack of movement and pace.

All eyes will also be Arsenal’s superstar signing Mesut Özil.

After a great start to his Arsenal career, he has gone off the boil in spectacular fashion. When we’ve needed him to perform and show that he is a world class player, he’s disappeared. Against Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool, all big games, he’s been invisible. Tonight is a game where he needs to get his act together and show us how talented he actually is.

There’s no doubt he’s a top, top player but there is a danger he could turn into an Andrei Arshavin. Except that Arshavin was brilliant for us for about 18 months before strolling around. Things like having Per Mertesacker bollock you on the pitch after the City game because he wouldn’t acknowledge the travelling Arsenal supporters isn’t positive and seems like the actions of a diva.

In his defence, at Real Madrid he was playing alongside world class forwards like Ronaldo, Higuain and Benzema, players who would bury chances to score. At Arsenal, he has to feed…. Olivier Giroud. Another problem Özil has is that he’s had to get used to a new league, a new country and a new climate.

Özil has a lot of credit with Arsenal fans because of his reputation and start to Arsenal career, but it won’t be long before fans get tired of his listless, pedestrian performances.

If there’s one player who needs to step up tonight, it’s Mesut Özil.