Posts Tagged ‘Arsenal’

Norwich 1-0 Arsenal

Posted: October 24, 2012 by Pranoy Biswas in Football
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An intense game ended in disappointment for the Gunners. Grant Holt’s goal from the rebound was enough as the Canaries put on a battling display to hold out Arsenal.

Formations and lineups

Norwich started with a 4-4-1-1 with Wes Hoolahan in behind Grant Holt. Arsenal named their usual lineup with Andre Santos and Per Mertesacker in place of the injured Kieron Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny.

Norwich Tactics

The Canaries started brightly and pressed the Arsenal midfield forcing them into errors and conceding possession. Once the ball was won their passing was quick and direct and launched fast counters, although they were dealt with comfortably by the Gunner’s defence.

Norwich’s industry bore fruit when Grant Holt netted in the rebound on the 19th minute after a long range shot. Andre Santos was guilty of staying behind the line and rendering the offside trap useless which allowed the advantage Holt needed to outrun Mertesacker. It’s become a common trend to witness full-backs in a wayward position undermining the offside trap.

After the goal, Norwich camped in their own half with Hoolahan dropping deep and making the Canaries shape more like a 4-5-1 with Holt on his own. They were careful though of not giving the Arsenal midfield maestros any time on the ball. They accomplished this by staying deep and only pressing the midfield when they reached an advanced position.

Arsenal’s response

With space so limited in the middle, the play was spread wide and the only way Arsenal tried to pierce through the  Norwich defence were through crosses with Oliver Giroud the favourite target. This didn’t work as the French striker was usually well marked by the centre-backs and his influence upon the game was minimal.

One way to unlock such teams are for the midfielders to provide driving runs from deep. The player we missed most in this game wasn’t RVP, it was Diaby, someone whose powerful runs are vital for the team.

Santi Cazorla, the man entrusted with the responsibility of providing creativity, was mostly too deep in search of possession and the intense pressing from the opponents meant he couldn’t get forward enough to provide through balls or try his accurate long range shots.

Arsene Wenger brought on Oxlade-Chamberlain in place of Podolski who had an average game to provide more pace in Arsenal’s play. This move did not work as The Ox hobbled off to be replaced by Arshavin. It was too much expect from the Russian, who hasn’t started many games and thrust right into such an intense midfield battle and he didn’t influence the game much.

Apart from a late long-range strike from Arteta, Arsenal did not have many attempts on goal and Norwich held on comfortably to register a creditable win


While the goal can be forgiven, Arsenal’s lack of penetration and their slow build-up play contributed to a very frustrating display. This is the third game this season where the Gunners have been shunted out by a deep-lying defence and their lack of ability to withstand heavy pressure in the midfield was particularly worrying. It’s still early in the season and the defence looked largely comfortable against the quick Norwich counters. A solid defence is always a good foundation to build a season on.


The RVP Transfer Saga

Posted: July 18, 2012 by The Death of a Clown in Football
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Here’s our guest writer, Karthik Bharadwaj, an Arsenal fan at heart giving us his take on the Van Persie story. Unedited, uncut.

Well, to begin with it came as a surprise for Arsenal fans like me to see RvP in the lineup week – in week – out. His performance was directly proportional to the percentage of days he spent on the treatment table.

Steadily came the goals and assists we were all so eagerly anticipating from the Dutchman who we visualized as the next Bergkamp.

His stats read like this: 279 apps, 132 goals, 63 assists.

So it seems a good enough contribution from a faux nine corresponding to the number of games he played. But the stats can be called ordinary by somewhat means when you consider the number of years he has been at Arsenal. He signed way back at the start of the 04/05 season i.e. 8 seasons ago.  279 apps in 8 seasons doesn’t show positive signs. “Glass limbs” was his alias.

He was signed as a part of the youth experiment by Wenger in the same year which also saw Cesc come to London. Initially his behavior as described by a daily was “21 going on 9”. Steadily AW and the club moulded him into such a wonderful player.

For a club which stood by him at his hardest of times when he was forced out of play with recurring injuries he has just turned his back on it. The manager showed faith in him by rewarding a new contract when his old one was about to expire and he was still on the treatment table. The previous season has been his personal best which saw him injury free. Other seasons his performances were nothing to boast about.

Character wise he isn’t as good as he seems. Feuds with Bert van Marwijk in his Feyenoord days haven’t gone unnoticed. Rape allegations followed up in 2006 which landed him in prison under suspicion. Those allegations even though were proven false he later admitted to have consensual sex with the complainant. The image of the club got tarnished with these acts but still the club had faith and backed him every time.

The manager handed him the Captains armband after the expected departure of Cesc. He proved to be the perfect choice for being named captain by coming up with stellar performances and led from the front. The 2011 – 2012 season shall always be remembered for RvP single handedly performing consistently for the Gunners. But that was just 1 season. I repeat just one.

The youth project might have been unsuccessful in terms of trophies won but there were some real moments to cherish. RvP himself being a part of the project from the start should have shouldered the burden of expectations from the fans. Instead he releases a statement on his website stating his disinterest from extending beyond his current contract. This act of immaturity by a player of such high caliber was totally unexpected. The statement virtually kills the negotiating power of the club and also acts as an indirect transfer request. Openly stating his disagreements with the future plans of the club he has shown his uglier side. No player is bigger than the club and he is no exception. Hopefully he is sold as soon as possible.

I didn’t want to say it but still “Shame on you,Captain!!”

P.S: Don’t blame us, we tried to stop him. We’re nice people that way.