Things seem to be looking bright for Arsenal…Finally!!!

Arsenal on the rise again?

Arsenal on the rise again?

Arsenal defeated Hull city 2-1 yesterday night to go through to the FA cup semi final. Before that they defeated Blackburn comprehensively to regain the coveted 4th place and qualification for the Champions League. Also just a few days earlier they defeated FC Roma on penalties in the knock out stages of the Champions league to qualify for the quarter finals of the Champions League.

Thus as of now all seems well placed for Arsenal. If only the EPL season ended today I would be glad. I don’t trust Aston Villa (they might topple us from the 4th place)  and more importantly I dont trust Arsenal (the inconsistent performances over the last 2 years are to blame). With EPL and the pressure to qualify for the Champions League out we could concentrate on the FA cup and Champions league and try and get some silverware at the club after a long time.

Things are bright as of now for sure but the road ahead is not as rosy. We face Chelsea in the FA cup Semi finals and some very tough teams are lined up in the Champions league quarter finals draw.

I strongly believe that Arsenal will reach the Semi-finals of the Champions League, more so if we get Porto or Villareal in the Quarters, Even Bayern we might handle. But if we face any other English club or Barcelona, then we are doomed for sure.

Even the Premier league fixtures are gonna get tougher as the season comes to a close.

Date Team   Team home/away
21st March 2009
vs Arsenal away
4th April 2009 Arsenal vs Man City home 
11th April 2009 Wigan vs Arsenal away
26th April 2009 Arsenal vs Middlesbrough  home 
2nd May 2009 Portsmouth  vs Arsenal away
9th May 2009 Arsenal vs Chelsea  home 
16th May 2009 Manchester United  vs Arsenal away
24th May 2009 Arsenal vs Stoke City  home 
to be scheduled Liverpool vs Arsenal away

As you can see, Arsenal has to face 3 of the top 4 teams in the last 9 fixtures pending. So each match is gonna be a tough ask on the Gunners. I think the Gunners can maximum take 4 points out of those 3 fixtures. Which leaves very little scope to drop any more points in the other 6 fixtures.  

 Stoke, Middlesborough, Wigan and Newcastle are the fixtures that i think we will get the maximum points from. The Portsmouth & Man City fixtures would be tricky ones and i see us struggling to win.

Lets hope Aston Villa’s champions league hopes are deflated when our rivals Liverpool and Manchester United take lead from one of our other rivals Tottenham and beat Aston Villa. That would not only deflate their hopes of the champions league place, but also the morale of the team-mates who already look jaded and drained out from a long hard season. Aston villa have a small squad and the results of not rotation are showing with a decline in form for players like Agbonlahor and Young who were at the peak of their forms at the begining of the season.

All in all I think the 4th place finish will go down to the wire and Arsenal will just nip fellow contendors Villa and Everton to qualify for Champions league 2009-10.


EPL Results & Review (4th & 5th October 2008)

Like i had told in my preview to the weekends big 4 clashes none of the matches was a cakewalk for either of the big 4’s.

One had a easy victory, one needed a slice of luck (liberal refreeing), one needed to fight back with all they had till the very last minutes of the game to get 3 points and another had to fight even harder till late into the injury time to snatch even a point from the game.

Chelsea had a relatively easy win over Aston Villa. First-half goals from Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka kept Scolari’s men at the top of the Barclays Premier League, and it could have been more but for the reflexes of Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel. The hosts, already without the services of host of their star players then saw midfielder Cole limp off as he picked up his apparent foot injury and hobbled down the tunnel. Anelka, struggling with some spasms before the match, was also taken off at the break meaning Franco di Santo got a decent run for full 45 minutes. Branislav Ivanovic also made his league debut for Chelsea and appeared to be in control with John terry in the heart of the Chelsea defence.

Manchester United needed a bit of luck as brown broke the deadlock just after the half an hour mark as referree seem to have ignored the fowl of Vidic on the Blackburn goalkeeper Brown. Once that goal happened ManU looked like a completely different side showing glimpses of the Manu of last season. Ronaldo set up Rooney for just after the hour mark for the English player to continue his decent goal-scoring form off late. Tevez and Berbatov had chances which the strikers could not finish unfortunately with the formers effort hitting the cross bar.

Liverpool left it late for Dirk Kuyt to snatch the winner before 2 goals from none other than Fernando Torres had cancelled Manchester City’s lead. Stephen Ireland scored the opened for Man city and Javier Garrido the young left back scored from a super free kick to double their lead. Rafa must have given his team some very important team talk as they looked completely in control in the second half. Man City also took the foot off the pedal and were happy defending in numbers but had to pay the Price as Torres slotted in from close range to reduce the lead by half. Man City were made to pay the price further as Zabaleta was sent off by referee Peter Walton for what the official deemed as a two-footed lunge on Alonso. Torres soon doubled the lead by putting in a header from Steven Gerrards corner. Dirk Kuyt scored 2 minutes into the injury time to give Liverpool all 3 points and leaving Mark Hughes wondering what went wrong for his side after they had taken a comfortable 2 goals lead.

In the fourth match of the Big 4’s this weekend, Arsenal’s bad form in the Premier league continued with Wenger’s boys almost facing consecutive defeats at the hands of Roy Keane’s Sunderland. Sunderland played defensively all along and left Arsenal to create very few chances. Robin Van Persie’s goal before the hour mark was disallowed after the referree deemed that ball had gone out of play before Theo Walcott crossed it in the box for RVP to score. Replays suggested otherwise. Nothing seemed to go right for the Arsenal team as the deadlock was finally broken with four minutes remaining when Leadbitter drilled the ball past Almunia and in off the underside of the bar, although the drama was far from over there. With the game in the third of four minutes of stoppage-time, Fabregas headed van Persie’s corner home to snatch a point and rescue his side. Arsene Wenger will have a lot of thinking and tinkering to do to his side who have so far shown a lot of incosistencies this season.

In some other Matches over the Weekend, Hull City beat Tottenham Hotspurs and continue to amaze all and are now sitting 3rd in the league table. Spurs on the other hand sit right at the bottom of the table with just 2 points from 7 games. Geovanni was the scorer for Hull and continues his knack of scoring audacious goals with a stupendous free kick already having scored 2 stunning goals this season.

 Everton were held by Newcastle in a 2-2 draw. Bolton ran 3-1 winners against West Ham away. Both Engalnd internation strikers i.e. Jermaine Defoe and Peter Crouch scored to help Portsmouth to a 2-1 victory over stoke city. West Brom defeated Fulham 1-0 to take all 3 points.

The newly promoted sides this season definitely look much better than last years. Though only time will tell if all or any of them will be in the premier league the next season too.

Below are the list of EPL results i have compiled for you, so enjoy: –

West Ham
1-3 Bolton  
  Cole 68:41   Davies 29:39  
    Cahill 33:27  
    Taylor 86:00  
0-1 Hull  
      Geovanni 8:08  
2-0 Aston Villa  
  Cole 20:45      
  Anelka 43:04    
Man City
2-3 Liverpool  
  Ireland 18:16   Torres 54:52  
  Garrido 40:48 Torres 72:47  
    Kuyt 90:00(1:17)  
2-1 Stoke  
  Crouch 24:52   Fuller 47:39  
  Defoe 50:18    
2-2 Newcastle  
  Arteta 16:43 Scored   Taylor 45:00(1:32)  
  Fellaini 34:27 Duff 46:16  
1-1 Arsenal  
  Leadbitter 85:05   Fabregas 90:00(2:45)  
West Brom
1-0 Fulham  
  Bednar 60:26      
0-1 Middlesbrough  
      Aliadiere 88:21  
0-2 Man Utd  
      Brown 30:10  
    Rooney 63:19  

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