Monday, 31 October 2011

RVP: I Can Score In Every Game

When a striker is in top goalscoring form, it is a joy to behold. The player exudes a certain enviable confidence in his own ability; a bold certainty of what he is capable of and when he is capable of it. This much desired tenacity and sureness is, luckily for Arsenal, currently held purposefully by their captain and leader, Robin van Persie. Everyone knows it, including himself.

The Dutch striker has been praised as "perfect" by his manager, and, as he stands proudly at the head of the Premier League top goalscorers list with 10 crucial Arsenal goals, he also holds his clubs chances of success in a season which has started very difficultly. With a hat-trick last Saturday against Chelsea, the striker has now scored a remarkable 29 League goals in just 28 games, yet he feels he can improve on those figures, with more goals in every single game in which he plays. He said:
"I feel I can score every time I go out on to the pitch. For me it's just the best feeling to have. It doesn't really matter against who we play, we always create chances so that means I always have a go. Then it's up to me to score."
It is this very confidence and determination which has oozed from him and affected his fellow team mates brilliantly. His performances this year have been inspirational for them, and it is credit to his influential and effective appearances in the side that the whole team have picked up form. Arsene Wenger agrees whole-heartedly:
"Robin is an exceptional player who takes advantage of that fact that we have an attacking team that works hard for him. It's no coincidence that when a player scores, well it is because the team does well. Our style of play creates chance."
"Van Persie is a perfect captain not just because he scores goals but because he behaves himself on and off the field."
Arsenal face Marseille on Tuesday night with a positive result needed to progress into the latter stages of the competition. The Ligue 1 side have made it a priority to stop the in form 28 year-old Dutchman from penetrating the French sides defence with their manager, Didier Deschamps quite bluntly saying:
“To block him would be the ideal thing to do. But ideally we should be looking to stop him from getting too many balls so he doesn't have too many opportunities.”

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

"We Are Back" + Podolski to Arsenal?

Arsenal have the "spirit" and "belief" needed to succeed back in the dressing room thanks to their thrilling win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday according to the manager, Arsene Wenger. Scoring five goals away from home is an achievement against any side, but away to Chelsea, who conceded only 13 goals at home throughout the whole of last season is a fantastic confidence and morale booster for Wenger's team. The Frenchman said:
"If you have gone through what we have gone through since the start of the season, it's reassuring for me. The players have suffered, but that shows the belief and spirit is back."
"The spirit is great and all this together explains why the players reacted like that (after the final whistle). The spirit is strong and you feel that in the dressing room."
"The players are determined together and they want to play like we did against Chelsea. That encourages us to believe that we have the quality."
The Arsenal manager was also quick to praise his captain Robin van Persie for yet another superb display, scoring his 10th, 11th and 12th goals of the season at Chelsea to secure the win.
"He has exceptional class. He has scored 28 goals in 27 games in 2011. There are many factors why he is in such good form. He has experience, he is top quality and he's at the right age as well."
The side play Marseille on Tuesday in the Champions League group stages, and Wenger will be hoping to see the newly discovered spirit and belief on display again to secure a place in the later stages of the European competition.

A player whom Wenger may look to use in those later stages is FC Köln striker, Lukas Podolski. The German media are reporting that Arsenal have sent representatives to watch the former Bayern Munich attacker with the potential of a January swoop.

The 26 year-old, like van Persie is in top goalscoring form, having scored eight goals in 11 Bundesliga games for his club. Köln are not in the Champions League, so Podolski would not be cup-tied and would be eligible to contribute to Arsenal's European campaign if signed in the January transfer window.

The acquisition of an attacking player such as Podolski may seem strange considering the competition for places up front, with van Persie, Gervinho, Park and Chamakh all vying for places, however, the German international has becomes accustomed to playing out on the left wing for his country. Podolski's club have made it a priority to begin talks to extend his contract before Christmas of this year, with the players current deal expiring at the end of next season.

It is an interesting rumour, and with many others soon to follow as the January transfer window approaches, it looks like it could possibly be another busy transfer window for Arsenal. Then again, these kinds of rumours pop up every year...

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Arsenal to Move for Man City Midfielder

Arsenal's 3 - 5 win at Chelsea this week-end showcased some of their fantastic attacking ability, most obviously with the seemingly omnipotent strike force that is Robin van Persie. His hat-trick took his tally to 28 goals in 27 Premier League games, but reports are suggesting that Wenger is already looking for some extra attacking help, and will make a move for Manchester City's English midfielder Adam Johnson this January.

This may come as a surprise considering Arsenal's leaky defence and the clear need for a strong, fit, consistent defender with a decent amount of pace, but Johnson has been on the London clubs radar for a while, and January may just be the best time to make a move.

The 24 year-old has been pushed onto the City bench thanks to their huge squad of world class talent, especially the quite brilliant David Silva, and Johnson usually only plays 25 minute cameos at the end of games. Some papers have reported a "bust-up" between the player and Roberto Mancini over the treatment he has been given, but the reliability of that story is not entirely clear. Nevertheless, the point remains that Arsenal would put the former Middlesbrough man to far better use than City have done or will do as they continue to look for new players with their piles of cash.

Johnson is a very creative player who is versatile with the capabilities of playing on the right and left wing as well as behind the striker. He is very good at taking players on and has a decent delivery as well as a wonderful left foot. City signed him on deadline day in the 2010 winter transfer window for a fee of around £8 million, and the fee that is expected to be able to prise him from the Etihad Stadium is just £4 million more than that at £12 million.

He certainly has bags of talent and still a lot of potential to be realised, so who better than Arsene Wenger to culture that potential into something great just as he has done with a previous £2.5 million signing about 8 years ago in Robin van Persie? Johnson would add that extra bit of accuracy and a much clinical streak to an Arsenal attack which sometimes suffers from wayward/overplayed attacks.

True or not, the murmured rumours certainly seemed to give possible wing competition, Theo Walcott a kick up the backside against Chelsea as he put in a much improved performance including a well worked goal. It will be interesting to see where this one goes come January.

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Watch: Hernandez Goal vs. Everton

Javier Hernandez's fourth goal of the season and 24th for the club was enough to win Manchester United's clash with Everton at Goodison Park, driving Sir Alex Ferguson's side closer to the team that incurred their first defeat of the season last week, Manchester City at the top of the table.

The goal was a typical Hernandez strike; a tap in from inside the six yard box thanks to a left wing cross from Patrice Evra. Scored in the 19th minute, United failed to add to the early lead, welcoming pressure onto themselves with Everton well supported by their hostile home crowd. However, the Toffees could not get the ball around David de Gea in the United net, as the Spaniard kept 11 on target attempts out whilst watched 7 shots fly past, off target.

United have won an important three points and are swiftly back to winning ways, ensuring they keep up with City at the top. Sir Alex Ferguson told his players to forget about the mauling at Old Trafford last week, and these three points will go some way to push the loss to the back of their minds. Watch the goals below:
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PICTURES: RVP Gives Shirt Away to Lucky Fan

You would have thought that three goals away to Chelsea would be enough reward for delighted Arsenal fans, but Robin van Persie wanted to give more than just a fantastic individual performance, and in celebration at the end of the game presented one lucky Arsenal fan with his shirt. It would be fair to say the recipient of this great gift was pretty pleased:
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Watch Goals: Chelsea 3 - 5 Arsenal

Chelsea and Arsenal were involved in an eight goal thriller which included great attacking, awful defending and one or two wonder strikes which ended with the away team the unlikely victors. In the end, Arsenal thumped the blues thanks to a great hat-trick from "Captain Van-tastic," Robin van Persie as well as a goal from THeo Walcott and Andres Santos.

Chelsea's goals came from Lampard, Terry and Mata, but it was Arsene Wenger's side who brought all three points, along with masses of confidence and momentum back to the Emirates. Watch the goals below:
[Wait for the videos to load]

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Friday, 28 October 2011

Sir Alex Forgets - Rooney "Traitor" - Cleverley "Buzzing"

Today's game against Everton will be massive for Manchester United. Bouncing back is something the club always seem to manage to achieve, with recent history showing clearly that heavy losses for United certainly do not mean their title hopes are over. For the side to recover from last weeks heavy defeat, a number of solutions have been bandied around such as buying new players or dropping the old ones. For Sir Alex Ferguson, the best thing to do is forget it ever happened.

The United manager is adamant that everyone must "get over it" and move on, and despite how tough the week has been the players must redeem themselves by showing the club in its "proper light" today at Goodison Park. The manager said:
"It's been a tough week for everyone. It was a bad result [against City] but we have to get over it - the fans, players, employees, staff. Everyone was involved in the disappointment."
"We enjoyed Tuesday night but we need to show ourselves on Saturday. [On the City defeat] You can analyse it as much as you want but it's not going to do us any good. My attitude is to completely forget it - it never happened."
"What can happen is we can show Manchester United in its proper light. We didn't do that last week but we can do that on Saturday."
One player who can certainly pull the club back on track and get them fired up is Wayne Rooney, a man who never gets the warmest of welcomes when he revisits his old club. The 26 year-old has now been with United for seven years, but the Evertonians have by no means forgotten his betrayal of the club and the disregard for his infamous "once a blue always a blue" under shirt he once wore.

Sir Alex has ample experience on how to deal with the hostile reception the fans will give Rooney whenever he touches the ball in an attempt the expose his petulant streak, analysing the situation as follows:
"You know what fans are like, he's a traitor as far as they are concerned. That's never going to change."
"He's had mixed success going to Everton. He's scored a couple of goals in previous games and gets booed as normal. He got booked in one game and I took him off because there was no way I was going to give the referee an opportunity to send him off."
"That's where the hype around the ground in terms of him getting booed every time he makes a challenge comes into it."
Meanwhile, to a more uplifting story thankfully lacking in controversy or painful memories of a week ago. Tom Cleverley propelled himself to "fan favourite" status thanks to his refreshing and impressive presence in the Manchester United midfield at the start of his season, emphasized more so when that presence was suddenly taken away for 6 weeks thanks to a dangerous Kevin Davies tackle.

Now he his back and "buzzing" to restart his season, hoping to get United back on track after the disastrous loss to City at Old Trafford last Sunday. The 22 year-old Englishman is confident that the squad has the spirit to pick themselves up from the loss and continue forward, attempting to catch up with their City rivals as soon as possible. He also spoke about the ligament damage he suffered in the 5 - 0 win against Bolton and the effect it had on him, telling Manchester United's official newsletter:
"We've got a great team spirit. We'll regroup and go forward from here. The injury was bad timing. I was in the team, I was playing well and enjoying myself. These things happen in football though and you've just got to work hard on getting yourself fit, listen to what the physios say and stay upbeat."
Cleverley returned mid-week in United's Carling Cup fourth round tie at Aldershot in which United progressed comfortably, and the former youth team player is delighted with the support and atmosphere around the club from his fellow players and the fans:
"It felt great [returning against Aldershot]. It helps when you've got fantastic players around you as you can bed yourself in and work your way up to being 100 per cent. At the start of the season, the whole team was very fluent and we were playing fantastic football. The games have been harder in recent weeks and it's very flattering to hear fans say they've missed me."
"Things went a little better than I expected at the start of the season and then I was disappointed to get injured, but I'm buzzing to be back now and hopefully we can get back to winning ways on Saturday."
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Thursday, 27 October 2011

"All the transfer rumours are just nonsense"

A quick browse through the gossip columns will tell you with assurance that Inter Milan are preparing a bid for Arsenal's young midfield talent Aaron Ramsey, Paris Saint Germain are "desperate" to sign Lille's Eden Hazard for over £40 million and Manchester United are monitoring every other talented European midfielder/young starlet, to ensure they "keep up" with their big spending Manchester rivals and avoid another 1 - 6 mauling.

The summer transfer window only closed two months ago, but with the January window fast approaching, stories like the delightfully entertaining ones above will be a recurring theme for football fans across the globe. The majority of reported transfer rumours fortunately/unfortunately (depending on which side of the rumour your club is on) do not materialize, and these are well known for getting up peoples noses.

That includes footballers. Milos Krasic, the Juventus attacking midfielder has moved to dispel any suggestions of him moving to potentially interested clubs such as Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund by taking and admirable swipe at rumours. He said:
"All the transfer rumours are just nonsense and I don’t want to waste any time on that."
Despite insisting there that he would simply not waste any time discussing rumours, he went ahead and discussed the rumours by saying:
“Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund are big clubs and bring great honour, but neither I, nor my manager, are aware of anything of it."
The latter quote naturally gathered the most attention, as you might imagine, with Krasic suddenly "honoured" to be linked with Manchester United and Dortmund. But, his stance is a refreshing one, and a welcome change to players who say with wry smile; "Only God knows my future." 

However, rumours surrounding Krasic which he describes as "nonsense" seem to have more substance to them as the countless others banded around on the internet, as Manchester United do have a genuine interest in the attacker whose style of play has been likened to a previous target of Sir Alex Ferguson's, Paval Nedved. Earlier this month, the Serbian international's agent claimed that: "Manchester United have been interested in Krasic for two years. They like the player but no negotiations have taken place."

Calls for a creative midfielder have been loud ones since Paul Scholes retired, and having watched Manchester City reap the benefits of a player such as David Silva in the team, United will surely be looking in the near future for a midfielder who can unlock defences and give the team that extra edge.

So you may not be seeing Aaron Ramsey leave Arsenal for Inter, you may not see Carlos Tevez sensationally rejoin West Ham, and Chelsea will probably miss out on AC Milan starlet Alexandre Pato, but Milo Krasic to Manchester United? Maybe, even if it is all currently just nonsense.

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Man United Goalkeeper To Be Sold in January

Manchester United will sell their 29 year-old Polish goalkeeper, Tomasz Kuszczak in a cut-price deal in January with it very clear that he will not see any first team football for United in the near future.

The purchases of David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard as well as the emergence of 21 year-old former United youth goalkeeper Ben Amos have left Kuszczak as the fourth choice goalkeeper, missing out on first team action, even in Carling Cup ties.

Since his arrival at Old Trafford in 2006, he has played only 61 times for United with only 32 of those appearances in the League. United have failed to sell the goalkeeper before because of their £4 million valuation of him but with his contract running out during 2012, Sir Alex Ferguson is prepared to place a lower price tag on Kuszczak to allow clubs such as West Brom reignite their interest in him.

The player himself is more than happy to leave the club, having already decided on his future in April when he said: "I'm definitely leaving the club. My time in Manchester is coming to an end. I've worked hard for five years, but I never played as much as I wanted. It's a shame the manager didn't really give me a chance. I always believed I can be Edwin Van Der Sar's successor. Unfortunately, Sir Alex has decided differently"

Despite owning three Premier League winners medals, United had to apply for special dispensation for all three as Kuszczak hadn't played enough times in the season to recieve a medal automatically. He has however, won two League Cup's with United as well as the UEFA Champions League in 2008 despite not playing a prominent part in the latter's squad.

Leaving Manchester United will surely be a very healthy career move for him, and would definitely allow the undoubtedly talented 'keeper's career to get back on track after five years of very few chances in the first team.

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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Vermaelen & Fabianski Want to Play

Arsenal have been boosted enormously with news that Thomas Vermaelen is fit, sharp and ready to play against Chelsea on Saturday. Having undergone surgery on a problematic ankle, the Belgian defender played his first game for two months against Bolton on Tuesday. Arsenal won the game, but Vermaelen was forced off late on with a calf problem.

The defender later revealed that he came off simply as a precaution, and has now confirmed that he will be fine to play this week-end. He also squashed suggestions that he needed more games to regain match fitness, and instead insisted that it is simply a "mental thing" insider footballers heads. He said:
"I feel great. I trained [on Monday] with the team and I felt good straight away so I felt confident."
"I don't believe in [needing games to regain sharpness]. If I come back from injury after a long time I don't believe in coming back and getting rhythm. I think it is just in your head and a mental thing – if you are a football player you have to be there straight away."
"That's why I wanted to play and I think it's good. It was a good game for us, we fought hard and it was a deserved win for us I think. I felt fresh, I'm OK and am available for Saturday."
While Vermaelen is assured a first team spot in the Arsenal team whenever he is fit and available, Lukasz Fabianski, the 26 year-old Polish goalkeeper is certainly not. The emergence of Wojciech Szczesny between the sticks has left Fabianski on the sidelines waiting for even a glimpse of first team action. Like Vermaelen, he got his chance against Bolton on Tuesday in the Carling Cup and is hoping to add to that in the future, however, he understands he must be very patient. He said:
"Of course, not playing doesn’t make me happy. I want to play, that’s my goal," said Fabianski. "But sometimes you have to be patient."
"I am just fighting, fighting [for my chance]. If there is an opportunity I want to play as well as I can and help the team. We will see what happens."
"I am just focused on the game and of course it is hard for the keepers, especially for me as I was out for a long time, more than seven months. I am coming back from the injury and for the keepers the most important thing is to play regularly. Then you can build up your confidence." 
"I am just trying to take every single opportunity to show that I am deserving my chance."
The Pole has played only 58 times for Arsenal since arriving in 2007, but has conceded 61 goals, keeping only 18 clean sheets.

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Vermaelen Picks Up Calf Problem

Thomas Vermaelen returned to the Arsenal side on Tuesday night, appearing for the first time in two months since picking up an ankle injury in August.  A minor procedure to remove an inflamed plantaris tendon from his left ankle was a success, and his rehabilitation also went well, however his return against Bolton last night saw him pick up another slight injury.

Thankfully, it is nothing serious; simply a suspected tight calf, but it was enough to force the Belgian defender off in the 84th minute to be replaced by 19 year-old centre back Daniel Boateng. Wenger described the problem:
"He did very well. He had to come off for a minor calf problem but I hope it's not too bad. He will be a bit short for Saturday, I don't know yet what I will do. We have to test him tomorrow, but it doesn't look too bad."
"He has been out for a long time, he had only one training session yesterday with the team. I didn't really expect a game of that intensity, it was a tough one for a centre-back. They put us under pressure in the second half and the intensity of the game was very high."
"We don't think it is a calf strain, it is just tight calves. He has not played a proper game for two months. He wanted to come off. In fairness I did not want to take him off because I thought it was too stupid now with four minutes to go to concede a goal. He was adamant he couldn't go on so I hope it's not too bad."
Vermaelen added on his Twitter account that he went off as a precaution at the end. "Nothing serious. Just went out as a precaution."

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Wenger Will Finally Unleash His New Striker

Arsenal scored two goals against Bolton on Tuesday night, and neither of them were scored by Robin van Persie. That would be because the Dutch striker was not in the squad for the sides Carling Cup fourth round tie, but it was also because Park Chu-Young was given another chance by Arsene Wenger to show the fans what he is capable of.

The South Korean will be forced to leave Arsenal after only two seasons at the club due to his country's compulsory military service requirement, but Wenger's latest comments on his summer signing suggest that Premier League appearances will come sooner rather than later. Wenger spoke after Park scored the winner at the Emirates - a goal and performance which really impressed the Arsenal manager. He said:
"For me I am very pleased with his performance. He had a very, very good game. He has shown intelligence in his link play with others. The quality of his movement was exceptional and his finishing is absolutely fantastic. He has shown tonight that he is a very, very good player. He is ready to play in league games, yes."
The game against Bolton was Park's second first team appearance in an Arsenal shirt, and Wenger felt that it was a much improved performance to his debut against Shrewsbury Town in the previous round of the Cup:
"Compared to the player who played in the first match [against Shrewsbury] where he was a bit inhibited, tonight I felt he played with freedom and has showed what a good player he is."
Wenger had explained previously why he had been cautious about throwing Park straight into Premier League action, citing examples of Robert Pires and Thierry Henry as players who needed time to adapt the England. The Arsenal manager wants to avoid immediate and harsh judgement on a player whom he believes to be very talented and capable of being a regular and important member of the Arsenal team.

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Watch: Berbatov, Owen & Valencia Goals

Manchester United bounced back from their first Premier League loss of the season at the weekend, with a comprehensive victory over League Two side Aldershot Town. It was a professional performance from Sir Alex Ferguson's side, whose starting 11 consisted of a healthy mixture of youth and experience, with the likes of Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov raising the average age to 24.72.

The United bench was full of young, exciting potential with full-back Michael Keane, and midfielders Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison coming off the bench to give United fans a tantalizing taste of the future.

Dimitar Berbatov grabbed his first goal of the season in the 15th minute, and then assisted Michael Owen with a simple but clever pass, who doubled the lead just before half time. Antonio Valencia completed the scoring with a powerful strike from outside the box just after the restart which pushed United through to the quarter finals.
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Watch: Park Chu-Young First Arsenal Goal

Arsenal's summer signing Park Chu-Young scored his first goal for the club against Bolton, pushing him up the striker pecking order with a wonderful curl around Adam Bogdan in the Bolton net. The away side scored first just after half time, but Arsenal put together a comeback in the Emirates Stadium with two goals inside a few minutes to win the game and advance to the next stage of the competition.
Park Goal:

Arshavin goal:

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Monday, 24 October 2011

Gervinho Tells RVP to Stay with Arsenal

Arsenal "need" Robin van Persie to stay at the club. That is the view of summer signing Gervinho, and most probably the entire Arsenal fan-base, who have witnessed the Dutch striker slam in 10 crucial goals in just 13 appearances this season.

The 28 year-old scored the two goals which won Arsenal's game against Stoke on Sunday after coming on as a substitute to add to Gervinho's early goal, and the captain has had some very kind words said about him by his fellow goalscorer. Gervinho said:
"We always need our best players so a player like Robin, frankly, we need him to stay longer at the Club. It would give me pleasure if he stayed because I’ve just arrived and I would like him to stay so I can play with him a while longer."  
"He’s formidable and the team needs him. You always have to have leaders in the group and he’s one of the players who drags the team forward. He’s the captain and his role is to galvanise the group and he assumes the responsibility."
"He is good for us psychologically. He’s among the most experienced players on the pitch and when he enters the game he puts the opposition’s defence under pressure and that helps our game."
Van Persie's contract with Arsenal expires in 2012, and he has given no clear indication that he will sign an extension. The Netherlands international has repeatedly said that he is committed to the club, reiterating the long period of time he has already spent in London, however it is concerning that he has told the club to wait for him to make the vital decision.

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Manchester Derby: Why So Easy?

Over 75,000 fans packed themselves into Old Trafford in anticipation of a fiercely fought, evenly matched and thoroughly entertaining Manchester derby. Millions joined them around the world, watching on their television screens, glued to their armchairs, with the hope for a game to remember.

However, when Mark Clattenburg blew the whistle for full time, many supporters had either left the grand stadium in a shamed hurry, or switched off the television with a painful grimace. For Manchester United fans, it was a nightmare. Their very own Theatre of Dreams had held host to the humiliation of United players and the red half of Manchester, with the electronic scoreboard making grim reading for anyone brave enough to lift their heads and see: Manchester United 1, Manchester City 6.

For Manchester City fans, it was a moment of utter elation. For years they have been in Manchester United's powerful shadow, and for years they have had to watch Sir Alex Ferguson lead his side to trophy after trophy, achievement after achievement and record after record. On Sunday however, City made their very own records. It was the first time the blues have scored six in a Manchester Derby since 1926, while it also marked their rivals' worst ever Premier League defeat.

The win is a welcome mark of their progress, while for Manchester United, the heavy loss is an embarrassing wake-up call. When the team sheets were announced, and probably well before, United fans were worried. However ardent a supporter you are, you simply cannot deny that City's expensively assembled but hugely efficient and wonderfully talented midfield including the likes of Yaya Toure and the magnificent David Silva are in any way a fair match up to Darren Fletcher and Anderson.

The quality in the City midfield and the lack of it in United's really did show throughout the game. The promising start for United in which possession was 70% in their favour was not capitalized on, with the lack of any penetrating prowess in the midfield showing badly. This is in stark contrast to City, who, in that section of early United dominance let the dangerous David Silva loose from his lead, for him to silkily and apparently easily weave his way through five or six United defenders inside the penalty area and still retain possession.

It was an ominous sign of things to come. When Mario Balotelli placed the ball in such a calm, composed way into the United net, you questioned whether it was the same immature, irrational man who only recently set off fireworks in his own home. However, this was a very mature performance all round for City, and the complete antithesis from United. The second half exposed this immaturity for all to see, and it made the 19 time Champions look very, very weak.

When Jonny Evans saw red, it was game over. City continued to attack as they had been, but United also did their best to do so. Two more goals were conceded, but still United surged forward. In the best red move of the game, Fletcher planted a beauty into the top corner to make it 1 - 3, but this only gave United the encouragement to go for the equalizer.

Silly move. It is what Manchester United know - never be beaten. The last few minutes were a defensive catastrophe. Three goals inside a few minutes was a disaster - car crash football. United players had not "given up", nor were they "lacking in passion," as some said. The players were caught between two minds, and went with what they knew: attack. They just weren't any good at it, leaving the defence bare, and City clean through.

United will learn from this loss. The midfield is an issue of serious concern, and Tom Cleverley will be welcomed back from injury like a hero, however they will take solace in the fact that with 11 players, they would have never conceded 6 goals. City are top and deserve to be, but they must continue to show maturity, and continue in their rich form if they want to win the Premier League, because Manchester United will be back, just as they have been before.

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Watch: Gervinho & RVP Goals vs Stoke

Arsenal moved above their opposition and into 7th place in the Premier League table with a 3 - 1 win over Stoke City at the Emirates on Sunday. Summer signing Gervinho opened the scoring only for Peter Crouch to level the game up minutes later.

The game stayed even until the 73rd minute after Robin van Persie came on for Chamakh to score two winners to continue Arsenal's progression up the table. Watch the goals below:

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Saturday, 22 October 2011

"My client is happy at Arsenal & will remain here"

The January transfer window is not one in which Arsene Wenger will be looking to offload any players. The club and its terrible luck with injuries simply wouldn't allow it, so news that one of Arsenal's strikers Marouane Chamakh will be going nowhere on the back of links to other clubs will be seen in a positive light for Arsenal.

He may not be in the best of form and goals may not be flowing for the Morrocan attacker at the moment, but depth is important in the thin Arsenal squad at the moment, even if Chamakh only watches the action from the bench. He will no doubt get some opportunities when Wenger decides it is time to rest Robin van Persie, who is contrast to Chamakh is in stunning form. The benched strikers agent Pierre Frelot said:
"The news about Marouane and Roma is absolutely unfounded. My client is happy at Arsenal and will remain here. There is no doubt."
The 27 year-old, who has ony scored 12 goals for Arsenal since his arrival from Bordeaux on a free transfer in 2010 has been backed by his manager too, who has promised that he will "get his chance." Wenger said:
"Marouane is not going anywhere. There is not a problem with Chamakh. He is fighting for the position with Robin van Persie, who is in great form at the moment. He will get his chance; there are so many games at the moment."
Arsenal will face Stoke City on Sunday at the Emirates, and Chamakh may get his chance if Wenger feels his side need some added height on the pitch ahead of the likes of the sides summer signings Gervinho and Chu-Young Park.

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Finding a New Club Easy for Berbatov

Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson made it very clear during the summer that they had no intention whatsoever of selling Dimitar Berbatov. A number of clubs may have shown an interest, but for both the club and the player, it was irrelevant as both wanted the same thing - for him to stay.

However, Berbatov's contract does run out at the end of this season; June 2012. The player is living his dream to play at Old Trafford, but if he is not offered an extension to his current contract, there is little the 30 year-old striker can do but to find another club to play his football.

According to his agent, that will be no trouble at all. His outstanding technical ability, beautiful touch and control of the football and incredible composure on the ball have been clear for all to see since he joined United for just over £30 million in 2008, and if United do decide to wave a grateful goodbye to Berbatov at the end of the season, it is this quality which is not worrying Emil Dantchev at all. He said:
"We have to accept the reality of the situation, but make us an offer and we will accept, or if not, we’ll go."
"Have patience though, knowing the quality of Berbatov, I’m not worried about him if we have to find another club."
After a slow and critical start his career at Manchester United, Berbatov has scored 47 goals in 134 appearances including that wonderfully crucial hat-trick against Liverpool in September 2010. His unique style of play might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it has been effective in many United games over his short career in Manchester.

The Bulgarian has very much grown on United fans, with many feeling a great deal of sympathy for his lack of playing time this season when you consider he was the clubs top scorer last season as well as the Premier League joint golden boot winner.

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Arsenal Welcome 'New' Right-Back Replacement

Arsenal will face Stoke City on Sunday with both their first and second choice right-backs out with injuries. With the sides defensive record being as it is this season, this isn't the best situation for Arsene Wenger to find himself in. However, there is a solution.

Carl Jenkinson joined Bacary Sagna on the treatment table with a problem which will rule the 19 year-old out for around "two to three weeks," and while it may be billed as an "injury crisis," Johan Djourou sees it differently. The Swiss international, who is naturally a centre back, is ready and willing to step into the unfamiliar and challenging role which has been left temporarily vacant by Jenkinson.

Arsenal's summer signing, Per Mertesacker, played alongside Laurent Koscielny on Wednesday for the clubs Champions League group game against Marseille in which Jenkinson picked up his knee injury. Djourou came off the bench to replace the youngster, and helped to keep Wojciech Szczęsny's clean-sheet, as well as assisting Ramsey's late goal - winning a valuable three points in Europe in the process, and the 24 year-old is ready to do it again against Stoke - as long as he gets to play football. He said:
"I am a centre-back first … I love my game, I love playing football and when I can play, it's a relief. So if I have to play right-back to help the team, then I will do it. It worked out against Marseille because I played the final ball for the goal. But I just want to play football."
"I have played a few times before at right-back and it's a completely different game. When you play centre-back you can see the whole game in front of you but when you're on the wing, you have to adjust a little bit. When you are used to something and then you to move, it's something else. But I'm a player who can play in different positions."
It is easy to forget that Djourou has been at Arsenal for almost a decade. He joined the Arsenal Academy back in 2002 and made his first senior appearance in a League Cup win over Everton in 2004. After a short loan period with Birmingham City, he returned to Arsenal and gradually began to cement a first team place until suffering a serious knee injury in 2009 requiring surgery and leaving him out on the sidelines for a long while.

However, when Vermaelen picked up his injury at the start of last season, Djourou capitalized and began to play regularly, putting in some very solid and impressive performances. His season was then interrupted again by a dislocated shoulder suffered against Manchester United, and it was then when Arsenal's season spiralled out of control.

It seems the side are only now recovering from the poor form from last season, and so whatever Djourou can do to make up for lost time is welcome. For now he can be Arsenal's 'new' right-back, but lets hope that doesn't mean he is condemned to inevitable injury because of it.

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