25 November 2013

The Daily Links: The Let's Get It (Re-)Started Edition

Well that was a good weekend of football all round. After another interminable international break, the Premier League returned to action with a bang; there were high-scoring derbies, questionable refereeing decisions, dropped points by big clubs, and a thrashing for a so-called title contender.

Olivier Giroud 1
Arsenal's goalscorer, Olivier Giroud
(Photo courtesy Ronnie Macdonald)
Arsenal will be happy to have bounced back from their defeat to Manchester United two weeks ago with a solid 2-0 home victory against this season's surprise package, Southampton. While it was never a classic, Arsenal will be happy with the result and the fact that, despite pressure from the Saints after Olivier Giroud's first goal, they kept a clean sheet and did enough at the other end to earn a late penalty, which Giroud coolly converted to calm nerves at the Emirates. If you haven't already seen the Handsome One's first goal, it's well worth a watch, just to see Artur Boruc's Johan Cruyff impression. If that goal felt a bit fortunate, it was fully deserved after the Club had earlier hit the post twice via sublime efforts from Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. The match was also notable for the return from injury of Theo Walcott, who looked sharp and came close to scoring in his 20-minute run out.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Chelsea easily beat West Ham to stay 3rd in the table, while Liverpool and Everton played out an exciting 3-3 draw, which the Toffees will feel unlucky not to have won, having come back from behind twice to lead 3-2 late in the game. Manchester United conceded a last-minute goal to draw 2-2 at Cardiff, and were perhaps fortunate to have 11 men on the field, as Wayne Rooney could have seen red for wild kick at Cardiff's Jordon Mucth; of course, Rooney then went on to score United's first goal. Manchester City thrashed Tottenham 6-0 at the Emirates, with Sergio Aguero scoring 2 to take his tally to 14 goals in 11 games for the Citizens this season. All of which means the Gunners remain at the top of the table, four points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea. At the other end, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Sunderland remain in the bottom three.

Arsenal's focus will now shift to the Champions League, as they face Marseille at the Emirates on Tuesday. A win will make sure Arsenal's destiny stays in their own hands, and may even be enough to qualify with a game remaining. All the permutations can be found here. (Goal)

Wilshere believes that Giroud, and not Ramsey or Mesut Özil, has been the Gunners best player this season. The Frenchman scored his 6th and 7th Premier League goals of the season, overtaking Ramsey as top league scorer. (Mirror)

Arsene Wenger has stated that he will not bring Thierry Henry back for a third spell at the Club. The leading goal-scorer in Gunners history is keeping his fitness levels up at the Club's London Colney base during the MLS off-season. (The Guardian)

The Gunners could target Romania international Ciprian Marica as a much cheaper alternative to Christian Benteke and Karim Benzema. Arsenal are likely to face competition from North London rivals Tottenham for the 28-year old's signature. (Metro)

Wojciech Szczesny has further endeared himself with Arsenal fans, after mocking Sp*rs at the end of their humiliating defeat via his Facebook page. (Evening Standard)

Could Mesut Özil be planning a long stay at the Emirates? The German playmaker tweeted with the hashtag #arsenalforlife after the win against Southampton. Probably reading a bit much in to that, but encouraging signs none the less. (Daily Star)

Several La Liga clubs are keeping tabs on Arsenal left back, Nacho Monreal. The Spaniard has found himself behind Kieran Gibbs in the pecking order, but claims he is happy to fight for his place. (Mirror)

No comments:

Post a Comment