29 May 2014

Thursday Throwdown: Where Do Arsenal Go From Here?

Will Wenger make another big splash in the transfer
market, as with Özil last season?
(Credit: Ronnie Macdonald)
Sam: Well, now we've had some time to celebrate Arsenal's FA Cup win - and then recover from those celebrations - we can start looking ahead to next season, and where Arsenal should go from here. It seems that Arsène Wenger will confirm his contract extension some time before his World Cup punditry duties begin, so there's one major priority checked off. What should Arsenal's targets be for next season, Andy?

Andy: I think that expectations will be sky high this year and they absolutely should be. Last summer the club made their first real splash signing in quite some time with the acquisition of Mesut Özil and many (including myself) took that as a statement of intent. Now we've ended his inaugural season with the FA Cup, the most days spent top of the table, and yet another Champions League qualification. This team still has some issues and moves will need to be made, but it is not at all unreasonable to assume that Arsenal should challenge for the title and will be a force in their other competitions as well. If you think I'm correct in this Sam, what does Arsenal need to do this summer to ensure it happens?

22 May 2014

Thursday Throwdown: Arsenal - FA Cup Winners 2014

The Gunners were able to celebrate a trophy for the first time
at the Emirates Stadium
(Credit: David Holt, Flickr)
Sam: It's happened, Andy, it's finally happened. After nine long years, The Arsenal have lifted a trophy. They definitely didn't do it the easy way, though. Most neutrals - and some fans (and I have to say, myself included) - thought the Gunners would deal with Hull easily in the FA Cup final, but after two early Hull goals, Gooners were made to suffer. So having had a few days to recover, how do you feel now Andy?

Andy: I feel fantastic and nothing has been able to sour that mood, no matter how much some have tried. For years we heard all the "X amount of years since Arsenal won a trophy" jokes and though that exact wording is dead, the feeling is still alive and well. First it was "Arsenal needed extra time to beat Hull", then "it's just the FA Cup, which isn't as big a trophy anymore", then "well sure they won the FA Cup but they blew the league", and it'll be something else next week. But you know what? I don't care. At all. Arsenal won the FA Cup and even saying that sentence still sounds strange, new, and amazing to me. Have the detractors gotten to you or are you still riding the high?

16 May 2014

Boston Gooners Team of the Season 2013/14

As promised, here are the results for the first ever Boston Gooners Premier League Team of the Season. Thanks to everyone who submitted their entries, and thanks for the varied opinions; this whole exercise would have been a lot more boring if everyone just voted for Arsenal players.

NB: There won't be match preview today - I do not want to tempt fate in any way, shape or form. There are several professional ones out there should you choose to look for them.

Boston Gooners 2013/14 BPL Team of the Season - Football tactics and formations

15 May 2014

Thursday Throwdown: FA Cup Final Week

Arsenal and Hull battle for the
old trophy on Saturday
(Credit: Carlos yo, Wikimedia)
Sam: Andy, it's almost here. All objectivity is going out the window this week; this Throwdown is just going to be pure emotion. I have spent all week vacillating between being incredibly excited, and incredibly nervous. I'm also being a little superstitious, trying to avoid any strong statement about my beliefs and opinions on Saturday, but this is such a big game there's no way we can talk about anything else this week. How have you been feeling this week?

Andrew: Every day this week there has been a moment where I remembered that the FA Cup Final is on Saturday anda it immediately fills me with joy. That joy then quickly gives way to sheer terror at the prospect of losing said final, throwing me into a month long depression. I remain very, very excited for Saturday's match but that excitement is in response to thoughts of Arsenal winning only. Once I remember that there is a chance that the Gunners will lose, I get that gnawing pain in the pit of my stomach and have to block all thoughts of final from my mind for fear of freaking myself out. Is this... this can't be healthy, right? Please at least tell me that I'm not alone in this Lovecraftian terror. 

09 May 2014

The WAT: Fit Diaby speaks to media while standing directly underneath grand piano suspended by frayed rope

Abou Diaby in action.
French international Abou Diaby has announced that, while his recent return to fitness may leave little room for a Premier League start this season, he is hopeful that he may be called up to perform for France at this summer's World Cup in Brazil, during a press conference held directly under a hastily and precariously suspended grand piano.

“There are two games left, you have to be realistic. But if I could be the 23rd man on the plane for Brazil … I dream of that," said Diaby, apparently either unaware of, or indifferent to, the 1,200-pound Steinway & Sons instrument straining the rope mere meters above his head.

08 May 2014

Thursday Throwdown: One Club on Boylston 2013-14 Season Awards

Ed's note: As it's been a slow news week and last week's Throwdown got a bit ahead of itself and covered this weekend's match, we thought we'd copy the pros and hand out some awards. Also, don't forget we are running an open vote for our Premier League Team of the Season. Please click here to cast your vote; and remember, this is for a Premier League team, not just Arsenal players.

Without further ado, here are One Club on Boylston's inaugural end of season awards. 

Player of the Season

Sam: Andy, we're approaching the end of the season, which is traditionally the time of year that awards are given out. I'm sure the players will be ecstatic to know that we are going to hand out some awards of our own. The easy place to start is Player of the Season. I'm going to nominate Luis Suarez. Thirty-one goals - several of them spectacular - and 12 assists, despite missing six domestic matches for his infamous biting ban, plus he had the highest rating in the EA Sports Player Performance Index. He formed one of the most feared and prolific strike forces in the League this season and along with his club captain was the inspiration for a title challenge. Imagine where Arsenal could have been this season if they had increased their bid last summer... Anyway, let's not worry about that. Andy, do you agree with me?

Andy: Part of me wants to be a contrarian and go with one of the few other valid candidates for this award (Yaya Toure and Eden Hazard, in my mind)... but it's pretty much impossible to avoid picking Suarez as the player of the year. His goal and assist totals were impressive but are made even more astounding when you put them into the context of the league. His 31 goals were ten(!) better than second place while his 12 assists tied him for the league lead with teammate Steven Gerrard despite playing a game less. He also ranked fifth in key passes per game and was third in chances created per game (according to Squawka). Suarez had a dominant season by any metric and although some lasting injuries knocked out several potential candidates (David Silva, Aaron Ramsey, and Sergio Aguero among others), the Uruguayan is deservedly the Player of the Season.

06 May 2014

Cast your vote for Team of the Season

In the coming days and weeks, we at One Club on Boylston are going to be conducting a review of the season, as well as looking ahead to the World Cup and next season.

For our first ever Boston Gooners end of season awards, we'd like our loyal members to cast votes for their Barclays Premier League Team of the Season. To do this, just follow the link at the end of this post and fill out the Google Doc form. Votes will be tallied late next week and announced before the FA Cup Final. Remember, this is for the Premier League as whole, not just your Arsenal team of the season; which, if we're honest, is pretty much the first XI that's started the last two matches, and wouldn't really cause much space for debate.

Cast your votes here and make sure to come back soon to find out who makes the inaugural Boston Gooners Team of the Season.

02 May 2014

Match Preview: Arsenal v. West Bromwich Albion, Emirates Stadium, May 4 8.30am (EST)

Will Poldi be celebrating again on Sunday?
(CC Licence / Wikimedia)
Arsenal's final home match of the 2013/14 season comes hot on the heels of St Totteringham's Day, and could provide more reason for Gooners to celebrate as a win will guarantee Arsenal fourth position in the League, and a spot in next season's Champions League qualifying rounds. Depending on the result of the Everton-Man City match on Saturday, the match may not have anything riding on it for the Gunners, but the Club's mindset should be on giving the home fans a proper send off. Arsenal have been on a good run of form since the FA Cup semi-final, winning each of their last three league matches, also scoring 3 goals in each. This upturn in form has coincided with the returns from injury of Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil, both of whom have looked to pick up where they left off before their injuries. The form of both has raised questions about what could have been, but in this space we want to look forward. No use crying over spilt milk. With just two games remaining before the Wembley trip, Arsène Wenger and his players will want to keep up their good form and carry some high morale in to the national stadium on May 17.

01 May 2014

Thursday Throwdown: Happy St Totteringham's Day!

Sam: It's happened again, it's happened agaaaain, Tottenham Hostpur, it's happened again!

Celebrate well, Gooners, it's St Totts again!
(CC Licence / Wikimedia)
Thanks to an easy 3-0 home win over a lifeless Newcastle United, Gooners everywhere are celebrating St Totteringham's day for the 19th consecutive season. For me, this one feels a little more special than usual, especially after Sp*rs invested £100m, leading to even louder proclamations from their fan base that this was finally their year to mount a title challenge. So, Andy, how did you celebrate? And was there anything you felt you could take from Monday's game?

Andrew: I have to admit, this one was more of a muted celebration for me. Though you are right that it is a fun new type of failure for Spurs, they haven't mattered in any significant race since about halfway through the season and most of my delight at their uselessness was expended after we beat them for a third straight time this year. I enjoyed this St. Totteringham's Day as I enjoy each and every one, but it's somehow more fun when they think they can do it until the very end.