26 September 2014

Match Preview: Arsenal v. T*******m H*****R, Emirates Stadium, Sept. 27 12.30am (EST)

According to the Ox, Sanchez is incredibly hyped
for his first NLD.
(Credit: Ronnie Macdonald)
Saturday sees the 174th meeting between The Arsenal and their old rivals, Sp*rs, and the 44th under the management of Arsène Wenger. Both clubs come in to this game on what can best be described as mixed form; however, as the old cliché goes, you can throw the form book out the window in a game like this.

Arsène Wenger and the board have come under scrutiny early on this season (especially from yours truly), partially due to a questionable transfer policy and partially due to mixed results to open the season. Last time out in the league, Arsenal bounced back from a disappointing (in terms of the Gunners were unlucky not to win) draw against last season's champions Manchester City and a 2-0 drubbing away at Borussia Hipster with a 3-0 win away at Villa Park (though it should be noted that Villa's squad was hit with a case of what can best be described as the sh*ts). Three goals in 192 seconds earned Arsenal their first league win since the opening day of the season and helped lift the Gunners to fourth in the - admittedly very young - league table. More importantly, the match saw Danny Welbeck score his first goal in an Arsenal shirt and the return to form of Mesut Özil, who scored a goal and assisted Welbz.

The WAT: Top 6 Derby Day Tottenham Take-Downs

Tomorrow is the ultimate -- the North London Derby. Arsenal will face off against their most hated rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, the eleventh-best team in the Premiership in 2008.

It's a great opportunity to get behind the Arsenal, but sometimes rooting for the players on the field just isn't enough. Sometimes, you need to show your support with biting take-downs. An enemy is not beaten unless their will is broken; they are not crushed until they are taking sit-down, cry-showers. In order to bolster your Derby Day Take-Down arsenal, The WAT has compiled the top 6 ruthless mud-slings to hurl at Spurs supporters' stupid faces.

12 September 2014

Match Preview: Arsenal v. Manchester City, Emirates Stadium, September 13 7:45am (EST)

THE PREMIER LEAGUE IS BACK (*collective sigh of relief*). 

Danny Welbz is dat guy and the world affirmed it after his
brace vs. Switzerland. Source: Metro
Sure, it's wonderful and thrilling and truly delightful to see our new £16m signing Danny Welbz (dat guy) score a brace for England in their 2-0 Euro qualifier vs. Switzerland, but good riddance international break. It feels like it's been an eternity since our uninspiring 1-1 draw vs. Leicester City, and that combined with the fact that I've been gazing longingly at the new Arsenal team photos ever since they came out on Thursday morning means that I am more than ready for EPL action to get back underway. 

And just like that– practically out of nowhere– we find ourselves jumping right back into the swing of things with our first massive test of the season: Manchester City at the Emirates. This marquee matchup provides the Gunners with an opportunity to make a statement and silence the naysayers who refuse to believe in the validity and importance of our 3-0 Community Shield victory over City at Wembley last month (how they fail to see the immense significance and prestige in what is most likely the best and most important shield in the entire world is beyond me, but alas). The 3-0 victory (with goals from Santi, Rambo, and the handsome Frenchman) marks our most recent matchup vs. the reigning EPL champions, but Gooners will also remember our 1-1 battle at the Emirates in March, and our catastrophic and epically confusing 6-3 loss at the Etihad in December of 2013 (back when Walcott was healthy!). 

With Olivier Giroud's unfortunate ankle injury (sing a Giroud chant in his honor on Saturday), Welbeck looks set to make his Arsenal debut this weekend. Le Prof was quoted in a pre-game presser on Thursday saying, "Danny Welbeck is an ideal signing for us because he can play through the middle, which I think is his best position, but as well on the flanks." Welbeck has the potential to make an immediate impact, and his speed in combination with that of Electric Sanchez and eventually Theo Walcott is something that any (and every) team should and will fear. That coupled with the fact that he'll have the likes of Ozil and Santi Cazorla pressing forward and sending balls into the final third should hopefully translate into great success for the former United boy in London.

After three gameweeks Arsenal currently sit seventh in the table with five points after a win and two ties. The London side is unbeaten in 19 consecutive EPL games at the Emirates (14 wins, 5 draws), and they've won their last four in a row. Despite this, the Gunners' offense has looked somewhat unconvincing in the early stages of the season, and only time will tell if Wenger thinks that the current 4-1-4-1 system with Ozil working down the left side may not be our best option. With Ramsey looking doubtful after an ankle sprain (being assessed on Thursday), Gooners should still be hopeful and optimistic, taking solace in the fact that Ozil could potentially slide into a more central position with Cazorla and Sanchez occupying the left and right wings respectively. Other Arsenal injury updates have been positive: Arteta and Gibbs are back to normal training, Ozil is available despite not featuring for Germany over the break, and Walcott is only a few weeks away from being match fit. 

Arsenal and Manchester City's most recent matchup was at Wembley
in the Community Shield. Source: Ronnie MacDonald
City head into this match desperately hoping for a fresh start after a shocker of a home loss to Stoke last gameweek. They currently sit in fourth place with six points, and with no transfer deadline day activity to really take note of (aside from the departure of Negredo, Richards and Guidetti), their biggest news comes in Pellegrini's confirmation that Jovetic and Fernando will not feature this weekend. Stoke was able to stifle the City attack by effectively clogging up the middle, where Silva and Nasri normally maintain possession and distribute alongside Yaya Toure, and hopefully the Gunners will be able to build on this example and provide City with their second consecutive loss for the first time since October of 2010.

City only sings when they're winning. We're Arsenal til we die. COYG.

05 September 2014

The WAT: Arsene Wenger FIRED

... from commentating position at French television channel, TF1. The news comes as a shock after 10 years of providing his expert insight regarding Les Blues -- the French national team -- this writer assumes, not having practiced French since high school.
Hieronymous Bosch's Interlull and the Human Condition, ca. 1490-1516

The Frenchman brought a certain je ne sais quois to TF1, probably, though it's pretty hard to say, since the broadcast is not available in the U.S. This journalist assumes that "Le Prof" provided not only a measure of economical insight to the sport, but also a brazen, pearly white smile disarming enough to cause a car accident -- something he rarely allows himself at his other job.

They say that all TF1 commentators want to be Premier League managers -- and all Premier League managers want to be TF1 commentators. For the past dix ans, Arsene Wenger was arguably the luckiest homme in the world, with both of the aforementioned notches confidently etched into his proverbial bed-post.

Friday Throwdown: Analyzing the Transfer Window

New signing Welbeck will see plenty
of playing time in his favored position
(Credit: Wikimedia)
Sam: So, Andy. Arsenal had something of a Jekyll and Hyde transfer window this summer; it started so brightly with the arrivals of Alexis, Chambers, Debuchy and Ospina, leading us fans to believe that things were finally going to change, and that we had all summer to add further to the squad. However, the second part of the window passed without anything happening until Danny Welbeck arrived after an extension at the deadline. I've already made my feelings clear, and after a couple of days have passed my mood hasn't improved greatly. Many Gooners have had their cautious optimism completely torn down; how are you feeling about Arsenal's transfer business?

Andy: Now that everything is said and done, I don't feel bad and I don't feel good. I think that steps were made but also needs were ignored. If you liked last year's team then you should like this year's team as well; the question is whether or not last year's team was good enough to win the league.

At first blush that seems like an obvious "no" since they finished seven points out of first and weren't in the hunt in May, but it is easy to say that this was largely due to the midfield injury bug that bit in early 2014, costing the Gunners Theo Walcott for half the season, Aaron Ramsey for several months, and several weeks here and there for important players like Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Mesut Özil. Combine that with the fact that it was Ozil's first year in the Premier League and you could make the argument that if things had broken slightly different, Arsenal would have been a contender to the end if not league winner.

02 September 2014

Hot Sports Takes: The Transfer Window Closes

Those of you that follow me on Twitter would have seen me ranting and raving about Arsenal's transfer deadline day yesterday. A night's sleep has done something to calm me down, but I'm still pretty damn pissed off about what's gone on this summer. Here are some random tjhoughts in no particular order...

Arsène Wenger has lost touch with modern football.
Seventeen years ago, Wenger was a genius. He modernized training, conditioning and eating regimes to maximize the potential of his players, and won several competitions with a fast, flowing style of football. However, once Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea, the football world changed dramatically. Now, Wenger seems set on ignoring all calls to actually strengthen his squad and insists on waiting until the very end of the window to cover a need that has been screaming in his face all summer.