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Arsenal 1 Manchester City 1

Watched a full English Premier league match after such a long long time. Due to my stupid cable tv provider not giving us the proper sports channels, I haven’t watched a football match on tv in well over a year. But with my new Reliance connection I can stream matches on me laptop. Last night I sat to watch Arsenal vs defending champions Manchester City. Arsenal bossed the midfield battle early on, with Ramsey and Mikel Arteta pulling the strings. It was Arteta’s Spanish compatriot Cazorla, however, who really caught the eye.

The home side’s goal was straightforward; Silva’s 40th-minute corner was headed in by Lescott as Koscielny and Lukas Podolski stood by and Mannone came and missed. Captain Thomas Vermaelen, absent with flu, may just have made the difference. Arsenal were far from finished, however, as City retreated deeper and deeper, happy to strike from distance. Cazorla drew a stunning save from Hart with a shot that appeared destined for the top corner. But Arsenal were not denied for long, finally getting their reward as Laurent Koscielny found the net with a thunderous shot after City had failed to clear the resulting corner.

Arsenal maintain an unbeaten start but have only 9 points in 5 games and sit at 5th.

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Arsenal 6 Southampton 1

Arsenal seem to have hit a stride with a 6-1 victory over Southampton producing a superb first-half display of attacking football to sweep the bottom-of-the-table club aside.  A Jos Hooiveld own goal opened the scoring before Lukas Podolski arrowed a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner. Gervinho then drilled in, and Nathaniel Clyne buried a second own goal before Danny Fox pulled one back. Gervinho grabbed his second after the break and substitute Theo Walcott then added a late sixth to leave Southampton still looking for their first point.

Many of the headlines emanating from the Emirates this summer concentrated on the loss of skipper Robin van Persie and Alex Song, but in Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, manager Arsene Wenger has signed two players of genuine quality. Those two in particular were behind a glittering first-half display, with Southampton simply unable to cope at times with the movement and passing in the final third. Podolski’s goalscoring record in the Bundesliga was not always overly impressive, but his haul of 44 international goals suggested he would be a potent threat in the Premier League and he doubled the lead with a brilliant free-kick from 25 yards, giving Davis no chance.

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RVP To Leave Arsenal For Man U, Shame Wenger!

Manchester United have agreed a £24m deal to sign Arsenal striker Robin van Persie on a four-year contract. The 29-year-old Dutchman will meet with United in the next 48 hours to discuss personal terms and have a medical. Yep, an Arsenal star leaving and signing for Manchester United!

This comes on the waves of an announcement made on 4 July 2012, when Van Persie stated that he would not be signing a new contract with Arsenal. Since then the club has tried to negotiate with their top goal scorer & biggest star of the past few years to reconsider. The main reason being stated is that Robin wants the club to sign more quality players and enhance the chances to win silverware, of which there has been a huge dearth lately. Understandably the competitive player wants to win trophies and glories before he has to hang up his boots.  Manchester United were the forerunners in trying to sign up the Dutch superstar. So yesterday Arsenal announced they had agreed terms with Manchester United for his transfer, but Van Persie has yet to agree personal terms with the club.

Wenger and Van Persie disagreed on their vision for the club, transfer activity and the team’s performance in the 2011-12 campaign.  No contract was discussed and Van Persie joined the Dutch squad on 17 May to begin their preparations for Euro 2012. He announced he would not be extending his contract on 4 July and returned to training on 17 July, the same week he was the subject of bids from United, Manchester City and Juventus. All three offers fell short of Arsenal’s valuation – they were reluctant to enter formal negotiations until a bid exceeded £20m, and hoped to hold out for £25-30m. United, City and Juventus increased their offers but, of the three, United were the only side Van Persie would consider joining. He was not part of the Gunners squad that left on 21 July for a pre-season tour to Asia but did travel with them on 6 August for a week-long training camp in Germany.

It is understood Van Persie was encouraged by the arrivals of Germany forward Lukas Podolski, France striker Olivier Giroud and Spain midfielder Cazorla – to the point where he was open to the idea of staying with or without a new contract. But Wenger pulled him aside shortly before Sunday’s friendly victory over Cologne,  told him he would be sold if a deal could be reached and informed the Dutchman he was no longer part of his plans. Van Persie is currently the top goal-scorer in the Premier League with 30 goals and Arsenal’s 8th all-time top scorer with 132 goals. I have always ranted against French coach Arsene Wenger’s failure to attract big name talent to the club; usually it is because he feels that the club can do better with lesser name players & youngsters who he can mold to fit the Arsenal style. As pretty as their fast attacking & passing game can be, it is damn frustrating if that does not leads to goals, wins and trophies. I’ve stated it before and I’ll say it again – great job for us so far Wenger but I think it’s high time the club moved on and got us a new coach with a different attitude. If RVP goes, so should Wenger.

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Spain Wins Euro 2012

Cementing themselves as the dominant nation in international football and Spain lifted the European Champions 2012 trophy after beating rivals Italy 4-0. Spain have won 3 major tournaments in a row with Euro2008, the World Cup in 2010 and now this victory. The 16-team tournament – largely viewed as a mini-World Cup minus Brazil and Argentina – was loaded with intrigue and excitement. And Spain were far from being dominating in their wins but in the end it’s the results that matter. Any doubts on the defending champs were wiped out with that emphatic demolition of an Italian team that had impressed many and won millions of new admirers with their fresh attacking brand of football. But they were found wanting against La Roja.

It took less than a quarter of an hour for Spain’s David Silva to find the net with a header that put La Roja up 1-0. Jordi Alba scored again for the Spaniards in minute 41 to give them a 2-0 lead at the half. Italy had several chances as the second half got under way, but an hour into play Thiago Motta was injured shortly after coming off the bench and had to leave the pitch, reducing Italy to 10 men with all three of their substitutions already expended. late in play, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata added extra – albeit unneeded – insurance in the 84th and 88th minutes, respectively, for the final lopsided score.

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Euro 2012 Final – It’s Spain vs Italy

And there you have it! The final will be decided between Italy & holders Spain. After a long, at times boring, semifinal on Wednesday night, Spain finally edged out their Iberian neighbours Portugal via a penalty shootout. Portugal looked dangerous going forward with Nani & Ronaldo threatening to score on multiple occasions. Iker Cassillas stood firm in the Spanish goal and his saves were important. After 2 extra period we still found it hard to separate the two sides and so penalties it was. Spain won 4-2.

Last night Italy beat a favoured German side 2-1 thanks to first half goals from Mario Balatelli. He was sharp, he was on form, on fire and it was his night. Germany were found wanting at the big game stages and faltered. At times it felt that the German coach’s tactics of rotating his strikers a lot probably cost them the match. Germany did push in the second half and got a goal back through a penalty in the dying minutes but it wasn’t enough. Italy looked sharper and deserved to go through.

So Spain vs Italy. May the better team win on Sunday night. And no penalties please.

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Euro 2012 : Semi Finals Lineup

We are nearing the end of the Euro 2012 tournament and tonight & tomorrow the semi-final matches will be fought. As I predicted (Roshtradamous is me) it will be holders Spain vs their Iberian neighbours Portugal and Germany vs Italy. Very strong looking lineup indeed. Let’s look at how they got here.

Portugal seem to be riding on the goals on Ronaldo and their captain is peeking at the right time. Once again he provided the goal, the lone strike against a brave Czech side. They will look to him to lead them against a tough Spanish side who are still hungry for trophies but are a tad weaker side than what we saw at the last world cup. Spain however did enough to win 2-0 and see off France in the quarterfinals. This time Xabi Alonso was the hero scoring both goals including an injury time penalty to see Spain safely through. Will he continue to shine? Will Fernando Torres start?

Germany have impressed everyone with their form in their tournament. The youngest side at Euro2012 defeated Greece 4-2 with goals from four different players with the surprise omission of Mario Gomez & Lukas Podolski up front. And the final quaterfinal match was between England & Italy with penalties proving to be the English side’s undoing again. After 2 extra times the game went to a shootout but England had impressed in places. However was veteran Andrea Pirlo and his Italians going through 4-2 winners in the shootout.

Which two teams will make it to the finals? Tonight it’s Spain vs Portugal & tomorrow it’s Germany vs Italy. Spain vs Germany is my prediction. But the Italians can thrown up a surprise or two.

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Euro 2012 : Quater-finals Lineup

And so the group stages of Euro 2012 concludes. Did not expect some of these results but in the end except for Holland not being there and Greece making it, it looks like a predicted quater-final lineup.Let’s look at the last round of matches in the group stages shall we?

Group A : It ended with a heart break for the Russians who started so well and a delight for the underdog Greek side. The Czech Republic beat co-hosts Poland by a solitary goal enough to see them top the group and go through to the quarters after a bad start to the tournament. But in the end they did what was needed. You can’t say that about the Russians who’s over-confidence led them to sit back against Greece on the 16th and they lost out of a chance to progress through. Greece too won by a solitary goal and they join the Czechs in the knck-out stages and will face favourites Germany.

Group B : Holland were not yet out of the running but still needed two things to happen – they had to beat the Portuguese side by 2 goals or more and Germany had to beat Denmark. Well the Germans closed out their group stage matches in style winning all 3 matches by beating the Danes 2-1. An Holland started off well by scoring in the 11th minute and looking strong. However their defense and midfield let them down as a Portuguese side went rampant led by Ronaldo who scored a brace and gave Portugal a 2-1 win and second place in the group with 6 points. Holland go back home with just 2 goals scored and 0 points and now have to go back to the drawing board.

Group C : Was there any doubt that Italy & Spain would not go through to the next round? Spain however did have a nervous match with Croatia winning on a solitary goal and relying on a late substitute to get the 1-0 win for them. Despite their nervy performance one would expect Spain to pick up their game for the knockout stages. Same for Italy who had a comfortable 2-0 win against a spirited Irish side who in the end were lacking in quality. I expect Spain to make it to the finals probably facing off against Germany, as they haven’t looked like they have reached their peak. Spain looks like they still have a gear or two left.

Group D : Finally the matches from last night, pulled off a surprise in the form of already disqualified Sweden handing France a 2-0 win. The Swedes will therefor go out with their heads held high but what does that do to the confidence of the French? They looked abysmal last night and will need to pick things up. Especially since their quaterfinal opponent is Spain! England look to have things in place by managing a 1-0 win against Ukraine and topping group one. That should give the English enough confidence against an Italian side who are yet to peak.

So hear is a look at what awaits us fans in the quaterfinals:

Looks interesting. My predictions will be a a semifinal lineup with Germany vs Italy & Spain vs Portugal. Looks exciting.

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Euro 2012 : After Round 1 Of Group Games

After the second round of matches, that just completed last night, thinks look a lot clearer but bleaker for some teams.

Group A : the most boring group, is still open with the game results of June 12th. Greece having lost to the Czechs are bottom with 1 point. Poland drew with Russia and have 2 points. Russia are on top with 4 points followed by the Czechs with 3. Nothing is decided yet as all 3 teams below Russia can still top the group depends on tonight’s results. That’s the beauty of the game. Anyways, I might not be watching the matches tonight.

Group B : Oh Holland, how thou have fallen. 2 games, 2 losses and just 1 goal. They still have a slight chance, very slight chance of qualifying- if they beat Portugal say 3-0 and Germany defeats Denmark without conceding a goal, Holland could still scrap through on goal difference. Very minor chance. Germany thanks to a solid midfield and Mario Gomez’s goals defeated Holland 2-1 on the 13th, while Portugal managed to win 3-2 against Denmark. So Germany with 6 points are sure to go through, Portugal & Denmark have 3 points – who will join them.

Group C : Spain have found their form with a resounding 4-0 victory over the Irish with Fernando Torres grabbing a brace and find themselves top with 4 points. Italy managed to draw, again, against Croatia 1-1 and find themselves at the 3rd place in the group. The Croats have 4 points and sit in second place but now face Spain and a victory will be hard. Italy have to beat the Irish to qualify and hope that Spain does it’s job. The Irish have 0 points and are out but meanwhile the Irish fans won the hearts of the home crowds & players with their good spirits and cheer.

Group D : Last night France gave a solid performance to defeat co-hosts Ukraine 2-0 and go on top with 4 points. England managed to thwart a resilient Swedish side and came from behind to win 3-2. Heartbreaking for the Swedes who are bottom with 0 points and are out of the tournament. England will next play the Ukrainians and a win is expected and should see them join France in the next round. France should be wary of Sweden who have nothing to play for but pride and they could be dangerous in the last game.

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Euro 2012 : After Round 1 Of Group Games

After the first round of matches in the group stage, let’s have a look at each of the groups. With some draws and a shocker, the predictions at the onset of the tournament have gone for a toss. But let’s look at the groups:

Group A: – seems to be going somewhat as expected. Russia having won their first match against the Czech Republic 4-1, lead the group with 4 points. Greece & Poland having drawn their opening match against each other have a point each. The Czech’s have their work cut out for them and it will be a surprise if they do qualify for the next round.

Group B: This one served the shocker as favourites to perhaps win the tournament, Holland lost their opening match to Denmark 0-1. It was painful to watch the Dutch team squander chance after chance, their finishing letting them down. Denmark will be buoyed  by their unexpected win and will be tough to beat. Germany huffed and puffed to a 1-0 win over Portugal, who look shades paler of their former selves. This is the group of death indeed because Holland & Portugal are capable of winning the next matches and throwing the balance of the group back at square one. This group is the most exciting to watch.

Group C: Croatia as expected won their match against the Irish, a comfortable 3-1 win. A highly anticipated match up between Italy and Spain which sparked for a while but failed to completely whet our appetites. Spain still seem strong enough to qualify, even fielding their starting 11 against Italy without a proper striker. Italy looked good but they seem to be lacking the star quality of old. Ireland are certainly capable of pulling out a surprise or two in their remaining matches and should not be taken lightly.

Group D: Another surprise was Ukraine beating Sweden 2-1 with a brace from Andreyi Shevachenko (damn missed that game, it looked to have been exciting in the highlights). I don’t see Ukraine qualifying from this group but if they do – all kudos to them. England and France was another match I was looking forward to and it did entertain but not as much as I had wanted to. A 1-1 drawn between them puts Ukraine at the top of the group and who saw that coming? Anyways, we still have 2 more rounds to come and I expect that we will see England & France going through. Or will Sweden come out with all guns blazing in the  next two games? We can only wait and see. But this looks like a very interesting group as well.

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Euro 2012 Group Stage Lineups

I hope I can watch some of the Euro2012 if I can manage to get it on tv here. Looks interesting. Group A looks the most weakest group but I hope the Czechs and the Greeks can both qualify with ease. Group B looks the toughest with Portugal, Denmark, Germany & Holland. I support Holland in all international competitions as Indian football is ……………….. (we’ll just leave it at that) but Germany looks the strongest among all the teams going into the tournament. Portugal is always entertaining but I think the squad is much weaker than a few years ago.

Group C should be easy enough for Spain & Italy and the clash between those two nations should be one to watch. Group D will be the second toughest with England, Sweden, France & Ukraine – oh will England qualify? Things should be interesting. Damn I hope I can see some games live.

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Van Nistelrooy Retires

Netherland international striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy has retired from professional football as a player. At the age of 35 he finished off his career with a spell at Spanish side Malaga, helping them to qualify for the Champions League next season by finishing 4th. He joined Malaga in 2011 from Germany’s SV Hamburg but has spent more time on the subs’ bench than on the playing field, only managing to score four goals in La Liga. He also previously played for giants Real Madrid & Manchester United and Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.

Van Nistelrooy scored a league—best 25 goals to lead Manchester United to the Premier League title in 2003. After transferring to Spain, he scored a league—high 25 goals for Real Madrid in 2006—07. In the Champions League he is the second highest goal scorer of all time, behind Raul.

Van Nistelrooy started out as a central defender, at Den Bosch, before being converted into a striker. He played at Heerenveen, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Hamburg and Malaga. He scored a total of 338 goals in 557 games for his different clubs, and in the process won domestic leagues. He made 70 appearances for the Netherlands between 1998 and 2011, scoring 35 goals.

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Baichung’s Farewell Internationl Match

Indian football’s most prolific & accomplished player Baichung Bhutia said his farewell to international football with a final exhibition match played against visiting German Bundesliga club Bayern Munich held in New Delhi. The man from the tiny hamlet Tinkitam in south Sikkim, who became the face of Indian football, pulled the curtain downs on his illustrious 18-year-old career amid standing ovation during his farewell match against the German giants which ended in a 0-4 loss to the Indian national side.

The 35 year old who captained his national team for a final time, was fresh and chased, lunged and stretched for every ball during the 84 minutes he played. His form was that of during his hey days and he urged his teammaes to give it their all against their much superior opponents. Despite letting in 4 goals during a lopsided first half, the Indians fought for every ball and even challenged the heart of the mighty Bayern defence in the last quarter of the game. As he walked off the pitch at the 84th minute being substituted, the 50,000 strong crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bhutia is currently contracted by the club he owns, United Sikkim, which he also plays for. Bhutia has had four spells at I-League football team East Bengal Club, the club where he started his career. When he signed up to play for the Englishclub Bury in 1999, he became the first Indian footballer to play professional football in Europe. Afterwards he had a short loan spell at the Malaysianfootball club Perak FA. As well as this he has played for JCT Mills, which won the league once during his tenure; and Mohun Bagan, which failed to win the league once during his two spells, in his native India. His international footballing honours include winning the Nehru Cup, LG Cup, SAFF Championship three times and the AFC Challenge Cup. He is also India’s most capped player, and in the 2009 Nehru Cup he received his 100th international cap.

Bhutia, who has a football stadium named after him in honour of his contribution to Indian football (first player to have such honour while he is still playing), has also won many awards, such as the Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri. In October 2010, he founded Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools in Delhi in partnership with football by Carlos Queiroz and Nike.

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RIP Dr. Socrates

The football world and Brazil lost one of it’s most memorable citizens today when former captain Socrates died. Sócrates was admitted to intensive care in a Sao Paulo hospital on 19 August 2011 with gastrointestinal bleeding secondary to portal hypertension and was put on life-support, suffering from septic shock as a result from the intestinal infection before today’s announcement of his death. He was 57.

Sócrates was a technical playmaker, known for great through passes and his vision on the field, as well as his physical strength and a prolific goal scorer. His ability to read the game was highly valued, and his signature move was the blind heel pass. He was considered to be one of the greatest midfielders ever to play the game. He played for Botafogo-SP, before joining giants Corinthians in 1978. He spent six years with the club, scoring 172 goals in 297 league games. He then moved to Italy to play for Fiorentina, before retuning to Brazil to end his career with Flamengo and Santos.

He is best remembered outside of his homeland for the sixty caps he won playing internationally for Brazil; he captained his country at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, and also appeared at the1986 World Cup, the 1979 Copa América, and the 1983 Copa América – appearing in the defeat to Uruguay in the 1983 finals. He was named South American Footballer of the Year in 1983, and was named on Pelé’s FIFA 100 list in 2004.

Dr. Scorates was a doctor of medicine, a rare achievement for a professional footballer. Even rarer is the fact that he earned the degree while concurrently playing professional football. After retiring as a player he practised medicine at Ribeirao Preto. He and his wife had six children.

Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, MD (19 February 1954 – 4 December 2011)

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RIP Gary Speed

Gary Speed, former Welsh international footballer and captain and recently manager of their national side, was found dead yesterday at his home in Huntington, Cheshire. It’s being ruled a suicide by hanging. He was only 42 years old. No apparent reason for his decision has come out yet. Friends & relatives of Speed are shocked at him having hung himself and are asking themselves what could have led him to take his own life when he had “everything to live for”.

Speed played professionally for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United. Rarely troubled by injury or suspension, he held the record for the most appearances in the FA Premier League at 535, until it was surpassed by David James. Over the years I’ve seen him play and remember him mostly as a Newcastle player. Born in Mancot, Wales he was an Everton supporter growing up but it was with Leeds United that he signed on as a youth trainee and made his professional debut at the age of 19 in 1988.

He would sign with Everton in 1996 and played for them for two years but left under controversial circumstances that were never publicly revealed. He moved to Newcastle in 1998 for a fee of 5.5 million pounds.  Speed featured in the club’s FA Cup Final defeats by Arsenal in 1998 and by Manchester United in 1999. He also played in the UEFA Champions League with Newcastle in the 2002–03 season.

He then played for Bolton from 2004-08 and it was with them that he became  the first player to make 500 Premier League appearances when he played in Bolton’s 4–0 victory over West Ham United in December 2006. The final year and a half of his career was spent at Sheffield United and in 2010 be agreed to become their manager but left is post to take over the reigns of the Welsh national side. Speed had appeared as a guest on BBC One’s Football Focus only a number of hours before his death. The tributes to the likeable Welshman kept pouring in as the evening went on.

Speed married wife Louise in 1996, the couple having two children, Tommy and Eddie. Speed was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.

Rest in peace Gary Andrew Speed, MBE (8 September 1969 – 27 November 2011).

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Ar5enal 5 Chels3a 3

What will we do if he gets injured?

Robin van Persie’s hat-trick inspired Arsenal to an incredible victory against Chelsea as their recovery gathered momentum in a Stamford Bridge thriller. The Gunners captain demonstrated his importance to the team by taking his tally to an outstanding 28 goals in 27 Premier League games as Chelsea slumped again after their shock defeat at QPR last week. And it was a miserable afternoon for Chelsea and England captain John Terry at the end of a week in which has he faced allegations of racial abuse against QPR’s Anton Ferdinand – claims he vehemently denies.

Santos & Theo Walcott had the other goals for Arsenal. Arsenal have been piecing their season back together after a poor start and the manner of this win will provide added reserves of confidence and self-belief. It still doesn’t look like we will get any silverware but the side is looking a lot more harder to beat and if we get a few big game players in key positions in January, hey who knows? I’d like to see an FA cup win atleast this year. Come on Gunners!

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Arsenal 3 Stoke City 1

Arsenal have had a terrible start to the new season. After 9 games played we stand at the 7th spot on the table with 13 points and a -3 goal difference. How did this happen? Well, I’ve rambled on about it a couple of times already so not gonna get too much into it. The form has picked up in the recent weeks but I am still skeptical about where we will end up on the table at the end of the season and you know what? 6th or 7th place is not an unrealistic position! Yeah, sacrilege indeed. But that’s the way our squad has been dealt and I’m looking at Arsene Wenger to start changing things around come the mid-season transfer window.

But how did we climb to 7th place? We did it RVP style and that worries me. First the result and I’ll tell you why that worried me later. Robin van Persie came off the bench to inspire Arsenal to a fourth straight Premier League win at home as the Gunners beat Stoke City 3-1 today. Gervinho had seen his clinical first-half strike from Aaron Ramsey’s pass cancelled out by a close-range goal from former Spurs striker Peter Crouch. But Van Persie swooped just six minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute to convert Gervinho’s cross. The Dutchman added a third goal when he diverted a shot past Asmir Begovic after another Gervinho pass.

Now here is the troubling part – without RVP we are an average side!!! And he has had a history of injuries! RVP is doing his part whenever he is fit and on the field but we need more international class players like him to challenge for silverware. Did Wenger really think he was going to win the league or in Europe with the squad he has currently? No way. Good job turning things around boys but we need more. Mid season. Transfer. Window. Spend!

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Arsenal : Tragedy & Despair 2011

Arsenal just seem to be going from bad to worse. In mid-week the Gunners drew 1-1 against German club Borussia Dortmund, after leading till the last minutes of the match. On Saturday Blackburn Rovers came from behind to beat Arsenal 4-3 at Ewood Park. It was an end-to-end encounter in which defending appeared to be a lost art for long periods. Arsenal were twice in front but two own goals and a determined Blackburn comeback sealed victory for the home side.

After 5 games played the London club has 4 points and a -8 goal difference, a truly pathetic performance at the start of the 2011-12 season that puts us in 15th place in the league. When was Arsenal last seen at 15th place after 5 games? Losing 3 times already Arsene Wenger looks like a desperate general sending his soldiers to certain defeat week after week. We need a change and we need it badly. Say good-bye to this season and maybe sell a few players and get some talent in. Fans are asking Wenger to resign and for the club to get former defender & Arsenal captain Tony Adams to take hold of the reins of the squad.

Whatever happens, I’m glad that I’m unable to get the sports channels that show the EPL matches from my cable company at present. It would have been too depressing to watch.

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Arsenal’s New Player Signings

Looks like Arsene Wenger’s stubbornness has dwindled down a bit and the man has loosened the purse strings to purchase a few players and strengthen his squad. This comes in the wake of last weekend’s humiliation at the hands of Manchester United and that 8-2 drubbing the club received. If that wasn’t a wakeup call then nothing is!

So let’s look at what we purchased; the big name is Mikel Arteta, the Spanish midfielder from Everton. Good signing as he will provide offense & chances for the strikers. Along with Youssi Benayoun, Arteta will serve to bridge some of that huge gap in creativity that the team has with the exit of Samir Nasri & Cesc Fabregas. But in terms of quality do not think for a second that the newcomers are of the same calibre as those who left. Benayoun joins us on loan from Chelsea. Meanwhile disgruntled striker Niklas Bendtner joins Sunderland on loan.

German defender Per Mertersacker who joins us from Werder Bremen is certainly a handful in the air at 6ft 6in tall and he’s been added to try and rid the side of their ineptitude at defending corners and set pieces effectively. However, the side may have to play a deeper line to compensate for his almost chronic lack of pace. Nonetheless, the Bundesliga’s almost break-neck speed of play is extremely similar to that of the Premier League and he should adjust fairly quickly. From AC Monaco comes South Korean forward Park Chu-Young comes for a fee around the £2m mark and with a one in three goals to game record throughout his career and significant international experience behind him, he should prove a solid squad player.

Brazilian left-back also joins Arsenal, even though Wenger had claimed that the club was well stocked at left back because they had Vermaelen, Traore and injury-plagued Kieran Gibbs to call upon. He’ll add pace and width down the flanks, even if his defensive attributes are under question. Arsenal left-back Armand Traore has joined Premier League new-boys QPR for an undisclosed fee.

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