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Arsenal 1 Southampton 0

After looking like a draw for the longest time Arsenal finally scored a goal and clinched all 3 points against Southampton. Alexis Sanchez struck two minutes from time to give Arsenal victory for his 14th goal overall since joining the Gunners. The Saints have never won at Arsenal and to be honest didn’t look like they were going to change that. The victory, coming on the heels of the win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, pushes Arsenal into the top six, while Saints stay third despite a second successive defeat following their home loss against Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday. Also Southampton finished with 10 men on the field as Toby Alderweireld, who suffered a hamstring injury after manager Ronald Koeman had used his three substitutes, had to leave the pitch unable to continue.

Visiting goalkeeper Fraser Forster had kept Arsenal at bay with a collection of fine saves from Danny Welbeck and substitute Olivier Giroud, but he was powerless to prevent Gunners talisman Sanchez pouncing on Aaron Ramsey’s cross to score his 14th goal of the season. Welbeck had the first opportunity of the night when he was played in by Santi Cazorla’s pass but he could not get himself set and ended up steering a presentable chance just wide. Neither goalkeeper saw serious action until first-half stoppage time, when Southampton’s Forster reacted well to turn Welbeck’s flicked header over the top. The striker also tried a backheel at the near post but was crowded out by Saints’ defenders. As time went on Wenger brought on Olivier Giroud, which the fans liked, but took off The OX, which fans booed.

Giroud almost immediately tested Forster with a snap shot as Arsenal attempted to finally apply concerted pressure on a resolute and well-organised Southampton defence. The French striker then showed initiative with a neat flick to release Welbeck but Forster’s reactions again came to the Saints’ rescue as he made a fine one-handed save. Positives : Kos looks great at the back, Martinez looked to be gaining confidence, we have 3 clean sheets in a row, Chambers & Monreal (who was doubtful for the match) had good games. After 14 games we have 23 points with a 7 goal difference and sit in 6th.

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There Is Something Seriously Wrong At The Emirates

Can someone call Sherlock Holmes to investigate the avalanche of injuries happening at Arsenal? This is becoming ridiculous and no longer funny. Every couple of games one or two players in an Arsenal shirt gets a knock and will either be out for a game or two or for a long lay off. It’s becoming a trend. Since last year our players have developed the glass jaw version all over especially groin, ankle, foot and knee! How many more players should go down injured before the club realize that there is something so wrong at the club? For Wednesday’s match versus Southampton both Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal are doubtful as they both suffered knocks –  Gibbs has a hip injury and Monreal a knee problem – in the narrow win away at West Brom. So Arsenal may not have a proper left back for the game.

Arsene Wenger is currently without Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Wojciech Szczesny, although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be available to face former club Southampton on Wednesday after taking a kick to the knee against West Brom.Also out injured are Serge Gnabry and long time casulty Abu Diaby and both Oliver Giroud & Laurent Koscielny have just come back from injury. Some players go out injured often – Gibbs, Wilshere, Arteta, Ramsey (though he has been ok so fart his season) and Walcott is like something we unleash only for a few games each season. Yaya Sanogo is also again fit after suffering cramp in the 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund last Wednesday. Should both Monreal and Gibbs fail to recover for Wednesday, Mathieu Flamini or Hector Bellerin could be asked to come into the defence alongside Koscielny, Calum Chambers and Per Mertesacker.

The club needs to invest in players this January – 2 defenders and a holding midfielder as this is where we are lacking – and we need to do that to ease the pressure of the current squad of fit players so that they don’t go injured next and also for those players who are injured but feel that they have to come on and play as there might be a lack of quality in the backup. I don’t see how Wenger and his staff could have lost the plot so much. Isn’t the board interested? The fan clubs? This is serious.

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Arsenal 1 West Bromwich Albion 0

Arsenal avoided a third straight Premier League loss by beating a lacklustre West Brom at The Hawthorns. The Gunners started the fixture with their lowest points tally after 12 games in 32 years, but Danny Welbeck’s powerful header gave them victory. Welbeck scores his sixth Arsenal goal to earn win. Welbeck – denied by a Ben Foster save in the first half – powered in Santi Cazorla’s cross after half-time. West Brom came closest when Saido Berahino headed onto the bar during a late rally but were deservedly beaten. Now West Brom have not scored in 300 minutes of live play.

Banners calling for Wenger to leave his role were visible among the travelling support. His side are 11 points worse off than at this stage last season despite the additions of Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers and Welbeck – who was shifted out of the central striker’s berth for Olivier Giroud – but produced the game’s decisive moment. His header – one of 17 Arsenal attempts at goal – arrived after a first half in which Foster was the only goalkeeper called into action, denying Welbeck from 12 yards. The West Brom keeper then presented Giroud – back in the starting XI for the first time since breaking his leg in August – with an open goal near the corner flag, but the angle proved too acute. Arsenal looked solid with Laurent Koscielny back at the heart of their defence, and with all of their wins this season coming against sides in the bottom half, the breakthrough inevitably arrived. Cazorla, chosen man of the match, was impressive throughout – completing 93% of his passes in the opposition half.

Arsene experiment with having the most attacking looking side with Sanchez, Welbeck and Giroud all starting and if they can gel well, maybe that is something to try out more often. But the Gunners cannot just scrap by these sides, they need to close them out scoring 3-4 goals and boss them out. Kos is back and that leaves our defense looking more solid and strong. More injuries – what the fuck is it with Arsenal and injuries? Monreal goes out injured just as Kos comes back! So now we have Wilshere, Arteta, Debuchy, Gnabry, Walcott (how many games has he played in the last 2 years?), Szczesny, Ospina, Sanogo & Diaby out injured. Our first and second choice keepers out injured!

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Arsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0

Finally, something positive. Arsenal procured their passage to the knock-out stages of the Champions League with a 2-0 win at the Emirates against Dortmund. Yaya Sanogo, starting only because Danny Wellbeck was injured, scored his first goal for Arsenal as they defeated Borussia Dortmund and ensured their passage into the Champions League knockout stage. The 21-year-old netted after 19 appearances without a goal when he finished off a one-two with Santi Cazorla with a low shot early on. Alexis Sanchez made it 2-0 after the break with a superb low curling shot. Sanchez also had a shot pushed away, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck the crossbar with a dipping volley.

That the first goal was scored by a player who was the source of some ridicule on social media when the teams were announced before the match. Sanogo’s ungainly style has irked some fans and there was further astonishment when he was named ahead of Germany World Cup winner Lukas Podolski. But he finally managed to temper some of that criticism when he converted his first effort after starting the move with a ball-juggle and backheel to Spaniard Cazorla. However of much concern is that he and Arteta both had to leave the match injured. Major concern I might add as ou players keep getting injured every other game. Wellbeck, Walcott, Wilshere, Szcz?sny – not to mention Debuchy & Ozil who have been out for a while and with Koscielny & Giroud just coming back from long weeks out! What the fuck!

Goalkeeper Martinez was finally forced to make a big save in stoppage time when he dived to keep out substitute Adrian Ramos’s effort. The win moves Arsenal to 10 points in Group D and a victory over Galatasaray coupled with Dortmund losing to Anderlecht in the final round of games would see Wenger’s side go through as winners. Monreal, Chambers, Gibbs, Arteta & Chamberline had good performances and it was fun to see. Can we build on this? Can we go on and win more games and go something this season? I dunno. One win is not going to change my mind on Wenger. He still has got to go.

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Arsenal Collapse At Home To Man Utd

Kieran Gibbs turned Antonio Valencia’s cross into his own net before Wayne Rooney sealed victory with his side’s first shot on target after 85 minutes. Olivier Giroud came off the bench after three months out injured to pull a goal back for the hosts with a fierce strike in stoppage time, but it came far too late to rescue a point.

Predictably sub-standard and becoming a bit of a joke really. That’s the way I can best describe this current Arsenal side under Arsene Wenger. The man has not only lost the plot, he cannot inspire his players to beat the worst Manchester United side any of us can remember at home. At the Emirates stadium! This is a tragic comedy of sorts as to what happened last night. Arsenal’s attacking players could not get the better of the unlikely trio of defenders that United coach Van Gaal had to pick because of an injury crisis – Chris Smalling, Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair – who surprisingly held out until Olivier Giroud’s ferocious strike in stoppage time. If Arsenal cannot beat the worst United side in recent memory than what the fuck can they do?

Yes they went ahead on a bizzarre own goal from poor Gibbs but we weren’t good enough. First half, we dominated things for 25 minutes and by the time the first half whistle went in we should have been up by a goal or 2. Wilshere was the guilty party of not putting the ball in or passing to another forward. But credit where credit is due, David De Gea was a star for United. Arsenal players couldn’t get the ball past the defenders & the goalie – a make shift defense at that – and they should be ashamed. Who is to blame? A huge chunk should be on Wenger as his transfer choices, dependence on mediocre player, selections and tactics are all a joke now. Sanchez, Wellbeck and Chambers played very well but it wasn’t enough.

Yes so Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny got injured and had to be taken off but that does not excuse the fact that  Wayne Rooney’s late strike meant that United had two shots on target and they scored twice. That’s all  they needed. We had 23 shots on target and got 1 goal. I’m sorry but Wenger has to go, so do players like Flamini, Monreal, Arteta, Carzola – we need stronger players in midfield. Wenger is not the man to change his policies & tactics at his age, so say goodbye to him and thanks for the memories. Shameful!

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Arsenal 1 Swansea 2

In yet another dismal showing, which has made the club look like also-rans and wannabes who are stuck in a rut, Arsenal lost away at Swansea 1-2. Once again defensive tactics were questioned and once again the midfield looks weak and porous. Swansea came from behind with two late goals to claim a memorable win over Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium. Arsenal took the lead when Alexis Sanchez finished from close range after an excellent run and pass from Danny Welbeck. It was the Chilean’s sixth goal in his last four league games as he continues his run of good form. But a stunning Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick and a fine header from substitute Bafetimbi Gomis sealed Swansea’s victory. The win sees Garry Monk’s men leapfrog the Gunners into fifth place in the Premier League table.

For Arsene Wenger’s side, meanwhile, defeat caps a miserable week after their Champions League collapse against Anderlecht on Tuesday, in which they threw away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3. There were some nervy moments from the Gunners’ defenders, with Calum Chambers surviving a Swansea penalty appeal after appearing to shove Wilfried Bony to the ground inside the area. Clear scoring opportunities were at a premium in the first half as two slick but congested midfields cancelled each other out. Arsenal did not manage a shot on target until a minute before half time, as Welbeck combined well with Sanchez before his effort was palmed away by former Gunner Lukasz Fabianski. Arsenal seemed in control at this point but, within 15 minutes, the match was completely transformed. Swansea were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal after Kieran Gibbs was booked for fouling the hosts’ debutant Modou Barrow.

Sigurdsson then compounded Gibbs’ punishment as he curled an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Arsenal barely had time to register the blow of Sigurdsson’s leveller by the time Swansea took the lead less than three minutes later. Montero, who had given Chambers a torrid afternoon on Swansea’s left wing, floated in an inviting cross for Gomis, who nodded the ball beyond a static Szczesny and into the bottom corner. Defensive woes, defensive woes, defensive woes – the club looks like a facsimile of it’s old self and if Wenger continues in this manner, we will miss out on a Champions League spot. I hope then that the axe will fall.

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Arsenal Blow 3-0 Lead To Draw Vs Anderlecht

In one of the worst displays of blowing a lead, Arsenal let slip a commanding 3-0 lead at home against Belgian champions Anderlecht  to draw 3-3. At the 60th minute the Gunners were looking dominant and their attack was glistening with power. Mikel Arteta’s penalty put the Gunners ahead after Danny Welbeck was fouled by Chancel Mbemba. Alexis Sanchez doubled the lead with a stunning 20-yard volley before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added the third after a superb run in the second half. That should have been it. That was all that was needed but you know what a 4th goal would have been nice. But you know what? It all came tumbling down like a house of cards in a gust of wind.

Arsenal’s bane in recent memory has been their lack of defensive cover and the need for a strong defensive holding midfielder who can bulk up the middle. And yet again that was what cost us precious points. Anthony Vanden Borre, who was terrible defensively for his team, reduced the deficit from close range but was clearly offside. However this slipped both the linesman (he was right there, how the hell did he miss it?) and the referee’s attention. Then Monreal, who was praised for his last couple of performances substituting in central defence in the absence of Koscielny was the guilty party in conceding a penalty and Vanden Borre stepped up to score it. The lapses were showing. Wenger brought on Lukas Podolski & Tomas Rosicky in the 81st minute to add fresh legs and speed to press on and perhaps create a goal scoring chance or two but to no avail. Arsenal were still set to book their place in the knockout stages when the inevitable happned substitute Mitrovic headed Andy Najar’s 90th-minute cross past Wojciech Szczesny from close range. Per Mertesacker the guilty one here in not being able to do enough to throw the pesky one off track.

Though Vanden Borre was clearly offside when he scored his first goal, there can be no excuses for the lapses of concentration that allowed the Belgian champions to take a point. The Londoners still need one point from their two remaining games – at home to Borussia Dortmund on 26 November and at Galatasaray on 9 December – to advance. But with Dortmund five points clear, their hopes of finishing top of the group and heading into next month’s draw as one of the seeded teams are fading. Wenger was furious at the end but look no further than the reflection in your mirror Arsene. And he stated in the post-game press conference, when asked whether he planned to strengthen his defence in the January transfer window, “Honestly it’s not the worry tonight”. This guy has lost the plot!

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Arsenal 3 Burnley 0

Arsenal recorded a second successive league win for the first time this season as Burnley’s woes continued. The Clarets frustrated Arsene Wenger’s side for 70 minutes before the excellent Alexis Sanchez struck with a close-range header. Calum Chambers then added his first senior goal from a corner as Burnley’s resistance crumbled. Sanchez fired in his second from Kieran Gibbs’s cross to leave Sean Dyche’s side rooted to the bottom of the table. The scoreline was harsh on Burnley, who defended manfully for much of the game, but once Arsenal discovered a cutting edge the visitors’ rearguard was left brutally exposed. Howeve Arsenal should have scored atleast 2 of the 4 or 5 other chances they had. Sanchez scores his ninth and 10th goals of the season.

Carzola was guilty of missing a great opportunity while Lukas Podolski had three great shots on goal – the first of which was a brilliantly taken volley save by Burnley’s keeper Tom Heaton but had he headed it, it would probably have been a goal for sure. The Gunners had been behind in each of their previous four home league games this season but a repeat of that scenario was never likely against a Burnley side who offered little going forward. The hosts dominated possession in the opening exchanges but initially struggled to fashion clear-cut chances. Sanchez was their liveliest attacking outlet and it was he who created their best opportunity of the first period. The Chilean played in Danny Welbeck, who skipped past two defenders and beat Heaton only to see his shot come back off Kieran Trippier.

The Clarets continued to hold firm after the interval to raise hopes of an unlikely point but Arsenal’s breakthrough eventually arrived through the irrepressible Sanchez. Chambers sent in a fine cross from the right and summer signing Sanchez got above Trippier to power in his ninth goal of the season. Burnley’s resistance was broken and Arsenal took just two minutes to add a second. The Clarets failed to defend a corner and Chambers bundled home after Heaton had saved from Welbeck. After Walcott was introduced, the Burnley keeper continued to impress, brilliantly denying Lukas Podolski. But he could do nothing about Sanchez’s second as the visitors slumped to a sixth league defeat. Theo Walcott came on as a substitute in the 80th minute to make his first appearance since the FA Cup third-round win over Tottenham on 4 January.

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Sunderland 0 Arsenal 2

Alexis Sanchez capitalizes on 2 mistakes from Sunderland in each half (one by Wes Brown and one by Mannone) to score both goals in a 2-0 win for Arsenal. The Gunners were lacklustre and lethargic, making mistakes galore and lucky for them they were facing Sunderland. A better team like Chelsea, Man C or even Liverpool would have ripped us apart. Terribly & sloppy, sluggish play from Carzola especially and Wellbeck was off his game. Worse Gibbs is injured – AGAIN! What is this now, his 10th in 2-3 seasons?

Sunderland were unable to exorcise their embarrassment at Southampton as Arsenal won at the Stadium of Light. Alexis Sanchez capitalised on Wes Brown’s dreadful passback to clip Arsenal ahead after half an hour. And, despite performing with more resolve than in their 8-0 defeat at St Mary’s last Saturday, Sunderland lost another bad goal in stoppage time. Goalkeeper Vito Mannone dawdled with the ball at his feet, allowing Sanchez to steal in and secure the win. The late goal ensured that Arsenal would win this fixture for the fourth consecutive season but Arsene Wenger’s side were far from convincing.

I think Wenger will have to sell a couple of players from his large midfield squad – Carzola, Flamini, Chamberline, Arteta – and make room for a couple of solid players who can win the ball and also create a lot more chances for the strikers to finish. As of now they are losing possession terribly. And Gibbs getting injured is worrisome – hopefully it isn’t too serious.

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Arsenal 2 Hull City 2

A stoppage-time Danny Welbeck goal denied Hull victory and ensured Arsenal avoided equalling their worst start to a league season under Arsene Wenger. Alexis Sanchez’s fierce low shot gave the hosts an early lead. But a disputed Mohamed Diame strike – the midfielder seemed to foul Mathieu Flamini – and an Abel Hernandez header secured the win for Steve Bruce’s side. However, Welbeck guided in a clever Sanchez pass in the first minute of stoppage time to rescue a point.

Until then, Wenger’s side looked as if they would equal their tally of 10 points from their opening eight league matches in 2011-12. But England striker Welbeck’s fifth goal in seven appearances since signing from Manchester United averted the ignominious loss of Arsenal’s 21-game unbeaten home league record. Still, the draw means Arsenal have won just one of their past seven league matches and lose more ground on leaders Chelsea. The bad news did not end there, either, with another injury to midfielder Jack Wilshere – this time to a knee – cancelling out Aaron Ramsey’s return.

Granted that Arsenal were fielding a makeshift defense with left back Nacho Monreal in central defence partnering Per Metzersacker and Hector Bellerin on right full back spot making his league debut as Debuchy is out injured and Chambers is suspended for a game, but Arsenal were wasting chances having dominated possession. Santi Carzola was especially wasteful and the groans could be heard all around the stadium. If things go like this, a 3rd or 4th place finish could well be out of our reach. Currently Arsenal are in 6th place but could well be in 9th or 10 spot once the other games are done by this weekend.

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2014 Indian Super League Launches

This is it. This is the trophy for which 8 newly formed teams in the inaugural Indian Super League will be fighting for. October 12th 2014 sees the start of the Indian Super League, a top tier league in Indian which features some of the best Indian players along with international stars, most though in the twilight of their careers. The league will run from October to December, with a finals series determining the champion. The formation of the league is an effort to bring some big money sponsorship to the beautiful game in India, where it stays on the sidelines both in glamour, achievements and financial benefits to cricket.

Indian football hopes that the big names and the hype will inspire more Indian footballers to spring forth from academies across the nation and also bring foreign talent, investment and investment to the next generation of footballers for us. The kind of investment that cricket has seen and hogged the limelights for so long! Unlike the majority of football leagues around the world, the ISL will not use the promotion and relegation system. Instead, the ISL will use a franchise system in which eight teams will be created to participate in the league. During the regular season, each team will play each other twice on a home and away basis. The top four teams at the end of the season will qualify for the finals series. The semi-finals will be played in a two-legged format with the winners moving onto the one-legged final. The Indian Super League will also consist of controlled rosters. Each team must sign at least one marquee player while they must also sign seven other foreigners. Of these seven foreigners, only two can be signed directly by the club with the other five coming from the foreign player draft. Each team must also have 14 Indian domestic players, four of which being local players to the city.

Above are the logos of the 8 teams. Below are some details like stadium, cities and marquee players plus coaches. I just hope this won’t become a Bollywood production and a hyped up bauble of a shame gimmick. This is India after all and with a lot of focus and news print given to the celebrity owners and stuff! The players seem almost lost in the midst of all this.

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Arsenal 0 Chelsea FC 2

In a match that saw both coaches threaten to steal the spotlight off the pitch, Diego Costa scored his ninth goal in six Premier League games to give Chelsea a comfortable win over Arsenal. Chelsea took the lead in the first half at the Stamford Bridge when Eden Hazard converted from the penalty spot after he been brought down Laurent Koscielny. Spain striker Costa added a second after the break when he latched on to long pass from Cesc Fabregas and lifted the ball over Wojciech Szczesny. Arsenal had a penalty appeal turned down, but otherwise rarely threatened.

Arsenal have only themselves to blame (and in particular Mezut Ozil) after failing to make something of the chances that they had, especially in the second half. Arsenal could have and should have scored atleast once yet they managed to falter yet again. Also the foolishness and mistakes are a plenty. The Gunners kept making rash challenges and bad passes at opportune moments and why the fuck did that moron Wenger not substitute Ozil is beyond me when he kept giving away the ball? Instead he took off Santi Carzola around the 70th minute to bring on Chamberlain.

Cahill should have walked for a late, ugly challenge on Sanchez, earning only a booking from Martin Atkinson. Wenger was enraged, marching over towards Mourinho, his tie flying up, his hackles equally raised and pushing Mourinho with both hands in the chest. Mourinho told Wenger where to go and pointed the way, indicating the away technical area that the Frenchman had vacated. Wenger & Mourinho were cautioned by the referee who pointed to the stands to indicate that he would send them off if they didn’t calm things down.

Arsenal now languish in 7th spot, 9 points behind Chelsea. Fire that Wenger!

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Arsenal 4 Galatasaray 1

Watching last night’s win at home against Galatasaray was a mix of 80% pure joy and 20% anger at the sheer stupid & unnecessary act that left the Gunners with 10 men to defend almost 30 minutes of the game. Danny Welbeck scored his first professional hat-trick as 10-man Arsenal swept aside Galatasaray in the Champions League. The England striker, excellent throughout, stabbed in a first-half opener before side-footing in a second. Alexis Sanchez then curled home before Welbeck clipped in his third. Burak Yilmaz scored a penalty after Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was sent off for a foul, but it was to be nothing more than a consolation. The win was Arsenal’s first in this year’s Champions League and means they have three points in Group D.

It was also the perfect way for manager Arsene Wenger to mark 18 years to the day since he was appointed Arsenal boss, and the Frenchman certainly deserves credit for naming an attack-minded side. With Welbeck playing in his favoured central role and the former Manchester United striker ably supported by the pace and creativity of Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Gunners simply had too much for a Galatasaray side who have now failed to win in 10 visits to English sides. Unlike previous games where they have dominated possession but failed to convert the key difference in this game was they posed a greater threat going forward. They pulled apart the Galatasaray defence for the opener as Sanchez raced on to Kieran Gibbs’s pass down the left, cut inside and slid a clever ball for Welbeck, who got around Felipe Melo before poking a shot through the legs of Fernando Muslera. Galatasaray rarely ventured forward as they tried to contain the Arsenal front four, and their nervousness perhaps contributed to a poor defensive error that allowed Arsenal to score a second.

After the second goal a section of the Turkish fans lit flares in the stand and threw some onto the pitch causing a brief stoppage of play. But once the action resumed, so did Arsenal’s dominance and Sanchez effectively put the game beyond Galatasaray when he ran through the defence to chase Ozil’s ball before curling home from 15 yards. After the break the Turks increased pressure but Arsenal increased their lead further as Welbeck, now brimming with confidence after his first-half double, grabbed his third of the game, timing his run for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pass to perfection before lifting the ball over Muslera. And now the stupidity – Szczesny took some of the shine off the victory when he was sent off on the hour, bringing down Y?lmaz and the striker picked himself up to send substitute keeper David Ospina the wrong way from the spot, but by then the damage was done.

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Indian Goalie In Norwegian Top League

While the ISL seems ready to start with a blast later in the month and provide the hordes of football fans in the country with some much needed pride of having a glamourous league (albeit with foreign top players in the twilight of their career and the season only being 2 months long and only 8 teams) one Indian youth is creating a name for himself in a foreign land. He is the fifth Indian footballer to play in Europe after Mohammed Salim (Celtic), Bhaichung Bhutia (Bury FC), Sunil Chhetri (Sporting Lisbon ‘B’) and Subrata Pal (FC Vestsjaelland).

It was a proud day for Indian football on August 15th as 22-year-old goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu completed his signing with Norway-based club Stabaek Football. The Mohali-born youngster spent time on trial with the club before signing a three-year deal. Despite being the first Indian to sign for a top league club in Europe (granted that the Norwegian league is in no way comparable to the likes of the English, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch or Belgian leagues and even the ones in Greece or Turkey) his achievement has been in the sidelines due to the pomp and sparkle of the ISL. Sandhu has arguably gone farther in Europe than any Indian ever has. While Baichung Bhutia spent time in England’s third tier and the likes of Sunil Chhetri and Subrata Paul have been limited to reserve team action, Sandhu has been on the bench for five consecutive Tippeligaen (Norway’s top tier) games for a 102-year-old club that has been a fixture in the Europa League in recent years.

He has started 6 reserve team games and the only thing standing between him and a starting berth is Sayouba Mande, who was part of Ivory Coast’s 2014 World Cup squad. The youngster does not expect to break into the starting eleven this season, but at 22, knows he has time on his side and believes his decision to choose Norway over the Indian Super League was right. Hope he goes on to nab the top spot for goalies and goes on to better things.

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Arsenal 1 Tottenham Hotspurs 1

In a bizarre game filled with injuries to Arsenal players causing 3 substitutions based solely on the injury factor, Tottenham & the Gunners played out a 1-1 draw. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ensured honours were even as Arsenal and Tottenham fought out an entertaining north London derby at Emirates. Nacer Chadli’s fourth goal in five Premier League appearances this season gave Spurs the lead early in the second half, but Oxlade-Chamberlain hit back with 15 minutes to go.

Wenger says Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta will miss games against Galatasaray and Chelsea because of injury. Both were substituted during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham, with Arteta, 32, suffering a calf problem and Ramsey, 23, a hamstring injury. The Gunners play Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday, before facing Chelsea in the Premier League four days later. Ramsey, who injured his ankle during Wales’ 2-1 Euro 2016 qualification win in Andorra on 9 September, was rested for Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at home by Southampton in the League Cup on Tuesday. Arteta has already had a couple of weeks out with injury.

Jack Wilshere, who took a knock to his ankle against Spurs and was substituted after 63 minutes, is doubtful for the visit of Galatasaray. Wenger said he was concerned by the number of injuries Arsenal have – with striker Olivier Giroud (broken tibia) and Mathieu Debuchy (ankle) out for a lengthy spell and Theo Walcott still a few weeks away from returning to training after sustaining a cruciate knee ligament injury in January.

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Arsenal 1 Southampton 2

In a 3rd round game of the less prestigious Capital One cup Arsenal lost at home to the Saints by a score of 2-1. Arsenal may have been understrength but have only themselves to blame for a lukewarm performance. Sure they made 10 changes to the team that won 3-0 away at Aston Villa but they had the lead when Alexis Sanchez’s superb free-kick opened the scoring. But Southampton continued their fantastic start to the season by coming from behind to beat Arsenal. Southampton hit back soon after going behind as Dusan Tadic scored a penalty given for a foul on debutant Sadio Mane. A stunning strike from Nathaniel Clyne gave the Saints a deserved lead, which they protected in a lively second half.

Arsenal strove for an equaliser in the second half but they were unable to break down the visitors, who could easily have added to their lead but for some wayward shooting. While Alexis was superb most of the players Wenger drafted in did much to stake a claim for a first-team place. Rosicky covered ground but provided relatively little, Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell were largely anonymous, while Abou Diaby, making his first start since March 2013, was understandably off the pace.

David Ospina in goal while Francis Coquelin, Héctor Bellerín, England under 21 defender Isaac Hayden & Callum Chambers started the match in defence. One good things Bellerin & Coquelin were good and with experience Hayden & Coquelin could become a staple at the club. And we really need more solid defensemen.

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Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 0

Only Arsene Wenger can manage this – having brought in 4 good players in the summer, his squad now actually looks worse off than the side was last season! How is that possible? And this irrespective of the scoreline.

Aston Villa, a surprise team in the 2nd position (early days but still impressive for them) look like a very confident side and sharp on the counter attack.  They looked likely to score and the experts panels & commentators were expecting a draw. And it certainly looked like Aston Villa could score a few and win as Arsenal struggled to find any flair upfront. Villa could have & should taken the lead when Ciaran Clark’s header, assisted by Tom Cleverley with a cross from the right side of the six yard box, is saved in the bottom right corner by Szczesny.

And then…suddenly the goals poured in for Arsenal. First Ozil & then Welbeck who score his first goal in an Arsenal jersey. And then an own goal by Cissokho. 3-0 in about 3 minutes. Mesut Özil left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal, assisted by Danny Welbeck with a through ball. Ozil returned the favour by assisting on Danny Welbeck’s first goal since being traded from Manchester United as he right footed shot from very close range to the high centre of the goal. And then the cross by Gibbs which was turned into his own goal by Cissokho; had he not put it The Ox was in fine position to slam home for a goal.

The second half was a stranger one as Arsenal seemed in no real urgency to increase that scoreline while dominating possession. Villa also didn’t want to embarrass themselves with a large score loss and hence it was a little sedate and less energetic. Arsenal wins 3-0 away at Villa Park and that should  give the Gunners, Ozil & Welbeck in particular, a lot of confidence.

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Arsenal 0 Borussia Dortmund 2

Arsenal’s Champions League Group D campaign got off to a poor start as Borussia Dortmund scored either side of half-time to secure a deserved victory. Ciro Immobile opened the scoring after powering past Laurent Koscielny to beat Wojciech Szczesny with a low finish. Dortmund doubled their lead when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished another fine breakaway. New signing Danny Wellbeck missed a good chance which proved to be costly in the end. The 23-year-old England forward – who signed from Manchester United earlier this month – fired wide after being put clean through when the Champions League game was goalless in Germany.

After the game manager Arsene Wenger refused to blame individuals for Arsenal’s poor display in Dortmund. “It’s very difficult to go into any individual assessment of any player because as a team we were not at the requested level,” added the Frenchman. Well Arsene, I blame you. What was very evident is that Arsenal are struggling defensively and it is going to take a lot to prevent this season from being a disastrous one. Once again I am amazed that this experienced & successful coach had let defender & ex-captain Tomas Vermalen leave the club before signing the replacements he needed. At that point we needed two more defenders. With the injuries happening this is even more critical. Missing defenders Nacho Monreal, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers, Arsenal fielded 19-year-old full-back Hector Bellerin, whose only previous senior outing was a 26-minute substitute appearance in a League Cup tie.

Arsenal clearly lost the midfield game as well and the runs from the middle from Dortmund were scary for this Arsenal fan to watch. We need a strong defensive midfielder or two to be added and if they don’t come by January, you can kiss the season goodbye.  And sell the players who spend more time on the injury list than on the pitch – we have too many of those.