Arsenal 2 Everton 0

Arsenal bounced back from the midweek disastrous Champions League defeat by winning their 4th league match in a row. It wasn’t easy by any means and it wasn’t a brilliant confident performance but atleast the defense was more disciplined and structured. Olivier Giroud rewarded manager Arsene Wenger’s support with a goal as Arsenal beat Everton 2-0 to climb back to third place in the Premier League. Wenger kept the striker in his starting line-up even though he missed several chances during Wednesday’s 3-1 Champions League defeat by Monaco. Giroud volleyed in Mesut Ozil’s corner six minutes before half-time.

Everton’s Romelu Lukaku was denied by keeper David Ospina before Tomas Rosicky’s late goal sealed the win. The visitors were the better side for most of the second half but struggled to create clear chances, aside from Lukaku’s near-post shot from Ross Barkley’s cross, which Ospina tipped over brilliantly. Giroud’s selection proved pivotal to that win, as did Wenger’s decision to give centre-back Gabriel Paulista a first Premier League start in place of the out-of-form Per Mertesacker. But Giroud has had 12 efforts at goal in Arsenal’s last two matches – six against Monaco and six against Everton. The goal that he scored against Everton was his only effort on target. Gabriel was shaky at first, misjudging a long clearance and allowing Lukaku to get in behind him, with Ospina racing from his line to pat the ball clear.

But the Brazilian defender won applause from the home fans for a perfectly timed challenge as Everton’s Belgium striker threatened to tear through and score eight minutes before half-time. That lifted an Arsenal side who had been ponderous for the opening 35 minutes, and they were soon ahead. Giroud, who had earlier planted a header wide from eight yards out, found a few inches of space inside a crowded penalty area to turn a lovely low volley into the corner of the net from Ozil’s corner. Arsenal had to survive a significant spell of Everton pressure after half-time, but aside from Lukaku’s effort, the only chance came when substitute Aaron Lennon steered Seamus Coleman’s low cross straight at Ospina. Wenger’s side did finish strongly, and only a magnificent saving tackle by Phil Jagielka stopped Ozil scoring from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s through-pass. Rosicky eased the jitters of the home fans with a shot that was deflected past keeper Tim Howard by the unlucky Jagielka.

After 27 games Arsenal have 51 points and sit in 3rd place, one point more than Manchester United & 4 points below Manchester City.


Arsenal 1 Monaco 3

It was one of the worst performances in Europe that I have ever seen the Gunners play out and it is a shame for anyone and everyone associated with this great club. Arsenal’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2010 suffered a stunning blow as they slumped to a shock 3-1 home defeat by Monaco. The Gunners looked to have been handed a favourable draw but a display that plumbed the depths of incompetence and naivety leaves them facing a last-16 exit once more. Monaco, resilient at the back and capable of punishing Arsenal’s shoddy defence, took the lead in the first half through Geoffrey Kondogbia’s deflected shot.

To add insult to injury, former Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov added the second just after the break. There was even time for Arsenal to cast away the lifeline substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s stoppage-time goal had given them as they were caught hopelessly on the counter once more as Yannick Ferreira Carrasco added a third goal. This stage has become Arsenal’s perennial stumbling block but Wenger would have had high hopes of clearing the hurdle against his former club, even though they had lost only once in their last 17 games.But Arsenal were devoid of ideas and when they did create chances they fell to the hapless, and on this night hopeless, Olivier Giroud, who missed every one that came his way. Welbeck conceded possession and as Joao Moutinho moved forward he found the impressive Kondogbia, whose 25-yard shot took a decisive deflection off Per Mertesacker to leave keeper David Ospina helpless.

Giroud had been presented with Arsenal’s best opportunities but time and again the striker failed to hit the target. In the first half he scooped Hector Bellerin’s cross over then he turned Alexis Sanchez’s cross wide from six yards. From their own attack, Mertesacker in particular deserted his defensive post leaving Anthony Martial free to set up the unmarked Berbatov, who steadied himself before thumping a finish high past Ospina. Giroud’s night got worse when he somehow tapped a simple finish over the top after keeper Danijel Subasic fumbled Sanchez’s shot – and with the fury of Arsenal’s fans ringing in his ears, it was a merciful release when he was replaced by Theo Walcott on the hour. As Emirates Stadium emptied, Oxlade-Chamberlain, on for Francis Coquelin, curled in a goal from 20 yards that at least offered Arsenal some sort of hope for the second leg.

It was typical of how poor they were, however, that they somehow found themselves caught upfield once more to allow the speedy Ferreira-Carrasco to race clear and beat Ospina for what could be the decisive blow. So now, barring a miraculous comeback, Arsenal are all but out of the Champions League. They need to win by a 3 goal margin, hopefully to bang in 3 and keep a clean sheet, which seems not possible going by this performance. They were at home and they couldn’t get up for it in the Champions League with a place in the quarter-finals at stake and they were a playing against a team, which on paper and only on paper, were a much weaker side. Arsenal’s attack was toothless and their defense was in shambles. And that manager has no clue as to how to fix it!


Arsenal 2 Middlesbrough 0

FA Cup holders Arsenal produced an assured display to reach the quarter-finals and end Middlesbrough’s impressive run in the competition. Striker Olivier Giroud scored twice within two first-half minutes to wrap up the win for the Gunners, who in reality should have had another 2 or 3 more goals for the domination they showed. Gabriel Paulista makes Arsenal debut in a match that saw Giroud score his 9th & 10 goals this injury layoff marred season. Santi Cazorla split the away side’s defence with a through ball for Kieran Gibbs, who squared for Olivier Giroud to steer home the opener. Giroud added a second with a delightful volley at Boro’s near post after slack defending from a corner. Spanish striker Kike headed against the post late on but Boro created little.

Arsenal, who ended a nine-year trophy drought by winning the FA Cup last season, move into the draw for the last eight as one of five Premier League teams, with League One Preston hosting Manchester United on Monday evening. New Gunners signing Gabriel Paulista made his debut at centre-back but had little to do as the home side dominated. Albert Adomah’s shot, Middlesbrough’s first on target, was comfortably saved by Wojciech Szczesny in the 39th minute. Cazorla and Gibbs combined for the opener, setting up Giroud whose first-time strike with his left foot went under Meijas. Just two minutes later Giroud doubled his tally with a beautifully controlled volley at the near post after defender George Friend allowed the Frenchman to escape at Alexis Sanchez’s corner.

Middlesbrough managed to shore up their defence in the second half but they remained toothless in attack. Kike’s injury-time header was the only time they threatened to score. And they would have been more heavily beaten had it not been for goalie Mejias, who produced some fine saves.


Arsenal 2 Leicester City 1

Arsenal moved into the Premier League top four with a win that left bottom club Leicester City five points adrift of safety. Mesut Ozil whipped in a corner for Laurent Koscielny to tap in from close range and later saw a shot saved, allowing Theo Walcott to volley home. But the Foxes rallied as Andrej Kramaric scored a first goal in English football with a low second-half shot. He was also denied late on by keeper David Ospina as the Gunners held on.

Leicester boss Pearson deployed a rarely used back five to frustrate Arsenal and while his side threatened until the final whistle, the Gunners’ quality in the final third – not least from Ozil, who completed 88% of his passes – was telling. The German – making his 50th start – created an early opening for Walcott, saw a poked shot tipped wide and from the resulting corner, delivered for Koscielny to score his third goal of the season. The French defender had ample space to side-foot in, ensuring Pearson’s side remain on just four clean sheets this season – a league low. Alexis Sanchez – back after a hamstring injury – had shots blocked but when Ozil found the target from range, Mark Schwarzer parried and Walcott swept home a crisp first-time volley from 12 yards across the keeper. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger lost substitute Aaron Ramsey to injury after just nine minutes of his introduction as they stuttered through the second period and Kramaric will rue his chance to deliver the point his side’s endeavour arguably deserved.

He squeezed a shot through bodies and low into the net to give Leicester some hope and when sent clear late on by the impressive Riyad Mahrez – who went close four times on the night – could only chip into the hands of Ospina. The win sees Arsenal leapfrog Manchester United into 4th place while Tottenham slips to 6th after their loss to Liverpool.


Arsenal 1 Tottenham Hotspurs 2

Arsenal put waste to all the good things they did in recent weeks to seemingly turn around their bad start to the season as they sat back and let Tottenham have a go at them. Harry Kane continued his superb recent form with two goals as Tottenham came from behind to beat Arsenal in an entertaining north London derby. Kane pounced to finish at the back post following Mousa Dembele’s flick from a corner early in the second half. He then rose to head home in the 86th minute to take Spurs a point above the Gunners in the Premier League table. Mesut Ozil had given Arsenal the lead with a close-range finish but they sat back after and paid the price.

Spurs, who ended Saturday fifth in the table, have now won their last seven home matches and taken 22 points from a possible 27. They also have a very real chance of ending a run of 18 seasons in which they have finished below Arsenal in the Premier League table. Twice in the second half Kane breached an Arsenal backline that had previously looked as stubborn and solid as it had during last month’s impressive 2-0 win at champions Manchester City. During a first half in which Spurs were the more positive side, but ended it behind when Olivier Giroud’s fluffed finish from Danny Welbeck’s cross fell to Ozil to finish from inside the box. At the break, Arsenal were eyeing another efficient counter-attacking victory in the mould of their Etihad triumph – a win that would have been their 13th in 16 games.

Wenger’s side had chances in the second half – most notably a long-range Welbeck shot that was well saved by Hugo Lloris – but in general they were not at their best as they became the latest side to suffer at the hands of Spurs and their in-form striker. Arsenal drop down to 6th place with 42 points after 24 games. Next up is Leicester.


Arsenal 5 Aston Villa 0

Arsenal moved above Tottenham to fifth in the Premier League courtesy of an emphatic victory over struggling Aston Villa. The Gunners dominated and took the lead when Olivier Giroud collected Mesut Ozil’s neat flick and finished well. Santi Cazorla’s shot struck the post before well-taken finishes from Ozil and Theo Walcott made it 3-0. Giroud hit the bar with a header before Cazorla fired home a penalty and Hector Bellerin made it 5-0 from 30 yards out. It is the first time Arsenal have hit five goals in a match this season and completes a hat-trick of successive league victories for Arsene Wenger’s side.

The Gunners have now claimed 19 points out of a possible 24, have not conceded in their last three league games and, with significant players returning from injury, are in a strong position to make a push for a 19th successive top-four finish. Even without injured leading scorer Alexis Sanchez, the home side had too much quality for Villa. Ozil, starting his first league game since October following a knee injury, was lively, producing a deft flick to set up Giroud for the first goal eight minutes into the first half. He then collected a pass from the French striker and finished low into the corner of the net in the early stages of the second half. Walcott also continued his rehabilitation in impressive fashion, adding to his goal in the FA Cup win at Brighton last week with a curling finish from inside the box.

And Cazorla capped off another fine display by firing a penalty through the grasp of Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who had fouled substitute Chuba Akpom. Bellerin has been quietly establishing himself as an effective full-back in recent weeks and his low, driven goal from more than 30 yards out in stoppage time was arguably the pick of the bunch. With this win Arsenal move back to 5th place with 42 points after 23 games played. Up next is bitter North London rivals Tottenham Hotspurs.


Arsenal’s January Signings

The deal is finally done. Gabriel Paulista has hailed the chance to play in the Premier League as a dream come true after joining Arsenal from Villarreal, with striker Joel Campbell going to the Spanish club on loan for the rest of the season. The 24-year-old Brazilian centre back was granted a work permit despite not yet having played for his country and joins Arsene Wenger’s side for £11.2million on a four-and-a-half year deal. ‘I want to thank God for the opportunity,’ he told the club’s website. ‘Thanks to God, this wonderful club came to me, and they can count on me to be able to help everybody here.’

Arsenal also confirmed that Campbell’s loan deal was complete, but delivered the surprise news that the 22-year-old Costa Rica striker had signed a new, long-term contract before heading to Spain. Gabriel, who will earn a basic salary of around £60,000-a-week at the Emirates, admitted that playing in the Premier League was a dream come true and revealed that he joined Arsenal after a personal request to sign by Wenger. ‘I came on his request, on the coach’s request,’ he told the club’s website. ‘He asked to sign me and that gives me more strength and the will to be able to work. I see that he’s a coach that has been here for many years and this is important, not only for the team but also for the club. This is very important for everyone that works here in the club, to have a coach like this.’

Despite the praise for his new boss, Gabriel also sees signs that Arsenal need to get better and improve on their performances so far this season. Gabriel will primarily compete with the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker for a place at centre-half, a task he admits is ‘not going to be easy’ – but he can also play on the right or left side of the backline.

About a week back Arsenal completed the signing of 17-year-old midfielder Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw for an undisclosed fee. Bielik made his senior debut for the Polish club in August aged 16. He went on to feature five times for Legia in the league and once in the Europa League. The versatile Poland youth international can play in both holding midfield and at centre-back. Bielik, 17, who underwent his medical at Arsenal last week, signed for Legia from their Polish rivals Lech Poznan in July and has made six appearances in all competitions this season.


Brighton 2 Arsenal 3

Unlike Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and Manchester City Arsenal reached the FA Cup fifth round but were forced to hang on for victory against a spirited Brighton side at the Amex Stadium. Both Theo Walcott & Mezut Ozil scored their first goals after coming back from injury, in Walcott’s case it being about a year. Walcott gave the Gunners the lead on 89 seconds when he converted Calum Chambers’ cross from the right. Mesut Ozil then made it 2-0 when he slotted in from inside the area. Tomas Rosicky volleyed home a sublime third after Chris O’Grady had reduced the deficit, before Sam Baldock’s effort set up an exciting finale. Arsene Wenger will fancy his side’s chances to defend their title with 10 Premier League sides out, including Chelsea and Manchester City.

Arsenal should have been comfortable by then, however, unlike Chelsea and Manchester City, they avoided the ignominy of going out to lower league opposition and will be strongly fancied to defend their title. As for the Seagulls, aside from the goals and some late pressure, their forays into the opposition area were few and far between with Baldock’s wayward strike from eight yards their only other clear chance. The Gunners left in-form attacking duo Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez out of the starting line-up, but replacements Walcott and Ozil justified their selection with two good displays. Once again it was the defense with Koscielny, Monreal & goalkeeper Sczechny in particular looking less than confident in dealing with the physical aspect of Brighton’s game. When Coquelin came on after Brighton scored their second, he seemed to calm things down a bit in midfield – see Wenger that is what’s been missing for us for a long time but you were too dumb to even see it. Yet almost every fan were screaming for a solid defensive midfielder.

Ozil, who himself has been hindered by injury and poor form, produced a competent display, scoring the second when he steered his shot past David Stockdale. Walcott seems to be on his way to 100% match fitness which is great news for us. Rosicky was brilliant though Giroud seemed lackluster. Things look positive.


Manchester City 0 Arsenal 2

Yes an away win, finally against one of the top 3 clubs. Arsenal’s first win at City since October 2010 halted City’s 12 game unbeaten league run. Arsenal finally came up with a Plan B, sat back and defended enmasse and when they got a chance they counter-attacked in style and came out deserved winners. Santi Cazorla scored a goal and created another as Arsenal ended Manchester City’s 12-match unbeaten league run and damaged their title hopes. Spain playmaker Cazorla converted a first-half penalty after Vincent Kompany fouled Nacho Monreal. Arsenal added a second after the break when Cazorla’s free-kick picked out Olivier Giroud and the France striker headed in from close range.

The result left City five points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea. At Etihad Stadium on Sunday, it seemed that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger finally realised he cannot play his usual open style of attacking football when his team are away from home against the best teams in the Premier League. Instead, the Gunners were set up to defend and keep a clean sheet. Right from the start, there were times when all 11 of their players were defending deep in City’s half. Chile forward Sanchez, who has scored 12 goals for Arsene Wenger’s side this season, was well shackled by the City defence. Instead it was Cazorla, 30, who was the game’s outstanding attacking player and it was fitting that he was to have such an influential role with both goals.

Monreal played a one-two with Giroud and the Spain left-back went down after his run was blocked by Kompany, who looked rusty in his first match since 13 December having recovered from a hamstring injury. Cazorla sent the spot-kick low to Joe Hart’s left and even though the City goalkeeper dived the correct way he was unable to get a hand on it. Despite City’s pressure, it was Wenger’s side who scored next when Cazorla lifted a free-kick into the penalty area and Giroud escaped his marker and took advantage of a disorganised City defence to head past Hart.

This was a game in which the defense was brilliant with Bellerin & Monreal in particular who deserve plaudits but Per Mertesacker & Laurent Koscielny were solid as well. But Francis Coquelin who has been solid & impressive since rejoining Arsenalafter a loan spell at Charlton, showed us (and I hope Wenger too) just what we can do with a good defensive/holding midfielder playing just in front of the back four. How we have needed that so badly in the last couple of years and what a difference it makes. Carzola was Man of the match for me by Coquelin was a close second.

Arsenal January Transfer Window Update

Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo has joined Premier League rivals Crystal Palace on loan for the rest of the season. The 21-year-old has only played six times for the Gunners this season, but did manage his first competitive goal for the club in their 2-0 Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund. Sanogo joined Arsenal from Auxerre at the start of last season but made limited appearances and most of his impact came in their victorious FA Cup run, albeit without him breaking his goalscoring duck. He will hope to add firepower to a Palace squad that has scored only 22 goals in 21 Premier League games so far this season.

On 5th of January ofcourse Lukas Podolski has joined Inter Milan from Arsenal on loan for the remainder of the season. The 29-year-old, who joined the Gunners from Cologne in the summer of 2012, had become frustrated by a lack of first-team opportunities, often used as an impact player from the bench by manager Arsene Wenger. He has scored three goals this season — including a dramatic last-gasp winner in the Champions League group game at Anderlecht. Podolski, who was part of the World Cup winning squad in Brazil during the summer, has been a fan favourite for Arsenal and known as the best finisher in the team but has been criticized for his lack of tracking back and supporting his left back. He is also hugely popular on social media among the Arsenal fans.

Also possibly on the move on a loan transfer is Costa Rican World Cup star Joel Campbell who has featured so little for the Gunners and who was on loan with Benefica until the Summer. However a new loan agreement depends on whether he signs a contract extension at the Emirates.


Arsenal 3 Stoke City 0

Alexis Sanchez scored twice as Arsenal climbed above neighbours Tottenham and into fifth place in the Premier League with a dominant display against Stoke. It proved to be costly though as Arsenal defender Matthieu Debuchy went down under a challenge from Marko Arnautovic and was replaced by Hector Bellerin after colliding with the advertising boards behind the goal and dislocated his right shoulder. Reports says that he could be out for several weeks; this after just having come back from a 3 month layoff due to injury.

Laurent Koscielny took advantage of slack marking to head the hosts into an early lead from Sanchez’s cross. The Chile international then finished off a neat move with Tomas Rosicky to double Arsenal’s lead before half-time. Sanchez, 26, added his second goal of the game and 18th of the season from a free-kick shortly after the break. It proved a relatively routine victory for an Arsenal side and for David Ospina, who retained his place after the 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Hull. It was the 26-year-old Colombia international’s his first Premier League start, with Wojciech Szczesny dropped to the bench following reports he was caught smoking in the showers after the New Year’s Day defeat at Southampton. Stoke were given early warning of Arsenal’s intent when Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky forced goalkeeper Asmir Begovic into saves in the opening five minutes. And within 60 seconds Koscielny took advantage of Arsenal’s third corner of the match by heading in Sanchez’s delivery. Sanchez then stretched Arsenal’s lead with his 17th goal of the season – a low shot in to the bottom left-hand corner after a smart one-two with Rosicky on the edge of the area.

Stoke created little throughout the game and their first real chance came when Glenn Whelan blazed a smart free-kick from Bojan over the bar on 25 minutes. Peter Crouch also headed a tame effort wide from an Arnautovic cross. Mezut Ozil made his first apperance after a 3 month innjury layoff when he came on for striker Olivier Giroud in the 73rd minute. Theo Walcott came on a sub in the 68th minute for Oxlade-Chamberlain and could have scored a goal but his almost 1 year out of the game rustiness showed as he hit wide. Arsenal now sit in 5th place with 36 points, just one below Southampton in 4th place and 2 behind Manchester United in 3rd.


Arsenal 2 Hull City 0

Needing to bounce back from the bad loss mid week in the league to Southampton Arsenal began their defence of the FA Cup with a hard-fought win as Hull City failed to gain a measure of revenge for defeat in last year’s final. Per Mertesacker rose above the Hull defence to powerfully head in the opener from Alexis Sanchez’s corner. Arsenal controlled the first half and almost doubled their lead when Hull’s Paul McShane cleared off the line. Hull grew in confidence after half-time but Sanchez’s sharp turn and calm finish inside 18 yards sealed victory. The Chile forward has become Arsenal’s talisman since his £35m summer move from Barcelona and another moment of quality eased any lingering fears of Hull snatching a late draw at the Emirates.

The finishing needs to be more clinical for Arsenal. I do understand that Theo Walcott hasn’t played for a year being out with injury (except for a brief run in as a substitute) isn’t match sharp and would have killed the couple of chances that he missed. And then after scoring the opening goal it looked like Arsenal dropped a gear or two. Things were looking a bit too dull and pedestrian and the pace had dropped as well as the chances for a while, the defense needing to do more work and the midfield unable to string passes and Walcott & Sanchez seemed to tire. In truth, the Tigers rarely looked capable of avenging their dramatic 3-2 defeat at Wembley last May and this third-round tie failed to match the fever and tension of last season’s showpiece.

Positives : Theo is back but needs a few games to bring himself to full mach fitness because at his best he is excellent. Mertesacker had a decent game which is important. David Ospina looked solid and he is fully fit and could play a few games in goal for us. Joel Campbell finally gets a start and although he didn’t finish well, he was running back, tackling and defending all match. However, based on these last few performances I have seen, Arsenal will be lucky to get 4th. 6th is more likely where we will finish at the end of the season. This is why Arsenal are in 6th place. Can’t kill a game that they are dominating and have had so many chances.


Southampton 2 Arsenal 0

New year but same old inconsistent Arsenal with a horrendous defensive display and a joke of a goalkeeping error. Southampton punished two errors by Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to stay fourth in the Premier League. Szczesny raced from his goal in the first half to allow Sadio Mane to curl into an empty net from a narrow angle. Saints’ keeper Fraser Forster superbly saved from Alexis Sanchez before Szczesny kicked a loose ball while on the floor to Dusan Tadic, who poked in. Southampton could have scored more, with Graziano Pelle’s shot cleared off the line, as Arsenal drop to sixth.

Without the suspended Morgan Schneiderlin – a reported target for many teams in January – Koeman’s side were solid all over the pitch, none more so than goalkeeper Forster, who saved brilliantly from Santi Cazorla and Sanchez either side of Mane’s opener. By contrast, Szczesny made errors which proved the difference between the teams. First, the Poland keeper raced from his goal to confront Mane, but the Senegal striker – soon heading for the African Cup of Nations – curled in his third goal in as many games with a measured finish from the byline. The Arsenal keeper then superbly denied James Ward-Prowse from 12 yards before the break, but panicked when grounded in his six-yard box before the hour mark and kicked a loose ball straight to Tadic, who scored his second Premier League goal. The Arsenal keeper instantly sipped his sports bottle with a bemused look on his face. It was the seventh goal his side have conceded from an error this season – only Everton, with 11, have more.

The Gunners nearly added to that tally when Szczesny was sold short by a backpass and Mathieu Debuchy was left to clear Pelle’s prod off the line. The home side were fortunate to end with 10 men when Florin Gardos – the last man – felled Alexis Sanchez with a quarter of the game remaining but the referee only handed out a yellow card. Theo Walcott was introduced in the 60th minute for Chambers but failed to even touch the ball for almost 20 minutes. Pathetic showing by the Gunners and deservedly losers. Now down to 6th on 33 points.


West Ham 1 Arsenal 2

Arsenal moved above West Ham in to the Premier League top five after inflicting a first home defeat on the Hammers since August. Former Gunner Alex Song had a 20-yard volley ruled out for offside for the hosts which angered Sam Allardyce. Santi Cazorla put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot, following a foul by Winston Reid, before Danny Welbeck put Arsenal further in front. Cheikhou Kouyate’s header gave the hosts hope but West Ham were unable to avoid a second successive defeat that saw them slip to 6th pace. It was Arsenal’s ninth win in a row in all competitions against West Ham as they moved level on points with fourth-placed Southampton and just three points behind Manchester United in third.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, who opted to rest key players Song and Diafra Sakho for the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Boxing Day, disagreed strongly with the decision to disallow Song’s goal, claiming Sakho was not in the eyeline of the goalkeeper when he was adjudged to be offside. Former Arsenal man Song, on loan from Barcelona, almost made an instant impact with a low volley into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards early on. Sakho was penalised for standing in an offside position in front of goal, though, despite not touching the ball. Cazorla punished Reid’s high leg in the box to roll home the resulting penalty for the opener. The lead was doubled minutes later as Welbeck was on hand to slide the ball in to the net from close range after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s low cross from the right. Stunned by the deficit, West Ham restored hope soon after the break with Kouyate bundling Sakho’s cross from the right in to the net via Mathieu Debuchy. But it was Arsenal who had the better chances, with Hammers keeper Adrian brilliantly denying Alexis Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain, before the visitors survived a late aerial bombardment.

Arsenal should have scored a couple more goals had they been more clinical, which they have to to counteract the goals that we are bound to leak with out shaky looking defense. Wenger resorted to putting 6 defenders on, bringing on subs Gibbs & Chambers for Welbeck & Chambo respectively in order to protect that slender lead. When that whistle blew you could almost hear the deafening SIGH of relief. What matters is the 3 points which brings our total to 33 after half the games have been played.


Arsenal 2 Queens Park Rangers 1

Arsenal remain within touching distance of the Premier League’s top four after victory over QPR – but only after being reduced to 10 men and conceding a second-half penalty. With the win Arsenal moves above Spurs to sixth and within 2 points of 4th place. Arsene Wenger’s 400th in the Premier League saw Giroud sent off for headbutt on Onuoha in the 53rd minute. Alexis Sanchez missed a spot kick but later headed Arsenal into the lead. Tomas Rosicky doubled their advantage after Giroud was sent off. Then, in a nervy climax, Mathieu Debuchy felled Junior Hoilett and QPR’s Charlie Austin converted from the spot.

Harry Redknapp men’s somehow soaked up wave after wave of attacks until, eventually, they caved in seven minutes before the break. A lovely move, featuring Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla and Kieran Gibbs, was finished off by Sanchez to give his team a deserved lead. That made up for the Chilean’s miss from the penalty spot after he was challenged clumsily by Armand Traore, with the diving Robert Green saving Sanchez’s tame effort. Although Giroud gifted the QPR a lifeline, the visitors were unable to test the Arsenal back four before Rosicky scored. Sanchez was the creator, elegantly weaving his way towards the box before releasing the equally impressive Czech, who swept home on his first league start of the term. Until Debuchy was penalised for bringing down Hoilett – though replays showed the defender did make contact with the ball – QPR were unable to test Arsenal.

That set up a dramatic final 10 minutes, but QPR were unable to breach Arsenal’s defence for a second time. The Gunners have nine points fewer than at the same stage last season, when they were level with league leaders Liverpool. Even after victory, which was Wenger’s 400th in the league, Arsenal remain 15 points behind leaders Chelsea and two points adrift of fourth-place Southampton, with every team in the top four also enjoying wins.


Liverpool 2 Arsenal 2

Arsenal’s woefully defensive setup came back to haunt them as they let 10 man Liverpool equalize in a lengthy injury time. Martin Skrtel’s equaliser seven minutes into stoppage time gave Liverpool a fully deserved point against Arsenal at Anfield. Referee Michael Oliver had added nine minutes on after a lengthy second-half delay when Skrtel required treatment for a head wound sustained in an accidental clash with Olivier Giroud. Giroud looked to have sent Arsenal on the way to avenging their 5-1 thrashing at Anfield last season when he put them ahead, Mathieu Debuchy having equalised seconds after Philippe Coutinho gave Liverpool the lead on the stroke of half-time.

But Skrtel, heavily bandaged and with Liverpool reduced to 10 men after substitute Fabio Borini was sent off late on, rose to meet Adam Lallana’s corner in the 97th minute and power a header past Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny in front of the Kop. Arsenal were desolate but it would have been a real smash-and-grab had they hung on for three points after Liverpool showed most of the ambition and moments of quality in a game high on drama but short on class. Brendan Rodgers’s team moved into the top 10 in the Premier League table, but they are nine points adrift of West Ham in fourth place, while Arsenal are sixth. Arsenal showed greater ruthlessness in front of goal to go ahead after 64 minutes, Giroud sweeping a finish past Jones at the near post from Santi Cazorla’s cross.

Despite Arsenal’s numerical advantage, Liverpool continued to press and Skrtel delivered a result that was the least they deserved. Arsenal were lucky, on this showing, that Liverpool did not have out n out strikers playing in their lineup. Per was poor, Flamini being run ragged was helpless, Ox, Welbeck and Alexis had poor games with Sanchez especially looking tired & burned out. January transfers are needed and we desperately need reinforcements and perhaps selling off of a couple of our players.


Arsenal 4 Newcastle United 1

Arsenal put their recent Premier League troubles behind them to move to within two points of the Premier League’s top four after an easy win over Newcastle. Arsenal score four for second straight game and are now two points behind Man United. Olivier Giroud headed the Gunners ahead from Alexis Sanchez’s cross and Santi Cazorla’s cute finish made it 2-0. Giroud added his second with a clever close-range finish, and Ayoze Perez gave Newcastle hope with a header. Cazorla completed an emphatic win with an audaciously taken cheeky penalty, to celebrate his birthday, after Paul Dummett’s foul on Danny Welbeck.

Newcastle had arrived in north London buoyed by their victory over Chelsea. Yet Alan Pardew’s side struggled to hit the heights that they reached in ending the Premier League leaders’ unbeaten start to the campaign. Arsenal dominated the opening half and should have led by more than Giroud’s 16th-minute header. Per Mertesacker had already been denied by the crossbar, the Germany defender’s back header from a Cazorla corner cannoning off the woodwork, before Giroud struck. Newcastle’s marking was non existent as they failed to pick up the France international’s run from Sanchez’s excellent delivery, Giroud planting a powerful header beyond Jak Alnwick from 12-yards out. Danny Welbeck thought he had doubled the lead with an 18th-minute chipped finish but his effort was ruled out for a foul on Daryl Janmaat, a harsh decision judging by television replays. Welbeck was unfortunate with an ambitious 32nd minute volley that flashed narrowly wide of Alnwick’s post.

Arsenal extended their lead when Cazorla skipped over Fabricio Coloccini before beating Alnwick with a cute 55th-minute finish. The Gunners went 3-0 up four minutes later as Giroud produced an exquisite piece of skill to beat Alnwick with the outside of his foot. Perez gave Newcastle hope with a stooping header from Colback’s free-kick, but Cazorla cemented an impressive home display from the spot after Welbeck was felled by Dummett. Bellerin, Debuchy & Chamberlin had good games for the side. 16 games played, 26 points.


Galatasaray 1 Arsenal 4

As there was much thunder & lightning I switched off everything at 12 am and thought I’d wait. But I fell asleep and missed the match – only to wake up and find that Poldi & Ramsey have scored a brace each for a 4-1 win. Maybe I should miss a few more games. Arsenal hammered an abject Galatasaray side but could not claim top spot in Group D as Borussia Dortmund avoided defeat in their final group game.

The Gunners – criticised for defeat at Stoke on Saturday – responded with three goals inside 30 minutes, Lukas Podolski powering an opener. Aaron Ramsey slotted a second and added a stunning left-footed 35-yard volley. Wesley Sneijder hit a free-kick consolation before Podolski rolled a second with the final kick of the game. It was fitting that Podolski, impressive throughout, ended the night by netting his third goal of the season with a powerful run but light finish. He has only started six times in Arsenal’s faltering league campaign but led from the front as Wenger’s side delivered the response he asked for after defeat against the Potters. Arsenal – sixth in the Premier League – eased off after the interval and counted on captain Per Mertesacker to produce a superb goal-line block to deny Umut Bulut from four yards.

Wenger had introduced three debutants in Stefan O’Connor, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Gedion Zelalem by the time Wesley Sneijder whipped in a powerful free-kick from 18 yards with a minute remaining. The effort flew past Wojciech Szczesny – who handled efforts well on his return from a four-game absence – but Podolski ended proceedings with a flourish, passing the ball into the net from 10 yards. In the round of 16 we could face either of the following teams : Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona or Paris St-Germain, Porto, Monaco.