Arsenal Move For Van Der Vaart?

For the past few days it seems that one of the hottest transfer rumours has been the possible movement of unsettled midfield maestro Rafael Van Der Vaart from Spanish giants Real Madrid to Arsenal and it seems likely that Arsene Wnger will swoop in to sign him.

According to the News of the World, the former Hamburg and Ajax star is desperate to leave Spain and is ready to revive his career in the Premier League. Van der Vaart has found his chances limited at the Bernabeu following the acquisition of Brazilian midfielder Kaka.

And after falling out of favour with Los Galacticos coach Manuel Pellegrini, the 26-year-old has started on just three occasions in La Liga this season.

The Dutchman is eager to gain regular first-team action before representing his country in next summer’s World Cup, and is reportedly willing to accept a pay-cut in order to earn a move to North London. Do we need more shooting power? Yes we do!

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Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1

I wasn’t able to watch this match live (still not getting ESPN on the old outdated tv) but I tried following it on score updates websites. Without a proper striker in the lineup, Arsenal went away to Liverpool and won 2-1. This result also brought the Gunners smack back into the title race as they are 3rd in the league and have 31 points with a game in hand over Manchester United & Chelsea.

Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt had scored to put Liverpool in the lead just at the interval but Arsene Wenger fired up his squad by berating then during the halftime break. Liverpool’s £18m full-back Glen Johnson, who suffered a torrid afternoon, unwittingly handed Arsenal a route back into the game when he turned Samir Nasri’s cross past Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina five minutes after half-time. And then Andrey Arshavin struck in stunning fashion, controlling brilliantly before firing a thunderous shot high past Reina.

Man Utd (played 16) are in second place with 34 points and Chelsea (played 16) lead the table with 37. Aston Villa (after winning against United) in fourth place have 29.

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Arsenal 2 Stoke City 0

Perhaps Stoke City was just the opponent that Arsenal needed to get back on track after 3 losses that significantly damaged any hopes of them being in the winner’s circle. Andrey Arshavin missed a one-on-one chance, Samir Nasri was denied and Cesc Fabregas had a penalty saved as Thomas Sorensen kept Arsenal out early on.

Russian star Andryi Arshavin poked in a shot to open the scoring, before Armand Traore’s cross hit the bar and post, and Fabregas’s goal-bound shot hit Emmanuel Eboue. Arshavin collected a return pass from Fabregas, dug the ball out from under his feet and slotted a low shot into the bottom corner. Arsenal sealed the victory when substitute Aaron Ramsey rifled home from the edge of the box.

The result will be a welcome relief for Arsene Wenger, who has endured a difficult week, and it will help the Frenchman fondly remember his 500th Premier League game in charge of the Gunners.

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Ruud To Arsenal?

A section of the football press is talking about a possible move for Dutch striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy from Read Madrid to Arsenal. And they say it makes perfect sense and could benefit both sides considerably.

Why? Well, the Gunners were going great guns until November 14 after which they have lost two games in the English Premier league – to Sunderland and to Chelsea. And while the second is understandable, the first one is not. Fabregas was on fire scoring as well as assisting and Robin Van Persie looked like he would finally get an extended run without injury, then just 15 minutes into a 0-0 draw with World Cup holders Italy, Van Persie was challenged by Giorgio Chiellini and went down clutching his ankle.

So now the Gunners need an out & out striker, a target man up front who will knock in the goals and rack up the points for Arsenal, as Van Persie will likely miss 4-5 months of the season due to the injury. Former Manchester United player Van Nistelrooy has played in the Premier League before, having scored 95 league goals in his 5 seasons at Old Trafford. He can operate as a loan striker as well as part of a pair and would flourish with the number of chances that Arsenal create.

Van Nistelrooy has fallen down the pecking order at Real Madrid after the arrival of Kaka, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo and also finds himself behind Raul and Gonzalo Higuain. Thus with next year’s World Cup in mind Van Nistelrooy knows he needs to be playing if he is to go to South Africa. A move to Arsenal would benefit both parties, it just remains to be seen if a deal can be struck between both sides in order to resurrect Arsenal’s title hopes and Van Nistelrooy’s World Cup dreams.

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Arsenal 2 Standard Liege 0

Just watched the highlights a few minutes ago. Arsenal sealed their passage into the last 16 of the Champions League in convincing fashion with a comfortable win against Standard Liege at the Emirates Stadium. Arsene Wenger’s side needed only a point to qualify for the knockout phase for a seventh consecutive season – but they never looked in serious danger of clinching anything less than three as they dominated the Belgian club for long periods.

Samir Nasri took advantage of Landry Mulemo’s slip to put the Gunners ahead after 35 minutes and Denilson struck a spectacular, swerving second from 30 yards in first-half injury time. Arsenal boss Wenger will now hope his side can take their impressive form in the group stage forward and go one step further than last season’s Champions League campaign, when they exited against Manchester United in the semi-final.

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RIP Robert Enke

The footballing world is in mourning for Germany and Hanover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke who died after being hit by a train in an apparent suicide. He was 32. Enke’s body was found at a train crossing in Neustadt am Ruebenberge near Hanover.

Enke, 32, won eight international caps and was in the running to play at the World Cup in South Africa next year. Enke, who had spells with clubs in Spain, Turkey and Portugal before signing for Bundesliga team Hanover in 2004. Enke had been suffering from depression and he had a fear of failure. Speaking at a news conference called by his club, Teresa Enke said her 32-year-old husband was afraid their adopted daughter would be taken away from the family if his illness became public knowledge.

The couple’s biological daughter died three years ago from a heart problem she had from birth when she was 2. Police said Wednesday they had found a suicide note, with no indications the death was anything but a suicide. Valentin Markser, a doctor who treated Enke, said the goalkeeper first sought treatment in 2003, when he lost his starting place at Barcelona and developed anxieties and fear of failure. The German football federation canceled a friendly with Chile slated for Saturday in Cologne. Hundreds of Hannover fans paid tribute to Enke at the stadium Wednesday.

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Arsenal 4 Wolverhampton 1

Arsenal’s good form continues as do the wins and the goals. Post another fine display to dismantle Wolverhampton, Arsene Wenger’s side moves into second place in the Premier League.

The Gunners were a touch fortunate with their opener as Ronald Zubar turned a Cesc Fabregas corner into his own goal. And Eduardo’s chip went in off Jody Craddock’s head to make it 2-0 before Robin van Persie’s exquisite touch set up Fabregas to score a classy third. Andrey Arshavin struck with a low shot from the edge of the area before Craddock headed in a late consolation.

This result means that Arsenal jump over Manchester United, on goal difference, into second place. United play league leaders Chelsea tonight.

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Arsenal 4 AZ Alkmaar 1

After a convincing 4-1 victory over AZ Alkmaar the Gunners need just a single point from their two remaining fixtures to qualify from Group H. Arsenal ran out 4-1 winners over reigning Dutch champions AZ in a vintage display of fluid passing and ruthless finishing. Captain Cesc Fabregas helped himself to two goals but, despite being pleased with his team’s performance, was quick to point out that they are still yet to qualify.

Samir Nasri, making his first Champions League appearance of the season, doubled Arsenal’s advantage on the stroke of half time. Abou Diaby capped an all-action individual performance by putting the finishing touch on a vintage Arsenal move to make it 4-0 on 72 minutes. There was still time for AZ to grab a controversial consolation ten minutes later, with Jeremain Lens breaking free of the Arsenal defence and beating Manuel Almunia when it looked like the recently re-instated goalkeeper could have done better. The result leaves Arsenal in a commanding position in Group E, needing just a point from their remaining two fixtures to secure passage to the knock-out stages.

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Arsenal 3 Tottenham Hotspurs 0

Every season Gunners fans always look forward to the games against Manchester United, Liverpool & Chelsea but there’s nothing like a good old north London derby. Tottenham Hotspurs came calling yesterday and were sent back with a 3-0 defeat.

The game turned inside 11 seconds shortly before the interval as the Gunners struck twice to set up a victory that gave manager Arsene Wenger 1000 Premier League points since his arrival at the club in 1996. Robin van Persie reacted quicker than Ledley King to meet Bacary Sagna’s cross in the 42nd minute, but Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes should have done much better than fumble the ball over the line.

And worse was to follow for the visitors straight from the kick-off when Wilson Palacios gifted possession to Cesc Fabregas, who ran through the heart of a static defence to beat Gomes. Referee Mark Clattenburg played a clever advantage after Benoit Assou-Ekotto had fouled Eduardo and, while Spurs inexplicably waited for a whistle that was never going to come, Sagna set up Van Persie for his second from eight yards.

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Arsenal’s 2 Match Update

Arsenal have played two games in the last 4 days but I wasn’t to watch either. Sunday’s league game was against West Ham United and Arsenal let the game slip away from them. After leading by goals the Gunner let the Hammers back into the game and it ended up being a 2-2 draw.

Last night in the Carling Cup Arsenal proved too strong for Liverpool as they beat the Reds in an absorbing Carling Cup fourth round tie. The Carling Cup is a chance for lesser lights to shine and prove their worth. Fran Merida thundered in an 18-yard shot to put Arsenal ahead. Liverpool’s Emiliano Insua equalised with a superb 25-yard dipping strike but Nicklas Bendtner shot into the roof of the net for what proved to be the winner.

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Arsenal 1 AZ Alkmaar 1

Playing well away from home, Arsenal conceeded a goal in stoppage time and throw away 2 points that they richly deserved in the Champions League match last night. Cesc Fabregas had put Arsenal ahead from close range while AZ keeper Sergio Romero made several good saves, particularly from Robin van Persie.

David Mendes Da Silva struck to snatch a point that Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, superbly volleying home Graziano Pelle’s knock-down. The equaliser was harsh on Arsenal, who despite the absence of the likes of Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott seemed to have the measure of their opponents for the vast majority of the match. The Gunners, who were looking for their third straight win in Group H, now have 7 points in three games.

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Arsenal 3 Birmingham 1

Arsenal continue their winning ways and thrilling their fans. The Arsenal engine was purring perfectly early on and after 16 minutes, Robin van Persie celebrated the birth of his daughter this week with his fifth goal of the season. Followed by that lovely goal, Abou Diaby grabbed another almost immediately.

However Lee Bowyer plundered a goal seven minutes before the break despite Arsenal claiming a foul on Vito Mannone in the build-up. The visitors then tried to build on that goal and make a good challenge for the match but Arsenal had to thank the Italian goalie for a crucial save late on and could only breathe easily after Andrey Arshavin curled home a low shot from the edge of the area with five minutes remaining.

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Kronke Increases Stake In Arsenal

Stan Kroenke has increased his stake in Arsenal to 28.9% by purchasing 90 more shares, according to reports today.  That takes him closer to the 29.9% amount that would trigger a formal takeover offer for the remainder of the club. According to reports from The Guardian and Sky Sports News, Kroenke purchased the shares at a price of £8,500 each.

He purchased 80 shares two weeks ago and he now owns 17,957 in total, a figure which has doubled in the last year or so. The American tycoon, who also owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, has been gradually increasing his stake in the football club this year.

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Arsenal 6 Blackburn Rover 2

Blackburn were treated to a stunning array of flair & invention as the Gunner celebrated manager Arsene Wenger’s 13 years in charge. Rovers struck first when Steven Nzonzi headed in from Paul Robinson’s free-kick before Thomas Vermaelen lashed in a 20-yard drive to level.

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David Dunn made it 2-1 to Rovers with a deflected shot before Robin van Persie coolly slotted home from 12 yards. Andrey Arshavin’s low shot put Arsenal ahead before Cesc Fabregas volleyed in, Theo Walcott slotted home and Nicklas Bendtner’s drive sealed the romp. It was the perfect start for Arsene Wenger as he entered his era as the longest-serving Arsenal boss – he celebrated 13 years in charge of the club in midweek.

This has been a satisfying week as the London club had seen off Olympiakos of Greece in their Champions League Group H clash on Tuesday. Late goals from Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin made up for the many misses that they had in a match they dominated.

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Arsenal 1 Fulham 0

Arsenal were not the best team for most of the 90 minutes last night but they still came out winners in the end. Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone was the hero as the Gunners secured an untypically scrappy victory at Fulham. The Italian made stunning one-handed saves from two Andrew Johnson headers and also parried Zoltan Gera’s drive.

Arsenal won it when Cesc Fabregas clipped a pass for Robin van Persie to take a touch and fire home. Roy Hodgson’s side will wonder how they failed to take anything from the game as they dominated for long periods, but the difference between the two teams was Mannone, the 21-year-old from Desio, making only his 3rd Premiership start. From the start Fulham were the better team but Mannone, keeping his place in the side with Manuel Almunia still struggling with a virus, enjoyed the performance of his career.

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Arsenal 4 Wigan 0

I’m far from convinced that Arsenal is going to win any silverware this season or even give a strong fight but this does look good. Arsenal beat Wigan Athletic 4-0 at the Emirates stadium with a display of attacking football. Belgian defender Thomas Vermalen, brought into the fold during the summer, scored 2 goals to lead the Gunners to victory. The former Ajax player rose to head the Gunners into the lead from a corner before curling in his second from the edge of the box.

Emmanuel Eboue’s deflection then made it 3-0 when the match was effectively over and a back-heel finish by Cesc Fabregas in injury time crowned a superb win. This win coupled with the mid-week victory over Standard Leige should set the Gunner back on the winning track.

Update: Well it seems that Arsenal are going to look for a transfer of West Ham United pair, Jack Collison and former Gunners centre-back Matthew Upson. Although the pair are firmly established in the Hammers’ starting 11, Italian coach Gianfranco Zola’s may be forced to sell on the bequest of West Ham’s owners. Reports state that the Hammers will settle a deal in the region of £15 million for the Welshman’s services and that West Ham would demand £10 million for 30-year-old Matthew Upson, rated as England’s third-choice centre-back by national coach Fabio Capello.

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Arsenal 2 Manchester City 4

Arsenal’s good start to the season have hit two bumps on the road. Last weekend it was Manchester United and this Saturday it was their cross city rivals who beat Arsenal. Emmanuel Adebayor silenced the taunts of Arsenal fans as he inspired Manchester City to a fourth successive Premier League victory – but sparked fury among his former supporters inside Eastlands with a provocative solo goal celebration.

Adebayor’s excessive celebrations did not go well with the crowd and he also got a booking for that. Adebayor also appeared to kick out at Robin van Persie during an eventful second-half. He caught former team-mate in the face with his boot which the Dutchman claims was intentional. The Togo internation says that it wasn’t and that he apologized. Van Persie and Thomas Rosicky scored the 2 goals for Arsenal.

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UEFA Women’s Euro : Finland 2009

There was a Women’s European Championships? And it just got concluded yesterday? I know that women’s soccer is big in some countries and even the US (as compared to the men’s version) but this is surprising as I haven’t heard a peep outta this event..until now! I usually don’t watch or follow women’s football and even you held a gun to my head, I couldn’t tell you a women’s footballer name other than Mia Hamm. And she’s retired!

Anyways, the event was held in Finland from August 23rd till the 10th of September. Four cities – Helsinki, Turku, Lampere & Lahti – played host to the 12 competing nations and the finals were held in the Finnish capital of Helsinki. Germany won the tournament for the 7th time in the last 10 years, beating England 6-2. Norway pipped Holland for the 3rd place.

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