Son of a Gun!

Musings on Arsenal Football Club by a Singaporean Gooner (Gooner since 1988)

Wenger sets record October 19, 2009

Filed under: Arsene Wenger — Son of a Gunner @ 9:10 pm

I’m finally back!!!

Yes, my internet connections have finally been fixed and I feel like I have so many things to write about as I couldn’t do the match reports for the games the past 2 weeks due to my internet problems.

The biggest thing to have happened, to me as a Gooner, is not the wins and the perfect record we have at the Emirates. But rather, Wenger becoming the longest-serving manager of Arsenal in its long illustrious history.

I know I haven’t mentioned about Arsene Wenger often enough in my blog and neither have I given him the credit he deserves but I’m definitely belonging to the group of Gooners who defends our French master.

When he first arrived at Arsenal, I remember reading the news of his appointment in our local tabloid The New Paper, the first thing that came to my head wasn’t the fact he was a relatively unknown in Europe nor the fact he was from a J-League club. The first thing that struck me was how close his first name is to the club. Arsene. Arsenal. Arsene’s Arsenal. It was a match made in heaven.

The revolution he brought to Arsenal was first initiated by the manager before him – Bruch Rioch. I remember Rioch fondly because he signed my all-time favorite player Dennis Bergkamp. He also made Arsenal into a passing outfit, something that was totally out of character for Arsenal since the George Graham days. As you can see from the title of my blog, I have been a fan since those days and trust me, “boring boring Arsenal” was certainly not an understatement. What brought me to them is the fact despite the long balls, they have a never-say-die spirit that I can relate to. If you’re not talented in something, you have to make up for it with grit and hard work. But if you have both, then the sky’s the limit.

Rioch brought a passing culture to Arsenal and although he was not as successful as Graham, he started the beautiful play at Arsenal which Wenger tuned to perfection, culmulating in that invincible season, which I thought if we had better luck, we would have swept all 4 titles in sight.

Wenger has brought more success to Arsenal on and off the pitch than any other manager. Not only did he initiated the move from Highbury to Emirates, but he helped designed a large part of the facilities of the stadium. Emirates stadium may not have the history and ambience of Highbury, but it is a stadium that all Gooners ought to be proud of. Its state-of-the-art design, high capacity (2nd largest if I’m not mistaken, the first being Old Trafford), and world-class facilities (even the grouchy Fergie mentioned Emirates have the best away dressing room in the Premier League) is something everyone else envies. Definitely our hated neighbours Spurs as their new stadium design is disturbingly similar to Emirates.

The football he brought, of course cannot be ignored. Before the arrival of Mourinho, only Wenger can take on Fergie in mind games and in tactical wars and win convincingly. The number of world-beaters he groomed is beyond any other great manager, perhaps other than Fergie, and still he was being criticised so harshly at the end of last season.

Yes, I hear some of you saying that he has lost the plot. That he is committing the same mistake he did at Monaco (according to the great Myles Palmer from ANR) by slling all his big stars and standing by his youngsters. But the fact is, look at the table now – top scorers in the Premier League after 8 games. More than teams who have played more games and above us. Best goal difference. Perfect home record (we’re certainly creating a formidable fortress at the Emirates). Youngest average age of the top 5. Least investment of the top 5. Can one name any other manager who can do the same with the same resources as Arsene Wenger? None, not even Fergie. Not even Mourinho. Certainly not Rafa Benitez who couldn’t stop complaining about lack of funds despite spending more than any of their title rivals.

I have mentioned before that Wenger is a victim of his own success. But I have firm belief that this will be a good season for us. That does not mean I don’t think we should get another ball-winner especially Alex Song, who has been hugely impressive this season, goes off to the ACN. I just cannot trust Diaby to do the job although I’m afraid Wenger might just have that thought.

What I can say is, Wenger deserves all the praise he has received and more. And we as Gooners should mark his record longevity with the strongest support we can give to him, then see where we end up. This is Arsene’s Arsenal, and we should trust Arsene and get behind Arsenal.

Arsene, here’s to another 9 trophies!

 

Quick note September 29, 2009

Filed under: notice — Son of a Gunner @ 2:21 pm

I’m leaving a quick note while I’m in office, the only place I can go online as of now. The internet connection at home has been cut due to a change of ISP and it will only be fixed by the end of the week (fingers crossed).

I’ll be commenting on our win over Fulham and of course our official qualification to the Champions League proper by the next post (hope I’m not jumping the gun, no pun intended).

Till then!

 

I’m back! September 26, 2009

Filed under: Season 2009/2010 — Son of a Gunner @ 11:09 pm

If you think this blog is dead, you’re dead wrong.

I came back from Las Vegas not too long ago for a business trip and had been real busy. Many things have happened since my last post, the dreadful loss to City, the comeback win against supposed minnows in the Champions League qualifier and of course the convincing win over Wigan. I only managed to catch the City game before I departed for Vegas. I missed the other 2 games, with me still up in the air during the game.

Right, to the City loss. I thought we actually started well and settled into the game earlier than City. Then we conceded a goal and all hell broke loose. We started to lose possesion in midfield and then Fabregas looked a poor shadow of his impressive start to the season.

The midfield wasn’t at ease, Song fouling more than usual and to be honest, we didn’t look like coming back into the game for quite a long period. The Van Persie goal was a boost, and it was significant as it shows what he can do centrally when a lot of Gooners, myself included, feel Bendtner might do a more effective job there.

Of course, to complete the nightmare, some ingrate had to score and celebrate in front of Gooners. I swear I would have given him a stamp on his face much like the one he gave Van Persie if I were to ever see him. Never has a former Gunner been so hated by Gooners (since Ashley Cole, and I must say he has even overtaken Cole’s place) and he just keep harping on his former club. Leave us be you ingrate. We don’t talk about you anymore because you are past tense so let’s keep it that way. Even our great Heny had blasted him for being disrespectful. And notice I made not one single mention of his name here.

The loss was deflating and it was always interesting to see how the team reacts after a deflating loss. It almost followed with a worse and more embarassing loss but we came through that. I didn’t catch the game so it would not be fair for me to rate the performance. Ditto for the Wigan game.

Let’s put things into perspective now. We have 2 losses, both to Manchester sides, both away games. Out home record is still perfect. Despite the losses, we scored the most goals in the Premier League to-date, and that includes those who had played more than us. Not too shabby. But we must keep up the home form and start beating some bigger teams to instill more confidence.

As for the latest game that was against West Brom, it was always about the youngsters and the best and most prompt match analysis will always be from Young Guns. It was a good win with many youngsters on show. With regards to the little bust-up between Jack Wilshere and Jerome Thomas, who was a product of the Arsenal youth academy, I’m quite peeved about what Di Matteo said about our prodigious talent. He claimed Wilshere said something insulting to Thomas causing him to react. Well, to Di Matteo and to Thomas, I’m going to say to you: Grow up and stop being a sore loser.

There are many times when I was playing Sunday league football when I get kicked a lot (I’m a striker) and sometimes like Wilshere I will refuse a shake of the hand because you can tell if someone is sincere or not. As a Gooner, I’m going to defend Wilshere and think Thomas is too sore knowing he didn’t make it at Arsenal and was always going to be second best to a very young Arsenal side. End of story.

As to the crazy mass media coverage and over-reaction from Cesc’s lack of celebrations following his goal against Wigan, I think it is so NOTHING. There are many times when I score in anger after being kicked one time too many and refuse to celebrate, besides, what better way to take revenge than to score a goal against the same villians? So let’s not get too wild about this and stat believing stories about him wanting to leave.

That’s that for now. Next post, I’ll talk about the Fulham game, a massive game as Fulham is much stronger than the opposition we have defeated to-date.

 

Match Preview: Man City vs Arsenal September 12, 2009

Filed under: Premier League,Season 2009/2010 — Son of a Gunner @ 8:51 pm

So we are finally back to Premier League action after more than a week’s internationals. I’m aware I’m writing the preview less than 2 hours before kick-off, as I have been busy the whole day packing for my one-week business trip to Las Vegas.

I’m lucky to be able to catch tonight’s game before my flight early tomorrow morning so let’s get right to it.

1 – Gunners impressive over international week.
Bendtner scored, Eduardo scored, Van Persie scored, Fabregas scored, Arshavin put in an assist and so did Ramsey. THe only bad news to come out of this is Arshavin’s injury. While all Gooners including myself are mystified by the decision to play in Russia’s midweek game against Wales, Hiddink mentioned it was Arshavin’s own decision to play. He will miss the next three games beginning tonight’s big match against City.

As frustrating as his injury may be, for we know he will scored his first hat-trick and create another 3 goals for a comfortable 6-0 win if he played tonight, we can see the other players putting in good performances for their respective nations, so hopefully they will be able to carry their form over to the league. International weeks have been notoriously bad for us in terms of injuries so to get one injury to Arshavin is what must be considered as good news to us.

I was really pleased with Eduardo’s goal, as he has had a really difficult week. Much has been said about his 2-match ban, including my previous post, so let’s hope he continues what he does best for Arsenal, that is scoring, not dving.

Ramsey also impressed me greatly playing for Wales. I thought he had a really good game and he seemed to be thriving on confidence at the moment. We need him to stand up and be counted if we were to have a good season.

2 – Man City will return with 2 ex-Gunners, led out by one of them.
To be honest, I didn’t think Toure would get the nod ahead of Gareth Barry for the skipper’s role at City. Even when Toure led out Arsenal during his time here in the absence of our official skipper, he didn’t really impressed as a leader. The reasoning to put him as skipper is understandable though, for he is an experienced player in the top flight.

City has won 3 straight games and already the media are making them out to be big contenders for the league. I think that is really premature analysis. Looking at the opponents they have met in the league so far, it is not that impressive to record 3 wins. Besides, they have only scored a grand total of 4 goal so far, with Moneybayor scoring 3 of them. They have kept 3 clean sheets, but the opponents they have met are not exactly known for their offensive prowess.

To put it bluntly, for all their spending and big names in every position, they have not impressed me yet.

3 – Putting my neck out for my beloved Arsenal
Therefore, I firmly believe we will get back to winning ways against Manchester City with a good win. I’m not sue if we can prevent them from scoring but I believe it will be a win for Arsenal at the end. A shut-out for Moneybayor would be perfect even if we cannot keep a clean sheet.

Moneybayor has not played competitively against Vermaelen and I have a feeling we will see a good kicking from our latest signing to our former player.

Go Gunners!

P.S. I hope to be able to write a review article when I’m in the States. If not, see you all in 2 weeks’ time!

 

Arsenal News Roundup September 7, 2009

Filed under: Season 2009/2010 — Son of a Gunner @ 11:19 pm

Haven’t posted the whole of last week, so I want to make up for lost time. Let’s get through some of the biggest things that happened since the United game.

1 – Eduardo banned for diving against Celtic
This is the most ridiculous decision that UEFA had made and that is certainly saying a lot, what with UEFA trying their utmost to make the game better by making it worse.

How they can wait for a total of three years since the inception of the law that deception of the referee means a ban, and to make an example out of Arsenal and Eduardo brings about the following questions:
– Why make an example of a dive that resulted in a goal that isn’t necessary in deciding a game? Arsenal did win 5-1 on aggregate, not 1-0 for goodness’ sake.
– Why were other bigger names in football not be made an example of? Especially those dives that did decide the results of games? Aka Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney (who said “I never intentionally dive”, proving once and for all he never did well in school in his mother tongue), Didier Drogba and many others whom managed to win penalties against Arsenal?
– Are UEFA and FIFA prepared to look into every foul, every dive, every goal and assess every notable incident of every game? If they are, then they need to increase their headcount drastically. If not, then they have no right to ban Eduardo and to make us feel like we owe them something.
– When John Terry came out and said “English lads never dive” that is a whole load of bull. How many times have we seen Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Steven Taylor, Joe Cole all resort to first class acting? Why are none of them being made an example of?

I am not condoning Eduardo’s “dive” but I really see why he might have done so. If he has a reputation of diving, then this would not have been the first time he has been accused. This is the first “dive” since his recovery from his broken ankle. I genuinely believe he was trying to get out of the way out of instinct. If the referee gave a penalty for it, then who would refuse? Do not give me the example of Robbie Fowler who dived against Arsenal and then waved to the referee that he wasn’t fouled. That is of no importance because at the end of the day, he DID step up and scored that undeserved penalty. If he is a real sortsman that everyone is making him out to be then he would have missed on purpose. But no sane person is going to do that.

This is an absolute disgrace and I feel if this cannot be overturned then Arsenal should turn every wrong decision to UEFA and report it. Drain all of their energy and ban all evil-doers against Arsenal. If they refuse to do anything then it would be clear to the rest of the world that UEFA is a biased organisation. In fact, Arsenal should start a brand new department in picking out wrong decisions against us in every game, compile a report and send it to UEFA and demand a reply within a week. I won’t even mind doing it for free.

2 – No additional signings on top of Vermaelen
Moving along, it wasn’t a big surprise that we didn’t sign anymore players by the end of the transfer window. Senderos is still with the club and if you have read my earlier entries, you would know that I have always advocated for his stay. He is still very young for a defender, who peaks well into their 30s. But I have also mentioned that if one of Vermaelen, Gallas or Djourou were to be injured long term, we would be very light in the defensive department. This has already come true with Djourou set to miss the next 6 months of the season. I must say our first choice back four is of top quality, but we cannot expect them to last an entire season without missing a single game. What if that single game happens to be a title-decider? Or a cup final?

Wenger has taken a risk again by not signing another defensive player and I’m very sure he is aware of that fact. How that may be a factor in our success this season, we will see and can only judge come the end of the season. The season never seem to have really begun without a long term injury to a Gunner, and so Djourou’s bad news really signals the start of our season. On a more serious note, I genuinely hope out injury worries would not be as troublesome as last season. We should really relook at the training schedule and methods and find out if any of it has got to do with training. This cannot go on forever.

3 – More youngsters extend stay at Arsenal
Better news: Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson has both renewed their contracts one day after the close of the transfer window. This is how Wenger has decided to use the money, to keep his best young players. I know there are still many Gooners who are unconvinced by both players but I think we need to put things into perspective. Denilson looked jaded towards the end of last season as he played more games than any other Arsenal player last season. He was only 20, to have done what he did was incredible itself. With a proper pre-season and one year’s regular playing time under his belt, he is looking fresher this season and has done well in the games he has played so far. Remember he is still only 21.

Bendtner too is 21. He has scored only 1 less goal than Adebayor last season although the latter has started more games. To suggest Bendtner is ‘useless’ as some sites say is unfairly harsh on a young player who is always willing to try. He was never let down by the jeering, instead he ran more, worked harder, and delivered. Adebayor on the other hand, grumbled about how the fans jeered him and is still harping on it right now even though he is at City. Pathetic.

I digress. What I’m trying to say is, Bendtner will become a pivotal player for us, and this may be his big season. One thing I wonder is, why didn’t Wenger put him as our focal point in attack instead of Van Persie? His direct style and huge physique as well as his target man experience up front for Denmark makes him a prime candidate to fill that role. Van Persie, who is more technical, should be playing where Bendtner is playing at present, on the right hand side of the 3 man attack, a position he has mastered while playing for the Oranje. See him in that role for Holland, and he even scored over the weekend. It is something worth relooking at, we can be more effective up front.

4 – More transfer rumours?
Other transfer news has former great Ljungberg being linked to us but I am pretty sure that it is all fabrication. Ljungberg is long past his best and during his last season at Arsenal, one can already tell he was no longer the same player. I loved the Swede a great deal, often citing him as the epitome of an Arsenal player, skill with tenacity. But he will not be able to make a positive contribution to Arsenal on the pitch.

Onto today’s poll. Eduardo’s ban, as I mentioned above is disgraceful on UEFA’s part. It is not about the 2-match ban anymore, it is about the principle of being punished for an incident that worse perpetrators were never punished for. It is about Arsenal and Eduardo’s own image and pride.

If UEFA refuses to recognise the can of worms they have opened by insisting on the ban, then we shall bother them no end till the end of time with complaints following every UEFA sanctioned game. Good luck, Plantini. I can see you in white curly locks in no time.

 

Poll Results

Filed under: SOG Polls — Son of a Gunner @ 12:00 am

A really hectic week for me so only one poll this week:

Poll of the week – Who is the man-of-the-match in Man Utd vs Arsenal?
Results:
Mike Dean 56%
Andrey Arshavin 33%
William Gallas 11%

I put in Mike Dean’s name with my tongue firmly in cheek, but it seems that Gooners agree with my report on Dean’s horrible game that played an influence on the game’s result. Seriously, we should ditch him for top-level games or it will be ruined by useless people like that. I understand referees have a toug job, but do not give me that for Dean’s performance that night, because even the blind can see he was afraid to make major decisions against the home side. How a referee like that is even in the game is beyond me. But then again, maybe it isn’t because of the stupid decisions that UEFA and FIFA have made this week.

Just when we thought th Eduardo’s ban was a real disgrace to the game due to too many factors to mention, FIFA went one better to penalise Chelsea for pouching a youngster, which many other clubs like Spanish clubs have done, but were never punished. I will talk more about this the following week when I get the time.

Real hectic time at work, which is real shit because I have no intention to stay anymore, as I am preparing for a business trip to Las Vegas this coming Sunday. Once I’m there I would be forced to break from this blog as well as football in general as there are hardly any football news in USA, and that includes MLS. I’m lucky enough to be able to catch the game against City before I fly though.

Till then…

 

Poll Results August 30, 2009

Filed under: SOG Polls — Son of a Gunner @ 11:29 pm

First poll – Who is your Man-of-the-Match for Arsenal vs Portsmouth?
Results:
Abou Diaby 67%
William Gallas 17%
Eduardo 17%

The above results are somewhat expected with Diaby having stole the show in the first half, almost rendering the game redundant. Diaby has thrived in the new formation and I maintain he did well yesterday against United as well but was hugely unfortunate with the own goal. Let’s hope that won’t get him down for long.

Second poll – If you were Arsene Wenger, which of the below players would you most want to sign for Arsenal?
Results:
Patrick Vieira 33%
Brede Hangeland 33%

Marouane Chamakh 22%
Blaise Matuidi 11%

Looks like from the above results, Gooners know where our major weakness lies – in defence. There is a tie between Vieira and Hangeland. Chamakh would be useful given how unfortunate we are with attacking players and injuries, but not essential. I saw Vieira in the Milan derby and I thought he looked pretty decent. Will we get anyone? Expect more news tomorrow.

Third poll – What is your prediction of Manchester United vs Arsenal?
Results:
A close draw. 100%
A Manchester United home win. 0%
An Arsenal away win. 0%

If this poll was conducted in pre-season, it would have been very different. People would have written Arsenal off in a heartbeat. But having a result like this means people are finally taking Arsenal seriously, and that is no thanks to our encouraging performances so far, including last night’s defeat.