Tag Archives: Arsene Wenger

Premier League, Week 34 Game of the Week

20 Apr

Recap: Chelsea beat Manchester United by a dull score of 1-0, thanks to a goal in the 1st half by Eden Hazard. Chelsea “did what it had to do to win”, playing a very defensive 2nd half and limiting the Red Devils’ attack.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Sunday, April 26th, 10am CDT, Emirates Stadium

Why this Game is Intriguing: Because these two clubs are not only the best two clubs in London, but the best two clubs in English football. Chelsea has just about sealed their fate as the winners of the Premier League, as they currently lead the 2nd place Gunners by 10 points. Even with a Chelsea loss here, it’s hard to imagine the Blues dropping points against some of the remaining opponents on their schedule, including Leicester City, Crystal Palace, West Brom, and Sunderland. Coupled with the fact that Chelsea has been knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup, these remaining matches after the Arsenal game will be taken incredibly seriously by Jose Mourinho and company. Chelsea has a way of creating a wall (or as many call it, a bus) in front of their own final third, and it will be incredibly difficult for Arsenal to have its chances.

Other Reasons to Watch: Arsenal is gunning for 2nd place. While the Gunners have all but secured another top 4 finish and Champions League bid, they remain just 1 point ahead of 3rd place Manchester United, and 2 points ahead of 4th place Manchester City. Arsenal have had a fantastic season despite major, long term injuries to key players including Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud, the Ox, Jack Wilshire, and more. Arsenal would hate to finish 4th, because that would mean that they would have a play-in series, and thus 2 more key games to even qualify for the Champions League group stage. While it is impossible for the Gunners to overcome Chelsea in the standings, a victory over the Blues, and a victory for Arsene Wenger over arch nemesis Jose Mourinho, would do wonders for the pride in red based in North London.

Prediction: This one remains tight, and low scoring. I’ll go with 1-1 draw.

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English Premier League, Week 36 Game of the Week

14 Apr

Recap: I expected Manchester City to win this game, especially with Sergio Aguero back in the fold. Liverpool now controls its own destiny after beating City 3-2, thanks to a winning goal by Brazilian Philippe Coutinho in the ’78. If Liverpool wins its remaining 4 games (at Norwich, vs Chelsea, at Crystal Palace, and vs Newcastle), the Reds will go on to win their first first title in the Premier League era circa 1992.

This Week:

Arsenal FC vs West Ham United

Arsenal FC vs West Ham United

Tuesday, April 15th, 1:45pm (CDT) Emirates Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: Arsenal need to win after dropping down to 5th place. Everton is now 2 points ahead of them after the Toffees earned an ugly 1-0 at Sunderland. The Gunners are in real danger of not finishing top 4 and earning a Champions League bid. Their dip in form has been somewhat surprising and alarming for Gunners fans, as the Gunners have not won a league match since the mid-march North London derby win over Tottenham. While some of this can be attributed to injuries (Wilshire, Ozil, Walcott, Ramsey), Arsenal skipper Arsene Wenger is on the hot seat, particularly if the end of the season does not end on a high note.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Another intense, heated London derby is set for Tuesday afternoon. The West Ham Hammers have put together a nice season, as they are currently in 11th place and in very little danger of being relegated. West Ham is led by veteran midfielder Kevin Nolan who has 7 goals and 5 assists so far this season. A win here for the Hammers would earn them their 40 points in the league, a telling number for a complete, good season and safe from relegation. A loss here for Arsenal (combined with a positive result for Everton) would absolutely crush the Gunners and place an unprecedented amount of pressure on Wenger to win his last few games.

Soccahaus Prediction: Arsenal 3, West Ham 0

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Manchester City vs Sunderland, Everton vs Crystal Palace

English Premier League, Week 20 Game of the Week

8 Jan

Recap: Apologies to all for skipping the last couple weeks of English Premier League play, but we are back just after this most recent round of FA Cup matches. The last game I previewed was the December 23rd match between Manchester United and Swansea City- a game that ended in a 1-1 tie with goals by Patrice Evra and Michu, the Spanish sensation who is currently tied with Demba Ba for 3rd most goals in the league. Manchester United sits in 1st place with a comfortable 7 point gap ahead of 2nd place Manchester City. Keep an eye on the January transfer window, as several English teams are making bold moves as they enter the 2nd half of the season.

This Week:

Arsenal vs Manchester City

Arsenal vs Manchester City

Sunday, January 13th, 10am (CST) Emirates Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: This is the second time I am previewing a match between these two clubs, and this time around there is even more at stake, particularly for Arsenal. Arsenal’s season has been marred by inconsistency, though they are still in prime position to finish in the top 4 of the league. The Gunners’ previous two matches could be considered microcosms of the season as a whole thus far. On 12/29, Arsenal demolished reeling Newcastle United by a score of 7-3 at home- Theo Walcott had a hattrick, Olivier Giroud added two more, and Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski also got involved in the scoring with a goal a piece. Then, just a few days later on New Years Day, Arsenal ties Southampton, a team in relegation zone by a score of 1-1, and Arsenal’s only goal was an own goal by Southampton. Arsenal has got to prove that they can win any game, home or away, regardless of the competition. Chelsea (4th), Everton (5th), Arsenal (6th), and West Brom (7th) are all separated by no more than 3 points in the standings, so stringing together a few wins in a row will go a long way towards securing a Champions League birth.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Man City sits comfortably in 2nd place in the EPL table, a full 7 points behind 1st place Manchester United, and 6 points ahead of 3rd place Tottenham Hotspur. January is a critical month for City, as they will be losing Yaya Toure (and to a less significant extent, Kolou Toure as well) to the African Cup of Nations, for what could be a full 6 weeks depending on how Cote de Voire does in the tournament. Manchester City’s scoring depth this season has been nothing short of remarkable- even with Italian star (and headcase) Mario Balotelli in and out of the lineup, City continues to score at a consistent, team-first pace. Eden Dzeko (9 goals), Sergio Aguero (8), and Carlos Tevez (7) have shared the ball and scoring opportunities as well as any team in the league thus far. While City is known to be less affective on the road, it is important that at least one of those 3 players gets going early in this game.

Soccahaus Prediction: Manchester City 3, Arsenal 2

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: QPR vs Tottenham, Stoke City vs Chelsea, Everton vs Swansea, Manchester United vs Liverpool

English Premier League, Week 10 Game of the Week

30 Oct

Recap of Last Week: I anticipated a close, ultra competitive matchup between the two best teams in Premier League, with Chelsea ultimately winning by a goal. In reality, in what turned out to be a very controversial match with 2 red cards, Chelsea lost 2-3 to Manchester United while playing with two men down. Javier Hernandez scored the winning goal in the ’75.

This Week:

Manchester United vs Arsenal

Saturday November 3rd, 7:45 AM (CST), Old Trafford

Why This Game is Intriguing: Anyone remember what happened that last time the Gunners traveled to Manchester to play the Devils at Old Trafford? August 28, 2011. Manchester United 8, Arsenal 2. Wayne Rooney scored a hat trick, Ashley Young braced, and Park, Welbeck and Nani added to the tally as Man U blew past Arsenal in shocking fashion. At that point last year, many wondered if Arsenal’s season was over as far as competing for a place in the Champions League. Arsenal finished last season strong and ended up qualifying, but this year, again, Manchester United’s squad appears too strong and too cohesive as unit to lose a game such as this one on Saturday. Arsenal has not beaten Manchester United in its last 3 attempts, and Arsenal has not won at Old Trafford since 2006.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Dutch star Robin van Persie faces his old team for the first time since his transfer this summer. Arsenal fans weren’t so much shocked as they were disgusted with the fact that their superstar striker, the same striker that led the Premier League with 30 goals last season, jumped ship and joined the Red Devils of Manchester United. Robin van Persie is currently tied with Demba Ba as the top scorer in the league with 7 goals, and all of the doubts as to whether or not van Persie and Wayne Rooney could play well together have completely dissipated. Rooney has flourished in his role as quasi-attacking midfielder, accumulating 4 assists and dictating the tempo for the Man U attack going forward. Also, we must not forget the managerial situation heading into this game. Arsene Wenger of Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United know each other quite well, as both have been managers for their respective clubs for a combined 42 years. Sir Alex appears to be stepping down in the next couple of years (Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola possibly taking over?), so it is important to fully recognize and enjoy this game with the two old timers in charge their clubs.

Soccahaus Prediction: Manchester United 3, Arsenal 1

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Tottenham vs Wigan, Swansea vs Chelsea, Fulham vs Everton, West Ham vs Man City, Liverpool vs Newcastle, West Brom vs Southampton.

 

English Premier League, Week 5 Game of the Week

19 Sep

Recap of Last Week: I managed to accurately predict a 2-2 draw between Newcastle and Everton, but that’s not without controversy. In the 76′, Everton had tap in that clearly crossed the entire goal line on replay but was NOT called a goal. While Demba Ba’s game tying goal came after, had the ref called the goal line play right, or had there been goal line technology, the result could have been very different.

This Week:

Manchester City vs Arsenal

Sunday September 23rd, 10:00 AM (CST), City of Manchester Stadium aka Etihad Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: There is no love lost when it comes to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and his feelings towards Manchester City. After City snagged former Arsenal player Samir Nasri during last summer’s transfer window for a reported 25 million Pounds, rumors had Robin van Persie possibly headed there as well during this transfer window. This past March, before the season was over and before the transfer window reopened, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini publicly acknowledged his interest in adding van Persie to his club- something Wenger was reportedly “furious” about, considering his star player was still on contract and currently playing with the Gunners. While van Persie ended up signing with Manchester United, Man City still has plenty of players who can score goals, including Samir Nasri.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Questions still remain in North London: Is Arsenal simply becoming a feeder club to what are now the English Premier League giants of Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea? Arsenal hasn’t won any silverware since 2005, while the previously listed 3 teams have not only won numerous trophies in that span, but have done so by adding Arsenal players to their respective squads. But for this weekend’s game in particular, both of these teams come off dramatic Champion’s League games, Arsenal in a 2-1 over Montpellier, and Manchester City in a 2-3 loss to Real Madrid. Both clubs will be looking to improve on their league campaigns as they continue to tinker with their starting lineups.

Soccahaus Prediction: 3-1, Manchester City over Arsenal

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Swansea vs Everton, Chelsea vs Stoke City, Liverpool vs Manchester United, Newcastle vs Norwich, Tottenham vs QPR