Arsenal Ewoodpecked

September 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

As I sat down to watch the Blackburn-Arsenal match on the telly I chanced upon some blogs posted by some Arsenal supporters on a very popular blogging site.They seemed satisfied with the signings Arsenal had made during the summer transfer window and the general belief was that Arsenal could kickstart their BPL campaign with a win against a disjointed Blackburn side yet to win their first match this season.I could do nothing but concur with them.But the drama that unfolded at Ewood Park was suffice to pester me into writing this particular article.The final score read : Blackburn Rovers 4 Arsenal 3.Can somebody please explain to me what in fuck’s name was that??!
Truth be said I, being a MUFC supporter, was quite looking forward to seeing a new-look Arsenal side in action.The inclusion of the towering German Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos on the left was supposed to provide the defensive steel that Arsenal was seeming to be lacking.But it wasn’t to be.There are a few issues that I would like to elaborate on which led to Arsenal getting pwned :
Arsene Wenger’s team selection: I for one,was certainly baffled when Theo Walcott was left on the bench and Arsenal started with Andrey Arshavin and Gervinho on the wings.The Russian, scorer of a freak goal against Swansea the week before seems to have lost all of that blistering pace he brought alongwith him when he had arrived from Zenit.Even after Blackburn fullback Michel Salgado had limped off in the early moments of the game Arshavin did little to pose a real threat to Paul Robinson’s goal.There were moments of quality from the nimble footed Russian but in my opinion Walcott would have terrorised the Blackburn defence with his pace if he had started the match.the Englishman was only introduced in the closing stages of the match where he could do very little to help the cause of his team.
Someone please teach Laurent Koscielny the art of defending(Basics will do for now) : Over the years Arsene Wenger has been credited in bringing in raw French talent and converting them into world-beaters.Patrick Vieira,Thierry Henry,Robert Pires anyone?Sadly Laurent Koscielny will not fall into that category.The former Lorient man has had a tough start to life in England having been sent-off in his first competitive game for the Gunners the season before.A string of errors followed most notably in the Carling Cup final when he made a complete mess of an innocuous cross and gifted the Cup to Birmingham City.Oddly Wenger kept faith in the youngster.One season on the Frenchman is still to adjust to life in the Premier League.His performance against Blackburn was shambolic to say the least.Poor marking while defending set-pieces ultimately led to Blackburn’s fourth goal where he deftly side-footed Martin Olsson’s cross into his own net.Thierry Henry would have been proud of that finish.Sadly for Koscielny, Arsenal were 2 goals down having “scored” 4 of the goals.
Paul Robinson’s goalkeeping and Blackburn’s aerial prowess: One of the major factors that led to the Arsenal’s capitulation was Paul Robinson’s goalkeeping.Immaculate.Stupendous.Majestic.I’m running out of adjectives here.In the closing stages he denied Robin Van Persie twice with superb saves.Also the presence of bulky robust defenders like Chris Samba and Scott Dann gave Koscielny and Mertesacker a hard time.Time and again they evaded their Arsenal counterparts and laid siege on Sczesney’s goal.
Arsenal currently languish at the bottom of the BPL table having conceded 14 goals in the opening 5 matches.Maybe the Europa Legue is a more realistic target eh Arsene?

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Young Reds: Part II

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

In one of my earlier posts I had written about the emergence of Manchester United and England U21 International Thomas Cleverley and the impact he might have on the Barclays Premier League in the coming season.In this article I will present two more of MUFC’s bright young prospects who can stake a claim to a first team berth in the future.Lanky yet powerful midfield enforcer Paul Pogba and playmaker cum striker Ravel Morrison both have earned plaudits for their superlative performances for the Reserves and U18s in the past few seasons.It will not be surprising to see both of them getting plenty of first-team action for United with a gamut of Carling Cup and FA Cup ties to be played from August.

Paul Pogba has gone from strength to strength since he made his controversial switch to MUFC from French side Le Havre in August 2009.Having captained his country at the U16 level, he showed signs of maturity while playing for the Academy which turned a lot of heads.He finished the 2009/2010 season with 19 starts and 7 goals which is not bad at all considering the fact that he is more of a defensive minded midfielder.

He has been compared to French midfield maestro Patrick Vieira because of his physique and astute technical abilities.He also has a powerful right foot and has scored many a scorcher during his time at the MUFC Academy and the Reserves.Check out this belter of  a goal he scored against West Bromwich Albion..

He is definitely a prodigy but he needs to remain injury free.Only then he will truly realise his potential.Sir Alex is known to spot exciting talents from the youth side and give them opportunities to play alongside the first team players.Paul needs to grab them with both hands and only then he will truly become a United great.

Born in Wythenshawe,Manchester Ravel Morrison was first scouted for the Manchester United Academy by former United coach Phil Brogan.Ravel signed on as a first-year scholar in 2009 and turned professional on 2 February 2010, his 17th birthday.Blessed with sublime passing and an eye for goal ,he quickly asserted himself on the United Academy and Reserve side.Various football pundits even went on to say that he can become the greatest England has ever seen.

Sir Matt Busby had once said: “If they’re good enough, they’re old enough.”Ravel has had an outstanding season with the United reserves powering them to a FA Youth Cup triumph by beating Sheffield United in the two-legged final.He was the architect of their win over arch-rivals Liverpool in the quarter finals and then over Chelsea FC in the semis.Here’s a video of Ravel scoring twice in the FA Youth Cup Final.

He is undoubtedly one of the teenagers to watch in the future as his technique and skill separates him from most of the players his age.Have a look at a compilation of his goals which he had scored for the Academy and the Reserve side.Enjoy!

Bridging boundaries!

June 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

On the pitch they are the fiercest rivals.Both thorough professionals.Off it however they are best mates!Confused?I’m referring to our very own Manchester United forward Wayne ‘Wazza’ Rooney and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.These two clearly know how to have a good time as they enjoy themselves on the picturesque beaches of Barbados in the Caribbean.Partner/girlfriend Coleen and Kimberley look on.

Young Reds : Part I

June 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Barely had the 2010-2011 Barclays Premier League season reached its denouement, than the intense brouhaha surrounding the imminent transfers of the crème de la crème of world football had begun.A no-holds barred speculative gossip has ensued as the likes of Luka Modrić,Wesley Sneijder,Charlie Adam et al have all been linked with possible switches to The Theater Of Dreams.Even German playmaker Mesut Özil now happily plying his trade with the Los Merengues has not been spared.In the midst of all this,supposed deals for Aston Villa winger Ashley Young and Atletico Madrid CF’s Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea were said to be finalised.Teenaged Blackburn Rovers defender Phil Jones put pen-to-paper a five year deal worth £16.5 million with a plethora of add-ons.But does United really need to invest heavily in the transfer market to find a tailor made replacement for outgoing veteran Paul Scholes?In my opinion, United has to look no further than their current batch of players graduating from MUFC’s academy.Meet the Basingstroke born Red Thomas William “Tom” Cleverley.

Tom Cleverley(MUFC)

One of the numerous positives to come out of Manchester United’s hugely successful record breaking campaign was the emergence of this talented young Englishman who spent the entirety of last season on loan at Wigan Athletic.Although he has had successful loan spells at Leicester City and Watford FC in the past,according to me, the last season has led him to believe that he can try and fill the gaping void in the centre of the park left by the departure of Scholessy.His four goals from midfield helped Wigan beat the drop and stay in the top flight.Read his interview here:Tom Cleverley vows to emulate United legend Paul Scholes.So all in all Cleverley could well be a part of Sir Alex’s famed youth policy of harvesting bright ,precocious talent and mentoring them until they realise their full potential.

Tom is currently in Denmark with his other United colleagues Danny Welbeck,Christopher Smalling and new signing Phil Jones as they try and win the coveted U21 European Championships and carve their names in European footballing history alongside the likes of Petr Čech,Andrea Pirlo,Luis Figo and many more.Last night I chanced upon a video of his which was recorded during the practice session ahead of England’s match against Czech Republic.Sit back and enjoy as Tom and Danny combine to score a goal that the likes of Xavi and Iniesta will be proud of.

I sincerely hope that the gaffer uses Tom extensively this season as I have a feeling that the coming season can be a breakthrough year for the lad.Watch Tom in action for England and a few goals from his time on loan below.Enjoy!

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