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Arsenal Win!!

After some wild celebrations, drinking gallons of vodka, 2 days of no Internet, here I’m writing about one of the best show of grit and determination by the Gunners. What a sweet victory!!

Three changes were made to the Arsenal line-up. Eboue, Flamini and Adebayor came into the side in place of Hoyte, Gilberto and van Persie. I had predicted a 4-5-1 formation by us with Adebayor up front and Henry on the bench.

However, it was a 4-4-2 adopted by the gaffer and the way ManUtd dominated possession in the first 15 minutes, I thought it was a bad move by us.

However, we soon started to do what we do best. The one touch game , the sleek passing, the possession. It was soon falling back in place. Senderos started the game nervously but as the game went on, he became more and more confident.

I wanted to see how Ronaldo plays against us. Ronaldo was in red-hot form. They were saying that finally he has become the complete player. With the number of goals he has scored this season, they were not wrong in saying that.

He came to our stadium with that reputation. His silly step overs, his dribbling skills and his red-hot form. Until he came face to face with a young Frenchman operating as left back. Show your skills to Titus Bramble, for Clichy is going to be the best in the world. For me he was the most impressive player on the pitch. Sir Alex ‘Know all’ Ferguson had to change Ronaldo’s flanks to save him the embarrassment. He was looking like a sissy going one-on-one against Clichy.

I couldn’t believe a team like ManUtd would resort to time wasting to ward off the constant pressure mounted by the Gunners. They took ages to place the ball for a free kick or throw in the ball. Ronaldo got a yellow card for kicking the ball away. They thought by doing that they might somehow be able to take home 3 points. Pathetic!!

Incredible performance by the Gunners. ManUtd should shut their trap forever.

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Sunday, 21st January. Ashburton Grove. Inside the emirates arena, the gladiators will fight. Fight for honour, fight for pride, fight for revenge!! It’s Arsenal vs Manchester United.

With Freddie Ljunberg and Gallas out with injury and Gilberto Silva suspended, it looks like a depleted Arsenal side that would be facing the in-form Red devils. Robin van Persie getting a knock in the training doesn’t help matters either.

Compare that to the re-invented Scholes, on song Ronaldo and ever dangerous Rooney, the situation looks very grim for the Gunners. Or is it?

I say we still have enough resources to win the tie comfortably. With Gilberto out of the equation, Wenger would be tempted to play the 4-5-1 formation. Arsenal would try to keep the possesion as much as possible and pass the opposition out of the game. That is exactly what happened when these two sides met at the Old Trafford last September.

Since then Scholes has found form and so has Ronaldo. Ji Sung Park is back. And this side has once again become capable of hitting on the break.

Under these circumstances, who all would be in Wenger’s 11? I thought i’ll give it a try myself. And I came up with this formation.

Lehmann (GK)

(RB)Eboue (CB)Toure (CB)Djourou (LB)Clichy

(RW)Hleb (CM)Fabregas (DM)Flamini (CM)Baptista (LW) Rosicky

(CF)Adebayor

Subs: Henry, Walcott, Senderos, Almunia, Aliadiere

Now this formation has a distinct advantage. Not only does it pack the midfield and reduce the gaps, it gives a certain protection to the back 4 and gives Fabregas the liberty to move up and spray his passes. With Baptista’s physical presence, he can draw away Carrick and Scholes with him, leaving Rosicky and Fabregas to move into the gap. Hleb being a good tackler can fall back if necessary.

If Arsenal don’t let in any goal for 70 odd minutes, that would be the time to bring on Henry and Walcott. With the master in the middle and the under study on the flank, it would be enough to open up ManU’s defence and score a goal or two.

All depends how Eboue performs that day. He is awesome when going forward but his defending is a little suspect. Whatever the results maybe, this one is going to be one hell of a match for sure.

How authentic is that!!!

Authentic,Actual,Genuine,Original etc etc. Different words but almost the same meaning.

Let’s try and peek into the mind of one of the greatest football managers of all time. The Gaffer…Arsene Wenger (Légion d’Honneur, OBE)

When Arsene Wenger came to Arsenal in 1996, hardly anybody knew him. Sir Alex Ferguson, with a 10 year head start, all but dismissed him. “They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages! I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!”, were his (in)famous lines for Wenger.

In his very next season Arsenal won both the Premiership and FA Cup, the second Double in the club’s history; it came after Arsenal made up a twelve point deficit to win the League title with two games to spare.

Arsenal had the same backline comprising of Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown. Vieira was already there and so was Dennis Bergkamp. Arsene Wenger didn’t bring new set of players to dislodge Manchester United off the perch.

With Arsenal, Wenger has won 4 FA Cups, 3 Premier Leagues, 4 Community Shields. Arsene Wenger didn’t get huge sums of money to spend in the transfer market. But to survive in a highly competitive market, money is essential. He had to think of ways to make money.

So what was the ‘authentic’ tactic that Arsene applied which made it possible?? Well…he employed tactics that were NOT AUTHENTIC. He used his intelligence. He used common sense.

Arsenal always had a loyal fan following. But still there were a few empty seats in Highbury on match days. His first job was to fill those seats. And he did that not by making emotional appeals to the fans. He did that by attracting the fans to a new brand of football. The ‘attacking’ brand.
The age old 4-5-1 formation was changed to 4-4-2 where even the strikers could be seen falling back to defend when required. He gave Dennis Bergkamp the liberty of changing flanks at will. And Arsenal started scoring. Nobody sang the ‘One nil to Arsenal’ anymore.

This was not an AUTHENTIC ploy by any means. It was borrowed from the Dutch brand of football. (Wenger didn’t ATTRIBUTE it to them ofcourse). He needed the ‘blog traffic’. Higher attendance meant more money in the coffers.

Arsenal lacked money but they always had quality. And there were clubs more than willing to pay for good quality footballers. Wenger used that as a tool.

He bought Nicholas Anelka for a mere £500,000 from PSG and sold him to Real Madrid for £22.3m two years later. And with that money he assembled players like Robert Pirès,Sylvain Wiltord and Thierry Henry (highest goal scorer for Arsenal), who all achieved cult status among the fans.

Wenger also made reputation as a shrewd talent spotter and developer of young players’ skills. Wenger has signed young, relatively unknown players such as Patrick Vieira,Nicolas Anelka,Francesc Fàbregas,Kolo Touré,Robin van Persie and Gael Clichy, and turned them into world beaters.

The defence which set a new record of going ten consecutive games without conceding a goal on route to the UEFA Champions League 2005-06 final, cost Arsenal less than £5m to assemble.

Another major factor that turned Arsenal into a fighting unit was his bonding with his players. Unlike a certain Sir Alex who kicked a boot at David Beckham’s head, Arsene Wenger is credited for reviving the careers of many Gunners. Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp to name a few.

Wenger stood by captain Tony Adams after the latter admitted his alcoholism in 1996. Wenger’s support was a key factor in Adams’ rehabilitation and return to form, which extended his career by several years, and was rewarded as Adams led the club to two Doubles. Besides Adams, Wenger’s training and dietary regime had also prolonged the careers of the other back four defenders Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown.

He encouraged team bonding and the camaraderie is seen on the pitch and in the training sessions. (Ashley Cole being the exception)

Whatever he has achieved is nothing that he invented. Whatever he has done is nothing which is patented. It is something which is so common that most of the managers tend to overlook.

What makes Arsenal Football Club a.k.a The Gunners so special? What makes it such a pleasure to watch them play?

 

Of all the reasons, Arsene Wenger deserves special mention for managing to get the players to produce some of the best football in the world.

Their highly effective pass-and-move football is a joy to watch and their one touch game is simply breathtaking.

The Arsenal squad is full of players who are comfortable on the ball. Touch and technique are excellent, as is their overall awareness. Cesc Fabregas is a prime example.

He plays with his head up, the movement is fluid and the passing crisp. Added to the high work-rate there is the individual brilliance that has become the trademark of this Spanish teenager, which was so evident in the 2-0 win at Blackburn.

Words are redundant when you try to describe the talisman, also known as Thierry Henry.

All Wenger’s players go about their business with a smile on their faces, which makes a huge difference. They enjoy themselves and that must make coaching them so much easier.

His team also appear to have come to terms with the physical demands of the Premiership. They are no longer a soft touch.

In terms of style, the only team who have come distant second to Arsenal at the moment are Manchester United. Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha, make for a potent strike force. Park seems to have found his touch after coming back from injury.

The two teams will come face-to-face in the Premiership this Sunday, which means that North London will be treated to something close to ‘Total Football’.

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