Saturday, May 16, 2015

Arsenal 2014-2015: May

Monday, May 4, 2015 3PM EST Arsenal at Hull

Arsenal face last season's FA Cup final opponents in a rare Monday afternoon match. Despite the goalless draw with Chelsea, Arsenal head to Hull on a run of ten matches without defeat. Based on current form, this should be an easy three points for the Gunners, but of course no team can ever be taken for granted.

The final score of 1-3 flattered Hull. Arsenal had 68% of the possession and had almost three times as many shots on goal as Hull. Arsenal owned the first half and the game was pretty much done and dusted by the time half time rolled around.

Hull frustrated Arsenal for the first 25 minutes of the match but Alexis Sanchez broke the deadlock in the 28th minute with a sensational free kick that was deflected right in to the Hull goal. Five minutes later it was Aaron Ramsey's turn and Arsenal had a 0-2 lead. Before the half ended, Ramsey played provider for Sanchez and Arsenal went in to the break with a three goal lead.

Perhaps sensing that they had done enough, Arsenal seemed to concentrate on maintaining the ball in the second half rather than running up the score. This was a bit frustrating as Arsenal are now level on points with Manchester City but trail the billionaires on goal differential by two goals. Arsenal do have a game in hand, however.

A lapse in concentration led to a Hull goal on a header from Stephen Quinn in the 56th minute, but the end result was never really in any doubt.

An added bonus was the return of Jack Wilshere late in the match after having been out of action since November. 

Arsenal's form continues to impress and Sanchez has now scored 24 goals for Arsenal this season. He's definitely Arsenal's player of the year!

In addition to the win, Arsenal fans were treated to the 20th annual St. Totteringham's Day celebration!! It's Happened Again!

Monday, May 11, 2015 3PM EST Arsenal vs. Swansea 

Swansea have become something of a bogey team for Arsenal so a trip to Wales will provide a tough test for Arsenal. The Gunners have been on an amazing run so confidence heading in to this match is high. 

Arsenal hold the upper hand over Sheikh Mansour's team so hopefully they can return to London with all three points.

Frustration, disappointment and overall disgust are the feelings all Arsenal fans must have felt after this match. Despite dominating the match from beginning to end, it was Swansea that walked away with the points. As if it was deja vu, the same player that handed us defeat at Swansea earlier in the season, came off the bench and scored the winner late in the match. Bafetimbi Gomis headed home in the 85th minute and that was that.

Arsenal had been on a fantastic run and of course it was bound to end at some point, but to lose in this fashion was a reminder of some of Arsenal's recent shortcomings. The team has had a tendency over the past few seasons to dominate possession, shots on goal and corners, yet end up without all three points. This one really hurt as on paper Arsenal should have taken the match. Unfortunately, Arsenal's finishing was missing and the needed goals never came. One lapse in concentration and Swansea scored. It was a frustrating match that needs to be seen as a blip as the club looks to finish in the top 3 and of course win a second consecutive FA Cup.

Sunday, May 17, 2015 Arsenal at Manchester United

Arsenal hold the upper hand over Manchester United for third place, however, it's time that Arsenal gave Manchester United a defeat in front of their home fans. How Arsenal lost to this team at the Emirates earlier this season, is beyond me. The tide has turned and Arsenal are the superior's time that they showed that. It'll be nice to give Judas a beating with his beloved Manure and watch LVG babble in his post match interview.

Here's to nothing less than an Arsenal victory!

Once again an Arsenal match versus Manchester United proved to be less than satisfying. Despite the fact that Arsenal have a better team and should have easily handled LVG's bunch, the Gunners went in to the half down 1-0. 

The introduction of Theo Walcott in the second half added a bit of pace to the Arsenal attack and the breakthrough came in the 82nd minute when a deflected Theo Walcott cross gave the Gunners an equalizing goal. The goal was credited to ManUre defender Tyler Blackett as an own goal. Regardless Walcott had a lot to do with it and the match ended 1-1.

While it was disappointing in the end not to defeat LVG's club, the 1-1 draw guaranteed that Arsenal retained their spot above ManUre in the table. All in all, it was a good point away at Old Trafford.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 2:45PM Arsenal vs. Sunderland

Arsenal's game in hand sees Sunderland visiting the Emirates. On paper this should be a slam dunk and a victory is exactly what is expected. Arsenal are in the top 3 and Sunderland are hanging on by a thread to avoid the drop to the Championship. 

Confidence is at a high heading in to this match and expectations are for a convincing Arsenal victory.

A match couldn't be more one sided than this and yet still be completely frustrating. The stats show that Arsenal dominated the game and should have been comfortable winners:

  • Possession: Arsenal 75% Sunderland 25%
  • Shots: Arsenal 28 Sunderland 7
  • Parking The Bus: Arsenal 0% Sunderland 100%

Sunderland went in to the match knowing that a point would be enough to secure EPL survival and to their credit they had a game plan and stuck with it. Arsenal were on the attack throughout the entire match, but Sunderland kept their defensive shape and kept Arsenal from getting the breakthrough goal. 

In the end it finished 0-0 and Sunderland celebrated as if they had won the league. The point for Arsenal pretty much locked up third place, but overall it was a pretty frustrating afternoon as Arsenal still had hopes of finishing second and the three points would have been deserved.

One more EPL match and then it's on to the FA Cup Final.

Sunday, May 24, 2015 10AM Arsenal vs. West Brom


Saturday, May 30, 2015 12:30PM EST Arsenal vs. Aston Villa FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium

The last match of the season and what a big one this is. As the current holders of the FA Cup, Arsenal have the chance to retain their trophy with back to back FA Cup victories. The mood heading in to this match among Arsenal fans is confidence with a bit of caution. We've been down this road before and been left disappointed on numerous occasions. Even last year's FA Cup victory was an emotional roller coaster as Arsenal fell behind the inferior Hull by two goals only to come back and win the cup 3-2.

This year though, Arsenal are heading in to this match with a head of steam and a lot of confidence. Despite a bit of a speed bump with the Swansea and Sunderland matches, Arsenal got back on track with last weekend's final EPL match of the season versus West Brom. The return of Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott to the starting lineup proved a master stroke and the only problem Arsenal are facing heading in to the FA Cup Final is which players should be starting. That's a nice problem to have.

So fingers are crossed and viewing plans have been made. Here's to back to back FA Cup Trophies with a victory over Aston Villa!

What a performance from Arsenal!! Back to back FA Cup Championships it is for the Gunners after a display that can only be described as AWESOME. 

This one was watched with other NYC Gooners down at O'Hanlon's on 14th Street and First Avenue and even 2 hours before kick off the place was packed!

For all the grief he has taken all season from pundits, haters and the #WengerOut brigade, Arsene Wenger showed that he knows exactly what he is doing. His decision to reward Theo Walcott's brilliant performance versus West Brom last weekend with a start over Olivier Giroud paid off big time.

Arsenal's breakthrough didn't come until the 40th minute, but despite the time it took to get on the score sheet, it never looked uncertain as to which team would come out victorious. Theo Walcott's left footed shot in to the left corner of the net got by Shay Given and Walcott's reaction was pure joy. (Based on Wenger's decision to start Theo and the player's reaction to scoring, it looks pretty likely that Walcott will be signing a new Arsenal contract).

Arsenal went in to the break 1-0 up and confidence was high. Of course, a one goal lead is never enough to put all nerves at ease. 

Five minutes in to the second half, Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal fans a reason to lose the nerves and start getting ready for a celebration. The sensational forward scored an absolute screamer that was just simply amazing! The Mirror described it like this:

But if Villa thought they had got away with a first-half chasing relatively unscathed, Sanchez took their breath away – along with the watching nation's oxygen supply – with a moment of magic five minutes after the restart.

Drifting in from the left flank, Sanchez hit a swerving, dipping missile from almost 30 yards that kissed the underside of Given's crossbar on its way in.

For half a second, there was a stunned silence at the east end of Wembley, where Arsenal supporters formed a bank or primrose yellow, and then the penny dropped in the fruit machine.
Sanchez had scored one of THE special FA Cup final goals, an absolute rocket. Think of Roberto Di Matteo's instant hit for Chelsea after 42 seconds against Middlesbrough 18 years ago and you get the picture.

For anorak value, Sanchez was only the second Chilean to score in the FA Cup final – the other was George Robledo for Newcastle against Arsenal 63 years ago.

But his first season at Arsenal has amounted to 25 goals, 13 assists and a trophy in 52 games. An absolute steal, even at £33 million.

The BFG, Per Mertesacker, was left unmarked on a corner in the 62nd minute and headed home the third.

Giroud came on as a sub in the 77th minute and got in on the act in added time. The Ox (also on as a sub in the 90th minute) sent in a cross which Giroud side footed home for Arsenal's fourth!

Seconds later the celebration was on and the singing inside of O'Hanlon's matched that taking place at Wembley. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015 Arsenal FA Cup Victory Parade