Saturday, April 11, 2015

Arsenal 2014-2015: April

Saturday, April 4, 2015 7:45AM EST Arsenal vs. Liverpool

The international break is over and after two weeks off it's back to Premier League action. Arsenal have been in great form and the proof is in that fact that Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger won Premier League Player of the Month and Premier League Manager of the Month, respectively.

In order to keep the momentum going, Arsenal will need to put Liverpool in its place and hopefully exact some revenge for that humiliating defeat at Anfield in February 2014. Liverpool had been the "in form team" heading in to the last round of fixtures...however, after being defeated at home by ManUre and seeing captain Stevie G. being sent off after less than one minute, that feel good vibe seems to have dissipated. In addition to Gerard missing out on the trip to the Emirates, Martin Skrtel will also miss the match after he somehow stamped on ManUre goalkeeper David DeGea (Skrtel pleaded innocence, but the video doesn't lie).

Arsenal need this win to show Liverpool that the Gunners are the real deal and to seal Liverpool's fate of fighting an uphill battle to finish in the Top 4.

Now that's what you call a first half showing! Liverpool might have had a couple of moments where they looked dangerous but once Arsenal made their breakthrough with Hector Bellerin showed that he's more than just a defender and skipped through the Liverpool "defenders" as if they were invisible to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead. From there it was eight minutes of pure joy!

Ozil was fouled and punished Liverpool with a brilliant 25 yard free kicks that Mignolet was unable to stop in the left corner of the Liverpool goal. For all those whining that Ozil has been invisible, this one was impossible to miss.

Right before half time, Alexis Sanchez got in on the action with a thunderbolt of a shot that was beyond amazing. The half ended 3-0.


The second half was more pedestrian with Arsenal keeping Liverpool at bay and concentrating more on the defensive aspect of the match.

In the 76th minute, Bellerin fouled Raheem Sterling in the box and Jordan Henderson stepped up and scored past a diving David Ospina who came close to keeping the shot out.

Liverpool had a lifeline but to be honest there was never any doubt who the winner would be.

The final nail in the coffin came from the EPL's March Player of the Month, Olivier Giroud, who scored a powerful goal to keep his name in the spotlight. In the end it was an impressive 4-1 Arsenal victory!

Saturday April 11, 2015 12:30PM Arsenal at Burnley

Arsenal head in to this match as the in form team in the EPL. What a refreshing change it is to hear nothing but accolades being spoken about Arsenal while Liverpool and Manchester City are being talked about as "crisis" clubs and labelled "bottlers". 

Arsenal have won seven straight EPL matches and look set to make it eight today as they take on Burnley. Burnely have put in some impressive performances this season, but they still sit in 19th place and are facing relegation. On paper this should be an easy Arsenal victory, but as we've all come to experience there are no easy matches at this level and no team should be taken lightly.

With 63 points, Arsenal find themselves in second place seven points behind Chelsea who still have a game in hand. Several weeks ago it was all about Chelsea and Man City battling it out for the title. Now, it's Arsenal that are trailing Chelsea. While it's unlikely that Arsenal could catch Chelsea, the fact that this is even a part of the conversation is amazing considering the doom and gloom and constant Wenger Out whining from some of the fan base earlier this season.

With the Sheikh's 4th place team facing ManUre tomorrow, one or both of those teams will lose points which further help's Arsenal's cause of finishing as high as possible in the league.

Another three points for the Arsenal after a well deserved 0-1 victory. This one was a bit of a different Arsenal performance, but just as equally enjoyable. Instead of running rampant and trying to score the perfect goal with every possession, this match was more about ball control and not giving Burnley a chance on the ball. It was a defensive masterclass.

In the past a single goal lead would have been a nerve wracking, heart attack waiting to happen for fans. This was not that. The one goal lead was almost equivalent to a three goal lead as Arsenal looked poised, confident and impenetrable throughout the match. Burnley may have had one or two instances where they caused a moment of fear, but overall they were unable to break through the Arsenal defense and put any significant threat on the Arsenal goal.

It almost looked like Arsenal weren't even trying to score a second goal. Not to disparage Burnley, but at times it seemed as if Wenger used this match to try a different game plan. After Aaron Ramsey's goal in the 12th minute, it was as if the Arsenal offense had done its job and the team now practiced ball control and defense to close out the next 78 minutes. It was almost like a kids' game of keep away at times. More goals would have been enjoyable, but this type of performance was a throwback to the glory days of the 1-0 to the Arsenal/Boring Boring Arsenal days when the team was a dominant force. I like both sides of this current Arsenal team.

Onwards and upwards things are looking good. Hopefully tomorrow the Manchester derby will result in 22 red cards and a boring 0-0 draw. Plus if the planets align perfectly maybe the Queens Park Raisins can somehow beat Chel$ki!

Saturday, April 18, 2015 12:20PM EST Arsenal vs Reading at Wembley Stadium FA Cup Semi-Finals

The defense of the cup continues today. Arsenal take on Reading at Wembley for the right to head to the club's second straight FA Cup Final. On paper this should be a no brainer for Arsenal, but as we've seen in the past no club should be taken lightly.

Arsenal fans will be out in huge numbers so here's hoping that Gooners will get to go home happy.

In the end, it's another FA Cup Final for Arsenal as they defeated Reading 2-1. However, there was a lot of uncertainty, nail biting and angst leading up to the final whistle.

It took a while, but Arsenal made a breakthrough in the 39th minute when Alexis Sanchez scored from close range. Arsenal took a 1-0 lead in to the half and everything seemed to be going to plan. That changed, however, in the second half as Arsenal were unable to add to their tally.

In a rare start, goalie Wojciech Szcesny, made a mess of a Reading cross allowing Garath McCleary to equalize in the 54th minute.

Despite having 72% of the possession and almost double the amount of shots on goal, Arsenal were unable to take the lead.

The match went to extra time and in the 106th minute, Sanchez scored what would be the winning goal as his shot slipped through the hands of Reading keeper Adam Federici.

It wasn't pretty, but the victory will see Arsenal defend their FA Cup Trophy at Wembley on May 30th.

Sunday, April 26, 2015 11AM EST Arsenal vs Chelsea

What is there to say other than it's time for Arsenal to show Chelsea that they won't be bullied any more.  I am so sick of Jose Moanrihnos stupid press conferences and digs at Arsene Wenger. The man has no respect and the media kiss his ass as if they are afraid of him.

When I first started following Arsenal in the late 90's, it was Arsenal that always came out in these matches. I'm hoping that we can start to turn the tide back to the way it used to be.

While it's still technically possible for Arsenal to win the title, it's unlikely that Chelsea will blow their lead. Regardless, a win would be a great way to give Chelsea a message for the future and of course it would give Arsenal the points they need to secure a top 2 finish.

Fingers crossed.

The bad news is that Arsene Wenger's wait for a victory over the egotistical one continues. It's now been 13 matches without an Arsenal victory over Chel$ki. On the good side, however, Arsenal kept Chelsea off of the score sheet and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.

Arsenal had the majority of the possession, but that is pretty much what Moanrinho prepared for. It was the usual Chelsea parking the bus routine and despite Arsenal's best efforts, Chelsea's 10 defenders kept the Gunners off of the score sheet.

It was pretty funny to hear the Arsenal fans chanting "boring, boring Chelsea" at the end of the match....especially because it pissed the egotistical one off.

The draw ends Arsenal's run of eight straight victories, but the unbeaten run continues and Arsenal are in good shape for a top 2 finish if everything continues going good.

Monday, April 6, 2015

And So It Begins! Baseball is Back and so are the New York Mets

There's nothing like baseball's Opening Day! Every team starts off with a clean slate and every fan can dream of their team becoming MLB Champions. 

Of course for us Mets fans that dream usually ends before May even arrives. This year, however, there is a sense that the Mets are a team on the up. In fact, a lot of sports writers are picking the Mets to have a better season than the Yankees. Sorry to be excited by that prospect, but when you're the club that has gotten kicked around by the cross town bullies for so many years, their suffering is enjoyable.

When I heard that Terry Collins had named Bartolo Colon as the opening day starter against Max Scherzer and the Nationals, I and countless other Mets fans declared him crazy. He still may be crazy, but the 41-year-old Pillsbury Doughboy, Colon, pitched extremely well and the bullpen held the lead. Game one is in the books.

Adding to the joy of  Opening Day is the fact that the Yankees lost 6-1 in their home opener against Toronto in the Bronx.

Then it got even better when Crystal Palace defeated Sheikh Mansour's Billionaire Boys Club 2-1 leaving the Oil Barons in 4th place with Arsenal sitting in 2nd.

All in all a great start to the baseball season and Crystal Palace did everyone that thinks money shouldn't buy championships a massive favor.