11 April 2015

St. Totteringham's Day draws near, but what of the Prem title?

Saturday's drab win over Burnley may not have offered much excitement on its face; it was about as calm a victory as I've experienced in a while. Once Ramsey netted in the twelfth minute, it felt like both sides settled into a comfortable rut, largely content to see out the remaining 80-ish minutes of football until Mike Dean saw fit to call time. However, we now trail Chelsea by just four points (easy, now...). Perhaps more meaningfully, though, the result means we now lead a certain other London club by twelve points. So what? Well, thanks to that other London club's home-loss to Aston Villa, the magic number for St. Totteringham's Day now stands at just six. Any combination of results that adds up to six points gained for Arsenal, six points lost by Tottenham, and we have our holiday!

Burnley 0-1 Arsenal. Vote for Player-Ratings/MotM

A twelfth minute goal from Aaron Ramsey put the visitors ahead, and that's about all the action there was to report; Arsenal kept 69% possession and held the Clarets at arm's length, and the hosts just couldn't muster any pressure or chances to speak of. There were a few queasy moments, to be sure, but we were good enough to claim an eighth straight victory. The result brings us to within four points of Chelsea (who have played two fewer matches as of this post) while heaping pressure on the Manchesters ahead of their Sunday derby. For those who like their schadenfreude, Tottenham lost at home to Aston Villa, dropping them to seventh and reducing the St. Totteringham's magic number to six. We'll revisit that later; for now, let's get back to the Burnley result and rate the our lads' efforts!

10 April 2015

Burnley-Arsenal Tactical Preview—sorry, Theo; this one's not meant for you...

All of the talk around Arsenal lately has centered on how well we’ve done in winning seven in row—can we actually challenge Chelsea? Along the way, certain matches have been highlighted and others neglected, as if we can blithely blitz a few “lesser” opponents as we waltz our way towards a Prem title. Thank you, Burnley, for serving notice that all is not quite done and dusted yet. In recent weeks, after all, the Clarets have found a way to earn a draw at Stamford Bridge, win at home against Manchester City, and earn another draw at home against Tottenham. We might sneer at that last one, but we’d do so at our own peril.

09 April 2015

"The greatest signing Arsenal have ever made and will ever make."

If you've never experienced the jaw-dropping talent, artistry, or achievement of Dennis Bergkamp, I hope you'll indulge in the documentary that follows. Simply put, he might be my favorite Gunner, one who most-fully epitomises what it takes to succeed: technical talent, a flair for the amazing, a humble mindset. With the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words, then, I'll stop typing and encourage you to start watching. Sit back, relax, and enjoy one of Arsenal's all-time greats...

08 April 2015

Whether Wilshere whithers: Ramsey, Coquelin, and midfield-congestion...

Jack Wilshere's fit again. He's ready to take his position on the pitch. However, where is there room? For as heretical as it may be to suggest, it's hard to see just where he can find a way into the starting XI. The emergence of Francis Coquelin as a proper defensive midfielder, should it prove out over the long term, narrows Jack's options even more than before. Early in the season, it looked like his performances for the Three Lions hinted at a deeper-lying role with Arsenal; after all, Aaron Ramsey seemed to have secured the box-to-box role role in the 4-2-3-1 we so often play. If only be default, Wilshere's future might have lay in replacing Arteta in the holding role. Then, along come Coquelin. If he is serious about his desire to emulate Vieira (or, more fitting, Gilberto). Where, then, does Wilshere's future lie?

06 April 2015

And then there were four: who can chase down Chelsea?

Pensions. Gunners. Devils. Citizens. We’ve gathered you here today, regardless of how intimidating your nicknames are, to sort out who will finish where in the Prem. Gone, for now, are various Saints, Irons, Reds, Swans and Capons, and so we are down to four. It might be too early to slam shut the door, but it’s not too late to narrow our focus. Among you four, three have spent and spent until drunken sailors hid their faces in shame. We’re running short on time, and the Scramble for Second will probably top-billing over the Fight for First. Enough of this. On to the rundown!

05 April 2015

Arsenal steamroll the Scousers; Chelsea quake in their boots...

In last season's Annihilation at Anfield, Liverpool needed but twenty minutes to overpower Arsenal, scoring four goals in that span in a performance that seemed to lay waste to our entire campaign, whether in the Prem, Champions League, or FA Cup. Then again, we did bounce back well enough to beat Liverpool a week later. Fast forward to this past Saturday, and we needed just eight minutes to overrun Liverpool, scoring three times in that span to blow the game open. Heck, were it not for two vital saves from Mignolet, it could have been 2-0 just four minutes in. Whichever way you slice it, we eviscerated Liverpool, who absolutely needed three points—or, failing that, a gutsy performance—to keep their flickering Prem and Champions League hopes alive. Against us, they could muster up neither, and look more like roadkill than rivals.