11 November 2018

Arsenal 1-1 Wolverhampton—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

It's hard to believe that this is the same squad that played so well against Liverpool a week ago. We looked jaded, diffident, and entirely too complacent against a well-organized and stubborn Wolverhampton side. When they carved us open courtesy of Xhaka's decision to let a pass roll past him and then neglect to mark his man running into the box, it looked like we might be in for a nightmare of a match. However, Mkhitaryan's 86th-minute cross into the box fooled everyone, including Patricio, and curled in to the back of then net. It might have been the only serious scoring attempt we had all day, but it's good enough to spare us a bit of embarrassment and keep our undefeated streak going. Let's get down to the poll...

03 November 2018

Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Arsenal delivered a determined, energetic performance but couldn't finish any of the numerous chances we created, and it looked like all of that effort and verve would go to waste when Milner punished us on the hour after Leno dove to deflect a cross in. In previous years, we might have crumbled to dust and been swept away. This is a new Arsenal now, and, sure enough, we fought back and Lacazette delivered a stunning equaliser, beating Allison to Iwobi's pass, cutting back upfield, and curling his shot in. It's a result that yours truly would have glady taken ahead of the match but feels a touch disappointing given how we played. Then again, we more than answered any critics or doubters as our undefeated streak continutes. Let's get down to the poll!

28 October 2018

Palace 2-2 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

It was a scruffy, fiesty one today as Crystal Palace scored their first goal at Selhurst Park from a penalty on Mustafi's clumsy challenge in the box. However, Arsenal, true to form, took the second half when Xhaka scored from a set-piece just outside the Palace area and Aubameyang poked him from a corner-kick. However, Martin Atkinson saw fit to award a second penalty, this one against Xhaka—the contact was slight, but Zaha had been getting hacked down all day, and Atkinson was feeling generous. In the end, we were lucky that Aubameyang's goal stood (after Lacazette's oustretched hand grazed it), and it's a shame that our winning streak is now reduced to an unbeaten streak. I hope we don't regret these dropped points in May. Eh. Let's get to the poll!

25 October 2018

Sporting Lisbon 0-1 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

After 75 dour, depressing minutes in which it looked like our Portuguese hosts looked perfectly
content to settle for a point and stay level in Group E, Danny Welbeck burst through the back of the defense to run onto a through-ball, back-heel flicked ahead by Aubameyang, and finished with cool, clinical efficiency to earn us a our eleventh victory in a row. No, it wasn't pretty, but this is: WWWWWWWWWWW.
We're alone atop Group E, and we've shown that we can ground out a result just as well as we can run roughshod over an opponent. Nice. Let's get to the poll!

22 October 2018

Arsenal 3-1 Leicester—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

After a tepid first 30 minutes to start the match in which Leicester not only scored but looked likely to score again, Arsenal finally came alive as Özil found an equaliser just before halftime. On the hour, Aubameyang came on and almost immediately bagged a brace, latching onto Bellerín's pass (from an absolutely perfect through-ball from Özil) and then tapping home from Özil himself, who had started the move by dummying to Lacazette and slipping through the defense to find Lacazette's pass. Özil is now the highest-scoring German in Prem history—Klinsmann had 29—and Arsenal have now won ten in a row! Let's get down to the poll...

07 October 2018

Fulham 1-5 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Well, this was a bit of a romp, wasn't it? Lacazette's brace, Ramsey's brilliant goal from a team-sequence, and Aubameyang's sexy turn and second for a brace of his own made this trip to Craven Cottage well worth it. The only real pity is that we couldn't keep the clean sheet, but it's still six Prem wins in a row and nine on the bounce, and—for those who mind such things—a goal difference that sees us move ahead of Tottenham and into third for now. The goals came in such a fast and furous flurry that your correspondent could barely update the stats in this week's poll. It's starting to look like Emery's philosophy and methods are taking root. We'll have to examine that sooner rather than later. For now, get down to the poll!

05 October 2018

Iwobi's Whirling Dervish Backheel Nutmeg of Death—what's next?

He was trapped. He was pinned into the corner by a phalanx of Qarabağian defenders, with Maksim "don't meg me" Medvedev on one side and Dzon "don't you dare" Delarge on the other. They had him dead to rights. He had no options. And yet, somehow—somehow—Iwobi, like some kind of deranged Tasmanian Devil, whirling Dervish, or, at the least, a besotted Beyblade, twisted and twirled his way through those Qarabağian Quashers, executing a nifty reverse-scissor followed by a post-and-pirouette, capping it off with a backheeled nutmeg through Delarge's legs (eliciting, no doubt, a sigh of relief from the previously nutmegged Medvedev). Each of them—perhaps Iwobi as well—was left a bit flabbergasted. Was it luck? Was it skill? Was it a player in his pomp?

04 October 2018

Qarabağ 0-3 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Sokratis became the first player not signed by Arsène since 1996 when he allowed Monreal's header
to deflect in off his body from Elneny's header in the fourth minute. While the hosts did force Leno into numerous vital saves, in the end, they didn't have enough to find an equaliser. Shortly after half-time, Smith Rowe opened his Arsenal account after Iwobi threaded a pass through to him; Smith Rowe slipped his shot under the keeper to make it 0-2. Guendouzi joined Smith Rowe by scoring in the 80th minute. We're atop Group E and have now won eight in a row while entering a string of somewhat softer fixtures. Good times, indeed. Let's get down to the poll!

29 September 2018

Arsenal 2-0 Watford—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Arsenal won its seventh in a row, bouncing Deeney's Hornets out 2-0 courtesy of an own-goal (or was it a Lacazette goal?) and another from Özil, and it's starting to feel like we are building actual chemistry and momentum, enough to start perhaps believing that Emery is making progress in
rebuilding the squad around his philosophy. Whatever it is, it's enough to see us keep pace with Tottenham and Man City, who each won, and create space between us and Man U, who (savor this) lost. Well, enough. Get down to the poll!

26 September 2018

Arsenal 3-1 Brentford—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

A surprisingly strong Arsenal squad full of first-teamers, with only Smith Rowe breaking in, looked likely to overwhelm Brentford, especially as Danny Welbeck scored two first-half goals from assists by Guendouzi and Monreal. However, a fine free-kick brought Brentford back into the game and it got a littler nervy. The late introductions of Ramsey and Lacazette that we might press for another goal, but neither could find the final touch. Then, finally, Lacazette was able to pounce on a loose ball, emerge from the scramble, and score the goal that settled any doubts as to the outcome. Well, we're through to the next round, more than can be said of Man U or Liverpool. Let's get to the poll!

23 September 2018

Arsenal 2-0 Everton—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Lacazette and Aubameyang scored goals within three minutes of each other, both assisted by Ramsey to create some breathing space between us and the Toffees in what was otherwise a bit of an indifferent match. Čech finally found us a clean sheet, having had to deny strong chances from Walcott and Richarlison. We were again too open in the back, and we offered too many openings to Everton to exploit. Still, there's something to be said for winning even when not playing well. At some point, sooner rather than later, we'll have to start actually playing well. For now, the result is enough to see us overtake Man U to climb into sixth, level on points with Tottenham. Enjoy that while it lasts, and let's get down to the poll!

20 September 2018

Arsenal 4-2 Vorksla—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Arsenal opened its Europa League campaign on a lightning-bolt of a counter-attack when Mkhitaryan
pounced on a wayward pass and released Iwobi into space behind's Vorksla's back line. Welbeck slotted a cross through the area that Aubameyang pounced on to score. That carried us into halftime up 1-0, and it wasn't long after that Welbeck nodded home from Mkhitaryan's cross to make it 2-0. It wasn't long before Auba found his second goal—and Mkhi his second assist—and the romp was on. Özil came on and quickly found a goal to make it 4-0, and the only pressing question was whether a clean sheet was in the offing. The answer: nope. Ah, well. Let's enjoy the win for what it is, and get down to the poll!

15 September 2018

Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal—Vote for Player-Ratings & MOTM!

After a tepid first half, Arsenal finally found its way past Newcastle's energy and organization courtesy of a well-struck free kick from Xhaka, whose effort looked likely to sail high only to dip sharply under the bar. Moments later, during a scramble, Özil pounced coolly on a loose ball to thread it through the thicket and just past Dubravka's outstretched palm. From there, it was really only a matter of trying to secure the first clean sheet. Despite conceding in stoppage-time, we can enjoy consecutive away-wins for the first time in what fees like living memory. After finding only 16 points away last season, we already have six from just three matches.Well, enough chewing the scenery. Let's get to the poll!

27 August 2018

Forget Laca. Forget Auba. When we need a goal, it's La Cabra!

Image result for monreal goal west hamLa Cabra has struck yet again, delivering a crucial equaliser that re-seized the momentum as we won us our first match of the season. His goal, coming minutes after Arnautovic opened the scoring for West Ham on a day when we looked just as likely to score as to concede. What's remarkable, though, about Monreal's fourth goal of 2018—third-best in the squad after Aubameyang (10) and Lacazette (6)—is that each and every goal that Monreal has scored for Arsenal has lifted us out of a draw or brought us back to level terms. That's a stunning stat that shows how vital Monreal has been going forward.

13 May 2018

Huddersfield 0:1 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings/MOTM!

Arsenal ended a 22-year long era on a relative high note, seeing off a feisty Huddersfield to allow Arsène to bid us all adieu on the heels of a win. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found his 10th goal in just 13 Prem matches, becoming the fastest Gunner to reach that mark. There will be time for hagiographies and remembrances later; for now, enjoy the result and rate the lads!

06 May 2018

Arsenal 5:0 Burnley—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Well, if you're going to bid adieu to a manager of 22 seasons, you could do worse than we did today—a clean sheet and five goals in a dominant, confident outing, never truly troubled by Burnley even if the visitors might have fancied a chance at getting level on points with us. About the only element missing from the otherwise-perfect performances might be a cameo from Santi Cazorla. As it was, the margin was comfortable enough to allow Per Mertesacker a chance to come in and earn an ovation or two. Anyway, it was an inspired, organized performance that should remind us that the squad has some quality in it. Arsène may not have gotten the send-off season he deserved, but this result should warm his heart all the same. Enough maudlin stuff, though; let's get to the poll!

03 May 2018

Atleti 1:0 Arsenal—Vote for Player/Ratings & MOTM!

So, this is how it all ends, eh? Diego Costa bullying his way around the pitch and going down under the lightest of touches, menacing any and all around him and crumpling at every opportune moment. That it would be his goal that slammed shut the door on our path to the Europa League final is more than a bit nauseating, but that's the only feeling one can really be left with. Having put all of our eggs in this basket exposed us to getting them all stomped on, and here we are. Nothing to play for now, really, other than to let the season slowly unravel....well, I should stop there and let you just get down to the poll.

29 April 2018

Man U 2:1 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

It was bound to be an odd occasion. On one hand, it's  Arsène's last trip to Old Trafford, led by José Mourinho, with Alexis Sánchez to face—all the ingredients for a fierce clash. On the other hand, the outcome means almost nothing for our season. Our Prem position is all but set at sixth, and we have far-bigger fish to fry with a Europa League final hanging just barely within reach. Arsène showed where his priorities lie with an XI full of youth, including a debut for Konstantinos Mavropanos. In the early going, it looked like it would be Man U's day as Pogba scored in the 16th minute after Bellerín deflected Alexis's header off the post. However, Mkhitaryan found an equaliser just after halftime, and there it stood until the 88th minute when Fellaini headed off the post off of Rashford and in. A winner? No, Rashford was clearly offside. Minutes later, Fellaini did score the winner. Feh. Let's rate the lads...

26 April 2018

Arsenal 1:1 Atleti—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

We played the part of rude hosts to Atleti, who saw their man Šime Vrsaljko sent off after just ten minutes. He had stomped on Lacazette after having already been cautioned in the very first minute. French referee Turpin might have been a bit harsh to issue the second yellow, but it was by the books. However, it took Arsenal almost hour to find a goal against ten men; Lacazette outleapt everyone to get to Wilshere's cross and nod it past the outstretched arms of Jan Oblak. A narrow margin, perhaps, but one that might sustain us for the second leg. Then, disaster struck. Griezmann brushed past Koscielny to latch onto a long ball, slipped the ball under Ospina, and finished over the scrambling Mustafi to make it 1:1. That's a crucial away-goal to concede and puts us at the base of a very tall mountain. Well, let's get down to the poll...

22 April 2018

Arsenal 4:1 West Ham—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

In a strangely subdued performance, one that in no way reflected the significance of a week in which a manager of 22 years announced his retirement, Arsenal labored for 80-odd minutes before finally rising to the occasion. Nacho Monreal opened the second half with a scuffed finish from Xhaka's corner, but it wasn't until the 81st minute that we could feel at all settled. Ramsey sent in a cross that Aubameyang dummied a header for, bamboozling Hart (who had been excellent). Late on, Lacazette found a brace that left it at 4-1, and we could sit back, relax, and enjoy it. Well, let's get down to the poll!

19 April 2018

Atlético, Atleti, away!

Well, well, well. It appears as if the indomitable, invincible, insurmountable Atlético Madrid are not quite as in-_______ as reports would have you believe. Visiting Real Sociedad on Thursday, they suffered their heaviest defeat of the season, a 3-0 undressing that suggests, if nothing else, that our Europa League semifinal rivals are beatable. If we can do to them in this first leg what Real Sociedad has just done, maybe—just maybe—we can withstand whatever onslaught they'll mount in the second. There is no hubris here, no false optimism, only rational realism. Even as our own league form has dipped, we have to remind ourselves that we are marshaling resources (putting all of our eggs in one basket) and focusing on winning the Europa League. Real Sociedad has offered us an invitation, a dare, if you will, to at least get to the final.

15 April 2018

Newcastle 2:1 Arsenal—Vote for Player-Ratings & MOTM.

Arsenal took an early lead through a well-worked goal from Lacazette, courtesy of a nifty little cross from Aubameyang, and early signs indicated that Arsenal would finally find its first away points of 2018. Alas, Newcastle stormed back and always looked the livelier. We've now conceded 46 goals, equal to 17th-placed Swansea, and have committed more errors leading to goals (15) than any other club. We can forget any chance of catching Chelsea and now have to look nervously over our shoulders at Burnley, just two points behind and in fine form. Of course, we've essentially written off the Prem, but that cannot excuse this kind of result. Sorry, shouldn't be skewing poll numbers, should I? The less said, the better, then. Down to the poll...

12 April 2018

CSKA Moscow 2:2 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

CSKA Moscow found goals either side of halftime breathed too much life into this second leg, and, for about 75 minutes, it looked like we'd see a repeat of AS Roma-Barcelona or, failing that, Real-Juve. Finally, Danny Welbeck settled some nerves as he scored to restore a more comfortable 3-5 aggregate, to which Aaron Ramsey added some security in stoppage-time. It wasn't pretty, and we can't quite claim to have learned any lessons from results in the Champions League, but we're through to the semifinal anyway. We'll find out who we'll face there soon enough—Salzburg, Atletico, or Marseille. Let's rate the lads!

10 April 2018

Saintses and Orcses and Hugheses, oh my!

First and foremost, we have to admit to a certain degree of schadenfreude. There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, we're presented almost weekly with a chance to wallow in it. On Saturday, to cite just one example, we had a veritable smörgåsbord of schadenfreudian options as we watched the Manchester derby. Should we hope for Alexis and Mourinho to suffer the ignominy of defeat at the Etihad as they watch City celebrate, or should we hope for Guardiola and all of his mercenaries to be humiliated twice in one week? In a word, yes. Such is the live of the footballing fan. The enjoyment is roughly 40% support for one's club, 60% spite and schadenfreude at the expense of various rivals.
Say what you will about this campaign, what with its ups and downs (okay, mostly the latter). We were humbled in the League Cup final, humiliated in the FA Cup's Third Round, and we never had a hint of a chance at winning the Prem. Yes, we're still alive in the Europa League and look likely to advance to the semi-final, but even there, we're not yet favorites. Still, we battered Stoke last weekend, driving one more nail into the coffin that is their campaign. On Sunday, we (eventually) did the same to Southampton. 'Twixt the two, you might struggle to find two minnows further apart in their footballing philosophies and at the same time so strangely successful against Arsenal. To see one or both sent down would almost be balm enough to the allergies and aggravations of an otherwise fruitless campaign. Throw in the second sacking of Mark Hughes, and, well, there's enough almost lipstick to put on this pig.

08 April 2018

Arsenal 3:2 Southampton—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

After a shaky start brought about in part by seven changes to the lineup, baffling miscommunication between Mustafi and Čech turned a routine dribbler into a goal for Shane Long. We had to know that Southampton, fighting against relegation, would cause more than the customary amount of trouble, but it still a surprise to see them take the lead. Danny Welbeck helped set things right by finding Aubameyang in the box and then scoring a banger of his own. From there, only magnificent saves from Alex McCarthy kept it close. Shane Long had a goal disallowed, but Charlie Austin scored from a set-piece almost immediately after subbing on. Welbeck shanked a sitter, but he nodded home from close range to redeem himself—and, it must be added, Arsenal itself. There was late drama as Wilshere and Stephens scuffled, leading to a straight red for Stephens. Moments later, Elneny was sent for a retaliatory shove on Soares. Eh. We won. Let's get to the poll.

05 April 2018

Arsenal 4:1 CSKA Moscow—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Arsenal blitzed CSKA Moscow with first half braces from Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette, and although they conceded one away goal, have to feel pretty good about advancing to the Europa League semifinal on the strength of this performance. The Russians looked overwhelmed for long stretches, and if Arsenal can click like this in the second leg and beyond, a Europa League title looks all the more likely. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. There is after that second leg to play, not to mention however we might face should we advance. Enough for now. Let's get down to the poll!

01 April 2018

Arsenal 3:0 Stoke—Vote for Player-Ratings & MOTM!

It was a dull and dreary affair for the greater part of the match with Stoke stubborn as ever and Arsenal about as sloppy and careless as we've been all season, misplacing passes and gifting possession left and right. It wasn't until the second half that we actually started to resemble a proper football squad, but our finishing was poor. Finally, in the 74th minute, Özil found his way into the box and was brought down by Martins Indi. It was a bit light but no real doubt about it. Aubameyang stepped up and coolly put it into the back of the net. We came to life after that and Aubameyang found a second from a corner. Late on, Lacazette was shoved in the box, and Pawson again pointed to the spot. The Frenchman sent it home. It might change much in the Prem, but anything that sends Stoke closer to relegation is always good. Well, let's get down to the poll to rate the lads!

15 March 2018

Arsenal 3-1 AC Milan—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Arsenal domianted for long stretches, conceded a brilliant goal against the run of play, equalized through a divey Welbeck converting the pen, and killed off the tie when Donnarumma couldn't smother Xhaka's long-distance missile. Welbeck earned a more-honest goal in 87th minute when he nodded home a deflection from Ramsey's header. The result allowed us to advance to the quarterfinal on the strength of a 5-1 aggregate and does beg the question: why can't we play this well more consistently? Ahh, the mysteries of life, which one can ponder at another time. For now, savor this one, let it settle in your stomach like a nice bit of mac and cheese, and then go rate the lads!

12 March 2018

Man U's Mkhi, Arsenal's Alexis—who's made the better deal?

It's been roughly six weeks now since Henrikh Mkhitarayan and Alexis Sánchez swapped squads. That's time enough, isn't it, to assess the early returns? Risky rhetorical questions rarely require actual responses, so we're plowing ahead regardless. At first blush, the notion that Arsenal would again sell a talismanic goal-scorer to its own rival would seem ludicrous. Having already sold van Persie to Man U, how could we at Arsenal suffer seeing such a scorer succeed elsewhere? This time though, however, we at least extracted a player in return, one who might just make us all forget the sexiness that was Sánchez. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has, in the short term at least, more than picked up the slack that Alexis left.

11 March 2018

Arsenal 3-0 Watford—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Arsenal thrashed Watford thanks to goals from Mustafi, Aubameyang, and Mkhitaryan; and Čech saved Deeney's penalty and finally got his 200th clean sheet. We've left that dismal, depressing February behind and have looked invigorated and determined through the first two weeks of March. It's a fitting rejoinder to Mr. Deeney's now-infamous cojones remark—it was he after all who fluffed his line on the penalty. Aside from that he was largely anonymous, and, to be honest, the less said of him, the better. We have—believe it or not—bigger fish to fry. Adios. Let's get down to the poll!

08 March 2018

AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Henrikh Mkhitaryan ended the apparently invincible AC Milan's defense run of clean sheets with a well-struck shot in the 15th minute that took a deflection on its way in, and Aaron Ramsey found a sublime goal in first-half stoppage time, slipping through to run onto Özil's little through-ball, and we've left Italy with a beautiful win, two away-goals, the inside track to the quarterfinal, and an end to a miserable month of football. We've seen our boys turn a season around thanks to a European conquest; let's hope this one launches us on a long, strong run-in. More on that later; for now, let's rate the lads!

04 March 2018

Brighton 2-1 Arsenal—Vote for Player-Ratings & MOTM!

One can find excuses for losing twice in five days to Man City. They are a behemoth of a squad at the moment. One can rationalize a second-leg loss to Oestersunds FK—we had essentially booked passage to the Europa League Round of 16 already (hadn't we? I mean...). However, it's much harder to understand how we let ourselves go 2-0 to Brighton down inside a half-hour. Only an Aubameyang goal just before halftime restored some sense of hope, but this was hardly the rally or fight-back of a squad ready to go to the San Siro on Thursday, much less salvage a season. Seven minutes of stoppage-time were not enough for us to find a way through Brighton's stubborn defense, and even when we did, shots were tame or off-frame. What else is there to say?

01 March 2018

Arsenal 0-3 Man City—Vote for Player-Ratings & MOTM!

You have to know that when your game-plan consists of hoping that the opposition will go easy on you after thrashing you just a few days ago, you're clutching at straws. Man Cit waltzed in and picked up right where they left on Sunday, scoring three goals in the first half to end this one before it had even begun. The only real question was whether they would relax enough to let us score. We did see Mkhitaryan earn a penalty, only for Aubameyang to squander it with a tame shot that Ederson had no trouble saving. While it's true that we came awfully close to opening the scoring, we again fell apart after we conceded. This was an ugly one. Well, hold your noses and get down to the poll to give 'em what they deserve...

24 February 2018

Man City, a League Cup, and a tremulous treble...

So. Pep Guardiola's quest for footballing immortality has foundered on the shoals, has it? His fountain of youth hath run dry. His unslakeable thirst for trophies, not unlike that of Tantalus's thirst for food or drink, threatens to endure a second straight year. His arrival in Manchester cruelly crushed his previously pristine curriculum vitae; he had never suffered a trophyless campaign until his arrival on English soil. Now, a second year in, he seems now more than even before like a remorseless eating machine, devouring talent over the summer to the tune of some £285m to bolster what was already one of Europe's deepest and most-talented squads. Wigan ruined his Quixotean quest for a quadruple. Into the breach steps Arsenal—can they deny the Spaniard his treble?

22 February 2018

Arsenal 1-2 Östersunds FK—Vote for Player Ratings/MOTM!

It was awfully touch-and-go there in the first twenty minutes as our visitors twice took advantage of a sloppy, high line and slip-shod defending, scoring twice in a matter of seconds to seize an early 0-2 lead, offering in the process one of the most ironically Arsenal of Arsenal moments in recent memory—seizing a confident, seemingly insurmountable lead in the first leg only to suffer an historic second leg comeback to get knocked out on away goals. Somewhere, Bayern were enjoying this. Thankfully, it was moments after halftime that Kolašinac latched onto a failed clearance to make it 1-2, settling a few jangled nerves and unclenching if not wiping more than a few squeaky bums. Things settled down from there, and although it was hardly the swaggering walk in the park we might have hoped for, we're through to the next round. So it goes. Let's get down to the poll to rate the lads!

15 February 2018

Östersunds FK 0-3 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Arsenal strolled to a comfortable, cozy win over Swedish hosts Oestersunds FK, braving the frigid temperature to waltz away in the first leg. Goals from Monreal, OG, and Özil eased jangled nerves. Pity that the OG stands for "Own Goal" rather than Olivier Giroud. The away-goals should be more than enough to carry us through the second leg in the event that we somehow out-Arsenal ourselves by succumbing to a massive comeback from the visiting underdog. I wouldn't put it past us, much like Ospina wouldn't let Oestersunds put anything past him. Aha. Ha. Let's move on and get down to the poll...

10 February 2018

Tottenham 1-0 Arsenal—Vote for Player-Ratings & MOTM!

In a pulsing, intense North London Derby, Harry Kane nodded one home in the 49th minute. Did he shove Koscielny out of the way? In a very real sense, yes—then again, Anthony Taylor was presiding, so in a very different sense, it doesn't matter. Truth be told, though, Tottenham were the better side for most if not all of the match, and for us to get the hour-mark down just 1-0 was a bit of a blessing. It wasn't until the last ten minutes that we really started to show an interest and an ability to test Tottenham, but even four minutes of stoppage-time didn't give us enough time to dig out of the hole we had dug for ourselves. Lacazette fizzed close twice from close range, Well, there will be time for a post-mortem later; for now, let's rate the lads...

09 February 2018

The Art of the Dive, or how to lose your bottle: Tottenham-style.

Tottenham are not Everton. Let's get that straight. As such, it's unlikely that we'll blitz our putative hosts as we did our wilting visitors. Still, there's something in the air. Even after Tottenham escaped Anfield with a miraculous (read: dodgy) draw, it's hard to resist a creeping sense of optimism, a belief that a world that has gone topsy-turvy may just be set right. After several years of ekeing past Tottenham to again finish above them, the once-unthinkable finally happened last year as they found a way past us. It happened on the back of their best campaign ever and our worst in recent memory, but it happened. Even as they perch above us, they don't quite rule the roost. Not by a long shot. In fact, they look ready to bottle it.

03 February 2018

Arsenal 5-1 Everton—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Phew. That match has left me and, I assume, all of you, exhausted and spent. The debuts of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang might have been even sexier than imagined, with the Armenian notching three assists and the Gabonese oening his account in fine fashion. This one was almost over before it had even begun as we found three goals in the first twenty minutes. Along with their statistical contributions, our new signings seem to have elevated everyone's confidence. The only open question was whether Petr Čech would get his 200th clean sheet. Sadly, the answer is no. Ramsey did get a hat-trick, though, and we waltzed to the win. Who knows? This result—and those signings—might be just enough to launch us a tidy little run. Let's set that aside, though, and rate the lads!

30 January 2018

Swansea 3-1 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Well, that was unexpected. After all of the hype and excitement of adding Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, Arsenal arrived at Liberty Stadium and promptly laid an egg against the Swans. At least it wasn't a goose-egg, if you don't mind my mixing metaphors. Monreal salvaged a tattered scrap of dignity by briefly putting us ahead. However, horrific defending allowed Swansea an easy equalizer—and without suggesting any blame—Mkhitaryan came on and bore witness to a god-awful comedy of errors as Čech squibbed an easy clearance directly into Ayew's path, and it was 2-1. We never really showed any fightback after that, and we deserved the result—the beating, really. I just hope the ink is dry on Auba's contract. He might be reconsidering his options. Feh. Let's get down to the poll.

28 January 2018

By the time you read this, Aubameyang will be a Gunner.

In the absence of any FA Cup news, and in the wake of the departures of Alexis and Theo and the arrival of Mkhi, we all at Arsenal have awaited with bated breath any news regarding the potential addition of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the want-away striker from Borussia Dortmund. We've been edging closer and closer to concluding this saga, and if there's any silver lining to crashing out of the FA Cup, it might be that our esteemed overlords can focus on strengthening the squad rather than ousting "lesser" sides from the Cup's fourth round. We've lorded it over the others long enough in this particular competition, haven't we? What say we let others have chance whilst we have a go at the January transfer window? We have one Armenian in, so who's to say we shouldn't add a Gabonese while we're at it? By all signs and portents, Monday is a good day for Aubemeyang to Arsenal.

24 January 2018

Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea—Vote for Player-Ratings & MOTM!

It looked like it might be over before it began as Chelsea's Eden Hazard slotted home an early goal and were looking far-more lively despite being shorn of several regulars and Conte worrying about fatigue. However, Nacho Monreal headed a corner in from Mesut Özil, and Chelsea's Rüdiger helped it home to equalize. After going into the half on level terms, Arsenal came out in the second half looking much more purposeful, and an energetic Lacazette worked his way along the edge of the area, and Xhaka pounced on the deflected pass to seize the lead. Four minutes of stoppage time gave the visitors several chances, but Ospina was more than up to the challenge. The winners will go on to meet Man City in the final. More on that when the time is right. For now, let's get down to the poll!

20 January 2018

Arsenal 4-1 Palace—Vote for Player-Ratings & MOTM!

Arsenal blitzed Palace in the first 12 minutes through goals from Monreal, Iwobi, and Koscielny. Lacazette added a fourth as the Gunners eased to an easy victory. The only drama centered around whether or not Petr Čech would keep his 200th career clean-sheet. Sadly, he was denied this achievement in the 78th. More's the pity. Still, it's a fine result and one that restores some much needed confidence and, hopefully, momentum as we look for progress in the League Cup, Prem, and Europa. Enjoy this one. It's back to work in just a few days!

14 January 2018

Bournemouth 2-1 Arsenal—Vote for Player-Ratings & MOTM!

Arsenal largely dominated proceedings at Dean Court but were indeed lucky to escape numerous close-calls, including a penalty-shout against Iwobi who appeared to extend his arm to deflect Bournemouth corner during their spirited charge to close the first half. However, Kevin Friend saw nothing in it, and we went into halftime in a scoreless draw. It wasn't until Héctor Bellerín, running onto Alex Iwobi's well-weighted through-ball, found a way past Begović, his shot squirting through the Bosnian to finally seize a lead. It didn't last long as Bournemouth found the equaliser through—what else? Sloppy defending on a counter-attack. A scant three minutes later saw Ibe, who had tormented the Arsenal defense all afternoon, slash one home, right through three players including Petr Čech. It's a grim result, to put it mildly. Let's get down to the poll to give 'em what they deserve...

03 January 2018

Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea—vote for Player-Ratings and MOTM!

An entertaining first half saw both Arsenal and Chelsea come agonizingly close on several occasions only to come away empty-handed. In the second half, the story was much the same, and Wilshere lashed it home to make it 1-0. However, minutes later, Hazard offered up his best rendition of a man tripping over an invisible wire, and Anthony Taylor took the bait, awarding a penalty that Hazard himself finished, posing fresh question about Čech's record of failing to save penalties. Sloppy defending was to blame on the second goal, allowing Alonso to put Chelsea in the 85th minute. Then, just when all hope seemed lost, Bellerin emphatically belted it home on the half-volley in the 92nd minute to equalise. It's a fortunate result but one well-fought for. Let's get down to the poll!