Posts Tagged ‘Arsenal’

Feature: Premier League youngsters face loan lottery

“Gaël Kakuta, a precociously skilful attacking midfielder, joined Chelsea from French club Lens at the age of 16 in 2007, sparking a row that momentarily saw the English side banned from signing players. After he made an eye-catching debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers in November 2009, then-coach Carlo Ancelotti was moved to declare: “At that age I have never seen a player with this talent.” However, with established players such as Joe Cole and Florent Malouda cemented in Chelsea’s starting XI, Kakuta found his route to the first team blocked. There followed a succession of underwhelming loan moves — to Fulham, Bolton Wanderers, French club Dijon, Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, and Lazio — and at 23, his career is still awaiting take-off.”

I’ve written a piece for AFP on the uncertain futures faced by young Premier League players who go out on loan, and you can read it here.

Report: Ramsey completes Arsenal comeback in FA Cup final

“London (AFP) – Aaron Ramsey scored an extra-time winner as Arsenal ended their nine-year trophy drought by coming from two goals down to beat Hull City 3-2 in a gripping FA Cup final on Saturday.”

My AFP match report on one of the best FA Cup finals of recent years can be found here.

Reaction: Wenger urges Arsenal to build on FA Cup win

Report: Fabiański stars as Arsenal reach FA Cup final

“London (AFP) - Łukasz Fabiański saved two penalties as Arsenal beat holders Wigan Athletic 4-2 in a shootout at Wembley on Saturday to reach their first FA Cup final for nine years.”

My AFP match report on the season’s first FA Cup semi-final can be read here.

Reaction: FA Cup run can inspire top-four push – Wenger

Profile: Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s professorial pioneer

“The 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’ season was the stuff of legend, as a team spearheaded by [Thierry] Henry cut elegant swathes through the Premier League to complete the first unbeaten top-flight campaign since Preston North End in 1889. Legendary former Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough — never one to mince his words — described Wenger’s team as “nothing short of incredible”.”

My AFP profile of Arsène Wenger, who takes charge of Arsenal for the 1,000th time on Saturday, can be read here.

Related link: Five classic Arsenal matches under Wenger

Report: Arsenal edge Liverpool in FA Cup thriller

“London — Arsenal set up an FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Everton after overcoming Liverpool 2-1 in a feisty and gripping fifth-round match at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.”

My AFP report on an absorbing FA Cup tie in North London can be read here.

Report: Arsenal, Man United keep each other in check

“Arsenal and Manchester United each had cause for regret after playing out an attritional and occasionally turgid 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Wednesday.”

My AFP match report on a night of frustration for both sides at the Emirates can be read here.

Reaction: Moyes looks to past for United inspiration

Report: Deulofeu late show stops Arsenal pulling away

“London — A fine 84th-minute goal by substitute Gerard Deulofeu earned Everton a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Sunday that prevented the Premier League leaders from moving seven points clear.”

My AFP match report on an engaging and open-ended tussle at the Emirates Stadium can be found here.

Reaction: Wenger feels Arsenal merit title recognition

Report: Early bird Wilshere takes Arsenal to brink

“London (AFP) – Jack Wilshere scored two goals, the first after only 27 seconds, as Arsenal beat Marseille 2-0 on Tuesday to move to within touching distance of the Champions League last 16.”

My AFP match report on a straightforward night’s work for Arsenal, and another steep learning curve for Marseille, can be read here.

Soccer Central podcast: Champions League preview

I put on my posh podcast voice to speak to Sportsnet’s Soccer Central podcast about Laurent Blanc’s winning formula at Paris Saint-Germain, Olivier Giroud and Arsenal, Frank Lampard and Chelsea, and David Moyes’s tactical conundrums at Manchester United. You can listen here.

Analysis: Wenger’s Arsenal harvest finally bears fruit

“Jack Wilshere was initially exiled to the left wing following Özil’s arrival from Real Madrid, but he demonstrated his worth in a central role by breaking the deadlock against Norwich with a breath-taking goal that Wenger described as “one of the best” of his 17-year tenure. Having started the move deep in his own half, Wilshere was involved in a razor-sharp passing exchange on the edge of the Norwich area that went Cazorla, Wilshere, Cazorla, Giroud, Wilshere, Giroud, Wilshere, culminating in the England midfielder volleying past goalkeeper John Ruddy from 10 yards.”

I’ve written a piece for AFP on how Arsène Wenger’s patience finally appears to be paying off for Arsenal, and you can read it here.

Analysis: Open season in Premier League as big guns misfire

“The topsy-turvy opening weeks of the Premier League campaign have fuelled pre-season optimism that the 2013-14 title race would be one of the most open in years. With Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all under new management, and a glut of new players having arrived during the close season, the English top flight is in the throes of transition, and the off-pitch upheaval has been mirrored in the results.”

I’ve written a piece for AFP asking if we are set for the most competitive Premier League title race in recent memory, and you can read it here.

Report: Moyes starts with win, Aston Villa stun Arsenal

“LONDON — Manchester United manager David Moyes picked up where Alex Ferguson left off on Saturday as the Premier League champions began their title defence by winning 4-1 at Swansea City.”

My AFP report on the opening day of the 2013-14 Premier League season can be read here.

Analysis: Wenger under scrutiny after worst Arsenal start

“Arsenal have gone seven and a half years without winning a trophy, but while they used to be able to take solace in the quality of their football, Wenger’s side are no longer the swashbuckling team of old. They continue to enjoy more possession of the ball, on average, than any of their rivals (59.9 percent per game, according to the website www.whoscored.com), but after 15 games of the current campaign, their attack is only the seventh most potent in the division.”

My piece for AFP on the identity crisis that has hit Arsenal this season can be read here.

You can also read my round-up of Saturday’s Premier League matches, including Manchester United’s madcap 4-3 win at Reading, here.

Report: Arsenal in pole position after win at Marseille

“MARSEILLE — An injury-time goal by substitute Aaron Ramsey gave Arsenal a 1-0 win at Marseille on Wednesday that enabled Arsene Wenger’s side to leapfrog their opponents to top spot in Champions League Group F.”

My AFP match report can be read here.

Nasri the scapegoat as French media probe France’s fissures

George Orwell once wrote: “The English are not happy unless they are miserable.” They are not the only ones. France may be within four points of a place at Euro 2012, having also beaten both England and Brazil in friendlies over the last 12 months, but the French sports media are not satisfied.

Critical of the team’s play and piqued by the supposed egotism of certain players, some members of the French press pack have even dared to make ominous comparisons with the atmosphere in the months that led up to last year’s fateful World Cup campaign. To the neutral observer France appear to have come on in leaps and bounds since the end of the Raymond Domenech era, but fissures remain.

The focal point of much of the criticism over the international break has been Samir Nasri, who stands accused of wilfully slowing France’s play by dwelling on the ball and intruding into areas of the pitch that should be the exclusive domain of his defensive midfield colleagues.

Told by Laurent Blanc that he could “do more” for the national team, Nasri responded that he would prefer to be told about the coach’s concerns “face to face”. Largely anonymous in the 2-1 win in Albania last Friday, he was among five players dropped to the bench for Tuesday’s instantly forgettable 0-0 draw with Romania.

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