With all the injuries. The hiccups of the Premier League (including the Boxing Day hammering at the hands of Southampton). Mesut Ozil has been a constant. A constant level of just sublime assistery to almost any Arsenal player in the final third of the field.
Three weeks ago, jokes were abound as Twitter responded to David Moyes claim that ‘the jury was still out’ over the signing of Mesut Ozil. I personally have a lot of time for David Moyes but this really was an incredibly misguided soundbite from the Scotsman. Ozil may have taken a little time to settle in the Premier League but this season he could be what Robin Van Persie was to Manchester United when they last one the title, or Hazard last year to Chelsea. He could be the difference between the Champions and the rest. Continue reading “Could Mesut Ozil be delivering the title on a plate for Arsene Wenger?”
Southampton: Gazzaniga, Soares, Fonte, van Dijk, Bertrand, Clasie, Wanyama, Davie, Mané, Tadic, Pellé
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Flamini, Campbell, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud
With Boxing Day signalling the start of Festive Fixture list for the Premier League, this fixture represents perhaps the toughest test of the three this week for both clubs. Continue reading “‘Can Arsenal produce a Knockout this Boxing Day?’ – Southampton vs. Arsenal, 26-12-15”
Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Pedro, Diego Costa
Watford: Gomes, Nyom, Britos, Cathcart, Holebas, Abdi, Watson, Capoue, Jurado, Ighalo, Deeney
Well what a 10 days it has been if you are a Chelsea fan. After seeing the ‘Happy One’ leave last week, Stamford Bridge last weekend against Sunderland became the nation’s most public Christmas pantomime as the Matthew Harding Stand booed their villains and chanted the name of their own personal messiah. For any manager watching in the stands and waiting in the wings to take over it would have made for quite an unsettling experience but Guus Hiddink has been here before. It was back in 2009 that Guus saved the day the first time, taking over from ‘Big Phil’ Scolari after Mourinho’s faithful lieutenants on the pitch decided he wasn’t the man to lead their team any longer. This is a very different atmosphere however for the Dutchman the second time around. Continue reading “‘Welcome Back to the Premier League Mr Hiddink’ – Chelsea vs. Watford, 26-12-15”
The Daily Mirror reported on Monday morning that Wenger is looking to strengthen his midfield options come January, and after Arsenal’s defeat of City, surely any such signing will be needed to help Arsenal win their first title since their Emirates move.
Continue reading “Adrien Rabiot: Is this the January arrival that Arsenal needs?”
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerín, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Campbell, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud
Manchester City: Hart, Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Clichy, Touré, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling, Aguero
It was Arsenal’s away trip to the Etihad last year where this latest incarnation of Wenger’s Arsenal announced themselves as potential title challengers for this coming season. Arsenal sat back, they absorbed the pressure and left Manchester with 3 points from a thoroughly un-Arsenal like performance. Whilst this fixture may be at Emirates, the arrival of Pellegrini and co. to north London on Monday night could well be the yet another signifier that this Arsenal team have the psychological strength to go on and win the title in one of the Premier League’s most open of seasons.
Continue reading “‘It won’t decide the Title but it could spark a run’ – Arsenal vs. Manchester City, 21-12-15”
Watford: Gomes, Nyom, Britos, Cathcart, Aké, Jurado, Watson, Capoue, Jurado, Deeney, Ighalo
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno, Henderson, Can, Coutinho, Lallanna, Origi, Ibe
5 days before Christmas and Watford sit 2 places better off than Liverpool, with an extra victory and a better goal difference. Admittedly they have only won one more, and have a better goal difference by one, it nonetheless emphases the impressive start Watford and especially Quique Sanchez Flores has made to the Premier League season.
Continue reading “‘The Pozzo Package Surprises’ – Watford vs. Liverpool, 20/12/15”
The biggest present day footballing side note to the Mourinho sacking is the ever growing clamour to know what the hell is wrong at Manchester United. Admittedly this is quite a small aside to the ginormous news of Mourinho’s sacking and just exactly what is going on in that dressing room. However with Mourinho on the market, Pep’s future still sort of up in the air (I will expand on all this a little later on) and Ancelotti circling over Europe’s biggest clubs, there hasn’t been many occasions when three of the best club managers in Football are looking for their next city to call home.
When I checked immediately after the José sacking on Sky Sports News, SkyBet had Juande Ramos somehow as 2nd favourite for the Chelsea job (if Roman had decided an awful Tottenham outcast was an adequate enough Captain to try and save his blue sinking ship I was intrigued to see if Jacques Santini odds were to be slashed…), I did start wondering who would appear on the Manchester United list if Van Gaal decided to exit stage left this summer from English Football’s biggest commercial asset. However, before such a hypothetical question, what is going wrong with Manchester United this season?
Continue reading “‘A Falling Great’ – Something’s Wrong At Man Utd: Is This Man The Answer?”
Swansea: Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Cork, Britton, Ki, Ayew, Gomis, Sigurdsson
West Ham: Adrián, Tomkins, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Song, Noble, Kouyaté, Zárate, Carroll, Antonio
Oh how times can change in Football. Garry Monk, lauded for producing Swansea’s best ever finish to a Premier League season last year, has joined the ever-growing list of managerial causalities after not winning a game since Swansea’s defeat of Manchester United at the end of August. Names have been bandied round (I myself wrote just last week that I thought David Moyes could be a good fit), yet no one has yet been appointed to date, with Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins now in South America supposedly trying to tie down the enigmatic Marcelo Bielsa to a contract (Bielsa to Swansea). Continue reading “‘Will Swansea’s Slump Continue?’ – Swansea vs. West Ham, 20-12-15”
Bournemouth: Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Surman, Ritchie, Gosling, Arter, Stanislas, King
Man Utd: De Gea, Varela, McNair, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson, Schneiderlin, Carrick, Lingard, Mata, Depay, Martial
This is one of the two games that any promoted teams earmark when they arrive in the Premier League. Manchester United at home. Manchester United away. Now it is Bournemouth’s moment to shine. Continue reading “‘When the Minnows meet the Big Boys’ – Bournemouth vs. Manchester United, 12-12-15”
The footballing snipers are lined up. Stamford Bridge and The Liberty Stadium are on lock down waiting for their respective orders to act. For José Mourinho and Garry Monk the next few days could be their last at their clubs. But who could be coming into replace them?
Continue reading “‘The Vultures are Circling over London and Swansea’ – Who could be the next Chelsea and Swansea Managers?”