Tag Archives: arsenal

Why We Should All Cheer for Arsenal

In 2011, midfielder Samir Nasri left Arsenal to join Manchester City, insisting cech arsenalhe wanted to play for a club capable of winning major trophies. Outraged Arsenal fans accused Nasri of selling out, and when City visited The Emirates in November, the home crowd booed Nasri mercilessly. Months later, after City clinched the Premier League title on the final day of the season, Nasri fired back at his critics. “I hope they are watching me now,” he said. “They should celebrate their third-place achievement, and I will focus on winning titles.”

Arsenal has not won the Premier League since 2004, when Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry led the team to an unbeaten campaign. Indeed, before defeating Hull in the 2014 FA Cup final, Arsenal had gone nine seasons without winning a single tournament. Over the years, the club’s long dry spell became a social media touchstone, the easy 140-character punch line to a joke that never seemed to get old. One popular website invited fans to tweet about everything they had accomplished in their personal lives since Arsenal last claimed silverware. Special 1 TV, the satirical talk show hosted by a Jose Mourinho puppet, dedicated numerous episodes to the travails of Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger. When Arsenal finally broke the streak, the real Mourinho, who once called Wenger “a specialist in failure,” responded with his signature brand of sarcastic condescension: “In the last nine years, Arsenal won an FA Cup. That is nice for them.”

Arsenal’s trophy-less run was not just a lesson in sustained athletic humiliation. It was also a graphic demonstration of the changing economics of English soccer. The taunts flying across Twitter, however trivial they seemed, were indications of a profound power shift. The influx of billionaire owners to the Premier League has elevated clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City, underperforming minnows for much of their histories, to awesome new heights, often at the expense of less wealthy competitors. Indeed, City’s newfound ability to poach star players has fundamentally destabilized Arsenal’s on-field development: Since 2009, Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure and Bacary Sagna have all left Arsenal for the stadium formerly known as Eastlands. Earlier this month, City was rumored to be monitoring Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.

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The Real Reason Arsenal Struggles in Europe

Arsenal’s 2-0 win at Monaco wasn’t enough to overcome a 3-1 defeat in the first leg. But arsenal monacoaccording to Arsene Wenger, Monaco didn’t deserve to go through, since the away-goals rule is an outdated relic of the 1960s. “Two Premier League teams have gone out on away goals and that should be questioned,” he said. Because if a rule hurts English teams, it must be a bad rule.

But here’s the thing: Arsenal’s recent Champions League struggles – five Round-of-16 eliminations in a row – have less to do with the away-goals rule than with the team’s inability to play consistently over the course of a two-legged tie. Arsenal has a long history of capitulating in the first leg, only to mount a courageous, but ultimately futile, comeback two weeks later. In 2012, Arsenal lost 4-0 to AC Milan at the San Siro, and then won the return game 3-0. A year later, having lost the first leg 3-1, Arsenal beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in Germany. Indeed, Wenger’s team has lost just one second-leg game since 2011.

“You can’t win a tie in the first leg, but you can lose it,” or so the old cliché goes. Arsenal routinely loses its Champions League knockout ties in the first leg. And Wenger, who’s paid to motivate his players and plan the team’s tactical approach, has no one to blame but himself.

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Alan Pardew Is Right: Why The Transfer Window Should Have Ended Three Weeks Ago

In the past two weeks, Manchester United and Chelsea have played The First Big Match of The Season, a more-cabayeinteresting-than-most-people-think 0-0 draw; Arsenal has plunged into chaos, then suddenly recovered, almost as if the team hadn’t plunged into chaos in the first place; Aston Villa’s new defender, Antonio Luna (gangster nickname: Tony Moon), has established himself as one of the league’s most hilariously erratic players; and Swansea City’s new striker, Wilfried Bony (gangster nickname: Daddy Cool), has scored his first Premier League goal.

In short, a lot has happened since Liverpool kicked off the new season earlier this month. But because the summer transfer window doesn’t close until September 2, by which point every Premier League team will have played three games, transfer speculation – stuff that hasn’t happened, like Gareth Bale’s “imminent” move to Real Madrid, and David Moyes’ attempts to sign Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines – is still dominating newspaper headlines.

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Five Transfer Headlines That Seem Important

Clint Dempsey to the Seattle Sounders: This transfer is pretty baffling. Clint Dempsey is in his prime. He plays dempsey seattlefor Tottenham Hotspur, which will qualify for next season’s Champions League. (You heard it here first.) He is a cult hero. So why did he decide to leave the Premier League?

I watch Major League Soccer regularly, manage an MLS fantasy team, and tolerate the incoherent bloviating of pundits like Alexi Lalas and Simon Borg. I am both an American soccer fan and a fan of American soccer. But I would love it (love it) if Dempsey stayed in England for a few more seasons.

Cesc Fabregas to Manchester United: Last month, Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward left the team’s Asia Tour to attend to “urgent business.” According to the English media, Woodward was finalizing a deal for Cesc Fabregas, who lost interest in Barcelona when it became clear that Xavi Hernandez has resilient knees. Needless to say, Fabregas hasn’t joined United – nor, for that matter, has anyone else. I’m increasingly certain that David Moyes and Woodward, who replaced the unpopular but devastatingly effective David Gill, have no idea what they’re doing.

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Cliches about Cliches: The Wrong Way to Cover the Summer Transfer Window

Last month, Rory Smith, a writer for ESPNFC, published an article titled “Cracking the Transfer Window Code.” higuainSmith bills the piece as “a public service announcement” that will “help us pick our way through the endless night of summer,” then makes a few tired jokes about British tabloids (don’t believe everything you read, kids) and the transfer-window vernacular (United remains hopeful, despite rumors that want-away striker Wayne Rooney has set his heart on a move to Chelsea).

The football media comprises two main groups: the mischievous news outlets that report transfer gossip as if it were fact, and the “serious” sites that run Jonathan Wilson articles and care about things like, you know, ethics. Most of the year, the serious sites are the only ones worth visiting: they feature stories about tactical trends and neurotic South American coaches, while the tabloids explore the minutiae of Cristiano Ronaldo’s love life.

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Arsenal Crisis? It’s That Time of Year

In the weeks leading up to Premier League kick-off, fans know to expect a few things. Newspaper pullouts, gigantic fixture lists and billboard advertisements are all necessary reminders of the approaching excitement, without which we might begin to doubt the once reliable word of the kitchen calendar. But even if Sky suddenly gave up on football montages, we’d know it was August, because now there’s an even surer sign. It’s always exactly this time of year that Arsenal’s off-season rumblings become painfully audible.

Arsene Wenger must be getting a little discouraged. In 2011, he watched Arsenal’s two most dangerous players, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, join rival Champions League teams. And then, earlier this summer, Robin van Persie sensationally refused to sign a new contract.

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Arshavin Shows Signs Of Life

After a year of mediocrity, Andrei Arshavin is approaching something close to top form.

In the fall of 2009, Andrei Arshavin had the world at his feet. His quadruple at Anfield, a goal-scoring feat that ultimately helped Manchester United more than it did Arsenal, was still recent history. He was quickly becoming one of the game’s most recognizable stars, just in time for the 2010 World Cup.

But Russia, coming off a hugely successful European Championships, didn’t qualify. They finished second in the same group as 2006 semi-finalists Germany, earning a straightforward-looking play-off against Slovenia. Russia won the home leg 2-1, but lost 1-0 in the return fixture; they were eliminated on away goals. Humiliatingly, they finished the second leg with only nine men.

In truth, Arshavin had begun to fade before that loss. “Maybe my game did not look so bad from the outside, but inside I felt that I was not a part of the team,” Arshavin said after the first leg in Moscow. Even then, he understood what failure to qualify would mean for himself and for his country: “To stay out means to be on the sidelines of football for a time”.

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Moment #5: Henry vs. Leeds

This one is by Sam Drew, editor of Chronicles of Almunia.

While there have been many excellent goals and excellent games during Arsenal’s 2011/12 season – which is surprising considering the nature of a lot of the team’s performances – one moment stands out among everything else that happened. And no, I’m not referring to any of Marton Fulop’s mix-ups. Although they were great. Cheers, Marton.

Thierry Henry re-signed for Arsenal amid a blur of publicity. He was already immortalized in bronze outside the Emirates Stadium, and there was talk of him ruining the legacy he created in North London. It seemed that half of football was in favour of the move, while the other half was against it.

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