Arsenal

One step closer

Arsenal are one step closer to claiming a major trophy for the club in nine years, Wenger’s men last title was the F.A Cup in 2005.

The gunners got past the defending champions Wigan Athletic 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out Saturday afternoon at Wembley stadium. Wigan went ahead 1-0 from the penalty spot late in the second half. Jordi Gomez tucked away a spot kick in the 63rd minute after Per Mertesacker committed a foul in the box. Per Mertesacker got the equalizers for his side in the 82nd after mounting endless pressure on Wigan’s back line and goalkeeper, Mertesacker re-directed a shot from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Both teams didn’t create much in the extra-time periods.

Both Goalkeepers in my opinion were the men of the match. Wigan’s goalkeeper Scott Carson, kept his team in the game with some brilliant saves. Arsenal’s keeper came through for his side in the shoot out, Lukas Fabianski saved the first two penalties setting the stage for arsenal to return to the site where they won their last trophy in 2005.

Arsenal will now face Hull City who are making their first appearance in the FA cup final in the teams history. One of two things can happen when both teams meet next month Arsenal can end their trophy drought or Hull can claim their first FA cup title, either way the cup final should be entertaining.

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Four – Closure

The gunners started this season on such a great high, but as the season has progressed we’ve seen the same arsenal most have become accustomed to for the past eight seasons.

Wenger’s men have seen their hold at the top of the league slip away over the last two months. Currently Liverpool (74 pts.)leads the league followed by Chelsea (72 pts.) and then Manchester City (70 pts.) who have two games in hand over the two teams above them. Arsenal have yet again found themselves in a battle not for the top spot in the league but fighting to maintain a top four spot in order to qualify for next season’s champions league.

Earlier today arsenal fell to the very team they could not afford to lose points against. Everton blanked arsenal 3-0 today at Goodison Park, narrowing the gunners lead over them to just one point. With the toffees having a game in hand the remaining fixtures will determine who secures the fourth champions league position.

Everton Have Manchester United, Manchester City and Southampton among their remaining fixtures, while Arsenal has the easier schedule. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the prem, every game is unpredictable. Considering what was supposed to be one of Arsenal’s best seasons and one of Wenger’s greatest achievements, Arsenal has again falling into the same scenario we’ve seen. Fans again are potentially looking at a trophy-less season (providing the team doesn’t beat Wigan Athletic in the FA cup final) and another fourth place finish.

Back to winning ways

Giroud and Cazorla Giroud and Cazorla

The Gunners got back to their winning ways this weekend by defeating Sunderland 4-1 in the Barclay’s Premier League.

The past couple of games have been rough for the North London side, this is exactly what they needed after coming off a mid-week defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the champions league.

Olivier Giroud notched a brace for the home side after being left out of the sides previous two matches. A third goal was added by the Czech play-maker Tomas Rosicky, after the intricate and beautiful passes the gunners are know for, before a fourth was added by French defender Laurent Koscielny.

Arsenal needed the three points, as Chelsea and Manchester city both managed to squeeze 1-0 victories against their opponents this weekend. The road will get tough for the gunners as they will face Bayern Munich again, Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham and Everton. With just a hand full of fixtures left in the season the gunners need to find the form that saw them top of the table for more than half the season.

Title Talk

It’s been eight long years and counting since Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal side have been able to lift a trophy. The North London club have remained competitive throughout their trophy drought, finishing in the top four securing them a place in European soccer’s most prestigious tournament.

They’ve made it to two cup finals once in the champions league (2006) and in the league cup (2011) both resulting in losses for the club. Usually by now the gunners as they are so affectionately called by their fans would be out of the title picture. In the past eight season the gunners have always gotten off to a strong start but by half the ( December)  season they would have fallen behind the usual suspects Chelsea, Manchester united and recently Manchester city. This season can see arsenal shake the proverbial monkey off their back as they are still in every cup competition available to them except the Capital One Cup. Much has been  made of Wenger selling some world-class players to other clubs and rivals, most recent being Robin VanPersie to United. In addition his strict spending policy on players has also been scrutinized, in a shock move this past summer the manager paid 40 million  (a club transfer fee record)  for the services of Mesut Ozil a German international who no doubt galvanized his team.

They currently hold the top spot in the table, with the tough portion of their schedule coming up, which will see them play Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool (2) and Bayern Munich (2). This is where Arsenal will need its new-found grit and determination to solidify their claim to the premier league’s top spot.

With key players returning from injury at the right time. This could help Arsenal in their bid to secure the league title for the first time since their undefeated season in 2004.