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Monday, October 25, 2010

Arsenal step up title challenge

A great weekend for Arsene Wenger's boys saw the Gunners dismantle Manchester City at Eastlands, to take them up into second place in the league.

The day had started very well for the Arsenal, with City's Dedryck Boyata dismissed after just five minutes for a mistimed challenge on Marouane Chamakh. From that point on the game was an exercise in damage limitation for Mancini's side. It didn't take long for Arsenal to crack the City defence open, a clever one-two with Andrey Arshavin allowed Samir Nasri to smash the ball home, the lead should have been doubled just before half time were it not for Hart's goalkeeping heroics in saving Fabregas's penalty.

In truth, Arsenal had not quite hit their stride in the first half and not dominated as they should have. This was all to change after the interval, where the Gunners controlled the game in a master class in playing ten men. Song nicked a second on 66 minutes, and Bendtner sealed the three points on 88 minutes with a well taken finish. The victory was as much due to Wenger's tactics than anything else, and Mancini's £100 million squad barely had a look in. This wasn't because they played poorly, by any stretch of the imagination, but because when Arsenal turn on the class, on those days when it all just comes together for them, they are unstoppable. The football tips suggest they should be in with an excellent shout of winning the title this season.

The win takes Arsenal to second in the Premier League, equal on 17 points with both Manchester clubs, and five behind pace setters Chelsea, and will look to use Sunday's victory as a springboard for more points against Newcastle and in the derby against West Ham.

On the down side it seems that Thomas Vermaelen will be out for longer than expected, maybe even months, and with a long injury list including Van Persie, Ramsey, Koscielny, Almunia and Frimpong, Arsene will be praying he doesn't take on any more casualties with the tough run coming up at the back end of November and into December, including ties with Tottenham, Villa and Manchester United.

If Arsenal can manage to maintain the kind of form which so comprehensively swept aside City, they could finally put together a decent title challenge this season.
Meanwhile, the Everton v Arsenal betting suggests the Gunners can pick up another three points when the clubs meet in a few weeks' time.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crisis averted at Gunners

Arsenal have rediscovered some confidence and that is key as they look to battle for the Premier League title this season.

That is the view of Arsene Wenger, who looks to have turned around the mini crisis at the Emirates after successive defeats to West Brom and Chelsea. Victories over Birmingham and then Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday seem to have put their season back on track, and the odds on Premier League winner reflect this.

Arsenal sit in third place in the table, five points behind leaders Chelsea, and face another tough test of their Premier League title credentials when they travel to face big-spending Manchester City at Eastlands on Sunday in what the weekend Premier League betting suggests will be a close run thing.

The Gunners have not beaten City in their last three meetings, and just over 12 months ago they were destroyed 4-2 in Manchester - but at least come Sunday they will have had more rest time as their opponents play in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Wenger claims there is a "good team attitude" throughout his Arsenal side and he feels their season is not back on track.

"We have won our last two games now and that is important because we go into the Manchester City game with a good level of confidence and with some certainties in the way we want to behave," he added.

Arsenal's goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has outlined the importance of Sunday's clash.
The Pole has admitted the City clash is a "massive game" that the Gunners "have to win" if they wish to win the Premier League title this season.

Wenger weighs up keeper options

Lukasz Fabianski will be hoping he has done enough over the previous four games, to have not only convinced his manager that he deserves to be ahead of the injured Manuel Almunia, but also prove to Wenger he can stop looking for a new keeper altogether. Fabianski has done his case no harm with a impressive performances against Partizan Belgrade, Birmingham and more recently Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Polish stopper is enjoying his time in the first team saying, "I've had a small run of four matches now and I think I'm pretty confident on the pitch now. I think it's always good for a keeper that he plays regularly and hopefully I can continue improving."

Football Betting pundits note how it remains to be seen whether Wenger has been fully convinced by Fabianski’s first team credentials and the Frenchman will probably be still keeping his options open in regards to his number one. Out of favour Manchester City keeper Shay Given has been linked with a January move to the Emirates as has Ajax’s Maarten Steklenburg.

With every other aspect of Arsenal’s team looking strong, Wenger will be desperate to finaly cure his long standing goalkeeping issue once and for all. As it is though Fabianski still has time to continue to attempt to prove his worth to Wenger.

After eight games gone so far this season, The Gunners find themselves in a decent place in the league and the Football odds believe they can mount a title challenge. Wenger’s men will face a stern test this upcoming weekend, when they travel to Eastlands to take on Manchester City. A win will be essential if Arsenal are going to be able to keep pace with the league front-runners.

Plenty left in Wenger's Arsenal

As any football fan, coach, or pundit will tell you, if you want to win the league, you must view it more like a marathon than a sprint and, as a result, it obviously helps to have some extra reserves in your locker. Any team playing well can look like potential champions, but the test truly begins when a side is ravaged with injury, tired, or playing poorly. These sections of a campaign - commonly referred to by optimistic fans and delusional managers as "blips" - often determine the title winner, and when consistency is the key to success, stamina is an essential component.

Luckily for Arsenal, the league's new directive which ensures that a team must pick from a squad of just 25 senior players, including eight home-grown talents, is absolutely ideal. Throughout his tenure as manager at Highbury, Wenger has been investing in youth and, more importantly, talented youth. Now that policy may have paid off. Despite the fact that Arsenal haven't won the league title since 2004, early football betting suggests this wait may well be coming to an end.

The definition of home-grown is "a player trained for three years under the age of 21 by a club in the English or Welsh professional system". This means Wenger's policy of bringing in Europe's brightest young talents at the age of sixteen means that they can come to fruition by the time their nineteenth birthday rolls round. This tactic means Nicklas Bendtner, Gael Clichy, Denilson, Johan Djourou, Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song all qualify as home-grown, despite not having a British passport between them.

Cynics have criticised Arsenal for this approach. After all, the rule was introduced in an attempt to increase the number of Premier League players eligible to play for the England squad – but what loyalty should Wenger have towards the FA or even England supporters? His only priorities should be the Arsenal fans and his own legacy at Highbury - there is no room for sentiment when the price of failure can be so high.

Wenger's approach may not be everyone's cup of tea, but loopholes are there to be jumped through and he's certainly doing well, the football predictions hint the side will also challenge for the Champions League. As long as what he is doing is within the Premier League's rules then he is simply doing his best for his club and their bid to bring the title back to North London - and many believe that this year might just be his year.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ramsey's training puts a smile on Wenger's face

When Aaron Ramsey suffered a horrific double leg fracture after a robust tackle from Ryan Shawcross at the Britannia stadium last season, some fans feared that would be the last Arsenal would see of the talented young man. However, having now returned to training with the Arsenal squad supporters will not need to wait too much longer before seeing their young Welshman take his place back where he belongs in the Arsenal midfield.

With this in mind, Arsenal will once again be close to their full complement of midfield players, something that fans will hope substantially increases the Gunners' chances of winning the Premier League. Despite Ramsey still needing to show that he can overcome the mental scars he will undoubtedly have when he throws himself into his first challenge upon his return, Gunners fans will be hopeful that the resilient youngster can overcome the odds and make a successful comeback from a career-threatening injury, even if former striker Eduardo fail to find anything near top form again after his horror injury. People who bet on Premier League games should bear this in mind.

If Ramsey can complete his recovery, Wenger will have a player who is capable of joining youngster Jack Wilshere as a leading light for the future of Arsenal and anyone who has placed a Premier League bet on the side will be hoping this happens. With these two potentially working in partnership for the next decade or so, Arsenal fans will no doubt be joining the manager in displaying a broad smile as they continue to watch their young squad develop, especially if Ramsey and Wilshere can work in tandem to bring trophies to the Emirates stadium.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Arsenal start set to secure knockout football

Although fans of the Gunners have watched their side endure a fairly disappointing start to the new Premier League season, they have been able to sit back and enjoy the football that their side has been playing in the Champions League so far this campaign.

Despite Arsenal being handed what Champions league betting pundits describe as a deceptively tricky group (with journeys necessitated far and wide across Europe), the Gunners have so far been able to show the kind of class that has seen them establish themselves as one of the top teams in the competition in recent years.

However, despite being widely regarded as one of the best technical teams in the competition, few experts believe that the Gunners are likely to be lifting the trophy come next May. One of the key reasons for this lack of faith was clear for all to see in Arsenal's recent clash with London rivals Chelsea in their latest Premier League fixture. With the Gunners once again failing to earn a victory against a top Premier League rival, they are likely to once more come unstuck should they happen to encounter one of their domestic rivals in European competition, after failing to overcome Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool in the knockout stages in recent years.

Whilst manager Arsene Wenger can correctly claim that his young squad is improving, it is clear that a growing impatience amongst the Arsenal faithful is likely to mean that this season will be the last one during which Wenger can continue to protect his side against criticism from their own fans who are so impatient to see the first piece of major silverware arrive at the Emirates.

Should, however, Wenger be able to overcome the Champions League odds and bring the trophy to Arsenal for the first time, then he will have finally confirmed himself as the Gunners' greatest ever manager.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gunners' injury crisis starting to improve

Arsenal's bid to win the Premier League title is set to be boosted in the coming weeks by the return to fitness of a number of key players.

In their last game, a defeat to Premier League rivals Chelsea, manager Arsene Wenger had to do without Cesc Fabregas, Manuel Almunia, Keiran Gibbs, Thomas Vermaelen, Nicklas Bendtner, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie. People who bet on Premier League games should bear this in mind over the coming weeks.

The loss of that many players would hit any side hard, and their struggles have been evident as they current sit seven points adrift of leaders Chelsea and were beaten at home by West Brom before the Stamford Bridge clash.

After the international break, Arsenal face Birmingham, Shaktar and Manchester City in the space of eight days as they enter a crucial part of their season.

Luckily for Wenger however, it looks like their injury crisis is set to improve as a number of players are getting close to recovery, including long-term victim Ramsey who has been out since February.

Danish striker Bendtner has not played at all this season, but has declared he is "ready to train" and will be back in the next few weeks, while the best news for Gunners fans will be the return of fit-again Fabregas.

The Spanish captain has not played since he injured his hamstring against Sunderland on September 18th. Fabregas has declared himself fit and is looking to return to the first-team to face Birmingham, a match the Premier League predictions suggest the Gunner should win.

Finally, England winger Walcott, who has been out since the start of September, is making good progress recovering from a badly sprained ankle. He is not looking to rush back for the Birmingham game, but instead has his eyes set on the clash with Premier League title wannabes Manchester City on October 24th.