2005-12-29

Arsenal 4 - Portsmouth 0

Arsenal FC made four first-half goals to crush a weak Portsmouth squad 4-0 and notch up their only their vistory of December on Wednesday.

Frenchman Thierry Henry, who had not scored since the end of November, struck two just before the interval, including one with a penalty shot.

Dennis Bergkamp added another goal - his first in the Premiership this season - and Jose Antonio Reyes scored as well for the Gunners.

Portsmouth, however, never looked like scoring or ending a Highbury winless streak that now stretches to 50 years.

The only good thing was that Harry Redknapp's side started brightly and showed an impressive workrate for much of the first half.

But they failed to get a shot on target, unlike Arsenal who seemingly scored every time they ventured into Portsmouth's area.

By half-time they already had a 4-0, Bergkamp, who had been rested for the Boxing Day win over Charlton, opening the scoring in the seventh minute.

Mathieu Flamini broke through the centre and laid it off on the left flank to Reyes, who cut the ball across the Bergkamp to dab home.

Six minutes later, Reyes managed a goal of his own, skying it into the top right-hand corner of the goal after Henry had showed excellent control and skill in the box.

Henry, who had been in the midst of a five-match drought, rounded off the half in style with two further goals.

The Frenchman was just as nonchalant in the 42nd minute when he chipped in a penalty after Andy Griffin had pushed Robert Pires over in the box.

Sadly for the home crowd, half-time seemingly took the spark out of the Gunners' fireworks, with Pompey actually creating the better chances early in the second half.

Arsenal FC tried to recreate their earlier attacking chances but just Bergkamp managed to force a save out of Ashdown.

And the Dutchman and his team-mates happily saw out the remainder of the game amid a raft of substitutions from manager Arsene Wenger.

2005-12-27

Arsenal beats Charlton 1-0

Spanish player Jose Reyes scored the winner goal to help Arsenal snap a three-game losing streak in the English Premiership with a 1-0 win over an improved Charlton side on Monday.

Reyes slotted in from point-blank range at the time Thierry Henry's angled shot fell into his path off keeper Thomas Myhre.

The goalkeeper had earlier saved a Freddie Ljungberg strike and a header from Henry, while Charlton's Darren Bent was denied after a last-ditch Sol Campbell tackle.

Charlton had to handle then Danny Murphy's 72nd-minute dismissal. Their Coach Alan Curbishley had taken out his anger over his side's recent dip in form by making six changes - and the move seemed to have paid dividends early on.

The home club picked up the pace after a careful start to the game and midfield playmaker Murphy showed why he had survived the Addicks axe.

Central defender Sol Campbell was a commanding for Arsenal

In a five one-touch passes released Ljungberg only for the hesitant Swede to see his shot blocked by keeper Myhre when he had acres of space and plenty of time to pick his spot.

Arsenal were also denied when Myhre managed to get a hand to a glanced, first-time Henry header as the Frenchman raced on to Lauren's long ball.

Charlton's work ethic had earned them enough good fortune to stay on level terms - and they almost earned the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Darren Bent raced clear on to a Shaun Bartlett ball and was set to pull the trigger before a lunging, last-ditch tackle from Campbell denied him a shot.

Arsenal burst out of the blocks after the interval and their pressure was rewarded when Henry's angled shot was saved by Myhre only for the ball to fall into the path of Reyes, who slotted home from close range.

Charlton had little response to an improved Arsenal and their task was made even harder when Murphy was harshly sent off for two bookable offences after throwing the ball to the ground.

Reyes almost make another to the visitors' lead but the one goal was enough as Arsenal secured only a second away win in the Premiership this season.

2005-12-25

Arsenal vs Charlton Preview

Arsenal FC will face Charlton tomorrow and there is the possible return of three first-choice strikers.

Captain Thierry Henry and Dutch striker Robin van Persie face fitness tests tomorrow. The result will determinate their presence on the match

Arsenal have just scored two goals in their last five matches and worryingly not winning any of those games in normal time.

The possible participation of Henry, van Persie and also José Antonio Reyes will boost Arsenal's chances of defeating a Charlton team who are desperately in need of points as they plummet down the Premiership table.

2005-12-22

Arsenal beats Doncaster and reach League Cup Semifinals

Arsenal FC reached the English League Cup semi-finals in a match that ended in a penalty shootout, since they drew 2-2 with third division Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday.

Doncaster squad seemed to continue their giant-killing run that eliminated Premier League Manchester City and Aston Villa, when they led 2-1 with 120 minutes on the clock.

However, Brazilian Gilberto Silva scored in extra-time injury time and Arsenal, fielding a largely second-string team, then comfortably won the shootout 3-1.

The win earned them a semi-final meeting with Wigan Athletic, who got their first major last four appearance by defeating Bolton Wanderers 2-0 on Tuesday.

In other quarter-final match Paul Dickov's 90th-minute goal earned Blackburn Rovers a 1-0 win at 2004 League Cup winners Middlesbrough.

In the semifinals they will play Manchester United, who won 3-1 at Birmingham City on Tuesday.

2005-12-20

2006 Arsenal Squad

1 Jens Lehmann (G)
3 Ashley Cole (D)
7 Robert Pires (M)
8 Fredrik Ljungberg (M)
9 Jose Antonio Reyes (S)
10 Dennis Bergkamp (S)
11 Robin van Persie (S)
12 Lauren (D)
13 Alexander Hleb (M)
14 Thierry Henry (S)
15 Francesc Fabregas (M)
16 Mathieu Flamini (M)
17 Alexandre Song (M)
18 Pascal Cygan (D)
19 Gilberto (M)
20 Philippe Senderos (D)
21 Mart Poom (G)
22 Gael Clichy (D)
23 Sol Campbell (D)
24 Manuel Almunia (G)
25 David Bentley (S)
26 Quincy Owusu Abeyie (S)
27 Emmanuel Eboue (D)
28 Kolo Toure (D)
29 Sebastian Larsson (M)
31 Justin Hoyte (D)
33 Nicklas Bendtner (F)
35 Patrick Cregg (M)
36 Johan Djourou (D)
38 Kerrea Gilbert (D)
41 Arturo Lupoli (F)
44 Fabrice Muamba (M)
45 Anthony Stokes (F)

2005-12-18

Arsenal FC History

In the beginning, Arsenal FC was founded as Dial Square in 1886 by workers at the Royal Arsenal FC in Woolwich. The club was then renamed to Royal Arsenal FC shortly afterwards. They renamed themselves again to Woolwich Arsenal FC after turning professional in 1891. The club was then known by fans as the Woolwich Reds, although they played their games in nearby Plumstead. Woolwich Arsenal entered the Football League in 1893, becoming the first southern squad to do it.

The Gunners started out in the Second Division, and won promotion to the First Division in 1904. But the club's geographic isolation, and the resulting low attendances, led to the club becoming mired in financial problems. In 1913, soon after relegation back to the Second Division, they moved across the Thames to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, north London. They dropped "Woolwich" from their name the After year. Arsenal FC only finished in fifth place in 1919, but nevertheless were elected to rejoin the First Division at the expense of local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, by reportedly dubious means.

In 1925, Arsenal appointed the highly successful Herbert Chapman as manager. Chapman had won the league with Huddersfield Town in 1924 and 1925, and he brought Arsenal FC their first period of major success. His new and effective tactics and training, along with star players such as Alex James and Cliff Bastin, laid the foundations of the club's domination of English football in the 1930s. Between 1930 and 1938, Arsenal FC won the First Division five times and the FA Cup twice, although Chapman did not live to look at all of these achievements, as he died of pneumonia in 1934. In addition, Chapman was reportedly behind the 1932 renaming of the local London Underground station from "Gillespie Road" to "Arsenal FC", making it the only Tube station to be named after a football club.

After the suspension of English professional football during World War II, Arsenal FC won the league in 1948 and 1953 and the FA Cup in 1950. However, their fortunes began to wane; unable to attract players of the same calibre as they had in the '30s, the club spent most of the 1950s and 1960s in trophyless mediocrity. Even former England captain Billy Wright could not bring the club any success as manager.

Arsenal FC's second successful era began with the surprise appointment of club physiotherapist Bertie Mee as manager in 1966. After losing two League Cup finals, they won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, their first European trophy, in 1970. This was followed by an even greater triumph: their first League and FA Cup double in 1971. However, the After decade was characterised by a series of near misses. Arsenal FC finished as First Division runners-up in 1973, lost three FA Cup finals (1972, 1978 and 1980) and lost the 1980 Cup Winners' Cup final on penalties. The club's only success during this time was an FA Cup win in 1979, with a last-minute 3–2 victory over Manchester United that is widely regarded as a classic.

The return of former player George Graham as manager in 1986 brought a third period of glory. The team won the League Cup in 1987, Graham's first season in charge. This was followed by a League title win in 1989, won with a last-minute goal in the final game of the season against fellow title challengers Liverpool. Graham's Arsenal FC won another title in 1991, losing only one match, the FA Cup and League Cup in 1993 and a second European trophy, the Cup Winners' Cup, in 1994. However, Graham's reputation was tarnished when it was revealed that he had taken kickbacks from agent Rune Hauge for signing certain players, and he was sacked in 1995. His replacement, Bruce Rioch, lasted for only one season, leaving the club after a dispute over transfer funds.

Arsenal's success in the late 1990s and 2000s owes a great deal to the appointment of coach Arsène Wenger in 1996. Wenger brought new tactics, a new training regime and several foreign players who complemented the existing English talent. Arsenal FC won a second league and cup double in 1998 and a third in 2002. What’s more, the club was victorious in the 2003 and 2005 FA Cups, and won the League in 2004 without losing a single match. Arsenal FC finished in either first or second place in the league in eight of Wenger's first nine seasons, and they are now considered to be one of the "big three" clubs in England along with Manchester United and Chelsea FC. However, they have been unable to replicate their domestic success in the Champions League, having never progressed beyond the quarter-finals.