2006-11-26

Anelka's goals beat Arsenal

The Gunners faced this game with high expectations, but Nicolas Anelka surprised everybody with two goals against his former side. In the end, Bolton Wanderers beat Arsenal 3-1 on Saturday to move up to third in the English Premier Laegue.

The French striker's goals and the opening goal from Abdoulaye Faye was too much for Arsenal, for which Gilberto Silva's strike in the end proved to be a mere consolation.

We must keep in mind that Arsenal was without the injured Thierry Henry. Faye put the home side ahead on nine minutes and Anelka opened his account on the stroke of half-time, smashing the ball into the net from around 25 yards.

Brazilian midfielder Gilberto gave Arsene Wenger's side hope within seconds of Anelka's goal as he pulled one back with a header. But though the Londoners hit the woodwork three times in the second half, it was the home side who scored again as Anelka outpaced the defence to net the third 14 minutes from time.

2006-11-17

Arsenal will face Newcastle without two players

Wenger team will be without vital midfielders Gilberto and Freddie Ljungberg for tomorrow’s Barclays Premiership clash with Newcastle United.

As we said in a previous article, the 30-year-old Gilberto returned to Brazil to deal with a family matter, and is not expected back until Sunday.

“I had him on the phone last night, and he is there for sickness reasons,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted.

“In fact, the situation looks quite good now, and hopefully he will be in on Monday morning, so we will see him for the Champions League clash.”

Ljungberg will also be rested again tomorrow after several weeks out with a calf injury.

“I nearly wanted to pick him, but it is down to the fact that for five weeks he has not played one minute at a competitive level,” Wenger expressed.

Brazilian striker Julio Baptista, however, is available, along with goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who has recovered from the heavy cold which saw him miss the win over Liverpool and Germany’s midweek Euro 2008 qualifier in Cyprus.

What's more, midfielder Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) is still a week or so away from fitness, while Abou Diaby (ankle) and Lauren (knee) are long-term absentees.

This will be the team to face Newcastle: Lehmann, Hoyte, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Fabregas, Hleb, Henry, van Persie, Baptista, Almunia, Djourou, Senderos, Eboue, Song, Flamini, Walcott, Aliadiere, Adebayor.

Gilberto to miss game against Newcastle

Arsenal’s Brazilian midfielder Gilberto is likely to be missing from their home derby against relegation – strugglers Newcastle United on Saturday in the Premiership.

In fact, Gilberto, the thirty year old Brazilian, has had to return home to attend to a family matter that appeared to have been a matter of some urgency.

ACcording to close sources, it is not clear what the problem back in Brazil appears to be, but it is unlikely that he will have returned in time for the game at The Emirates Stadium.

We must consider that Gilberto also pulled out of Brazil’s international friendly against Switzerland during the week. The game was won 2 – 1 by Brazil.

2006-11-03

Arsenal got a 0-0 draw with CSKA

Arsenal got an amazing 0-0 draw with CSKA Moscow. And it is amazing because they had 24 attempts on goal at the Emirates Stadium, but failed to find a way past Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev, and are now under threat of not qualifying for the next round of the Champions League.

Arsenal team is still a point behind the unbeaten Russians, and Porto have now drawn level with Arsenal on seven points after their 3-1 triumph in Hamburg on the same night.

However, Wenger was adamant that his side had played superbly, only to lack the killer touch that would have brought the all-important win.

"It was the best Champions League match we've played since I've been here," said Wenger afterwards.

"Of course it is frustrating with the result. The normal score in this game is 7-0. Or maybe 7-1 because they had a chance as well. But I feel that there's a lot of positives for my team.

"In fact, I don't think tonight we are guilty of wanting to score the perfect goal. We created clear-cut chances and we didn't take them - it happens in the game.

It's important to notice that Cesc Fabregas and Tomas Rosicky both missed open goals in the first half of Wednesday night's game, while Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie also missed several gilt edged chances apiece as Arsenal could just not find the vital breakthrough.

And they almost fell for the sucker punch when Vagner Love broke clear for CSKA in the second half, only for goalkeeper Jens Lehmann to deny the Brazilian striker with a fine double save.

Arsenal's next match is another home clash, this time with group whipping boys Hamburg on November 21.

Because of the situation, even a victory will not gaurantee them progress ahead of the final game at Porto on December 6 where, in all likelihood, Wenger's side will need to secure at least a draw to qualify.

"The group is really close," admitted Wenger. "And that decision in Moscow to cancel our good goal (Henry's strike disallowed for handball) looks costly at the moment.

"However, I think we are strong enough to deal with that. The team is at a crucial moment, because this team can really explode and be sensational if we deal well with what we are facing, because there is so much potential in the squad."