Archive for the ‘Premier League’ Category

Optimism: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. Now, please do not mistake this for ‘delusions of grandeur’, which, when ‘defined’ into Google, reads ‘Liverpool Football Club’.

Being an optimistic fan is often counter attacked by a sarcastic comment (or simply “#deluded”) and since the signings of Lukas Podolski, Olivier ‘everyone’s man-crush’ Giroud and Santi CaTHorla (I doubt Paul Merson will ever pronounce our diminutive playmaker’s name right), I, Daniel Tregoning Blazer have become something of an optimist.

It has been a while since I can honestly say I have been an optimistic Arsenal fan, rather than deluded, bordering on neurotic, one. Every fan has suffered from this grandeur and every season since Patrick Vieira smashed home that penalty against Manchester United to win the FA Cup in 2005 I have, without hesitation, stood by my opinion/delusion that this year will be Arsenal’s…so what’s changed?

Well, this isn’t ‘Arsenal’s year’. BUT next season IS.

Robin van Persie HAS been replaced (sorry to burst the Sun’s ‘Arsenal will cease to exist’ bubble). No, I know we haven’t signed Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente or Napoli’s Edinson Cavani or re-re-signed Jeremie Aliadiere (we haven’t have we?!) but Arsene has shared the workload. Lukas Podolski, Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott are capable of 12-15 goals each; Santi Cazorla, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and the rest of the midfield will easily score 6-10 goals each; according to my Mathematics that makes…a hell of a lot more than 30. So front-line, goals- SORTED.

The midfield (with Nuri Sahin finally signing) is complete. Many sections of the Emirates would argue we need that Claude Makelele defensive midfielder and I definitely wouldn’t say no to a Yann M’Vila or Etienne Capoue signing but it is a luxury a self sustaining business model like AFC doesn’t need right now; I would even argue Mikel ‘future Brylcreem ambassador’ Arteta is our DM? The wealth of options in the midfield is something that even Manchester ‘lets buy every flavour of the month’ City don’t have.

Now, to two words that usually send shudders down even the most positive of Gunners, ‘Arsenal’s defence’. This is an area that definitely is a weakness but not in the proportions that pundits would care for you to believe.

Laurent Koscielny was the 2nd best Premier League defender last season (behind Vincent Kompany) although I’m still waiting for the upper echelons of the media to realise this?!

Now for my optimism to become reality in the Premier League season of 2013/14, Le Profeseur needs to shift Thomas Vermaelen out to left back (*goes into hibernation through fear of backlash at this suggestion*) and here is why; ignoring the fact that the newest resident of Cell Block H, Andre Santos can’t defend and Kieran Gibbs is probably overrated and from the same gene pool as Amaury Bischoff, TV5’s understanding of when to ‘stay’ and when to ‘go’ is, frankly, criminal; for every heroic winner against Newcastle United, there are three or four occasions when our new captain misjudges situations and gets caught out of position but Koscielny ‘mops up’.

So, with Verm out on the left and obviously Bacary Sagna at right back, who to partner Koscielny at the heart of the defence? Phillipe Mexes? Sakho? Why not Per Mertesacker? Okay, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (or pace) but he is an option I love AFC being able to have. So for me, CB is an issue and the final piece of the jigsaw that will see us back in amongst the trophies.

Arsene Wenger nearly didn’t make it, had to drag several thousand of us ‘kicking and screaming’ to the new era of Arsenal Football Club and admittedly come the end of the current campaign it will have taken seven seasons to get ‘there’ but, boy will it be worth it. You can quote me on that!

Think I’m deluded? Or just want to tell me what your perfect Sunday would be? Then find me on Twitter @DanielTBlazer


We all remember the goal that announced a 16 year old, Wayne Rooney to the wonderful world of football and as that ball nestled in the goal of David Seaman fans, pundits and players alike all began dreaming of what this English sensation could go on to achieve but a decade on from that afternoon on Goodison is Rooney really reaching the potential his talents deserve?

Sir Alex Ferguson delivered a warning to his striker after the Scouser missed another penalty against Bolton Wanderers at the weekend, with the Scotsman declaring “Wayne had his moments but he can do better really,” And you really would find it hard to disagree with the Red Devils manager.

At the age of 26 the world of football really has to stop viewing ‘Wazza’ as the ‘boy wonder’ that exploded into our lives ten years ago and to a certain extent, Rooney himself has to stop seeing himself as this teenage starlet and start playing with an air of maturity because it is hindering the volatile England international, especially when you consider that at the age of 25 Maradona had single handedly won the World Cup with Argentina and Bobby Moore achieved the same feat.

Rooney has experienced it all in football and now Fergie is looking for the former Everton striker to consistently step up and be the leader that his Red Devils side needs, much like the way Ronaldo and Messi do in La Liga, the former Aberdeen boss is desperate for his ‘superstar’ to have the same application and impetus that the two previous Ballon D’or winners consistently have in every 90 minutes.

In the run up to the European Championships Wayne Rooney has to ask himself one question and that is ‘Does he want to be the best player England have or does he want to be deemed one of the world’s greatest players?’ He definitely has the talent to be the latter.

If you want to let Rooney know about me then find me on Twitter @DanielTBlazer

Carlos Tevez, Brazilian centre back Alex and David Beckham are just some of the players that QPR have been linked with since Mark Hughes took over Neil Warnock’s soap opera. All these players are at a different level to current crop of Rangers ‘stars’ so it definitely gives us an insight into what the desired next step for the Premier League new boys is and what their owners hope to achieve under Sparky’s tenure.

There is no denying these are exciting times for QPR but whether it be the fact I’m 21 going on 50 or the fact I’ve picked up paper after paper over the years and continually read about the most preposterous of rumours, that I can’t help but have a air of cynicism about the gossip QPR is creating.

The QPR hierarchy has come out this week via every form of social media they possibly could to announce that there is money to be spent at Loftus Road (£20 million is believed to be figure). Mark Hughes must be squirming in the dugout every time he says another comment from the board because how can he expect to sign to anyone for market value when Fernandes et al are telling the selling clubs that the former Fulham manager has a wod of fifties in his back pocket, teams will see QPR coming and try and sting them for every penny. How can a manager expect to do good and sensible business for his club under those circumstances?

You never see the likes of David Gill or Stan Kroenke yelling from the top of their teams respective home grounds about how much money Fergie and Wenger have to spend (In Arsenal’s case I don’t think they even remember whose face is on the money its been that long since it was seen being used). They conduct their business quietly and in an orderly fashion (an orderly fashion isn’t 140 characters long, Mr Fernandes).

This all rings too similar to the Notts County saga a couple of years back, you know the one when Sven Goran Eriksson was to lead the revolution, Sol Campbell left after one game and Christian Vieri was the Swede’s number one transfer target. I understand the gulf in the divisions and finances needs to be taken into consideration but you have to remember this is the same Fernandes that was seen as nothing short of a joke by West Ham’s current owners David Gold and David Sullivan when the owner of Air Asia tried to by the club for “two bob”.

Mark Hughes style of management is calm,calculated and sensible something that QPR need to prevent the big whigs upstairs turning The Hoops into a Twitter drama but in a era of football that has well and truly seen football transformed from a sport to a business, I reckon the former Blackburn Rovers manager will also be the former Queens Park Rangers manager in twelve months time.

Be careful, Sparky and good luck.

Have your say on my article or just let me know Lionel Messi has been seen at Loftus Road on Twitter @DanielTBlazer

You know those pages on Facebook that clog up your news feeds? Annoying aren’t they. Usually pointless advertising and spamming of my own personal social media space (an oxymoron if ever there was one), however in amongst the adverts making me feel inadequate about my manhood (why these are on a Fifa banter page, god only knows) but one fan asked a question that got me thinking, ‘Who is the best left back in the Premier League?’

Firstly let me say, Ashley Cole is not going to be considered because my twenty year plan to make Cheryl Cole/Tweedy my wife will be ruined if she reads this article about what a wonderful left back he is/was.

Jose Enrique appears to be one of the bargains of the season so far at £6 million, with the Spaniard being key in Liverpool only conceding 18 Premier League goals this season, which is only bettered by Manchester City (16). The former Newcastle United player has defended with maturity and attacked with force, encompassing everything the modern day full back is about, however Enrique is yet to make his international debut which is surprising given his form and Spain’s supposed shortage at left back.

Leighton Baines, arguably the most consistent left back over the last two years or so which has started to earn the defender recognition at international level. The former Wigan Athletic man has an attribute that hasn’t been seen in a left back since Roberto Carlos and that is his ability from dead ball situations, which has proved invaluable to Everton with the likes of Louis Saha making Emile Heskey look prolific.

Neil Taylor has been one of several positives from the Premier League new boys Swansea this year, the Welsh outfit have been a great addition to the world’s best league. The Wales international has it all, the pace, the calmness when under pressure and the attacking tendencies; admittedly at 22 the former Wrexham defender isn’t the complete package but given a season or two at the top level and rumours such as the ones linking him with Arsenal will, no doubt be a common occurrence.

Admittedly I started this article thinking there were going to be five or six decent left backs but clearly I’m mistaken.

Overall, you can’t overlook consistency and Baines has been a solid performer for two seasons now. Although the Englishman may not have the Spanish flair or the ability to reach the levels Neil Taylor can, at the moment you can’t look past the Everton man.

Let me know who you think is the best or just give me advice on how to make Cheryl Cole mine on Twitter @DanielTBlazer

Something is missing at United –What Manchester United side under Sir Alex would have ever nearly thrown away a 3-0 nil lead? Yeah, you can argue City are world class but this is the same manager that orchestrated the famous comeback in the Champions League against Bayern Munich.

The Old Trafford reality is catching up with Jones –Phil Jones is currently in a torrid run of personal form. With the own goal against Newcastle as well as a couple of bad games before, the Englishman can now add this thriller to one of his worst games. The centre half had been receiving plaudits left right and centre since his big money to United, and quite rightly so, however the defenders form as of late has been shaky, unreliable and costly. Whether it be the adrenaline coming to an end after his move or we are just seeing the real Phil Jones, either way these performances most stop being a regular thing if he is to reach his potential.

Lack of leaders at City – 1-0 down and a man down after twelve minutes against your fiercest rivals in arguably the world of football’s most prestigious cup competition should rile up any footballer. However without the commanding presence of Yaya Toure and even the often criticised Gareth Barry; City, for all their world class skill didn’t have that leader, that captain to steady the ship…it could be a long month for City without Yaya.

Defence really is the best form of attack – At half time Roberto Mancini took off Adam Johnson and David Silva for Stefan Savic and Pablo Zabaleta to avoid ending up on the wrong side of 6-1 but in the end they probably were unlucky not to earn at least a replay, something that at half time, seemed more unlikely than a Martin O’Neill wearing a suit.

Chris Foy is a United fan – He has to be. He helped Stoke beat title rival Tottenham Hotspur and now he has sent off Vincent Kompany for a tackle that would have got a “take a bow son” off Andy Gray against the Red Devils greatest rivals. Fergie really has worked his magic in the transfer market by securing the signings of Howard Webb and Foy in the middle of the park.

Rooney will 110% be leaving United – He kissed the badge. He’s off. Fact.

Like most 90s kids there are several reunions I’d love to see S Club 7, Ash Ketchum and Pikachu and Vanilla flavouring with Coca Cola (remember that?) but unlike most Arsenal fans one reunion I’m not in favour of, is the return of our all time goalscorer and legend, Thierry Henry.

Arsene Wenger for all his success and attributes, has to be the most frustrating manager, no correction, the most frustrating man on the planet. The Frenchman continually refuses to buy, much to the annoyance of everyone associated with the Gunners and instead scans the globe for a cheap short term alternative which usually results in such signings as Sebastian Squilacci. Le Professeur should be looking not to cover Gervinho and Chamakh while at the African Cup of Nation but to be replacing the Moroccan and offering the Ivorian some strong competition for his place.

The era of Henry & Co. was a great time to be a Gooner and probably something that will never be eclipsed by Arsenal or any other team. The current Arsenal team is different in every way from the time of Pires, Bergkamp and Henry and for that reason it is time for the likes of Song, Vermalean and RVP to make this Arsenal team their own and successful in their own way. Bringing back Henry would undermine the current Arsenal squad, especially with the incessant media coverage that will continually highlight what Henry achieved in his time in North London compared to the success or rather, lack of, since he has left.

For once I’d love Arsenal to be linked with the players that the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona are chasing, I know we couldn’t compete financially but wouldn’t it be nice for Neymar to spotted at the Emirates having talks with the Gunners hierachy? Rather than talking loan deals for a player that left Arsenal for bigger and better things (a lot of people forget this, I mean if you loved us so much Thierry, why leave?).

You also have to look at Henry as a player, at 34 years of age will he still be able to run from box to box leaving an entire Spurs team for dead? Because that’s what we would all expect from the former Juventus winger, we all vividly remember the Henry that lobbed Barthez with his back to goal, could he still give us that va-va voom? It is true you don’t lose your natural talent but the former Barcelona player will have definitely lost a yard or two and despite having scored 15 goals in 29 games for the New York Red Bulls, which is an impressive record that Arsenal could do with ; you have to remember that Juan Pablo Angel was deemed prolific out in the States.

Think I’m being too harsh on our former skipper? Let me know on Twitter @DanielTBlazer

Everyone regained their breath? What a Super Sunday that was, with arguably the best game of the day being saved till last. Manchester City narrowly edged out a valiant Arsenal attempt to take at least a point away from the Etihad Stadium, but what did we learn from that enthralling ninety minutes?

Arsenal are involved in the best games of the season – They’ve lost 8-2, won 5-3 at Stamford Bridge and lost 2-1 in a very entertaining North London derby. The Gunners inability to defend but ability to attack have allowed neutrals to enjoy some of the best Premier League games ever and this campaign isn’t even half a season old.

Wenger never ceases to amaze – In the Frenchman’s post match interview he concluded that “We are now out of the title race” Err sorry Arsene, but were you ever in it?

RVP’s record affected his game – No one even knew such a record existed but a few weeks ago the media went crazy as the Dutchman closed in on Alan Shearer’s 36 Premier League goals in a calender year. Yesterday for the first time, I saw Van Persie seem fixated on this possible achievement and several occasions take the selfish option instead of sliding in one of his team mates much to the frustration of them and no doubt, the fans.

Micah Richards is a shocking defender – *and jump * Sorry, that was me getting off the ‘Micah Richards for England’ bandwagon. The Manchester City right back was terrible yesterday, I mean we’ve always known he was clumsy (probably should have been a penalty against Ramsey) but the Englishman took his inability to defend to all new levels. If Arsenal had utilised the left wing at all they would have found copious amounts of space for Gervinho, Walcott and Arshavin, on so many occasions Richards was tucked inside Vincent Kompany or Kolo Toure highlighting his lack of positioning and tactical understanding. This performance comes after a terrific attacking and defending performance from Glen Johnson earlier in the afternoon.

The Arsenal Utopia is over – For many years Arsene Wenger’s side have been deemed the second greatest passing team on the planet behind Barcelona, however at the Etihad yesterday that myth died. The Gunners passing was far from slick and in the opening twenty minutes it was nothing short of suicidal far from the crisp passing days of Pires, Bergkamp and even more recent such as Hleb and Fabregas, if anything City played the ‘Arsenal way’.

Mancini can’t help but revert to type – This season the Man City manager seemed to cave in and gave the media and the fans what they wanted, free flowing attacking football with all of their striking superstars on the pitch at once. However yesterday the ice cool Mancini went back to his old stereotypical Italian ways; with the score at 1-0 and the game far from won the Italian took off Mario Balotelli and replaced him the versatile but defensive James Milner. The substitution surprised many but worked as Mancini’s side grounded at an Italian scoreline of 1-0.

Gary Neville is a terrible pundit – Oh wait we already knew that.