You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Manuel Almunia’ tag.

almunia-dcManuel Almunia is a world class goalkeeper; but had it not been for an asthma problem the Spaniard could have been plying his trade as a striker!

When Almunia visited Great Ormond Street hospital to promote Arsenal’s charity, the old memories flashed in Almunia’s head:

“It reminds me a lot of my childhood, seeing children with apparatus in their mouth, trying to breathe.

“I’m a goalkeeper because I couldn’t run anywhere. I wanted to be an outfield player, but my father did not allow me to run a lot, so I was between the sticks all the time. All children want to score goals and I wanted to be a striker, but from the time I first played football, when I was six or seven years old, I was a goalkeeper.”

Arsenal paid the price for poor finishing and will now have to face a tough European team to qualify for the Champions League. Not only that but Arsenal’s only remaining goal for the season ended today as well i.e finishing third.

Arsenal_vs_Chelsea

The starting line-up was a big surprise as Fabianski started ahead of Almunia. Adebayor could only make it to the bench after his two non-appearances against Manchester United. Arshavin did not feature at all due to flu.

The game started in high tempo for Arsenal. Quick passing slick movement left Chelsea helpless. Walcott was sizzling and had nearly put Arsenal in the lead inside the first five minutes only for him to shoot high and wide of Petr Cech’s goal.

The Walcott had another attempt on goal but the angle was too tight to beat Cech and then another chance wasted as the youngster shot high. Walcott then turned the provider but his decent cut back was wasted by Abou Diaby. It was coming to Fabregas on his right foot but Diaby took it away from him.

Then a typical Arsenal move nearly sent Fabregas one on one with the keeper but the alert Cech came rushing to end the attack.

Then Diaby made an impressive run down the left flank and picked out the unmarked Walcott just outside the box. But it just wasn’t the Englishman’s day, or Arsenal’s day even. His first time shot went wide of the post.

Then finally Chelsea got their first chance but Malouda’s shot was blocked by Gibbs.

Next chance fell to Song but he too failed to hit the target. It seemed it just wasn’t Arsenal’s day and it was proven in the next minute.

Drogba dived and won a free kick. His delivery into the box was headed into the top corner with Fabianski unmoved.

After that goal Chelsea started dominating and they did not make the mistake that Arsenal did. Missing chances. So with their next chance Anelka fired them into a 2-0 lead with a stunner. Credit to the former Gunner for not celebrating.

Minutes into the second half Fabianski came off his line. Toure didn’t spot him and tried to block the cross and did not make proper contact which sent the ball into the back of the net. For the 2nd time in less than a week we were 3-0 down at the Emirates.

20 minutes later Bendtner headed in Arsenal’s first but had Toure not scored, maybe Arsenal would have had a chance at this stage.

Arsenal did try to get something from the game. The goal brought renewed confidence but the slight chances that remained were dashed by Florent Malouda who scored in the 86th minute, though he seemed offside. That wrapped up an unlucky day for the Gunners ending a 21 match unbeaten League run.

Arsene Wenger said judge me at the end of the season and here it, nearly the end of the season. What is your opinion of Arsene this season?

Almunia wonders will there ever be glory days for this side...

Almunia wonders will there ever be glory days for this side...

The Arsenal players must be frustrated, much more than us fans, but they haven’t let it show. Almunia however could not resist and took out his frustration.

“The young players are internationals and have been playing for Arsenal for a long time. They have played many games. They should have the experience now.

“Everybody is concerned by what happened against United. We need to be criticised.

“We need to do some self-analysis because Arsenal is a big club and we are not here to lose.

“Four years without a trophy is a long time. It’s too much for the fans – they deserve something more from us. Every time a team is in a bad situation you need someone to find a big solution.

“I can’t tell you the solution.

“The boss is the one who understands this club the best. He is one of the best coaches in the country.

“But there are some teams out there who have more power, more strength and a better knowledge and understanding of the big games.

“Maybe it’s because these teams have more players with experience of playing in major finals and winning things. Maybe that’s the solution.”

So firstly he is annoyed why is this team not impoving. We are too. He hears after every season Wenger says next season will be big, this team will be a year older. But it’s just not happening so Almunia’s frustration is justified.

Then Almunia is trying to be the boss, which he isn’t so his “solution” wont be paid any attention to by Arsene.

Looking at Arsenal’s no 1s comments one can feel the atmosphere in the dressing room isn’t the best. Players are losing hope it seems.

Arsenal avoided a thrashing thanks to the heroic Almunia but their dreams of winning a trophy this season seem to be over.

Needs to think hard before the next leg. Why not go for two up front? Dudu is good enough

Needs to think hard before the next leg. Why not go for two up front? Dudu is good enough

A 1-0 defeat doesn’t seem to be a bad result, especially considering it could easily have been a 3 or 4 nil defeat. But the problem is it’s hard to expect such a strong attacking side like Manchester United not to score against a defence with Silvestre in the centre.

And if United get just one goal, then against the likes of Vidic, Ferdinand and van der Sar, it’s also hard to expect Arsenal to score 3 goals.

Ok we haven’t conceded yet at the Emirates for 8 consecutive league games but did Torres play in one of those games? No. Drogba? No. Rooney, Ronaldo? No. So it’s not too special a run. What would be special is to extend it for one more match and score 2 with it!

I have had to listen to a lot of taunts of United and Chelsea fans lately that Arsenal are just good enough for matches against small teams. I have to remind them of our wins at San Siro, Stamford Bridge and against Manchester United only to be replied what about big matches against big teams? Lost to Liverpool in the quarter final last year, Chelsea in a final this year and now to Manchester United in a semi final. So do the nerves get to this too young a side. Possibly.

The way we started the match, especially the first half hour it seemed like Manchester United was playing against West Brom. Attack after attack. The goal was very very poor defending. Who was doing the marking. Who was supposed to be at the far post. It was a disgrace really.

As the game went on Arsenal did get into the game but how many shots on target did they have all match?! I think just one.

What did Fabregas do all match. One good through ball and a weak shot on target and that’s it. But at least he did that. Others didn’t even manage to do that little something. Walcott is so good at taking defenders on but those defenders are of Middlesbough etc. Why was he so silent against Evra. Play like that in the next leg and say goodbye to the trophy chances for yet another season.

The only positives from the game were Sagna, Gibbs and Almunia. Sagna’s defending is awesome but the problem is his crossing. Gibbs is top top quality. I don’t think Ronaldo and Rooney managed to get past him even once! And his crossing, making runs forward are all good. Future England left back! Almunia showed he will be England’s next number 1! His reflexes, strong hands, decision making; all perfect.

Because of them, especially Almunia, we are still somehow in this tie; however bleak the chances may be. It is an uphill task now. But Wenger is confident his team can do it, the players must be confident as well. So lets just hope for the best.

3476111805_5c8a507040

Almunia – 7 – He showed today how much we missed him. Despite being out for some time, he did not let it show. A very solid performance and that save to deny Aliadiere was just world class. It’s great to have him back for the semi final against Manchester United.

Eboue – 7 – Good enough. It was a good decision of Arsene to play Eboue at right back ahead of Sagna as the latter was very poor in the mid-week. His passing was good and he had a wonderful assist as well (No wonder why Wenger called him ‘Pass Master’!). But he was looking too eager to go forward which can leave a gap at the back.

Toure and Silvestre – 7 – Hardly had anything to do but when they did they did not put a foot wrong.

Gibbs – 7.5 – Yet another superb performance. The youngster is impressing everyone with surprisingly good performances. He knows when to go forward, making aggressive runs; links up quite well with Arshavin and hardly lets anyone past him when defending.

Nasri – 6.5 – He can put in decent tackles like he showed today but I prefer an attacking role for him. He did give away the ball a few times today. But still not a bad performance.

Denilson – 6.5 – Short passes all match but it’s good because he doesn’t have enough quality for through balls and long passes that the likes of Fabregas, Arshavin and Nasri do. But he was the holding midfielder and did his job well enough today. Still I feel Song is better.

Arshavin – 8 – Pure class. To come to the Premier League, then put up such world class performances in every single match is just amazing. Hats off to the lad.

Fabregas – 8.5 – He is just too good. His range of passing, vision and he even showed some cool finishing today. Amazing.

Walcott – 6.5 – He is always a constant threat to the opposition but sometimes his decision making lets him down. Passing the ball when he should be taking the defender on or the other way around . Also his first touch is quite poor at times and he needs to improve his crossing. No one is going to head crosses that come at 100 miles an hour. But he has immense talent no doubt about that so he will learn. His ability to take on defenders is a big big asset.

Bendtner – 7 – He worked really hard today. But he is a forward so he should play where the forward is supposed to be and not shift to the wing too often. Still it was one of the better performances from the young Dane.

Substitutes:

Djourou – 7 – He was good enough. Maybe because he hardly had anything to do! I would prefer him over Silvestre anytime, especially on Wednesday against Manchester United.

Diaby – 6.5 – Got a little time but he was quite intent on going forward an troubling the Boro defence. I know most wont agree but I rate him higher than Denilson.

Adebayor – 5 – Looked very rusty after returning from some time out due to injury. Couldn’t threaten the defence or keeper and wasted a good opportunity because of a poor touch.