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Same Old Arsenal….Always Injured?!

Shad Forsythe may not be a name that would have rung a bell to many fans during the summer transfer activity. But for many Arsenal fans, this could prove to be an important signing, not for the players, but in the backroom staff. It is very well documented that Arsenal seem to suffer badly every season with injuries. Arsenal had finally decided to investigate why the team consistently suffered from such huge numbers of injuries, and action was taken via an inquest into their training regime. Forsythe had a great background, working with the German national team for a decade, it would have been hoped that Arsenal fortunes would start to change this season.

All teams suffer from injuries, and its part and parcel of the game to deal with it as it happens. But for Arsenal, the sheer number and length of these injuries raises an eyebrow when looking at the facts.

Last season alone, Arsenal lost Lukas Podolski for  115 days (Hamstring), Aaron Ramsey for 97 days (Thigh Strain), Thomas Vermealen for 89 days (Back), Theo Walcott for 59 days (Abdominal Tear, this was before he was out for the season with a Knee injury in January). The full list of every injury can be found on http://www.arsenalreport.com/injuryroom/. Injuries caused from bad tackles or awkward falls can be blamed on bad luck. But a lot of the injuries are Muscle related injuries, and some occurred in training. It is rather curious that these type of injuries should occur to a well run club such as Arsenal, who have some of the best training facilities in the country, This was just last season, in previous seasons, Thomas Rosicky, Robin Van Persie and Thomas Vermealen had all missed large parts of the season from niggling injuries, and a long recovery period.

The new season has not been very kind to the Gunners, with barely 2 months of the season under the belt, the defence has already been torn apart. Mathieu Debuchy has been ruled out for 3 months with and ankle injury, Debuchy was bought in the replace Sagna, but with his absence, new signing Calum Chambers will be starting a lot more than Wenger would have hoped. Nancho Monreal on the opposite flank has been side-lined for a few weeks, Kieran Gibbs has only just returned from his own injury, so both full back positions are already stretched. Kosielny has already had a few knocks this season, and the centre back pairing is rather thin right now, Wenger’s decision not to find a replacement for Vermealen may had been a risky one. Although the team was initially well stocked at the back, he should have been aware of the team’s fragile nature. Olivier Giroud, the main striker up top has also been ruled out until new year. Only an Arsenal player could get injured in the dying minutes of a game after getting hit by the ball! Call it unlucky, but it always seems to happen to the North London side.The knock on effect forcing Wenger to spend on Danny Welbeck on Deadline Day. With only one recognised striker (Yaya Sanogo is not yet ready to lead up front) up until New Year, considering the hectic Xmas schedule, it will be a tricky time. Arsenal need to hope Walcott doesn’t take too much time to return back to full fitness!

To top things off. Arsenal’s player of last season, Aaron Ramsey has been ruled out for a month, but knowing Arsenals injury record, he may not be seen until December! Losing a player to a Hamstring injury, so soon into the season will be worrying for the manager. Ramsey is one of the fittest players in the squad, and if he has already succumbed to a muscle injury, that cannot be a good sign, considering Arsenal signed a new member of staff specifically to deal with issues such as this.

Many rival fans may say Arsenal should have bolstered their team in order to cope with any injuries, Manchester United seem to be suffering a lot in their defence. But there sheer number of injuries already to key players for Arsenal could not have been seen. Only time will tell if the signing of the much publicised Shad Forsythe will have any effect on the time. It may take a while for the team to feel the effects of the new training regime. But it has definitely not been the best of starts!

Rahman Red Reflection: Liverpool Triumph in Marathon Penalty Shootout

Liverpool won a dramatic penalty shootout 14-13 against Championship outfit Middlesbrough to reach the fourth round of the League Cup.

The Reds took the lead after ten minutes through 17-year-old debutant Jordan Rossiter, but the away side equalised when Adam Reach headed in just after the hour mark. In extra time, Suso came off the bench for Liverpool to slam home with 11 minutes remaining but Middlesbrough’s Patrick Bamford stunned Anfield with a last-gasp spot-kick to force a penalty shootout.

Simon Mignolet pushed out the away side’s first penalty from Bamford but Raheem Sterling failed to score Liverpool’s fifth, confirming sudden death in the shootout. Twenty penalties were all scored in a row as each player from both clubs, including the goalkeepers, demonstrated fantastic courage and showed nerves of steel. The match finally reached its conclusion when Boro winger Albert Adomah missed the target – Anfield roared with relief and celebrated a memorable victory.

Middlesbrough certainly deserve massive credit for pushing Liverpool all the way in this cup tie. There is still plenty for Rodgers to worry about and he must have been relieved to see his side progress to the fourth round of the League Cup.

Overall, performances this season have generally been poor (except for the display at Tottenham Hotspur) but worryingly and most importantly, the league results have been unsatisfactory. The Merseyside derby is fast approaching and both Liverpool and Everton have struggled in the league so far, but Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez will view this game as a great platform to reignite themselves as they aim to climb the table.

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The Second Yellow Podcast : Episode 2!

Hi Everyone!

After a long month, we finally got together and recorded the second episode of our Podcast entitled ‘Take Over The World!. We are now officially a series!! Hopefully this is sequel more like Terminator 2, and less Transformers 2!

You can listen via the player below, and if you like it, please share it!

Regards,

Team TSY :)

Episode 2: Take Over The World by The Second Yellow on Mixcloud

Rahman Red Reflection: Impressive Irons Hammer Lacklustre Liverpool

Liverpool were well beaten by a powerful West Ham United, inflicting a third defeat in five league games on Brendan Rodgers’ side.

The Reds failed to cope with their opponents’ fast start, scoring twice through Winston Reid and Diafra Sakho in the opening seven minutes. Liverpool halved the deficit through Raheem Sterling who lashed in the rebound for his third goal of the season, after Mario Balotelli’s attempt had initially been blocked. The Reds pressed hard in search of an equaliser, only to be continually thwarted by Hammers keeper Adrian but this left them vulnerable to the counter attack and their misery was soon complete. Morgan Amalfitano jumped off the bench to apply a late clinical finish and secure West Ham’s first home win this season.

It was a dreadful display from Liverpool. They never looked settled and West Ham exploited their weaknesses. Looking at the defence, there is a serious lack of organisation and leadership. Dejan Lovren has had a shaky start to life at Anfield and Mamadou Sakho has also struggled in recent games. Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo have been hit and miss so far. These defensive frailties, however, are not new and you only need to look at last season to see the number of goals they conceded. Too many.

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were so important in the previous campaign but there is little point saying Liverpool are missing the Uruguayan. First of all, it’s obvious that any team would miss someone with his qualities. Secondly, he is still banned so he wouldn’t have played anyway. The bottom line is he no longer plays for Liverpool. Focus on the players who are actually in the squad. Move on.

Sturridge’s absence is clearly hurting Liverpool at the moment and he should be returning very soon. I hope he can hit the ground running straight away as Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert have yet to score in the league.

They are also really missing Joe Allen, a player who is accomplished with the ball at his feet but works very hard to reclaim possession for his team. Liverpool are missing his tenacity, energy and excellent workrate.

The Reds are lacking that spark at the moment and hopefully Sturridge’s comeback will reignite their attack. It’s still early days but three losses in their first five league games is worrying. Liverpool face Middlesbrough in the 3rd round of the Capital One Cup at Anfield and it seems inevitable that Rodgers will make plenty of changes, but I hope he fields a strong starting eleven as they need to return to winning ways quickly.

The Merseyside derby is not far away…

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Premier League : The Top 5 Goals

This weekend in the Premier League threw up many curious results, but also loads of great goal! Here are the Top 5 strikes (in my opinion!!) from this weekend in the League…………


 

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1. Di Maria (0-2) v Leicester

Before the shambolic final quarter of the game for Manchester United, they stormed into a 2-0 lead in first 15 minutes. Di Maria has already proved to be a wonderful signing. He carried on from QPR with a fantastic goal against Leicester. After a nice 1-2 with Rooney, Di Maria was through on goal. Where many would have tried to curl it around, or smash it past the keeper. The Argentinian produced a delightful lobbed finish, which just nestled in the back of the net. Surely the goal of the week!


 

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2. Jelavic (0-1) v Newcastle

Nikica Jelavic has had a fine start to the season, already scoring 3 goals in the first 5 games, and this was probably the best so far. Alan Pardew has been under great pressure from the fans at St James Park, with the teams struggling for results. But there was simply nothing that could have been done to prevent Hull taking the lead. A cross from the right found Jelavic, and with a marvellous acrobatic effort, smashed the ball past Tim Krul.


 

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3. Diame (0-2) v Newcastle

Its now 2 goals in 2 matches for Diame, following his great goal against West Ham previously. Newcastle may not have been able to stop the first goal, but the second was just as unstoppable. Picking up the ball some 20 yards away on the edge of the box, the imposing midfielder sold a few dummies to find a bit a space. Before unleashing a thunderous drive into the top corner, you just don’t stop those! Newcastle would have been cursing their luck, in conceding two wonderful goals, but they managed to fight back.


 

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4. Kranjcar (2-2) v Stoke

The Croat has been signed on 4 separate occasions by Harry Redknapp, and it’s goals like these which show why the manager trusts him so much. With the clock ticking towards 90 minutes, and the team down 2-1 to Stoke. The away side conceded a free kick on the edge of their area. Kranjcar stepped up, and curled in a brilliant free kick right into the top right hand corner. A great effort to share the spoils.


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5. Sakho (2-0) v Liverpool

The Hammers simply blew away Liverpool in a blistering opening 10 minutes. After conceding from a set piece in the opening minutes, it got worse for the Reds soon after. Diafra Sakho managed to work his way into the box, and found himself in the perfect place to float in a cross from the right onto the onrushing Enner Valencia. Instead, it was a cute chipped effort which floated above Mignolet and into the net before Valencia managed to get a touch. The shot looked to be a cross at first, but replays show he may as well have meant the cheeky finish!

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1000 not out!

We’ve been up for just under 5 months, but we have already surpassed 1000 views! After a steady start, the sites traffic has been going up every month. Which shows great sign of progress for us!

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It’s not just the figures we’re proud about, but also the sheer global scale of our views. The site has been viewed from all over the world, as you can see from the graphic below. :)

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With the podcast up and running, more regular posts and increased Facebook & Twitter followers, we hope to push on even more.

So once again, thanks to everyone who has taken their time to visit us!

Team TSY

Rahman Red Reflection: Ludogorets Lacerated by Last-gasp Liverpool

Last night, Liverpool returned to Europe’s greatest club competition and kicked off their Champions League adventure with a late, hard-fought victory over Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad.

The Reds finally made the breakthrough in the 82nd minute through Mario Balotelli – his first goal for the club. Holding off two defenders, he brilliantly steered the ball into the net with the outside of his right foot. Dani Abalo looked to have snatched a point in the last minute for Ludogorets after rounding Simon Mignolet. However in the second minute of stoppage time, the visiting goalkeeper Milan Borjan failed to control the ball in his 18-yard box and conceded a penalty for fouling Liverpool right-back Javier Manquillo. Steven Gerrard assumed his spot-kick duties and calmly placed his penalty into the bottom-right corner to give the Reds a winning start to their European campaign.

I was particularly impressed with the full-backs – Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo were excellent. Moreno’s brilliant left-wing cross enabled Balotelli to open his Liverpool goalscoring account. Manquillo was in an advanced position very late into the game and ultimately won the crucial penalty that secured all three points for the Reds.

Obviously, Mario Balotelli deserves credit for his goal. It looked like it was going to be another frustrating game for the Italian but when given the chance, he took the opportunity with aplomb. Balotelli is off the mark and that goal will give him confidence. I thought he wasn’t in the box more frequently enough as he was usually found hovering outside the area to collect and hold up the ball, but playing as the lone striker probably didn’t help his cause either as he was often left isolated. When Fabio Borini was brought off the bench, this helped to improve Liverpool’s shape and eventually led to them winning the game (although I do feel the Reds were very fortunate and have the Ludogorets keeper to thank for that) and must improve if they are to progress this season.

Brendan Rodgers should continue to deploy the 4-4-2 diamond formation and I believe that this would allow Mario Balotelli to flourish – he would receive support from a fellow striker and from the midfield, particularly if Raheem Sterling is positioned at the tip of the diamond.

In summary, it wasn’t the best Liverpool performance by any means. However, they showed character and resilience to win a game that they could easily have drawn or even lost. That in itself is a positive, considering the poor performance last weekend against Aston Villa. The most important aspect of this game was the result but Rodgers and his players know that greater tests lie ahead in their Champions League quest.

Next up. Basel.

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Premier League Rapid Review!

Twitter style 140 character game reviews for all of games from last weekend…. It’s harder than it looks!

Arsenal v City

The game of the week! Both sides shared moments of domination. Arsenal scored some crackers, City exposed the Gunner’s vulnerable defence.

Chelsea v Swansea

Battle at the Top.Swansea in front after an own goal. Chelsea storm back for a 4-2 win. New signings Costa and Fabregas still firing at 100%

Crystal Palace v Burnley

Not a great match, both teams still looking for their first win of the season. Burnley denied a late win after Speroni saved the spot kick

Southampton v Newcastle

The Saints continue to prove their pre season doubters wrong. A crushing victory, NCFC rooted to the bottom, The end looks nigh for Pardew

Stoke 0 Leicester 1

The Foxes first win of the season, at a tough away fixture. Ulloa carries on fine form. For Stoke, a return to earth after their City win

Sunderland 2 Tottenham 2

2 goals in first the opening  5 mins. Eriksen appeared to have won all 3 points, before a late Tottenham own goal shared the spoils.

West Brom 0 Everton 2

More misery for the Baggies. Lukaku opens his account early on, Miralles with the second, a comfortable 3 points. WBA need to improve quick

Liverpool 0 Aston Villa 1

Liverpool stumble at home, Agbonlahor’s early goal was enough to take all 3 points. Best start for Villa in over 10 years, Pool toothless

Manchester United 4 QPR 0

New look United finally register their first win. Di Maria inspirational, Rooney, Herrera, Mata also on target. QPR’s 2nd 4-0 defeat so far.

Hull 2 West Ham 2

Surprisingly entertaining game. A début goal for Hull’s Abel Hernandez. Some cracking goals from Enner Valencia and DIame. A draw was fair

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The Özil Conundrum

This time last season, Mesut Özil was the sign of the new dawn for Arsenal. The £42m record signing broke Arsenal’s long run of underwhelming transfers. Not only had Arsenal smashed their previous transfer record, but they had secured the signature of one of the best Midfielders in the world. A year on, after a bright start, he has not yet shown what Arsenal paid for, and although the talent is most certainly there, some fans are yet to be convinced he will come good in the long term.

It all started well enough,  until the New Year, he had already racked up 9 assists in all competitions. and scored 5 goals for the club. The highlight being a fantastic curling finish against Napoli to open his Arsenal account. It was looking like the investment may have been worthwhile, with Özil playing an influential role in the team. Alongside a resurgent Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal were riding high, and were top of the table for a large portion of the season until January. With the combined pace of Walcott, the target man Giroud and the technique of Ramsey. Things were looking great for Özil. Who was showing that he would have no problems settling into the league.

The turn of the year saw a mirror image of what came before. A variety of factors contributed to a poor second half of the season. Ozil works best when there are runners up front, for which he can fire pinpoint passes to release forwards. Long term injuries to Ramsey and Walcott blunted Arsenal, and in turn Özil. Ramsey was having a sensational season, but he limped off against West Ham during Christmas, and did not reappear till April. Walcott, was ruled out for the season after a Knee injury suffered in the North London Derby in January. With the main outlets missing, Özil was not as influential as he would have liked to be. He was also played on the left side of the front 3. Playing out wide is not his best position, and his weak defensive contribution is highlighted due to being played on the wing. He is just not the type of player who will track back, so playing him out wide exposes his weaknesses. Confidence seemed to become a larger issue throughout the season. The Champions League tie against Munich was an example of this low confidence, after a blistering start at the Emirates, Özil himself earned a penalty with some neat footwork. The German took responsibility with the kick, and after a weak effort earlier in the season against Napoli, he repeated the same tame attempt which was saved. Arsenal lost their early wave of momentum, and went on to lose the game. That miss seemed to epitomize his second half of the season. Ending the season with figures of 14 assists (9 in League) and 7 goals (5 in League) was a decent return, and he did win that much eluded trophy for Arsenal in his first year. But for a player of his caliber, much more was expected on the field and in the big games, but many saved their concerns, as the first season is usually tough for most overseas players.

The World Cup may have been a great tonic for a reasonable club campaign, although he did win the World Cup, he was a peripheral figure,  out shone by the likes of Muller, Kroos and Gotze. A shadow of a performance compared to his breakthrough on the world stage four years ago in South Africa.

The new season bought new hope for Arsenal fans, the arrival of Alexis Sanchez had further established Arsenals new reputation, and the thought of Özil linking up with Sanchez had many fans excited.  Whereas Alexis has started the season rather well, with 3 goals, and his great work rate. Özil has yet to shine. The lack of pre-season after the World Cup would not have helped him find his groove. It is still early days of the season, but the reluctance of Wenger in not playing Ozil in his preferred role in the center is not doing anyone any favors. Arshavin befell a similar fate, although a genius on the ball, tracking back and a high work rate was not his forte,  these were exposed greatly in his last few seasons in England. Özil still has the chance to prove his growing list of doubters wrong. Until he plays in the Number 10 role regularly, he cannot be fully judged. Once Walcott returns, combined with the dynamic Alexis, it will be hoped Wenger moves Özil into the center, where he can fully utilize his passing abilities to supply the pacey forwards. Sadly, Özil’s situation has not been helped with the return of Cesc Fabregas to the league, a player Arsenal had declined, mainly due to the presence of Özil. Fabregas has returned where he had left off, already claiming 6 assists in his 4 games. Many fans are over reacting, and want to sell Özil in January. This is frankly a ridiculous suggestion. A player of his proven quality will come good, class is permanent.  But he really needs to step up soon, and when he is eventually played in the middle, he has to deliver right away. Otherwise, the fans may not be as forgiving.

Rahman Red Reflection: Vivacious Villa Emerge Victorious

Gabriel Agbonlahor’s ninth-minute strike for Aston Villa was enough to punish a lifeless Liverpool and secure three well-deserved points for the visitors.

Brendan Rodgers was forced to reshuffle his pack as Daniel Sturridge, Joe Allen and Emre Can were confined to the sidelines after picking up injuries during international duty, handing Anfield debuts to Adam Lallana, Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno. The Reds fell behind after failing to deal with a corner, allowing Villa striker Agbonlahor to prod the ball in from close range. Liverpool continued to show nervousness from set pieces and could easily have conceded more goals. As the match wore on, Liverpool dominated possession but the away side were rarely troubled. Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan was hardly tested as Rodgers’ side mustered eighteen shots in total – with only one shot on target.

Daniel Sturridge’s absence was clearly felt in this game. He is a peripheral figure for Liverpool and they need him to return to fitness as soon as possible. I was also surprised that Raheem Sterling was on the bench – Rodgers was clearly looking towards Tuesday’s Champions League group match against Ludogorets Razgrad. I wouldn’t want to place so much pressure on his young shoulders as he is only 19 but I would have started him for this match, especially as our recent record at home against Aston Villa has been poor. Did he not get enough time to rest after returning from international duty? When I saw Rodgers’ team selection, I initially thought that Sterling could come on later in the game and make a positive impact but sadly for Liverpool, this did not happen on this occasion.

Adam Lallana made his first appearance of the season and I thought he played relatively well. He was replaced on the hour mark and was lacking match sharpness, but he showed glimpses of his qualities and a sign of things to come. The former Southampton skipper needs a good run of games and hopefully it will not be long until Liverpool see the types of displays that led to his acquisition from the south coast.

Mario Balotelli struggled to make an impact and was on the receiving end of some rough treatment from the opposing defenders. It was a difficult game for the Italian but he was good at holding the ball up and spreading the play to the wide players. Balotelli created a good chance for Lallana – his low drive from distance flashing just wide of Guzan’s near post.

Overall, it was a poor Liverpool performance but Aston Villa deserve great credit for their victory. Paul Lambert’s side were organised, stubborn, disciplined and had frustrated the Reds on a disappointing evening at Anfield.

Bring on the Champions League!