Tag Archives: Wojciech Szczesny

The Best Arsenal And Tottenham Combined XI

Ahead of Saturday’s mouth-watering North-London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium, we here at IntoTheTopCorner have decided to make the best combined XI using both the team’s players.

In goal, Spurs’ second choice keeper Hugo Lloris takes the place in between the sticks ahead of Brad Friedel, Wojciech Szczesny and Vito Mannone. The defence is formed of Tottenham’s Kyle Walker, along with Gunners central defensive pairing of Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen, and Jan Vertonghen at left back – where he has played admirably in the absence of Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

The midfield is dominated by Arsenal with Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere in the middle with task of driving forward and putting in some killer passes. Finally, the forward line is a brilliant combination of pace, width and finishing. Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale would stretch the play and trouble the full-backs with their speed, while Jermain Defoe – who gets the nod ahead of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Emmanuel Adebayor – will lead the line.

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Manchester United v Arsenal Preview

Manchester United’s blockbuster summer signing Robin van Persie takes centre stage on Saturday as the former Arsenal skipper comes up against his old employers for the first time in an United shirt.

The Dutch international, who scored 132 times during his seven years with the Gunners before departing in a £24million deal this summer, has already made an impact at Old Trafford. Van Persie already has seven goals to his name from just seven Premier League starts to show why Sir Alex Ferguson was so happy to land his signature despite competition from Manchester City and Juventus. The striker’s priceless ability to win games on his own will be sorely missed by the fans who once idolised him, and even though Arsene Wenger has called for respect from the travelling fans, the hostility is likely to come out from the away section.

Arsenal also need to banish the memories of last season’s Premier League visit to Old Trafford in August, when they suffered an 8-2 humiliation in what ranks as one of Wenger’s darkest days in his otherwise successful career.

The London club are six points behind United and while it will be to immature to write them off their title ambitions in November, a nine-point gap would be a significant deficit to bridge. On the other hand, victory for Ferguson’s men would take them at the top of the table for the first time this season as Chelsea are not in action until later in day when they travel to Swansea.

TEAM NEWS

Manchester United

The Red Devils have no fresh injury issues following their two dramatic matches against Chelsea over the past week. Defender Chris Smalling continues to make good progress in training, but the game at Old Trafford will come too soon. Fellow centre-back Phil Jones (knee) is also not ready, while Nemanja Vidic and midfielder Shinji Kagawa (both knee) remain sidelined. Sir Alex Ferguson made a host of changes for the Capital One Cup clash and will bring back his big players for the big Premier League encounter.

Arsenal

The Gunners will go back to a more recognized team after changing their entire starting XI for the surprising Capitol One Cup success at Reading. Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna are in contention, but Theo Walcott may be back on the bench after playing whole 120 minutes at the Madjeski. Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hip) faces a fitness test, but winger Gervinho (ankle) will be out for around three weeks, while defender Kieran Gibbs (thigh), first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (ankle), midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) and Czech winger Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) all continue their rehab.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 193
Manchester United Wins – 84
Draw – 42
Arsenal Wins – 67

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

22-Jan-12 – Premier League – Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United
28-Aug-11 – Premier League – Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal
01-May-11 – Premier League – Arsenal 1-0 Manchester United
12-Mar-11 – FA Cup – Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal
13-Apr-10 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal

FORM GUIDE

Manchester United – LWWWW
United come into this match on the back of a very important win at Stamford Bridge in the league and are currently just one point behind leaders Chelsea in second place.

31-Oct-12 – Captial One Cup – Chelsea 5-4 Manchester United
28-Oct-12 – Premier League – Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United
23-Oct-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 3-2 Braga
20-Oct-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 4-2 Stoke City
06-Oct-12 – Premier League – Newcastle United 0-3 Manchester United

Arsenal – WWLLW
The Gunners lie in sixth place in the Premier League, six points behind their opponents having won four, drawn three and lost two of their nine games.

30-Oct-12 – Capital One Cup – Reading 5-7 Arsenal
27-Oct-12 – Premier League – Arsenal 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
24-Oct-12 – Champions League – Arsenal 0-2 Schalke 04
20-Oct-12 – Premier League – Norwich City 1-0 Arsenal
06-Oct-12 – Premier League – West Ham United 1-3 Arsenal

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
All eyes will be on the former Arsenal man on Saturday. The 29-year-old has added an extra dimension to United’s attack this season, and is the club’s top goal scorer with nine goals in all competitions. The Netherlands international will be keen to show his former club what they lost. However, he will show some respect to the club he represented for seven years but most Arsenal fans won’t feel the same.

Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
The 23-year-old has been in headlines this week, for reasons on and off the pitch. Contract talks are stalling because the England international isn’t happy with his lack of playing time, but after scoring a hat-trick against Reading in midweek he is making it very hard for Arsene Wenger to leave him out. Walcott on song is a great attacking player and added to the likes Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Jack Wilshere, they could easily stun the Red Devils.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra (C); Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley; Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young; Robin van Persie.

De Gea is most likely to take back his place in between the sticks from Anders Lindegaard after the Danish international let in five goals against Chelsea in the mid-week. Ferdinand and Evans will return to central defence after the youngsters – Scott Wootton and Michael Keane – failed to stand up to the challenge at Stamford Bridge. Alexander Buttner, who was substituted at half time, will also make way for Evra. Carrick and Cleverley are expected to return in the midfield along with Valencia and Young on the wings. Rooney and Van Persie were rested for midweek clash and the star strike duo will take field against an under-performing Arsenal defence.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Vito Mannone; Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen (C), Andre Santos; Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta; Theo Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski; Olivier Giroud.

First choice keeper Wojciech Szcesny is close to recovery but the Pole is not fit to make a start against the Red Devils, leaving Mannone as the only option for Wenger. Kieran Gibbs is also out with injury, giving Brazilian full-back Andre Santos more first team action this season. After his hat-trick in the mid-week against Reading, Theo Walcott may get the nod on the right wing in place of Aaron Ramsey, while both Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh are expected to be back on the bench after their impressive performances in the Capital One Cup. Giroud did score against Reading but his league record has been very poor but Wenger will most likely rely on the Frenchman yet again.

OPTA FACTS

  • 1 – Wayne Rooney scored his first Premier League goal, his first in the Premier League for Manchester United and his 100th Premier League goal against Arsenal.
  • 1 – Only one of Arsenal’s 14 league goals this season have come before the half-hour mark.
  • 5 – Manchester United have scored and conceded at least two goals in the same Premier League game five times this season.
  • 7 – Manchester United have won seven and lost none of their last eight against Arsenal at Old Trafford in all competitions.
  • 9 – Manchester United have won nine of their last 10 meetings with the Gunners in all competitions.
  • 10 – Arsenal have scored just 10 goals in 20 Premier League visits to Old Trafford, with last season (8-2 defeat) being the only time they have netted two in one game.
  • 21 – Robin van Persie has hit the woodwork 21 times since August 2009, nine more times than any other Premier League player in the same period.

REFEREE

Name – Mike Dean
Based – Wirral
Age – 44
Games – 6
Yellow Cards – 15
Red Cards – 0

MATCH ODDS

Manchester United 8/11, Draw 13/5, Arsenal 4/1

PREDICTION

It’s been an incredibly entertaining goal-filled week in which both sides conceded five goals in the Capital One Cup. This fixture last season delivered an equally ridiculous scoreline when Manchester United ran out 8-2 winners. Arsenal’s failure to score in league games this season and having to see Robin van Persie play against them will surely make matters worse for the North London side. The game is expected to be another entertaining one for the neutrals, but Sir Alex’s side should have too much for the Gunners in this one.

Predicted Score: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal

FIFA 13 – Premier League Club Partner Covers

Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester City, Newcastle, Everton, Aston Villa and Fulham get custom designs. FIFA 13’s custom club sleeves are now available to download, making this year’s game even more special to fans.

Free box sleeve downloads are available for FIFA 13’s eight club partners: Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester City, Newcastle, Everton, Aston Villa and Fulham. Artworks are for Xbox 360 and PS3 versions only.

Below you’ll find the Arsenal version featuring Wojciech Szczesny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski, but be sure to download the high resolution PDF version direct from EA before printing.

Here are all the Premier League covers of FIFA 13..

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Arsenal

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Arsenal’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Arsene Wenger.
Captain: Thomas Vermaelen/
Stadium: Emirates Stadium (60,361).
Last season: 3rd.
Leading scorer (PL): Robin van Persie (30).
Odds: Title 6-1. Relegation 500-1.

In: Santi Cazorla (£16.7m, Malaga), Oliver Giroud (£10.5m, Montpellier), Lukas Podolski (£11.4m, Koln).

Out: Benik Afobe (Loan, Bolton), Manuel Almunia (Free, Watford), Pedro Botelho (Free, Atletico-PR), George Brislen-Hall (Released), James Campbell (Released), Joel Campbell (Loan, Betis), Denilson (Loan, Sao Paulo), Gavin Hoyte (Free, Dag & Red), Sean McDermott (Released), Jeffrey Monakana (Released), Rhys Murphy (Free, SC Telstar), Carlos Vela (£3.3m, Real Sociedad).

Kits

Key Man – Santi Cazorla
With Jack Wilshere out till mid-October and Robin van Persie’s future at the club uncertain, the latest addition to the squad from Malaga will be the key man for the Gunners this season. The versatile midfielder, who can play anywhere behind the striker, will be primary playmaker for the upcoming season and will try and create or score as many goals as possible.

Opening Fixtures
18-Aug – Sunderland (H)
25-Aug – Stoke (A)
01-Sep – Liverpool (A)
15-Sep – Southampton (H)
22-Sep – Man City (A)
29-Sep – Chelsea (H).

Probable Formation (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Song, Arteta; Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud/RVP.

Verdit: The RVP situation could be unsettling for the club and a Wilshere return is still unlikely in the foreseeable future. However Wenger has added three major signings to his squad that could make the Gunners serious title contenders. I don’t see them to be serious title challengers come May, but a sure top for finish.

Prediction: 4th.

UEFA EURO 2012 Team Preview – Poland

Population 38.5 million Area 312,685km2 Capital Warsaw Currency Zloty Official Language Polish

FOOTBALL FACTFILE

Football Asocciation Polski Związek Piłki Nożnej (PZPN) Official Site http://www.pzpn.pl Year of formation 1919 Euro Ranking 39 World Ranking 65 National Stadium National Stadium, Warsaw Well-known club sides Wisla Krakow, Lech Poznan, Legia Warsaw Leading goalscorers Wlodzimierz Lubanski (48), Gregorz Lato (45), Kazimierz Deyna (41) Most capped players Michal Zewlakow (102), Grzegorz Lato (100), Kazimierz Deyna (97) European Championship finals attended 2008 Best European Championship performance Group Stage 2008 Playing Record in European Championship P93 W38 D25 L30 Odds of winning UEFA EURO 2012 66/1

JOURNEY TO POLAND/UKRAINE

On June 8 2012, Poland will open the 14th European Championship in the Warsaw National Stadium against Greece, in front of nearly 60,000 fervent home supporters. The lowest-ranked team in the tournament – 33rd in Europe and 68th in the world, behind Panama and the Cape Verde islands and Uzbekistan – Polland will desperately want to give a good account of themselves against the 2004 champions, who will also find it difficult to advance from Group A.

Naturally, being the co-hosts, Poland have not had to qualify and thus have not experienced a competitive match for some time. Various friendlies against opposition from all over the globe paint a pretty scattered picture: they have beaten Ivory Coast and Argentina, held Germany to a draw, but lost to Lithunia and Italy.

“We have made mistakes,” said head coach Franciszek Smuda during a recent rallying call, “but that happenings in friendlies – we will only be 100% ready in May 2012. We’ve met big team and, in most cases we didnt feel inferior. The players gained belief that they can perform during the finals. We are heading in the right direction.”

Poland were not always the relative football minnows that they are today. They reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1974 and 1982 thanks to the exploitds of Grzegorz Lato and Zbigniew Boniek. Howerer, Austria/Switzerland in 2008 was their first appearance at a European Championship finals and they finished bottom of their group.

The current Polish team’s main strength is that they are young full of beans and very eager to impress. They style of counter-attacking football may leave the more ageing teams flat-footed and in Robert Lewandowski they have a genuine goal-scoring threat. A win UEFA EURO 2012’s opening match may see them through to the quater-finals, any further, though, and things are likely to become unstuck.

HOW THEY GOT THERE

Qualified as hosts.

HOME AND AWAY KITS

GROUP FIXTURES – GROUP A

Friday, 08/06 – Poland v Greece (Warsaw, 17:00)
Tuesday, 12/06 – Poland v Russia (Warsaw, 19:45)
Saturday, 16/06 – Czech Republic v Poland (Wroclaw, 19:45)

FINAL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Wojciech Szczęsny (Arsenal FC), Przemysław Tytoń (PSV Eindhoven), Grzegorz Sandomierski (KRC Genk).

Defenders: Sebastian Boenisch (SV Werder Bremen), Marcin Kamiński (KKS Lech Poznań), Damien Perquis (FC Sochaux-Montbéliard), Łukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund), Marcin Wasilewski (RSC Anderlecht), Jakub Wawrzyniak (Legia Warszawa), Grzegorz Wojtkowiak (KKS Lech Poznań).

Midfielders: Jakub Błaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund), Dariusz Dudka (AJ Auxerre), Kamil Grosicki (Sivasspor), Adam Matuszczyk (Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895), Adrian Mierzejewski (Trabzonspor AŞ), Rafal Murawski (KKS Lech Poznań), Eugen Polanski (1. FSV Mainz), Ludovic Obraniak (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Maciej Rybus (FC Terek Grozny), Rafał Wolski (Legia Warszawa).

Forwards: Paweł Brożek (Celtic FC), Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund), Artur Sobiech (Hannover 96).

THE CAPTAIN – JAKUB BLASZCZYKOWSKI

Jakub Blaszczykowski or ‘Kuba’ as he is referred in the Bundesliga, is a fairly young national team captain at 26, but he is a commanding presence in the middle of the park nevertheless. He was voted Polish Football of the Year in 2008 and 20120, and was also voted the Borussia Dortmund Player of the Year by the fans in 2008, ahead of Neven Subotic and Alexander Frei.

THE KEEPER – WOJCIECH SZCZENSY

Wojciech Szczesny has gently ousted his countryman Lukasz Fabianski from the number one jersey at Arsenal and a series of steady performances have solidified his stats as the Gunners’ main man between the sticks. He is only 22, has tremendous agility and awereness, and a brutish command of his area for someone so young. You just hope his lack of experience doesn’t cost him this summer.

STAR MAN – ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI

After craving out a regular starting place alongside his captain, Jakub Blaszczykowski, in the title-winning Borussia Dortmund side of 2010-11, Robert Lewandowski is the ner darling of Polish football. A 23-year-old forward with genuine eye for chance, Lewandowski represents Poland’s chief goal threat on home soil this summer. In the 2-2 friendly draw with Germany in September last year his instinctive, 55th-minute opener gave an indication of his predatory potential. His current international scoring record is very decent, goal every three games, but he’ll need to better that for success in the finals.

THE MANAGER – FRANCISZEK SMUDA

Franciszek Smuda spent most of his playing career in the MLS, but returned to his home country after a 16-year hiatus in 1993 to coach Stal Mielec. He then led Widzew Lodz to two consecutive domestic titles and into the Champions League, and also win the title with Wisla Krakow and the Polish Cup with Lech Poznan. Was asked to take the reins of the national team after their faliure to qualify for the World Cup 2010 and has bravelu put his faith in the young Borussia Dortmund contingent.

TOURNAMENT PREDICTION

Quarter-Finals – The White Eagles will hope that home advantage will drive them on, and as we have seen with previous hosts, support can act as the clichéd 12th man. If Lewandowski can keep up his fine form and others step up to the plate, a second round finish is not beyond them.