Thursday, June 19, 2014

Arsenal at the World Cup (so far)...

With the World Cup now well underway (and with some calling it the most entertaining World Cup in decades), Arsenal supporters the world over have turned their focus to the international game. In addition to watching Tottenham players generally muck up Belgium's defense, it's a great chance for Gooners to see current, former and hopefully (a lot of) future Arsenal players strut their stuff on the world stage. With that in mind, here's our rundown on Arsenal's World Cup participants...

Joel Campbell

Oddly enough, Campbell has made the biggest splash of any Arsenal player in the World Cup thus far, scoring a goal for Costa Rica in its astounding upset of Uruguay. Campbell is only 21 years old and obviously spent the past club season out on loan, but according to a recent Telegraph article, Arsene Wenger appears to be ready to give the young talent his chance in London. Campbell will next be in action June 20 vs. Italy and June 24 vs. England as Costa Rica looks to continue its improbable success in the stacked Group D.

Santi Cazorla

Despite his FA Cup Final heroics, Cazorla has been the subject of some slightly worrying rumors regarding a move to Atletico Madrid. Nevertheless, he's very much a Gunner for the time being and crucially chose to avoid the group stage game where he was most likely to get kicked in the chest, so hopefully he can look forward to a run out in Spain's remaining group game.

Olivier Giroud

Giroud was in for fewer than 20 minutes in the opening win over Honduras, and with Benzema bagging a brace he may have to bide his time on the bench a littler longer. Still, with France due to face sterner defenses in the tournament you can't help but think Didier Deschamps will have to call on Giroud's superior hold-up play sooner or later. Our expert scouts tell us one of Switzerland's center backs has a penchant for questionable defending and annoying on-camera dancing, so at the least he could feature in France's June 20 matchup against the Swiss or June 25 vs. Ecuador.

Laurent Koscielny

The Arsenal defender has yet to see action in this World Cup, but given his nearly flawless domestic season you've got to think it's only a matter of time before he makes his World Cup 2014 debut. We're also assuming Deschamps has yet to see the tapes of Sakho at Crystal Palace, so it's certainly not out of the question that Koscielny will be needed in one of France's two upcoming matches.

Per Mertesacker

Starting for Germany at the World Cup, the BFG acquitted himself well in 90 minutes' time in his team's opening match. Yes, Portugal looked like a mess against Germany in a devastating 0-4 loss. Yes, Ronaldo had a center part that rivaled Johnny Depp's in "Public Enemies." However, any time you hold a team including CR7 scoreless for 90 minutes as a defender, you've done something right, and we've no doubt that we'll see more of the same from Per in Germany's upcoming matches June 21 vs. Ghana and June 26 vs. USA (actually, if he could leak 1 or 2 soft goals in that last one we'd appreciate it).

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Ox is still working his way back from injury, but it's possible he'll see some time June 24 vs. Costa Rica. Apparently he was back at team training following the Italy loss, so here's hoping that when he does returns he 1) doesn't get re-injured, 2) fulfills the promise he's shown at Arsenal in flashes this season and 3) doesn't get re-injured.

Mesut Ozil

Arsenal's resident German enigma, Betfair accurately described his season as "fluctuating" while noting that he still holds the ability to "unlock elite defenses." Portugal may not have been anything close to elite, but Ozil did perform admirably enough in the 63 minutes he featured in Germany's opener. I mean, he's no Cesc Fabregas but... [gets pelted by tomatoes]

Lukas Podolski

Podolski may struggle to see time in this crowded German attack, but he did manage eight minutes off the bench in the opener vs. Portugal, and can possesses great mental strength when deciding whether or not certain journalists need to be thrown into a pool. Expect to see him featuring as Germany's go-to impact winger throughout the rest of the tournament or even a starter as a typically deep-run by Germany could mean injuries to those higher in the pecking order.

Jack Wilshere

One of many promising young talents on the English national team, it remains to be seen how prominently Wilshere will feature in England's midfield. He got in for the final 17 minutes against Italy, but by that time England had begun to look somewhat deflated and Wilshere couldn't help the team to engineer a comeback. Still, the England could use an injection of offense in the midfield for their remaining group games against Uruguay and Costa Rica, and we're backing Jack to be the one to give them just that.

Thomas Vermaelen

Arsenal's forgotten center back (until Koscielny pulls up with an injury), Vermaelen hasn't yet started for Belgium in the tournament, although if Jan Vertonghen keeps his fantastic run of club form going like he did in the opener against Algeria (by "fantastic" we mean "typically-Tottenham-awful") the Arsenal man could be called on very, very soon (and by "Arsenal" we mean "not-Manchester-United-because-Arsenal-haven't-agreed-to-sell-him-so-a-deal-would-technically-be-illegal-at-this-point").

And that's it for Arsenal in the World Cup. Not that we don't wish them the best, of course, but the likes of Djourou and Sagna aren't Gunners any longer (sadly for one, not so much for the other), so we're basically pretending they don't exist.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Post-FA CUP VICTORY: Sweet, Drought Relief

Listen to Arsenal Review USA
Nothing conceded early here, just three, unanswered download links: iTunes, the raw RSS feed and our archive are where you can find the new pod.

After a season that tested the cardiac durability like few others before, it should come as little surprise that it took an absolute barnburner for Arsenal to capture their first trophy in 9 years, coming from behind to beat Hull 3-2 in the FA Cup Final. Helping us relive the nerve-shredding experience will be Arsenal commentator Dan Roebuck followed by some end of season perspective and a fresh outlook on Arsenal's new winning era from Charm City Gooner Mike Kavanagh. Throughout the pod we'll weave in listener reviews, regrets and highlights of the season, and to cap things off we'll name the four participants who made out with some silverware of their own…

Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't give a special thanks to all the guests and listeners who each week gave us their valuable time in the name of Arsenal, win, lose, or frustrating draw. No joke, we really do enjoy interacting with Gooners on both sides of the pond, so thanks for sticking with us and more importantly, thanks for supporting Arsenal with us. What an end to an incredible season: now go out there and brag about it to everyone you see this summer, and we'll see you back on the pod when the fun restarts in August!

Cheers,

- Arsenal Review USA

Monday, May 19, 2014

All 99 Arsenal Goals in 2013/14

All 99 Arsenal goals in 2013/14 courtesy of @CulannDavies. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Post-Norwich: One Last Two-Nil

Listen to Arsenal Review USA
Like a brace of goals away from home, our download locations are plentiful (we know it's a weak metaphor but it's been a long season): iTunes, the raw RSS feed and our archive.

Arsenal lay a fitting bookend to their efficient season by comfortably easing out relegation fodder Norwich City at Carrow Road before turning their sights (if they hadn't already) to the big one at Wembley, the FA Cup Final on Saturday. On hand to discuss this golden chance at silverware, probable starting lineups and suitable midfield selections for an underdog opponent like Hull is Sam Limbert of SamsMatchReports.com, followed by absolutely no Wanker of the Week candidates whatsoever (it's hard when your opponents applaud your goals) and a big prize addition to our extended End of Season Catharsis...