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MessagePosté le: 30/11/2016 06:58:18    Sujet du message: mpson said. But weve taken so much from the gam Répondre en citant

Britains national weather service announced this week they had suffered their wettest winter ever. Yet, when Arsenals players woke up on Saturday morning, the calendar had turned to March and the sun was shining. In Stoke, of all places. The white ball was back, a sign that the harshest conditions were behind us, but also a stark reality that the final stretch of the season was now here. Arsenals journey, in the marathon that is the Premier League season, had so far been a success with them spending much of the race out in front. Many onlookers expected them to hit a wall but here they were in March, now, and the only thing remotely looking like a wall was a brief meltdown as they passed through the red half of Merseyside last month. Four points against Manchester United and Sunderland, plus a win over Liverpool in the FA Cup, had put them back on track, sprinting into March with more and more believing they could be the first across the line when their race is run in Norwich on May 11. Yet, still there were the non-believers. "They have always been an outstanding team and they have great ability within their ranks," said Stoke manager Mark Hughes on Friday before going on to tell us what he really thinks: "but I just felt maybe they wouldnt have the ability to sustain a challenge. I think there are possibly stronger challengers, stronger teams that could take it away from them." Arsenals match with Stoke was only one of 38 encounters that will define their league season but given the time of the year and their history with this opponent, it felt much more than that. It proved to be a test they failed miserably. The result went against them, losing 1-0, as did the decisions, a questionable penalty call and a missed red card for Stokes Charlie Adam amongst them, but if Arsenal want the jury to make a decision on whether they are genuine title contenders, this would not be evidence theyd want to present them. The Gunners were unimaginative in attack, too narrow and slow in tempo. They lacked the creative brilliance that has so often helped them this season and the sharpness in possession. As often happens when they struggle going forward, they look to have too many similar players; ball treasurers who demand it and flock towards it. Oh, how they missed a Theo Walcott, someone in attack who can sprint on to a ball rather than run towards it. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is showing he will one day be a fine player, offered this in all-too-brief substitute appearance late on. Stoke, of course, deserved credit for defending well and it should be noted that Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have also not won there this season, but the concerns for Arsenal didnt start and end with the final result. "Its a defeat that hurts," said Wenger after the match. He added: "The consequences of this defeat could be very difficult to take and we will have to respond very quickly." Wenger is not a man that allows a conclusion to be reached based on one game but the choice of consequence as a word shows he has a concern that the league challenge could slip away. Arsenal ended the day in third place on 59pts after 28 games, four points off leaders Chelsea. On this same weekend four years ago, Wenger also met with the media at the Brittania Stadium after his team had won 3-1 against Stoke (to this day their only victory there in eight attempts). It was a sad day for the Frenchman after Aaron Ramsey had broken his leg but, despite being visibly angry and upset, Wenger admitted that he felt his team was very much in the title race after the win. Arsenal ended that day in third place on 58pts after 28 games, three points off leaders Chelsea. Arsenal faded down the stretch, going from an average of 2.07 points per game (PPG) to 1.70 in the last ten games, with 17 added to 58 to give them a total of 75. They finished third, 11pts back of winners Chelsea and they were out of the race with a month to go. Two years earlier, on this weekend during the 2007-08 season, Arsenal led the league with 10 games to go, sitting on 65pts to Manchester Uniteds 64 and Chelseas 61. At the end of the season, United won the title on 87pts (23 in their last 10 games), Chelsea finished second on 85pts (24 in their last 10 games) and Arsenal finished third on 83pts, going from an average of 2.32 PPG to 1.80 PPG (18pts in their last 10 games). With 10 games remaining in the 2010-11 season, Arsenal were second on 57pts, just three points off leaders Manchester United. Once again they faded down the stretch, going from an average of 2.04 PPG to 1.10 PPG, achieving just 11pts in their last 10 games to with a total of 68, in fourth, and 12pts back of winners Manchester United.Arsenal hit their wall while the best got stronger. 2009-10 -- Chelsea 25pts from a possible 302010-11 -- Manchester United 20pts from a possible 30 That is the nightmare scenario that Arsenal fans are concerned about happening again. The fixture list will ensure the Gunners will have their answer to this by early April. Of their last 10 league games, the four most difficult happen next - Tottenham (a), Chelsea (a), Man City (h), Everton (a) with the first three all happening this month, which also includes a trip to Bayern Munich and an FA Cup match against Everton. Talk about March Madness. After that, Swansea, West Ham, Newcastle and West Brom all come to the Emirates while Hull and Norwich welcome the Gunners. Last season, Arsenal achieved just 13pts from these 10 games (using Hull as Reading) losing at Tottenham, Chelsea and Norwich and at home to Man City and Swansea. It is their difficulties against these teams, coupled with their recent history, as title contenders through 28 games, that leads many to believe Arsenals pursuit of the finish line will fade quickly. Ironically, last season they ended the season extremely strongly, gaining 28pts from a possible 30 to qualify for the Champions League. Unfortunately, for them, at this time last season, they were already 24pts behind leaders Manchester United. In the nine seasons since Arsenal last won the Premier League, the average number of points achieved by the champions in the last 10 matches has been 22, with the lowest being 19 coming by two teams who were running away with the league - Chelsea of 2004-05 and Manchester United last season. Should Arsenal get 22pts from their last 10 games, that would give them 80pts, perhaps not enough to win the title but, likely, enough to maintain their challenge into May, and a haul that would show significant improvement considering they havent gotten over the 75. Arsenal players and fans are regularly told they have not won a trophy in eight years and, soon, that needs to change but, above all else, Arsenal finally need to be relevant title contenders into May, no matter who wins the league. Recent history suggests even that moderate, achievable goal could be beyond them. Upon the marathons completion, we wont just know if Arsenal were worthy title contenders, we will know if they were much better than their unsuccessful teams of the recent past. Russell Martin Blue Jays Jersey. LOUIS -- The Tampa Bay Rays have placed right-handed pitcher Joel Peralta on the 15-day disabled list with an undisclosed illness. Roger Clemens Blue Jays Jersey. The 2010 batting champ showed what he can do when hes mostly healthy. Gonzalez homered, doubled and singled in his return to the lineup, and the Colorado Rockies snapped a five-game losing streak with a 13-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night. http://www.officialbluejaysonline.com/authentic-drew-storen-blue-jays-jersey/. Jones took a beating, the worst one of his record reign, in a bout against Alexander Gustafsson that knocked the light heavyweight champion on the canvas for the first time in his career and put his belt in jeopardy. Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey. -- Kyle Busch edged teammate Joey Logano at the Bristol Motor Speedway finish line Friday night to become the all-time winningest driver in Nationwide Series. Darwin Barney Jersey. -- With the Memphis Grizzlies struggling to find their offensive rhythm, O.LONDON - Equality came to the self-proclaimed Home of Football on Sunday.More than seven years after the new Wembley opened, the England womens team was finally allowed to follow its male counterpart by playing in the $1.2 billion national stadium.Though it ended with a 3-0 defeat by European champion Germany, the match was a validation of the steady growth that womens football has enjoyed in England, particularly since the 2012 Olympics.History makers, proclaimed the cover of the matchday program for the 45,000 fans who defied torrential rain and transport issues — 5,000 more than the crowd that watched the England mens team play Norway in a September friendly.The Football Associations marketing machine achieved its mission, with a record womens crowd for an England game. The previous mark was just over 29,000 for a European Championship match against Finland at Manchester Citys Etihad stadium in 2005.However, the team coached by Mark Sampson fell short on Sunday as Germany mercilessly exposed Englands defensive deficiencies.England defender Alex Scott scored an own goal after six minutes, and striker Celia Sasic netted twice to show just why the second-ranked Germans could win a third World Cup next year.They are the benchmark everyone is aspiring to be, theyve had years and years of winning ... and were trying to reach them, England striker Eniola Aluko said.The purpose of friendlies is to understand what its all about to play in front of a big crowd with the pressure.Aluko is used to playing in front of just a few hundred fans. The womens Super League, where she plays for Chelsea, saw crowds grow by 30 per cent in the 2014 season but only to an average of 728. The highest attendance was 1,292 last month for Liverpools title-clinching game against Chelsea.Demand for tickets at Wembley, though, exceeded the 55,000 allowed to be sold in the 90,000-seat venue where the capacity was capped due to London Underground engineering work. The 10,000 no-shows were likely because of the pooor weather and Tube turmoil.ddddddddddddBut with the game on free television — unlike Sundays Premier League games — this still felt like a successful launchpad to grow the womens game in England ahead of the World Cup in Canada.Its amazing the English association had a lot of people in the stadium, Germany defender Annike Krahn said. Even for the home of soccer it is not easy.In selecting an opponent for this landmark occasion, England sought an illustrious side rather than setting up a crowd-pleasing walkover. So the result was hardly a surprise: England had failed to win all 19 previous encounters with Germany.And if Englands women sought an equal billing with the men they got it when boos rang out around the stadium with each goal.The Germans are the best in the world and theyre going to punish you with clinical counter-attacks and clinical finishing, Sampson said. But weve taken so much from the game today and were in such a better place now than we were.One key difference between Sundays game and next years World Cup is the playing surface. The poor state of the Wembley grass — the result of three recent NFL games — perhaps vindicated FIFAs decision to play the games in Canada on artificial turf.If I could choose it I would never play on (artificial) turf but it wont be my decision, Krahn said. Football has to play on natural grass.But England seems content playing on plastic, rather than joining the legal action being pursued their American counterparts, who claim that not playing on grass is sexism.Playing on artificial turf might suit our style of play, Aluko said. There are technical differences, the ball bounces differently and runs smoother but you have to adapt to that and make sure youre ready.How ready England is to take on the worlds best next year remains unclear. But Wembley showed there is an appetite for further womens games, ensuring the national football stadium isnt just for mens teams.___Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '
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