Sunday, 27 December 2015

Rival Lines: Junior Stanislas worries You Are My Arsenal

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Arsenal v AFCB
Blogger Interview: You are my Arsenal
Twitter: @YouAreMyArsenal

I wanted to give you readers some idea of how the Premier League is spreading its wings across the Atlantic, especially following AFCB's tie-up with Peak6. So when it came to contacting an Arsenal blogger I got in touch with Michael Price on the You Are My Arsenal site that operates out of the USA. If you did not think the game was big over there check out the You Are My Arsenal website's twitter account - 70.6k followers!

CC: How did You are my Arsenal get started over in the USA?

YAMA: We started in 2008 when the US supporters club made substantial changes to it's posting policy on what was then really the only place online for US Gooners to congregate. We originally started out as a place for a few of us to discuss matches and the team in general. I'm based in Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, East coast, USA.

CC: How do you see the games in the USA - do you go to a favourite local drinking hole or do you live stream at home - and do you miss not seeing Arsenal games live?

YAMA: Most of the games I watch either from the comfort of my own home or live in one of two Gooner-based pubs local to me. Yes, not seeing them live is difficult. Prior to 2000 I was over at least twice a year to see them.

CC: What is the amount of support for Arsenal over on the States and are they a team that many US fans have really taken to for any particular reason?

YAMA: I don't have any concrete numbers but we are one of the largest clubs supported in the US. When they were over in New York two summers ago - they had to cancel events because they completely underestimated the response and the venues were too small. The New York and Philadelphia supporters clubs are two of the largest in the US have been recognised by the club as their own stand-alone official clubs. If you didn't come to Arsenal a long time ago, I'd say recent converts like the way the team plays, likes its a challenger and probably one of the clubs that is on US TV all the time.

CC: I picked Arsenal pre-season to win the Premier League in 2015-16 - was it the right team to back?

YAMA: Hard to say after getting drubbed 4-0 to Southampton on boxing day. But I had them pegged on to win and I am going to stick by that. Even with the loss on Boxing Day, it's not the end of the world. Especially given the uncertainty in the league this season.

CC: Are the number of London derby matches the biggest worry to Arsenal fans when it come to making a viable title challenge every season?

YAMA: I don't think so. I actually think it lends to the strengthening of the side. Any derby is always a big match. London derbies are for the king of the capital. Obviously though, the North London Derby is the biggest and most meaningful.

CC: Who do you believe has been Arsenal's best player this season so far and what Premier League game has been most memorable?

YAMA: Mesut Özil bar none. And 3-0 win against United sticks out so far. We completely annihilated a team that we've not beaten with any regularity in the last few years.

CC: Olivier Giroud has been banging in the goals but are you convinced about Theo Wallcott being a number 9?

YAMA: I think the tandem gives us two different options up front. We've got Giroud with strength and hold up play (And that near post diagonal run) and we've got Theo who is looking to exploit the gaps between the back 4. I do think Theo is making a strong case for himself as a number 9.

CC: The Gooner's midfield has been tremendous with Ozil, Cazorla and Ramsey so can you see Wilshere being injured as a big loss this season?

YAMA: It's a big loss because it hurt our ability to rotate and rest someone like Cazorla who is now injured until March. Wilshere would've made it easier to rotate and likely gotten Cazorla rested throughout the first half of the season.

CC: Joel Campbell has been finding his feet in the team, but do you think he is better than Oxlade-Chamberlain?

YAMA: I think it's a toss up between the two. Joel Campbell seems better in keeping the ball than Oxlade-Chamberlain but the Ox offers more hunger going forward. Both need improvement in their decision making in the final third.

CC: Do you think Alexis Sanchez will want to move on if he does not win silverware this season?

YAMA: No. I think Sanchez wants to be the main man and at Arsenal he is that. In all of his moves he moved for playing time. I think he at a minimum sees out his contract then decides.

CC: Does Arsene Wenger need to buy players in January and who would you suggest he buys?

YAMA: I do think he has to buy. I'd like a DM and Winger for cover.

CC: What have you made of AFC Bournemouth's start to the season?

YAMA: I've been impressed with the run of late. They've not given in and really took chances when they had to and had some good wins against the likes of United and Chelsea.

CC: Are there any AFC Bournemouth players that you think Arsenal need to be particularly wary of?

YAMA: I like the looks of Junior Stanislas. He clearly has bought into what Howe is doing and I think he can cause problems for a team that is going to be smarting after the Boxing Day massacre.

CC: What is your score prediction for the match?

YAMA: Head says 0-0 draw
Heart says 1-0 bounce back win for the Arsenal

CC: Many thanks for You Are My Arsenal taking some time out over the busy Christmas period to answer Cherry Chimes' questions. Please do take a look at the You Are My Arsenal site which asks Is it Arsenal's year? There's also a match report on the Man City top of the table clash and I expect a preview of the AFC Bournemouth game will soon be up on the site.   

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