As Marouane Chamakh left the field last night, his name reverberated around the stadium, and for good reason. The striker has been a breath of fresh air for an Arsenal side which has all too often struggled with injuries up front. Together with the passing of Wilshere and Fabregas, and the movement of Arshavin, Arsenal pulled a new Braga side apart last night, scoring six goals.
Technically Chamakh is gifted, but this is only one of his strong points. He has the ability to create space for others, in holding the ball up superbly with a mixture of balance, strength and exquisite control. His touch is good enough that he generally holds on to the ball, even in very difficult situations, and his aerial strength means he can win headers and make knock downs.
I’m still reeling from the fantastic performance Arsenal put in last night. Say what you want about Porto, winning 5-0 in the second round of the Champions League is some achievement -especially after being 2-1 down in humiliating fashion in the first leg.
Arshavin provided a lot of the key moments in the game, setting up three goals. Overall I think everyone put in a good performance, and gave a good account of the team.
Arsenal dominated Celtic yesterday to reach the finals of the Champions League, with a good display of passing football. Sadly the headlines today focus solely on the dubious penalty Eduardo won for the first goal.
There was little or no contact, and if it had been given against us I would be upset about it. The fact is though that this happens in football. As Wenger said Babel blatently dived in the CL QF at Anfield 2 years ago which knocked us out of the competition. I have no idea why Eduardo went down like that, but he isn’t the sort of player you expect that of, and it seems to be a one off.
The press seem to be having a field day over Eduardo’s actions, in a qualifier where we were always going to go through. Players like Drogba have a reputation for diving and never seem to get this sort of reaction. That is what I don’t understand. Eduardo wasn’t right, but there are much worse offenders in English football.
Aside from that the game was a straightforward affair, we passed the ball around neatly, and Eboue’s performance was a highlight! He made several nice turns and passes, and his goal topped it off. He was playing in the front three and often was playing as centre forward which was interesting.
Arshavin, Ramsey and Wilshere came on in the second half and all looked impressive. Arshavin showed why he is one of the best players in Europe at the moment, scoring a goal and making an impact within minutes of coming on. Denilson also performed well.
Most pleasingly the central defensive partnership of Vermaelen and Gallas was again solid last night. Vermaelen didn’t miss a header, and made several interceptions as did Gallas, and both made excellent forays going forward.
A good performance, now we need to see the draw this afternoon for the group stages. As well as that we have the small matter of a league tie at Old Trafford on saturday afternoon.
First Half: Mannone Eboue Traore Toure Djourou Denilson Ramsey Song Wilshere Eduardo Bendtner
Second Half: Szczesny Sagna Silvestre Vermaelen Gallas Senderos Ramsey Van Persie Wilshere Eduardo Arshavin
Thanks to the brilliant Arsenalist for the highlights.
Arsenal won 5-0 yesterday against the Hungarians Szombathelyi Haladas, with Bendtner and Eduardo grabbing two goals each and Van Persie finishing up with a penalty.
The win was straightforward with good performances from Bendtner and Wilshere. It was interesting to see Traore playing, he is another quality left sided player.
The other interesting development is whether Toure will play a part in the next few games, as there are reports that he will sign for Man City by this weekend.
Eduardo gave an interview after the game where he seemed in high spirits, and denied that he has been injured in pre-season. It would be good to see him come into form this season and fulfil his potential now that Ade is gone.
All in all looking at the line-up it seems our team is stronger than we think, seeing as top quality players such as Cesc, Rosicky, Walcott, Clichy, Nasri and Almunia did not play. Even if Toure is leaving there is still quality in the squad which can come to the fore. This season has to be the one where our young talent matures.
Kieran Gibbs put on a lovely performance last night for England U-21s in their friendly against Azerbaijan, and was in a class of his own. He took two goals, and you can see them in the videos below. Good stuff from the young guy, cue newspaper articles on Arsenal’s ‘production line’ of quality left backs..
A friendly against Azerbaijan isn’t much to go by, but I think we all know that Gibbs is quality, and the more experience he gets the better he will get. I’m not expecting too much next season from him though, Wenger won’t be putting undue pressure on him.
In other news it looks like we may have signed Ajax defender Thomas Vermaelen. The rumours surrounding the story have been growing, and now the Guardian are reporting that we are going to spend around £10 mill on the 23 year old.
We’ve needed a new central defender for some time, and I think everyone knew that Silvestre’s signing last season was not the answer. I think that defence is the key for a successful title challenge next season, lets just hope that if he does come in that Vermaelen can do the job.
Meanwhile it looks like Milan are going to snap up Dzeko, the striker linked with us, and Senderos apparently wants to stay at AC too. If we get some cash from him then it should go straight into reinvesting in another defender.
“As far as I am concerned I would like to stay in Milan because I do not think that there is a place for me at Arsenal.”
If Senderos stays at Arsenal it wouldn’t be a bad thing, but I think we should look for someone of higher quality.
Yesterday I posted this video up on Twitter as my goal of the season:
A brilliant goal from Grafite, in Wolfsburg’s 5-1 demolition of Bayern Munich. I think it’s only fitting that Wolfsburg have won the Bundesliga this season, and they deserve something to cheer about – it’s their first piece of silverware in 64 years! Gives Arsenal fans a little to think about!
The commentary is hilarious too, anyone know who the commentator is?
What are you favourite goals of this season? Leave a comment below, or tweet me @arsespeak with your replies!
In keeping with the theme Setanta are running an FA Cup goal of the season feature at the moment, their list is up here, and you can e-mail in if you think they’ve missed one!
Comfortable is what you could call this result, and the 3 points have now secured 4th place in the league, and Champions League qualifiers next year. We are now unbeaten in 21 league games, and have equalled a club record scoring at least 3 goals in the last 5 away games.
Arsenal’s youngsters dominated for most of the game, although Portsmouth did have their chances to even the scores. Wenger rested most of the first team, including Almunia, opting for Djourou and Song in central defence – Vela and Ramsey also got starts, whilst Arshavin captained the side.
“We were sharp, composed and mobile with a great attitude.”
The changes were obviously made in order to give as many players as possible a rest before the crucial Champions League game on Tuesday. Walcott and Bendtner were both taken off in the second half – Sagna and Song were the only players from Wednesday’s team to play 90 minutes.
Randall, Bischoff and Merida got their chances in the second half as subs and the team looked impressive, by the end of the game we were in complete control.
Bendtner’s first goal was a header from Arshavin’s cross which David James dropped and let itno the back of the net. That will add more weight to the fans calling for Almunia to get his chance in the England squad.
Then Arshavin was brought down just before half time in the box, and a penalty was given although Arsh himself thought it was a clean tackle. Bendtner slotted home, and then in the second half Vela added another.
The only other event of note was Portsmouth’s red card – Arshavin was through on goal and Pamarot the last defender took him down. The resulting free kick came to nothing, but Pompey were down to 10 men with little chance of getting anything from this game.
The visiting Arsenal support was in high spirits, there is a little hope that we can beat Man Utd on Tuesday, and now that the league position is secured, the Champions League is what will make or break this season. It’s going to take a more composed performance than the first leg to go through, but we still have an outside chance of making it.
A scorcher of a game at Anfield produced eight goals, and four came from none other than Andrey Arshavin.The game was nearly ours when Arshavin scored his 4th in the 89th minute. Anfield must have been thinking it was 1989 all over again, but Benayoun grabbed a point for Liverpool in injury time.
Arsenal defended abysmally, and because of that we conceded easily – the left side got mauled – Liverpool were pounding away at us and we found it hard to pass the ball. Gibbs and Silvestre looked weak at times and that is to be expected, and Sagna was at fault for Liverpool’s first equaliser.
On the other hand we were clinical in attack – 4 shots on target and 4 goals.
Arshavin took his first goal, slotting in a Fabregas cross in the first half, after Nasri played him through. Benayoun then equalised early in the second half after Sagna cleared the ball across his own penalty area to Kuyt.
Torres made it 2 – 1 and it seemed that the game was lost! However, Arshavin then capitalised on slack Liverpool defending to make it 2-2, and then made it 3-2!
Torres made it three all after fooling Silvestre to gain more space. But in the 89th minute Walcott countered from a corner as Liverpool committed men forward. He took the ball forward and played Arshavin through on goal and he coolly took his 4th, making it 4-3.
When Arshavin made it 4-3 on the 89th minute I thought the game was ours, 1989 style. Up for Grabs now moment, Kenny Dalglish vacant stare moment. It wasn’t to be. I don’t know how the 4th assistant found 5 minutes added time, but it was inevitable the way Liverpool were pressing our shaky defence that they would get another goal.
Benayoun headed home after shambolic clearing from Arsenal allowed Liverpool to get a cross in injury time.
In any case it was a great game, highly entertaining, although I was disappointed that we never really got going. Arshavin more than made up for it with his performance – he really is a very, very special player.
This keeps the unbeaten run going. Wenger said that 3 points would have been better than one but in all fairness we were very lucky to come away with a point. It was the induvidual brilliance of Arshavin that got us the point.
The first time that 4 goals have been scored at Anfield in the league since the 1940s and who else could do it? What a rollercoaster of a game! How I’m wishing that Arshavin could play in the Champions League.
“We know he can finish but now he is transferring that to the games. His level of confidence has gone up”
The game progressed well and we passed it around nicely. Defensively Toure and Silvestre looked solid in the centre. Gibbs looked alright, although he wasn’t seriously tested, and Eboue did well. In midfield Song was solid, as were the attacking Fabregas, Nasri and Walcott.
The final goal was from a penalty, which at the time I thought looked like a foul on Walcott, but seeing the TV replays it seems there wasn’t contact – Theo tripped on the ball. In any case the goal was deserved, and Van Persie put it away – Adebayor and Eboue got him to do their little dance cameo in celebration.
The atmosphere was very good, and it was nice to hear Robert Pires get a standing ovation several times during the match, and at the end of the game, this was his goodbye to the Arsenal fans.
We now face Man Utd in the Semi’s after their 1-0 win over Porto in Portugal from Ronaldo’s 40 yard strike. Wenger commented:
“I would not like speculate on any weakness of Man United. They will be strong on the day, but it should encourage us to be at our best”
It’s going to be an interesting run in – we now face Chelsea twice and Man Utd at least three times in League and Cup competitions combined. Our form is excellent – but this is a huge challenge for the Arsenal team. Their chance to prove themselves is now.
Arsenal came back from a goal down against Wigan to claim all three points in front of 22000 at the JJB Stadium.
Mido’s early goal gave Wigan the lead, but Walcott equalised after 60 minutes, thanks to Arshavin’s skill in the box. Then Arshavin played a through ball to Fabregas who set up Silvestre to score on the edge of the 6 yard line. 2-1!
Arsenal countered for their 3rd goal – Arshavin picking up a poor clearance on the edge of the box to slot home, and Alex Song of all people dribbled past two Wigan players and into the box before shooting to make it four!
A fantastic result for us – just a pity that Man Utd and Chelsea both scraped wins against Sunderland and Bolton.
We also lost Djourou to injury which worries me. We are already suffering after losing Gallas and Clichy. Today we ended up with Gibbs and Silvestre playing in defence – as long as we keep winning it isn’t a problem – but defensive instability was the reason we leaked so many goals earlier this season.
Champions League Qualification
Wenger said before the game that the league was the priority for the future, the Champions League and the FA Cup the immediate priority. This victory took us a step closer to Champions League qualification, as well as keeping us on the tails of the top three.
We will miss Arshavin on Wednesday, he showed today how much he has brought to the team, he creates chances and scores goals – but he can still help us in the league and the FA Cup.
Oh and also, Happy St. Totteringham’s Day to you all; Spurs can no longer finish above us in the League, haha.