Arsenal beat boring Bolton 1-0

Congratulations to Niklas Bendtner today, his goal put us 1-0 up after almost 90 minutes of extreme defensive football. The crowd were getting on the teams back towards the end, but with Vela and Bendtner on we managed to penetrate the Bolton wall. I am frozen, it was bloody cold in the Emirates today. Highlights and more analysis to come. Also well done Kolo, he captained the side to our 7th game unbeaten, and another clean sheet!

Arsenal 4 – 0 FC Porto: Highlights

Arsenal responded resoundingly to their critics tonight, outplaying Porto and winning 4 – 0 to put them top of Group G with 4 points.

To watch highlights of the whole game click here.

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Match Report

Arsenal started well, although there were a few close calls early on – a badly defended corner lead to Clichy clearing off the line, and a Porto shot skimmed the bar.

Van Persie looked so much sharper than on Saturday, and he got the first goal – a lovely move, leading to him sliding in Ade’s cross. Click to watch.

Ade got the second, heading down into the ground from a corner, the ball looped over Almu and in off the underside of the bar. Click to watch.

RVP scored again in the second half, this time taking it past the Porto defender and smashing it home with a left footed drive. Click to watch.

Ade finished the scoring from a penalty after Bendtner was brought down in the box. Click to watch.

Goals: Van Persie 31, Adebayor 40, Van Persie 48, Adebayor 71 pen.

Player Analysis

We could have scored more, Bendtner, Nasri, Eboue, Walcott all spurned chances. Walcott played well, as did Nasri – I thought he added an extra dimension to our play which was much needed. Clichy was also back to his best on the left!

Eboue, Bendtner and Vela came on, Eboue didn’t contribute greatly, except by making the crowd laugh at his imitation of Ronaldo step-overs – badly.. Bendtner, who I think is excellent, wasn’t sharp at all, but still looked ok. Meanwhile Vela performed fantastically and is definetly one to watch!

Overview

All in all a good, standard Arsenal performance, Porto weren’t great, but we kept possession well and closed them down, which made it hard for them. The goals were well taken and we could have had more. In the last 10 minutes we got a little complacent but we still won 4 – 0, a clean sheet is always welcome!

One point to make is that Porto never really got going, and we were lucky that Clichy cleared their best chance off the line. They like to play attacking and keep the ball on the ground, that is our game, and we can beat anyone at that on our day. The Fulhams and Hulls of the world are teams who you need to beat to win the Premier League.

4 points now in the CL – top of Group G, so lets take this result and push on against Sunderland on Saturday – another team who will be hard to beat.

Bolton 1 – 3 Arsenal highlights, a masterclass & Eboue’s first PL goal!

Arsenal came from behind at the Reebok to win 3 – 1 whilst playing some fantastic football. We now sit top of the Premier League on 12 points, at least until Chelsea play Man Utd later today.

Click here to see the match highlights.

Kevin Davies scored Bolton’s goal – a header from a corner in the 14th minute – as you would expect – and things didn’t look great.

But, Arsenal pummelled the Bolton box and after hitting the post twice and playing some great football, we pulled back to 1 -1, in the 26th minute, with Eboue’s first Premiership goal (although it’s debatable that he was offside), and then within a minute a Bendtner strike made it 2 – 1.

Bolton came back better in the second half, but couldn’t find the net. Clichy was tackled clumsily by Davies, who got a yellow (click here to see the foul). Clichy had to go to hospital for an x-ray. Meanwhile Djourou came on and played alright.

Hopefully Clichy doesn’t have a fracture, Wenger said afterwards he wasn’t sure. Clichy is now an intergral part of the team – amazing in attack and defence – without him we really lack on the flank.

Update – Clichy has only suffered bruising – and is free to join the rest of the squad – read on Arsenal.com

Walcott came on near the end of the game and really reignited the Arsenal attack. He looked fantastic and had several chances. His pace and balance were brilliant. He was at the centre of the third goal with a wonderful run from his own half, drawing six Bolton players, before giving it to Adebayor who crossed to the far post and allowed Denilson to kill the game off.

Wenger was euphoric afterwards:

“I thought it was a convincing, united, classy performance with strengths everywhere.

“We can always get better, that is the positive thing. We want to improve. As long as your attitude is right, you can go forward. We did not panic after going behind and that is the pleasing thing.”

Ahh, those words sound so good, how great it is to play fantastic football and win. It’s days like this when I love supporting Arsenal! Thoroughly satisfied Gooner!

Goals:

Bolton: Davies 14.

Arsenal: Eboue 26, Bendtner 27, Denilson 87.

Click here to watch more Arsenal videos.

Ajax 2-3 Arsenal: Video Highlights Amsterdam Tournament

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Ajax 2-3 Arsenal (2-0 H/T)

Click below to watch the goals:

Luis Suarez 34′
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 36′
Emmanuel Adebayor 66′
Nicklas Bendtner 73′
Emmanuel Adebayor 83′

Arsenal Line-up

Almunia

Sagna Toure Gallas(c) Clichy

Eboue Fabregas Denilson Walcott
(Wilshere) (Ramsey) (Bendtner)

Adebayor van Persie

Arsenal continued their winning ways today with a stunning comeback from two goals down at the Amsterdam Arena.

Ajax opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a beautiful Luis Suarez half volley, after Kolo had tried to head clear in vain.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar made it two in two minutes for Ajax, with his strike after a quick free-kick.

Second half

Eboue crossed perfectly for Emmanuel Adebayor to head home Arsenal’s first goal.

Bendtner popped up to get the equaliser in the 73rd minute after Ade had intercepted a backpass.

Arsenal finished the Dutchmen off in the 83rd minute with a burst into the box from Denilson who cut back for Adebayor to get the winner, and his second.

A decent performance from the Gunners, although they will have to sharpen up (especially the defence!) for when we face FC Twente in our first competitive match on Wed 13th Aug.

Sevilla and Jose Mourinho’s Inter drew nil-nil in the other match of the Tournament, we play Sevilla tomorrow at 6pm (BST) as the Amsterdam Tournament continues.

Arsenal’s Youngsters For Next Season

Whatever happens now we will finish in third place this year (click here for league table), and trophyless again.

Not all is bad though, our squad has matured and we have seen a vast improvement in the quality of football and the results. 3rd place is one up from last season, and the QF of the Champions League is one stage further. Had luck been on our side we would have gone further.

Now Flamini has become the first departure of the summer we wait and see who else will come and go. I’m not sure who Wenger will sign, I am pretty sure that we have seen the last of Lehmann and possilbly Gilberto.

At this stage the future of the club is in the balance. Lose players like Hleb, and the squad will be greatly weakened and unsettled. Keep the majority of the players and sign a few more gems and we could be very successful next year.

A few players who I expect to come through more next year are:

Nicklas Bendtner

A very good player, good passing and can run at defenders as well at being great in the air. He has scored 9 this season, and although not a perfect partner for Adebayor, he will start more next season.

Theo Walcott

One of the top young players in the Premiership. His style and pace are fantastic. He has started more and more this season and proved himself, i.e. at Anfield. Expect him to start on the right wing, and more up front next year. Maybe some more goals too.

Alex Song

Badmouthed by some fans, he has proven his quality in the new year, first at the ANC, and then with some good performances in defence. A possible replacement for Flamini, or maybe a new centre back

Armand Traore

Looks like he may get a chance on the left wing after his conversion from left back. He looked good coming on against Everton, and provided the cross for the goal. Him and Clichy would be a menacing duo on the left flank, pace, power, and passing in attack and defence.

Carlos Vela

Another much talked about player. He has done well on loan at Osasuna, and Wenger will recall him next season possibly for a starting line up. Don’t know loads about him. Let me know your impressions in the comments.

Just a quick summary, if you think of any more then feel free to add them in the comments section.

Also congratulations to Arsenal Ladies, double winners, the most successful women’s team in the land.

Flamini In Milan. Highlights Arsenal 1 Everton 0

Highlights here.

The game itself was a little dull, Bendtner got a good headed goal and we won 1-0. Wenger said:

“You could see that it was a little bit an end of season game.”

It was, we played some good, football at times, but nothing special. A few points though:

  1. Song had another solid game at centre back, I like him more everytime I see him.
  2. Jens came on for the last few minutes, obviously a farewell appearance.
  3. Traore came on and did well down the left wing, his cross set up Bendtner’s goal. I wouldn’t be suprised if we see him there next year, he looked exciting!

Gallas Strips At Arsenal, Emirates Stadium

Gallas Gets Naked

The players came out to do a farewell lap of the pitch, Gallas threw his shirt into the crowd just in front of me, I didn’t get it though, Jens staying on afterwards, and getting a standing ovation from the fans. He said:

“I had one or two tears in my eyes, It was a great farewell for me. This farewell will always stay in my heart.”

He has been a great player for, even if he is mental. I hope he does well in the future.

Flamini seemed a little awkward, and it seems he has flown to Milan to agree terms with AC. No suprise there, we could see it coming. Not much we can do, he was fantastic this season, but we’ll just have to find a replacement.

Derby Highlights: Six Goals and Third Place is Ours

An easy win at Pride Park saw Adebayor grab a second half hattrick, taking him to 30 goals this season, to secure at least a third place finish for the Arse.

Derby 2-6
(HT 1-2)
Arsenal
McEveley 31
Earnshaw 77
Bendtner 25
Van Persie 39
Adebayor 59
Walcott 78
Adebayor 81
Adebayor 90

The game was enjoyable, unless you were a Derby fan, we played well without ever really moving out of second gear.

For highlights click here.

Derby came at us in the first half but the game didn’t start at a great pace, neither side had much to play for. We rested players, Denilson starting in midfield, and Walcott on the left, with Bendtner and RVP upfront.

Went 1-0 up through a defensive mistake allowed RVP to set up Bendtner, but Derby equalised soon after through a knock down from a free kick crossed into the box.

Another defensive error from Derby, saw Van Persie leave his marker, and chest down a lovely ball from Toure in the penalty area and place the ball in the top right at close range.

Van Persie strained his thigh, so was taken off for Adebayor at half time.

Van Persie just keeps struggling to recover. He has been out for most of this season. He is an amazing player, just never seems fit for us.. I hope he can get over it for next year, because with him in the side we are much much more dangerous in attack.

Ade scored his first after half time, only for Derby to sneak one back through Rob Earnshaw. We immediately stepped up the gears and scored 2 more, a lovely goal from Walcott, and Ade’s second. We were just toying with Derby creating numerous chances and passing excellently.

Adebayor got his hattrick in extra time after a defence splitting pass from Fabregas allowed him to take it past Carroll and put it in the net.

Wenger had this to say:

“This team has a great future, I believe we were really unlucky not to win something this year.

“It is always a problem not to win trophies but I love this team, love the way they behave and the way they play.

“This was a typical Arsenal display, we were always dangerous and were good technically. They all impressed me.”

Here’s to the future..

Almunia & Should Arsene Invest In A Striker?

Two men have signed a new contract at Arsenal.. No Flamini isn’t one.. It’s Manuel and Fran Merida. The man who has taken Lehmann’s spot this season and performed well as the new ‘No.1’ or at least I think so, and our young Spanish prodigy currently on loan in Spain with Real Sociedad.

I said earlier in the season that I wasn’t sure if Almunia was a long term option in goal but the more he plays the more I feel he is a solid part of the team. His deal is long term and Almunia himself said:

“I talked to my wife and I said I did not want to go back to Spain to play. Hopefully I can finish my career here”

Most goals we concede are due to defensive errors and generally this season I think he has done a sterling job. Well done Manny!

Injury news ahead of Saturday is that, Van Persie is only 20% certain to play, and Adebayor also has a slight knock which Wenger will review today.

Recently while reading some forum posts, I came across an interesting post about our strikers, basically saying that we need the chequebook out this summer to sign some strikers. I thought I’d give my own opinions and find out yours.

Adebayor: Works hard all over the pitch, sometimes a little too hard. Has definitely got the talent to perform at the highest level. Scored 19 league goals this season, but has come in for a bit of stick recently. I think it’s undeserved, he has had many different partners this year and has often had to lead the attack on his own. He’s a versatile, pacy player who has a great future.

Van Persie: Well, a man with a lethal left foot and bags of talent, but hasn’t had the chance to shine due to terrible injury problems. I saw his appearance stats and he has only played about as many games as Justin Hoyte, not really a first-team player, in his time here. Flashes of brilliance i.e. volley against Charlton last season, but needs to be injury-free to really be useful.

Walcott: Great potential for the future, pacy, intelligent and able to score goals. He got off the mark, in the League , against Birmingham in that 2-2 draw this year and is certainly a bright hope. I think he has warranted a starting position, at least on the right wing for his recent performances. Maybe not ready for the pressure of being a first choice striker?

Bendtner: Another one with great potential, but he hasn’t lived up to it, occasionally we have seen great things, his aerial ability, great control and touch and a good ability to make space, but he is still young and needs to mature.

Eduardo: He was starting to get into his goalscoring role before his injury and looked like the goalscorer we have been looking for, out for 9 months now after his horrific leg-break, hopefully he will come back with goals, but you can never be certain he will be the same player.

So in summary, Ade, a great player – needs a good partner up front. RVP, injury prone, but could perform. Walcott and Bendtner – great potential but need more experience, and Eduardo is out injured for a long period.

It seems to me that Arsene should consider making an investment in the summer… What do you think? Feel free to get involved, just leave a comment!

Arsenal Snatch A Vital Point

The game on Saturday was not the best I have seen Arsenal play this season, 1-1 against Aston Villa. I would have been disappointed with that result had you asked me before the game, afterwards I think I will take the point. Villa are a team who are very hard to beat and we did struggle at times, 1 point is better than none!

To see the highlights click here.

Villa scored in the 28th minute through a Senderos own goal. Gallas lost Agbonlahor while trying to claim offside and the England U-21 striker put in a low cross which bounced off Senderos at the near post and past Almunia. It was disappointing and we did seem jaded to be honest. At points I though Gallas looked really lost and the same for Adebayor. Although in the opening 15 minutes we didn’t play badly, once Villa had taken the lead they played well, with very organised defence and made a lot of quick counter attacks utilising the height of Carew and Agbonlahor as well as the pace of Ashley Young.

Clichy looked quiet for much of the second half, he did his job but normally he does rampage up and down the flank, he looked a little subdued, whether that was because of last week or because Ashley Young was a handful I don’t know. In any case things were looking desperate as the second half went on. Theo had made some good moves in the first half, and played well on the right cutting in but little came of our attacks. Bendtner came on for a struggling Diaby and made some difference, but the bench looked sparse, Arseblog seems a little worried about this, and true, when I saw Gilberto and Denilson come on for Flamini and Senderos I did think it looked like a sign of a threadbare squad. In any case we kept pushing for the equaliser. As I counted down the minutes of extra time and the stadium emptied disgracefully(a very sad and annoying sight which shouldn’t be happening to a great and successful team like Arsenal), I became more and more nervous, there was still some hope, and in what must have been the last 10 seconds, just as the Villa fans started singing in celebration at their victory, Clichy put a deep cross into Adebayor at the back post who headed it down for Bendtner to control and finish from the edge of the 6-yard box.. The relief was incredible, everyone went crazy and it felt good to get something so so late out of a game which looked lost!!

Wenger said after the game:

“We had a hangover from last week definitely – you could see that in the first-half…I must say that I was impressed by Villa. Until the last minute they didn’t give us any space, or time on the ball and they are team who are very difficult to beat…I believe the point we gained today will have a big impact on the Premier League, and staying top helps. You know you go through a spell like that and I believe that the point gained can have vital importance.”

That point could indeed be crucial, now that we are sitting only one ahead of Man U in the table. This title race is one of the most tightly contested of recent years, it doesn’t make for easy watching!! Arsene makes a good point that even going through a bad spell we are still gaining some points, its good to see the likes of Bendtner and Theo getting the crucial goals when others aren’t playing so well, Gunnerblog picked up on that here.

One bad point that Wenger picked up on was the Villa fans singing songs about Eduardo which weren’t so nice. I heard them myself and really it was just sad. Wenger says:

You expect better from people who come to football stadiums. It looks that intelligence and stupidity can have no limits. Unfortunately stupidity has won.”

There was some trouble between fans after the chants and several have been arrested, one Aston Villa fan is in hospital for head injuries after falling down steps according to the Telegraph.


We have to face Milan at the San Siro midweek now, the players will have too pick themselves up for this game, we are the underdogs, but that will suit us. Milan are masters of two-legged matches and we will have to aim for a goal, meaning they wll have to push forward and get two. That might give us more room to counter attack, but we shall see how Wenger plays it. Hopefully some of our injured players like Robin VP will be back, but that doesn’t look too promising at the moment. We shall have to wait and see.

Sevilla vs. Arsenal tonight in the Champions League

Arsenal are playing Sevilla away tonight in our penultimate Champions League game. Arsene is resting Gallas and Adebayor, he defends his choice here. He makes a good point, that those two have played a lot of games recently, and the players coming in should be almost the same standard. Clichy has also not travelled due to a thigh problem he picked up at Wigan.

Against Slavia he made 8 changes and the team looked very unincisive, but tonight there is the incentive that a win will mean we top the group (and therefore play our first second round match away). Having said that even a draw leaves our fate in our own hands, with Steaua Bucharest at home to beat after. The younger players will hopefully take this as encouragement. I trust Wenger on this one, the players coming in are of good quality and fatigued and injured players are no good to anyone. Wenger says:

“Bendtner will get a start. He has played well when he has come on. But he had not the best game in Prague so I want to give him another chance.”

This is great, I think that Bendtner has looked really good when he has come on in games, especially against Wigan, he can win headers and is tall and powerful, as well as having passing, pace and goalscoring ability. Steve Bruce, who had him on loan last year with Birmingham, said he would love to have him back, so I reckon he has the potential to be a first team player. Lets hope he takes this chance to impress!

Kanoute says here that he is ‘relishing the challenge’..

Congratulations to Hleb, he has won the Belarus Player of the Year award, he must be getting used to it as he won it in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006 and was the 2004 runner up!!

Keown, the old stalwart has commented on Fabregas and I couldn’t agree more with him when he says:

“Cesc is the orchestrator of everything. He’s developed into an outstanding player and looks like a natural winner,”

What more is there to say!!!

According to the Mirror Henry wanted Tevez at Arsenal…

An interesting link here about Arsene’s rebuilding..

Ok then, here’s to a win tonight!!