Porto 2 – 0 Arsenal Highlights: Little meaning in lacklustre performance

We lost for the seventh time this season last night, with a pretty abject display against Porto. Highlights here.

Not very much to cheer about, I’m pretty glad I’m not one of the fans who travelled all the way to Portugal for this one. We started alright but the passing was decidedly poor, and apart from a bit of magic form Ramsey we looked crap. Eboue started and was indifferent, but then again so was just about every other player.

The thing that worries me about last night is that we actually had a reasonable team out, but performed awfully. The defence wasn’t first choice, but Silvestre, Djourou, Gallas, Eboue is probably one of our stronger choices, and up front we had Bendtner and Vela who have both shown great potential, while in the middle Ramsey, Diaby, Denilson and Song also all have potential. But the team didn’t gel and players didn’t put the defensive effort in. Take Gallas’ sliced clearance in the second half, or Diaby’s bad defence when we conceded.

A mere point from this game could have put us first. It doesn’t make a huge amount of difference in terms of who we draw next round, they will all be hard games, but you would have thought we could have put a bit more effort in. Hopefully we will see some first teamers back and a good performance against Middlesbrough on Saturday away.

Porto vs. Arsenal Build-up

So we head to Portugal for the last game of the gruop stage. It’s not our strongest squad – a mixture of youth and older players, with a lot of key faces missing.

1. Manuel Almunia
21. Lukasz Fabianski
10. William Gallas
18. Mikael Silvestre
40. Kieran Gibbs
41. Gavin Hoyte
27. Emmanuel Eboue
20. Johan Djourou
17. Alex Song
15. Denilson
16. Aaron Ramsey
47. Mark Randall
2. Abou Diaby
43. Fran Merida
19. Jack Wilshere
26. Nicklas Bendtner
12. Carlos Vela
50. Jay Simpson

This isn’t unexpected, we have already qualified, it would be nice to top the group though, a draw would do for that.

Eboue comes back in, Arsene suggests that playing away from home may be an easy way of sliding him back into the squad and regaining his confidence. Any games he gets should help him forget about the Wigan game.

So looking for some points and some experience for the kids, some of whom may soon be on loan, as we don’t have the Carling Cup on the agenda anymore.

It won’t be easy tonight, away in Europe never is.

Arsenal 1 -0 Dynamo Kiev Highlights: Steady performance by Fabregas’ Arsenal

Arsenal 1 – 0 Dynamo Kiev: Bendtner ’87 (ITV Highlights)

A steady performance by Arsenal tonight, qualification from the Group stage guaranteed, and overall a very good start for Fabregas’ captaincy. We didn’t really make a huge impression but we controlled the game and got the crucial goal – Fabregas’ quick reaction from the drop ball – putting a long ball to Bendtner who slotted away neatly to confound the pink boot bashers.

I think there were some good signs, but we shouldn’t get too excited, as Wenger said: with the press it is easy say you are in crisis one minute, champions the next – the reality lies somewhere in between.

With Arsenal we have the potential to do great things, at the moment I still think we need a defensive midfielder. Song was alright, but he not really up to the job right now, neither is Denilson who played on the wing tonight. They are good, but not good enough yet.

Gallas seemed settled at the back which is good – I know I said maybe a fresh start without him is worthwhile, but he is a good defender and if he can adjust to his new role in the team then he is worth keeping.

Ramsey and Vela played very well, I think they have a great future at the club, as does Wilshere – now our youngest Champions League player ever.

So a decent win, we now need to build on this and hopefully it can instill confidence for Sunday’s game against Chelski. I don’t know how we will fare at the Bridge, the Premiership is a different game to the CL, but if we work hard we can get a result. A clean sheet tonight was very welcome too.

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Arsenal – Dynamo Kyiv Line-up

Arsenal: Almunia, Djourou, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas (c), Song Billong, Ramsey, Vela, Van Persie.
Subs: Fabianski, Wilshere, Bendtner, Gibbs, Hoyte, Merida, Simpson.

Going to be a very interesting game, especially in light of recent events. Wenger has learnt from the selection mistakes on Saturday – Vela and Ramsey start. This might give us some attacking flair.

Hope Fabregas has a good game to start his captaincy, come back to visit ArseSpeak for the highlights later!

Arsenal 0 – 0 Fenerbahce highlights, dull draw..

Its not often that Arsenal don’t score in a game, especially at home, and tonight was one of those days. Missing Theo, Ade and others through injury, we seemed to lack incisiveness.

Fenerbahce came to play defensive football. After the humiliation in Istanbul they wanted a point at least, and to regain their pride. I think they did that. The game was almost all Arsenal pressure, but it didn’t really come to anything.

Ramsey looked alright, Djourou and Silvestre had a great game together in my opinion. Bendtner’s passing wasn’t great though, and we just lacked speed and cutting edge in front of goal. Nasri wasn’t on great form either.

Highlights here.

Fenerbahce 2 – 5 Arsenal highlights – A European night to remember

Last night Arsenal beat Fenerbahce in style and with class. The game was exciting and had plenty of goals. Wenger had wanted to silence the notorious Turkish fans, and I think we did – 3-1 up after 22 minutes!

There were some notable highlights for us, Diaby came back and looked very, very impressive – he got a good goal. Nasri continued to look good, Ramsey scored after coming on very late in the game, and Adebayor got a goal. Also Song, playing at CB, scored a lovely goal in the second half. Oh, and Walcott got a great goal.

To view the highlights click here.

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Wenger told the press:

“We had a young team and I’m proud we came in and tried to dictate the game in a heated atmosphere,”

He was particuarly impressed by Ramsey – who looked so relaxed in such a big game.

Almunia led the team well and denied the Fenerbahce strikers all night – one of his best games for us I think. Only problem was the defence looked a little weak. Maybe a SIlvestre – Djourou partnership would be a little more stable.

Silvestre spoke after the game:

“It was not easy to come here with a good atmosphere against us and I think we coped not too bad with the experienced players we played against.

“It was a good game to improve and learn from. Hopefully we can get some consistency.”

Silvestre among other things against Fenerbahce

So, Arsenal have travelled to Istanbul to play Fenerbahce in tonights CL game. It’s always tough in Turkey, and we have a couple of new faces in the team.

Silvestre will start alongside Djourou in the centre and we may see Song or Eboue at right back again. I’m happy with the centre back pairing – Silvestre got better as the game went on against Everton, and Djourou is decent. I would prefer to see Eboue at RB, as Song doesn’t look comfortable there.

Nasri and Walcott should take the wings, as they are our best choices, both were fantastic against Everton, and hopefully it will be Diaby and Cesc in the centre. Nasri picked up a knock on Saturday but should be back.

Ade and RVP upfront sounds good to me too.

Almunia is taking the captain’s armband – Gallas, and deputy Toure both being injured.

“I am very proud, it is a great thing to wear the armband. I am a bit surprised because I am the oldest player on the pitch.

You can say that again Manuel – of course you are the oldest tonight – this is Arsenal remember?!

So we go into a game with a few key players out, and it is a hard game – playing away in Europe is very hard – I think Wenger knows that the home results put you through, but we have quality in the team, and I hope we can put a few goals past Fenerbahce tonight!

Come back after the game for the highlights – subscribe to our news feed here to make sure you don’t miss out!

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!


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.

Wenger – changes and ‘Champions League focus’ – pre-Porto

Arsene Wenger spoke on a large range of issues in the press conference ahead of the Champions League game against Porto.

It has been widely expected that there will be changes in the line-up that lost to Hull City, but a knee-jerk reaction will not be the correct one.

The BBC has the video of Arsene Wenger’s pre-match press conference.

Wenger said there would be changes:

“There will be changes, certainly,” the Arsenal manager said. “I will see how many, but there will be changes.

“There were enough ingredients (in the Hull game) to make me physically sick.

“What we delivered was not good enough and we know that. I believe that is more down to the mental side than anything technical.”

“What is important now is to recover and prepare for the next game,”

He then calmed speculation that the changes were being made as punishment through demotion to the bench:

“Punishment? No, you know sometimes you make changes because you consider the other team, you consider the balance of your team, sometimes because one player is not at his best,”

“If a player or two do not play tomorrow it is not a punishment, it is just because of a rotation in the side. You cannot play every single game with the same 11 players.”

“I believe the goal we conceded where we are less guilty is the corner against Hull because it was a well-taken chance,” he said. “[Hull’s Daniel] Cousin is very tall and very good in the air. It was a perfect header and that can happen to anybody.

“You gain experience through the games. At the back is where we have experience because you cannot say with Clichy and Sagna and Kolo and Gallas that we lack experience. Will Kolo play in midfield? No, not at all.

“As for Vela, it’s difficult to go into any individual case. I believe Carlos Vela is a player of the squad and the whole squad will be used over the season. You cannot go from one team to the other and change 11 players because we just lost one game.

“I believe what is happening is that players have shown quality behind the first team and that is very interesting for the future of the Club.”

On the last CL game against Dynamo Kiev he defended the team:

“The side we played against Dynamo Kiev was very young. Theo Walcott is 19, Alexandre Song is 21, Denilson is 20 and even Cesc Fabregas is only 21,”

“It is not easy to win away in the Champions League with such a lack of experience.”

“This group is tougher than in previous years. It is definitely the most even group we have had because there are no easy games.

“That makes the match with Porto more important. We know in the Champions League you qualify with 10 points, so if we win our home games we are through.

“If we can do well, then the other teams will take all the points off each other and that is why I think even draws from our away games could prove good results because all the teams will drop points.

“There is no obvious weakest team, so every game will be very important and we will have to be at a high level for every game.”

He believes that we need to regain a ‘Champions League focus’ for every game:

“I believe the Champions League is a different game,”

“We have learned from the Hull match that you need a Champions League focus in every game.

“If we are guilty of something it is that we couldn’t get our focus to the right level to take our chances.

“The analysis of the game shows that we had enough opportunities to win. On the other hand, they made 100 per cent of the few chances they had. So credit to them and damage to us.

“You have not to make too much of it. We lost a game we did not want to lose but we have enough strength inside the Club and inside the team to deal with that. It can happen but it cannot be repeated.

“I don’t think we needed to be woken up but it was a big disappointment because we felt that we had enough quality to win the game.”

On injuries the main news is that Nasri is back:

“Song has still not recovered, I had him on the bench on Saturday but he did not feel comfortable and he had a little setback.

“Nasri is fit and is in the squad.”

Gallas echoed Wenger’s comments talking about how he wants to prepare:

“What we delivered against Hull was not good enough, we know that, so the important thing now is not how many games we can lose this season, but preparing well for Tuesday night.”

All in all you can tell that the team are very dissappointed about the Hull result. Losing at home is never pleasant, and especially not against teams like Hull.

It is very, very worrying that we have lost for a second time this season to ‘smaller teams’, and that we conceded from a corner yet again – we look extremely weak when defending set pieces.

All I can hope is that the team can recover and be back to their best for the Porto match, or we will be in trouble in the CL, and pressure will build from the media and fans.

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Arsenal salvage a draw with Dynamo Kiev – Watch the highlights here!

Arsenal were lucky to come away with a point tonight after a 1-1 draw with Dynamo Kiev in front of 20 000 in the Ukraine. Dynamo went ahead after a penalty was harshly awarded against Bacary Sagna, and they defended hard afterwards.

Arsenal left it late to equalise, with a low Walcott cross bouncing its way to Gallas at the far post who bundled it home.

Click on the links below to watch the goals.

Dynamo Kiev 1 – Bangoura 64′ (pen)

Arsenal 1 – Gallas 88′

We looked good early on, and there were great chances for Adebayor and Fabregas. But after half time Dynamo seemed to improve. They piled on the pressure, and eventually the penalty was conceded.

Walcott impressed yet again tonight, his confidence seems sky high at the moment, and he is fulfilling his potential right now.

Interestingly Sagna came off for Eboue in the second half, suggesting he may have picked up a slight knock.

I think we were lucky to salvage the point, but I’ll take it.

The stats tell the tale – a game where Dynamo defended and tackled well, although Arsenal had the most attacking pressure, and eventually managed to break down the Ukrainians.

Dinamo Kiev Team Statistics Arsenal
1 Goals 1
0 1st Half Goals 0
2 Shots on Target 5
8 Shots off Target 4
7 Blocked Shots 3
3 Corners 8
17 Fouls 14
2 Offsides 4
4 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
84.9 Passing Success 86.1
14 Tackles 21
85.7 Tackles Success 66.7
46.6 Possession 53.4
44.3 Territorial Advantage 55.7


Dynamo Kiev: Bogush, Betao, Diakhate, Mykhalyk, Nesmachniy, Vukojevic, Yussuf (Asatiani 90), Yeremenko, Aliev, Ninkovic, Bangoura (Kravets 90).
Subs Not Used: Shovkovskiy, Ghioane, Morozyuk, Shatskikh, Olexander Romanchuk.

Booked: Nesmachniy, Bangoura, Vukojevic, Diakhate.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna (Eboue 78), Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Walcott, Fabregas, Song Billong (Bendtner 70), Denilson, Van Persie (Vela 83), Adebayor.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Ramsey, Wilshere, Djourou.

Booked: Sagna.

Ref: Luis Medina Cantalejo (Spain).

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