Portsmouth 0 – 3 Arsenal Highlights: The second team gets a run out

Portsmouth 0 – 3 Arsenal: Bendtner 13, Bendtner 41 pen, Vela 56. Highlights from the Arsenalist

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.

Wenger:

“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.

Arsenal Injuries ahead of Portsmouth and Man Utd

The Arsenal squad has been living under a plague of injuries this season and this week has been no exception.

Eduardo is out for the next three weeks with a groin problem, which means his season is basically over.

Silvestre, who I thought performed ok against Man Utd also has a groin injury as does Van Persie. Gael Clichy is still ruled out with a back problem too.

Central defence is now down to the bare bones – Toure and Djourou will have to start in central defence against Portsmouth, with Alex Song the next choice.

In midifled we are ok, but Wenger will rest some players ahead of the Man Utd game on Wednesday.

Fourth place is almost ours, and the Champions League is the biggest competition for us by far this season.

It is a huge challenge to go into this second leg 1-0 down. The strikeforce is also looking thin, although Arshavin can obviously play in the league.

Diaby can play against Portsmouth, but he shouldn’t play on Wednesday – he doesn’t contribute a great deal to the team, and until his attitude changes he will always be a liability in my eyes.

Expect changes this weekend, but I hope we have the quality to see off the Portsmouth team this weekend.

Wenger has his say on managerial departures as Arsenal finally prepare to host Cardiff

This is a guest post by sports writer Thomas Rooney

It has been a very busy week in the Premier League with Tony Adams and Luiz Felipe Scolari both leaving their respective roles as manager of Portsmouth and Chelsea. Many have had their say on both decisions, but now it is the turn of Arsene Wenger.

The Arsenal manager’s opinion is very significant for both men as he once managed Adams and Scolari was boss of one of Arsenal’s biggest rivals in the Premier League.

Also, it is interesting to see what Wenger – who has been at Arsenal for many years – makes of managers getting the chop after just a few months.

So, what does he make of it? Well, speaking about Adams, he says that the former Arsenal defender will make a good manager eventually and that his spell at Portsmouth was extremely unlucky.

Wenger said that he didn’t believe Adams was given the ‘needed time’ at Fratton Park and that it was a ‘big surprise’ to see him sacked after only 16 Premier League games. Overall, Wenger believes that a young manger has to be given time to show what they can do.

As for his views on Scolari and Chelsea, Wenger has questioned how ‘the atmosphere inside the club’ affected the decision to sack such a ‘well-known manager’ after just six months. The Arsenal boss then went onto admit that he believed the whole process to be a ‘massive surprise’.

Despite Scolari’s exit though, Wenger thinks that Guus Hiddink will do a good job at Stamford Bridge because he rates the Russian boss ‘very highly’.

Onto more relevant Arsenal matters, well there is no football for the Gunners this weekend. Instead, they will have to wait until Monday evening where they can finally take on Cardiff in the 4th round of the FA Cup.

The original game at the Emirates was postponed because of the weather, but now that it is finally time to play the match, Arsenal will be determined to book their place to face Burnley in the next round.

As we all know, Arsenal are without a trophy for a while now and if they are to achieve one this season, the FA Cup is probably their most realistic chance. It is a competition that Wenger’s men should put lots of effort into because they have the ability to go all the way.

In terms of team news, well Monday night should be the first chance for Arsenal fans to see long-term injury victim Eduardo make his first-team return.

Overall, it could be a very special night at the Emirates, but this would only be the case if victory was achieved so that the aim of winning a trophy come May is still a very realistic one.

Arsenal 1 – 0 Portsmouth Highlights. Arsenal get the points that matter.

Arsenal 1 – 0 Portsmouth: Gallas 81

Yesterday we saw Arsenal beat Portsmouth 1-0 with a decent performance. Highlights here.

We played poorly at times, but that is understandable for a squad down to the bare bones, and lacking almost all confidence.

We were lucky to escape some of Pompey’s earlier efforts, but as the game stretched during the second half our quality started to show. Ramsey and Vela came on to good effect, and 10 minutes before the final whistle we saw Gallas rise to put a Denilson free-kick beyond David James.

We lacked the creativity that Fabregas provides, and it might be more telling against better opposition, but with some January investment we can survive.

It was always the result that would matter, having so spectacuarly capitulated in the previous three games. I’m happy with the win, and hopefully we can build on the result.

Click here to subscribe!

Nwankwo Kanu: Quality, Quantity and Wenger – Video

Arsene Wenger took a massive gamble in 1999. He signed Nwankwo Kanu up after the player underwent a massive heart bypass operation. Kanu had previously played for Inter Milan, but heart problems threatened to end his career. Nwankwo Kanu told Canal he owes his career to Wenger, who took the chance to sign up a talented player.

Kanu was a mesmerising foward, all legs and feet. His gangly frame masked one of the most skilful players around; an African superstar, Nigerian legend. Unlike his date of birth, his tricks were unforgettable.

Doctors said that Kanu would never play football again. Wenger thought otherwise:

“I owe him a lot because he believed in me,”

“He gave me self confidence and faith. And I think I paid him back because I did very well with Arsenal.

We all know that there is a good dressing-room atmosphere at Arsenal, and not many players have complaints about the way things are run, as Kanu says:

“We were all together, like a family during this period, and I scored special goals, especially against Chelsea, three in 15 minutes.

“He gave me the chance to have fun playing football and permitted me to dream on.”

Kanu’s third goal in 15 minutes saw Arsenal come back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Chelsea at the Bridge.

“…with the puddles deeping at Stamford Bridge, it was Kanu who kept his feet to give Arsenal hope with a quarter of an hour remaining.”

Click here to read the BBC match report from that memorable day.

It’s well known that Harry Redknapp tries to recreate a ‘Wenger style’ in his teams, Kanu commented:

“I feel great because I have found the same atmosphere than at Arsenal here. This state of mind resembles Arsenal’s and helped us win things.

It’s probably true that the quality training and diet that Kanu recieved at Arsenal revitalised his career and has allowed him to continue playing against all odds.

Read about more Wenger signings – Kaba Diawara the bargain buy that never made it. Or watch more Classic Videos.

Wenger thinks the title will be ‘tight’ this year

Arsene Wenger believes that this year will be one of the toughest in the history of the Premiership. I would agree with him, Chelsea look much stronger and teams like Man City and Spurs have spent a lot this summer.Last year was hard, but this year may be even harder.

“This season you will need a high number of points and you will have to be consistent, I don’t know how many we’ll need, ask me again in January then we will have a better idea.

“Last season, I feel we did not get enough credit for what we did. We were very close. We made 83 points in the League and I have won the title with 78 before. But the competition was very high last season and looks like it will be the same this season.”

“But you might have a surprising team coming in to challenge like Man City, Tottenham and maybe Portsmouth. It will certainly be very tight and very interesting.

“Manchester City have an advantage because they do pay a lot of money.

Man City especially have an unimaginable amount of cash behind them, and it will be used – they managed to get Robinho, I think they could sign almost anyone!

Wenger commented on the January transfer window:

“This year, for the first time, the January transfer window opens when we will have only played 19 games.

“I have played seasons here when there were 24 games before then – the second part of the season is longer now.

“Teams can get that little bit more balance by buying players in the transfer window.”

Wenger seems happy that the window is opening after fewer games, it gives us the chance to bring in much needed support for the long haul. It is a bit worrying how much money Man City have, the new owners seem to be determined to create some sort of ‘super-team’ like the way Real Madrid are ‘Galacticos’.

Whatever happens, expect Wenger to be on the look-out in the next window, and a lot of action from the likes of Man City!

UEFA Cup for Flamini and Diarra

Mathieu Flamini left Arsenal for Milan because they are a big club, and they are paying him loads of money. He won’t be in the Champions League next season though!

If anything though he seems to have taken a step back right now. He is not guaranteed first team football there, Gattuso the fans’ favourite plays the same role, and when Fiorentina won 1-0 they sealed fourth place, leaving Milan in fifth.

This means that next year the ‘big club’ will be playing in Europe’s second tier. Who would you rather play for, the third placed team in England, with a young squad full of hope, or an aging fifth placed Italian team?

Diarra, another ex-Arsenal central midfielder will also be playing UEFA Cup football next season with Pompey after winning the FA Cup.

There’s no doubt this guy has talent, but he has to be one of the most obnoxious players to have ever played for us.

He is already looking to use Pompey as a stepping stone after leaving Chelsea and Arsenal because the competition for places was too intense.

Tony Adams had this to say:

“I know why Arsène let him go but I’m not going to say, have you asked Lassana?”

“You have to think outside the box”

This suggests that there were other reasons for Diarra’s departure other than a lack of games, maybe the fact he is a bit of a shit-stirrer. Good riddance Arsene!