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.

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

Teams

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).

The Arsenal Curse – back in action? – David Bentley, Flamini, Hleb..

Bentley needs to eat something
Bentley needs to eat something

Arsenal Insider runs a nice piece here, basically saying – lets all laugh at David Bentley.

The guy has become a hated figure at Arsenal with all his bitter comments about the club and Wenger since he left. After signing for Spurs this summer for about £15 million he is now part of Spurs worst ever start to a season.

They are bottom of the league – of course we have only played 3 games, but it’s still funny!

It is even sweeter because Bentley has made a lot of comments about how we don’t bring through English talent, that’s why he moved. But Theo just scored a hattrick for England, maybe Bentley’s failure at Arsenal is more because of his lack of talent than Arsenal’s policies!

The Spolier also lists some more unfortunate Arsenal leavers – Hleb was injured on his home debut for Barca – out for 4 weeks, they drew 1-1 against Santander.

Flamini isn’t doing great at AC Milan either – 100% loss rate in their games so far, and no Champions League this week, just a UEFA Cup tie on Thrusday!!

Click here to read the latest Arsenal news on ArseSpeak!

A good weekend for Arsenal, see Blackburn 4-0 highlights here!

Arsenal finished a good week with a fantastic 4-0 victory over Blackburn at Ewood Park this weekend. After Theo’s midweek hattrick for England, we had a goal glut on our hands. Theo – looking so, so, so confident, set the first up – for RVP to score, and then Ade went on to get a hattrick of his own, with assists from the likes of Ramsey and Denilson.

Wenger had thought of leaving Theo out, but decided against it:

“The problem with scoring three times for the national team is that everyone expects you to score again. Football isn’t like that.

“What is most important is that he has a good team attitude, tries to work hard and the rest will come with time.”

We looked fantastic and outplayed Blackburn, I was worried we would stumble here, but the opposite was true. Theo was confident, Ade got goals, RVP got a goal and the team looked good, plus the fact that Man Utd lost 2-1 to L’pool could only make it better!

Ade talked about the team performance, he will be happy that he got his goals in, I hope it can be a confidence booster for him. Ade is the player we rely on most for goals, so it was good to see him get the first few out of the way, lets hope they keep coming:

“People kept asking me when I was going to score my first goal in the league this season.

“But I told them it is more important that the team wins. We showed good character at Blackburn and that will help our confidence.”

Click here to view the match highlights.

Jack Wilshere came on, becoming the youngest player to play for Arsenal ever, and Wenger had this to say about him:

“I bring English players slowly through,” Wenger told Arsenal TV. “He is another one who will soon play for you [England].”

Exciting stuff, and you can’t help but get excited when you see some of the great youngsters we have coming through. I just hope they can match their talent with trophies..

Theo takes three, impresses on the international scene

Afternoon all,

I’m not the biggest fan of internationals, but I have to say I am delighted that Theo got a hattrick for England in Croatia last night.

Click for video highlights of goals: One, Two, Three

He needs to score more goals for the Arse, so getting a hattrick for England should boost his confidence. Croatia don’t lose at home so the 4-1 drubbing was a pleasant suprise. He commented on his goals:

“I tend to cross those quite a lot. So I thought I’d be a bit more greedy this time.”

He told the press that he just took his chances, after advice from David Beckham:

“Becks told me to be a bit more greedy in the box, then afterwards he said I was probably too greedy!” Walcott said.

“He has been absolutely brilliant to me and he just gave me so much confidence. He’s given me praise and it’s unbelievable coming from David.”

Theo says he’s not getting carried away though:

“I’m not going to get ahead of myself.”

See video interview here.

Praise came from all quarters, scumbag Rooney said:

“He offers something a bit different. He is probably the quickest player I have seen.

Capello:

“At this moment he is fantastic psychologically and physically.

“It is very dangerous for defenders against Walcott. At this moment, he is difficult to contain.

Wenger on Tf1:

“That’s superb news, he did pretty well for England. But this means I’m going to have to offer him more money (laughs)!”

Great news for Walcott, lets hope he can transfer those goals to the Premiership for Arsenal!

A Cultured Left Foot gives a good roundup of the rest of today’s news.

Gallas is Captain + Theo + Amsterdam Tournament

Afternoon all,

First up, Walcott has been telling us about how his first choice number was 8 this season, but his good mate Vic the kit man told him that was Nasri’s so he had to go for 14. It’s just a number to him though!

“Thierry was my idol. He looked after me when I was first here. It was brilliant to train with him every day and watch what he did. He was the best striker I have ever seen. So I suppose it’s like Ade having No 25 because Kanu had that.

“But as I say for me it is just a number.”

Also Wenger backed Gallas to be captain again this season at the Amsterdam Tournament press conference.

See what you think of the comments, it sounds as though Gallas is a bit of a stop gap captain really, Wenger is just giving him another season, and is going to see how it turns out. I think he’s waiting for Cesc to mature a little.

“William will be captain again”, “Kolo Toure will be his assistant.”

“He got a lot of criticism after what happened at Birmingham last season but until then everybody said he was a fantastic captain.

“He acknowledges that he made some mistakes and he has learned from it. Remember William was not the most gifted player when he was a young boy. He is where he is because he has a good evaluation of his own performance. That is what makes the big players. If you speak to a big player after a game they can always assess what they have done right and wrong. Therefore he has analysed himself what happened last season.

“But William is an important player in the team, plays in a position where it is easier to be captain and as well some players who could be captain are still young.

“He deserves another go to show his commitment and then we will see where we stand at the end of the season.”

It sounds like Wenger thinks he’s not the best player for the job. Interesting that he says he wasn’t the best player when he was younger.

But I think it’s fair that Gallas has this season to prove himself. He did alright last season, just a few problems, like the Birmingham game. As always – if the team are doing well everyone is happy, but Gallas becomes a scapegoat when we fail.

I think that he is a decent choice for captain, but he isn’t the long term option, and Wenger’s comments highlight that.

In the tournament we’ve got Ajax and Sevilla, both teams we have faced in the Champions League. We kick off against Ajax at 8.15pm tonight, and Sevilla tomorrow at 6.

Enjoy the game Gooners!

Huddersfield 1 – 2 Arsenal: Video Highlights and Trophy Celebrations

Huddersfield 1 – 2 Arsenal (0 – 0 H/T)

Goals: Michael Flynn (75), Sanchez Watt (79), Nacer Barazite (87)

Arsenal played Huddersfield earlier this evening at the Galpharm, coming from behind to win 2-1.

The game was part of Huddersfield’s Centenary celebrations, and was dedicated to Herbert Chapman, a manager who achieved great success with both Huddersfield and Arsenal throughout the 1920s and 1930s. After the game Arsenal lifted the first Herbert Chapman Trophy.

The line up was a young one, Wenger taking no risks with the upcoming Champions League qualifier against FC Twente on the 13th August:

Fabianski

J.Hoyte G. Hoyte Djourou (c) Gibbs

Lansbury Randall Ramsey Wilshere

Walcott Vela

Trophy Celebrations

Arsenal’s youngsters got a run out here and came away with a decent win. Ramsey looked very good in the centre of the park as did Randall, who is surely one to watch for the future.

Half-time Substitutions

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas ->Gavin Hoyte
Emmanuel Frimpong -> Aaron Ramsey
Jay Simpson -> Carlos Vela
Nacer Barazite -> Theo Walcott
Sanchez Watt -> Jack Wilshere
Vito Mannone -> Lukasz Fabianski

65th Minute Substitutions

Havard Nordtveit ->Henri Lansbury
Kyle Bartley -> Johan Djourou
Rui Fonte -> Justin Hoyte

Arsenal 1 – 1 Szombathelyi Haladás – Video Highlights

Hi all, a few hours ago Arsenal played their second preseason match, this time in Hungary, against Szombathelyi Haladás.

The Hungarian side took the lead first before Walcott equalised in the 41st minute.

The Arsenal line up was more experimental, mainly composed of younger players. The team played reasonably, but looked fatigued in the second half.

Click here for the highlights!

Arsenal line-up:

Almunia (Vito Mannone H/T)

Sagna

G. Hoyte (Henri Lansbury H/T)

J.Hoyte

Clichy (c)

Walcott

Denilson

Ramsey (Mark Randall H/T)

Wilshere (Francis Coquelin ’62)

Vela (Armand Traore H/T)

Bendtner (Jay Simpson ’62)

Goals:

Krisztian Kensesei (24)

Theo Walcott (41)

Gallas, Fabregas, Walcott and Almunia show off new Arsenal kit in leaked picture

Arsenal Kit 08/09

Arsenal players Gallas, Cesc, Theo and Almunia are modelling the new home kit in this leaked picture from The Other Football, a Florida-based blog.

The picture was sent in by a reader, it seems to confirm rumours of the 08/09 kit designs which were leaked earlier this year.

I like it, but it does seems a bit similar to the 00/01 and 01/02 home kit. I would have preferred all white sleeves, but Nike probably wanted to vary the design a little.

The goalkeeper kit looks a bit odd!

What do you think now we have actually seen it on the players?

Update:

I think Arsenal.com are about to announce the kit lanch, check this link, at the time of writing only the headline has been written, possibly a publishing error!

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