Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Stuttering but satisfactory
With the low morale thanks to recent events and results, combined with several key players out this was never going to be Arsenal at their best. Getting through to the next round was all that mattered and a 1-0 victory did that very nicely, it hit the proverbial spot like a pork pie to an empty stomach.
Kiev were solid as a unit, cheated effectively and we never really had enough width to open them up, they also created some decent chances on the counter, looking pretty incisive at times. In fact a cracking Almunia save in the second half really saved our blushes, going one nil down at that point could well have been curtains. The Kiev red card was rather amusing, they do say that cheats don't prosper.
We did have a lot of possession and created a few decent chances, for example Ramsey's toe ender and a couple of opportunities from some excellent set pieces, largely delivered by RVP. Playing Denilson and Ramsey was never going to give us width, both players did reasonably considering, while it was good to have the mini maestro Cesc back at the helm, his passing did make a big difference. Song had a decent game overall, breaking up play well most of the time despite a poor spell early in the second half.
Gallas was solid, Clichy excellent and Djourou capable out of position at right back, I still have yet to see why Arsene brought Silvestre in from the mancs, he looks slow, cumbersome and doesn't do much good in a game. Vela worked his socks off up top and put in a good performance, RVP did ok. The subs Bendtner and Wilshere did superbly, what a finish from the young Dane, while young Jack showed why he had a very good claim to have been a starter tonight. In reality though, if we play like that against Chelsea then only one side will be winning the game and it won't be us.
Overall thought it was what the doctor ordered, hopefully we can build on this victory and use it as a platform. Cesc is a popular young man and the captaincy will be a lot of responsibility for him, I hope he can handle it. I also hope that William Gallas can put all the recent events behind him and start playing football to the best of his ability again, I really don't think Silvestre is the right partner for him, Djourou is better in every department for me and must start playing regularly in the centre back slot. If Nasri and Walcott remain out then Wilshere must start at Chelsea, we need to have width and he can provide it. Just the final word for Manuel Almunia, our one match captain, great save, keep up the good work.