Thursday, 5 November 2009

Rampaging russian catalyses dutch demolition

It is easy to take for granted, after all it is now almost ten seasons in a row of qualification for the knock out phase of the Champions League, what a fantastic record, it's just the cherry on top that Arsene is after now. No one really expected Alkmaar to pose much of a threat and this proved to be the case.

Clichy was out with what I suspect is a stress fracture of a pars interarticularis in his spine, it is common for this to be present on both sides of the vertebra and this is the case for Gael as his previous stress fracture was on the other side at the same level. Sagna was rested, Manuel remained in goal, while Samir Nasri started his first game following his return from injury as part of the front three.

The football was slick and cut Alkmaar to ribbons, Andrei Arshavin seemed to be at the heart of everything, the movement and pace was simply too much for the dutch champions to cope with. The first goal from Cesc saw some pretty dodgy keeping but it was still a fairly decent effort from the skipper. The second goal was Nasri at his best, recieving the ball and turning neatly in one movement, he created space for himself and buried the finish low into the bottom corner, top class stuff. The slick passing and interplay for the third and fourth was awesome, two lovely finishes as well from Cesc and Diaby. Manuel was done by an excellent bit of trickery with the eyes for the Alkmaar goal, predicting the centre Manuel was completely undone as the ball was fired past him at his near post.

Overall job done again, it would be nice to tie things up with a win against Liege in the next game. It is heartening to see the team clicking together so nicely, we are defending far better than we have for a while, Vermaelen is not only an excellent aggressive defender but he is also a great leader on the pitch. Gibbs now has a great chance to cement himself into the starting eleven. The young midfield are growing together, Song is looking a force to be reckoned with, Cesc has been finding top form again over the last month, while the unfairly maligned Diaby does appear to be improving and improving his decision making, Up front the abundance of talent is frankly incredible, last night we had Bendtner, Walcott and Vela not even involved for various reasons, but we still had so many options to choose from. If we can keep things going through the grim winter months I will seriously fancy our chances come May.


Uncle Mike said...

What a day. First Arsenal dominates the defending Dutch champions -- who are a good team, but they'd be middle of the table in England -- while at the same time, on adjoining screens, Liverpool and Rangers have last-minute chokes. You should have seen the Scousers who came in: They were stunned. And I still say Celtic fans sing that song better.

Then came the World Series. There were thousands of people watching it on the big board in Times Sqaure, nearly all wearing Yankee caps. As far as I know, only one was also wearing a soccer-team scarf, and it was mine, and it was Arsenal. The Gunners were represented alongside the Bronx Bombers last night.

It's ironic: This was one of the few times that Times Square was full of locals instead of tourists, and yet there was I, a local, wearing a foreign team's paraphernalia along with that of the team involved. And just one person commented... favorably. A great night.

Anonymous said...

i thought we played alright. not the greatest. honestly. not bad, just a decent game.

the score, to me, wasn't indicitive. just like Man U.'s win or the Olympikios game (where it could have been more)

what I am really saying is that the AZ goalie was terrible, one of the worst individual performances i've seen at the level. the goal Almunia let in was pretty weak too.

i'm not saying the passing wasn't slick or the hustle wasn't there, just that it wasnt that great of a game. a truer score would have been 1-0.

Gibbs did play real well.


Ted said...

Either the general standard of football teams in the Premierleague and the Champs League has fallen noticeably this year. Or Arsenal have played better than the last year or so.

I suspect the truth is somewhere in between. But I have no doubt that this Arsenal side is playing well enough to deserve its current position in the tables.

For me, the biggest differences this year are the 4-3-3, which suits our midfield players so much better (although maybe not Eduardo and Bendnter, who are classic 4-4-2 strikers). That said, we still have not seen Vela and Walcott in this system, who will both love it. As 1979 says, the options are unbelievable.

The other big difference is Vermaelen. Who is the best defender Arsenal have had since Keown retired. We actually now have a quality defender who is excellent in the air, good on the deck, and passionate about what he is doing.

Of all the millions splashed around by Real and Citeh over the summer, Arsene's £10m on Vermaelen looks the shrewdest transfer of the summer.

Uncle Mike said...

Vermaelen sure went from "Who's he? Do we really want him?" to "We love him, he's the new Keown" real fast. All that remains is for him to get in some Man U punk's face and tell him off, like Keown did to that schmuck Van Nistelrooy.

I hope it turns out to be Vidic. I can't stand him.