Wednesday 25 February 2009

Arsenal 1 - 0 Roma. Half way to Rome?

A much improved performance from pretty much every player on the pitch. And also a much improved atmosphere within the stadium to recent weeks as well. It does make you realise how much fun the Champions League can be, and how important it can be to maintaining the support of the fans. We do get fed up watching rubbish like West Brom coming to park the bus in front of our misfiring strikers. But a team with Totti, De Rossi and Baptista trying to play some football suits both our players and our fans more.

So, as the song goes, we're on our way to Rome (obviously the song doesn't quite go like that) and I am pretty sure we know how to get there for the next leg. Here's hoping we'll find a way to be back there in a few months time.

To the game itself – the intensity in our play from the first whistle was spot-on. We played with a high tempo and looked to carry the ball forward at every opportunity. On the few chances Roma threatened Almunia looked like the #1 so many claim we are lacking. Diaby and Eboue both carried the ball with feet, and with Nasri roaming the pitch and Denilson mopping up and keeping the ball circulating it was hard to see how we have struggled in recent weeks.

I personally felt that Roma were walking a red-card tightrope very early on – some highly cynical “tackles” and an x-rated lunge from De Rossi on Nasri set the tone. But this was Europe and the referees are, unbelievable, worse than the standard wanker-in-the-black we get every Saturday. Theatrical tumbles were rewarded with free-kicks, the second half kicked off with 9 Arsenal players on the pitch (poor Kolo has to leave the changing room last, and I think Billy was just dropping the kids off at the pool) and somehow Mexes wasn’t sent off for bringing down Van Persie when already on a yellow.

However, as is the way of the Arsenal and us Gooners this season there were some complaints. We didn’t take our chances (Bendtner and Eboue the most guilty) and dropped the pace in the last 20 when Song came on. I personally would have put Rambo in there, as he is more suited to replicating the more expansive style of Diaby. News on his injury will be important as the difference in our style when he starts ahead of Song is noticeable.

All in all a good night, and the best overall performance for many a week. I am sure we will follow this up with a spineless 0-0 against Fulham this weekend, but such is a Gooner’s lot.


Ted said...

Lets give Fulham the dose of revenge they deserve.

Anonymous said...

i truly believe that we will go through.. it was a good game with lot of chances, pitty we didnt score more goals. i m delighted with Denilson, Diaby and both centre backs

Obsinho said...

Agree entirely mikso - we are seeing the player tha Billy Gallas always thought he was.

Feel really sorry for Denilson this season - even Zidane would look pedestrian if he was being played with a new midfield partner each game (more so if your choices were SOng & Eboue). Though we don't do player bashing here.

1979gooner said...

I was just about to write my review, thanks for saving me the trouble ted!

Agree, I thought Diaby was absolutely awesome as he was against West Ham, he is finally looking the business. Nasri was excellent, Denilson was tidy as always, Eboue tried hard but the end product was invariably poor.

Bendtner looks low on confidence, he could have had a hat trick on a another day.

Also agree that the defence is looking solid again, finally, having said that we will face sterner tests.

The main problem we have is that Diaby is our only midfield daddy, and by 'daddy' I don't mean defensive, I just mean big and strong and able to get up and down the pitch. We really need another player of his kind in the squad, as when Song came on we looked much much weaker.

Good win, should have been game over, hope we don't live to regret those misses, good that we have conceded no away goals though.

Obsinho said...

'twas my review 19179. I'll choose to take the comparison to Ted as a compliment.

Of all his games, last nights was certainly not his worst, and he has played well many times this season. But I just do not like Song. He is a competent and tidy player, but he just doesn't excite you in anyway.

His positional awareness and reading of the game is awful, and his lolloping round the pitch is irritating. Watch the SUnderland highlights again, and watch Song jogging back on the occassions Sunderland broke into our half - he looks lazy.

Compare that to Dennis Nilson, who busts a gut from the 1st to 91st minute. Or RvP who would kill his mother if it meant he would win the ball back if he had lost it.

Even Eboue has it in him to show effort, and he understands the game (his excuse is that he is a bad human being so just does the wrong thing too often).

Don't like "writing off" a player, but in the context of the performance of the team, Song just really got on my tits.

1979gooner said...

whoops! didn't notice that small detail, keep up the good work though.

I agree on Song though, I don't like writing off an Arsenal player, however I feel he has been given an adequate chance to prove himself and he's failed to show the quality needed.

He isn't up to it defensively as you say and he doesn't provide anything offensively.

He's a squad player and nothing more.

We need a another Diaby style beast for the squad, otherwise we have just Diaby. Fuck I'm beginning to love Diaby.

Ted said...

I did post a report this morning, which you clearly read and was far better than Obsinho's, but he posted one immediately after me, the slimy git. But because I'm a nice bloke and that, I deleted mine so as not to spoil little Obs' day. I thank you please...

Diaby is a 4-5-1 European / big game specialist. I'm not sure that he easily fits a 4-4-2 formation, but with Song a little off-key (geddit) then maybe Diaby could play in the middle with Denilson? Its worth another go I guess.

But Would I abandon 4-4-2 to fit Diaby in to a 4-5-1? No way.

Obsinho said...

Firtsly you deleted your blog as it was crap, and secondly Diaby is not consistent enough to get excited about.

He was great last night, but he is bad more regularly than he is good. He is a good option from the bench, and Song is a good option as a bench.

Ted said...

what plaque would you put on the Song bench?

"Dedicated to the memory of Patrick Vieira 1998-2005"?

Obsinho said...

"Please take your Dog Mess with you - £50 fine possible"

I think that would be a more fitting testament.

1979gooner said...


remember Diaby has never had a decent run due to his injuries,

he has improved a hell of a lot this season in my opinion, he has been awesome in his last few games,

the signs are encouraging,

PV4 took a while to develop, he was erratic to start with,

I really think Diaby has what it takes if he can stay fit, I didn't think that a few months back

Anonymous said...

Most definitely enjoyable to see us playing with the high intensity we have been so lacking of late. The change in personel (notably the return of Diaby who was I thought terrific) and us being more suited to Europe helped.

Of course we must not forget that, essenstially, it's only half time but I don't believe we will make that mistake.

As for Fulham, I'm surprisingly confident, despite the string of recent 0-0's. They've been pretty shit of late and hopefully them having beat us at their place will serve as the inspiration behind our victory. We have Arshavin too who I was very impressed with against Sunderland and he should be closer still to full match fitness which will I reckon be vital.

Of the performers and non performers I have to agree with the other commentors in their praise of Nasri, Diaby and Denilson. Bendtner was less impressive but I still feel he's some way short of being a player that can effect games from the start and is more of a super sub. Of course, a lack of alternatives mean he's one of few options we have to call upon at the moment though Vela might have something to say about that.