Saturday 19 September 2009

Easy 4 the Gunners in the Sun

The warm september sun bore down in Islington this afternoon, and the 59 odd thousand Gooners in the Emirates were treated to something of an exhibition of football from an Arsenal team that looked to have recovered well from the trials of a mid-week game away in Belgium.

Vito Mannone retained his place in goal as Almunia remained in the sick bay, Rosicky dropped to the bench, Eboue came in to the advanced wide right position in the 4-3-3 alongside RVP and Eduardo, with Diaby/Cesc/Song in midfield. I said on Friday that i wanted to see an improvement from Arsenal, and Clichy and Cesc in particular. And 2 out of 3 was not a bad return by any means.

However, I will start briefly with the negatives, which for me was the somewhat lacklustre 90 mins put it by our captain Cesc Fabregas. I don't want to dwell on it on an afternoon when we won 4-0, but I was unimpressed, again, by the lack of workrate from Cesc. I think you could count the number of tackles and headers he won on one hand. Yes, he is a nice player in possession and scored a goal, but he is no Rosicky.

Anyway, moving on to the game itself, the first 45 mins was a slow builder. A lot of toil and possession but a shortage of clear chances. Clichy played with composure down the left, Diaby meandered around a bit, RVP and Eduardo looked productive, and the Eboue tried the worst Hand-of-God impression I have ever seen when he could not quite reach a good cross from Eduardo. It was truly embarrassing.

Thankfully, man of the match Thomas Vermaelen trotted up for a corner about 10 minutes later and thundered the ball into the back of the net. He scored an absolute belter in the second half with his left foot. In fact, it was so good that I assumed RVP had hit it at first. Plus this guy was excellent defensively all match. He attacks the ball in the air, heads it with ease, is good on the deck, looks quick to recover from any minor mistakes he makes. He looks proper.

So 1-0 at half time and in theory in the game was still in the balance. Wigan had done very little indeed, but there is always the feeling that this Arsenal side will concede, so we needed a bright start to the second half.

In some ways we got it, but the second goal took a bit more time that I would have liked. However, when Vermaelen continued to join the attack and drifted to the edge of the box, I had no idea that he was about to unleash the ball into the top left corner. He is our top scorer this season and has been a rock at the back so far.

The third goal was an Eduardo show. He volleyed against the post, the rebound worked back into the box and eventually fell to his right foot, but Eboue got a good touch on the shot to claim the goal, but Eduardo deserves a lot of credit. The 4th came late on to add a nice gloss, a good cross from Bennndtner squeezed in by Cesc. Alex Song also deserves a mention after a good second half, Clichy was much improved, and Rosicky looked a class act again in his 25 min appearance as a sub.

So an easy three points in the sun for the Gooners, and 9 points from 5 games now begins to move us back in the right direction. This was a nice one and hopefully we can build on it. There is a lot of potential in this team and we are now beginning to play some football AND get the results. Sometimes.


Jeff said...

Love your writing, Ted.

K man said...

Easy win. Wigan were poor. Some good performances but also some indifferent ones. Goal aside, Fabregas looked disinterested and put in very little work. Diaby was very mixed - few tackles and regularly gave the ball away. Eduardo played well but is not happy on the left of the new front three - he's a striker.

The positives were Vemrmaelen and Song. Classy performances from both.

Will be good to have Almunia and Arshavin back soon. With Rosicky looking good Wenger is going to have some tricky choices soon. Let's hope the injury curse is over.

Last word to Eboue - silly hanball but all action performance. I have a funny feeling he is going to become a real fans' favourite.

Anonymous said...

Agree about Eboue. He was shite in midfield last season but the new advanced 4-3-3 seems to suit him.

Anonymous said...

my problem with cesc was not the work rate, i thought he gave away too many balls. weird. maybe he was feeling some pain. i wouldnt mind a midfield of song-denilson-rosikcy at fulham (if denilson is back).

bernardinho form london.

marcus said...

Cesc was hobbling and struggling throughout the game, having been kicked several times. I thought his demeanor came from being injury and his frustration at his poor form.

Anonymous said...

Cesc needs a friend.
maybe bring back Hleb just so he will have someone to chat with. (i say this partially in jest)

i think he really misses hleb and flamini.


Ted said...

I like Bernardinho's selection of Song-Denilson-Rosicky.

I know its absolutely crazy to be critical of Cesc, but Wenger is going to have (hopefully) a full team to pick from at some point with Nasri also available.

On paper, i would go for Song-Cesc-Rosicky as our best three in midfield, but that looks very lightweight, mainly because I don't think Cesc does enough of the ugly stuff well, or often enough.