Arsenal 4 – 0 Porto, What a performance! Shame about Hull…

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Walcott (Vela 71), Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri (Eboue 64), Van Persie (Bendtner 64), Adebayor. Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Ramsey, Silvestre, Djourou. Goals: Van Persie 31, Adebayor 40, Van Persie 48, Adebayor 71 pen. I’ll be back on Thursday.]]>


    < ![CDATA[I seem to keep writing about the negatives when Arsenal win big - but something just doesn’t sit well at the moment and I can’t put my finger on it. It might be Adebayor. He scored twice last night, but one was from the spot and he spurned at least two glorious opportunities. It might also be our central defence. I firmly believe that we have the best two fullbacks in the game, but our central defence looks awful at times. Sure, Gallas stepped up to the plate twice, read the game well and snuffed out the attack with some good defending. Toure did well at times too. But we had to clear off the line and panic as the ball crashed into the bar and over in the first half. In short we were lucky not to be 2-0 down and then wasteful not to win 8-0 at the end. The trouble is that’s exactly what happened against Hull, except they scored their chances and we didn’t create as many chances to waste. We played slightly better but the problems were still there, under the goals and relief. Despite my negative start above there were some overwhelming positives. In the first half in particular Fabregas shone. He had more space for the first time in weeks and his distribution was fantastic. Nasri made a quiet return but played well and looked relatively sharp. Sagna/Clichy both look the business and Vela was unlucky not to score although I had hoped he’d be a bit more clinical. In terms of our Champions League progress we now have a healthy 4pts after two games - Fernebache and Kiev drew last night which puts us in a good position. If we can win our remaining two home games we should be through regardless of other results, though really it would be good to get as many points as possible for the psychological edge it will give us in the remaining rounds. On a side note - Porto are (I think) three times consecutive champions of Portugal. And yet they collapsed in the second half totally. They don’t look like champions of League 1, let alone their own country.]]>


    < ![CDATA[dev - ironic we both picked 8-0 as a potential scoreline :) I've reread what I wrote above and I do sound pessamistic - I just think our central defenders need to deal with set pieces better. Corners and free kicks send us into a flapping frenzy, and with our strikers we can't rely on the fact that we'll outscore the opposition! Good game though and it was exciting, though the last 15 minutes had me screaming like a mad dog at the telly :)]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Understand where your coming from, its just a feeling of being on edge more than usual watching us this year. Each game really could go either way, and it always seems to depend on how WE defend corners, and whether WE score enough of our tons of chances. Our results are almost independent of the opposition! Which sounds crazy i know. Despite the Bolton result, i think we are going to struggle to take similar games by the scruff of the neck and come from behind. I mean who is going to do something sensational when its really needed, and not when we are winning 3-0? They have a strange mentality, when were down were really down, and when were up, we fly. The commentators said were a spoilt lot at the Emirates, and in a way hes right. But its pretty agonizing putting up with the split personality of our team!]]>


    < ![CDATA[Dan, you're spot on - we really do seem to be independent of the other teams. When we've lost (aside from Giovanni's wonderful goal) its been our own fault for conceding and not converting our chances. Not once have we been comprehensively outplayed. We literally could have won every game we've played this season - I'm just scared some of those awful misses against Fulham and Hull will come back to haunt us at the end of the season. I hope I'm wrong. If we'd won a trophy in the last 3 seasons I'd consider us spoilt - as it us I just consider us incredibly lucky for getting to watch the best football in England. :p]]>

  • Jimmy

    < ![CDATA[It is still unclear how Tottenham will be punished (if at all) for the racist and homophobic abuse against Sol Campbell last weekend. The police refused to act at the time, saying there were too many supporters involved in the action against Sol Campbell for them to be able to make arrests. They asked the FA to act. Then the FA said that they could do nothing if Portsmouth did not make a complaint. Portsmouth said they would not make a complaint unless Sol Campbell made a complaint, although Harry Redknapp called for action. So it stood - with the FA looking as impotent in dealing with Tottenham racism and homophobia as FIFA is in dealing with Croatian racism. Now Hampshire police said that they have received one complaint (only one???) about the abuse and have promised to investigate it fully. “This kind of thing has no place in football, no place in life,” said Harry Redknapp, quoted in the Guardian. “Someone has got to do something about it, somebody has got to make a stand, and if Sol wants to do that, we are right behind him.” The police will obviously have access to the film that is taken of away supporters at Fratton Park, and Tottenham (if they co-operate) will have the names and addresses and photos of all their away support as they will be members of the travel club. So action should be possible. But there is also the question of whether the FA will take action against Tottenham for failing to control their supporters - or indeed whether the FA believe that clubs have a responsibility to control the action of away supporters in the ground.]]>

  • Dean

    < ![CDATA[A 4-0 thrashing to shake off the hangover from Hull on Saturday — now I need a 4-0 thrashing of my body to put me back in shape for work this morning. Wait, not that kind of thrashing you perv. Hanging out with my old friend (and tireless Nottingham Forest/Everton supporter) and catching up on everything, even if it meant missing parts of the game. To the game: two goals each from Adebayor and van Persie was very good and in all honesty it could have been 7-0 with the opportunities that this team made and missed last night. I’m not complaining about the missed opportunities, rather I’m highlighting that the team made a lot of good opportunities and took a majority of them. When your squad scores 4 goals and keeps a clean sheet it’s hard to complain. Kudos also to the boss for saying one thing and doing something different — he said he was going to axe someone and then decided to keep the faith and, well, it worked. As soon as I saw that Toure and Gallas and Theo were in the starting lineup I thought “well, there went another well founded, logical prediction down the shitter.” It’s a bit maddening, as a writer, to read that Wenger promises to make cuts and then to see he does the exact opposite. Not because he didn’t act as planned, but because I failed to put in the proper caveat! Of course Wenger selected the same squad as Saturday, he’s always doing unpredictable stuff like that, I should have totally said “unless Wenger ’surprises’ us all and sticks to the same starting XI as Saturday.” Oh well. Theo did very well and doesn’t look at all phased by the fact that he’s played, what, eleventy Brazilian games in the last month? Porto clearly had no answer for Theo when he turned on the afterburners, beating their full-backs with ease nearly every time he touched the ball. He is, by leaps and bounds, the most exciting player on this Arsenal team — truly a joy to watch. Now, score me some goals Theo! And finally, I liked seeing van Persie’s reaction to the poor game he had against Hull — he worked fairly hard last night and got two well deserved goals. Now, do that in every game, we all know you can. The Bad Arsenal kept a clean sheet but they damn near shit the bed three times in the opening 30 minutes. The first time was when some dude broke down the wing and whipped in a venomous cross that some other dude headed toward goal only to be denied by the cross bar. It should have been a magnificent goal but luck was on our side. The second was from open play and but for Almunia’s good save would have been another embarassing goal from midfield that came about because the player wasn’t being marked. And the third was, well, I thought the ball had gone in and was head down for fully 30 seconds before I realized that the ref hadn’t blown the whistle. Yet another corner, not properly dealt with, and the Porto guy seriously should have put the ball over the line except Arsenal had 9 people in the net. Amazing bit of luck there. Which is exactly why it is ‘bad’ to keep a clean sheet: once again the team was lucky and not skilled. To win the two big leagues (EPL and Champions) you do need a certain amount of luck, but you cannot rely on luck. This team, defensively, relies on luck. Of course, Arsene Wenger disagrees directly with me I believe that the first time they caught us tonight was on the break from one of our corners. We were caught on the break, but that is maybe the only real time when we were lucky. The second time was on the corner when Clichy saved on the line. Those were the two times when they were dangerous tonight. Overall we were much more disciplined and focused on corners. The fight in the air was there. No and no, sorry Arsene, the corners are still a massive problem as evidenced by this game in which Porto had just 4 corners and nearly scored on the one except for a bit of luck. If you think you’re going to go to Sunderland and allow them to take 4 corners on you and escape unscathed with the defensive display Arsenal put on last night, you’re sorely mistaken. As we speak, Sunderland are practicing non-stop corners because the entire world knows that’s our weakness. Sort it out. The Ugly The dance… Adebayor… stop it for the love of all that is holy… please? There’s only one other ugly, and that’s this statement by Arsene Wenger on the defensive problems on this Arsenal team. Speaking about the Hull game on Saturday he said Before Saturday we only conceded two goals and they were from corners in the League. On Saturday we conceded two goals too. I must say one of them was another corner but the other one was a goal that we have all scored but only once in our lives. We conceded a goal that you cannot do a lot about Well, that’s just absolutely incorrect. You could, for example, close down on the player, just a little, make him rush his shot a bit, the keeper could cut off some of the angle, or maybe, just maybe the defensive midfielder could win the ball back. You could have done any of those things and while it wouldn’t guarantee that the kid wouldn’t score the goal it sure would look a lot better when he did. As it stands the guy had a wide open shot on an out of position Almunia with no one closing down on him and he dribbled and shot. Two of the guys I practice with made that shot this weekend. It’s not a once in a lifetime goal, it’s something all talented footballers have in their bag and I really wish Wenger admitted that or at the least didn’t say anything at all. Finally, there are two more uglies that I want to get in. 1) 7am Kickoff’s perennial whipping boy Robbie Savage has finally achieved the level that a man of his footballing talent deserves: he’s been dropped by Derby and is now playing for League 1 side Brighton on a one month loan. 2) Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Kevin Keegan is ready to re-return to Newcastle, presumably to finish the work he started with good pal Joey Barton. I don’t know why but I find these two stories infinitely funny.]]>

  • Wesley

    < ![CDATA[Hello Gooners, the porto game lifted my sprits, and to think that Deco said porto can beat us, i'm sure he is struggling to swollow his words now. I have to agree with, about our defence, toure and gallas did well but every time gallas came foward he left a huge gap, we do have the best CB in europe but they need to know that when they come foward their must be cover. Now i'm SA (South Africa), many people tell me we need a defensive midfielder and that the partnership between denilson and fabregas will not work beacuse both are attacking minded players, but if you look to the days of petit and veira, both were defensive but veira attacked then came gilberto (defensive as well), only lately its been defensive and attacking partnership, so can't we play two attackers. Rumours: About our beloved talisman Henry rejoining Arsenal or a London Club. I doubt he will arrive at us becuse it will hurt the development of vela, bedtner, and we have Eduardo. So, then, could he go to Chelsea or Spu*s. Highly doubt that. Any comments. I think the solution to wining the league or CL is we need to kill off games the first half, we did with blackburn bolto and now porto and we won convincling. Other problem is continously keeping the ball in our half of the field - to dangerous. Oh and Spu*s will be relagated, hopefully. Thanks Gooners]]>

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  • http://deleted Dan

    < ![CDATA[Wesley - I think you need at least one defensive CM. Someone needs to win the ball back before it gets to the defenders. Having Petit and Vieira is fine when you have brilliant wingers who score plenty of goals. Its all about balance. So in a word, No - you cant have four attacking midfielders & two strikers. Henry wont return to England as a player. Full stop. He better not anyway lol! As a coach/backroom staff, sure he will be back at the Emirates one day. Trouble with killing games off before the second half in the CL is that were playing against teams equal and sometimes better than us in all honesty. In the latter stages its impossible to call, as so many teams have the quality to pull it off (including us). I hope this year it is us, but it will take a crap load of luck, and form, and and some more luck. Spurs for the Championship - Oh yes!]]>

  • Dean

    < ![CDATA[When Mathieu Flamini left Arsenal we all knew it would be hard to replace him. He was only a first team regular in his last season in an Arsenal shirt but what a first team regular he was. He was one of Arsenal's best players last season and was a big factor in Fabregas playing so well. The two complimented each other and I firmly believed that they could have emulated the partnership of Vieira and Petit or been even better. Since leaving Arsenal he has endured a slow start to his Milan career being on the bench more often than playing. You could say that he may regret leaving the Arsenal and is following the route of many who believe the grass is greener on the other side. One thing is for sure, I think Arsenal miss him. Despite the controversial manner of his departure I still wish deep down that he was still an Arsenal player. I mean no disrespect to the players we have but it's obvious that we are lacking in the midfield area. It's obvious that Arsene Wenger thought so too, after all, we have now found out that he put bids in for Alonso, Toure and Inler. Le Boss seems to have put his faith in Denilson after the failed attempts to boost the midfield area. I like Denilson but despite his undoubted quality he is inconsistent with his performances. That is expected with his young age and lack of experience. Diaby is the player a lot of Gooners would like to see given a chance in the middle with Cesc but we have more chance of seeing Spurs win the league! I rate him highly but Diaby is constantly on the treatment table. He has been likened to Vieira but Vieira he is not. He only looks like Paddy, he doesn't play like him. Song is a player I'd like to see given a chance. He seems our toughest tackler and can do the dirty work allowing Cesc to weave his magic. Le Boss seems undecided on where Song should play though. Is he a defender or a midfielder? say he is a defender so that gives an indication on where Arsene thinks he should play. The midfield seems to be doing an Okay job at present but I think its really just papering over the cracks. We have not really faced a side of note and we have lost two games. I worry a little about when we face the midfield of Chelsea and Manchester United. With Flamini in the side I'd have no worries. I'm not doubting that we have quality in the midfield but I still feel we are lightweight since the departure of Flamini. Le Boss thinks so too............ I think we can cope short-term without Flamini but we need another player added there in January. Denilson, Diaby and Song are potentially very good players and need time. At their age they have plenty of that! But I still feel that they need someone else to help guide them through this stage of their career other than the veteran Cesc Fabregas.]]>