Yesterday's game was without doubt another good European night. Fenerbache and their fans provided a hostile environment in which to ply our trade and our youngsters came out on top.
Fenerbahce 2 – 5 Arsenal
Silvestre 19 og, Guiza 78.
Adebayor 10, Walcott 11, Diaby 21, Song 49, Ramsey 90.
With injuries to Sagna, Gallas and Toure, our first XI started with a makeshift defence. Van Persie was rested and Nasri started in midfield as we employed our usual 4-1-4-1 in Europe. It was slightly different with the personnel involved today as it did really feel more like a 4-3-2-1 formation with Walcott, Cesc, Diaby and Nasri often playing quite high up the park.
Eboue – Song – Silvestre – Clichy
Walcott – Cesc - Diaby – Nasri
Our captain today was Almunia, and although I’m all for Cesc for captain long term, I think the keepers inclusion as captain was a good calm choice, which allowed Cesc to do what he does best…
A bright start to the game saw us go 2 – 0 up within the first 10 minutes or so, with our midfield marvel Cesc pulling the strings in the middle of the park, sending a nice through ball through to Ade, who scored a composed goal resembling something more of a strikers finish. Without going off on too much of a tangent here, it was good to see Ade score a normal goal. He’s scored a few headers, scuffed a couple in and got a couple of pens, so yesterday’s did real feel like a proper goal.
Moments later, literally, Cesc picked up the ball in midfield and with a slide rule pass, got Walcott in on goal and the England striker finished well to make it 2-0.
The game itself was quite an open game, which is the type of game that suits us best. The Fenerbahce team was back with talent and their starting line up included Turkish wonder-kid Nuri Sahin, who’s been linked with us on a number of occasions, Alex, the Brazilian midfielder who’s starred in a number of Copa America and of course the Spanish striker Guiza. Just for added measure, a slightly less fast and heavier Roberto Carlos was also on the team sheet.
With two teams intent on attack and our defence a little makeshift, this game did always have goals in it, and it wasn’t long until Fenerbahce got one back. An body-check by Song (which could have been avoided) allowed the home peice a set-piece. The goal came as Guiza’s volley across the face of goal was diverted past Almunia by our own man Silvestre (on his Champions League debut for us too!!!). It looks a little unavoidable at first, but replays showed that we didn’t attack the ball well enough in the first place.
Moments later, however, our 2 goal advantage was restored as Diaby found himself through on goal and shot a low left-footed shot hard and low into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.
It seemed a bit surreal, but somehow we were up 3-1 on the night and there were only 21 minutes on the clock…]]>