Yesterday saw our thin squad take on Tony Adam's side, Pompey in a 2pm kick off. The line up and formation was very strange to be honest and it looked very weird to see where the players started positionally on the pitch. For most of the first half, the line up looked like this:
Sagna – Gallas – Silvestre – Clichy
Diaby – Denilson – Bendtner
Eboue – Adebayor
Now, my friends, that was a very strange line up. Denilson and Nasri seemed to be playing in a diamond with Nasri behind the two strikers. It was very strange to see Bendtner deployed on the left wing and Eboue up front, but Arsene had a plan to his madness. Eboue did slot into the right hand side now and again, but ultimately that was the formation that most of the first half saw.
And it really was a first half to forget. The highlights being a Crouch header against the bar and Adebayor rounding the keeper but failing to score into an empty net. I’ve been to a lot of Arsenal games, heck, 100′s of games, but this one was so frustrating. Frustrating because an average Portsmouth side, who also played on Friday looked much better than us and could pass the ball better than us. Looked quicker than us but somehow we managed to win the game.
The second half was much of the first, although, it looked like Eboue was playing right side and Nasri was up front supporting Ade. Ade was particularly woeful yesterday too, and I really thought he wouldn’t last the whole game. The introduction of Vela on the left wing (meaning Bendtner went right) and Aaron Ramsey seemed to invigorate the team and with Vela we had a fast, skillful player who really got the side excited. Why the boy doesn’t start all the games, I don’t know.
The goal came through some bad goalkeeping from David James when Gallas got their first and nodded in. With 9 minutes to go, the sense of relief was overwhelming!
Arsene had this to say:
“We were lacking a bit of zip because we gave a lot at Aston Villa in our last match. It was important that we were intelligent and patient. Portsmouth played very well and they were well organised and defended very deep. My team is maturing quite well, and quickly. We will fight for the title and we believe we have a chance.”
Indeed, Arsene talks about the ability to win the title. Sometimes I think he forgets we are 10 points off the top! Remember, we hadn’t won a game in 3 games previous to this one, so how we will win the title, I just can’t fathom!
Arsenal:Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Eboue (Vela 66), Denilson, Diaby (Ramsey 75), Nasri, Adebayor, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Toure, Van Persie, Wilshere, Gibbs.
Portsmouth:James, Wilson, Campbell, Distin, Belhadj, Nugent (Defoe 88), Diop (Pamarot 90), Davis, Hughes (Mvuemba 50), Kranjcar, Crouch.
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Little, Kanu.
Ref:Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).]]>