Roma 1 – 0 Arsenal: 6 – 7 on penalties…

Why has Samir Nasri got so fat?

and

120 minutes of misery and 15 penalties later…

and

The most disappointing victory in a long time…

But all of those headlines would have been a little harsh I suppose… although even as I write this I can’t help feeling depressed at the way we played and disappointed with the attitude throughout the game. We were panicky and not assured on the ball, we were hoofing the ball all over the place and we were simply not a Champions League winning side. The goal should never have been – you won’t see United, Liverpool or Chelsea conceding a goal like that…

I’ve started writing this and will stop now… I will sleep and continue writing when I wake up… nothing like a good night’s sleep to help add perspective…

 

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Okay, so not much perspectively added. I will forget the 120 minutes of agony and focus on the league…

—————————————————————————-

 

Roma: Doni, Motta, Diamoutene, Juan (Julio Baptista 28), Riise, Brighi (Montella 120), Pizarro, Tonetto, Taddei (Aquilani 90), Vucinic, Totti.
Subs Not Used: Artur, Loria, Ribeiro, Menez.

Booked: Pizarro, Motta.

Goals: Juan 10.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Diaby, Denilson, Eboue (Walcott 74), Nasri, Bendtner (Eduardo 85), Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Djourou, Gibbs, Vela, Song Billong.

Booked: Diaby.

Att: 81,000

Ref: Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain).]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Credit to the team for the victory. Dev I understand your pain, and share it just like the other fellow gunner. I was asking myself same question, what if we had faced Inter, what would have been the outcome. Some misplacements in Midfield. Most people see Diaby and Denilson in Midfield okay; to me that's trash. We may have seen this through but we have loads of mountains to climb.

    Wenger hailed mental strength for victory, but I will rather see it as a weak Roman team with the lack of confidence giving us victory.

    Not denying the team praises for the Victory, but am sure it must have drained the players and fans. And believe me guys there are performances that are inspiring, but this wasn't.]]>

  • jeffvip

    < ![CDATA[Quater Final it will be a different case, Cesc should be alright by that time. I hope Cesc pair with Song, Walcott and Nasri at the wings. This will be fearful

    Hope we get Liverpool for us to get revenge on what they did to us last season,

    A win is a win, cheers :)]]>

  • unspoken

    < ![CDATA[Roma did play very well. but we were simply quite disappointing.

    Almunia played VERY WELL. he basically saved us. showed his skill and reaction.. and a good thing baptista screwed up..
    : /

    bendtner needs to be sent back to the youth team totrain on his basics. he gave away possession as though Roma was his team.

    though i'm glad we got through, i dont really see us lifting the cup if we continue playing like this. we need to find that emirates form!! cmon you gunners!!]]>

  • zaheer

    < ![CDATA[Bendtner is just not top 4 club material. Almunia had a great game as did Julio Baptista :P

    A very lucky result!]]>

  • Nix

    < ![CDATA[Someone must have said alot of prayers for this. The cup of luck runneth over and spilleth all over the place for us yesterday. The penalty, baptista's finishing, toneddo's(was that his name) merciful boots.
    This is a result where we just have to shutup and say, ' well, they came at us with everything they had. We were resolute(and lucky) and got away with it. We struggled but in the long run, this is one of those victories where you just have to scrape through albeit giving all of us a freakin hundred heart attacks'.
    Im sort of glad after yesterdays result. They were rough, in our face, but like the earlier arsenal team which folded up and died slowly as the minutes past, this team was strong (mentally) and weathered the storm. Proud of them. Now blackburn. Time to remove a few frustrations.]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[...Nasri's ass is huge! :|

    At least were through, but it was a pretty horrible match.]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[That game had me on the edge of my seat for all the wrong reasons! We were a bit afraid and oddly our confidence was not there. We didn't quite pick it up...Roma played with that confidence and boldness we lacked. Almunia was top class... he surely saved the game for us in the 90 mins...shame for him he didn't save more than a penalty!

    Our defense was fragile...the conceded goal was poor! Our midfield just didn't have that conviction we like to see...but Cesc & Rosicky are around the corner! I'd like to think that it was down to a lack of experience as well in midfield that we didn't look confortable away from home. Having Cesc does calm the nerves of all i think....players & fans alike. Didn't notice Samir getting fat...must look at him again! lol
    When the midfield doesn't perform like a well-oiled engine, the strikers are affected too so no goals was a result of that.

    But credit to Roma, they played well...their top-man for me was Baptista...awfully hard effort he had to score lol :P Just kidding of course! But they played like their season depended on it did Roma.

    An the penalties...wow....Edu suprisingly didn't score and it felt like a back-against-the-wall job from there. But our players finished their penalties with a real cooleness & calmness...was worried about young Denilson...but he did well. Roma's penalty that Almunia saved was horrible! Cheers Vucinic! Was hopeful Baptista would help us out and he didn't with his penalty! Booooo!!! Between Vucinic's penalty & 's miss, I'd say we deserved it after having it so tough in the Champions League in recent yrs...we never seem like we get that fortune that we need & we got it last night.

    We displayed resillience from start to finish...now we need that kind of mental strenght for the rest of the season in all competitions. Now it's time to avoid a CL hangover...time for Blackburn who aren't really pushovers... Seems like we had no injury scares which is something else we must be happy about...c'mon Gunners!]]>

  • Fabrez

    *Between Vucinic’s penalty & Tonetto’s miss…

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[My cable was being annoying. It kept crashing every few minutes. So I missed out some portions of the match.
    Everybody seems to be praising Baptista for being our 12th man but I still don't know what he did. Anyone care to help ?]]>

  • VD

    Hate the way first goal was conceded

  • Justin Farmer

    Good to see the luck went our way for a change. It was a clear penalty foul by Clichy. The Hleb and Babel penalties against Liverpool last year were wrong so I guess it all evens out in the end. As most people have noted the performance last night was poor and on that form no team would be worried about drawing us in the quarters. Hopefully with our injured players fit we will be a better unit. We shouldn’t have to rely on hope though. I am surprised that some people have said that Almunia’s performance was good last night. I for one was previously surprised that some sections of this board were slagging him off, but after his performance last night I must admit the jury is out on him in my mind. He lacked composure when it came down to penalties. He was still in shock during the interview and admitted that he was unsettled. His attempts at saves during the pens were woeful. His attempted save for the first goal reminded me of the 2nd goal in the CL final. It doesn’t look like he is a big game player. There is no way Crazy Jens would have bottled it. He would have been whispering sweet nothings about eating their children as they walked up to take their spot kick.

  • zohaib

    And I’m just reading a SkySports article on how a Gunners fan was stabbed in Rome. Disgusting.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Apparently his minibus was attacked before the game.

    A British Embassy spokesman said: "One managed to get on to the bus and there was a fight.

    "The driver managed to get away when the Roma fan was pushed out of the bus."

    He added: "We don't know if it was a stabbing or glass from a smashed window."

    An Arsenal spokeswoman said: "A male Arsenal fan was believed to be stabbed outside the stadium.

    "Roma fans threw stones at a bus, smashing windows, and an individual allegedly entered the bus and stabbed a fan."

    A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the incident that happened in Italy and we are providing consular assistance."

    The incident could again raise questions over Rome's ability to stage this season's Champions League final in May at the Stadio Olimpico.]]>

  • zohaib

    So much for our preparation for the final’s venue, if the venue is changed.

  • Fabrez

    Basically, i think it was in the last 10 mins of the game… A Roma player deep on their right flank crossed a square ball in along the ground…to Totti who was inside the box…seemed as if he would shoot but just expertly dragged it futher across to Baptista (by this time our defense was in no-man’s land)… and it came right in front of Baptista…like 3 feet in front of him…ball rolling slowly…and he just gets the timing of his shot wrong in the worst way possible…i can’t even remember if he touched it…perhaps he just a little! Almunia was at his mercy and he was 6 yards in front of goal…almost central…with the whole goal to aim at!

  • Fabrez

    Hope that description of events is clear zohaib! And that ambushing of the minibus is a sad story indeed…there were concerns over securtiy b4 the game as well… It’s sad to see stuff like that happen…on a world-wide scale, yesterday was not a good day regarding violence! Wonder if they will now change the final’s venue?

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Zohaib he missed the ball from 6yards out when he shoulda scored. he was unmarked and it was a great cross that should have been buried! Guess for a split-second he thought he was an Arsenal player! lol

    And all my thoughts exactly Fabrez, weirdly! lol

    I think it could be the turning point of our season though (how many have we had? lol). The guys showed real guts at the end and I think that should fill the players with confidence for the 4th place run-in. You could see from the reaction of the players at the end, especially Denilson's, the relief was huge and i think it was an experience they needed. Now we're through, we've got to show and take that belief to the league, (and FA cup). We've got Fabregas and Rosicky (and Ade, I guess) coming back soon so that's an extra boost and I think we can build on it for the rest of the rest of the season. But we've got to cement it with victory against Blackburn, cos if not, it undoes everything really. We're at home, so hopefully that should make it easier cos we don't have to travel all the way to Blackburn.
    But yeah, that's not an experience I'm willing to go through anytime soon! Except if it's the CL final and we win, ofcourse! But well done to the guys!]]>

  • Debs

    yeah, they might change the venue. but someone made a good point that it (violence) probably won’t happen at the final, seeing as no Italian team is left anyways. But I don’t know if UEFA would be willing to take such a risk.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[I thought key players that were rested for the game played the worst, RVP, Denilson in particular were garbage.

    Our ball retention was woeful and we just kept inviting Roma pressure. Even the best player Almunia was guilty of hoofing the ball straight back to the Roma GK on numerous occassions.

    I don't know why you guys are having a go at Bendtner, at least he brings the team into the game with his hold up play. RVP just kept losing the ball and falling over.

    Lets just hope we don't pull out Barca in the next round as they are looking pretty awesome.]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Lucky not to concede a penalty. Lucky not to concede again in the first half. Lucky that Roma had injuries.

    The team really stepped up when it came to penalties tho. Was a bit worried with the team being young, but everyone showed nerve and class.]]>

  • Debs

    And Denilson says it was his first proper penalty!

  • Fabrez

    lol Debs…case of great minds thinking alike? :D And i’d b dizzy if i were to look at the turning points we’ve had this season lol The 1st one that comes to mind is our victory over Man U…so many since then! And Gooner Get Ya…i kinda wondered if resting RvP as much as he was rested & Denilson disrupts their rhythm? I think RvP needs a rest now and again but i kinda think too much rest could be a problem… Just a thought… Clichy’s pull was a penalty but we deserve that call to go for us. And Roma did control midfield…a job we are used to doing…so that was a major problem for us. 2 sides i’d like to avoid is Man U and Barca for now…

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Yeah, great minds! lol
    Knowing us, if we picked Man U or Barca, we'd probably win. We've still got that 'big team' mentality, but I'd rather us not face them at the moment!]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    When is the draw for the next round…anyone know?

  • Debs

    next week friday, 20th. Can’t remember the time but I’ll find out…

  • Debs

    yeah it’s on Friday 20th March at 11am.

  • Fabrez

    Just noticed that it wasn’t only Denilson’s 1st proper penalty, but Theo’s as well. We could have a great & highly respected Arsenal team if Arsene stays on board & we have the same team plus some in 4 yrs or so… Next time i’ll b on the edge of my seat is confirmed then…Friday 20th at 11! :P

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[So other teams that are through are as follows:

    Porto
    Barcelona
    Man U
    Liverpool
    Chelsea
    Bayern Munchen

    Who would you like to play next?

    I think Porto would be the weakest then Bayern,Chelsea,Liverpool, Man U and Barcelona.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I think you've missed out Villareal GoonerGetYa.

    And the kind of form Bayern are in, I don't think they're the easiest to beat at the moment. Probably Porto, then Villareal then Bayern.]]>

  • jeffvip

    I prefer Bayern next, cant wait to see their legendary Ribery and Klose. :P Not Porto please,we will lose!

  • Fabrez

    Porto, Villareal, Bayern…Prem teams…Chelsea, Liverpool, Man U… then Barca.

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[yeah, I think as long as we don't lose any players, we'll soon be a force to reckon with, but the signs are there- we just need everyone to be in for the long haul, cos we need probably a couple more years to really hit that pick.
    lol 20th march will definitely be another 'edge of the seat' moment. But I'm fairly confident we'll go through, as long as we avoid the weakest team, and possibly the strongest team. But I'm looking forward to seeing how the team performs with the likes of Fabregas and Rosicky back though, to figure out how strong or weak we are compared to the rest...]]>

  • Debs

    porto beat us in the group stages, didnt they?

  • zohaib

    Remember, Bayern thrashed Sporting Lisbon 7 – 1 day before.

  • zohaib

    Yeah they did. But that’s because we’d already qualified and we didn’t need to win and we weren’t really playing for a win. I’m sure we can beat them again, like we did once in the group stages.

  • Fabrez

    Yeah Porto beat us but we rested players/ had many players out as well and were already thru to the group stages…so personally, i don’t particularly count that result.

  • CON-MAN

    i hope we get liverpool

  • debs

    true that, the porto game. same way I wouldn’t count yesterday’s game as a defeat.

  • JAT

    < ![CDATA[Semi vs Villareal, then Final vs Barca!

    Let's set the (2006) record straight!]]>

  • sam

    < ![CDATA[gunners are always gunners but lastnight it was horobel .I did not expect that but that is it nathing we can do exept take it as it is & get prepred for the next game .
    So i would like to conclud my writeing that we need a win & gunners give us that .]]>

  • zohaib

    I’d want Liverpool in the quarters, ManUtd in the semifinals and Barca in the final. And I’d like for us to give each of them a SPANKING !

  • zohaib

    But I also want to give Chelsea a thrashing. So maybe Liverpool or Chelsea in the quarters.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[Oops sorry I was trying spell Bayern Munchen correctly and forgot Villareal. LOL

    I would like either Porto or Villareal next round. I don't like playing English teams in Europe because it doesn't feel like a Champions League game against a Prem side.]]>

  • zohaib

    That’s a good point Gooner

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Fabrez and Deb, its funny what you both said about RvP as I was thinking the same. He's a top player, I'm not knocking for one second. When you think about it, this is the first season in about 3 years that he's played as many games as he has, and I'm wondering if he's starting to feel it already. He does deserve a bit of a break. I thought Bendtner did ok for the time he was on. You could see that he carried over the confidence of his game against West Brom.

    Denislon too didn't have a terribly good game either, and I think thats where our midfield was undone a little bit. Obviously he's no Cesc, but you have to give him a lot of respect for coming in to the first team this season and playing as much as he has.

    Overall, I'm relieved we got through, but I hope that we play a lot better come the quarter finals.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Just out of interest, whose penalty was your favorite?

    Mine has to be Kolo's :) Loved the little run up and blast into the net!!! :D]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Mine was Denilson's. Not so much cos it was spectacular or anything, but because I was worried when he stepped up. But he ended up coolly dispatching it down the middle! I was impressed with all of them really, that they stepped up to take them in the first place. It's just a shame Eduardo missed it, but then, I don't know which other one of the guys wouldn't have been scarred for life if they missed. Maybe VP/Toure, but Eduardo is a tough dude and since we won anyways, I'm sure (I hope) it'd not affect his confidence.
    I'll watch the penos again (without the nerves, thank God! lol) and see if anyone else's stands out!]]>

  • Debs

    Oh damn :( And Eduardo’s got a groin injury for all his troubles! Bless!

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[My bests were Vucinic's and Tonetto! Notice the trend! lol
    But I think Baptista's was the best though. he absolutely smacked that into the top of the net! But majority if the penos were coolly taken, and that's amazing! And I loved Walcott's little turn at the beginning of his run up! lol]]>

  • jeffvip

    < ![CDATA[Agreed with Debs, Walcott seems very anxious to finish his duty. It did look cool though... :P

    Btw, my personal favourite apart from all the Roma player penalty (the really score a better penalty than ours, only their keeper Doni is not able to done his duty), my suggestion would be on Sagna's penalty. Slot coolly at the exact dead angle of the goal and don't forget he is just a defender...]]>

  • Debs

    By the way, how come Almunia was backing everyone when the Arsenal penalties were being taken? I noticed Doni doing it sometimes. Is that just personal preference or what?

  • Fabrez

    I liked Kolo’s penalty myself…thumped it with decent placement! Baptista’s was the best of the night tho…he nailed it with height! I think Almunia was just super nervous & couldn’t watch our penalties! I know ppl who like to watch the replay of football matches as opposed to watching it live because they want to be sure we actually won it before they see it! Weird huh? Guess everyone has their preference…i remember seeing a lady turning her back for Edu’s penalty v Cardiff…all too nervous to watch!

  • Debs

    Poor Almunia! But yeah, penalties are the worst thing to watch! Except if you are a neutral, ofcourse! But I think when next we’ve got a penalty shoot-out (a long-time away, I hope!) I’ll probably breathe a tiny little bit easier! Or maybe not actually! lol

  • Fabrez

    lol…neverrrr will i breathe easily once Arsenal have penalties to take! I believe in the team of course…but penalties is the kind of thing where your best penalty taker could miss! It’s crazy! I may b a tad bit more confident because I know this side has the mental toughness to deal with a high pressure penalty shoot-out…but the breathing part wil still b a problem! lol

  • Debs

    True. I for one was banking on Eduardo scoring his. Hopefully penalty shoot-outs will be few and far between for us! but yeah, at least now we know that (some of) the players have (finally) got that experience and that they’ve got the mental fortitude, but yeah, it’ll be nerves all the way next time!

  • Debs

    On a different note, it’ll be nice to finally visit the ‘injury news’ section on the Arsenal website and find it empty! Not long to go now, I hope!

  • zohaib

    Arshavin should be available for the Blackburn game. That’s got me excited. The rest of the players seem to be hit and miss. Very unpredictable and very inconsistent. Hopefully we won’t have a hangover and will play good football and score a couple without conceding any.

  • Debs

    I bet he’s itching to score his first Arsenal goal. I for one can’t wait!

  • Fabrez

    Arshavin has been nothing but class so far! Obviously he’s still adapting & getting fit but he’s been consistent & that’s good. And this game may just bring his 1st goal for us so exciting game ahead i hope! And seeing nothing in the injury news will be great! Can’t wait for that…hopefully Edu won’t be there every other week!

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[True you know! Eduardo seems to pick up an injury literally every other week! Maybe it's only coincidental, but I hope it's not going to be a continuous trend cos that'll disturb his rhythm (wow, just realised this word has only consonants! lol) big time!
    But yeah, Arshavin has benn our own little maestro and he's only going to get better!]]>

  • Fabrez

    Yeah…he’s gonna help create things…keep the tempo & give us the spark we need. It’s really good to know that he’ll b eligible for all games between now and April…then comes the Champions legue again which Cesc & maybe Tomas will be available for…we just have to keep things together on the domestic front till we have our whole squad again. As rarely as we may see it, i’d love to see Cesc, Rosicky, Arshavin & Nasri/Theo in midfield…it’s very offensive but it would be really exciting!

  • Debs

    Exciting! That’s one word for it! Rosicky’ll need quite a while to get back to tip-top shape, but maybe he’ll do an Eduardo, minus the little injuries! But that’ll be one hell of a midfield! With Eduardo and VP up front finishing with some amazing goals! Feels so good just thinking about it!

  • Fabrez

    Yes it does! :D

  • sam

    < ![CDATA[Life is good!
    I hate to quote a brand that I really hate, but "Life is good".
    Sp*rs are beating Villa 2-0, 75th minute. We're 4th.
    let's just keep it that way.]]>