Celtic 0 – 2 Arsenal: Lucky… but efficient…

A very good performance by Arsenal saw us beat “The Hoops” 2-0 at Celtic Park.

Celtic 0-2 Arsenal
UEFA Champions League, Celtic Park
Tuesday, August 18, 2009, 19:45

  • Gallas 43,
  • Caldwell 71 (og)

Indeed, a very good performance. But a different kind of performance, an efficient performance that saw us “grind out a result”. I’d say Saturday’s performance was more expansive – but at the same time, I’d say that Everton were quite woeful defensively compared to a more defensive minded Celtic who were very organised. It’s clear to see that we’ve adopted a “close down the opposition” tactic this season, which the whole team seems to be working towards.

The two goals were lucky by some measure – the first coming froma big deflection from the back of William Gallas (that’s 2 goals in 2 for the former captain) from a Cesc Fabregas (that’s the 5th goal he’s been involved in this season) which wrong footed the keeper and went in the bottom left of the goal (if you’re the keeper) despite looking like it was going wide.

The second goal coming via the introduction of a stronger, leaner and fitter Diaby – who did look stronger, leaner and fitter – and had hair and had facial hair – but still had that horrible over playing and bad touch…! But a good run from midfield saw him play in Clichy whose cross was deflected in the back of the net by Gary Caldwell.

The game did open up as Celtic tried to get a goal back, but our team grew more tired – and two away games in four days takes it’s toll. With no game today, tomorrow or Friday – a good three day rest before the league home game against Portsmouth is exactly what we need.

The news coming out of Arsenal associated people is that Eduardo has a hamstring injury which may keep him out for a while – I’ll confirm the news as soon as I hear more.

After the game, I’ve heard more press coverage and quotes than any other game I can remember – Arsene, Sagna, Vermaelen, Van Persie and Tony Mowbray all in the press… let’s hear what the gaffer had to say first:

“I think it was a fierce battle. I felt collectively we dominated the game but Celtic were always willing, fighting and counter-attacking. In the end, despite being in control, we scored two lucky goals. It was a big fight tonight and we needed a strong Arsenal side to win the game. The crowd and players were absolutely up for it and I believe with an average performance we would not have won the game today.”

And that’s right – the collective work done by the team was very much a key to the success and the result. Although from some quarters, people say there wasn’t much going on in terms of attack, it was clear to see that the performance was high and that if we had dropped a level, then it would have been a different game.

“We have a good advantage but it’s 180 minutes, we’re ahead after 90. When you want to go through you want to play well for 180 – that’s our purpose. We want to win the home game and of course qualify for the Group Stage. We are in a strong position and we now want to take advantage of that. I believe we have to make sure we win the game at home. It would not be serious to take that game in a non-serious way. It is a massive game, what is at stake is massive to us because we want to play with the best. Even with an advantage of two goals we want to finish the job at home.”

And that game is next Wednesday, 26th August at the Emirates and maybe, just maybe, we will be able to rest one or two if we get an early goal – but whether or not I should be thinking about resting players so early on in the season is quite silly really isn’t it? Isn’t it?

One thing that is always special on a European night is the atmosphere of the grounds around the world and around Europe – and both Rangers and Celtic have always been renowned for the noise in their respective stadiums, and Sagna had something to say about the atmosphere.

It was hard to stay focused on the pitch. It’s difficult to play against this kind of atmosphere. It is one of the most amazing I have ever witnessed. But we did quite well with it. The danger was to come here after such a good win and take it easy but we stayed focused and defended as a team and played as a team. We were confident, we want to play good football and achieve some things this season. It was a strange first goal but that’s football and I think we deserved the luck. They have a good team with good players and we have to be careful [in the return leg].”

Okay, I’ve rambled on about the game for long enough now, so will wrap it up now. A special word to Cesc and Vermalen – both who put in 10/10 performances, dominating both midfield and defence. Awesome stuff…

  • Gooner Get Ya

    other results: Man u lost 1-0 against Burnley. Liverpool beat Stoke 4-0, Sp*rs won 5-1 Defoe got a hattrick.

  • Marc Callan

    Love the article plus I think it’s right you put in alot of quotes from the players and manager cuz Parkhead is a special place on European nights and if Arsenal get through it will be disappointing not to see them in the Chanpions League…Dev, I agree with you about resting players, not out of tireness but slight injuries that have been picked up…regarding Vermalen I think he is as good as his partner in crime (Gallas) he was quoted today on skysports (who now have taken a fancy to Arsenal) that he has learned loads from his counterpart…the same goes for Cesc with Song being the unsong hero for the night…

    Finally, it has been bugging me for ages this question and I have been thinking of the answers so want to know everyones opinion on this…Why has the Arsenal team of 09/10 seem at present better than the team of08/09? This huge work ethic has come from nowhere and they have all bought into it, it’s a sudden new lease in life in them…my only reasoning is the sales of Toure (whom I will never bad mouth) and Adebouyer (Samuel L Jackson)…were they such a disruptive influence which hindered the team last term and hence their sales or is it they were just sold and the team has transformed and it’s all coincidence…please tell me your opinions cuz I am dying to know what people think

  • Arsefan101

    Marc, Adebayor’s influence was disruptive – he didn’t work which reflects on other players – a key reason that Arsene got rid – Toure was quite a panicy and worryful which is unnerving at the back. We’ve got the type of players now who are more confident and more team orintated. Feels good without Ade.

  • syah

    i dont care bout ade and kolo. its so refreshing watching this season’s team play. it somehow feels different from the previous season. its so potent. wenger is really a master tactician man. my wish of all time is to play a season of football manager with him. haha

  • Justin

    Arsene Wenger has put hard effort to get the players start defending as a team.. When playing in an 4-3-3 formation, you need to close down the opposition very fast and press them high up the pitch..
    You could see that with Arshavin, Bentdner & RVP running whole heartly for the ball when not in possession.. That is a treat to watch for the fans, as it brings a belief that the players want to win it so badly…!!!
    And that inspires the entire team, and thats the most significant improvement from last season…!!!

  • Justin

    Heyy fellas…. Any news regarding Eduardo’s injury???

  • VJ

    yeah guys i think there is a real want n this club of trophies and sucess. you can see that the players are really enjowing themselves which has made a huge difference. adebayor and toure leaving did help. gallas hated toure. and i think with a season gone people like denilson and song and arshavin dont feel like outsiders anymore and there is definetely greater harmony. plus i think wenger should rest key players for the celtic match considering it will be man u following and we dont want any injuries

  • Pete

    Loce that photo of Gallas there Dev lol. cant remember him being this happy. It’s very pleasing to see things going right for us results-wise. Two difficult away games out the way, two great performances. If they’re this good away from home, imagine what it’ll be like at the Emirates? I think Portsmouth are in for a torrid time.

  • Pete

    *Love that photo*

  • Debs

    Haha! We’ve got 3 new Senior Executives, one named Trevor Saving!!! It seems we’re taking the credit crunch quite personally! lol.

  • Fabrez

    lol Debs…let’s just hope that it means we spend some instead of saving it all! As has been said b4, with Ade’s lack of work ethic gone, we have 11 players on at any 1 time working for each other going fwd & defending.

  • VJ

    guys was wondering when we could see woa tv?

  • Fabrez

    And i’d think u need to have a good relationship with ur CB partner & it shows. These guys also complement each other. They r enjoying their football together. We look good. And no clue what’s wrong with Edu. Sure he’s done his hammy…

  • kuka

    …I think the negative media reviews about the team has given them a “holy anger” to do well and prove the critics wrong. Van Parsie and Gibbs spoke about this a few weeks ago. I guess in life you have to get to a place where you get “tired” of being regarded as a looser. I think that point has reached for the team. Those who left (Ade and Kolo), did, but those who remained are the real deal………….seeking to fight for each other. The Celtic game was a great case in mind. Those guys threw their bodies at everything…..for a while I did not know who was defending and who was striking. At some point, Gallas was up there with Van Parsie, while Bendtner was at the back with Varmalleen……I love this team

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I will be gutted if Eduardo is injured as I was looking forward to seeing him on Saturday. Lets hope I get to see Ashavin as I fear we may rest him against Portsmouth. :-(

  • Fabrez

    Gooner Get Ya, u seem to b fortunate m8…Edu is in contention after all. He had a tight groin on the night of the Celtic game but that has since gone and he’s in contention for this Saturday! Very good news with all our injury woes already! And agreed Kuka…we look very very good and I love it myself!

  • hello

    .
    VERMAELEN ONCE ONE A GAME OF CONNECT FOUR IN THREE MOVES!! .
    .
    (arsenalmania)

  • hello

    Striker Eduardo da Silva has overcome the small injury experienced just before the match against Celtic on Tuesday and is now available for selection for the match on Saturday.
    .
    (arsenalmania)

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Woo hoo good news about Eduardo. I am well excited about Saturday now.

  • Demzzz

    VERMAELEN: this defender is what we needed.. when he plays in the last two games i have been very very very very impressed! like he has actually made a big impact like i dont even care if toure is gone.. like toure who! even big dan.. but the reason why i dont think arsene has brought a striker.. or a defnder mid!! look at song!! woow.. he has the touch he can win balls! he can even get up the field.. i aint really a fan on denilson.. but i no it wont b him playing when walcott plays or rosikcy or nasri, someone has 2 b left out dont no if we will play the song and denilson.. because denilson just tries to do what song and fabregas does.. but loving the start of the season two games in.. and i dont have not one bad word to say. maybe clichy is still a little clumbsy.. maybe we dont have a target man upfront but hey.. having a together team as good denfenders and lovely midfield and playing like we want to win den maybe just maybe life would b back to the top.. like we use 2 b!!

    in arsene i had no doubt!!

  • sam

    some more good news courtesy of goal.com:

    Arsenal Join Liverpool In Chase For Rafael Van Der Vaart – Report

  • Berth

    sam; thats not actually a good news, because at the moment I dont think there is a place for him; I would rather we get … Well am choked, i dont exactly know who to bring ; am confused and am sure Wenger and my fellow gunners feel the same. Dev, Zohaib, kieren and WOA – who should we get; i need your opinions and justification please.

  • devday

    Berth, I think it’s clear that we’ve got a good squad and it’s a matter of squad depth.

    The main lack of back up, I feel is in the midfield three of Cesc, Denilson and Song – the back up three is Ramsey, Diaby and then who? Merida or Nasri maybe? But would be good to have someone who could be in that group of players in case one gets injured.

    Also, up front, with Vela, Eduardo and Walcott out, we can’t change Arshavin, Van Persie and Bendtner because we don’t have any other options.

    Yes we do have injuries, and Walcott, Rosicky and Nasri will add to the squad – but all in all, it’s what Arsene has already said – one defensive signing and one attacking signing.

    Chamakh and Matiudi? A striker / winger and a defender / DM?

    But whether Arsene will sign anyone is becoming questionnable considering we’ve had a good start to the season!!!

  • Fabrez

    And just to add to what dev said, an Inler or Veloso in midfield can b a nice addition. I’d also like to see Chamakh come. With those 2, the squad wud b well equipped to battle all season long! C’mon Gunners!