Arsenal 4 – 1 Portsmouth

Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth
Barclays Premier League, Emirates Stadium
Saturday, August 22, 2009, 15:00

  • Diaby 18, 22,
  • Gallas 51,
  • Ramsey 69

Evening all, and what a first home game of the season. I’ll keep this match report brief and pretty much a mini-match report as I’m on route out and have done a – what is now becoming a routine event – stop at an Internet cafe on my way from the Emirates to a night out (with a change of clothes beside me) to write up my version of events.

Before I start talking about the game, a side note is that Cesc Fabregas is injured – he has had two injuries before the game – a muscle injury in his leg and a sore right ankle, swollen and tender too. He was taken off at half time during the game and although it’s not clear what the current injury is (although it may be by the time I finish writing this), he looks to be out for the Celtic game on Wednesday as well as the game next weekend against Man United. Let’s wait for more information from the gaffer and we will probably hear something later tonight. Fingers crossed.

Back to the game, and Arsene rested a few players and rotated his squad, playing the same way, but this was the starting line up:


Eboue – Gallas – Vermaelen – Gibbs

Denilson – Diaby

Arshavin – Cesc – Eduardo

Van Persie

It was good to see Eduardo play today and he did look very sharp – he’ll be a very important player for us this season and he’s skillful play is a delight to watch. And it was the Crozilian who was at the centre of the first goal skipping past the Portsmouth right back with one of his classic kick the ball one way and run round the other way of the player – and an excellent cut back to Diaby who scored a great goal to put us in the lead.

And Diaby made it two goals from one start as he finished well when we broke from a Portsmouth corner. Arshavin in unfamiliar right back territory, passing to Cesc who did one of those Pro Evolution over the top passes to an onrunning Eboue who squared to an unmarked Diaby… 2-0.

Portsmouth managed to get one back through ex-Sp*rs  player Kaboul – as he rose higher than Almunia (note to the keeper, get a punch on those balls, take out the centre forward if you have to!!) and the score was 2-1 at the break.

The second half saw Ramsey on for Cesc but it was much of the same – Gallas making it 3-1 with a fortunate flick in after a Vermaelen square after an Arshavin free kick. And the fourth came through a brilliant piece of play when Van Persie sent Ramsey through who finished with amplomb.

More reaction from me and you on the game tomorrow, but let’s here what Arsene had to say about the game:

“I feel we create good space for our midfielders to run in and to go into the box. On that front we look more dangerous. If you analyse our goals at the moment our strikers provide more than they score. That is maybe down to the way we play as well. “Abou is a more offensive player but if he decides to play defensively he is exactly like Vieira. At some stage when Gallas moved out I put Denilson centre back and put Diaby central midfield in a defensive role. And he looks completely similar to Patrick to win the ball back. But he is a guy who has a quick transition from defence to offence, from box to box, that is his fantastic strength, to change quickly. Nobody can go with him when he has that, when we are on the counter-attack. He is fantastic.”

And Arsene spoke about today’s support, which was pretty decent – loud and excited. We got free scarves too…

“I feel the fans were positive. Today we had some fantastic moments in the game, as well some moments when we were a little bit flat. You felt that the crowd was always behind the team. We are trying to create something special at the stadium, to make it more warm, to warm the whole place, and the scarves are a part of that. You will see much more – it is not up to me to talk about that – but we want to make this place very special. There is more we will do. “I never expected it the other way round. At some places there are exceptions like up north at Celtic or Rangers where the fans are a bit more fanatical. But in a big city like London you have to accept that the waves have to come from the team and they have to get the people off their seats, not the other way round. When that doesn’t happen maybe the vibes coming out of the team are not right. People maybe cannot always explain what is happening in the team but they sense that if the whole team is right or not. Last year we did not give enough belief to our fans that we could win. And as well maybe the belief of our fans has been affected by the negative publicity we got.”

Speak later dudes and dudettes – have a great Saturday!

  • Josiah

    Good win today for the Gunners!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Dev, it was 4-1 mate ;-). I have just got home from the game and I have to say it was a good result against a very poor Portsmouth. It is right to say we were a bit flat in parts as we didn’t really have to go through many gears to win, we barely got out of second without some of our key players in defence as well. Eduardo was very good but I was dissapointed with both RVP and Arshavin as they rarely had any influence. B52 was awful when he came on but Ramsey looked excellent.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    OhKNOb and the free scarf was a nice touch too.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    * oh and the the free scarf was a nice touch. Dunno what happened with my previous comment

  • Marc Callan

    Well skysports is reporting Fabregas is out for 3 weeks so out for both Manchester games…

  • JDD

    wenger said fabregas has a hamstring injury.if its just tightness he will only miss the celtic match but if he has pulled it he will be out for 3 weeks.

  • Jeffvip

    Arshavin n RVP did not do badly. RVP have 3 shot on target that I think the free-kick will appears on the saves of the week for David James. Arshavin appears more of playmaker style in this game due to his position. He did a few eye catching passes that change the courses of this game. Btw, Arshavin looks tired as he prefer walking than running in most of the off-ball time.

    But 1 things that in my mind is that will we get Hangeland if Gallas continue to score goal as if he deserves the no 10 shirt?

  • VJ

    to be fair to the strikers its the way we play that hasnt really allowed them to score but im sure they will start soon enough. as long as we keep winning i dont mind who scores. but gallas just cant stop scoring. natural striker insticnt. we look so dangerous from those freekicks. again to be fair of the strikers they do get assists so its okay. god i hope cesc is okay he looks so good when hes injured as well. we would need him for the united game. wenger is right though if we can win at united and city then we would be in a really strong position. 5 wins plus players like rosicky and walcott coming back…. anyway lets just wait to hear from wenger bout the nature of fabregas’ injury were all praying it just one game he misses and not 3 weeks

  • Bonathan

    Nice victory and nice start to the season. Real tests start now though. The next two prem games will tell us a lot about what position we’re gonna be fighting for come the end of the season.

    Been unlucky with some injuries in a way, but you could also say we’ve been lucky that we haven’t had injury’s in the departments we are short of quality cover for. B52 has started ok and here’s to hoping he can do a good job when RVP and eduardo are out because wenger has ruled out an offensive signing.

    Wenger hinted that Diaby may be used in a more defensive role if required as well, which i’d like to see. It would have to be the case if we lost Song through injury. Song continues to impress and has picked up where he left off last season.

    Defence is still a worry for me. Gallas and Vermaelen have started well and looked solid, but what if we lose one for a long period of time, which is always likely at some point. Interestingly, Wenger has ruled out Hangeland but has not ruled out strengthening the defensive unit. Fingers crossed. I am a fan of Hangeland though. Transfer window not far off closing, if i were a betting man, i’d probably bet on no one coming in. Just hope we’re still in the run for something in January if that’s the case.

  • jien

    Yes the gunners won again, and they played well to win it too. I always like Diaby alot because he has a scoring instinct and can shoot well from outside the box, an aspect in which he is better in than Denilson and Song. Now we have 4 excellent midfielders (Fab, Song, Denilson and Diaby) finghting for 3 mildfield spots. Hope Wenger can rotate them well and make all of them happy.
    Also, i don’t think AW will be bringing in any big names in, even if he buys someone it will be just a squad member for cover, not superstars. Hangeland is highly unlikely for us now given that Verm and Gallas seems to be forming an excellent partnership at the back. I mean, he is not going to give up his starting place in Fulham and come over to warm the bench in Emirates rite?
    Let’s hope that Fab will come back in time for the manchester games. Given that most of our first team players are still in their early and mid 20’s, I really believe that we are on the verge of a new dynasty, an ARSENAL DYNASTY!!

  • devday

    @Bonathan – I do hope we sign someone else in the defensive mould – it’s a hard one – Gallas / Vermaelen / Song are doing very well in the centre back position / defensive midfield position – so he has to bring in someone who is better than those three – hard to find and probably expensive – or bring in someone that will be second fiddle to those three too – so who would that be?

  • Leeroy.N

    I agree whole heartedly that we have to bring some players in. Defensively being the main area. Trying to find someone who is better than Gallas, available to leave the club, the right price, who will gell with the squad and most importantly if their not from the Prem or havent played in the Prem before, who will be able to handle the questions it asks of players. I’m all for getting them in and I wish we would bring in 3 more at least. But more importantly I think we need to harness and fine tune the good star t we have had and build on it. Any player who comes in now, would be purely for the bench and for cover only. The is a brilliant team chemistry which only a fool would break for someone new or a “big” name. We have a little over a week to bring in a player or two.. if Le boss feels it’s necessary. I believe someone is on the horizon. I doubt (especially now with the injuries of late) he will let the window close without signing at least 1 more player.

    As for the team and their recent form it’s great. Not “typical Arsenal” great, but great hard working, strong in challenging, aerial battles and second ball winning, intelligent passing and playing, forward thinking but defensively careful. Picking goals up from all areas of the pitch is good to see. I like.. I love it!!

    A big test with Man U this weekend coming. I can’t wait!

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!!

  • Berth

    yeah; Diaby got 2 goals and he is suddenly a super hero. Am anti Diaby and I am still one. Wenger should not say he can be our new Viera; am afraid he is miles from that. I still belief we need an attacker and a dmf or defender. I still dont trust Diaby and am a bit worried about the attack not having shape. 12 goals and just 1 goal from 4 strikers is worrying; its no coincidence – its a problem that needs urgent fixing.

  • JDD

    how is 12 goals and 1 goal from 4 strikers worrying??
    it shows we dont just rely on them to score(man utd-rooney,spurs-defoe)they will start to score its only been 3 games.

  • Bonathan

    I would say you’ll be hard pushed to find anyone available better than gallas. I think you could find someone who was in the same ball park and could seriously push for a first team place as well as provide good cover. Let’s face it, a 3rd choice centre back is gonna be required for at least 20 games a season. At least, sometimes a lot more. I just think there’s a big gulf between vermaelen/gallas and JD/silvestre at the mo. Although, maybe i’m being a bit harsh on JD

    When you comnpare our 3rd choicer to the likes of Alex, Agger, Evans, Bassong, Kompany, i’m not sure they rate too far up that list. As I say though, i may be being a bit harsh on JD.

    My worry is that i think this season, the premiership title is really within our grasp. more so than last. At the same time however, the risk of failing to stay in the top 4 is also greater. i just think if ever there were a time to push the boat out slightly, and i must stress slightly, if now isn’t the time then i don’t know when is. I’m not talking about signing the best in the world here. it could be the difference between 1st and 5th/6th.

  • devday

    @Leeroy – Totally agree – if someone does come in then they won’t be first choice. Imagine a player like Cana – is he better than Song – I doubt it – so, he’ll be on the bench – but wouldn’t Ramsey & Diaby be on the bench before Cana – so basically he would be in the reserves / bench. I can totally see why Arsene didn’t buy Cana this summer.

    The type of player we’ll either sign is a major first choicer (but who would that be?), or a younger player who could be on the bench and be groomed into a world class player.

    I do think we could do with a 4th choice defender (Djourou being our third choice) and another attacker – I think Arsene would sign another defender if Senderos does go to Everton and I think he is still looking for another striker of some sort – now that we are playing 4-3-3, it’s probably an area where we could do with another player.

  • VJ

    i think if we beat man u we wont sign anyone wenger will be soo pleased he wont want to upset anyone. as for diaby bearth is right. he is far from a vieira but he certainly has a lot to offer. also jien ur forgeting weve still got rosicky and nasri to come back. plus merida wilshere and ramsay should injuries go haywire. i certainly hope we rest the team. 3 games in one week is more than enough. im looking for the subs to have a game and looking to man u and city we need to minimise the injuries. if we do sign anyone i reckon he will be outside the premier league, we will have to wait and see. till then we pray for cesc.

  • Berth

    Not that Diaby is not an ok player – I mean he is average and ok to play for Arsenal as long as he does not start any match against a really really tough team. I say this bc I know Wenger too well; Wenger might be tempted to start him against Man u. Of which if he does we are definetly loosing.

    Dev, JDD -Getting a striker like Chamack might suit the team being that am not so confident with V.P and N.B playing all through the season. I mean look at the Barca team that we try to copy; lets say Arshavin is messi; Bedtner; Thierry and V.P; Eto – the idea of mimicking Barca is spot on, but its left to be seen if our own messi, Thierry and Eto can be as efficient as the real ones. Am happy scoring responsibities are shared; but …