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
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!