Arsenal 3-1 Celtic
UEFA Champions League, Emirates Stadium
Wednesday, August 26, 2009, 19:45
Well, guys and gals… it was a professional display of football yesterday. A solid performance, which saw us produce an efficient display of containment and attack. Congratulations to the boys for the win yesterday and we’ve made it 4 wins out of 4 so far this season…
- Eduardo 28 (pen),
- Eboue 53,
- Arshavin 74
Much of the press this morning is about Eduardo’s penalty and many anti-Arsenal people are all to quick to call Eduardo a cheat and diver etc, but I’m very happy to completely dismiss this whole silly subject. Players many exaggerate a tackle now and again. Gerrard has won so many penalties by ridiculous diving where players aren’t even near him. Eduardo did well, got past the keeper and thought it was going to get clattered. He won a penalty. End of story.
Okay, onto the game.
We started with our new formation once again, but this time deployed a few more defensive minded players. We started all three of our “defensive midfielders” as well as former defender Eboue at right forward. Name of the game, contain and attack.
The line up was:
Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
Denilson – Song
Eboue – Diaby – Edaurdo
It was a strong line up of course, and featured our normal back 7 players, which is understandable considering our need to win this game over two legs. Players like Van Persie and Arshavin largely rested and Cesc and Rosicky completely rested and not included in the squad. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Van Persie, Arshavin and Cesc all back in the starting line up on the weekend.
The game itself started well and we weren’t too great in attack, largely down to Bendtner not having a clue how to play anything resembling football. I won’t dwell on it too much, but Bendtner was pretty terrible. Eduardo won a penalty just before the half an hour mark and duly converted from the spot and the rest of the half saw a battle in midfield, and a little forage forward by Celtic, but ultimately, we looked in control.
The second half saw a more pressurised game for us and by not allowing Celtic any time on the ball, we managed to really turn the grind. Some good play from Diaby setting up Eboue, who pushed the ball past one player and stuck the ball well to make it 2-0.
Arshavin, Ramsey and Wilshere all were subs yesterday and they all looked decent, with Arshavin picking up the third goal after good work and a swivel shot. Although Celtic got a consolation, I wouldn’t worry too much about that, it was literally the last kick of the game.
In terms of player performances, I was yet again impressive by the back 6 – the four defenders and the two defensive midfielders. Vermaelen and Gallas look like a partnership made in heaven, both confident in each others abilities.
Okay, time to listen to Arsene:
“I believe that in the two games Celtic were well organised and showed some great mental qualities. They never gave up at any moment, and for me, they are a good side. Over the two games, they were a bit unlucky, because in the first game the free-kick deflected. They were always one behind the score and when there is a technical difference between the two sides, it makes it even harder.”
And time to hear what he had to say about the “dive”:
“From outside I must say it looked a penalty but having seen it again on television, it doesn’t look to be a penalty. But I must still say that we were always likely to score the first goal because Eduardo had a great chance before the penalty and we always looked in control of the game tonight. I believe that it was not a penalty but having seen it again, I’m not sure that the ‘keeper didn’t touch him with his right knee. I am a bit cautious because with what happened to Eduardo, you know. He might have jumped out of the way, so you have to speak to him. I don’t think he would have complained if the penalty was not given but did he want to get out of the way of the ‘keeper? I have to ask him. I haven’t spoken to him yet. We looked capable of scoring but that doesn’t mean that the penalty is important if it is not a penalty. That doesn’t mean I do not want a penalty that is not a penalty, but I do not go as far to say Edaurdo dived. He went down, for what reason I do not know. But I do not think he would have complained if the penalty was not given. Is it acceptable? I have never asked in my life any guy to dive to win a penalty, but sometimes players go down because there is no other way to escape the goalkeeper’s tackle, sometimes they dive. We got a penalty against us two years ago in the Quarter-Final of the Champions League that made the difference when Babel dived. Nobody ever apologised to us, it was a blatant dive and nobody spoke about it.”
Eduardo is such a genuinely nice guy, a heart warmer and ultimate professional… I hope this whole dive thing goes away very quickly… which it may do as the whole of the football nation will be tuned the Champions League Draw…. which is live and exclusive everywhere from 5pm!
Let’s take a quick preview of who we may face:
The way this will work, is that there will be 8 groups of 4 teams each. One team from each pot will be chosen and there are some hard teams in each pot as such… Looking at the different pots, it looks like we could be drawn with anyone…
So, here is what I thikn the hardest and easiest groups will be… let’s see who we actually get later today…
I would actually be very very surprised if any team out of pot four made it past the group stage… so surprised, it may be worth some sort of bet… Anyway, the draw takes place at 5pm today, so not long to go now… fingers crossed everyone!
P.S. Thanks to JDD, it’s clear that Eduardo didn’t dive…