Arsenal 3 – 1 Celtic (& Champions League Draw Preview)

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:

Almunia

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Denilson – Song

Eboue – Diaby – Edaurdo

Bendtner

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:

Pot one
Barcelona
Chelsea
Liverpool
Manchester United
AC Milan
Arsenal
Sevilla
Bayern Munich
Pot Two
Lyon
Inter Milan
Real Madrid
CSKA Moscow
Porto
AZ Alkmaar
Juventus
Rangers
Pot Three
Olympiakos
Marseille
Dinamo Kiev
Stuttgart
Fiorentina
Atletico Madrid
Bordeaux
Besiktas
Pot Four
Wolfsburg
Standard Liege
Maccabi Haifa
FC Zurich
Rubin Kazan
Unirea Urziceni
APOEL Nicosia
Debrecen

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…

Hardest Group

Arsenal
Real Madrid
Fiorentina
Wolfsburg

Easiest Group

Arsenal
AZ Alkmaar
Besiktas
Debrecen

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…

  • Debs

    I thought Bendtner had an ok game. Not a special game, but not as bad as you make it sound. He did kind of assist with the second goal as well, with his cheeky back-heel.

  • JDD

    Edurdo did NOT dive.Heres the proof-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu9iTpWGlMo&feature=related

  • Berth

    I fear Arsenal been seeded with Inter milan. its a possibility.

  • devday

    On the Eduardo dive thing, Andrew Stevens wrote this:

    Why is it that people have a go at the player who has dived saying he should miss the spot-kick or admit that it wasn’t a penalty a la Robbie Fowler yaddayadda but when there is actually a penalty that isn’t given there is no such clamouring about the ‘sportsmanship’ of the defender? Why didn’t the general public display its shock when Kuyt didn’t actually go up to the ref in that CL semi and admit he blatantly fouled Hleb? Or when Jamie Carragher didn’t hold up his hands on the numerous occasions last season when he pulled down opposition attackers down and say ‘Oooh you know what that was too good for me. Yes I did foul him. That’s got to be a penalty ref.’ Surely it’s the flipside of the same coin?

    I imagine its because the football public would shake their heads in disbelief and ask ‘Is he mad? Hes a lucky boy but he got away with it you know’. So I ask you what’s the difference between someone who gets away without conceding a penalty and a diver? Are they both cheats who should be hauled over the holier than thou coals when they don’t admit what actually happened?

  • Berth

    Dev I like you sooo much; you have an unbaised mind of yesterday’s incidence. And as a matter of fact I will appreciate if we close the topic and focus on more important issues like the Manu match and the CL draw.

  • debs

    I think there are too many instances of foul play in the game, other than diving, so in a way, it’s a bit unfair to single out diving. Maybe the easiest way out of this mess is to bring in technology to answer the big questions…

  • Pete

    Dev, you heard any news on how Cesc is doing mate?

  • devday

    @Pete

    Arsene has revealed that Cesc will be short for Saturday, but will definitely be back for the Man City game – in fact he has been called up by Spain for next weekend’s international after a discussion with Arsene.

    Cesc will be doing a muscle test tomorrow in case there is a chance of him playing against United – but at the moment he is rated 30:70

  • devday

    @kieran_delaney – the one thing that gets to me is that Gerrard and Rooney dive all the time, and get away with it with no press coverage at all.

    Eduardo’s pen looks like a dive, although video above suggests otherwise – so why is he the worst player in the world all of a sudden.

    I’m not a fan of diving whatsoever, but this media coverage, UEFA, FIFA etc is ridiculous!

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk Josiah

    I like the video which proves Eduardo didn’t dive. Good look today for the draw!

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    Dev I don’t disagree – which is why any action should apply to all players, it’s ruining the game. Someone mentioned defenders who get away with it – but they don’t. There have been countless bad challanges that have gone unpunished by the referee at the time that have later resulted in a ban.

    Edaurdo cheated – regardless of your allegience to the club cheating in football is wrong and should be stamped out.

    In two days time this will have blown over, and I genuinely think it only feels like it’s more intense because we’re paying more attention to it because it is our team.

    But at the end of the day if Edaurdo hadn’t have dived, the papers, Fifa and Uefa wouldn’t have anything to concentrate on!

  • Fabrez

    Saw the video…it was a dive. Anyway…the draw is upon us!

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk Josiah

    Alkmaar so far..

  • Fabrez

    Hmm…i can live with Alkmaar…

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk Josiah

    olympiakos, good oddge from marseille i say!

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk Josiah

    dodge*

  • Fabrez

    we meet good old Gilberto again…

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk Josiah

    he plays for panathinaikos?

  • Fabrez

    yeah josiah…my bad…wrong greek club!!

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk Josiah

    Overall good draw for us :D

  • Pete

    Standard Liege of Belgium :) Not a bad group at all. Chelsea seem to have to most difficult group with Porto and Athletico.

  • Fabrez

    Alkmaar, Olympiakos and Liege…surely we shall qualify for the round of sixteen with relative ease. Grooup C seems to be the toughest…E & F look like they can throw up some crackers too!

  • Pete

    So Arsenal head up Group H which includes: Alkmaar, Olympiakos, and Standard Liege.

    I quite fancy our chances already! :-)

  • Fabrez

    Yeah Pete…but i’d imagine all the English sides make it thru to the final 16…exciting times! C’mon Arsenal!

  • Leeroy.N

    DEV – Great find from STEVEN ANDREWS. Enough said for me on this matter though. Hahaha!

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