Standard Liege 2 – 3 Arsenal

Standard Liege 2 – 3 Arsenal

UEFA Champions League, Maurice Dufrasne Stadium
Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 19:45

Okay, did anyone else shout at the television yesterday? Apologies for the delay in the match report… it was certainly a crazy night of football yesterday. As you’re all very probably aware by now, we went down 2-0 int he first 5 minutes, eventually to come back to win the game 3-2. Had we not had the atrocious start, it would have been a different game altogether… it looked like Liege were intent on attacking, and if we hadn’t conceded so early on, we may have been able to play a more naturally attacking / counter attacking game.

The early two goals put the home team 2-0 up and from that point, they obviously had a good lead to try and defend, knowing we’d go for them and also try and counter attack. Credit to the home team, they really pushed us. The two goals conceded coming from two mistakes – firstly Eduardo back heeling in a dangerous area, falling to a Liege player and then Mannone failing to save a goal at his near post, whilst being stationed at his near post.

Moments later Gallas tripped a Liege player in the area, and before we knew it, it was 2-0 to Liege.

“We were caught cold by a team who were really ready and started out of the blocks at full power. When you go 2-0 down after five minutes, you know you have a big task in front of you. To win away from home in the Champions League and score three goals, you know it will be tough. You are in a position where you have to attack with full power, without restriction, and know that the next goal will kill you. We were in a position where we could not afford to conceded a third goal, but had to try to come back to 2-1 at least before half time, which is what we did.”

From then it was project recovery… and recover is what we did. Of course, at 2-0 down, the football becomes less free flowing and more efficient, whilst looking for gaps in the defence and areas to expose. In the first half, on the stroke of half time, a good run by Diaby and precision pass played in Bendtner who finished well to make it 2-1 to the home team. Our first half performance did leave much to be desired and most players were misplacing their passing and making the wrong decisions.

The second half is where we changed the game. Personally, I’m convinced I saw a different Cesc in the second half to the first half. We had more intent, closed down better and showed more “want to win”… The equaliser came through Vermaelen – who has continued his impressive performances for us as he bundled home an attempted shot by Alex Song after Cesc floated in a free kick. Maybe an element of handball, but you take the luck with the… unluck…. I think…

The winner came through Eduardo’s knee cap and he bundled the ball from a corner… all in all a scrappy game, but a good three points considering the start we had and the fact we were away in the Champions League.

“In the second half, the game dropped a bit in physical intensity. When they got tired, we got some set pieces and took advantage of it. It can happen to anybody to be caught like that, and to win at the end of the game, you need to be very strong, especially on a night like that where Standard gave absolutely everything. They played like a Cup Final tonight with full commitment, and they deserve a lot of credit as well.”

And that’s a wrap… time to put this game (and the last three) behind us and get on with the Premiership!

In other news, Emmanuel Adebayor has been handed a three match ban for his stamp on Robin Van Persie – he’s also potentially facing another 2 games for the celebration… the statement on the FA website read:

“A Regulatory Commission today considered the charge of violent conduct issued against Manchester City’s Emmanuel Adebayor under the fast-track disciplinary procedure, following an incident with Robin van Persie during their fixture against Arsenal on the 12 September. Taking into consideration Mr Adebayor’s acceptance of the charge of violent conduct the Regulatory Commission have ordered that he serve a three-match suspension from all football, commencing Thursday 17 September. A separate charge of improper conduct will be considered at a later date. “

I am still in a little shock how badly Adebayor behaved throughout the game – I really don’t consider us the bad guys in this whole episode – in fact, I am more than sure that Arsene knew Ade was a bad apple that needed to leave before he created more disharmony… Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate what he did when he was here, but thanks and good bye… I don’t think he’s a bad player either, but we’ll see come the end of the season what type of player he really is.

News ahead of Saturday’s game is that Denilson is out for the next three to four weeks with a back injury and Arhavin and Almunia also both look likely to miss the game this weekend, so it’s all touch and go still, with a lot of people out injured at the moment. It looks like Mannone will start on Saturday and Szczesny may make his Carling Cup debut on Tuesday…

Okie dokie boys and girls, back tomorrow with a Arsenal vs Wigan preview…

  • Brian Kelsey

    What can i say…. LUCKY LUCKY ARSENAL! i love our team but they seem intent on giving the fans a lot of early grey hairs this year. Although the comeback was great, it was still a dire performance and a far from unconvincing win, ive never seen us look so nervy before, but with 3 points in the bag after such an awful start maybe this result can do more harm than good, hopefully by restoring the players self belief that looked completely absent as of late.

  • Hellbringer Hollett

    Great to hear Adebayor got his match ban. I can’t believe the stomp! Should have been more than 3 games as it was so delibrate.

    Crazy, I’ve started blogging about Arsenal and I’m not even an Arsenal fan!!!

  • RF

    Wow ! I’m relieved. What a come back !
    Conceding Goals is what worries me . Hope we fix it soon and defend as a unit.

    On Saturday we play Wigan for 3 points. Nothing less than that. Arsene and our players know that better.
    Common you Gunners !!!

    Gooner forever!!!

  • devday

    They say from 16-23 you are inconsistent – they you peak at 23 – 30 (as a defender) and then inconsistency creeps back into your game… we can see that with Gallas – sometimes incredible – sometimes shocking…!

  • vj

    We should play a similar team looks like with so many injuries sagna to replace eboue, van persie to replace either eduardo rosicky or B52.

  • zaheer

    Dev. Im anxiously awaiting the Arsenal v Wigan match preview:)

  • Pete

    4-0 to Arsenal 😀

    Vermaelen scores 2 goals, Eboue got a deflection off Eduardo and Cesc score the 4th. And we kept a clean sheet 😀

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I can’t believe we thrash Wigan 4-0 and we have 1 comment on the game. What’s happened to everyone today?

  • Debs

    Wasn’t able to watch the whole match properly. Still haven’t seen the first goal. But I’m so loving the Verminator! I thought it was a great match, and even though VP may have worn his shooting boots the wrong way round, there was someone else to score the goals. That’s one of the reasons why I love Arsenal- we don’t rely on one or two people to score the goals, everyone chips in. Great team work.
    Oh, and did you guys see the 3rd goal celebration, where Eduardo and Eboue ran in opposite directions to celebrate, as both thought they’d scored? That was a Kodak moment! Lol
    Rosicky brilliant as usual, even with such a brief cameo. And I’m glad Cesc got the goal in the end, as he was struggling with a knock and we’d used up our 3 subs. Just rewards, I guess!
    Awesome day, let’s build on it.

    PS- Did anyone notice how quiet-ish the stadium was? A bit flat on atmosphere today, or was that just me?

  • Debs

    The clean sheet was awesome as well! First of the season, as well! Confidence booster for Manonne?

  • Fabrez

    Well said Debs…good 4 the Verm! Mannone too. And yeah… was a bit library-like in the Emirates from what I could hear. Not cool!

  • zaheer

    Respect to Eboue! It mustn’t have been easy for him today. I’m really happy that the fans got behind him

  • jien

    hmmm…looks like vermaelen and gallas have a little competiton among themselves….compete to be the club’s top scorer come end of the season..haha

    Well done Verm…and well done Arsene for bringing in such an excellent player..