Yesterday’s game was simply a fairytale game… The scoreline was like something written in the stars. The goalscoring return of Cesc, the exquisite chip from Jack, the crazy flick from Song, the six in six from Chamakh, another great finish from starlet, Nasri and of course, the piece de resistance, Eduardo’s consolation goal… How could you write that?
The line up at the beginning of the game was mouth watering – with Cesc, Wilshere, Nasri and Rosicky in the middle of the park. Shaktar were not mugs and despite an exciting line up, this game was always going to be a tough one… By now, of course, you know the score and you’ve watched the highlights. 5-1 was an incredible result to think about at the beginning of the game and a brilliant performance that thoroughly deserved the scoreline.
Arsenal 5 – 1 Shaktar Donetsk
The line up featured the same back 5 as the Birmingham game, with the only changes seeing Cesc in for Diaby and Rosicky in for Arshavin – for me the latter change was definitely worthy considering the two players contributions in recent games.
Eboue – Squillaci – Djourou – Clichy
Wilshere – Song
Nasri – Cesc – Rosicky
And the game itself started off with quite cagey with most of the battle happening in midfield. From my point of view, Shaktar were playing quite deep and perhaps thinking they could catch us on the counter attack, but our game was solid throughout the back and middle. The key thing for us was to take our chances when we had them and that’s exactly what we did. The first goal came through a cross into the box was mishandled by the keeper, which ended up at the feet of Alex Song, who duly dispatched the ball, via an audacious flick into the back of the net. 1 became 2 when Nasri finished well from a cross from Alex Song, and after Dario Srna missed the ball, Nasri finished with style – the Frenchman’s sixth goal of the season. It was 2 at the break and Shaktar knew they had to come out in the second half.
The opposition started well, but it was soon 3-0 after Djourou was manhandled in the box and the referee awarded and the returning captain stood up to take it and finished it well. A great move involving Rosicky and Chamakh put Wilshere through and he finished very well, chipping the ball over the keeper… and then it was 5… as Nasri chipped the ball over the defence to a onside Chamakh who made it six goals in six European ties – and his 6th goal of the season.
And how fitting that the consolation goal was scored by Eduardo – the player came on to a rapturous applause and when he scored, an even bigger was. A gem of a player and his finish was reminiscent of his golden days when he first joined us.
Arsene commented on the game and the partnership between Cesc and Wilshere:
I believe we made it easy because we had a good team performance. The goals came naturally through the game through great technical quality and overall I believe as well that our technical quality slowly got them tired and, especially in the second half, the goals came with one-twos or possession. I felt they had given a lot in the first half to chase and be focused to defend well, and we took advantage of that in the second half. Yes, I am convinced it works well together. Cesc just came back tonight but Jack has a good maturity level, you never think he’s 18 years of age when he plays. They combine very well. The midfield worked very well tonight.
And it’s a mouth watering proposition to have Jack and Cesc playing together this season and with our squad coming back from injury, suddenly after the previous two defeats, the times have changes again and there is a new found air of confidence ahead of the Man City game and ahead of the biggest clash of weekend has got our captain very excited…
Cesc has been in the press and talked about the game on the weekend and the comerady:
“You cannot buy the spirit in one year. You need a few years to get everyone together and to get to know each other well, and it’s not easy. You don’t make a team in one season or two. But, of course, they are in a very good position. They have all the ingredients to become a great club and we have to fight hard against them. We have our style, we have the football we want to play and we want to try to win every game like this, whether it is against the richest club in the world or the poorest.”
It’s going to be one hell of a game this Sunday but there will much time to talk about that before the weekend, my friends… til tomorrow….