Arsenal 1 – 0 Udinese: And Breathe…

And breathe…

Yesterday was a very important game for us and two things that we needed to do before the game: score and keep a clean sheet, we did. There were some fears before the game that Rosicky and Koscielny would miss the game – coupled with the plethora of suspensions and other injuries, left our squad thread bare… but both the aforementioned players were passed fit and we managed to field the following line-up:

Szcznesy

Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Gibbs

Ramsey – Song

Walcott – Rosicky – Gervinho

Chamakh

The bench was Fabianski, Djourou, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Arshavin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bendtner

The game was won by a good move just after 4 minutes, when Theo & Ramsey broke the defence, Ramsey going wide, and Sagna passing the ball into his path. Ramsey kept the ball under control and then swung the ball in for Walcott to volley into the back of the net. The goal was good and highly needed and it seemed to be the one thing we clung on to as Udinese came pouring forward in search of their equaliser. Personally I feel that we were lucky not to concede – but the luck was born out of sheer determination to keep a clean sheet – our defensive performance was amazing considering how badly positioned we were – Gervinho and Walcott did well tracking back, but not positionally – more in effort.

Defence

To not concede a goal was amazing – when I look back at the game and the number of chances Udinese, it’s incredible that they failed to score and that we kept a clean sheet. Sagna for me, was absolutely outstanding and the partnership of Koscielny and Vermaelen seems to be gelling a bit better. One thing to note was the injuries to both Gibbs and his replacement Djourou – both hamstring injuries – meaning both players will miss the Liverpool game. With Jenkinson having made his debut yesterday, he could be thrusted into the weekend game from the start.

Positive points

Walcott looked like he had more hunger – it was like he has realised his responsibility in the team. “I have to win games”, rather than “Robin or Cesc will win the game”… type of attitude, which is what we need out of him. His runs were good – his goal was good and we need him to stay injury free this season. Gervinho also looked lively and I’m sure he will contribute a lot this season. Ramsey was also very good throughout the game – but I was very excited with him when he moved up to the “Cesc role” and was playing just behind the striker – he seems to prefer a more attacking role – and when Jack returns, I can see him playing more in that position. Another positive point is the introduction of Frimpong who looks like a very decent player – early days I know, but with Song’s suspension, we’ll see what he is made of soon enough…

Negative points

Chamakh is not the replacement for Robin Van Persie we need – his overall play lacks conviction and it’s very worrying to have him slot in when Van Persie is unavailable. More worrying is the lack in strength in depth – if Song / Ramsey are injured, who will come in? Will Lansbury, Frimpong, Miyachi win us the league? Hell no…  Another negative point is the injuries to Gibbs and Djourou – with Squillaci out of favour and Traore also injured, we’ve got no other options – Eboue’s gone too, so no cover at all – we’ll have to play Sagna, Kos, Vermaelen and Jenkinson on the weekend – we have no other options.

I often wonder whether the suspensions to Gervinho and Song and injuries to Diaby, Wilshere, Djourou and Gibbs are like God telling Arsene to buy… but the manager never seems to take these signs and go into the market.

After the game, Walcott spoke and was keen to emphasis the importance of keeping a clean sheet:

“The most important thing was the clean sheet. Our defence was solid again, like at the weekend (against Newcastle), and it’s nice to get the goal. They are a very strong team and we will find it difficult over there but I believe, if we play the same kind of football, we can get a result.”

And Aaron Ramsey, who played well too, echoed Theo’s sentiments:

“It was important to keep a clean sheet tonight. They were good opposition and it was a difficult test for us, but we have come through it and we have scored a goal. But it is far from over yet, we have still got another game to go and hopefully we can finish the job off out there. We dropped off a bit in the second half and there were gaps appearing, but we did well. We dug in and gave absolutely everything tonight. We have done well to keep another clean sheet, that’s two in two games, so hopefully now we can continue that. We believe we are capable of going over there and getting a win.”

And if you look at the team and the circumstances, I am sure you’ll agree that it was a very good victory. One that was hard to achieve with a young squad missing a lot of players – no Wilshere, Nasri or Van Persie, a few injuries through out the game and a few youngsters in the fray too… Well done to the team… We’ve got the second leg next Wednesday – it’s very important for us to do well over there – it will be hard, but we’ve got to give everything.

Onwards and upwards my friends…

  • Aussie Gooner Dave

    Don’t mention Nasri. he doesn’t exist as far as I’m concerned. I also think you’re going over the top saying a good performance. I genuinely thought we were lucky tonight. Wenger must strengthen immediately….but he won’t

  • Robert Li

    Why you guys hate Nasri so much? What would you do when another employer offers you a salary 80% higher than your current one? Would you hate yourself just for not fully committed at your current job??

  • prime

    wenger please buy CB

  • lien

    Im very worried, Yes we won bur everything I saw tonight made me feel very uneasy at what’s coming this season. The only positive was Walcott, the only player who looked hungry. I cant see us being in the top 6 let alone top 4. Injuries: yet again.. there is something extremely wrong in the training regime at Arsenal, we get so many injuries its ridiculous. Depth: Our team has not enough depth, we are down to the bare bones and he quality aint there Leaders: Where are the leaders? theres no one, once we get under pressure the whole team get nervous and look vulnerable. Quality: we need better quality players, need more players! Chamackh: what has happened to him, he couldn’t even play for a conference side. I’m very worried for Saturday and the next leg, could leave us un a disastrous position to begin the season…Wenger out!

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    will nasri and van persie be suspended for the second leg?

  • des

    We’re unbeaten! and have 2 clean sheets! and we’re supposedly in a bit of a crisis!

    I hope we end up like man utd last season, when everyone was saying they were playing rubbish, they had average players… but they still ended up winning (sometimes with a lot of luck) with a togetherness and fighting spirit.

    I am concerned about Chamahk though, what has happened to him since last january?? is he injured? is it really a lack of confidence? motivation? Wenger really needs to find out because we know he can be good… but last night, and for most of the last few months, he has looked stoned when on the pitch.

  • des

    @Josiah – No

  • devday

    @ Josiah:
    No, Van Persie will be available for the second leg… and Nasri will be sold by then…

  • yemi

    This is not the same chamack i saw in Bordeaux or in the champions league. Not the same chamack that plays for morocco, something is missing….

    Chamakh, the first player in UEFA Champions League history to score in six consecutive matches.

    While at Nérac, youth coaches at the club nicknamed him “Mr. George” after the former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah because Chamakh “used to score four or five goals in every game.

    At his former clubs, they have good wingers and a solid midfield. He scores a lot with is head and when no good ball comes in, then he becomes irrelevant.

    Generally, i would be highly dissapointed an may not watch any arsenal match again if wenger does not sign at least 2 players before the end of the season. I pay heavily on cable TV just to be able to watch my team play. I won’t pay to watch crap.
    Now if yesterdays team is made up of many youth and the performance was like that, how do we cope in the league cup, FA cup and champions league plus the EPL with such a weak team ? No backups, no 2nd string. There wasn’t even a single striker on the bench.
    August is almost over and that is the last month i will subscribe to football channels on my cable.
    I’d rather watch series and movies.

  • sharad

    Chamaks’s been banging around that’s why he’s lost his ‘power’ he needs to stop having sex with so many women its quite simple.

  • vj

    traore or jenkinson at LB against Liverpool, its a tough one, because although traore hashad PL experience, he has also shown that he is not a very good defender, I think it may be worth risking Jenkinson, his height and natural defensive tendencies may be better suited to that position. I also hope Wilshere can play, I expect that Andrey will fill in for gervinho, Frimpong for Song, who last night had 2 fouls with his first 2 involvements in the game! And RVP for the lame Chamakh

    I think we need to worried about our positional defending as devday has said, especially with Charlie Adam’s vision and Downing and Caroll’s pace and power. Suarez is much like Di Natale except quicker so Koscielny will have to be careful not to give away, careless freekicks and penalties

  • yemi

    traore will be better at left than jenk. unless you play sagna on left and jenk on right.

  • sharad

    God help us against liverbirds

  • sharad

    seems like the manager is hell bent on running this club to the ground. Obvious, glaring and crazy signs where we need players yet the manager refuses to sign players – Get rid of this croissant beofre it’s too late

  • piresistible

    Where does the media witch hunt against Arsenal stem from?… Is it just simple xenophobia, or hating the French (especially intelligent and successful ones), or does it give the writers points scored with the powerful and scary godfather Don Fergileone? We see what is printed here in The Alleged Independent, where we can frequently enjoy Sam Wallace and James Lawton bashing Arsenal, and praising United and Rooney even if the manager slates all the referees and calls them unfit, or the player does a blatant dive or even elbows somebody. The Sun is nowadays officially and Anti-Arsenal forum. Arsenal have just got a solid result of 1-0 in Europe when in such a crisis and missing so many players, and instead of receiving an iota of praise, The Sun has 3 Arsenal references: 1)the headline “Shut It Wenger”, 2)an article by the United Lackey Steven Howard “Wenger has a loada has-Beans”, and 3)Nasri gets nasty over Arsenal exit! The Mirror is even worse, in that it has the infamous JOHN CROSS, notorious for being a man with a mission every day to unsettle Arsenal with stories he cooks up or even invents that in a day or so become printed even in India and Ghana quoting The Mirror, yet hiding in a deceiving disguise of an Arsenal expert, some even think he is an Arsenal fan! So this morning JOHN CROSS writes, Nasri: I’m bitter, I’m angry and I’m off, again without even having bothered to check the source of the utterly false story he is about to print. Talk about shabby journalism, why even bother to check if a story is true, as long as the so called journalist likes the sound of it?

  • yemi

    I am beginning to think in another dimension.
    If you were an employer, you employed a manager to recruit and manage a team of professionals.
    What would you do if after six years, your company is one of the best in the world, your product one of the most expensive, but you fail to get to the top and your consumers are agitated because some of your employees don’t service them properly and you face the risk of losing them (and in turn your income)?
    What do you do if year after year your manager trains personnel in the skill and art of doing your business and they become great, but as soon as they become great they move on to the next company who is a competitor and who pays more than you do ?

    I need answers to some questions !!!!
    Who owns arsenal ?
    Who employed wenger ?
    who comes up with the policies for the club ?
    who provides the funds ?
    who decides what the funds is used for or how it is used ? Who does wenger report too ?
    What is the desire/aim of the club ?
    What are the desires/aims of the fans ?
    What are the desires/aims of the players who do the business on the pitch?
    Does the aim of the club tally with the aim of the fans or players ?
    whose aim is better?
    Is there a way of reaching a mutual ground between the aspirations of the fans, players and club management ?
    why do things seem to get worse as we pay more and more of our debts off (which was the original excuse for not buying big ?
    Is arsenal better off than it was last season ?
    If we lose our champions league spot, lose fan base, lose players will the club still be viable?
    What do we need to do urgently before the end of the transfer window ? or do we give these bunch of rudderless ship a trial till january ? or season long trial ?

  • yemi

    I am beginning to think in another dimension.
    If you were an employer, you employed a manager to recruit and manage a team of professionals.
    What would you do if after six years, your company is one of the best in the world, your product one of the most expensive, but you fail to get to the top and your consumers are agitated because some of your employees don’t service them properly and you face the risk of losing them (and in turn your income)?
    What do you do if year after year your manager trains personnel in the skill and art of doing your business and they become great, but as soon as they become great they move on to the next company who is a competitor and who pays more than you do ?

    I need answers to some questions !!!!
    Who owns arsenal ?
    Who employed wenger ?
    who comes up with the policies for the club ?
    who provides the funds ?
    who decides what the funds is used for or how it is used ? Who does wenger report too ?
    What is the desire/aim of the club ?
    What are the desires/aims of the fans ?
    What are the desires/aims of the players who do the business on the pitch?
    Does the aim of the club tally with the aim of the fans or players ?
    whose aim is better?
    Is there a way of reaching a mutual ground between the aspirations of the fans, players and club management ?
    why do things seem to get worse as we pay more and more of our debts off (which was the original excuse for not buying big ?
    Is arsenal better off than it was last season ?
    If we lose our champions league spot, lose fan base, lose players will the club still be viable?
    What do we need to do urgently before the end of the transfer window ? or do we give these bunch of rudderless ship a trial till january ? or season long trial ?
    DO we need a new manager ?
    Will a new manager want to come to arsenal and work under the current conditions ?
    If no, why can’t we change/relax the policies a bit ?

  • yemi

    I need answers to some questions !!!!
    Who owns arsenal ?
    Who employed wenger ?
    who comes up with the policies for the club ?
    who provides the funds ?
    who decides what the funds is used for or how it is used ? Who does wenger report too ?
    What is the desire/aim of the club ?
    What are the desires/aims of the fans ?
    What are the desires/aims of the players who do the business on the pitch?
    Does the aim of the club tally with the aim of the fans or players ?
    whose aim is better?
    Is there a way of reaching a mutual ground between the aspirations of the fans, players and club management ?
    why do things seem to get worse as we pay more and more of our debts off (which was the original excuse for not buying big ?
    Is arsenal better off than it was last season ?
    If we lose our champions league spot, lose fan base, lose players will the club still be viable?
    What do we need to do urgently before the end of the transfer window ? or do we give these bunch of rudderless ship a trial till january ? or season long trial ?
    DO we need a new manager ?
    Will a new manager want to come to arsenal and work under the current conditions ?
    If no, why can’t we change/relax the policies a bit ?

  • yemi

    Every player that leaves arsenal say it is their desire to win that makes them leave, does it mean that there is no desire to win at arsenal ?

  • yemi

    Valencia rejected a £22m bid for Juan Mata from Chelsea, according to Marca in Spain.

  • agentsmurf

    If Wenger is not hearing any alarm bells in his head before he should be hearing them loud and clear now judging by our last 2 performances. Ignore them at your peril Wenger. You have 14 days to do what you should have done 3 months ago, never mind the last 3 years. Absence of creativity in midfield, short on strikers, defenders and a bench low on quality. In short a shockingly lack of depth. Your preparation of the squad in pre-season was nothing short of disgracfful and you couldn’t have done any worse if you tried. You should have been sacked for that alone. If you choose not to bring in adequate and quality reinforcement in the remaining 2 weeks of the window I can only conclude you are not acting in the best interest of Arsenal Football Club. Another sackable offence. Now go and spend some money.

  • Kodjo

    Some folks are bent on starting a crisis even when there is none. In the past arsenal has been criticized for not keeping a clean sheet. It happened last night and yet folks are complaining. Was it convincing…the 1st half was…we dropped off in the second half…part of it is down to the injuries. Bcos Arshavin & B52 could have come on to push Udinese back …but it was not possible due to the enforced substitutions.

    The option was to contain Udinese and maintain what we had. Effectively conceding possession and playing on the counter. Remember Chamakh did not have his best day…was not pressurizing the 2 centre halves of Udinese which allowed them time to play passes to their midfielders, thereby controlling the game and tempo. B52 was warming up but had to go back to the bench. Not forgetting that Rosicky who was central to our link up play was playing with an injury. He became more labored in the 2nd half as he was unable to track back frequently.

    Does Arsene need to strengthen without a doubt. He now has no excuse given the injuries to JD & Gibbs. A central defender is now paramount. We also need a creative midfielder because I do not foresee Wilshere & Ramsay doing the job for the whole season.

    Another striker is needed on the back of Chamakh’s performance. I do not know if it is a confidence issue. But his loss of form is alarming to say the least.

  • Kodjo

    @ Yemi

    Do you believe everything that players say???? Players who leave the club will always say things that have the right sound bites.

    Do you for one believe that Wenger wakes up everyday and plans not do well???

    Until we get a sugar daddy like chelski and Citeh do not expect Arsenal to bring in players at inflated prices not to mention wages. This the reality!!!! Better believe it. Part of the monies from recent transfers will probably go towards clearing debts.

    If your expectations are high pls lower them! Difficult times but hang in there!!!!

  • yemi

    @ Kodjo:
    I don’t believe everything players say, however where i come from they say “If a witch screams at night and child dies in the morning, we can safely assume that the the witch that screamed is responsible for the death of the child”

    Having said that, If everyone sees and agrees that the team needs strengthening in some key areas and what the coach keeps saying that we are OK the way we are, and we keep losing key players and they are not replaced.
    Who said the replacements have to be inflated ? Why didn’t we get mata before his clause expired ? We need quality replacements to replce players that leave (while the young ones mature, that shows intent, we don’t have to go for schnieder or any expensive player, but not to replace cesc will be a disaster. Mark my word.
    I have never been a doomsday prophet, but our current situation is precarious and unwarranted.
    sometime ago Dev wrote a post asking if the problems identified as the bane of our disastrous last season have been taken care of.
    Not only have they not been done, but the situation is getting worse…
    I fear !!

  • Bonathan

    Worrying thing now is, any clubs needing to replace any players they may sell are running out of time to find replacements also. prices will probably go up. are we going to pay the price? or will we stick with what we have?

    when you hear wenger saying ‘we need to check on two avenues for new players, those we already have, and those that we can sign’ and ‘it is ok saying we need to buy someone, but we must find players better than we already have’, you start to wonder if we will be signing anybody else.

    Persnally, i’d be signing at least one attacking midfielder and a CB. i think i’d probably be tempted to go for a striker as well.

    what do i think we will sign is a completely different question though. I honestly think we will only make one signing. an attacking midfielder. I really don’t think he will sign a cb because we have kept two clean sheets and have looked pretty good back there with TV. We are, of course, heavily reliant on TV though.

    which attacking midfielder we sign is anybody’s guess. i can’t see it being any world beater but i think we will probably have to panic buy someone.

    as for strikers, well, my thoughts were that behind RVP we’d have gervinho and chamackh battling. i’m not too confidant about this now. one, i’m still not sure about chamachk, and two, i’m not sure about gervinho as a central striker. he seemed to be a big guy from the footage from his time at lille, but he’s smaller than i expected.

  • harry

    Wengers comments on only bringing in higher quality than the players that we have already, WELL judging on recent performances i dont think that is a hard job, I would agree with that sentence if it were the barca manager but Arsenal at the mo not that hard to find better players than that what we have. PLEASE Wenger stop talking CRAP its becoming an embarrassment every time wenger speaks i cringe. He used to be considered the most educated speaking manager but now he seems to have gone off the rails.Plus the paper results regarding his spending against his sales shows that the difference is 1.9m in the 12 years. now if a club has a budget each year to spend on new players and for arguments sake arsenals is 20m per year over 12 years this is 240m now as the diff is 1.9 mill he/Arsenal should have close to 200m in reserve. BUT as we all know this is not the case.(AND THEY CALL THEMSELVES A WELL RUN CLUB) WELL where is the money, they cant be that well run if its been spent elsewhere because as things go the first team is going downhill and the results are beginning to show. SOON the revenue will start to dwindle how will they fund whatever it is that the money has been spent on. LIES LIES LIES it all started from that first one “we need to move to a bigger stadium to compete with likes of Man U!!!!” WELL HELLO OUT THERE whilst we have struggled they have gone on won more trophies spent a hell of allot more money than us and improved their stadium? WHERE HAVE WE GONE WRONG? CALL YOUSELVES A WELL RUN CLUB????? B******S

  • Bonathan

    you can’t help but think that this ‘project’ is all about maintaining our place in the top 4 while using wengers ability to nurture talent and get the best out of players before selling them on at much higher prices to achieve optimum profits for the club. it is very businessman-like.

    Trouble is, they have taken their eye off the ball and we are now seriously in danger of falling out of the top 4 and that would be a disaster for us finacially. especially since it would likely not be a quick fix to get back in due to additional players leaving (and possibly the manager who i believe already has a stack of excuses ready to walk if it all does go pear shaped)

    surely this thought would send a rocket firmly up the backsides of wenger and the board, but apparentely not. i think they’ve played a dangorous game and perhaps the likes of nasri/clichy have seen through it and had enough.

    would we have signed gervinho if fab and nasri were both staying? I actually think gervinho has been fabregas’ replacement all along, enabling us to move nasri infield. trouble is, wenger was banking on nasri staying. this is why i don’t think he rushed out to buy juan mata, because if fabregas was the only player leaving, he wouldn’t have been interested in mata, as gervinho would have been the replacement.

    Mata has always just been for if nasri goes as well. i don’t believe we’d have been interested in mata if only fab was going. If we could have got mata (which embarrasingly enough we could have done for 17m), nasri would have gone by now. They got it all wrong and now we are sitting, 1 week into the season, red faced and still looking for nasri’s replacement. and wenger is not kidding anyone by saying he thinks nasri will stay. horsesh1t. the deal has been agreed weeks ago (or months) between the player and city.

    another worrying quote from wenger very recently is ‘bentner may stay, he is looking sharp in training’. It’s a joke.

    Wenger has some sort of resentment against something and is blinkered. He is only damaging himself and the club until he can snap out of it. Trouble is, we’d be even worse off without him as he is a great manager. but he has deep issues in my opinion.

  • yemi

    One game and fabregas already has a trophy! He went frm being injured at arsenal directly into d spanish super cup finals.
    Was involved in d 3rd goal and almost gave messi his hat trick

  • edison

    Until we start losing games I think everyone needs to put a sock in it.

    This is Arsenal football club, Wenger knows what he is doing. For those of you who think he is going to spend big on a ‘proven’ player or splash cash on a ‘feel good’ transfer you need to stop playing FIFA 11 on your xbox. As said previously, we all know what the score is with Arsenal, how we run as a club – we don’t buy big.

    Personally say what you like about Squillaci, yes he’s had a patchy run in the premier league so far, but hes certainly an experienced centre half and I don’t think weve seen the best of him yet at arsenal. On paper hes a more than adequate back up when we need one.

    Same with Bendtner, everyone moans so much about him. The press have a field day with misquoting him and spinning his arrogance. Useless? sometimes yes, but he was also the striker who scored a number of late winners on many occasions last season. With this in mind he certainly has a use this season if we keep him, which it looks like we are.

    I just think everyone needs to stop being so negative, if we lose 3 games on the trot then lets complain.

    Frimpong looked quality on tuesday, as did Ramsey. Im doubtful Wenger will sign another midfielder, he’s just bought Gervinho after all.

  • agentsmurf

    What is evident from the last 6 years and indeed last night is the lack of a quality match winner in the team. I am convinced we need a marquee signing – another Bergkam. If we look back the signing of Denis was the impetus for change. When he left everything went tits up. How many players got better with him – Anelka, Henry, Pires? How can any of this current lot improve without a similiar player around them. Wenger would never have signed Denis – too expensive too old. Wenger won’t sign proven quality. His reject is does to fail. We will be Ajax. Sack Wenger !

  • Berth

    We are already Ajax, the only difference is that they are in Holland and we in England, hence the benefit of being in a strong league gives us chance to appear in CL

  • yemi

    @ edison:
    If you are using those two results to judge, then you must be thinking like wenger who sees nothing wrong with the back four. We have just 2 top class players in defence all others are upcoming. We don’t need to start losing to know that we are worse of than we were last season, or the season before last, or the one before that for crying out loud !!!

    We are thread bare in midfield. Come on guys lets be realistic. Did you watch the spanish super cup yesterday ? do you think our current team can match any of those teams ?
    coming home, i must say we have the least experienced midfield in the EPL. barinf in mind that rosisky is a bit and pieces player, diaby is never around, others are teens or at most very early 20′s

  • edison

    Theres no use comparing Arsenal now to the invincibles or previous glory years, the team and club are both ran differently.