In the last couple of weeks, as an Arsenal fan, it’s been bad news after bad news, selling a player and then selling a player and of course, injuries and injuries… so, having only scored one goal so far prior to this game, there was a lot of crisis talk and a lot of negativity surrounding the game…
The boss announced the line up and we saw Jenkinson, Frimpong and Gervinho all start with Arshavin and Rosicky on the bench, youth chosen ahead of experience:
Jenkinson – Djourou – Vermaelen – Sagna
Frimpong – Song
Walcott – Ramsey – Gervinho
The bench was quite thin, with Fabianski, Miquel, Traore, Rosicky, Oxlade, Arshavin, Chamakh
Udinese went ahead the very busy and active Di Natale, who was a thorn in our side all night – in between Vermaelen and Djourou, he looped a header into the back of the net over the keeper. The game was 1-0 to Udinese at half time and we knew we needed a BIG second half. Rosicky for Frimpong saw a change in attacking onus and we levelled after Gervinho’s sublime dribbling down the left squared for Van Persie in the middle. And we went ahead when Walcott raced clear of the defence and slotted home from the left, Henryesque… at 2-1 to us, Udinese needed 3 and you couldn’t see them doing that!
And hat’s off to Szcznesy for a sublime penalty save in the 2nd half, something you have to find and watch!
Gervinho was outstanding and showed why Arsene brought him to the club – he is a Nasri replacement, for sure… and he will only get better for us. Theo is looking more like a complete player, dropping deep, playing around the pitch – playing more sensible and ranging his play. Alex Song was very good, giving 100% and dominating the midfield and of course, a shout out to Sagna, who shows if you are good, you can play anywhere on the pitch!
The manager spoke after the game:
Yes, of course, because it was a massive game for us. I heard it enough yesterday in the press conferences to be convinced of it. We responded in a very positive way, even after being down 1-0. We had a fantastic second half and created chance after chance. I am very happy because we kept our composure when we were down 1-0. We kept dominating and playing the football we want to play.
And also highlighted the performance of Gervinho:
He was always dangerous. I told you yesterday, and many times, that he will be a big player for us. Sometimes the quality of the player is linked with the transfer amount and it is not always the case
The draw will be held later today and we’re in pot one. Each group will consist of a team from each pot… here are the four pots…
Pot one – Manchester United, Barcelona, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Porto, Inter Milan.
Pot two – Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Villarreal, AC Milan, Valencia, Marseille, CSKA Moscow, Benfica.
Pot three – Zenit St Petersburg, Man City, Olympiakos, Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, BATE Borisov, Basle, Lille.
Pot four – Borussia Dortmund, Trabzonspor, Dinamo Zagreb, Napoli, APOEL, Genk, Otelul Galati, Viktoria Plzen.
The hardest group would surely be Arsenal, Milan, Ajax, Dortmund… one thing to remember is that we can’t get Man City as teams from the same country are kept apart…
Til later, my friends…