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Arsenal - Victoria Concordia Crescit

Arsenal blog by a fan and not an 'expert'
Sep 11 '10

Arsenal 4 - 1 Bolton

Captain Cesc

Koscielny 24, Elmander 44, Chamakh 58, Song 78, Vela 83

Goals

Today Wilshere played against the team that gave him his 1st team break through and the Bolton players seemed keen to remind him of the physical side of the game they educated him with. Wilshere however did not back down and today we learned that Wilshere is a tough cookie and even though he is at the tender age of 18, he is strong enough to play central midfield in England’s top flight. 

As you can probably tell from my previous posts I’m a big Rosicky fan and today he once again showed that once he drifts into the centre of the park we see an array of passing few other players can offer. His vision, the weight and timing of his passes will give Wenger a headache this season when selecting his starting XI. We hardly missed Robin today now that we have an adequate backup in Chamakh and Rosicky played well on the right flack in the absence of Theo even though we all know that he prefers a more central role.

Wasn’t a fan of Zat Knight today, totally unprofessional and complained to the referee over everything. Thought the respect referees campaign was supposed to help the situation? He has every right to feel a bit aggrieved with the sending off of Gary Cahill but sometimes these things happen. Phil Thompson on Soccer Saturday was being a complete anti-Arsenal cunt as per usual which isn’t really surprising since he can’t say a positive word about any other team other than Liverpool. Even if Cahill’s sending off was harsh, Bolton were rightfully down to 10 men after this challenge on Diaby which forced him to go off after he came on as a sub.

Here’s a picture of the challenge courtesy of Arseblog

Went way over the ball and caused Arsenal yet another injury.

Other stuff:

  • Chamakh is still better with his head than his feet
  • Cesc showed glimpses of his quality and I think after a couple more games of match practice we’ll see him at his best
  • Almunia still has uncertain moments although he can’t be blamed for the goal, Koscielny shouldn’t have headed it back.
  • There were 24 passes in the build up to Vela’s very well finished goal. You can watch it here. Typical Arsenal.
  • Debutant Seb Squillaci did well today, could’ve scored a couple too. 
Aug 28 '10

Blackburn 1 - 2 Arsenal

Walcott 20, Diouf 27, Arshavin 51

Goals

A tricky tie for Arsenal today with a trip to Allardyce’s Blackburn, at Ewood Park. Captain Cesc came in to replace Rosicky and Robin van Persie got his first start of the season ahead of Chamakh. I personally thought this decision was not one of the best on Wenger’s part. Obviously I do not see the players train every day but I thought Rosicky could have built on his form from last weekend and no harm would have been done leaving Cesc to build up fitness for another week or so. Instead, in the first half we saw a very rusty Fabregas, even though he grew into the game later in the second half. I also think it is wiser to play a target man away from home instead of rushing an injury prone Van Persie back into the mix in a very physical game. Van Persie once again proved his brittleness by coming off injured which means that should Chamakh get injured, we only have Carlos Vela who can lead the line since Bendtner is still out with an injury.

However, with the goal scoring form Theo is in I would not worry too much about a lack of goals. His goal was well taken today and he has clearly improved on his finishing as we saw today when he broke the net. How often can you say your shot was so hard that it snapped the netting? I’d like to still see an improvement in Walcott’s decision making as there were plenty of opportunities to play in other players in certain circumstances, but he looks like a lad full of confidence and if he keeps this form up he could finally silence his critics.

Diaby had a good game today, his dribbling and ability to retain possession is a real plus especially when playing away from home but I’d like to see an improvement in his marking and work rate when it comes to set pieces. Sometimes he just looks too lazy and casual when it comes to defending free kicks and corners but on the whole it was a strong performance, particularly in the 2nd half where he made several dangerous passes that troubled the Blackburn defence.

 Song had a shocker in the first half; his passing was sloppy and imprecise. It’s clear that he needed a good pre-season but unfortunately he didn’t play a single game due to injury. He came out with a determined performance in the 2nd half though but I would imagine that there’s more to come from our holding midfielder. Whilst Koscielny got bullied for the Blackburn goal I felt as though song could have made more of an effort to cover him or Vermaelen could have possibly come across in support. Arsenal need more stability and it should be more difficult for the opposition than to beat only one player for them to have a goal scoring opportunity.

We had a typical Arshavin performance today where he once again looked disinterested, lazy and sloppy. He is very frustrating to watch sometimes often giving the ball away cheaply after a good spell of possession, but he can score a goal or provide an assist at any point and it was his strike today that was the difference between a draw and a win. I’d like to see more of the AA23 that Arsenal signed back in February of 2009.

Wilshere could have scored at the end of the game after a great spot by Theo Walcott. I felt he could have taken it first time but took an extra touch and then slipped. It would have been a great way for him to react in front of Capello after he was dropped from the England squad. He’s a real talent and a very brave and ‘English’ type of player, there was a immense moment where the pint-sized jack chopped down Samba who is twice his size.

Overall it was a great win away from home and a game Arsenal might have lost in recent years. They were on the back foot for the last 8 minutes or so but never really panicked. Arsenal also have a tendency to needlessly attack in the dying moments of a game leaving the defence exposed. However, this time they only looked to break when the counter attack was on, and the decision to realise when it is on or not is something that shows a sign of growth in maturity from last season.

Lastly, I’d like to mention Alex Song’s new blonde look. It appears that the Arsenal players are taking it in turns to impersonate Eminem circa 2001. Almunia had a go last season but it appears he’s passed on the mantle to his Cameroonian team mate.

Eminem

Aug 21 '10

Arsenal 6 - 0 Blackpool

Theo celebrates

Walcott 12, Arshavin (pen) 32, Walcott 39, Diaby 49, Walcott 58, Chamakh 83

Goals

The positives:

Turns out that Theo Walcott has worked on his end product, with a hat trick to his name via 3 well taken goals it would be very easy to get carried away but let’s not forget the opposition; no disrespect to Stephen Crainey but after about 25 minutes you could tell he just wanted to spit his lungs out which highlights the leap from the Championship to the Premier League. But in general his positive play will fill Arsenal (and England) fans full of new found hope. All game he was making penetrative runs, running at the full back and injecting fear into the defence time after time. We’ve seen Theo bag a hat trick before for England but since then he has failed to live up to expectations but I feel this time his follow up will be very different – he seems to be out to prove a point after his world cup disappointment and if Capello was indeed watching, he should definitely sit up and take note. Couldn’t happen to a more humble and nice guy and hopefully this season is the one where his hard work of pre-season and recovery from injuries will pay off. It was also nice to see him have a more smoothly-operating understanding with Sagna of which I have often been a bit sceptical about on the right hand side. Sagna also had a terrific game and was equally as solid going forward as he was in carrying out his defensive duties.

It was also nice to see new signing Chamakh get off the mark, he squandered several chances early on and missed from about 5 yards in the second half which just made it seem like it was going to be one of those days for him, he seemed completely drained of confidence after the miss and very frustrated indeed but then he rose like a salmon to head in a van Persie corner, you could argue that it was the hardest chance for him of the game but that’s football for you. He also demonstrated the aerial attacking threat that arsenal have been missing. Yes, Bendtner has scored several goals with his head but anyone who knows anything about football would pick Chamakh over Bendtner simply because Chamakh also brings aggression and tenacity to the game, he bullies defenders and haggles them and Arsenal have been missing that kind of hustle upfront for a while. I was also very impressed with his link up play.

It was great to see Rosicky and Wilshere complete a full 90 minutes for 2 very different reasons. Rosicky has been plagued with injuries during his time at arsenal and after that 18 month layoff (in which he was out for longer than Eduardo who had that very terrible leg break at Birmingham) and he was a player that many arsenal fans were excited about upon his arrival but then became the forgotten man. He himself, Wenger, the fans and his team mates know he has more to give and hopefully this will be the year where he can really show us what he can do. His penetrative dribbling, close control and eye for a killer pass really impressed me today. Jack Wilshere on the other hand is playing for his place in the starting 11 and gave another reason for Wenger to have a headache today. He plays with a maturity and calm that I haven’t seen from a player so young before. With the holding positions belonging to Song and Denilson, he faces stiff competition from Cesc, Diaby, Nasri, Rosicky and Ramsey once he returns to fitness but at this rate of development I’d put money on him because an England squad regular sooner rather than later. There was a point in the game where he lost the ball and he chased the ball down for the next 4-5 passes which we don’t see from players like Denilson and Song often enough, which could send them the message to work harder with Jack breathing down their necks.

It was great to see Cesc come on and look lively too. He got a great reception which is always pleasing and I still couldn’t think of a better role model to kids in terms of professionalism.

Other quick fire bits and bobs:

·         Vela doesn’t have a right foot – if he did we might have a contender for goal of the month when he juggled the ball for a good 20 yards before it dropping on his wrong foot giving the keeper nothing to worry about

·         Chamakh is better with his head than his feet when it comes to finishing

·         Van Persie still looks very brittle – he came on for the latter stages of the game and almost broke. Again.

·         Arshavin – though a bagged a goal with an excellent penalty he often looks lazy and disheartened. When he loses the ball he pulls a sad and frustrated face rather than chase to win it back and his passing is often sloppy and inaccurate. But he’s one of those players that you just can’t take off because he is capable of those magic moments that can be the game winning moments.