Archive for the ‘Walcott’ Category

Diaby (8), Bendtner (42) 

Zaharia(69)

Match Gunner: Robin Van Persie-Still brilliant after the long lay-Off. (special mention to Theo)

  

We came into this match needing to win and Sevilla to lose to Sparta in order to top the group. Wenger had a touchline ban for this match due to the altercation in the Sevilla game.
Before the game, Wenger hinted on his team for this match by announcing that Arsenal is not afraid of “big” teams. Lehmann got his start and Wenger suggested that Jens would be off sooner than later.

Surprisingly, Van Persie, after that bone crunching injury sustained during international duty, was named on the starting line up. Diaby was another surprising inclusion after his injury. Everyone’s favourite, Song was also named in the starting 11.

This is how we started

GK-Lehmann
DL-Traore
DR-Sagna
DC-Gallas
DC-Senderos
ML-Diaby
MR-Walcott
MC-Song
MC-Denilson
ST-Van Persie
ST-Bendtner

We were expected to stroll to a victory here and for once in recent games, the expectations were realized, although the scoreline failed to reflect that.

2nd minute and a good chance arrived when Robin’s pass found Theo on the right and he pulled his shot just wide. Minutes later, his ran past a few defenders but skied his shot.8th minute and the goal arrived. Robin started the move with a smart turn and found Sagna. Sagna’s cross was brought down by Diaby under immense pressure . His first touch took a lucky bounce off the pitch forward and his second touch found the top corner of the net. 1-0 and we were looking nice and comfortable with a second Diaby goal only denied by a nice save by the Steaua keeper.

We were looking threatening and the outstanding players were Theo and Robin. Theo’s pace on the right wing was causing problems and Robin’s excellent technique and turns were a joy to behold. It didn’t seem like his first game back. He was directly involved in the second. An exquisite goal. He made a bewildering turn that left the defense for dead and angled a pass to Bendtner on the right. Bendtner had all to do then but took his goal like a seasoned pro. He went pass the closing defender and slide in the shot pass the onrushing keeper. 2-0 up.

 

Second half came and there were a few chances here and there.
Suddenly Steaua were looking dangerous and it was our turn to do some defending
Robin was brought and Dudu in. Steaua made a few changes of their own and both their subs were involved in their goal. A looping header which left Jens with no chance.

Diarra and Eboue were brought in for Diaby and Sagna. Theo, Bendtner and Dudu had a few chances between them but failed to convert and the game finished 2-1. Nice. The 3-0 win from Sevilla meant that we finish second in Group H and will meet another group’s winner in the knock out phase. I say, bring them on. That is what Champions League is all about. Champions against Champions.

Moving on to the match against Chelsea. Wenger had some thoughts on the players available paricularly Hleb,Flamini and Cesc. I would suspect Flamini and Hleb/Cesc to be involved.

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Gallas (83) , Rosicky (86)

Match Gunner: William Gallas

The match started with a virtually indistinguishable Arsenal central midfield. Denilson and Diarra coming in for the suspended Cesc and the injured Flamini. Fab-Flam had been so dominant as a pairing this season that the change really made us look like a different side altogether.

Wigan had new boss Steve Bruce looking on in the stands. They duly performed what all sides come to the Emirates and do. Damage limitation and relying on counter thrusts and setpieces as their only attacking options.

They did well, in fact; good enough until the 83rd minute where once again, our propensity to produce late goals which have been a revelation this season emerged yet again. Gallas; my man of the match on this day finished with a textbook glancing header to end the frustration.

Before that, the starting pair of Walcott and Adebayor provided some highlights but no goals. At least three last ditch tackles from Bramble of all people, Granqvist and Boyce saw to this. Walcott again looked lively and useful but still lacking confidence as is expected of one so young.

It was quite a dull match but sort of sparked to life in the 72nd minute when Bent made a crude tackle from behind on Denilson. One that looked like Henry’s red card tackle against Uruguay in WC 2002. Bent was only given a yellow card though and in the aftermath Heskey and Gallas were yellow carded too.

The yellow on Gallas was particularly puzzling as he was standing up for his player as a captain does and was pushed away by Heskey. All I can say is that England players have learnt nothing from their European Cup qualifying failure. Their goonish mentality is encouraged by the plaudits for getting stuck in and giving 110% on the tackle. Just look at what Lampard did in last years League Cup final. No wonder Wenger doesn’t field many Englishmen. He wouldn’t want the tag of being the worse behaved side in the Premiership again.

Later on, this view was augmented by another bad challenge, this time from Heskey on our only Englishman on the field; Walcott. Theo needed a stretcher to bring him out of the pitch and was subbed with Bendtner. Heskey really should have been sent off as he was on a yellow following the aforementioned shoving with Gallas. The commentator really pissed me off by defending both Bent’s and Heskey’s tackle as being clumsy rather than bad. They are well paid professionals for god’s sake. They should not be clumsy!!!

The goal came after Gallas passed it to Bendtner. He layed it off to Sagna who was charging in on the right wing. Sagna produced a brilliant pinpoint cross and Gallas finished with aplomb.

Rosicky closed the game off after a fine pass by Bendtner three minutes later with a shot that went in off the post.

Thoughts after seeing the match? Bendtner gave a fine 10 min cameo as he was directly involved in the two goals. Walcott is young and is the potential star. Sagna and Clichy are fine fine French wingbacks. Diarra produced another solid performance. This time in his preferred central midfied role instead of the rightback slot. Man Utd’s loss at Bolton means that we are three clear with a game in hand heading into the busy Dec period. Goal clips here

Eduardo (8, 50) Denilson (69)
Match Gunner: Eduardo Da Silva

The youngsters continue from where the senior players left off. A good win especially since our last match against them in Bramall Lane ended in a ugly 1-0 loss

Early on in the match and Dudu scored a beautiful drive from the edge of the box after a nice angled pass from Bendtner. This goal is the pick of the lot.

His second goal came a few minutes after halftime when a nice pass from Kieran Gibbs found him in the clear. Sheffield United defense was particularly shocking here. Dudu just composed himself and slid it past the keeper

In the 65th minute, Walcott got a great chance to add to his season tally when a mistake by the opposing team allowed him to round the keeper but his effort hit the post. To be fair, it was a narrow angle.

A few minutes later, Denilson was wide open and strode forward from midfield with no resistance and took his chance with a try that clipped the back of the big lump, Chris Morgan and went in.

A goal line clearance from Gilberto ensured a clean sheet for Fabianski.

This is how we lined up against Sheffield Utd

GK: Lukasz Fabianski
RB: Lassana Diarra
LB: Kieran Gibbs
CD: Justin Hoyte
CD: Alex Song
RM: Theo Walcott
LM: Abou Diaby
CM: Denilson
CM: Gilberto
F: Eduardo
F: Nicklas Bendtner

with Nacer Barazite, Gavin Hoyte, Vito Mannone, Fran Merida, Henri Lansbury as the subs (No love for Lehmann then)

With no surprises in the games last night, West Ham, Liverpool, Chelsea, Blackburn, Man City, Everton and Spurs through too. Tough night for Chelsea though, as they struggled to a 4-3 win over Leicester. Lampard grabbing a hattrick there.

Again, fine win for the youngsters with all the starting 11 at Anfield all rested with an eye on the MU clash coming up in 3 days. The big win was deserved as we played wonderful flowing football with crisp passing and nice movement. We Arsenal fans are a spoilt lot and judging from the performance of the youngsters, we can be assured of many more years of witnessing the same under Wenger.

Toure(67), Rosicky(81)Match Gunner: Alexander  Hleb (Special mention to Theo Walcott)

As expected, Eduardo and Gallas came in to replace the injured Robin and Senderos. Eboue slotted into right midfield displacing Hleb to the left. Diaby was sacrificed to the bench. Sagna had his blonde hair extensions back. He looked really funny when he was without them the last time around against Sunderland. Kinda like a wide eyed kid.

Bolton started with a 4-5-1 formation with Kevin Davies spearheading the “attack” . Anelka had been scoring quite freely against us in the last few encounters so it was one less worry for us that he was still injured.

The first half was particularly frustrating. With the departure of Sammy Lee, whose downfall was really getting Bolton to play actual football. They were clueless under his management and with Sammy dispensed with, we finally see Bolton in their true colours. Campo was reinstated in the squad and he was one of the main antagonists together with Diouf. They scraped and fought for every ball. Committing niggly fouls that didn’t warrant a yellow card but frustrated the hell out of the Arsenal.

The midfield was jam packed and Fabregas had nowhere to go. Alex Hleb had his moments and Adebayor put in a lot of work but with nothing to show for it. He makes horrible decisions sometimes doesn’t he? Adebayor had at least one gilt edged chance when he headed straight to the keeper after good work from Eduardo. Elsewhere there was half chances everywhere with Gallas, Toure and Fabregas putting some shots in. Bolton pumped the occasional long ball to Davies and Flamini, Clichy and Gallas did well enough to cover him.

Second half started and immediately we had a chance. With the ball bouncing off McCann, it fell to the path of Eboue who always likes to take his chance in that type of position to the right of the goal. He was wide open but skewed his shot way off target. The worst miss so far.
Clichy was starting to impose himself and all good attacks seem to channel off him for a spell. Then came the chance everyone was waiting for. Off went Eboue and Eduardo and in came Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott.
The goal came via a free kick. Fabregas pushed the ball to Flamini who squared it for Toure to lash a grounder who evaded everyone and went into the bottom corner of the goal. 1-0 Arsenal and Kolo went bonkers as did everyone else.

The the game began to open up as Bolton had to finally move out of their own half to try and get a point. Theo made a jinking run past two defenders and evaded another one before crossing it to …. no one.His team mates included. He was too fast

Seems like the shoulder injury plaguing him last season is now gone and we are starting to see why Arsene recommended Sven to take him to the World Cup in Germany and rightly so as the second goal was all Walcott. Grabbing a through pass from Hleb. He still a lot to do. He held off Meite which was surprising to me as I thought he was all about the pace and found space to cross a ball to Rosicky who clipped the ball past Jaaskelainen on first touch. 2-0. He is blossoming into a first team player if you ask me. You couldn’t ask for a better goal to cap the win.

Everyone’s looking forward to the matches against Liverpool and Manchester United next. Are you?