Archive for September 29th, 2010

Just what the Professor ordered

8 comments September 29th, 2010

Partizan 1 – 3 Arsenal (Arshavin 14, Cleo 32 (pen), Chamakh 70, Squillaci 82)
Highlights | Arsene’s reaction

The team…
had six changes, many of which had been predicted.  Koscielny was rested so a rusty Djourou started, whilst Kieran Gibbs played ahead of Gael Clichy.  In midfield, Wilshere was handed a chance in a more advanced role, with Song and Denilson supporting him.

We looked shaky at the back…
for much of the first half.  Sebastien Squillaci was given three nervy moments by powerful Cameroonian forward Pierre Boya.  Fortunately, we recovered through some exhilarating attacking play.

Andrey Arshavin and Jack Wilshere were mesmerising.
Not just when they linked to create our opening goal, Wilshere’s backheel setting up a thumping Arshavin finish, but for a twenty-minute spell in the first-half in which the score could have been trebled.  Only some great saves and a goal-line clearance prevented the Russian from notching a hatrick, and Wilshere, enjoying a more suitable position behind the striker, was key.

Wilshere is not like Cesc was.
The comparisons between Wilshere and Cesc are understandable, but a little lazy.  I remember the teenage Cesc: he was a very different player to the leader and match-winner we have now.  The remarkable thing about Fabregas was that at 16 he came in to the team and simply never made a mistake.  He never gave the ball away.  But he wasn’t spectacular.  He was a continuity player.  Age has matured him and brought out the outrageous talent that was always there, but it wasn’t how he began his Arsenal career.
Wilshere is different.  Unlike Fabregas, he makes mistakes.  He dwells on the ball, tries dragbacks he shouldn’t, and attempts to play impossible passes.  He is a less mature talent, but in some ways a more exciting one.  He is a flair player.  An English flair player.
His backheel was night was brilliant and will draw plenty of plaudits, but it is the touch just before which is even better: a sidestep and drag all in one movement to take the ball away from an expectant defender.
We’re lucky to have Wilshere, and should enjoy it.

Both penalty decisions in the game were probably correct.
Denilson should know better than to stick his arm out in his own penalty area, whilst Gibbs’ challenge was somewhat clumsy.  That said, I thought he had a good game.  His high starting position allowed Arshavin to drift more centrally, where he was dangerous.  I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him continue at the weekend at Clichy’s expense.

Chamakh has now won four penalties this season.
Yes, he exaggerates the contact he receives, but it’s more of a comment on his hard-working, intelligent running.

I knew Arshavin would miss…
and said as much over on Twitter.  He’d just been a bit unlucky in front of goal, and my gut told me he wouldn’t score.  He’s capable of better, as we saw against Blackpool.  There are those who say Chamakh should have taken it simply because he’s a striker, but it’s no fluke that most of Chamakh’s goals, as last night, come with his head.

Tomas Rosicky celebrated Chamakh’s goal in a hilarious fashion…
jumping up and down like an overexcited schoolgirl.  Say what you like about the Czech, but he does seem determined to repay the debt he owes Arsenal Football Club.

Sebastien Squillaci…
got his first goal and deserves it for some solid displays since joining from Sevilla.  He’ll be very important at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, when we’ll again be without Thomas Vermaelen.

Whatever your feelings about Lukasz Fabiabski…
you had to be pleased for him when he plunged low to his right to save that penalty.  It was a crucial save too: even 3-1 up against ten men is not a safe position for this Arsenal team.  He made another good stop shortly after, and some deep part of you in which hope still burgeons wondered if perhaps we might have witnessed a turning point in the Pole’s career.  That said, if Manuel Almunia is fit for Sunday I would definitely go with the more experienced keeper.

All in all…
an excellent win and, with no new injuries picked up, just what was required ahead of Chelsea.  There is a “little little” chance Cesc Fabregas will be fit to play – I think it will make a massive difference if he can.  More news on that as the week progresses.

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