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Archive for October, 2009

Two straight draws

After the 1-1 draw with AZ Alkmaar in Champions League, we drew 2-2 against West Ham in BPL after leading 2-0. The champions league match wasn’t a big issue, as we are still top of the table.

The draw against West Ham was a rather disappointing one. To draw after leading 2-0 says a lot about our fragile defence. The whole team wasn’t performing, and as usual we became sloppy after leading two goals which again tells how much we have learnt from past lessons.

Let’s see how the team respond to this disappointment. Before that, it will be interesting to see how our kids fare in Carling Cup against Liverpool.

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The first game after international break is always quite dangerous due to possible players fatigue. We looked great when we scored two early goals by Van Persie and Diaby. However, soon after we slipped into our usual sloppiness and began to treat it like a training session. The goal from Lee Bowyer was a wake-up call to signal that the game was far from over, before a late Arshavin goal killed off the match for us.

Alex Song was my man-of-the-match again. This lad is improving by leaps and bounds. Now, he is certainly one of the first names Wenger put onto the team selection sheet. Diaby had a good game, making less mistake this time. With Nasri set to come back from injury, Diaby would have to work harder to keep his place. Eboue again have a great game at the right-back position, while Gibbs is becoming more and more reliable as Clichy’s deputy. RVP scored a great goal from Song’s assist, and in general had a lively game. Walcott was lively but was very unfortunate to get injured again. And Rosicky was class as usual. Hope he could stay injury free this season.

Arshavin looked unfit but it could be due to fatigue from the international match. Anyway it was great to see the third goal, which is a classic Arsenal counter attacking goal that we have rarely seen since the invincibles. Ever since the departure of Henry, Pires, Bergkamp and Ljunberg, our counter attack became literally non-existence. Quite often, we made too many passes and our passes eventually got intercepted, or our attackers just hesistated and allowed the opposition’s defenders time to reorganize. Arshavin’s goal reminded us how counter attack is done correctly.

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We carried on our winning streak by beating Olympiacos 2-0 in Champions League, and then thrashed Blackburn 6-2 in BPL.

We had a good game against Olympiacos but were only able to find the net late in the game. Against Blackburn, we were rather shaky at the back in the first half, but we managed to come back from behind twice. Vermaelen, yet again, scored a wonderful goal for us. Is he a striker in disguise?

The combination of Arshavin, Rosicky and RVP up front was very lively and full of technical brilliance. This is what you get from experienced and technically competent players. Fabregas had an excellent game, providing 4 assists and even scoring one himself. There’s always a difference when great players play alongside other great players. They helped one another to step up their game instead of having mediocre players that break up the fluency.

Song was as usual pulling the string in midfield and breaking up opposition’s attack. Diaby was rather average. If he still doesn’t improve, he would find himself behind Ramsey in the pecking order soon, as the latter fit into the team very well when coming on substituition. Bendtner got a great goal when he came on as a substitute too, but his composure in front of goal still has much room for improvements.

Special mention to Walcott, who is playing his first league match of the season coming back from injury, and manage to score a goal as well.

With most of the players back from injuries (except Almunia, Djourou, Nasri and Denilson), I would like to see a first eleven like this:

Mannone

Sagna–Gallas–Vermaelen–Clichy

Song

Fabregas–Rosicky

RVP–Eduardo–Arshavin   

However, I think Wenger’s first eleven would be something like this instead:

Mannone

Sagna–Gallas–Vermaelen–Clichy

Song

Fabregas–Diaby

Rosicky–RVP–Arshavin   

Anyway, we are back having a strong squad now, with attacking players like Walcott, Vela, Bendtner, Wilshere, Eboue all capable of coming off the bench, and players like Djourou, Nasri, Denilson, etc still coming back from injuries. We are still quite thin at the back and just hope our two first choice CB don’t get injured.

P/S: Henry was watching the blackburn game in the stadium.  One of my favourite player. An Arsenal Legend!

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