Arsenal Cruise As Wilshere Dominates SHL

Before the game I was quite anxious. In the last two seasons we’ve seen young teams struggle in this competition away from home against top 6 Premier League sides. Thankfully, Arsene had learnt his lesson and he put out a really strong starting eleven. And once I saw the Tiny Totts’ starting line-up all the anxiety was turned into anticipation of a big win.

We should have closed the game out in the first half. Spuds were embarrassing as Wilshere ran the midfield. Arsenal were passing it around at will, patiently waiting for an opening. I thought there was a time, early in the first half, when we had the ball for four or five minutes. Spuds midfield was completely clueless and they had to sit deep for most of the half just to survive.

Henri Lansbury will not forget his first goal for a long time and I’m sure admirers of the beautiful game will remember it as a classic Arsenal goal. And I’d say there was a touch of the English style in this goal as well. Not surprising considering three young English kids played a big part in the goal.

The ball was moved from right to left into the path of an onrushing Gibbs. The youngster cut inside and found Rosicky on the edge of the box. Little Mozart rolled it into the path of an overlapping Wilshere who drilled in a low, hard cross. Lansbury popped in between four white shirts and picked up a tap in. There was a touch of Ljungberg in that run and finish, mighty impressive.

It does make me wonder why we don’t hit more such low, powerful crosses into the danger area just in front of the goalkeeper. If we add this threat to our game, teams who sit back will really struggle to contain us. Anyway, more on that some other day.

The rest of the half saw Arsenal dominate but we lacked the cutting edge. For a while it seemed players were happy to play the tippy-tappy game and that looked like a risky strategy. One goal leads have an uncanny way of disappearing and this game was no different.

Keane was marginally off-side but the linesman waved him on. Interestingly, this was the same assistant who’d incorrectly flagged Gibbs when the youngster was through on goal in the first half. The Irishman’s strike wasn’t powerful but it was well placed. Fabianski couldn’t keep it out. It was a save he could have made but we should not get hyper over such things.

The second half was a much tighter contest but neither side really created a clear opening except when Lennon was put through. A phenomenal last ditch tackle by Koscielny prevented him from scoring.

The game changed again in the 72nd minute when Arsenal brought on the big guns. Arshavin and Chamakh replaced Vela and Rosicky. After that it was all Arsenal once again. We could have scored late in the second half but desperate defending kept us out.

The game was over in the first five minutes of extra time when we won two penalties for fouls on Nasri and Chamakh after two delightful balls from Arshavin had put them through. A quick free kick by Wilshere followed by a clinical finish by Arshavin made the score-line emphatic. A fifth goal would have been nice but I’m not complaining.

Individual Performances

Fabianski: Will probably be criticized for the goal. It was the kind of save that we’ve seen made and botched. I thought he didn’t have his eyes on the ball till the last second. Didn’t have to do much more.

Eboue: Largely solid but had a couple of lapses in concentration like when he left Bentley free to head at the back post.

Djourou: Was quite shaky. Totts’ best two chances in the first half probably came from his mistakes.

Koscielny: Another exceptional performance. Last year Vermaelen impressed a lot but it was mainly due to his scoring streak. Koscielny has been superb with his defending. Read everything, headed well, very composed and confident.

Gibbs: Excellent game in attack and defence. Had Lennon in his pocket. I thought he was a bit casual for the goal we conceded as he was jogging back. If he’d stayed higher up it would have been a clear call.

Denilson: Simple and effective.

Wilshere: Immense. My man of the match by a country mile. It’s astounding that someone his age can play so well in his fourth game in ten days. He was everywhere and dominated the game like a box-to-box powerhouse. Two assists, countless incisive passes, great physical strength, unquenchable desire.

Nasri: In the first half he looked like he was taking it a bit easy. Raised his game after the two substitutions. Good composure to convert the penalties.

Lansbury: Ljungbergesque goal, hard work down the right flank, good technique and passing, overall quite impressive. Not in the same league as Wilshere but fairly good in his own right.

Vela: Struggled a bit in the central role. It looked like no one was reading his runs and he had to hold back on a number of occasions. Good to see some more minutes under his belt.

Subs: Arshavin raised the standard of the game to a new level. Fantastic passes for the penalties, cool finish. Chamakh worked hard and proved to be a nuisance for the defenders.

Hopefully we will get an easier tie in the next round and Arsene will be able to give some other youngsters a chance. It’s worth noting that Arsenal don’t even complain about the penalty that was not given for a foul on Lansbury early on, or the fact that the two Spuds central defenders were not sent off, or the fact that the off-side decisions were clearly going against us, or the persistent, rotational, somewhat dangerous, and dare I say deliberate fouls on Wilshere.

For now let’s all laugh at Whinger Twitchy who’s complaining that Nasri dived for the penalty and Spuds fans so embarrassed that they ran away from their own home.

80 Responses to Arsenal Cruise As Wilshere Dominates SHL

  1. LondonGunner says:

    Hi Desi, great analysis as usual, I just got back from the (run down) stadium, that was the icing on the cake, emphatic win (that cost me my voice too much cheering), I had to suffer the abuse from my colleagues(spuds fans) for weeks. I think Wilshire owned the midfield quality and solid performance.
    Once again Chamakh earned us a plenty, the 3rd penalty since he joined, as you said the defenders can’t handle him, Arhy was better than the Sunderland encounter. Djouru was the weakest link no doubt, Fabianski could have stopped that goal.
    The hard work starts Saturday afternoon. West Brom is a must win game, we will have hopefully a stronger squad.

    • desigunner says:

      It must have been great fun watching the spuds running away 😀 I’m sure the away fans at the ground would have enjoyed this more than anyone else, and deservedly so.

      • santori says:

        First time I heard the Arsenal so loud at the Emirates…wait a minute, it was White Hart Lane.:D

        Just a thought, where were all those Spud fans heading toward when the first penalty went in? Did they not know there would be more goals in the game?

  2. Terence McGovern says:

    The way the spuds were evacuating, I thought the place was on fire somewhere.

    Then I realised that is was out of pure shame.

    • desigunner says:

      There was this image of a kid crying. I was wondering how will he ever forgive his father when he grows up and realizes what was done to him!? Perhaps that’s the reason many of them are so bitter and closet gooners?

      • aravindvr says:

        I am more hopeful of tht poor kid.
        He might have bought a Wilshere Jersy from Armoury on his way back home last night.
        May be he now knows which stadium in North London to visit if he wants to watch Football.

  3. LondonGunner says:

    Light weight support, I cheered from the beginning till the end, it cost me my voice but I enjoyed it, our away fans were awesome.
    The spuds surely were outplayed by a better team, Harry was like a little squirrel hiding himself.

    • desigunner says:

      Agree with you about the away fans. ‘Arry’s face said it all. There was no fight in his team and there was nothing he could do. Wasn’t he supposed to be a great motivator and man manager?!

  4. Dhruv says:

    I think you are being generous with Fabianski. That was really the only save he had to make. Like Wenger said earlier in the week, footballers will get a second opportunity but will not get 10.

    Great night though. Wonder what gas Van der fart has to say now//

  5. gooner says:

    Great game , good blog… I hate criticizing but fabianzki needs to be demoted…

    • desigunner says:

      Let’s cut him some slack, he’s under tremendous pressure. What he needs is a few games without everyone watching him to see if he’s made a mistake.

      • Jonathan says:

        The problem is that as long as he is in the starting lineup for Arsenal, he will be watched and the fans looking for any reason to discredit him… A loan spell to another premiership team would be best because we need to find out if he can compete or not, as well as give Mannone or Scheszny (No idea how to spell his name)

      • desigunner says:

        Agree with you. He needs to be away from the spotlight, somewhere he can focus on the game.

  6. jp says:

    Didn’t see the game Nice to see us take it more seriously. Would have liked to see JET get some time though.

  7. Jag says:

    Fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable game. Your analysis is pot on. I do not have any gripe against Djorou- he has ahad a long lay off and would need time to settle in. Media has already started highlighting Dirty Arry’s comments about Nasri’s first penalty incident and how it changed the game!
    Jag, the proud Indian Gooner

    • LondonGunner says:

      Tottenham can’t use any excuses we showed them how it should be done. MEDIA will try to come up with some rubbish but we ain’t having it.

    • desigunner says:

      I was happy Jack was asked about the persistent fouls on him. At least it was openly acknowledged. Loved the reply when he said it’s expected when you play for Arsenal 😀

      • santori says:

        My TV commentator dropped a classic ”

        “Hugely enjoyable game unless of course you follow the fortunes of Tottenham Hotspurs”

  8. ibiza says:

    nobody is talkin bout the point blank save fabianski made from robbie keane yet you complain about a goal most goalies wouldn’t hav even tried to save instead blame the double standard referee for wrongly keepin his flag down after wrongly raisin the flag up for gibbs run. Gooners should get behind the boys, fabianski included. Ooh to be a gooner!

  9. Phil23 says:

    Very satisfying indeed. Vela did well considering we played with 5 midfielders and for most of the game they played quite safe. To me thats the difference between our very best players and our other really good players, all can keep the ball but some are constantly looking for that incisive ball and I think Vela payed for it. If Chamakh had started and Vela had come on for him I think we would have an extra couple of goals. Thats of course with benefit of hindsight and 1 4 away win is embarrassing enough for those Spurs. Like the away support were singing… ‘Theres only one team in London!’ Id just like to note that the stream i watched on bet365 had the best commentator I’ve ever heard. He said it exactly how it was and made it obvious that Arsenal were dominating from the first minute. Btw how can you possibly take down the last man in the box and not receive a yellow? I guess the ref genuinely felt sorry for the Spuds! kind of makes up for it really!!! Have a good day gooners!

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah the ref was having pity on them. Otherwise he’d have sent off one or two for persistent fouling.

      Shame I don’t get the stream on Bet365, it says not available in your area.

      I heard somewhere this was our best result at SHL in 30 years. Not bad considering we had Cesc, RvP, Walcott, Diaby, and Song missing. Also many other first choice players not starting.

  10. goonerbegood says:

    second half ,they brought in lemon and kenny
    we brought in cham attack and ashibaba.

    game done and dusted.great game ,great team performance in general but we must not be carried away,there would be tougher games.

    it is time for wenger to give scezny a chance,

    solid performance from team ,especially KOS.

    • jp says:

      Article today says scezny has fallen out with Wenger. Saying he may leave. It must be hard seeing Flappy in front of you getting chance after chance to mess up and you can’t even get one! I know he is young but if he is good then give him a promotion at least. Or send him to a good team on loan for heavens sake. Don’t know what is going on there. Almunia was on the bench, go figure. Mannone?????? Who can gauge Wenger anyway one year the tourny is not high on your list now things changed, who knows. Nice to beat the spuds though!!!

      • MSL says:

        I am not buying any of that Sczezsny news.

      • desigunner says:

        If I read the translation right Szczesny actually considers Fabianski to be the best keeper at the club.

        I think Arsene wanted to keep the momentum going and didn’t want to be out of the Cup so soon. He’s also realized away games at top 6 sides won’t be easy for kids. Plus he knows what it means to the fans.

  11. MSL says:

    “the fact that the off-side decisions were clearly going against us, or the persistent, rotational, somewhat dangerous, and dare I say deliberate fouls on Wilshere.” It was quite annoying and refs let it slide.

    “Fabianski couldn’t keep it out. It was a save he could have made but we should not get hyper over such things.” If you want to win titles, you should lose your mind over this. He is our second choice and Redknapp’s missus could keep better.

    Nasri was carrying some fatigue and was sloppy in the first half. I guess the most unlucky guy today was Vela. He was quite disappointed after being subbed off. He worked hard, pressed hard but just couldn’t lose his markers and was physically shoved aside a few times. He needs to bulk up or improve his movement further.

    Overall, no complaints but I was expecting one of the defenders or midfielders to be sent off.

    • desigunner says:

      Have you seen how poor Cech has been this season? And should we even talk about Hilario, Kuszcak, Cudicini and others.

      • MSL says:

        I still disagree. Just because other keepers have been bad doesn’t mean we can comfort ourselves with Fab. NO.

  12. Lazylah says:

    I’m sure the tackle that kos made was as good as a goal which wenger mentioned. For a while there i thought it would be a penalty as he slided in.

  13. Dutchgunner says:

    anyone have any extended highlights of the match that show koscielnys tackle? I was working on my car and lost track of time so I only saw the extra time.

  14. deepak gunner says:

    great win…hope this momentum continues.would have loved to see JET play,we dominated the game,spurs were nowere near us,wilshire was electric he was outstanding.fabianski again has pull up his socks,could have done better.but arsene made his intentions clear by the team he put up kudos for dat.just pray and hope we get cesc back bfore the chelsea game.all in all great job by the gunners.cheers!!

  15. durban_gun says:

    u forget in ur analysis dat if keane never hit the bar and converted bentlys freekick it would have been CURTAINS for us !! nice to see the players hold the ball up on the edge of the box instead of jus crossing and hoping.seen dat we not so gud at crosses i think we should start playing those low hard balls across da face of goal or simply seige teams outside thier box instead of crossing coz we got a better chance shooting from distance and using killer passes rather den picking out targets

  16. AnonymousGun says: <<- more detailed analysis of the game.

  17. simianwolverine says:

    Hard to say this but it seems Kos might turn out to be a better defensive buy than even Verminator. He is reading the game well, has been super in the air and learning from mistakes. For all his great qualities Verma did a number of defensive mistakes last time while trying to push up. Kos is looking very assured in the back, will be great partnership between him and Verma.
    Fabianski looks really out of confidence and probably what he desperately needs is a laon outing in a lower pressure situation. He has great reflexes (that stop from Keane was very good) but decision making is very weak. And with the kind of review Scezny gets, I guess he is not going to be Arsenal number 1 in future either. As a number 2, he is not that bad though.

    • santori says:

      Good reminder for those perennial doubters in the club to just shut it.

      Wenger (more often than not) buys well.

      • desigunner says:

        Those who want to find problems will always do so. No matter how strong the evidence is. How can we reason with someone who thrives on irrationality.

  18. aravindvr says:

    yu were right in comparing Lansbury to Ljunberg.I was also thinking the same during the match.even the looks resemble a bit.

    But one think I need to point out is how many of the Media reports and us gooners say abt Wenger fielding a stronger side.

    Cesc,vPersie,Vermaelen,Song,Almunia,Walcott,Diaby,Sagna,Clichy were missing from the starting line-up.All of whom are StartingXI players.Thts 9 players missing.

    Still all of us n media think this one is a stronger side coz we’ve seen them around and consider them huge players.
    And its a credit to Wenger when every one says we played a stronger side coz this one is really our second side.

    Its true tht we din play more teenagers as usual.But tht is not possible with all these players like Djourou,Gibbs and Eboue who were here for long are not regulars in our First team Starting.

    This is a real evidence of our squad depth.

    Few thots
    1.Fabianski cud have saved the Goal.The ball went thru his near end.
    2.Wilsheres game was massive and immaculate.He is one perfect classic Central midfielder whether in attack or defence.More Consistency and hes going places.
    3.Nasri n Gibbs were exceptional.
    4.As u said KOS looks more of a Terminator than the real Verminator.Wat a performance.Who can doubt Wengers credentials in signigns now.
    5.Wat more Arsenal fans want thn seeing Spuds fans leave SHL far before the game was over.And it seemed we had more fans cheering on the stadium thn they had.
    Gunners raid SHL – the pitch and even the Galleries.

  19. Viejo says:

    Fabianski has had plenty of chances now and continues to make at least one glaring and costly mistake in every game he plays. I’m sorry, we can’t wrap him up in cottonwool in the hope he comes good – this is the Premier league/champs league and we are one of the top clubs in the world and if you don’t have the mental strength then goodbye and good luck. Promote Mannone or Szczesny who deserve their opportunity.

    • desigunner says:

      While there is a great deal of hype around Szczesny, and he probably is extremely talented, I’ve seen him make some mistakes in the few minutes that I saw. He wasn’t particularly special against City reserves and against Legia he made a technical mistake in a goal we conceded.

      I’ve a feeling promoting Szczesny or Mannone won’t do much good to the team or to their confidence. Within no time fans will be on their back if they make a couple of mistakes.

      I get your point about Fabianski but the situations seems a little more complicated.

  20. amitgaja007 says:

    great post!!
    desi, you are getting very close to being the best Arsenal blog around… 🙂
    TOP 3 i say 🙂

  21. Metalhead says:

    What a loser Harry Redknapp is. Spuds were totally outplayed and he has to go and make excuses about Nasri diving. We’d have won it anyway.
    Just a word about our midfield. Denilson and Wilshere were brilliant. I mentioned in your last post that patience is the key with Wilshere and boy does he have some potential or what. That is what we need, some English Steel to complement our sexy football.

    • desigunner says:

      Wilshere will always be threatening when the opposition don’t know how to press higher up on the pitch. Over time he will learn to deal with that as well. After that it will be hard to stop him.

  22. reo says:

    I was amazed by how biased was the referee. How come he didn’t send off the two Tott defenders for the last-man’s fault; or at least he must gave them an yellow.

  23. durban_gun says:

    i think denilson has realised that if he dont pull his socks up and plays at the levels we expect him to he could very well be a bit part player and behind wilshere in the pecking order .excellent performance from both him and wilshere both looked like future captains of brazil and jus goes to show wat a kick up the arsenal can do to ones motivation 🙂

    • desigunner says:

      That’s true. Denilson has a serious challenge this year. If all our midfielders are fit he will not get too many games unless he raises his game by several notches.

  24. glass man says:

    guys what a hell are you talkin abt kos is still miles away from a magic fellow vermaline,he owns a pocket to keep strikers only afraid of drogba

  25. glass man says:

    guys what a hell are you talkin abt kos is still miles away from a magic fellow vermaline,he owns a pocket to keep strikers only afraid of drogba.friends can any one tip me on lansbury he’s got a true trait of sweden fellow freddie lg’berg. He looks his son or even arelative

  26. DKD says:

    I don’t hear Vandervaart yapping now…THE DUTCH BABOON. We outclassed them through out the entire match, possession was on our side, momentum, passing,free-flowing football were all with us…they got a lucky goal which shuld have been off-side, and we should have got another as gibbs was not…


  27. critic says:

    sorry guys, but i don’t get it. What’s all this euphoria??? we have beaten spuds not charity. No matter how loud spuds fan scream tits are better than arsenal, arsenal are head and shoulder above spuds. In history, in squad, in table, everywhere. But yes it does feel good to show them their place.

    If arsenal beat chelsea at stamford that will be euphoria.

    • desigunner says:

      If you don’t get it then you won’t get it. Sorry to say this but you seem obsessed with the destination and not enjoying the journey.

    • critic says:

      fair enuff…

    • critic says:

      i am happy but not euphoric….besides it wasn’t spuds 1st team either,but ours was almost best team. U will argue it doesn’t matter as it was arry choice/ i would have been moaning if we hadn’t put out that squad and lost.
      i can understand beating spuds means a lot but beating 2nd string spuds??i don’t know if there’s anything to be euphoric.

      • desigunner says:

        We made 8 changes from the starting line-up at Sunderland and guys like RvP, Walcott, Bendtner, Ramsey, Vermaelen, and Diaby were not in those 8 changes.

        You’re saying ours was almost the best team?

        Just because Vela, Wilshere, Gibbs and Lansbury played so well and have improved so much doesn’t mean they are not kids. Most of the youngsters Spuds sent out were old enough but not good enough.

      • critic says:

        1 was fabianski(don’t count him), 1 was rosicky(played 60 min at sunderland),…1 was gibbs(i don’t know for sure, he looks more assured than clichy)….and spuds were weakened team…may be their 2nd team is not strong enuff..but this wasn’t their 1st team either…let’s put it to rest…. carling cup is the best chance for trophy and now we r at st james,..we need full strength 2nd team their and not the 3rd one….:D

        i agree wenger has created 2 strong teams at arsenal but difference b/w 1st and 2nd is not that much, on that u have to agree..:p

      • critic says:

        i meant our 1st team is still some kilo metre back from charity…

    • critic says:

      not enjoying the journey???if that was the case i wudn’t have been posting here and wud have quit arsenal. It’s not about destination. I wud be euphoric if arsenal beat tots at WHL in premierhip with a similar scoreline, if they get revenge on chelsea at stamford by not only beating them but humiliating them.

      still i respect every1’s feeling as saying goes “u have to enjoy smaller things in life”…and of course it made my day…after the sleepless night after sunderland game…..fair enuff

      P.S- apologies for being party pooper.

  28. Karthik says:

    Desi, buddy, you didn’t give Rosicky a review, I’m sure the Little Mozart wasn’t as bad as that. 😛

  29. Zak The Goon says:

    I thought that Koscielny,Wilshere,Gibbs and Denilson were excellent this win show’s we have a strong squad, considering that we made 8 Changes from the weekend game.

  30. ze german gooner says:

    what a night!! Hairy Redknobb simply couldn’t handle it and he wants Nasri banned for the rest of his life for diving..twat!

    I watched Nasri’s interview (mom presentation with jack) and i must say he has come on really well off the pitch! Couple of seasons back he could barely speak any English! Top man.

    Watched Arsene’s presser and he dedicated the win to a poor soul who lost his life fighting cancer. Very proud of my club and the man.

    I only wish the emirates crowd could learn from our away supporters and really get behind the team. They need it. And i’m convinced we will have a great season irrespective of who is in Goal!

  31. santori says:

    Desi, good of you to put a shout out to Arsharvin who has come under some stick.

    Whilst the papers are crowing about Wilshere (rightfully so)Arsh certainly raised the game a level.

    Two assist for the penalties and putting in the 4th goal should be something to remind the fans that Andrei weighs in with more than fair effort (His tally for the season thus far has been more than decent)

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah there seems to be a rush to judge players in the last couple of seasons. That’s why I’d done that article covering what Arsene said – we need to keep an open mind.

      Arshavin’s contribution this season has been much better than last year.

      • simianwolverine says:

        I think Arshavin will always get the stick because of his body language. He looks like sleeping for all the match and suddenly bursts into life and does some damage. English media is always manic about guys who makes their presence felt the entire match (even if they are just kicking other players), and it seems that is true for many of the supporters. I guess you can draw a parallel with Berbatov, got similar treatment of MU fans , even when he is as good if not better than Rooney in technique.

      • desigunner says:

        That’s true. In England players who can run around all day are valued a lot. Arshavin does have a different style, even Diaby was considered lazy by many.

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