Arsenal 3 – 0 Ipswich Town: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

Positive team selection. Aggressive, hungry performance. Big result.

When I saw RvP in the starting line-up I knew Arsenal are going for it no holds barred. Arsene only made 3 changes to the side that dismantled Wigan a few days earlier. The two wide attacking players Nasri and Walcott were rested. In came Arshavin and Bendtner. In the midfield Song got a well deserved breather.

Within the opening minutes it was clear that Arsenal were fired up and had genuine desire. The tempo of the game was really high as the Gunners were desperate for the first goal.

Van Persie got a clear shot in the 5th minute after a wonderful cross by Sagna but couldn’t keep his swivel strike on target with his weaker foot.

A few minutes later Fabregas was brought down in the penalty area but the ref waved play on. This was the classic example of ‘Rugby’ that Cesc had mentioned. How anyone can push a guy running at that speed without getting penalised is beyond me. From what I’ve seen, it happens only in England and particularly in the Cup games where the ref gives plenty of sympathetic decisions for the smaller sides.

That was not the only example either. RvP was grabbed when he was running into the box and many Arsenal players were pushed and kicked with the opponent making no attempt to play the ball. But the important point was that Arsenal knew the rules for such games are different and no player showed any kind of frustration against such tactics. They just put their head down and got on with the game.

In the 13th minute there was a scare for Arsenal. A free-kick was launched into the Arsenal box. Szczesny came but got nowhere near the ball. The Keeper ended up colliding with Sagna. Both got head injuries and the Frenchman had to be substituted. Luckily for Arsenal the header from McAuley looped over the bar.

Arsenal created a number of chances in the first half, most notable were RvP hitting the bar and Cesc shooting wide, but Ipswich survived. The visitors were working hard in defence and deserve credit for their endeavour and organization. I also got a feeling that the urgency shown by the Gunners, normally a big positive, was actually reducing the impact of their attacking play.

It seemed to me that everyone wanted to attack and that reduced the composure one might have expected. Often the final ball was played hastily or without having enough players in the box. This approach worked in the visitors’ favour as they were able to mop up at the back with relative ease.

The Tractor Boys offered no threat in attack despite their forward showing Olympic level grappling skills. Their only hope was on the set-pieces but Szczesny didn’t have to make any spectacular saves.

The second half was no different and we saw the same patterns repeating till the hour mark.

It all changed when Wilshere played a delightful ball over the top to find the run of Bendtner on the left. The Dane controlled it well and was able to charge into the box before changing direction with a deft touch and finishing with a wonderful curler. Yes, that’s exactly what I was talking about in the preview.

I was impressed by the fact that Bendnter took responsibility and delivered even when he had Cesc and RvP in good positions in the box. A pass would have been the easier option but his goal was infinitely more decisive.

Arsenal got the second within a couple of minutes. It came from a corner that came from Arshavin putting the defender under pressure. The Russian delivered a good ball and Koscielny scored at the near post. I honestly can’t remember the last time Arsenal scored such a simple goal from a corner. Squillaci against Partizan comes to mind after some thought. Any others?

The wind was knocked out of Ipswich sails. The visitors tried to attack but had no real quality. Even the fact that Arsenal moved into neutral gear didn’t help the Tractor Boys.

The third came from quick counter. Denilson made a trademark interception and played it to Fabregas in one motion. Arshavin made a good run and played a neat one-two with El Capitan who finished it through Fulop’s legs.

As expected this game was all about the first goal. It should have come earlier from a penalty but I don’t mind. It was great to see every player showing real desire and fight.

27th Feb is the date you might want to mark in your calendars.

Individual Performances

Szczesny: Probably the only spectator who didn’t have to pay for his ticket. Made one judgment error and we have to hope the damage to Sagna is not serious.

Sagna: One delightful cross in his cameo.

Eboue: Made me nervous on a couple of occasions but did his job well enough.

Djourou: Dominated his area except one occasion when he let his man get past him wide on the right. Overall a strong display with good positioning, distribution, and composure.

Koscielny: Another solid game from the Frenchman. Good to see his name on the score sheet. Unlucky to get a card when the ref allowed so many fouls go unpunished.

Clichy: Another good game. Lacked a bit of support on the left but the opponents just didn’t have enough to get past him.

The back five were untroubled from open play but Arsene has to make the team stronger on set-pieces.

Denilson: Kept it simple. Made some crucial interceptions and tackles. Passing should have been better.

Cesc: Was involved with almost everything going forward. Made some excellent runs and played some good passes. Could have done better with his finishing but I’m not complaining.

Wilshere: Excellent game from the youngster. Probably his best in an Arsenal shirt so far. Rode the physical challenges, ran well with the ball, picked up a big assist. His final ball could have been better in the first half but it will come with experience.

The midfield completely dominated the game once again. The only complaint can be that they tried too hard to create chances!

Bendtner: Worked really hard all over the pitch. Scored an excellent goal. Great cross for RvP. The Dane is regaining his form with each game.

RvP: Made some excellent runs, always looked a threat in and around the box, unlucky not to score but continued his love affair with the wood work.

Arshavin: Put in genuine effort. Picked up two assists. Back on the right track now, just needs to keep going.

Subs: Didn’t have much to do.

Before I end I wish to comment on two incidents during the game.

It was shocking to see the Ref blow his whistle when Arsenal were 3 v 2 just outside the Ipswich box. The Gunners got lucky with a deflection of the official but that does not give him the right to stop the play. It was another example of the sympathetic decisions that I was talking about. If this had happened at the other end would Mike Halsey have blown his whistle?

There was an intruder on the pitch with just a few minutes left. I hope it was not an Arsenal fan as that could be the dumbest thing to do for a Gooner. Players who have given so much in the game can lose concentration after such incidents and that’s the last thing we want. Hopefully, the guy won’t be let off easily.

55 Responses to Arsenal 3 – 0 Ipswich Town: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Tim says:

    Jack was fantastic tonight – positive and utterly fearless, and it’s hard to believe looking at them that Denilson was the senior player in that midfield pairing.

    Credit to Bendtner too. He is the first to admit he is not a winger, but he stuck to his job, put in a couple of excellent crosses, and scored the all-important first goal. And once we’d scored that, you just knew more would follow.

    Most of all, it was good to see that, despite the fact it took us an hour to break Ipswich down, the team remained patient and didn’t panic. In the end, we got the goals we deserved.

    Bring on the final!

  2. Phv says:

    Brilliant goal by Bendtner. Great work by Jack Wilshere. Wenger is a great manager.I am really disappointed Man Utd won thanks to the ref again because he did not give a stone wall penalty.

    PS: Today a new superstar was born.We have to give it to Julian Draxler.Only 17 years-old.Great goal and wish him good luck in the future. Maybe we will buy him one day.

  3. SFOGunner says:

    Good Report Desi. Seems like the wigan manager’s dive comments about fabregas might have influenced the referee ..

    • desigunner says:

      It could be. My feeling about Halsey is that he tends to let the game flow in a very ‘English’ sense. With him in charge both teams get some leeway in terms of fouls as long as they are not dangerous. Obviously that will help the team without the ball more than the one that is dominating the game. The penalty incident was just a part of other such decisions by the ref.

  4. Mark says:

    yeah bendtner has been fabulous.

    were we vulnerable at set pieces? i thought we weathered the long-balls into the box pretty well actually. can only remember 1 header that drifted over the cross bar.
    in fact, we have improved in nearly every facet of the game in the last month or so (pressing, offensively, individually, and defending set pieces).

    • desigunner says:

      Ipswich didn’t look like they had prepared the set-plays really well. I thought Arsenal looked vulnerable to the ones from the front angle.

  5. santori says:

    Excellent play by young Jack and he’s only 19!

    Also, I have a lot of time for Bendtner. Yes he can be clumsy at times and wasteful but put him LW, RW, CF, the lad simply puts in his best foot forward.

    Great goal and another great pass from the right which if RVp was more lucky, would have been yet another goal in off his head (seems like RVP has to hit the post every match)

    I was a bit nervous with the lineup sans Song but I thought in general, Denilson did well.

    And as you mentioned, two assists from Arsharvin, not bad for a player who is a tad off form.

    Finally, another clean sheet for the defense. Overall very very satisfied.

    • desigunner says:

      I think as long as two out of Cesc, Wilshere and Song play the midfield remains fairly well balanced and strong. Certainly strong enough to dominate smaller teams.

  6. w12mcee says:

    west ham preferably

  7. lawafc says:

    agree with your comments. only point and its a minor one…i do feel wenger sometimes makes it harder for us than it really needs to be.

    Denilson was not good. far too many safe sideways or backward passes, surely ramsey would have been better.

    Plus resting BOTH wide players meant we lacked width and pace. Arshavin did some nice touches but still looks well off form and Bendtner, as you said, is NOT a winger.

    Ipswich had no experience of playing on a pitch like the Emirates and must have been very tired in theb second half. We help them by allowing them to mass their defence in the middle. We could and should have won easier and sooner.

    having said that ….WELL DONE LADS…off to WEMBLEY

    • desigunner says:

      Ramsey is on loan. Not sure he is physically ready to start for Arsenal just yet.

      Interestingly, Bendtner has been offering width in the games that he’s played. Not all the time but he does hug the touchline quite often. Even the goal came because he was really wide while the defender was tucked in. Against Leeds too he picked up the assist because he was really wide on the right and found a lot of space.

    • Zgunner says:

      Let’s suppose that Ramsey was not on loan, and was fit… you wanna play Ramsey in that Rugby game against Ipswich? Too soon.

  8. shottagunna says:

    Desi – I really hope you learn from that gratuitous swipe at Denilson last Saturday. Today he was a man among boys as the primary defensive midfielder with quick interceptions, short simple passes and always in good position for return pass to take the pressure off the more forward players. On that platform Cesc and Jack were able to take the game to our opponents. But the blinkered fans, like lawafc above, who take their cue from the neanderthals who can only see a DM as a negative rough-tackling clogger who sits in front of the back-four, remain as blinkered as ever. If you are going to develop a reputation as a thoughtful, objective blogger, refrain from denigrating one of the most sure-footed, technically accomplished players in our squad.

    • AnonymousGun says:

      The thing about Denilson is his engine is so slow to reeved up his game is about anticipation, not bulldogging himself up to the oppositions.. He needed runs of game. This is the guy in 2008 runs the Arsenal midfield alone (for almost a full season), without any experiences head to guide him.

      Even RvP took his sweet time to get into grooves.. and it shows, Denilson is the same.. He needs game time.

      • desigunner says:

        I think the game has become faster in the last two years. That could be one of the reasons Denilson is no longer a regular starter but a squad player.

    • Wrenny says:

      You’re talking nonsense.

      Desi did not make any ‘swipe’ at Denilson, his quip was quite clearly aimed at A. Yaya Toure, and B. The Denilson haters.

      What a moronic post.

      • desigunner says:


        Thanks. You’ve replied better than I could have.


        I don’t think I can do anything about my reputation when readers misinterpret what is written and don’t pay any attention to the clarification given.

        And I must say you’re doing yourself no favors by insisting your own ‘blinkered’ view is the right one.

    • critic says:

      i don’t understand denilson. He will be mostly useless in english football as it’s not a technical league it’s “kick the ball and push the player” type of league.
      He was brilliant against brothelona as game was more technical but in england he, in my opinion, can’t do much.
      He will win regular MoTM in spain, that’s for sure, but england is just not the place for him…

      • critic says:

        i wanted a reply…

      • desigunner says:

        I’d say both opinions are a bit extreme i.e Denilson is not useless in England and he won’t win many MotM awards in Spain.

        I think he is an efficient player who has curbed his attacking skills/passes to suit the Arsenal system. Unfortunately he hasn’t been able to add the physical element that is very necessary for England. Even then he is a decent player who can certainly play well against some teams.

        As a squad player he is valuable to Arsenal but I’m hoping we see more from him in terms of shooting, passes from deep, and so on. He also needs a bit more confidence.

  9. IndianGunner says:

    Great win for the boys! 3 seems to be our number now 🙂
    Hope we get 3 trophies as well 🙂

    I also thought we were trying too hard for the first goal. Somehow we didn’t score even though we had some good chances. It’s good we had better luck in the second half.
    All those who were against playing Bendtner and Arshavin should now realize we are getting them back to form. This would ease the burden on the team and we can march on from here

    Some of the referring was outright disgrace. I was afraid we might have some injuries. I am hoping everyone comes out fine
    Off to Wembley for our 1 of the many finals!! Cheers!!

  10. samir nasri says:

    “From what I’ve seen, it happens only in England and particularly in the Cup games where the ref gives plenty of sympathetic decisions for the smaller sides.”

    unless that side is united….

    • desigunner says:

      Well, to be fair, I haven’t seen many of United’s cup games, especially against smaller teams so I don’t want to comment on it. In the League I’ve lost count of the number of big decisions United have got.

  11. Nischit says:

    In all honesty desi, I thought the fabregas incident was soft and that he went down a bit easily. he felt the contact, knew that he overran the ball, and went down.

    • desigunner says:

      Cesc says he’s not a diver and I tend to believe him. Watching live my first impression was that he was going at pace and any touch would put him off balance. To be fair to the ref he allowed that level of pushing throughout the game and all over the pitch. Only one team benefited from that but that’s a different matter.

  12. chpangemanan says:

    As soon as I watched nik’s goal, my thought went to your preview desi…he has now racked three curlers from that position…not bad for a lanky center-forward, eh? Hope he’s peaking now since we need as many players on form as possible when the tough gets going…

    And RvP, surely her dear wife now could smell his love affair with either the post or the bar. How could he do that consistently week in week out? Lol. But he’s on the rise. A great news for us gooners.

    Arshavin with two brilliant assists, yet some ungrateful people still slag him off! Credit when it’s due, fellas…

    Koscielny with a great header and what’s with the celebration? Wenger saying that his girlfriend might have been pregnant or something?

    Jack is so impressive! I’d recommend for young lads to play FIFA 2011 everynight so they could be like Jack. Maybe he gets the positioning, movement and tactical acumen from that popular game afterall, lol

    The other players also deserve praise after their remarkable performance. I read in arsenaldotcom that during his teamtalk in halftime, wenger instructed the team to be patient and believe in their plays. It worked well!

    Lastly, hope Sagna could recuperate quickly. Wishing him a speedy recovery…

    Btw, do you have a twitter account desi?

    • desigunner says:

      If Bendtner can improve his touch he can be phenomenal as he has a lot going for him.

      I have a twitter account but don’t really use it. Maybe in a few weeks.

      I guess Sagna will miss the Huddersfield game which is understandable.

  13. Claver says:

    Wilshere played superbly, kept the ball moving, timed his challenges and lofted a spectacular pass to Bendtner for his assist.

    Bendtner has probably realised that he wont get gametime unless he works his socks off for the whole game. I think Bendtner tracking back showed that he was really switched on today. With his confidence level, it’s not surprising he broke the deadlock.

    I only wish the other players would get a bit more of Bendtner’s confidence, esp. RvP, Vela and Eboue. If these three guys had B52’s confidence there’d be no of buying new players.

    I think that Wenger needs to give these guys some sort of motivational, confidence building communication when they are on the pitch.

    Wenger just needs to play Vela. Vela has such an armoury. I hope he plays against Huddersfield.

    Denilson was superb, but this isn’t surprising; his touch, ball control and quick thinking helped us to break quickly from defence. Sometimes I think he assumes the players around him have his technical ability and gives what turn out to be difficult passes. He perhaps needs to disguise his passes a lot more.

    Let’s reel in Utd.

    • desigunner says:

      RvP lacks confidence?

      I used to think Vela lacks confidence but someone in the comments mentioned that it was more of an attitude issue. After that, based on what little I’ve seen, it really does seem like an attitude issue. That’s one reason I’d prefer to see him on loan in England and outside his comfort zone of Spain.

  14. Claver says:


    Wouldn’t you agree that Wenger is the best at spotting talent in Britain, if so, wouldn’t it strike you as ludicrous that a couple of suits get to decide which players are good enough to join the league?

    Here I am referring to Wellington, Botelho and Garrindo.

    Isn’t this an unnecessary hindrance to the quality of football in the Premiership? Isn’t it only an unfortunate political blunder?

    Look at Yaya Toure, if he had come to Arsenal and Arsene had sold him to Barcelona, that money would have come into England and not gone to Spain.

    Perhaps Arsene ought to do talent scouting for the French? I’m sure he’d make the French a lot of money, if we continue to overlook him in such a disgraceful way?

    Don’t you think it’s a wasted opportunity?

    • desigunner says:

      Wenger is probably the best anywhere. And I think that is down to the fact that he has a method to his madness.

      I think he can make millions by opening a scouting agency and providing reports. All clubs will flock to him. If he wanted money he could certainly do much better than being at Arsenal.

  15. HeavyFeather says:

    Funny coincidence last night – Both ManU & Arsenal came from behind to get 3 goals in the last 30 mins of their matches.
    Not-so-funny coincidence – Both ManU & Arsenal lost their RB to concussions during the game 😦

    Poor Sagna – We need him back soon. Both for defensive solidity & the regular crosses he puts in. Eboue was all over the place when he came on. He wasn’t mentally prepared obviously and all Ipswich’s attacking play came down Eboue’s territory in the first half.

    • desigunner says:

      I guess Arsene would have played Eboue against Huddersfield anyway. I like the rumours about Vrsaljko. He might not be there for this season but could be a good player to have next season onwards.

  16. critic says:

    a very nice read….in my opinion it’s been several weeks since i read such good article.

    • desigunner says:

      This went into spam due to wordpress filters and not mine. Sorry about that. I guess it matched some parameters they have for spam comments.

  17. critic says:

    hmmm….moderation????i have grown up.!!!

  18. critic says:

    dude, whatever tactical analysis, prediction about line ups, mention of how the goals will come, etc…whatever u predict it happens more or so come true. Hopefully i am not jinxing it.
    The most important thing about this blog is it doesn’t shy away from criticizing arsenal, and it does in a constructive way, points out the xact problem in the latest matches.
    Believe me, i haven’t found a single good blog of arsenal that can do all of the above.
    Why it’s not in top 20 arsenal/football blogs? Beats me.

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks for the kind words but I don’t think this blog is in the same category as the big ones just yet.

      It’s like comparing Bolton, who are having a good season, to the likes of Arsenal and United!

      • Yeah, I agree with critic. Top blog, and the best as far as analytical expression is concerned. You have no idea how often I refresh every evening (CST) eagerly waiting for the next post.
        Considered getting your own domain instead of being under wordpress?

      • desigunner says:

        I have considered it but seems like a lot of effort 🙂

      • critic says:

        may be u r having a good season but it’s 2 season’s in a row now. But i agree if u really want to take it to next level u have to add variety and authors, maybe some guest posts. It will take a lot of effort and dedication also.
        this blog’s main strength is arsenal’s constructive criticism.
        ….hopefully i haven’t jinxed it by pointing it out.

        i must admit this blog turned me from a “fan” into a good and mature “supporter”.

    • HeavyFeather says:

      Oh yes, I must agree with critic here. This is my top Arsenal blog, and not just because it’s desi
      I love your analysis & stats, even though you might have overdone it in 1 or 2 recent posts 🙂
      You must be a consultant!

    • critic says:

      when u see the goon blog(no offence) in top 20 it just baffles me. This blog is way better than that. Arseblog is just “f&&kin excellent” becoz of it’s dedication and writing style. Untold is also very good but they don’t focus on current issue. When arsenal loses they just write about fifa,refree anything but arsenal shortcomings which just annoys me.

      • desigunner says:

        Well I don’t really know the criteria for that ranking so it doesn’t seem sensible to fret over it.

  19. Irish desi gooner says:

    You shouldn’t put yourself down desi, I think critic got it spot on, which is why I rarely read the other blogs on goonernews. Keep up the good work.

    Anyway, I’ve a question. Are we playing spuds on the 26 of feb and in wembley the next day? I’m sure there will be some sort of rescheduling right?

    • According to, the game against ‘that team’ will be shifted if we qualify for the league cup final, so yes it should be rescheduled.
      BTW, good to see Sagna is okay. He just joined twitter today in case anyone is interested in following him @sagnaofficial.

    • desigunner says:

      It will certainly be rescheduled, probably in April.

  20. JP says:

    Good victory. Ironic that the Denmark coach stated during the week that Bendtner’s best position is on the left where he can cut in and get it on his right. That was exactly what he did. Good tactical decision by Wenger. Arshavin is still out of sorts despite the assists. Hopefully he gets better fast, we could use him on form. Will be interesting to see the team on the weekend. Go Gunners ! 4 Fronts !

  21. […] Arsenal 3 – 0 Ipswich Town: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis Positive team selection. Aggressive, hungry performance. Big result. […]

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