Udinese 1 – 2 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

That’s more like it.

I expected a tough start with the hosts pressing Arsenal into a defensive shape but the Gunners surprised me and probably the Friulani as well when they came out in a very positive, energetic, and confident mode.

Walcott forced Handanovic into a good save in the second minute and that set the pattern for the opening minutes. Arsenal dominated possession and pushed the hosts back. Van Persie was dropping deep often and creating space for Gervinho and Walcott to exploit.

It was clear that this was a tactical move and a new one as the swift wingmen often got in each other’s way and made the same run on occasion. Nevertheless, they were threatening and the half-chances kept coming. Handanovic was a busy man all through the half.

Arsenal did create a couple of gilt edged chances and the strikers hit the target but found the goalkeeper a hard man to beat. Perhaps their shooting angles could have been better and is an area where continuous work will be needed.

At the other end, Udinese were getting the ball to the Arsenal box often enough. They scored a goal but it was correctly chalked off for off-side. Szczesny wasn’t being tested except by shots from outside the box. The Gunners also looked confident while defending the set-pieces.

As the half progressed the hosts felt more comfortable against the pace of Arsenal and started pushing forward. That created more space and Arsenal forced a double save from Handanovic after excellent work by Gervinho. Soon after, Szczesny was beaten at the other end.

The goal was again a result of a number of mistakes. The man on the ball wasn’t under any pressure. The midfield line wasn’t close enough to the defence considering Udinese had three men forward. The central defenders dropped back and allowed the attacker to receive the ball in front of them. He also got enough time to turn and pick out a pass as neither the defenders not the midfielders got tight on him. Worse still, Di Natale was able to get between Djourou and Jenkinson. The Swiss defender was probably covering for a run down the middle or getting in position to block a shot, and Jenkinson paid the price of his inexperience. The youngster should have read the situation and competed for that header against a man who isn’t renowned for his height or aerial prowess.

As things stood at half-time, Arsenal had a lot of the ball but also the deficit on the night and a nervous parity in total. The team looked like it lacked technique and vision in the final third.

Wenger, all credit to him, saw this and introduced Rosicky for the hard working but inexperienced Frimpong. Little Mozart looked lively when he came on and played a crucial part in the goal.

Because of his presence in the middle, Gervinho was able to stay wide when in the first half he was drifting inwards far too often. Rosicky’s shot was blocked and the rebound fell to Gervinho who got the better of his defender as he had done all day long whenever he got a chance to run at the right-back.

The Ivorian went to the by-line and cut it back for Van Persie to tap in. The run from Rosicky did enough to distract the keeper and the defenders. I doubt anyone will be surprised if this pattern is repeated often this season.

In the recent past the Gunners have shown a tendency to relax soon after scoring. The same happened in this game and Udinese had the ball around the Arsenal box within a minute of conceding. It led to a corner that was delivered low and across the face of goal. How it managed to reach the back post is beyond me. With the new zonal marking system, any of three players should have cleared it. As it turned out it fell to Vermaelen at the back post who was adjudged to have handled the ball. I thought it was a harsh decision as the Belgian also got a push in the back.

Udinese would have gained the upper hand had Di Natale converted so soon after the game was levelled. Szczesny came up with a big save. There can be argument that he was off his line before the kick was taken but almost all Keepers do that these days. There is no doubt that was the turning point as the Gunners gained confidence while Udinese must have felt deflated.

Considering the fact that all Arsenal Keepers are good at penalties, the coaching work in that area must be acknowledged.

The key point though, and one that I really loved about this game, was the composure that the Gunners showed after that moment. The midfield played really close to the defence and didn’t lose concentration. We didn’t see the ball being hoofed forward only to come back within seconds. The team was able to maintain a proper defensive shape and slowed the game down considerably.

In February I wrote this piece saying Arsenal need to develop the art of defensive possession. This display was just what I had in mind.

The midfielders didn’t rush forward every time possession was regained. The full-backs stayed at their posts and covered the wings. The players backed their technical abilities and passed the ball around just to frustrate the opponents and tire them. They moved well off the ball to provide more than one passing option to team-mates who were being pressurised. Eventually, they also found ways to convert this defensive possession into attacking opportunities without pushing too many men forward.

The second goal was an absolute delight. Most highlights clips or pundit analysis won’t cover this but it actually started down Arsenal’s right side. Jenkinson was in possession and under pressure. But he had Gervinho and Rosicky in support. Between the three of them they played five or six passes to absorb pressure. Normally, one would see a punt down the line in such a situation but that temptation was palpably avoided.

Jenkinson then played the ball in the space between Veramelen and Sagna. The Belgian got it and pushed it towards Sagna who’d moved wide on the wing. By the time the Udinese players moved from their pressing on the right to the left, Sagna and Walcott were able to play a wonderful one-two that put Theo in behind. There was no catching him after that and his finish was world class.

That really knocked the stuffing out of Udinese. Even the crowd was silenced.

The Gunners didn’t repeat the mistake they made after the first goal. The midfield dropped really deep and the full-backs maintained their position for large parts. Even Rosicky could be seen chasing and sliding just in front of the defence.

In the remaining period the visitors created more chances but the Handanovic was in top form.

I thought this game showed the perfect way for Arsenal to defend under pressure. They have to use their strengths because Wenger doesn’t have a group that can effectively park the bus. I believe this game highlighted the massive improvements that can be made in defence even without signing many players. This is exactly what I have been talking about for almost a year. Arsenal have problems in defence and not that many with defenders. These can only be solved with a collective effort just like this one.

That doesn’t mean new additions are not needed. Nor does it mean that perfection has been achieved. It’s just a start and a work in progress. The players will have to work hard in training to improve on this. But if they do get it right, Gervinho, Walcott, and the speedy youngsters will rip teams apart on the break.

I must also mention that coming from a goal down in a European tie away from home is no mean feat. It deserves special accolades. The players have shown exceptional mentality in hard times and deserve unconditional support from here on in even if the manager or the board are not appreciated for various reasons.

Individual Performances:

Szczesny: Superb save from the penalty. Made a couple of other good saves as well. Collection and distribution was consistent.

Jenkinson: Struggled a bit when an opponent was able to run at him but his doggedness helped him out even if he conceded a free-kick or two. Could have done better for the goal, he will have to learn to read danger earlier. Still not a bad game for a youngster who hasn’t been at this level for too long. Showed good composure and passing.

Djourou: Another one who did little wrong even if part of the blame for the goal could be ascribed to him. He should also have done better on the corner that led to the penalty. Maintained a good understanding with Vermaelen and the defensive line.

Vermaelen: I doubt he could have done anything to avoid the penalty as he was in a helpless situation. Did a good covering job behind Sagna. Should close his man down better and sooner.

Sagna: I thought he did better than the Liverpool game. Made a couple of intelligent forward runs including one that took him to the edge of the box. Only a timely interception prevented him from getting in behind. Udinese got some crosses in from the right especially in the first half but in the second Sagna stayed deeper and covered the flank well. Excellent work and assist for the second goal.

I thought the back five were exposed more than necessary in the first half and that led to a number of half-chances. They did well to cut out most situations but as we have seen, sometimes even one failure can look bad for the defence, especially if the attackers fail.

They need to communicate with the others and work on the way the team played in the second half to improve the collective defending.

They need to read the movement of the strikers better and have to get tighter on players who drop off to receive the ball in front of the defensive line.

Song: He was pushing too far forward in the first half and that left gaps for the counter attack. Did a sterling job in the second half. Won a number of physical battles and retained possession under pressure. Also nicked the ball away from the attackers on the edge of the box.

Ramsey: He wasn’t able to offer the kind of creativity we know he can produce. But his work rate was good and deserves credit for trying hard. He looked better under pressure in this game than in the previous ones. Will improve as the players develop a better understanding. Could have had a penalty if the officials had kept a closer eye on the deliberate trip by the defender after getting the ball.

Frimpong: Did a fair job of chasing the ball and breaking up attacks but the team was not balanced enough in the first half. Struggled a bit technically as some of his touches went longer than one would expect which disrupted the flow of the passing.

Rosicky: Looked lively in the attacking and defensive areas. Made some of his trademark sliding interceptions/tackles. He isn’t anywhere close to his best but the attitude in this game was right and he needs to sustain that for ninety minutes.

I thought the midfield lacked imagination in the first half but kept fighting. The change in approach in the second took the creative burden off them to an extent and they were able to retain possession better while covering the back four.

Walcott: Had a number of good shots on target. Finish was as good as it could be. Needs to develop a better understanding with Gervinho and the midfield.

RvP: Dropped deep often in the first half. Looked like the only real creative mind in that period. Some good set-piece deliveries and a couple of decent attempts on target but he can do better with those. His touch hasn’t ripened yet this season. Well taken goal nevertheless.

Gervinho: My MotM. Always looked threatening when he got a chance to run at the defenders. I thought he came in far too often and would have benefitted a lot from staying wide, especially in the first half.

It seemed there was a clear plan to create space for the wide players to run into. It seems like a tactic that will need time to mature but is definitely on the right track. Arsene has to tell the players to pick Van Persie’s runs better. Too many of his runs went unnoticed.

Subs: Traore an Arshavin didn’t have much to do.

Wenger: Boss deserves credit for the tactical adjustments and the key substitution. He should also be applauded for motivating the players under difficult circumstances.

I won’t be surprised if papers tomorrow contain stories of abnormal changes in the atmospheric pressure as millions of Gooners around the world breathed a sigh of relief after watching a pulsating encounter with bated breath. It was a great game of football and goes a long way in countering the negativity around the club. But it’s only a start and this will still be one of the hardest seasons under Wenger. Brace yourselves but with a smile on the face 🙂


44 Responses to Udinese 1 – 2 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Tim says:

    Agree with your assessment of Gervinho as man of the match, Desi. He has slotted right into the side as if he has been at the club for months rather than weeks.

    I thought Jenkinson did very well given his inexperience, and was much less to blame for the goal than the ball-watching Djourou.

    And big credit to Wenger for getting his tactics right. He ensured the team stayed positive after half-time, and his introduction of Rosicky for the more defensive Frimpong was spot on too. Good to see Tomas making a difference off the bench.

    Big sigh of relief. Now if we can get 2-3 decent signings in place over the next week, we are in decent shape to attack the rest of the season.

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2011/08/25/vuelta-a-espana-rodriguez-floats-like-a-butterfly-stings-like-a-bee/

    • santori says:

      He certainly looks bright. What a pick up.

      Good obeservation with the wingers cutting into space through the middle.

      Gervinho looks like he will slice through teams like a knife through butter regularly….particularly if he gets good service from the middle.

      An excellent game from the Ivorian and can’t wait to see him back in the PL.

  2. SoCal_Gun says:

    Absolutely brilliant result

    I gotta be honest, I was more than a bit nervous heading into this one….but the way the team played right out of the gates really set the tone. Huge credit to Wenger and the coaching staff for their pre-match talk

    I feel the formation was perfect too. Gervinho and Theo gave them hell on the wings all night, and throughout the match this was exploited

    I hope to see a new signing and this same formation/line-up on Sunday for ManUre

    • Prabal Rakshit says:

      Song, Gervinho are suspended for Man U..Koscielny might return though

      • Aktar Gooner says:

        Frimpong is also suspended …. the line up will be very weak against Manure …

      • SoCal_Gun says:

        damn that’s right…..

        that means Arshavin for Gervinho, and Rosicky/Rambo for Song/Frimpong….could work….

        signings need to be made though, and it’s not gonna be Mata or Hazzard forsure now….

    • santori says:

      Formation was OK because we were playing”in Europe” with a very positive team.

      Formation becomes a problem when we face more physical teams in England who park the bus on us and adopt dirty tactics.

      We still need variation. This has not been addressed.

  3. Imp thing I notice3d was Arshavin was introduced in teh final mins making sure, no more rumours about Arshavin leaving the club.. we dont need any such rumours anymore.

    • Aktar Gooner says:

      Arshavin is a liability at the moment ….. has completely lost his ball control skills and developed misplaced pass syndrome ….

    • santori says:

      I would still like to see him deployed centrally. I don’t think he is quite suited out wide anymore.

      Much rather have him though than not, particularly with his assist rate last season.

  4. BarDel says:

    Great result! Gervinho was definitely MotM… With RVP a close second. The two points that you mentioned:

    “They have to use their strengths because Wenger doesn’t have a group that can effectively park the bus.”

    I think they need to see the effectiveness of this strategy, and hopefully in time they will.

    “Arsene has to tell the players to pick Van Persie’s runs better. Too many of his runs went unnoticed.”

    Agreed again, but I think that we need a new playmaker in the squad. While Ramsey shows promise, he isn’t good enough yet. I mentioned yesterday that I thought Hazard would not come to the team if we didn’t win today… Now I truly think we have to be aggressive in his pursuit.

    • santori says:

      Yes, Ramsey is OK at the moment.

      We definately need another creative player in the middle.

      Rosicky plays well in general in Europe but struggles against PL teams.

      I think he is getting on and not entirely suited to the rigours of the physicality in the league.

      No faulting his determination though. Great game today.

  5. ArsenalUSA says:

    Buy Di Natali

  6. Tim says:

    We showed great mental strength. No need for signing then, eh ?

  7. My man of the match is Song. I think he was unbelievable in the second half. Szczesny was my second best and Rocisky was third for me. If you watch the second half again, you will agree with me. The goalkeeper and midfield three won the game for us.

    • Prabal Rakshit says:

      3453sdsd45345345

      That’s a once in a blue moon moment mate.. you actually supporting an arsenal player!! 🙂

  8. cupsui says:

    I think Jenko looks amazing. He is dogged as hell! strong too, great crosser (wingers/striker need to get into the box for them). I think more blame goes on JD for the goal than jenko,
    JD just drifted into no mans land as he seems to do more and more at the moment. Seriously he needs to be more aware of players around him making runs. e.g. when di natale made that shot from a fine angle in 1st half woj saved, the ball came over JD he watched it the whole way then stopped turned and realised Di Natale was there… Come on Johan your development is stalling a bit at the moment. It was TV5s worst game of the year, he let a lot of crosses go past him and through his legs in the 1st half but was more solid in the 2nd (no worries with him cause he is a beast), unlucky with the pen…terrible call arms on his body…come on ref and a yellow to cap it off…

    We still need a CAM bad ramsey was about 1000x better but creatively is still struggling, Arsharvin should be given a go but he would have to work hard which he can.

    Gervinho looked great as did theo, but gervinho looks lazy off the ball, he has to learn to close down! RvP was pretty good but isn’t as lively with his movement this season as last, start making those runs and have faith in those behind robin!!

    Absolutely cracking game…one of the best i’ve seen for a while, end to end stuff! Great result and great determination and committment shown by the players, pat on the back for them! I think a CAM and a CD and maybe a striker are needed, hazard would be nice but i don’t think we need him this season, as other arrivals are more important…if schwinsteiger came i would cry! he is exactly who the gunners need! one of the best mids in the world and very underrated!!

    • BarDel says:

      Looks like TV is injured again… In which case I think that we have to sign another CD for cover. I like Samba, but I always get told he wouldn’t be a good fit.

      Obviously a CAM as well, but I feel like we would have to pay up for him now that everyone in the world knows that we have a lot of cash and are a few players short.

      • matt says:

        How do you know TV is injured? Nothing happened to him, he was fine. Are you making this up or what?

  9. cupsui says:

    p.s. great analysis on the 2nd goal, i remember the moment but didn’t connect the two, those three controlled a difficult situation then the cross park ball from jenko to set sagna and walcott of and racing, GREAT finish from theo!

  10. emma says:

    3453sdsd45345345…… your right, song is the man of the match

  11. EZ Macdoom says:

    Yeah have to say from the only time I saw it, can’t see too much blame for Jenks. Djourou was central defender against a team playing one up front. Vermaelen went (late it has to be said) to close down the man in possession, Djourou was marking no one and serving no purpose whatsoever in the centre of the area.

    How far he has faded since the start of last season when he looked like he could be our defensive colossus.

    But I didn’t come here to moan, just to say “well done the lads”. If they can carry this new marking system on dead balls into the league we should be a damn sight better of that last season.

    Up the Arse!

    • santori says:

      Actually the problem was our left side.

      Sagna was in an unfamiliar position and we were getting caught out there time and time again.

      I’m not sure why Wenger prefers to play Sagna there over Traore but their penetration was entirely from that flank.

      No point castigating Djourou. He did what he could.

      Can really castigate Sagna either.

      LB seems to remain a bit of an issue.

      • cbinlondon says:

        Completely agree that LB is an issue. Really wish we could have got enrique as ready made (and cheap) replacement for clichy. Gibbs is too injury prone and maybe not quite ready to fill clichy’s shoes on a regular basis (would be happy to see him loaned out for a few months).
        Traore has been at the club for years and hasn’t proved he is ever going to be good enough to play in the PL for a top club (further evidenced by wengers reluctance to play him last night).
        I’m wondering if AW plans to play TV at LB once we have got a new CB but I hope this is not the case as he is easily our best CB.

  12. RockyLives says:

    Very fair report Desi
    If he had not been only on for the second half I would vote TR7 for man of the match. He helped us restore balance to the midfield, brought plenty of creativity and was tigerish in wining back the ball. Maybe this season he’s ready to really shine for us.

    Big plus marks too for Chezzer and Jenks. What a prospect our young keeper is – fancy having the balls to sledge an experienced, talented captain like Di Natale. And Jenks looks to be a real find who will get better with experience.

    I was pleased for Ramsey. He was poor in the last couple of games but is starting to play himself in.

    As for Gerv… Who now misses that French bloke who used to play for us… Can’t remember his name.

  13. LiviB says:

    Song. MOTM. Watch the second half.

    • santori says:

      Massive massive player.

      The way he holds the ball was fantastic. And he cut our several runs with good timely interceptions, not to mention pressed the Udinese players quickly when they got the ball.

      Fimpong looks to be learning from Song (hbeyond the Red cards) so we have a good future with regards DMs

  14. Arsenal4 says:

    Yep, that’s more like it.

    Some glimpse of the old Arsenal with composed and confident performance. Many positives but I’d like to mention some of the thing that can be better.

    With the Arsenal system, I thought Ramsey was the weakest link. He needs to move the ball quicker, using one touch and has more vision in distributing the ball. RVP needs to get more ball from him on the middle. In fact, in first half RVP almost got zero service. He’s OK, but for the team to be at top Ramsey needs to be brilliant in organizing the play.

    I also feel somehow he’s a bit lazy in tracking back (a bit of Denilson in disguise). He needs to learn from Cesc & Rosicky, despite playing as AM, they track back and make good tackles. If Ramsey can improve these 2 key areas I think it will be brilliant for Arsenal.

    RVP, Gerv & TW – are really potent combinations. I hope Gerv will take more chance at the goal next time around.

    Defence – quite composed if not reassuring. Udinese had some opportunities but overall i feel confident with our defense set up.
    I thought AW brilliantly restore balance in the middle by taking out EF for TR. That’s give extra body that can pass and keep the ball. Thus, less presssure for our defence.

    MOTM – Gerv, TW, Song or Szcescny – pick your fave.

    Hopefully we’ll get 2-3 signings in the next few days for reinforcement. ( 1 Central Attacking midfield, 1 back up CB and if we have the money 1 proper back up for RVP)

  15. Zgunner says:

    Man of the match without a doubt Sczezny. His penalty save cooled all the nerves… players, manager, and fans.

    The game at that point was in the bank. Motm for bringing so much confidence to the team tonight.

    • santori says:

      Where are all those numpties hankering to buy a keeper?

      What a good performance from Szsc who is going from strength to strength…and how old is he?;)

      • cupsui says:

        wankers aren’t they!! before the game some guy on another blog i won’t name stated that he’d had enough and was off to support man city: exactly the type of band wagon loser fan they needs to be shed. 14 years straight in the champs league…
        I SAY THANK YOU ARSENE WENGER and THANK YOU ARSENAL!

  16. santori says:

    Like your finishing sentence. What a HUGE sigh of relief!!!

    Did not get to watch it live but caught the highlights. Had I seen it live, I may not have lived to see the first half, what a heart stopper end to end action!!!

    Firstly well done Udinese. What a fight. And Di Natale is a complete menace!!!

    But really really well done the lads!!!

    Did n’t think they’d have it to come back in the second half but they kept composure even after the penalty.

    Significant victory and another season in the CL.

    Thumbs up to the gaffer and two fingers to the naysayers/media.

    Boody well done!

  17. Scott says:

    On Ramsey,I think in time he will be exactly what we are looking for. A lot of his passes are inches away from tearing the defence to pieces. The vision is most definitely there,but just that bit of polish is lacking…..it will come though.
    What a great result under pressure though,and the team grew in confidence as the game went on.
    Nothing more I can add to the other players,they were superb,but just hoping people give Ramsey the benefit of the doubt-he has a touch if genius about him.

  18. Steve Grundy says:

    Big improvement. Now all Arsenal need is a couple more loyal Frimpongs and a couple less Wiltsheres.

  19. mc_moelyono says:

    yess… we really relief about our victory… But,

    i think you forget about the crowd in friulli desi…

    they still give their applause for their team

    even they lose… that’s “Moment of the Game” i think…

    i really hope in emirates our gooner will do the same

    like in friulli… i really hope..!!!

    • cupsui says:

      exactly!! its sad that in part what nasri said was kinda true!
      two games. The team has been booed at home twice already this season. THAT IS A DISGRACE!

      Come on gooners get behind these guys they just showed us what they are made of so lets show them what we are made of, enough moaning about tabloid spread BS and SUPPORT!!

  20. Phil23 says:

    Great victory by our resolute gunners. Szczesny for me was the one who secured the win. Conceding from another terrible decision could have been the last straw for some Gunners. Let us not forget that our end of year collapse was largely a result of 7 or 8 terrible decisions in a row which finally broke the teams spirit. Let’s hope for two strong signings and then no Arsenal fan will have any reason not to be fully behind the team. If Hazard will not come, that is his loss. His team will win nothing this year and he will not improve much at all playing the same competition with a much weaker team around him than last year. My trust is with Arsene on the signings and my faith is in our team to fight for the jersey in every match. PROUD GOONER.

  21. Tee Song says:

    Not sure why Djourou is getting all the stick over Udinese’s goal. As Desi pointed out, the problem was all three of our midfielders got caught too high up the pitch and were bypassed by a single pass. That left our four defenders having to deal with with four attackers. TV5 had to close down the man with the ball while still preventing a pass, along with Sagna, to a player in the (our) left channel. Di Natale moved (to our) right and was probably trying to set up an inside run. JD couldn’t just follow him wide because there was another undefended midfielder centrally and if he follows Di Natale with TV5 moving up at the same time, the middle of the penalty area is just wide open. He checks middle and gets beaten by a perfectly weighted chip and Di Natale scores a very difficult header. Jenkinson probably could’ve been more aware of Di Natale and Szczesny was caught a little off his line, perhaps. Plus, give credit where credit is due, that was as good a goal as we’ll see this season. Both the chip and header were fantastic. The fundamental problem is that four attackers versus four defenders is a dangerous situation and there was simply too much space between midfield and defense.

    The first half was a very open game and Udinese had a couple of other great chances by playing between the lines. Despite the fact that we played two primarily defensive midfielders, there was a lot of space to be exploited. Frimpong, while combative, physical and energetic was simply getting caught out positionally, unsurprisingly given his youth and inexperience. And Song was deliberately tasked, I think, to get forward more and try to contribute to the attack. They really weren’t playing as a double shield or if they were, there doing it poorly. Interestingly, when Rosicky came on, it moved Song back to his natural position and despite exchanging a holding midfielder for an attacking one, we were more defensively secure and there was less space between the lines. Rosicky was tidy on the ball, better in possession than Frimpong and also tracked back really well. I’m glad his near post run was mentioned because that was just as important as Gervhino’s dribbling and pass and RvP’s finish. If you watch it again you’ll see the defenders all reacting to Rosicky which opened up the space for Robin. I thought it was Rosicky’s best game in a while and Wenger needs to be praised for that substitution.

    Gervhino was our danger man all night. His directness is a welcome change to our usual patient buildup. And I loved that he and Walcott continually switched flanks. Seeing an Arsenal #14 shirt bearing down the left side of the penalty area and shaping to shoot with the right foot was pretty nostalgic. Theo did the shirt proud on that goal.

    • Timo Onada says:

      @Tee Song, dude you’re on point! Excellent insight and breakdown of events. You should think of starting your own blog. Seriously…

  22. critic says:

    There was 1 moment when vermalean was caught out of position and ball went to Di Natalie through pretty straight pass. But maybe that was down to tiredness.

    Good game. Bravo!!

  23. Arun says:

    Jenkinson perfomance and attitude was superb. He didnot let the pressure to get the better of him. Showed good composure. True, he should ve done better for the goal. But the important thing was he learned from that mistake and covered for high balls behind djourou after that goal.

    Frimpong did a great work there. Made a couple of crucial interceptions and stood his ground under pressure.

    When we play him and Song together we look solid as long as they remain close to the defence. But lack of creativity upfront meant they had to leave the defense and play further upfield. That led to a number of chances for the opponents. If we need to shut out teams after getting a two goal lead against PL teams, we should play these two together.

    Overall, Am happy that we won on the night and could also afford the youngsters to learn from their mistakes from such a high pressure game. A very valuable experience for the young guns.

    A big thumps up for Wenger for sending out a team on the night with the right attitude and for making the right decisions.

    Hoping for atleast two new signings – one CB and a CAM

  24. cbinlondon says:

    Gervinho looks like a great purchase and will make a massive difference to Arsenal as he likes to keep possession and take opponents on. Nasri has that ability but didn’t do it often enough. There were too many games last season where PL opposition would sit back and we struggled to penetrate as we were always relying on threading a pass through the eye of a needle. This season, we will have another option and I expect him to get fouled in the box regularly.

    Obviously we still need to replace cesc (and another CB) but I don’t think things are as bad as a lot of people seem to think.

    Another huge positive compared to the majority of last season is that TV is back in the team. It is pointless to speculate but I think we would have probably got another 6 or more points last season if he had been playing.

    All I’m saying is that while we obviously need to improve the depth in our squad, I think our best 11 will be very competitive this season. It is just a shame we have to go to old trafford with such a weakened squad.

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