Thursday, August 28, 2008

Crisis? What Crisis? Confidence restored against Twente.

Well, that was nice. 4-0 in the tie, 6-0 on aggregate, and hopefully our season has finally begun after 4 games.

After dominating the opening exchanges of the game, Theo bombed down the wing, sent a dangerous but rather aimless cross across the box, which RvP intercepted, and laid off to Samir. The actions that followed were completely unexpected for those who've been watching Hleb over the last few seasons. He ran forward, beat three players, shot, and scored. If this had been Hleb he would have looked for the pass - you know this is true. Moreover - he's a player who's getting the crucial first goal in our matches, unlike Rosicky, who seems incapable of scoring before we've knocked in 2-3 already.

So that's 2 goals in 3 games for Samir, a lovely little start to his Arsenal career. He looks a tidy, dangerous player, and if he can score over 10 goals in his first season I think he could become quite a player for us. Let's hope he went off at half-time for a rest, rather than for any injury related reasons, because I'm looking forward to seeing him and Cesc link up in the coming games.

We perhaps should have scored a few more before half-time, and a glaring example of our profligacy was RvP. Let's hope he's just having a slow start to the season, because missing the target when you have half the goal to aim at is worrying. He really hasn't got going this season, and, despite his tackle to set up Samir, you have to ask what he offers when he's not scoring.

The second half was, hopefully not for the last time this season, a goal-fest. Bendtner showed a lovely touch to take the ball past the defender, and perhaps should have scored, but Gallas was on hand to knock it in.

Bendtner showed the best and worst parts of his game last night - wastefulness on the ball, and looking, generally, a bit hopeless, mixed with moments where he showed a better touch and overall game than Ade. He's still very young and, despite the fact half the team still seems to hate him, he's clearly a huge prospect.

Both he and Theo deserved their goals if for no other reason for persistence and not hiding. I though Theo had a good game overall. He certainly looks dangerous going forward, but he needs to do this in the premiership, and not just against pretty average European teams.

Bendtner's goal was almost farcically over-complex, but it was nice to see us fighting til the end for the result. Whether we'll be able to walk the ball into the net against better teams is open to debate, but him and Theo needed their goals to get their confidence up.

So, in all, you can't really argue with 6 goals over two legs. That we looked so much better than in our last three games was largely due to Cesc, and it is worrying, in a way, that we are so reliant upon him. At the back, I was also impressed by the performance of Johan Djourou. I'd like to see him keep his place for the game against Newcastle, but Wenger will inevitably drop him for Kolo, which I think is both wrong and a shame.

So, the season finally begins. Let's hope we can do the same on Saturday.


Anonymous said...

good analysis but please stay off ROSICKY, he is a class player if IF he can stay fit..we will win a major trophy this season...ROSICKY, EDUADO & RVP

King Eric said...

A good result no doubt, especially when you look at how difficult the Scousers made it.

A colleague at the game claimed that Walcott was a tad inconsistent last night relying on his pace as opposed to his ability... His crosses were a tad fortunate to find their eventual recipients it must be said. And apparently he also seems to have a fear of taking the shot on. Can't fault his solo effort though.

And as for RVP - his miss after taking what felt like 5 minutes to compose himself was pretty poor. He looks short on confidence, possibly due to the stick he is receiving from the Arsenal 'faithful'. It strikes me that as a group of supporters you are much better at voicing your dissatisfaction with indiviudals than getting behind the team as a whole. They need you at the moment to help get their confidence back (which has arguably been lacking ever since we knocked you out of the FA cup last season). They are only young after all.

As a United fan, I can hardly throw stones given the 'atmosphere' at the Theatre of Merchandise. It's just even on TV, the sighs and grumbles are often more audible than the cheers.

Anyway, good to see your season finally start and I look forward to seeing which Arsenal team appears against the Geordies.

Anonymous said...

RVP is short of confidence. When he was about to take the shot, he hesitated and that showed perfectly that he doesn't have the self-belief at the moment.

Our strike partnership of Ade and RVP is very interesting, Ade's never short of confidence and never lets his head go down while RVP can but he is far more technically gifted than Ade.

The booing is frankly, disgraceful. Eboue got booed even though he was our best player on Saturday and Bendtner got booed for his work rate.

Anonymous said...

True about Djourou and links in very nicely with your piece on Senderos.

I would however say that the Nick B goal was not farcical but total class. It also involved a tidy little back heel from Denilson who shows flashes, every now and then, of brilliance.

I also agree with the poster above. go easy on RvP. he is low on confidence but this can change in a matter of two or three games. By christmas you could have one of the Premier Leagues most dangerous strikers in your ranks. Rather he starts slow and gets better than starts fats and gets injured.

Anonymous said...

Nasri isn't injured, he got sick at HT so Wenger took him off as aprecaution. Hopefully JD keeps his place for a while 'cause Kolo isn't up to it lately. Actually either is Gallas so..

Anonymous said...

You need your big players firing in all cylinders from December onwards. Ade and RvP look rusty at the moment and I think we should use this oppourtunity to get Walcott to play more. The more he plays the better he gets. But we'll have to be patient with Walcott as he's only 19 and everyone cannot be a Fabregas.

I prefer Van Persie to take his time in terms of match fitness and play throughout the season without injury. Wenger has a responsibility in that by making sure he maximises Van Persie and takes him out. IMO he is 70mins a match player. Things will become better when Vela and Eduardo starts to play.

Arsene Wenger wants to win a trophy this season. He's desperate for it but I hope it comes to fruition bcos it appears the player Wenger wants he cannot get anymore. He was so sure about that player 2 weeks ago and even boasted to have him before yesterday's game. That must have left a bad taste in his mouth. He now has 4 days to do anything. I hope it happens.

monkey's said...

Nice game...lets hope to see more of these kind of performances!

Anonymous said...

I am very surprised by the harshness of the fans towards Persie these last few matchs. Maybe if supporters got behind the man instead of attacking him his confidence levels would go up. Why so hard on a player who is loyal to Arsenal and keeps stating how he wants to win?

Anonymous said...

I hope it does restore their confidence. I also hope that Wenger knows we beat a very poor side, probably the least threatening we will see at the Grove this year: and that he and some of the players still needs to address the issues highlighted at Fulham.

Denilson was very bad on Saturday, he did not merit a start against Twente but got it anyway. Again he gave the ball away too many times when under little pressure.

I completely agree with you on Nasri, great to see a player SHOOT when they have a chance.

The attacking unit squadered too many good chances between them in the first half but we have seen them all do better in the past so hopefully they will get there soon. I am sure Bendtner used to have a far better touch and RVP can shoot on target.

Of course central midfield was better, Cesc was playing and they were not up against Murphy and Bullard compressed into a small pitch. Next time the team are in a similar position they need to cope.

The back four were not tested but Djourou did nothing wrong, bet he still looses his place to Toure on Saturday though.