Saturday saw us run out 4-1 winners over Bolton with goals from Koscielny, Chamakh, Song and Vela, the Vela goal coming at the end of a twenty-four pass move. Song’s goal was the thousandth scored in the Premier League under Arsene Wenger’s reign. It was a big result for the team as we are traditionally a bit slow to get back into things after an international break, so to get the three points was very important for the team’s confidence and to keep its title challenge on track.
The defence did well overall, although there were some shaky moments, but that is to be expected when you consider that it was comprised of Eboue, Koscielny, Squillaci and Gibbs, with both centre backs being new to the English game. It was a bit of a gamble for the manager to take with that selection but it paid off and means that Clichy and Sagna will be rested and ready to go for the Braga game.
Fabregas made some fantastic passes and is showing signs of regaining his form, which is great to see and not a moment too soon. With the number of strikers we are currently missing, Cesc’s ability to pick and execute the perfect pass at the right time will be vital for us in the coming weeks. Speaking about Fabregas, the manager said:
"I have seen a few good performances from him and it is difficult to compare them. I don’t deny that there was a Barcelona story but I was always convinced he really loves Arsenal and he loves to play football. We play the game he loves to play and the game turns around him. He grew up in this team and to make this team win will be a bigger achievement than anything else for Fabregas."
The referee didn’t have the best of games, it must be said, and his sending off of Cahill was a bit harsh, to say the least and was made worse by the fact that it cost me three points with my fantasy football team. He could just have let play continue, with Arshavin surging forward and later book the player. Anyway, Bolton’s loss was our gain and from that point onwards we didn’t really look in any kind of serious danger.
Some people were blaming Almunia for the goal, but it was Koscielny’s header that put him in trouble and I don’t think that he did an awful lot wrong. I suppose the flak he took was directly linked to the ire still felt in some quarters that we didn’t sign a keeper in the summer. I think that we can expect similar outbursts by disgruntled fans towards our keepers each time a questionable goal is conceded, although I hope that won’t be the case.
Elsewhere, Wenger was talking about how the new financial regulations should benefit us as the club has been run in the right way, assuming of course that they are correctly implemented:
“It will be a massive advantage to Arsenal Football Club as soon as it’s applied if it’s well introduced. I don’t want to go into excuses but you want a business to be run properly and I believe that to lose £150 million a year you don’t deserve a lot of credit to win a competition. Meanwhile, we have balanced our books. Maybe some people think it’s right because they don’t care but if they had to run a business I don’t think it’s right.”
The News of the World again links us with Crewe’s 16yr old midfielder, Nick Powell. To be honest I am finding it harder and harder to get excited by the signing of a teenager. I’d prefer to see us linked with signing an established player.
Ahead of this week’s start of the Champions League group stages, Wenger said:
“For us a win next Wednesday night is vital, because I believe the group is much more difficult than people expect it to be. Braga finished in front of Porto last year – we played against Porto and know they are a good side. Also, they have just kicked Seville out in the play-offs. Shakhtar Donetsk are one of the best European sides, that is why I believe it is very important we start well at home.
Belgrade is a good opportunity – if you want to well in the Champions League you need nine points from your home games and you need one result away from home. But let’s first start well against Braga and then we will see how far we can go.”
I am looking forward to the return of the Champions League but am not particularly looking forward to the 03:45 kick-offs. Lets hope that the team can hit the ground running and get three points against Braga.
That’s about all I have for today. Take it easy.