Emirates was taken for a joyride last night as Arsenal demolished AZ Alkmaar 4-1 to leave their progress to next stage as nothing but a formality. It was an Arshavin’s show and it was a role reversal of sorts. This time Fab was the scorer and Arsha was the provider for a change. Arsenal finally managed to come out of Ronald Koeman’s hoodoo and defeated a side managed by him for the 1st time.
An 11Gunners reaction of the match..
Last time when we played them, it was saddening if not a disappointing performance. We squandered a 1 nil advantage away from home. It was down to the inexperience in our side and it initiated a short blip in our campaign. We went on to drop points in premiership as well in a similar fashion but normalcy have been restored since North London Derby.
It was Fabregas who kick-started the party @Emirates. He shot the goal from the edge of penalty area in 24th minute. After this it was an Arsha show completely, though he never made it on the score sheet. (but we all know that in an Arsenal team an assist is valued more than a goal.) He fed Nasri down the middle just before half time and it was 2 nil to Arsenal. Nasri is still not match fit after the injury he sustained in the pre season but such is the quality of the Frenchman that it does make a difference in any case. Another example of Wenger’s shopping skills.
There was no respite for the Dutch side in the 2nd half and Arsenal welcomed them back with a goal from the skipper himself, Francesc Fabregas. Though, it was a continuation of Arsha’s show. The Russian does sleep walk through some inconsequential games but when in mood, he sends shivers down the opposition. He sprinted towards the penalty area before unleashing the Spaniard. Meanwhile Almunia came up with a superb save to deny AZ. Is he our no.1 for the season or we are in for a round of musical chairs for the keeper’s slot.
Wenger decided to replace Fabregas and Van Persie with Ramsey and Eduardo, respectively, with 24 minutes still to go. Eduardo made an impact when he released Arsha through a clever back heel who served it on a platter for Diaby to make it 4-nil at 72 minutes. Thus Arsha show continued and he was involved in 3 goals out of 4. This is the kind of impact the Russian is capable to make and kudos to Wenger who saw it when he brought him in last January.
After all the good work, we could not manage to keep a clean sheet yet again. AZ scored a consolation goal late in the match and it left a bad taste in the mouth. We need to bring in some reinforcements in the defensive part of the pitch so that a clean sheet becomes a regular feature for us. Wenger was pleased after the match. And when asked about the reinforcements, he said that:
“As many on the creative side? Certainly not. We had still Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott who are offensive players who are not available. Denilson, Eduardo, Rosicky did not start, that is why I was amazed when people said ‘buy, buy, buy.’ And Vela as well, I forgot him.”
We can’t agree more Mr. Wenger but what about defence. We are doing well this season and it is more than 1 reason to make us better defensively during January window.
“We are consistent,” the Frenchman added. “This season we look like we’re getting stronger and stronger in each game. It’s important to keep that attitude to progress, improve and play for each other more. Then we are allowed to believe in our future. “We have quality and I believe in this team but it will be down to us to grow and be consistent.”
Fabregas shares our view that good times are set to roll and there is more to come from this side. He said:
“It’s just the beginning of the season, nothing is done, we want to keep going until the end,” Fabregas said.
“I’ll feel it is something special when we win something. We want to win and if we win something at the end we will say we had a good year. We can still do better so we’ll try to improve in the next few games.”
When asked about Arsha’s impact on the game, Wenger said:
“He was outstanding, “he gave the ball every time a fraction of the second you wanted him to give it and that is top, top quality.
“Our policy is to produce our own and add players of special quality and Arshavin and Tomas Vermaelen are good examples of that. I am not scared to spend money but what we want is to buy the players who have the needed quality to strengthen the team. We have only players here who can play and pass the ball and score – not only goalscorers but also decisive passers of the ball and he (Arshavin) has shown that against AZ.”
He added that:
“It was a brilliant performance because we dominated our subjects technically, tactically and overall were never under threat. Overall I’m very happy.”
All in all a satisfying performance but defensive frailties exist and we need to address that in January. Keep Gunning for now..