I had the pleasure of being at the Emirates for the first game of the season, and what a pleasant day it was! The sun was shining, the old lady behind me had renewed her ticket (Nothing funnier than hearing a 70 year old lady call Ade a ‘soppy cunt’) and Arsenal recorded their first victory of the season with a heavily depleted squad.
So, two things to clear up before we get started.
Firstly, according to reports (Telegraph), Arsenal have sold 92% of the Highbury Square flats. So when Geoff said a few months ago that the maths didn’t add up with the finances, and a lot of people claimed it was becuase we’d lost money on the flats, those people were wrong… No one really knows why Edelman left, and if this story is true… it shows that certain sites\people are not as in the know as they’d like to think.
Secondly, Arsenal may have reported a 60,021 fill, but I can tell you now that the stadium had gaps all around yesterday, Corporate and normal seats. I don’t know whether that was holiday or traffic issues… but it is going to be interesting to see if that trend continues. Arsenal wont care at the moment… the money has already been taken, but it is something to bare in mind if we have a poor season.
The team lined up like this:
Sagna JD Gallas Clichy
Theo Eboue Denilson Nasri
Not a bad team considering the Rosicklist.
The game got off to a storming start, the ball was knocked around a lot more comfortably than against Twente in the week. To be honest, WBA looked about as effective Derby did last year… Scott Carson was the only player I knew… and to be honest, despite some praise, I think thought they were rubbish.
Nasri slotted the ball home early doors and after that, we cruised the rest of the game.
I’ll give you a player rating today because any sort of in depth analysis will just be wasting your time!
Almunia: Not his best game in an Arsenal Jersey. He made a superb save early doors when a WBA player fired accross the face of goal, but his kicking was pretty erratic today and he’ll get punished against a better team if he doesn’t address that. 6
Clichy: Love the guy… Jamie Redknapp said he is the best left back in the world… and I am going to agree. He didn’t play out of his skin today, but he didn’t need to… he done his job. 7
Djourou: I really rate him, I thought in his first year at the Emirates (Can’t believe it’s our third year!) he was better than Senderos and after today, I know he is. He compliments Gallas really well and he is so calm on the ball. A few more games like that and Big Phil will be panicking! 7
Gallas: A really reassuring performance today… he sat off JD and cleared up like a true pro. I wish he’d tuck his shirt in, but whatever… he was good today against lumbering physical opposition. 7.5
Sagna: Solid performance, no sign of ‘secondseasonitis‘. 7
Nasri: Ok, I don’t want to go over board here, but I really think this guy is special. If you’ve yet to see him play, imagine Hleb with gusto and tenacity… oh and the ability to shoot. He popped up in the right position today to slot home, and on a few occasions he tried a shot (Madness… sheer madness). He floats out left, then right and always wants the ball. He has seamlessly taken over from Hleb… well, that was taking things to far… lets see where we stand after 10 games. 8
Denilson: Ok, so we all know I am not his biggest fan. I still don’t get what his game is all about , but today he went some way towards showing me what he wants to be all about. He rotated the holding role with Eboue, he was pretty strong in the tackle and he showed the necessary tight control needed to hold down that role. For me he looked good against a crap team… will he fair so well against the Mancs or the Chavs? I don’t think so… we need some experience and physical prowess in the middle and Denilson is not the man yet. 7
Eboue: HOLD THE BACK PAGE! Eboue played well! Ok, he didn’t set the world alight, but he did everything well today. He was direct, strong and effective! I had a debate with Geoff over his credentials in the middle of the park… my argument is that he is a good defender, but not good enough to be the last line… so centre midfield could be just right for him. He has stamina, pace and aggression. Remember, Flamini was a dog average player… then he found his feet in quite a simple position. Tackle… pass to Cesc… 7.5
Theo: Ok Theo, you might be English, but on this blog that counts for nothing. Today you went back to your old ways… dithering, running up blind alleys and making poor decisions. This is your year Theo, you have to prove the doubters wrong… and today was not a shining example of proving people wrong. I hear a boy who goes by the name of Jack Wilshire is pretty effective, something to think about, eh? 5
Adebayor: Pretty ineffective really… he didn’t work for the team and he didn’t really cause too many problems. The crowd at one point… I think… booed him. He tried that RvP sweep, and he failed miserably and a large portion of the crowd booed. Maybe they were jeering somone else? Anyway, the fact is, he wasn’t very good… lets hope Arsene Wenger didn’t just make the biggest mistake of his career by giving him an £80k a week contract. 6
Nikki B: He didn’t do much today. He does like to drop deep to help the team and he likes to bring other players into the game, but overall… a bad day for Nik. I, like many gooners have high hopes for him this year… so expect improvements. 6
A win is a win is a win. 3 points on the board is more than our £60million friends down the road have… apparently they were rubbish and so was Bentley… it’s not funny guys, those Spuds genuinely had hope this year… mwhahaha!
Take the win Grovers, take the plus points and hope that the negatives take care of themselves!