Give me bottle, vision, hardwork, attack mindedness and raw talent over 2.42 passes a second. Tonight, Jack Wilshere announced himself to Europe as the next big thing in a sublime performance by the real Arsenalistas!
Sagna Koscielny Squillaci Clichy
Song Fabregas Wilshere
Nasri Chamakh Arshavin
The team Wenger put out for Champions league new boys SC Braga was an exciting one. Clearly, the coach wanted to get Arsenal off to high scoring start and he entrusted Jack Wilshere over the more experienced Denilson. A sign the pecking order has shifted?
Fabregas was scythed down just outside the box within the first 3 minutes. The refs were from Luxembourg, something I didn’t factor in when making my point about foreign refs yesterday. Cesc had another shout for a spot kick moments later but it was clear he just mistimed his run after a lovely little Arshavin chip into his path.
Squillaci’s pace was tested down the other end and he came out on top. Braga was a team full of pace, our centre backs had to be on their toes if we were to get a clean sheet tonight.
Jack and Cesc linked in well with Jack chipping just wide.
We eventually won a penalty after Chamakh allowed the keeper to clatter him (From a Cesc through ball). Cesc stepped up and smashed it home for 1-0! His celebration was slightly muted, almost embarrassed! It was clear this team weren’t up to Arsenal speed.
Jack Wilshere’s directness and tunnel vision for attack was increasing the pace of our attacks to a blur at times. Cesc is clearly the master, but Jack looked every bit the man to be his understudy.
Arshavin was very sloppy misplacing the sort of passes you’d expect and £80k a week player to be making. What’s the point in getting upset though? After 30 odd minutes, he decided he quite fancied staying onside, accepted Cesc’s pass and banged the ball inside the keepers near post. I know what you’re thinking, who’d have guessed the Braga keeper could make it in LaLa Land and be a professional footballer?
Carlton or Felipe?
3 minutes later Arshavin chipped the ball to Chamakh, he chested it to Jack who backheeled it deftly back into the Moroccans path and he obliged by burying it into the bottom corner. Superb football by Arsenal!
The odds were 14/1 for Arsenal to win by six at half time. If I was one of those gambling types, I might have put a £1 down! The only thing I could criticise at half time was the crowd turn out… mind you, I’m sure people have valid excuses, times are tough!
Nasri lunged in with a two footed stamp on the foot of one of the Braga players. Naughty… I hope the physical contact police noted that one down.
Arshavin found himself in acres of space in the Braga box, he picked out Cesc who headed home for four! Another contribution from the Russian.
Cesc nearly landed his hattrick when he interlinked well with Arshavin. Only a flying goal line clearance prevented his chip finding its way in.
Arhavin picked up the ball on the edge of the box, slipped Vela in who…. you guessed it… chipped it over the keeper for 5! That boy has so many chips to his name he could get a sponsorship deal with McCain!
We knocked the ball around in second gear, Cesc found himself in space again, he laid Vela on who slotted it into the near post again. No chip this time. That made me sad. 6-0 though? My oh my!
In conclusion, I have to say… can we play you every week? We destroyed Braga who are no mugs. They defeated Sevilla and Celtic scoring 9 goals in the process. We took them apart and it was incredible to watch.
Defensively there wasn’t much to do, but that’s usually the case and we usually end up conceding. So a solid backline display. And a back line that’s beginning to look impressive.
It’s difficult to get too carried away, we often peak early in the year and Braga didn’t play well. The challenge for Arsenal this year is to avoid further injuries and to continue this streak of form when the cold weather sets in. We seem to have more steel so far this season, I said that last year, but I feel more so this year.We’re also looking far more clinical. Can we take it to the next level… can we consistently play at the highest level? Can we grind out a one nil against United or Chelsea?
Not a question for today.
Lets take it one game at a time, enjoy the victory and look forward to Sunderland at the weekend!
I’m off to the Q&A this evening… it’s going to be lovein.com after that performance!
Almunia – Commanded his area like a raging bull. Shame no one came into it all game! A sweet claim in the box late on gave him. 7
Sagna – Looks to have a bit of 2008 about his game at the moment. He’s not too bad going forward and he’s very solid defensively. 7
Kozzer – Looked assured at the back. Had to deal with a few high balls and had to manage the offside trap. Did everything well tonight. 7
Squillaci – Showed he had pace and demonstrated his experience by taking the lead at the back. 7
Clichy – Not his best performance, a little reckless at times and he nearly got us into trouble in the first half. He’s a touch calamitous? I hate to say it about a player I like… but he really is a bit of a disaster to watch sometimes. 6
Cesc – This summer I wasn’t fussed if Cesc went. No one is bigger than Arsenal. Tonight, it was apparent that no amount of money could replace his vision, movement, finishing, productivity or passing accuracy. Quite simply put, he is the best in the world in his position. He’s not worth £50million, he’s worth £80million. A superstar with a bad ass edge to him now he has that tattoo. He was the true star of the show, if JW can become half the player Cesc is now, we’ll be spoilt not only as a club, but as a nation. 10
Wilshere – A superb game from the young Englishman. He’s gone away to Bolton and come back a man. He played with hunger that would make Nasri jealous, he created, he linked and he nearly scored. His speed of thought impresses me, his willingness to bundle forward but also track back excites me and the fact he is still only 18 gets me into a bit of a state… footballistically of course! An excellent game. He’s going to be a helluva player… is he first choice back up for Diaby now? I hope so! 9
Song – He played well making some nice direct passes, however, when the commentator declares he’s not really a midfield anchor, you have to worry. He still irritates me with his erratic challenges and some of his odd passes. He’ll deal with teams like Braga, it’s the better teams I worry about. 6.5
Nasri – Well, someone had to keep things ticking over! Tonight it was Nasri, his passing was immaculate and he complimented the form players very well tonight! Great return to the team. 7.5
Arshavin – My boss told me that when he was at a big American corporation, no one cared what you did as long as you were delivering. Then he fired me. Jokes aside, I don’t care about Arshavin’s 56% first half pass completions stats, I don’t care that sometimes he looks a little lazy… because the man pulls it out of the bag. He scores, he assists… he’s magic. 8.5
Chamakh – I think it’s already settled. We all love him. He works tirelessly, he is fast, he runs into space, he can head the ball and he can win penalties. Oh, did I mention he’s not too bad at finishing either? The guys a steal, shame we didn’t have him last season. 8
Denilson – So glad he got on the pitch. Can’t wait to find out how many passes he made… Yawn. 6
Vela – Well what a turn out eh? Comes on for 20 odd minutes and bangs 2 goals in! I hope this is his break through season and he proves the doubters wrong. 8