Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bucharest 0-1 Arsenal

Well we got the job done, even if it wasn't pretty. Arsenal won in the Romanian city of Bucharest last night with a goal from Robin Van Persie and now he's scored in two straight. Robin, Adebayor, and Hleb all passed their late fitness tests and made starts for the team even though they had been questionable yesterday morning. Our lineup looked like this:


As I mentioned before, we definitely were not playing at our Arsenal best today, and Bucharest thought they had taken the lead on six minutes. A free kick was sent into the box and headed hard and down and went right by Almunia into the net. I was stunned when it happened but thankfully the referee blew for offside and he clearly was on the replay.

Right after that Cesc had an unbelievable chance five yards from an open net and somehow skyed the ball over. It looked like the non-scoring Cesc of last year, not the wonder goal scorer this year. Hopefully he won't dwell on it.

Kolo Toure stopped their next best chance of the day. Almunia came way out of his box to punch clear, the ball fall to a Bucharest player who lobbed from about thirty yards and Kolo had to be there behind Almunia to head clear. Bit shoddy goalkeeping but luckily no harm done. Our goal came shortly after.

Adebayor made a great run into the box from the left and made it all the way to the end line. He turned and squared it back for Fabregas who couldn't get on the end of it but luckily the ball kept rolling and RvP was there to shoot. When he first shot I thought he was going to miss but it was his left foot and he didn't miss and we were 1-0 up.

That was pretty much the end of the game. There were a couple more chances for both teams but after the goal neither team ever looked much like scoring. It was another match where I worried we would never score, but the goal eventually came. This is the mark of a good team because we wouldn't get these results last year.

Man of the Match: Philippe Senderos was quite comfortable in defense and put in a good performance. He gets the award of Adebayor who missed some easy chances. Fabregas definitely didn't have his best day but Clichy was also good. Big Phil gets the nod though and let's hope he takes some confidence from this performance.

Needs Work: It's hard to pick these this season as we have won 9 matches in a row but I'll go with Almunia who was a little shaky in the net tonight. He had trouble dealing with some crosses and was totally caught off guard by the ball they got called offside on.

Robin Van Persie after the game gave the press a "told you so" type speech saying that he knew Arsenal would be good this year and said so, but the press laughed at him but they can't anymore.

"At the start of the season I said we will surprise - and everyone was laughing.

"Now 12 games into the season, everyone says, 'Ooh, look at Arsenal, they are a good team'. This I knew before and my mind has not changed.

"I started training early this season with Theo [Walcott] and after, when the rest of the lads came back in, I saw a great togetherness and belief and big quality. This is what I saw day in, day out."

RvP is right. Nobody gave us a chance this year and yet now we are playing amazing football. It's wonderful to watch and I am enjoying it thouroughly.

Oh and since we didn't really get the ArseNole prediction contest going before yesterday's match we'll start it before the Sunderland match this weekend. Post your score prediction in the comments and I'll add up the number of correct predictions for the year and that person will win an Arsenal prize. Standings will be shown on the website.

And that's all I have for you today. Later

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