Arsenal 2 – 1 Lazio Match Report

As promised, here’s a quick update.

Arsenal ran out 2-1 winners over Lazio in the LG Amsterdam Tournament.  Goals from Niclas Bendtner and new boy, Eduardo Da Silva ensured victory for the not-red-and-whites-but-purpleish-and-blues.  Yes, this evenong saw the first showing of the third kit in action, and it looks…crap.  I really don’t like it.  As Lazio play in a really plae blue, I’m sure we could’ve worn the red and white, no problem.  But then Nike want to sell kits don’t they?

Aside from the aesthetics of the strip, the game was quite enjoyable.  Not quite up to the standard of the Inter game, but it made for good watching nonetheless.  A fairly even first half that you wouldn’t really describe as ‘open’, had some chances for both sides, most notable of which going Lazio’s way after Big Phil lost position in the back line and played on the Italian’s striker.  Fortunately, the run made onto the ball took Pandev wider than he would’ve liked and allowed Phil time to recover, and he actually showed some decent pace to get back and put in a great block tackle after Almunia had been rounded.  Phil is a good tackler and good in the air, but he needs to sharpen up his concentration because lapses like today’s need cutting out.  Manuel was also a bit shoddy in his ‘keeping and need not have come charging out the way he did.  Still no harm done except a quickening of pulses

Arsenal took the lead after 18 minutes through Niclas Bendtner.  The ball was played square to Cesc Fabregas, who was about 30 yards out.  He elected to shoot and unleashed a fierce strike that looked to be on target.  We shall never know if it really was, because it took a deflection off a Lazio defender and ricocheted to Bendtner.  At first glance he looked to be offside, but the linesman adjudged him to be level and allowed play to continue.  I thought Niclas could’ve taken a strike sooner, but he decided to round the ‘keeper and finished neatly from a tight angle.  Probably harder than it should’ve been, but a good finish in any case.

Pandev was obviously miffed at being denied a goal earlier in the half, equalised after 40 minutes.  The ball was only half cleared to the edge of the box, and in returning it back in, the Lazio player looked to have pulled Eduardo’s shirt sending him to the ground.  As Pandev neatly slotted the ball home, the Arsenal players were aggrieved that a freekick was not awarded to them instead of a Lazio goal.  1-1 at half time.

The second half saw The Gunners assert themselves more on the game and the free flowing attacking football was more prominent, but it was from a Tomas Rosicky corner that Eduardo rose to head home to make the score 2-1 and bag the Croatia striker a goal on competitive debut.  Hoyte hit the post late on, but the score remained the same and Arsenal claim 5 points from the game (3 for the win +2 bonus points for the goals).

I’ll leave it there or I’ll have nothing to write tomorrow!

Have a good rest of the evening

Fancy a Quickie?

Right, seeing as I’ve only just this minute got on the computer after sorting out bills and my barnet, I thought I’d do a quick post before tonight’s game, and then update after it.  Agreeable?  Well, that’s what’s going to happen, so if you don’t like getting two posts in a day, then you are very hard to please.

Ok, the news in briefs (it’s quite hot now and I’m home alone, so I’m enjoying minimal apparel se soir) is that;

Eduardo’s got his work permit.  Chin up Chelsea and yer man Alex.  Not only has the boy Da Silva actually managed to get into the country, but now he’s entitled to work here too.  And not just as a builder. plumber or car washer.  No, he’s actually going to play professional football.

 The squad has been announced for the LG Amsterdam Tournament and contains a surprise selection of no surprises.  There’s no Gibbs or Garry or any of the other kids pushing for a place in the first team.  Perhaps Arsene read the blog last night and decided to take on board my suggestion of fielding as strong a team as possible.  I like to think so anyway.  Seriously though, there are only 2 pre-season games to go, so against opposition in the class of Lazio and Ajax an opportunity to fine tune and balance the side for Fulham on the 11th should not go begging.  Happily, Theo, Ade, Rosicky and Djourou are all included.

Robin Van Persie has been bigging up his buddy, Wesley Sneijder saying, “He is like an Arsenal player”.  Cue Sneijder to Arsenal rumours on TribalFootball.  He’s also said he likes the pretty triangles and stylish play that come from playing at Arsenal.

“Only a few teams in Europe play the way Arsenal play. Personally, I will always go for a team where I would, for example, earn less money but the team plays fantastic, rather than go to a team where you can earn lots of money and win every week, 1-0, 2-0, and play a defensive style.”

A slight dig at the chavs there, I think you’ll agree.  And why not?  I’ve been a fan of Robin’s for quite some time, but since the spotlight was turned on him with the departure of Thierry, his stock with me has risen considerably.  He’s talking the talk and walking the walk.  And a very cool, defender flummoxing walk it is too.  He reckons he’s not Thierry’s replacement, and to be fair he aint, but he is the man we’re looking to to carry on where he left off last season and score the majority of our goals.  At 23 and with a few Premier League seasons under his belt, he’s no rookie so it’s time for him to come out from the shadows cast by our former gallic “talisman” and get his goal on.  Personally, I don’t think he’ll find it too hard.

Right, kick-off approaches.  I will aim to do a quick round-up post match, and do a more in depth one tomorrow.  I believe the game is on Sky Sports 1 and obviously ATVO, but I think there’s some audio streams kicking around too.

Enjoy the game

UPDATE: 03/08/07 TribalFootball have inndeed started running stories about Van Persie wanting Wesley Sneijder at Arsenal.  They’re so predictably stupid it’s not even funny.  If you see the stories listed, don’t give them the satisfaction of clicking through or we’ll end up with more of their crap sloshing about the net.

Lazio Preview And Other Assorted Musings

Hello dear readers.  What a glorious day it has been.  And what better way to spend it than stuck inside on a training course all day?  Ordinarily this wouldn’t bother me too much, but when the weather’s nice I do like the option of being able to take a longer lunch and whatnot, but this is made impossible by the time constraints of training days.  It would’ve been cool if it was one of those assault course, raft building, walking over hot coals type thingys…but it wasn’t.  New IT systems don’t have a necessity for you to go splashing around with your workmates on a lake in the New Forest.  Shame.  Brainiac has learned me good that computer monitors make good floatation devices, so I’m sure there was scope for some kind of aquatic fun to be had.  Or we could’ve set fire to the IT kit and walked over the embers.  Scratch that – just setting fire to it would’ve been fun.

Pyromaniacal tendencies aside, there is some blogging to be done, and blog I shall.

Tomorrow sees our first game of the Amsterdam Tournament, against the mighty legion of Rome.  No, not Caesar and his minions (or even AC Roma), but Lazio.  Arsenal have enjoyed relative success against Italian clubs in recent years – since 1970 our record reads like this, P28 W10 D8 L5  And included in these stats are the Cup Winner’s Cup win over Parma, the 2-0 against Lazio, the 5-1 mauling of Inter at the San Siro and most recently, the Fabregas inspired drubbing of Juve at Highbury.  Happy, happy, times.

So what can we expect to see from Arsenal tomorrow?  To be honest, I don’t really know.  Le Boss hasn’t done his press conference yet, no doubt preferring to drill the players thoroughly today and tomorrow before doing so.  So it is left up to me to use my considerable powers of telepathy to read his mind.  Bare with me….Oh.  It would seem The Daily Mail has beaten me to the punch and made up divined that Arsene is confident Tomas Rosicky will play some part in the tournament.  Good work wannabe-broadsheet-but-really- a-crap-tabloid fellas.  Seriously though, I would expect that he would play some part, but it’s probably too soon to expect that Lazio will be his comeback.  After all, he wasn’t match fit to begin with, so a lay off (however short) won’t help him get up to speed for the start of he season let alone a game tomorrow night.

Eduardo is also unlikely to feature as his work permit appeal hearing is tomorrow.  However (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong), he played in Austria because it was abroad (i.e. not in England, for you non-geographers) so he doesn’t/shouldn’t need a permit to play in the ‘Dam Tournament.  Whether he needs to actually attend the hearing I don’t know, but if he does then it is very unlikely he’ll feature in the game.

Johan Djourou is also still recovering from a knock/heat exhaustion , as is Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott, so until we hear otherwise from the gaffer, it’s safe to assume they will be rested until 100% fit again.  That leaves us with the same options we had for the Emirates Cup.  Personally I think it’s time to step it up a notch and start fielding teams that are likely to play in the league.  Oh wait, we can’t as a load of first teamers are out.  But I’d like to see less of Gibbs, Flamini and Traore (who I rate, btw), in favour of more established players.  I would also like to echo the sentiment of GilbrtoSilver of Gunnerblog.com, who reckons Hleb is a poo winger, but decent central attacking midfielder (actually, I said that too already, didn’t I?).  He relishes that position and we see the best of him when he plays there.

Something I thought I knew, but didn’t because it was only a rumour at the time but now has been confirmed, is that we have signed young Frenchman, Gilles Sunu.  Apparently, chief scout, The Grimster, recommended him to the boss.  Probably as they share the same first name.  Oh yeah, “Ché” is big on first names – that’s why we were going to sign Arsene Oka for £20million before someone pointed out that he’s shit*.  Still the DoF position is still going…

Also revealed today is that we’ve signed Kyle Bartley.  I know – I don’t either.  But someone out there does and told Arseblog, who I’m now linking to so that he doesn’t get the arse with me for nicking his story…even though I have.  Cheers Arseblogger – nice to have you back.

Finally, Irish Arsenal legend, Liam Brady talks here about the experience he expects his young charges to gain in the Champions Youth Cup.  With the likes of Fran Merida, Jay Simpson, Nacer Barazite and Vincent van den Berg all likely to play a significant part in matches against quality players from some of the best clubs in the world, he’s not wrong.  Here’s hoping that it provides a good stepping stone for the talented youngsters in the Arsenal youth set up.  I’m a huge fan of Merida, and whilst not a true winger (more a centre midfielder actually, but hey), he can play a wide position that could solve our problems on the flanks in a year or two.

 Hopefully that delicious arsey goodness has satisfied your craving.  Until next time

*This is not true in any way.  Only an idiot would believe it.  Hello tabloid hacks :o)