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.

Emirates Cup Stuff And That

Argh!  There is nothing more annoying than having to re-install software so you can spend a little time blogging about your favourite football team.  I think Netgear are excellent and it is probably my prehistoric machine that is a fault (hello, Santa, are you listening..?) but when you try and update the wireless adapter software and it downloads only to tell you that it fails a validation check, smashing the tower case with your head seems like a reasonable option.  Thing is, it only dents a bit, and your head dents a lot so there is only ever going to be one winner.  But I take pride in knowing I gave it my best shot.  Still hurts a bit though.  However, the sun’s out so beer garden anaesthesia is a distinct possibility.

So to day sees the opening game of the Emirates cup, and the boss has promised us strong teams will be fielded.  However, what with Ade, Theo and Tomas all injured/otherwise crocked, Gilberto off on holiday and Eduardo apparently not having a permit to work, it looks like the teams won’t be as strong as we first hoped.

Eduardo can’t play because the game is in England.  Some people reckon that he can play because it’s only a friendly, but other’s reckon that it still counts as work and therefore he is subject to the normal work permit regulations.  I have to say, I do find it odd that the player has been signed and has already played a part in 2 games in Austria, yet he doesn’t have a work permit.  When Arsene thought that Baptista could actually play football, part of the reason the deal fell through was because of work permit issues, so why has Eduardo been signed when it’s not all straightened out?  Seems a bit weird, no?  He’ll probably get some more game time in Amsterdam and after that it will hopefully be all sorted and we can get back to seeing Dudu in front of goal.  And I’m not talking Jeremie Aliadiaire.  AW is confident that there won’t be any problems with it, so you’d have to think that’s why he pushed the signing through without the permit being in place.

So with us missing all the players that are missing it’s easy to miss the fact that we aren’t missing Niclas Bendtner.  I’m expecting him and RVP to get the full 90 today.  This is a good chance for Bendtner to show us what he can really do and impress the boss while he’s at it.  I think that from what I saw of him in The Championship last season, he looks like a good finisher and a good target man.  He does that the pace of Adebayor, but overall their game is very similar.  However, I am not alone in thinking that he needs to up his work rate to that of something approaching Ade’s to prove really useful.  Perhaps playing in the Premiership for Arsenal will inspire him to do so.  I hope he does because he’s proved he can score goals, even at international level, so to see him fail at Arsenal would be a shame.

It’s also a good chane for Robin to hone his skills for the beginning of the league season.  He was scoring well last season before he got crocked and there’s every chance that he can go on this season carrying that form over.

The game kicks off at 16:15 GMT and is on ATVO (4pm) and Sky Sports 2 (knowing Sky the build up program will start at about 2pm, when they will proceed to talk for 2 hours and 14 minutes about Ronaldinho playing for PSG once, and how they’re French and so is Thierry Henry who doesn’t play for Arsenal)

In other news, Jose Antonio Reyes’ agent has said that he doesn’t think Jose will go to Lyon, which is interesting as reports are coming in that Real Madrid and Arsenal have agreed a fee for the player.  9.2 million Euros does seem a bit crap but it’ll probably rise depending on appearences etc.

The Di Maria saga, whilst getting extremely tedious, seems to have reached a solution.  It appears that Benfica have secured the signature of the Argentine.  To be honest, I don’t really care anymore if he comes to us or not.  To say that negotiations are going well, and then to sod off to another club is a bit Reyes-esque and amidst all the shenannigans with hoax hoaxes etc I’ve kinda lost the will to give 2 shits about it.  Hopefully he’ll be crap and Benfica will be gutted that he’s not the Simao replacement they had hoped for.

Arsene has also responded to the comments made by Freddie Ljungberg.  He said,

He was a great fighter and did extremely well for us. The club did very well for Freddie. But football is a team sport. I didn’t make any promises. The company works well when everybody does what he’s responsible for. The player is responsible for his performance in the team, not the policy of the club

Fair play gaffer.  I would’ve been less diplomatic, and probably said something the papers would’ve had a field day with.  But then I’m not the manager of Arsenal FC.  Yet.

Ok, I’m absolutely starving.  All these software issues and stuff really work up your appetite.  It’s a wonder that more computer geeks aren’t fat.  Wait.  Oh

Clichy Puts The Boot In – Reyes – Rosicky – Captaincy

I noticed that yesterdays post was a bit all over the place.  I would like to blame the hosting or net gremlins, but I can’t.  It was just me being a ‘tard.  Apologies, and thanks to those that took great pleasure in pointing out my inability to use WordPress.  I blame using IE instead of Opera.  Yup, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

 That aside, there isn’t a lot going on today, so this will be a quick one.

Gael Clichy has spoken out in retaliation to the comments made by Freddie Ljungberg upon joing West Ham.  Clichy is clearly narked about Freddie saying the club lacks ambition, and in his reposte said,

I don’t think Arsenal lack ambition.  I don’t know why Freddie said that.

“He has had nine great seasons with Arsenal and he’s entitled to his opinion but I’ve got a different opinion.

“For two years we hear Arsenal are not competitive any more but last season we won both matches against Manchester United and drew both against Chelsea with what is supposed to be a young team, so I don’t know what’s wrong with that.

“We know we’ve got the quality, the strength. Everyone is confident, we have signed great players and we are going to have a great season.”

Too bloody right.  It does seem to be conveniently forgotten that against the bigger teams in the league we had a good record and like Arsene said, if you made a mini-league of the top 4 teams, we’d be at the summit.

The Daily Mail is going some way to redeeming itself in my eyes, by saying lots of nice things about Eduardo.  Hopefully they will be saying the same things come May time.  They are also running an interview with ol’ purple nose, Alex Fergusson.  What is interesting is where he says in response to a question about Utd’s rivals, that we have signed “a striker, a midfielder and a defender”.  A midfielder?  Really?

Confirmation that Tomas Rosicky’s hamstring isn’t seriously injured can be found on Arsenal.com.  This is good.  As I said yesterday, I am expecting big things from the Czech technician this season and if he can manage to stay injury free then I am sure there will be a lot of superlatives flying about regarding him.  I can’t wait for the Real Madrid rumours to start.

The Reyes saga continues.  This is getting seriously old now.  He’s a good player and proved he is worth more than the handful of magic beans Real have offered, so why it is taking so long to find a new club for him is baffling.  However, Lyon are the newest side alledgedly interested , and should offer more than the piss-taking £8million Real have tabled.

Finally, I omitted to mention yesterday that Billy Gallas was given the captain’s armband for the Salzburg game.  Why?  Could be because Kolo was a late addition after Djourou pulled out.  Could be because Arsene is thinking about giving him the job full time.  The boss said,

William has all the ingredients needed to be a captain along with Kolo (Toure) and Gilberto. He has a lot of experience.

“Also centre back is the best position to captain the team because you are in a position to see all the problems on the pitch. It is a better position than a centre forward or a wide player.”

Crikey.  Billy G as captain?  Not on my watch.

Ok, that’s yer lot for tonight.  I do so hope you all have smashing evenings

First Defeat No Reason To Panic

Arsenal suffered their first defeat of this pre-season against SV Red Bull Salzburg, going down 1-0 to a 74th minute strike from Janocko.

 

Arsenal fielded a team devoid of Cesc Fabregas, Gilberto Silva, Johan Djourou and Gael Clichy who weren’t in the squad, but most of the other expected first team were available for the boss to use.

 

Arsene took the opportunity to hand a first start to new signing Eduardo, and as predicted here, he moved out to the left hand flank to take up a Reyes style position.  Some people like Setanta say it was like Henry, but it’s not nearly the same.  Eduardo is a different player to Henry and more akin to Reyes – even down to being left footed – so comparing the Croatian/Brazilian to the now departed Frenchman is purely designed to get his name in the meta tags.  However, Eduardo showed that his finishing needs sharpening up before 11th August as he spurned a couple of good chances.

 

This was the first time that Eduardo has been given some decent game time for the fans to cast our eyes over and while he did not set the game on fire, he showed that he can link up the play between the midfield and defence by occupying the left side, and also stalking the penalty area in a typical centre forward role.  He looked busy and full of running – something that Henry lacked in the latter stages of his career as a Gooner – and also showed that he possesses all the technical attributes that we have come to expect from an Arsene Wenger signing.  Sadly, despite creating plenty of chances, the finishing was lacklustre and memories of last season were eminent in the mind as the team looked impressive in the build up but lacked the killer instinct.  Good performances from Hleb, Denilson and Van Persie went some way to easing the disappointment of the defeat, and you can’t help but feel that the inclusion of Gilberto and Fabregas would’ve made a difference.  It is important to remember though that these two can’t play every single game and so it is necessary to give as many minutes to Denilson and Diaby as possible as they possess so much potential that to waste it would be criminal.

 

A minor downside was the knock sustained by Tomas Rosicky, but Wenger dismisses it as only a minor thing and his withdrawal after half an hour was precautionary.  Rosicky has a hamstring strain, but Arsene is confident that he will be ready for the start of the season.  It is a bit crap that he will miss some of the build up to 11th of August as I’m expecting big things from Tomas this season.

 

With the Emirates Cup looming large, and the promise of strong teams being fielded, this defeat doesn’t fill me with a sense of foreboding.  It’s only the second friendly, the players are struggling for fitness, and they still have to adapt to the introduction of two new first teamers.  With the sale of Ljungberg and the possibility of a replacement being added before the close of the transfer window this situation is not going to get any easier.  However, with the calibre of the teams showing up for the Emirates Cup, there is a good chance that come the Fulham game, the boys will be fighting fit and eager to go.

Conspicous by his absence was Johan Djourou.  Where he was is a mystery.  Back in England, signing a loan deal?  Injured?  Who knows?  Really, who?

In other news, Arsenal.com has revealed plans for the Ticket Exchange.  Red and Silver members be excited.  Read more here.

 

OK, that’s it for today.  Have a good night.