One quote summed up this evening’s performance: “Football from another planet”. I was confident we would get three points from tonight’s game but never expected anything along the lines of what I saw tonight. Everything the players tried seemed to come off and it was a true masterclass in how to play Football the beautfiul way. The defence was calm in bringing the ball out, the midfield was simply fantastic and the forwards, in particular Theo Walcott, were a real handful. I remember the 7-0 victories over Everton and Middlesborough in recent seasons, but for me those had nothing on what we witnessed tonight. Bar the own goal, each strike was an instance of absolute class, from beginning to end we stroked the ball around with ease while finding penetration whenever we wanted.
Before the game I had called for Theo Walcott to be given a start. I was hoping Wenger would oblige but assumed it would be on the wing where he would get his chance. Therefore I was delighted to hear Theo’s name read out alongside Emmanuel Adebayor. Theo has shown glimpses of his talent as a striker but today he really repaid his manager’s faith. He started slowly but once he got his first goal he was a breath of fresh air. He was simply brilliant to watch. From behind the goal we were attacking during the first half it was awesome to see him getting his speed up and simply heading towards the Slavia defence. His confidence has been high recently and seeing his delight at getting his first goal since February made the whole stadium erupt. The Arsenal fans have been behind Theo from day one and hopefully now we will see much more from him. His second goal was a real depiction of the quality he possesses: speed, intelligence and a cool head in front of goal. These are all the ingredients for him to become a world class striker.
One other player who seems to have higher confidence of late is Alexander Hleb. Tonight he was simply majestic. The ball sticks to his boots like glue and the ease with which he glides away from markers is remarkable. His goal was much deserved and, like Theo, perfectly showed what Hleb is all about. He was calm where others might have panicked and went for precision rather than power. These were demonstrated earlier in his key contribution to the opening goal. Finding himself in the corner most people would not blame him for taking the safe option and use his full back. Not Hleb; he held the ball and dug out a perfect pass to Fabregas who duely lifted the ball over the Slavia keeper – cue a goal rush!
Fabregas had been out of sorts on Saturday but was back to his best against Slavia. He sprayed the ball around as though only he was allowed to play with it. He simply was running this game from the centre of the park, trying some ridiculous passes that many would not dare attempt; with many coming off. It is amazing to believe he is still only 20, how can a boy with such maturity on the pitch, such conviction in his own game be so young and still control such a high standard of Football? Simple: the guy just loves playing football and more specifically for this current Arsenal team. Alongside him Flamini went aobut his business and Eboue made an improvement from Saturday. I hate Eboue’s antics and called for him to be dropped from the team for this game but was glad he went some way to proving me wrong. Although he was not always as direct and purposeful as I would have maybe liked, he showed some flashes of brilliance, no more than with he final goal. An imputent backheel was perfectly weighted and led to the end of Slavia’s misery.
On the subject of midfielders I will quickly draw attention from the match. Flamini has merited his starting position this season with World Cup winner Gilberto still on the bench. Abou Diaby has had to make do with a slot at left midfield with Denilson restricted to small amounts of performanes. Therefore Lassana Diarra’s comments will interest many Arsenal fans:
“I want to play. If I’m not playing by Christmas I may have to go somewhere else.”
He found himself on the bench this evening but doesn’t look too close to the starting line-up. I for one think Diarra has great quality and should get his chance but I don’t know in favour of who. Fabregas is undroppable and right now, on current form, Flamini is exactly the same.Competetion for places can be healthy but I feel we have too many. Wenger cannot change his first team right now and however hard certain players work, they do not have much chance of ousting those starting right now.
Tonight was simply fantastic, not much more I can say on it all except pick out certain players for praise as I have done. Yet every player performed well tonight, some just topped the night off and enabled such a victory. I cannot wait till Sunday as the squad heads for Anfield; confidence is up and the team is playing well, bring on those Scousers!