Newcastle at home was arguably the hardest tie for anyone in the Carling Cup 3rd round. Newcastle wanted to have a run in this cup and Wenger was sure to play the reserves. This was clear as only Senderos, Walcott and Eduardo started from Saturday. The bench included 4 players who had not appeared for the first team as yet. There was no Fabregas, Adebayor, Van Persie or Toure in sight. The kids did us proud! Newcastle put out a very good team and it was going to be a real test.
In a week where we announced record economic figures, the youngsters carried on out terrific form and unbeaten home start to the season in all competitions. Wenger talked about money being second fiddle to team success and boy did the players back that up tonight.
Lassana Diarra made his debut and was stunning alongside Denilson. He ran the show in midfield with accurate passing, great strength and unbelievable composure. Nothing fazed him on his full debut in front of another full stadium. He was keen to impress his new fans and he really warmed to him as chants of:
Diarra, oah oah oah, Diarra, oah oah oah
He left the Chelsea scum, ‘cos Ashley wants his bum
Diarra, oah oah oah, Diarra, oah oah oah”
Definitely the chant of the night and due to his stunning man of the match performance it was sung many, many times. It seems the Arsenal faithful don’t need any invitation to sing anti Ashley Cole songs and tonight was no exception. People have raved about Gael Clichy as a better player than Ashley Cole but another left back impressed tonight. Armand Traore possesses blistering pace and tonight was not afraid to show it. He gave Newcastle a warning with a great cross that Bendtner didn’t quite connect with.
However it was the same combination that gave Arsenal a well deserved lead. A stunning cross was whipped into the box and a bullet header from Bendtner sent the home fans wild. It was nothing less than Arsenal deserved. They had attacked Newcastle with no fear despite them having the far superior experience.
Alongside Traore Song and Senderos may have worried arsenal fans as a pairing in the centre but they equipped themselves very well. They had a few slip ups but overall were pretty solid. Senderos made one critical clearance off the line that kept the score at 1-0. Martins rounded the keeper and under hit his shot and allowed Senderos to get back to clear.
Such commitment from the skipper of this match showed once more the dedication this team has right now. Behind them Fabianski also did well on his full debut. One stunning save from Martins early on kept us in the game; an early goal conceded could have killed us. Hoyte did very well too, linking well with Eboue and getting forward whenever possible.
Competition for places is there in every position which is nothing but good for the club. In midfield this is very clear. Eboue began on the right and was a threat throughout and only denied a goal by Given in the Newcastle goal. He looked lively on his comeback and impressed despite one theatrical fall I didn’t like too much. Walcott did better on the left and his pace was a threat.
He clearly lacks confidence and needs a goal desperately. In the middle Denilson was alongside Diarra and like his partner was so confident on the ball and capped his night with a stunning strike. Collecting Diaby’s pass he rifled a shot into the very top corner passed a stationary Given who just watched the net ripple. What an end to a great night.
Bendtner took his goal well but was quite frustrating up till then. He worked hard but definitely is a rough diamond. He could have had more goals but linked well with Eduardo. Eduardo also worked hard to get things going and was denied a headed goal by a man on the line. He works very hard and Arsenal fans appreciate it.
Goals will come soon and if he just keeps working hard his career at Arsenal could be very prosperous. One stunning piece of combination play with Bendtner nearly led to a goal but it also showed he certainly can play football the ‘Arsenal way’, the ‘Wenger way’.
Wenger has £70million to spend in the January window but on this performance he should not need it. Diarra in particular showed what Chelsea will miss and the whole team gave Wenger a nudge he will have to deal with, but it is healthy to have a selection dilemma, it shows his whole squad is playing well and working hard. Wenger is the man to keep these players hungry and prepared to come in at any time, as was shouted tonight
“Wenger’s the Special One, Wenger’s the Special One”
The stadium once again was full with a great atmosphere in lots of the ground. With such loyal fans the club can only go from strength to strength and long may it continue, just to repeat once more
The future’s bright, the future’s red and white
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