Arsenal is an Englsh club wth a noble tradition and heritage. it s rumoured that a promnent member of the Royal family is an Arsenal fan. True or not, how fittng then that tonights opposition Hannover 96 is a German football club in Hannover, Lower Saxony, the ancient seat of the Hanoverian line of Royalty from king George I in 1714 to Queen Victoria in 1837. Why 96? well the Rugby and Athletics club gave rise to the current football club was originally founded on April 12, 1896 as Hannoverscher FC 1896. Football being played from 1899. But enough of the history lesson. Arsenal’s official
Robert Enke, Steven Cherundolo, Mike Hanke, Arnold Bruggink, Hanno Balitsch, Christian Schulz, Jacek Krzynowek, Karim Haggui, Jan Rosenthal, Cuevas, Konstantin Rausch
Subs:Florian Fromlowitz, Vinicius Bergantin, Sergio Pinto, Constant Djakpa, Michael Tarnat, Valdet Rama, Jiri Stajner
Mannone, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore, Eboue, Denilson, Song, Arshavin, Fabregas, Bendtner, van Persie,
Subs: Ramsay, Szczesny, Sagna, Silvestre, Djourou, Eduardo
Manager: Arsene Wenger
Hannover play at the 49,000 capacity AWD Arena.
Arsenal started brightly in their third strip of white with burgundy stripes. The return of captain Cesc Fabregas was an encouraging sight for all Gooners the world over. He played quite high up the field behind a centrally placed van Persie with Niklas Bendtner wide right and Arshavin wide left. The midfield pairing of Denilson and Song were in front of the back four of Eboue, Gallas, Vermaelen and Troaore who had me fooled as a Clichy clone!
Hannover hardly got a touch in the early exchanges. There were some nice touches from the Arsenal midfielders and some imaginative linking runs by new signing Thomas Vermaelen. Hannover managed to get behind Traore but the pull back from the byeline was lofted over Mannone’s bar harmlessly by Cuevas. On 9′ Fabregas scored a goal as a simple movement from van Persie who received the ball from a lovely chip from Bendtner out wide, van Persie who then shielded the ball and played a perfectly weighted reverse pass into Fabregas who walked the ball around the keeper to score.
Hannover 0 Arsenal 1 Fabregas 9′
Two minutes later again Fabregas was instrumental in linking wide left with Arshavin who shot was blocked by the keeper. As the game went on, Fabregas was dragged deeper as the Hannover players put pressure on Denilson. Traore linked well with Arshavin and showed good anticipation.
On 28′ a Hannover corner from the left was headed clear from the near post by van Persie. the repeat effort was cleared scrappily by Arsenal, but by and large, their set piece defence appeared sound. On 30′ Corner put over the bar by Vermaelen. Mannone looked a little nervous as he advanced from the security of his six yard box.
Bendtner was booked after 33′ following some rough Hannover challenges resulted in a what appeared to be a retaliatory gesture. Silvestre came on for Traore, who left the filed for some treatment it appeared. Another late challenge by Hannover left Song in a heap and Balitsch received an overdue yellow card, with the player having already gone through the back of Fabregas earlier in the game.
After 39′ a lovely through pass by Eboue, onto a forward run by Fabregas resulted in a pass across the face of Hannover’s goal. Eboue crosses from the right were penetrating and Sagna could learn from his efforts. Five minutes later Hannover conceded a corner to the Gunners, van Persie’s cross was delivered with a penetrating trajectory into the danger area and he found the head of Niklas Bendtner whose resulting header back across the face of goal was cleared off the line and almost immediately afterwards, as the panicking Hannover defence failed to clear, a low cross was driven in by van Persie. The ball appeared to be deflected wide of the goal by Bendtner only half a yard out.
The inclusion of Silvestre reduced the pace on the left side of the Arsenal defence. But Hannover failed to take advantage of the change
Half time: Hannover 0 Arsenal 1
The second half saw Bendtner rested and Sagna coming on with Eboue going into right midfield. Djourou came into the centre back position for Gallas, and Aaron Ramsey replaced Fabregas. Almost immediately Sagna came under pressure ans conceded a yellow card as Hannover got in behind Djourou. Song and Denilson interchanged central midfield positions. Up front van Persie played sole striker with Arshavin just behind. The new Arsenal formation lacked the fluency of the first half team. Denilson appeared to play quite high up the field, but he lacked the pace to combine with Arshavin and van Persie.
On 52′ a clash of heads caused Arsene some anxious looks as van Persie took some time to recover. Arsenal may have 7 centre backs, but the need for experience was emphasised by the lack lustre second half peformance. Hannover appeared to take heart from these changes, and came into the game more, and on another occasion managed to make Djourou look as though he was wearing lead boots.
Ramsey appeared over awed on the big stage which was a little worrying.
On 65′ van Persie clattered into a player and risked getting a red card for a second yellow, having received a yellow for an alleged elbow in an earlier aerial battle.
The second half performance of the team was poor by the first half standards. Eduardo came on for van Persie to prevent the red dutch mist from descending further.
on 75′ Szczesny was forced to make a save to his left as Hannover pushed forward to try and equalise. There seemed very little understanding between our midfielders, but there is no need to panic. All that is lacking is more work on the training field.
on 85′ Hannover push up the pitch looking for a last minute equalizer, Arsenal look tied now and are looking for the refs whistle.
Full Time: Hannover 0 – 1 Arsenal
In conclusion another win for the Gunners. First half we were bright but ebbed away in the second half, great to see Fabregas back again and now we move on back to the Emirates fro the Emirates cup.